As the second quarter came to an end, mining and banking stocks supported Britain’s top share index, with the FTSE100 enjoying its best quarter in five years. Following a turbulent last week, as trade concerns rumbled on, the blue-chip index ended June down 41.27 points at 7,636.93, a loss of just 0.54% on the month. The FTSE250 closed down 15.29 points at 20,830.97 a loss of 0.07%. While, the junior AIM ended the month down 0.17 points or 0.02% at 1,082.45.
Economic data in the US was mixed, with disappointing consumer spending but improving wage growth. The Fed rose interest rates in June, with further hikes this year anticipated. Ongoing trade concerns and rising tariffs seemed to dampen investor enthusiasm. Further concern came as Canada announced $12.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on US goods in response to those recently imposed by the US on steel and aluminium imports. With trade tensions in focus throughout the second quarter, stocks didn’t make large gains despite the strong round of corporate reports in Q1.
With the US administration due to activate tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion in early July, a response from Beijing is likely.
The Nasdaq Composite closed the month up 0.92% on 7,510.30 and the Dow Jones closed on 24,271.41, down 0.59%. Investors generally felt technology companies and smaller, more US focused companies were safer options in the face of trade tensions.
The Eurostoxx50 fell 19.76 points (0.58%) to finish on 3,395.60. Tokyo’s main index, the Nikkei225 gained 0.46% in June, to close the month at 22,304.51. Although the gain was modest, the Nikkei avoided logging a fourth monthly drop out of the past five.
On the foreign exchanges, sterling closed the month at $1.32 against the US dollar. The euro closed at €1.13 against sterling and at $1.16 against the US dollar.
Brent crude closed the month higher at $79.44 a barrel, a rise of 2.38% on the month. Oil logged strong weekly, monthly, quarterly and first-half 2018 gains as long-running efforts by OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), increased demand and supply disruptions, pushing prices higher. Gold closed the month down 3.49% at $1,253 a troy ounce.