U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday in their third-straight day of recovery from the post-Brexit sell-off.
"I think it's a continuation of trying to sort out what Brexit means and what's important to investors," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank. "Whether they decide it means nothing, ... were going to have to wait and see."
The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 200 points higher, with3M and IBM contributing the most gains. The Dow gained nearly 300 points on Wednesday and had recovered about 80 percent of its post-Brexit losses intraday Thursday.
"The market is breathing a big sigh of relief that Brexit didn't trigger the end of the world," said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital.
"For now, the British exit is taking a backseat, but that's going to come back to haunt us," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.
The Dow had lost more than 870 points in the two sessions following the U.K.'s shocking vote to leave the European Union, but the blue-chips index completed its best two-day points gain since last August at Wednesday's close.
"It's not surprising to see the markets go down as much as they did after the vote," said Brian Levitt, senior investment strategist at OppenheimerFunds. "The best and worst days are usually grouped together."
The S&P rose rose more than 1 percent, led higher by consumer staples. Staples gained about 2 percent as Hershey shares surged more than 10 percent amid talks of a possible takeover bid from Mondelez.
However, Hershey's board unanimously rejected Mondelez's offer Thursday afternoon. "It would take a very good offer" for the board to approve a takeover bid, said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital. "I don't see anybody doing that."
For the quarter, which ends Thursday at the close, energy was the greatest advancer, while information technology lagged.
"The most constructive thing I've seen over the past four days has been the rotation," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, noting the S&P was led by financials, health care and energy on Wednesday, while utilities, telecommunications and consumer staples lagged. "We had a rotation ... into growth."
The Nasdaq composite rose 1 percent, as Apple advanced 1 percent.
Investors also eyed the end of the second quarter, with the third quarter kicking off on Friday.
First Standard's Cardillo said "some traders are probably going to make there final trades today instead of tomorrow," given the Fourth of July Holiday on Monday.
Oil prices were under pressure Thursday, with U.S. crude settling 3.1 percent lower, at $48.33 a barrel. On Wednesday, WTI gained more than 4 percent amid a larger-than-expected crude stocks drawdown.
Treasurys traded mixed, with short-term two-year notes yielding about 0.59 percent, while the benchmark 10-year note yield held near 1.48 percent.
The dollar traded higher against a basket of currencies, with the euro holding near $1.105 and the yen trading at 103.21. The pound dived more than 1 percent after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Brexit uncertainty could weigh on the U.K. economy for some time,while also hinting at more stimulus for the economy.
On the data front, weekly jobless claims came in at 268,000, slightly above the expected 267,000. The Chicago PMI reading for June came in at 56.8, well above a May reading of 49.3.
"US manufacturing remains around the flat line with still challenged global trade but with some relief from the US dollar which has been weakening since early December notwithstanding the bounce this week post UK vote. With also punk capital spending, it is the US consumer that remains the buffer between economic expansion and contraction," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note to clients.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard in a speech in London on Thursday repeated the new monetary policy framework, including just a single rate hike for the foreseeable future, detailed in an earlier speech, according to a Reuters report.
Overseas stock markets traded mostly higher, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index gaining 1 percent. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 posted modest gains overnight, while the Shanghai composite slipped about 0.1 percent.
In corporate news, film studio Lions Gate said it would buy Starz for$4.4 billion in a cash-and-stock deal.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve's stress test approved the capital plans for 31 of 33 banks, with Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander failing to gain the central bank's approval.
|S&P 500||S&P 500 Index||2098.84||28.07||1.36%|
In afternoon trade, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 209 points, or 1.18 percent, to 17,903, with General Electric leading advancers andVisa the only decliner.
The S&P 500 traded about 25 points higher, or 1.23 percent, to 2,096, with consumer staples leading all 10 sectors higher.
The Nasdaq composite traded 56 points higher, or 1.17 percent, to 4,835.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded lower, near 16.
About four stocks advanced for every decliner on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 607 million and a composite volume of 2.813 billion.
Gold futures for August delivery settled $6.30 lower at $1,320.60 per ounce.
On tap this week:
3:20 p.m. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks on U.S. economy and monetary policy
9:45 a.m. Markit manufacturing PMI
10:00 a.m. ISM manufacturing
10:00 a.m. Construction spending
11 a.m. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester on economic outlook and monetary policy
*Planner subject to change.