US STOCKS-Wall Street ends bumpy week, strong 1st half with modest gain

* Nike shares surge 11 percent after Amazon program

* Nasdaq dips but posts best 1st-half since 2009

* S&P 500 tech sector posts first monthly loss of year

* Dow up 0.29 pct, S&P up 0.15 pct, Nasdaq down 0.06 pct
(Updates with context on tech sector, Nasdaq)

By Lewis Krauskopf

June 30 (Reuters) – Major U.S. stock indexes ended a
volatile week on a modestly high note on Friday, led by a surge
in Nike shares, and the S&P 500 scored its biggest gain for the
first half of the year since 2013 while the Nasdaq Composite’s
first-half gain was its best in eight years.

Nike shares rose 11 percent on Friday after the
world’s largest footwear maker said it would launch a pilot
online sales program with Amazon.com. Nike
shares gave the biggest boost to the Dow industrials and the S&P
500.

Even as technology shares limped through June, the sector
has been the big story of the first six months of the year. Tech
shares gained 16.4 percent in the first-half, double the S&P
500’s 8.2 percent rally so far this year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq
surged 14.1 percent in the first half.

The S&P technology index ended down 0.1 percent on
Friday, while for all of June it posted its first monthly loss
of the year. A decline in biotech shares, which had
surged of late, also limited the Nasdaq.

“Are we going to see a broadening of the rally, where you
see more of the financials and other sectors fill in some of the
gaps?” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates
Inc, an investment advisory firm in Toledo, Ohio.

“It hasn’t been a broad encompassing rally, that I think
investors will have to see a little bit more conviction rather
than just in a handful of stocks,” Lancz said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62.6 points, or
0.29 percent, to 21,349.63, the S&P 500 gained 3.71
points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,423.41, and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 3.93 points, or 0.06 percent, to 6,140.42.

Industrials were the top-performing sector, rising
0.8 percent.

“When you look at some of the stocks that are doing
particularly well today, they are some of those economically
sensitive-type stocks,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive
officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana.

“During a time when it seems like there are still a fair
amount of naysayers out there about the economy and GDP, anytime
you get some of those stocks showing some strength, it probably
emboldens the market,” Carlson said.

The S&P 500’s percentage gain in the first half was its
biggest since climbing 12.6 percent in the first six months of
2013. The Nasdaq posted its biggest first-half gain since 2009.

U.S. consumer spending rose modestly in May and inflation
cooled, pointing to a slow-but-steady economic expansion. The
Commerce Department data bolstered the view that the U.S.
economy is rebounding in the second quarter.

Investors have been concerned about recent mixed economic
data at a time that the Federal Reserve begins lifting interest
rates from very low levels.

The release of second-quarter corporate results is set to
begin in earnest in the coming weeks, with S&P 500 companies
expected to post an 8 percent rise in earnings, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Investors have been looking for earnings to support
historically high valuations. The S&P 500 has been trading at
about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months
compared with the long-term average of 15 times.

“We can talk about the economy and geopolitical risk but
earnings drive the market,” said Chris Bertelsen, chief
investment officer of Aviance Capital Management in Sarasota,
Florida. “We’re bumping right along the top end of” historic
valuation levels.

About 6.6 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
below the 7.3 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.60-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

(Additional reporting by Kimberly Chin in New York and Ankur
Banerjee, Anya George Tharakan and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru;
Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)

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