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    U.S. stocks continue rally, eyeing Brexit progress with Fedspeak ahead

    Wall Street was on track to pocket a third day of gains on Thursday, the last day of trading for the second quarter, as financial markets continued to eye the developments on the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), known as a Brexit, and traders looked ahead to key U.S. data and an appearance by a member of the Federal Reserve (Fed).

    At 16:12GMT or 12:12ET, the Dow 30 gained 136 points, or 0.77%, the S&P 500 rose 15 points, or 0.72%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 7 points, or 0.66%.

    The S&P 500 was set to continue its recovery after having recouped more than half the losses induced by concern over the Brexit impact and book slight gains for the second quarter.

    Still, it would need to reach 2,113 to fully erase the losses incurred from the British decision to exit the EU.

    Developments in the “Brexit saga” continued on Wednesday with conservative party leader bowing out of race for Prime Minister and most expectations for the official announcement not to come until the end of the year.

    Meanwhile, Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney hinted that the British monetary authority would likely evaluate the situation at the July meeting and hinted at a possible increase in quantitative easing in August.

    On the economic calendar stateside, weekly jobless claims rose slightly more than expected but remained in territory usually associated with a firming labor market.

    Manufacturing activity in the Chicago-area returned to expansion in June at its highest level since the beginning of 2015, coming in well-above forecasts and boosting optimism over the U.S. economic outlook.

    The data helped push the dollar higher in Thursday’s trading. Specifically, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.53% at 96.20, at 16:13GMT or 12:13ET.

    Meanwhile, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is due to speak about the U.S. economy and monetary policy at the Society of Business Economists Annual Dinner, in London at 17:30GMT, or 1:00PM ET.

    Bullard is the self-proclaimed most dovish member of the U.S. monetary authority having confessed that he was the dot in the latest round of Fed projections that predicted only one rate hike for the next two-and-a-half years.

    Market players all but ruled out further rate hikes by the Fed this year in the aftermath of Britain’s shock vote to leave the EU with expectations pointing for the monetary authority to hold steady for the rest of the year.

    In fact, Fed fund futures currently price in the small possibility of a rate cut at the July meeting with odds at 2.4%.

    In oil markets, investors pocketed gains in the commodity on Wednesday after crude posted its largest one-day gain in more than two months in the prior session.

    Nigeria’s return to production helped the downward pressure on black gold.

    Still, crude was on track to pocket its biggest quarterly advance since 2009, rising nearly 30% in the last three months as the decrease in U.S. supply added to speculation that market were rebalancing.

    U.S. crude futures fell 2.65% to $48.73 by 16:14GMT or 12:14ET, while Brent oil traded down 2.40% to $50.09.

    In company news, Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) jumped 20% after Wall Street Journal reported that Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) would make a takeover bid after months of talks.

    U.S. banks such as Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) or Citigroup (NYSE:C) were showing mixed trade despite receiving Fed approval for proceeding with dividend payouts and share buybacks.

    Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) was gearing up for its annual meeting on Thursday after the close where investors will likely ask the tech firm for an update on the progress in the sale of its core internet business.

    In notable moves on earnings news, Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) fell more than 4% after both its revenue and outlook missed consensus.

    Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) gained more than 4% after reporting an 11% increase in profit.

    Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) rose more than 2% on better than expected sales.

    McCormick (NYSE:MKC) rose 3% as earnings per share came in slightly above expectations.

    Micron (NASDAQ:MU) will publish after the market close.

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