Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks end choppy session higher

The S&P 500 ended Tuesday’s volatile session slightly higher, as investors were whipsawed by the vagaries of Greece’s episodic debt negotiations.

However, Tuesday’s positive finish for stocks wasn’t enough to overcome Monday’s Greek-inspired rout, which has left most of the main stock indexes with quarterly and monthly losses.

The S&P 500 ended the quarter lower, snapping a nine-quarter winning streak. Monthly losses for both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials—2.1% and 2.2% respectively— were the worst since January. At the half-year mark, the S&P is 0.2% higher, while the Dow is 1.1% lower.

News from Greece dominated the trading day. Markets appeared to rise on reports that Greece proposed a two-year deal using the eurozone bailout fund, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Questions remain about the future of the southern European country as it heads toward a referendum set for July 5 that is being framed as a vote on whether the European country should stay in the eurozone. Greece missed a Tuesday deadline to repay 1.54 billion euro ($1.71 billion) to the International Monetary Fund, the same day its bailout program expired.

Europe’s headlines created a rocky ride for investors.

“Implied volatility levels are not that high, but certainly elevated from the low levels we have seen so far this year and we expect volatility to remain at those levels for the next few weeks,” said Marc Kepner managing director of sales and trading at Themis Trading.

Kepner noted today’s moves were due to market grasping for any good news.

“For a while markets were pricing in a resolution to the Greece debt crisis, but Monday’s turn of events brought a great deal of uncertainty,” Kepner said.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.27%  ended 5.45 points, or 0.3%, higher at 2,063.0. Over the month, nine of 10 main sectors recorded losses, with utilities suffering the most. The sector declined more than 6% over the month.

Over the past quarter, utilities also led the losses, down 6.7%, while health-care stocks finished with a 2.4% gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.13% added 22.82 points, or 0.1%, to 17,619.17.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.57%  gained 28.40 points, or 0.7% to 4,958. The tech-heavy index booked a 1.6% monthly loss, but finished the quarter 1.8% higher and is up 5.3% so far this year.

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