Bull Run: Can Stocks Hold 1st-Half Gains?

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With two weeks left before the end of the first half of 2012, will stocks manage to hold on to their gains?

Despite a volatile second quarter, the major averages are still higher for the year thanks to the gains in the first quarter.

Similarly, while just three of the 10 S&P 500 sectors are up this quarter (telecom, utilities and consumer staples), nine sectors continue to trade in positive territory for the year (Energy is the only sector down).

Historically, when the S&P 500 has ended the first half with a gain, it has ended up on the year a staggering 93 percent of the time.

Indeed, there have been only three instances since 1950 when the S&P posted a loss for the year after finishing the first half in the black — one of those years was last year, when the S&P ended the first half up 5 percent, but closed the year down by just a fraction of a point.

But what would it take for the S&P 500 to lose its gains over the next two weeks?

The S&P would have to fall more than 6.8 percent.

The good news is that the index has rarely fallen that much in the last two weeks of June.

In fact, since 1950, it has happened only four times. Of those four instances, however, two occurred in the last four years.

Below is look at where the markets stand in 2012.