Stocks flat, oil tops $75 as second quarter kicks off

How investors should reload stock gun for second half of 2021

Federated Hermes Global Equities CIO Steve Auth shares his market picks.

U.S. stock futures were little changed and oil reached its highest level in almost three years as the second half of the year got underway on Thursday. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures ticked up 13 points, or 0.04%, while S&P 500 futures were flat and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 0.24%. 

The quiet start to the second half comes as the S&P 500 has gained 14% so far this year while the Dow and Nasdaq have both gained 13%. The major averages have booked five straight quarters of gains.

In stocks, oil-related names like Chevron Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Halliburton Co. were in focus as West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped $1.60 to $75.07 a barrel, the highest since October 2018. Investors are awaiting a decision on production from OPEC and its allies. 

Meanwhile, Micron Technology Inc. reported earnings and revenue that outpaced estimates. The chipmaker also announced plans to sell its Lehi, Utah, plant to Texas Instruments Inc. for $900 million.  

Walgreens Boots Alliance swung to a quarterly profit, boosted by a rebound in prescription volumes. The pharmacy chain raised its full-year profit growth forecast. 

In deals, Philip Morris International Inc. will buy nicotine gum maker Fertin Pharma from private equity firm EQT for 5.1 billion Danish krone ($813.1 million). The deal comes as the cigarette maker continues its push into the smoke-free product category. 

Elsewhere, Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio said quarterly deliveries more than doubled versus a year ago. 

Krispy Kreme Inc. priced its initial public offering at $17 a share, below the $21 to $24 range that was expected. Shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol DNUT. 

Overseas markets were mixed. 

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 was unchanged while Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.11% and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.43%. 

Asian bourses all ended lower with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index losing 0.57%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 declining 0.29% and China’s Shanghai Composite sliding 0.07%. 

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