S&P sets record, oil tops $75 as second half kicks off

WTI crude oil trades at highest level since October 2018

U.S. equity markets battled higher Thursday and oil hit its highest level in almost three years as the second half of the year got underway. 

The S&P 500 rallied 0.52%, booking a record high for the sixth straight session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, added 0.38% and 0.13%, respectively, and both ended within striking distance of their own all-time peaks. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34115.73 -469.15 -1.36%
SP500 S&P 500 4366.41 -66.58 -1.50%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14748.032712 -295.93 -1.97%

JOBLESS CLAIMS TUMBLE TO PRE-PANDEMIC LOW

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 $1.76 to $75.23 a barrel, the highest since October 2018, as investors awaited a decision on production from OPEC and its allies. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 49.68 -0.64 -1.27%
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 94.75 -1.99 -2.06%
HAL HALLIBURTON CO. 19.47 -0.80 -3.95%

OIL TRADERS WARY OF OPEC'S POSSIBLE PRODUCTION CUT

Krispy Kreme Inc. shares opened at $16.30 after the company priced its initial public offering at $17 on Wednesday evening. Shares ended the day up more than 20%.   

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DNUT KRISPY KREME 14.84 -0.37 -2.43%

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.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MU MICRON TECHNOLOGY, INC. 72.41 -1.89 -2.54%

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. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WBA WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC. 48.83 -0.79 -1.59%

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. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PM PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL, INC. 101.10 -0.68 -0.67%
NIO NIO, INC. (CHINA) 35.69 -1.82 -4.85%

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

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Overseas markets were mixed. 

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 1.25% while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.71% and 0.47%, respectively. 

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%.