Dow futures rose about 50 points. S&P 500 futures gained 0.15% and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.05%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 210 points on Wednesday, helped by a 2.7% increase from Walmart. The S&P 500 gained 0.13% to close at a new high of 4,297.50.
The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformance, plunging 0.2% as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet, parent company of Google, closed lower.
The major averages ended a strong first half and second quarter on Wednesday.
For the year, the Dow Jones is up 12.7%, standing about 1.7% below its all-time high. The S&P 500 rose 14.4% in the first half of 2021 and the technology-intensive Nasdaq Composite rose 12.5%.
The S&P 500 recorded its fifth consecutive positive month, up 2.2% in June. The broad index also recorded its best first half since 2019.
“Better news on Covid, vaccinations, reopenings, economic growth and profits fueled the advance. Nearly equal gains were made in the two quarters thanks to executive rotation allowing for broad participation, ”Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group, told CNBC.
The Russell 2000 rose more than 17% in the first six months of the year as part of a strong rotation to value stocks as the economy reopens after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Economic growth is likely to remain strong through 2021 and the question will be to what extent inflation fears return, to what extent bond yields potentially resume their advance, and if and how aggressively the political chatter of the Reserve federal government is becoming more hawkish, ”said Paulsen.
“If inflation fears subside further and bond yields stay low for longer, expect growth and tech stocks to continue to lead the stock market up. However, if strong economic growth exacerbates inflationary worries and forces bond yields to rise again, correction fears could intensify, and leadership should be focused on cyclical stock sectors, small-cap stocks and even equities. international actions, ”he added.
The good first semesters of the stock market historically bode well for the remainder of the year. Anytime there was a double-digit gain in the first half of the year, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 never ended that year with an annual decline, according to Refinitiv data dating back to 1950.
The latest data on weekly jobless claims will be released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect initial jobless claims to rise to 390,000 last week, after a total of 411,000 for the week ended June 19.
Unemployment data comes a day ahead of Friday’s closely watched employment report. Economists expect 683,000 jobs to have been created in June, according to a Dow Jones poll.
Walgreens Boots Alliance releases quarterly results ahead of the bell Thursday.
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