Updated from 7:42 a.m. ET, Thursday, June 22.
Stock futures were slightly lower on Thursday, June 22, even as crude oil prices stabilized after another steep selloff.
S&P 500 futures fell 0.08%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 0.06%, and Nasdaq futures declined 0.12%.
Another slippery slide for crude oil sent the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average into the red on Wednesday, June 21. Crude oil prices retreated further into a bear market, after having fallen more than 20% from a late February high. Crude plunged more than 2% on Tuesday, June 20, on worries over global oversupply and ballooning production. Prices fell more than 2% on Wednesday, settling at their lowest level since August.
On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate for August delivery rose 0.7% to $42.81 a barrel.
Health care stocks were on watch ahead of the expected release of the Senate Republicans' health care plan. Details of the plan have been worked out in secret with no public hearings nor amendments from across the aisle. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its notes on the bill next week. The CBO found that the House Republicans' bill would have left 24 million more people uninsured.
The health care sector made large gains on Wednesday on high hopes for eased regulations in the industry. The Trump administration is reportedly drafting an executive order to ease regulatory burdens on drugmakers to drive down drug prices, according to The New York Times. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB) - Get Report increased 4% on Wednesday.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose in the past week, though remained near multi-year lows. U.S. weekly jobless claims climbed by 3,000 to 241,000 in the past week. The less-volatile four-week average increased by 1,500 to 244,750.
U.S.-based shares of Novartis AG (NVS) - Get Report climbed after the pharmaceuticals group said its Canakinumab drug helped reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues in patients who had previously suffered a heart attack. Novartis said it will now initiate discussions with regulators for treatment approval of Canakinumab, anti-inflammatory, following the completion of a trial that involved 10,000 patients and lasted more than six years.
Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report rose more than 10% after the computer technology company reported stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue. The company earned 89 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $10.9 billion, topping Wall Street forecasts that called for earnings of 78 cents a share on revenue of $10.46 billion. During its fourth quarter, Oracle's SaaS (software as a service) cloud revenue rose 67% from a year earlier to $964 million. Non-GAAP SaaS fourth-quarter revenues jumped 75% to $1 billion.
"We continue to experience rapid adoption of the Oracle Cloud led by the 75% growth in our SaaS business in Q4," said Oracle CEO Safra Catz. " This cloud hyper-growth is expanding our operating margins, and we expect earnings per share growth to accelerate in fiscal 2018.
Other earnings of note include Steelcase Inc. (SCS) - Get Report , Carnival Corp. (CCL) - Get Report , Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN) - Get Report , Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS) - Get Report and Accenture PLC (ACN) - Get Report .
Private-equity firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced talks to acquire Staples (SPLS) following an auction for the U.S. office supplies retailer, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal could top $6 billion, according to Reuters. Sycamore is working to finalize a debt financing package for its bid for Staples after it prevailed over another private-equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management, three sources told Reuters.
An agreement could be announced as early as next week, though negotiations between Sycamore and Staples are continuing and there is still a possibility that talks could fall apart, the sources added.
American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) - Get Report increased nearly 5% in premarket trading on news Qatar Airways would make a "significant investment" in the company. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, American said that Qatar had notified the company that it intended to purchase at least $808 million in common stock and was interested in a 10% stake. American said Qatar's investment was unsolicited.
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