All eyes were on the Brexit referendum Thursday afternoon, as U.S. indices ticked up across the board as it became increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will vote to remain part of the European Union.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrials climbed 1% and 0.9%, respectively, in midday trading; the Nasdaq also climbed about 1.2%. Gains were partially tempered by a decline in crude oil prices, which fell more than 1% to $48.85 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Micron Technology (MU) topped the S&P 500 in midday trading, up 8.5% following analyst upgrades by Nomura to Outperform from Reduce, as well as assigning the company a price target of $18.
Micron shares last traded at about $13.80 in afternoon trading, and are up about 24% on the month as the semiconductor maker reaps the benefits of falling supply in the microprocessing market, which should help Micron boost profit margins, the analysts said.
Data storage giant Western Digital (WDC) also climbed 5% Thursday, with shares partially buoyed by the unveiling of two software products designed to improve performance for virtualization products of Palo Alto-based VMware (VMW). VMware shares also climbed about 2% in midday trading.
"These new product innovations resulted from the deep ongoing engagement between our companies and are expected to greatly enhance virtual machine performance," Ravi Swaminathan, Western Digital's vice president of data center solutions, said in a Thursday statement.
Southwest Airlines (LUV) stock also fell as much as 5% after the company said it will delay the delivery of 67 Boeing 737 aircraft by as much as six years, as the company looks to save about $1.9 billion by delaying spending on planes beyond 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.
The move is part of Southwest's broader initiative to focus its resources on technology and internal operations, according to the report.