December 17, 2013: Markets opened mixed on Tuesday, but the DJIA couldn’t hold onto its early gains though it bounced once more into positive territory before settling on the down side. All eyes (and ears) are on the FOMC meeting announcement due tomorrow afternoon. The DJIA closed down 0.06%, the S&P 500 closed down 0.31%, and the Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.14%.
Among heavily traded DJIA stocks, today’s big loser was Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) which opened this morning down 0.4% likely as a result of court ruling late Monday finding that Verizon’s (and other phone companies) provision of phone records to the National Security Agency is unconstitutional. Investors are clearly discounting the stock to account for possible legal action against Verizon. Shares traded about 15% below their daily average of around 13 million and closed at $47.55, down 1.47%, in a 52-week range of $41.50 to $54.31.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) opened about 0.2% lower this morning. Trading was a bit lighter, with about 4 million shares changing hands compared with a daily average of 5 million. Shares dipped close to the 52-week low following some buying late last week. Shares closed down 1.16% at $175.79 in a 52-week range of $172.57 to $215.90.
3M Company (NYSE: MMM) opened about 2% higher this morning following the company’s announcement of a 35% dividend hike and a rise in its estimate of share buybacks to a range of $17 to $22 billion through 2017 . We had actually dared 3M to raise its dividend more adequately, and they took us at our word. Trading was nearly double the average daily volume of around 2.7 million. The stock closed up 2.92% at $131.39 in a 52-week range of $91.40 to $134.16.
The other big Dow 30 gainer today, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), opened fractionally higher today as well. Volume was about 25% above the daily average of around 3.2 million. Visa is the DJIA’s largest component, and it posted a new 52-week high today on no news. Buyers just want to get into the stock before it splits, like competitor Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) did last week. The stock closed up 2.54% at $213.03 in a 52-week range of $147.90 to $213.81.
After markets closed last night, The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) raised its dividend and boosted its share buyback program. The stock opened about 2.5% higher Tuesday morning as a result, but drifted lower throughout the day to close up 0.86% at $135.88 in a 52-week range of $72.68 to $142.00.
Only 9 of the Dow 30 stocks traded higher today, but those that did included several of the heavyweights.