December 20, 2013: Markets opened higher on Friday following the announcement that third-quarter GDP was up by 4.1%, much better than the previous reading of an increase of 3.6%. The tech sector traded ahead of the market, giving the Nasdaq a big boost after a down day yesterday. The DJIA closed up 0.30%, the S&P 500 closed up 0.51%, and the Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.15%.
Among heavily traded DJIA stocks, today’s biggest gainer was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) which gained back its losses after a bruising day yesterday and added a decent gain on top of that. The shares opened up about 0.3% and began rising shortly after trading began as investors clearly saw an opportunity here. The stock closed up 1.59% at $88.93 in a 52-week range of $72.49 to $99.70. Trading was slightly higher than the average daily volume of around 5 million shares.
The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) opened about 0.2% higher this morning before climbing after news of more orders and, perhaps, a buying opportunity on yesterday’s dip. Shares traded somewhat below their daily average of around 4.4 million and closed at $136.88, up 1.27%, in a 52-week range of $72.68 to $142.00.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) opened about 0.3% higher this morning and picked up nicely in the late afternoon before falling back a bit. The turmoil over the latest change in the Obamacare rules could work to insurers’ advantage. Volume was about flat with the daily average of around 5.2 million. The stock closed up 1.44% at $73.43 in a 52-week range of $51.36 to $75.88.
Among financials, American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was today’s best performing stock. Shares opened nearly flat and the stock, which traded flat yesterday, continued a climb begun on Wednesday afternoon after the company settled a class-action lawsuit related to its fees. Trading was about 13% above its average daily volume of around 3.8 million. The stock closed up 1.44% at $87.65. The 52-week range is $55.88 to $87.78.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 9 closed lower today and 21 closed higher. Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported earnings after markets closed on Wednesday and declined the most of any Dow 30 stock today, down 1.27% at $77.27 in a 52-week range of $50.58 to $80.26.