January 3, 2014: Markets opened higher on Friday following yesterday’s sell-off. Gains and losses were modest throughout the trading day, with the three major indexes not moving far in either direction from the flat line. Stocks got a little boost in the last hour or so of trading following remarks by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who said the central bank is still committed to its accommodative monetary policy even after cutting its asset purchases by $10 billion a month. The DJIA closed up%, the S&P 500 closed down 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.27%.
The big mover among DJIA stocks today was Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) which opened the day 0.6% higher than last night’s close, but quickly sank. Today’s announcement of a new subscriber program at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) almost surely means that Verizon Wireless will be forced at least to match it. Share volume was about 16% below the daily average of around 12.6 million, and the stock closed down 1.2% at $48.41 in a 52-week range of $41.50 to $54.31.
Another Dow 30 stock that traded down today was Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Shares opened fractionally higher, but dipped sharply and quickly below the flat line. There was no news on the company today and shares closed down 0.65% at $36.92 in a 52-week range of $26.28 to $38.98.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) dragged the entire tech sector down with it today, losing 2.19% to close at $541.04 in a 52-week range of $385.10 to $575.14. Not only did Apple weigh on tech stocks today, but as the largest component of the Nasdaq Composite, Apple kept that index in the red as well.
Among the other large cap stocks, Delta Air Lines Co. (NYSE: DAL) traded about 40% above its daily average volume of 12.7 million shares and gained 5.52% to close at $29.23 in a 52-week range of $12.55 to $29.44. The company reported better than expected passenger revenues for December and guided fourth-quarter margins higher.