February 14, 2014: Markets opened lower on Friday before posting some gains on higher bids for energy and materials. Tech remained in the doldrums until mid-afternoon before moving to the plus side of the ledger, causing the Nasdaq to reach its year-to-date high and a level not seen since 2000. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA was up 0.72%, the S&P 500 was up 0.42%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.07%.
Today’s big mover among the Dow 30 stocks was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH). Shares were trading up 3.13% at $73.46 in a 52-week range of $52.51 to $77.33 shortly before the closing bell. Healthcare stocks, especially insurers, as a group performed well today UnitedHealth’s volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 49 million shares traded.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) posted the largest percentage drop of the DJIA stocks yesterday, but is about half that loss back today. Shares are up 1.35% at $22.58 in a 52-week range is $19.98 to $26.49. Traders saw a buying opportunity here and took advantage of it. Trading volume was about 10% higher than the daily average of some 50 million shares.
S&P 500 and DJIa component Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is up 2.76% trading at $93.95, in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $101.74. Crude oil closed the week higher, the fifth consecutive week of rising crude prices. Exxon’s share volume was about 10% higher than the daily average of around 12.5 million shares traded.
Though not an index component, Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW) was the day’s, ahem, biggest loser. Among other bad news, the company missed earnings per share (EPS) estimates last night, and forecast full-year 2014 earnings at $1.30 to $1.60 per share, way below a consensus estimate of $2.78. The stock traded down 28.09% at $21.95 a few minutes before the closing bell in a 52-week range of $21.95 to $48.63. The low was set today. Share volume was nearly 10-times the daily average of around 950,000 shares traded.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 27 closed higher today while only 3 closed lower.