February 18, 2014: Markets opened slightly higher on Monday but the DJIA turned south quickly and struggled all day before finishing with a fractional loss. The healthcare sector, especially in the biotech stocks, gave the Nasdaq a decent boost today. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA was down 0.08%, the S&P 500 was up 0.17%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.73%.
Today’s big mover among the Dow 30 stocks was The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO). Shares were trading down 3.79% at $37.45 in a 52-week range of $36.83 to $43.43 shortly before the closing bell. The soft-drink maker reported weak earnings and shares got punished as a result. Coca-Cola’s volume was nearly 3-times the daily average of around 14 million shares traded.
Among actively traded Nasdaq shares, Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is trading up 5.34% at $5.14 just ahead of the closing bell after posting a new 52-week high of $5.16 earlier today. The shares are trading higher on the news that the maker of the popular Candy Crush Saga game has filed for an IPO. Trading volume was about 65% higher than the daily average of some 27 million shares.
The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) also weighed on the DJIA today, trading down 1.64% at $78.11, in a 52-week range of $73.61 to $85.82. There was no news for P&G today, but the blue chips, as a whole, just didn’t have a good day. P&G’s share volume was about 20% higher than the daily average of around 9 million shares traded.
S&P 500 company Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: FRX) has agreed to a $25 billion buyout by Actavis plc (NYSE: ACT) and the stock soared 27.86% to $91.29 just before closing. Shares opened more than $20 higher than last Friday’s close and posted a new 52-week high of $97.51, well above the $89.50 buyout price. Share volume was more than 15-times the daily average of around 2.2 million shares traded.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 16 closed higher today while 13 closed lower and 1 was unchanged.