February 20, 2014: Markets opened higher on Thursday although techs got off to a slow start. Inventory data on oil and natural gas sent futures prices for both down slightly on the day. The consumer price index rose just 0.1% in January, and new claims for jobless benefits were basically flat with last week. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA was up 0.58%, the S&P 500 was up 0.60%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.70%.
Today’s big mover among the Dow 30 stocks was Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). Shares closed up 3.40% at $48.11 in a 52-week range of $44.40 to $54.31. The company got some help from an analyst at Jefferies who said the stock was a bargain at the current price. Verizon’s volume was nearly 3-times the daily average of around 15.5 million shares traded.
Another DJIA stock that helped boost the index today was Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM). The stock closed up 1.52% at $95.38, in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $101.74. There was no news for on Exxon today, and the company weathered a drop in both oil and natural gas futures. Exxon’s share volume was about equal to the daily average of around 12.5 million shares traded.
Among actively traded Nasdaq shares, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) closed up 2.31% at $69.63 after posting a new 52-week high of $70.11 in the late afternoon. The company’s spectacularly huge buyout of Whats App for $19 billion must finally have begun to make sense to investors. Trading volume was more than double the daily average of some 62 million shares.
BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) added 3.66% today to close at $9.34 in a 52-week range of $5.44 to $16.82. Investors appear to believe that BlackBerry’s messaging service is worth a lot more than it really is based on the Facebook acquisition. Maybe BlackBerry is worth a little more, but don’t get too excited. Share volume was about 20% higher than the daily average of around 26 million shares traded.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 24 closed higher today while just 6 closed lower.