March 27, 2014: Markets opened lower on Wednesday even following an upwardly revised estimate of 2.6% growth for U.S. GDP in the fourth quarter and an unexpected drop in new claims for jobless benefits. Biotechs and financials were weak all day, as were the tech stocks. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA was down 0.03%, the S&P 500 was down 0.14%, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.49%.
Again today the big market mover among the DJIA stocks was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) which dropped 1.39% and traded at $189.94 in a 52-week range of $172.19 to $214.89 just ahead of the closing bell. Volume was on track to be about 10% above the daily average of around 5.2 million shares traded. A fund manager at AlphaOne Capital told CNBC he is shorting IBM stock, saying “the cloud is deflationary” for the company.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) bounced lower today, down 1.19% to $22.06 in a 52-week range of $19.98 to $26.49. Share volume was about equal to the daily average of around 42.7 million shares traded. The networking giant was hit with a lawsuit charging that Cisco violates 11 patents owned by Spherix Inc. (NASDAQ: SPEX) and that virtually all of Cisco’s revenues from switches and routers since 2008 were generated from the patent infringements.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) traded down down 0.73% today at $39.50. The company introduced an iPad version of its Office software suite, including a free version. The 52-week range for the stock is $28.08 to $40.99. Trading volume for Microsoft’s shares was about 20% below the daily average of around 38 million shares traded.
The stock doing the most to haul the Dow 30 into the green today was Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM). BofA/Merrill Lynch upgraded the shares from Neutral to Buy, and the rising price of natural gas is helping the shares as well. The stock traded up 1.71% today at $96.33 in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $101.74. Trading volume was nearly equal to the daily average of around 12 million shares traded.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 14 are set to close lower today and 16 are on their way to a higher close.