April 24 2014: Markets opened higher on Thursday following solid earnings reports last night from Apple and Facebook. Sentiment turned quickly, however, following reports that Russian troops were planning military exercises along the Ukrainian border. By late morning equities had reversed again and appear headed for a mixed close today. Shortly before the closing bell today the DJIA was down 0.02%, the S&P 500 was up 0.16%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.48%.
Telecom giant Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded down 2.4% at $46.29 and led the slide in the DJIA today. The company’s first quarter results were mixed, and given peer AT&T’s weak showing on Wednesday, investors were not in the mood to be charitable today. The stock’s 52-week range is $45.08 to $54.31. Share volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 44 million shares traded.
Another Dow 30 component, Caterpillar Inc. (NASDAQ: CAT) also reported earnings this morning. The company posted a new 52-week high and traded up 1.87% at $105.31 in a new 52-week range of $80.86 to $107.40. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 6 million shares.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded today at $569.69, posting a rise of 8.56% shortly before the closing bell. The stock’s 52-week range is $388.87 to $575.14. Share volume was about double the daily average of around 10.5 million shares traded. The company posted good numbers last night and announced a 7-for-1 stock split.
Health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH)) traded up 1.79% today at $76.66 in a 52-week range of $58.61 to $83.32. Competitor Aetna announced earnings today and said that it expects to double its operating income by 2020 as a result of Obamacare. That was enough to boost UnitedHealth which reported disappointing results last week. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 5 million shares traded.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 13 were set to close higher today while 15 look to close lower and are on track to close unchanged.