April 29, 2014: Markets opened higher on Tuesday getting a boost from energy and biotech stocks right at the start of trading. Economic data was both sparse and not supportive, with the Case-Shiller house price index down and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index also down. Shortly before the closing bell the DJIA was up 0.58%, the S&P 500 was up 0.48%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.71%.
Drug maker Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) reported mixed results this morning, but the 7% rise in profit was enough to give the shares a decent boost. The stock traded up 3.51% at $58.66 and posted a new 52-week high of $58.85. The stock’s 52-week low is $44.60. Share volume was about equal to the daily average of around 11.7 million shares traded.
Dow heavyweight Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) again helped boost the blue chips. Shares traded up 0.78% at $202.96 in a 52-week range of $163.60 to $235.50. Volume was about 25% lower than the daily average of around 3.7 million shares. The consumer finance sector as a whole posted a gain of about 1.4% today, as MasterCard performed about equally with Visa.
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded today at $101.58, posting a gain of 1.27% shortly before the closing bell. The stock’s 52-week range is $92.22 to $103.34. Share volume was about equal to the daily average of around 5.4 million shares traded. There was no bad news for the Golden Arches today.
Nasdaq and S&P 500 stock Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) traded up 3.46% today at $58.07 in a 52-week range of $22.67 to $72.59. Volume was about equal to the daily average of more than 71 million shares. Momentum could be turning positive for Facebook and it might be able to drag a few other social media companies along with it.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 20 were set to close higher today while 9 look to close lower and 1 was on track to close flat.