Wal-Mart, Chevron Lift DJIA on Thursday

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August 18, 2016: Markets opened higher Thursday after the Labor Department reported that weekly claims for jobless benefits came in lower than expected. The energy sector was the day’s leading gainer and telecom lost the most, but overall volume was light and a lower dollar probably helped boost oil prices. WTI crude oil for September delivery settled at $48.22 a barrel, up 3.1% for the day. December gold closed up 0.6% on the day to settle at $1,357.20. Equities were headed for a slightly higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded higher by 0.04% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.14%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.15%. The Dow traded near its break-even line most of the day, and is slightly higher at the time of writing. The closing bell may ring down on a different scenario however.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) which traded up 1.93% at $74.34. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.30 to $75.19, and the high was posted today. Trading volume was nearly 3 times the daily average of around 8.5 million. The company reported beats on earnings and revenue estimates this morning.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up 1.18% at $103.43. The stock’s 52-week range is $69.58 to $107.58. Volume was 30% below the daily average of around 6.5 million shares. Rising crude oil prices drove oil shares higher for the second straight day.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD) traded up 1.03% at $69.33. The stock’s 52-week range is $47.11 to $75.72. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 3.1 million shares. The company had no specific news Thursday.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up 0.83% at $88.85. The stock’s 52-week range is $66.55 to $95.55. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of around 11 million shares. The other DJIA energy stock also benefited from Thursday’s higher oil price.

Of the 30 Dow index stocks 17 are on track to close higher Thursday and 13 are set to close lower.