September 28, 2016: Markets opened slightly higher again Wednesday and both the S&P 500 and the DJIA dipped below the break-even line before a report from Reuters hit the wires, citing sources who claim that OPEC members have agreed to cut — not freeze — production. Reuters said that production will drop from 33.24 million barrels a day to 32.5 million barrels. That is still well above the official quota of around 30 million, but it put a charge into crude prices. WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $47.05 a barrel, up 5.3% for the day. December gold closed down 0.5% on the day to settle at $1,323.70. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up by 0.57% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.46%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.19%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) which traded up 4.30% at $86.82. The stock’s 52-week range is $71.55 to $95.55. Volume was more than double the daily average of around 10.8 million shares. The big oil company got a boost from OPEC’s announcement to cut production.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 4.25% at $86.40. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.36 to $86.27, and the high was posted late this afternoon. Volume was about 75% above the daily average of around 4.1 million shares. Two smaller British competitors reported good quarterly numbers this morning, and combined with rising crude oil price, gave the Cat the push it needed.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVS) traded up 3.14% at $102.09. The stock’s 52-week range is $75.33 to $107.58. Volume was about 15% above the daily average of around 6.5 million shares. The Dow’s other supermajor oil company also got a boost from the stronger oil price.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 1.32% at $63.40. The stock’s 52-week range is $47.97 to $64.00 Trading volume was approaching the daily average of around 9.6 million. The company said this morning that data related to its Keytruda drug has been has been accepted for presentation a convention of European physicians..
Of the 30 Dow index stocks 19 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 11 are set to close lower.