Exxon, Apple Push DJIA Higher Monday

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October 10, 2016: Markets opened higher Monday on a light news day with no economic data releases. The energy sector is leading the way as sentiment seems to be building for a cut to crude oil production. Tech sector stocks are also stronger today as investors and traders await the kick-off to the third quarter earnings season that unofficially begins Tuesday with Alcoa’s results. WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $51.35 a barrel, up 3.1% for the day, its highest close in more than a year. December gold closed up 0.7% on the day to settle at $1,260.40, breaking a six-session losing streak. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up by 049% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.46%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.72%.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) which traded up 1.99% at $88.47. The stock’s 52-week range is $71.55 to $95.55. Trading volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 10.9 million. The energy giant welcomed the boost in crude oil prices.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up 1.88% at $116.81. The stock’s 52-week range is $89.47 to $123.82. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 35.5 million shares. The bad news surrounding competitor Samsung’s Note 7 smartphone is good news for Apple.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 1.57% at $63.75. The stock’s 52-week range is $47.97 to $64.86, and the high was posted early Monday morning. Volume was about 80% above the daily average of around 9.6 million shares. The drugmaker’s Keytruda lung cancer drug has bested Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo in recent clinical trials.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up 1.54% at $103.84. The stock’s 52-week range is $75.33 to $107.58. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 6.4 million shares. The other DJIA stock to get a boost from rising crude prices Monday.

Of the 30 Dow index stocks 20 are on track to close higher Monday and 10 are set to close lower.