October 17, 2016: Markets opened slightly higher Monday, but that didn’t last long. Equities traded in a fairly narrow range all day as we head into another week that is likely to be dominated by corporate earnings and politics. Among the sectors, consumer discretionary and energy stocks lag while utilities and telecom have moved higher. WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $49.94 a barrel, down 0.8% for the day. December gold added 0.1% on the day to settle at $1,256.60. Equities were headed for a lower close before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.28% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.28%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.25%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Monday was McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) which traded down 1.53% at $112.34. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.08 to $131.96. Trading volume was about equal to the daily average of around 4.6 million. The company reports earnings later this week, and a report Monday from Nomura suggests flat U.S. sales.
The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) traded down 1.03% at $125.11. The stock’s 52-week range is $109.62 to $139.00. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 4.4 million shares. The home improvement giant had no specific news.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) traded down 1.02% at $51.10. The stock’s 52-week range is $50.96 to $68.19 and the low was posted Monday afternoon. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 9 million shares. The company had no specific news, but a downgrade at competitor Under Armour could have had some effect on investor sentiment.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 1.01% at $61.52. The stock’s 52-week range is $47.97 to $64.86. Volume was a bit above the daily average of around 10.1million shares. The company had no specific news Monday.
Of the 30 Dow index stocks 7 are on track to close higher Monday and 23 are set to close lower.