February 17, 2017: Markets opened lower Friday following a mixed Thursday close. There was little noteworthy economic news and the Monday President’s Day holiday may have encouraged some traders to get a head start on the weekend. The energy and materials sectors were the biggest losers offset by gains in counter-cyclicals. WTI crude oil for March delivery settled at $53.40a barrel, up less than 0.1% on the day and down about 0.9% for the week. April gold dropped 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,239.10 to close the week up 0.3%. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.08% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.24%.
Stocks traded very near the break even line just minutes before the closing bell. The official closing tally could differ from these results.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded down 4.33% at $156.57. The stock’s 52-week range is $116.02 to $164.97. Volume was more than double the daily average of around 3.7 million shares. The U.S. Justice Department joined a lawsuit against the company alleging overcharges to the Medicare program.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded down 0.84% at $81.61. The stock’s 52-week range is $79.67 to $95.55. Volume was about 10% below the daily average of around 11 million shares. The company had no specific news.
The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) traded down 0.75% at $109.89. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.32 to $111.99. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 7.9 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded down 0.57% at $110.05. The stock’s 52-week range is $82.90 to $119.00. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 6.4 million shares. The company had no specific news, but like Exxon suffered from concern about growing oil inventories.
Of the Dow 30 stocks, 17 are on track to close higher Friday and 13 are set to close lower.