Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Lead DJIA Higher on Thursday

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February 23, 2017: Markets opened higher Thursday following Wednesday evening’s report that oil and gasoline inventories were not growing. Energy stocks broke big early, but gains slipped later in the afternoon. Among the S&P sectors, telecom and utilities performed best wit5h industrials and materials the laggards. WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $54.45 a barrel, up 1.6% on the day. April gold added 1.5% on the day to settle at $1,251.40, a 3-month high. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.11% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.02%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.53%.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) which traded up 1.77% at $121.64. The stock’s 52-week range is $104.77 to $126.07. Volume was roughly equal to the daily average of around 6.9 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded up 1.47% at $34.08. The stock’s 52-week range is $28.74 to $37.39. Volume was about 10% below the daily average of around 25.5 million shares. The company had no specific news Thursday.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded up 1.32% at $50.33. The stock’s 52-week range is $46.01 to $56.95. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 15.7 million shares. The company launched a new business/tech venture this morning to help carriers quickly deploy and launch next-generation solutions.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 1.07% at $162.30. The stock’s 52-week range is $118.97 to $164.97. Volume was half the daily average of around 3.8 million shares. The company had no specific news Thursday.

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