March 7, 2017: Markets opened slightly lower again Tuesday seem to be pausing to consider the impact of the replacement healthcare bill the Republicans introduced in the House on Monday. There’s also Friday’s employment report which will have an impact on the FOMC’s decision next week regarding raising interest rates. The energy sector took the biggest hit Tuesday with the tech sector the only one trading in the green. WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $53.1 a barrel, down 6 cents on the day. April gold dropped 0.8% on the day to settle at $1,216.10. Equities were headed for a lower close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.23% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.40%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.37%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) which traded down 1.30% at $49.38. The stock’s 52-week range is $46.01 to $56.95. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 15.6 million shares. The telecom giant had no specific news.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded down 1.18% at $111.83. The stock’s 52-week range is $88.33 to $119.00. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 6.2 million shares. The oil supermajor had no specific news Tuesday.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded down 0.99% at $34.01. The stock’s 52-week range is $28.74 to $37.39. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 26 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 0.87% at $65.89. The stock’s 52-week range is $51.33 to $66.80. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 10.8 million shares. The company had no significant news, but President Trump’s early morning tweet that he is working on a “new system” to encourage competition in the drug business sent investors scurrying from Merck and Pfizer Tuesday.
Of the Dow 30 stocks, 13 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 17 are set to close lower.