Johnson & Johnson, Intel Lead DJIA Higher Thursday

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March 9, 2017: Markets opened mixed on Thursday as traders await Friday’s announcement on non-farm payrolls. If the report beats expectations most players will see that as a sure sign that the Fed will raise interest rates next week. The energy and counter-cyclical stocks dragged the markets lower as the healthcare sector put up the day’s largest gain. WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $49.28 a barrel, down 2% on the day, it’s lowest settlement price since late November 2016. April gold dropped 0.5% on the day to settle at $1,203.20. Equities were headed for a narrowly higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.03% on the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.12%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.05%.

Stocks traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could differ from these results.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) which traded up 1.52% at $125.99. The stock’s 52-week range is $106.07 to $126.21, a new high posted this afternoon. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 6.9 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) traded up 0.69% at $39.87. The stock’s 52-week range is $29.50 to $38.45. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 22.7 million shares. The company had no specific news Thursday.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours Inc. (NYSE: DD) traded up 0.60% at $80.25. The stock’s 52-week range is $61.12 to $80.66. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 2.7 million shares. The company had no specific news.

The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded up 0.56% at $121.92. The stock’s 52-week range is $103.45 to $125.49. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 1.5 million shares. The insurance giant had no specific news.

Of the Dow 30 stocks, 21 are on track to close higher Thursday and 9 are set to close lower.