March 29, 2017: Markets opened mixed Wednesday as investors and traders may have been wondering about what will happen next — and how soon — now that the Brexit process has begun. Energy was the day’s leading sector while utilities and financials lagged. A large inventory drawdown in gasoline helped boost crude prices. WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $49.51 a barrel, up 2.4% on the day. April gold dropped 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,253.70. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.17% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.38%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNY) which traded down 1.05% at $163.61. The stock’s 52-week range is $125.26 to $172.14. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 3.7 million. The company’s Optum division announced an investment in a cloud-based analytics service.
The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded down 0.89% at $120.71. The stock’s 52-week range is $103.45 to $125.49. Volume was about half the daily average of around 1.5 million shares. The company had no specific news Tuesday.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) traded down 0.81% at $33.74. The stock’s 52-week range is $25.81 to $34.53. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 21 million shares. The company said it plans to sell its network operating system separately from the company’s hardware.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded down 0.58% at $112.09. The stock’s 52-week range is $96.89 to $114.44. Volume was about half the daily average of around 3 million shares. The company had no specific news Wednesday.
Of the Dow 30 stocks, 15 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 15 are set to close lower.