Exxon, Goldman Sachs Lead DJIA Higher Thursday

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March 30, 2017: Markets opened higher Thursday following the third and final estimate of fourth quarter GDP. After a sluggish start, equities got a lift from the financial sector and a smaller boost from telecoms. Utilities lagged. WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $50.35 a barrel, up 1.7% on the day. June gold dropped 0.7% on the day to settle at $1,248.00. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.29% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.27%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.25%.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) which traded up 1.79% at $83.50. The stock’s 52-week range is $80.31 to $95.55. Volume was less than 10% above the daily average of around 12.3 million. The company announced this morning another significant oil discovery offshore of Guyana. No estimate of the number of barrels was forthcoming.

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) traded up 1.41% at $231.66. The stock’s 52-week range is $138.20 to $255.15. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 3.9 million shares. The company had no specific news.

American Express Inc. (NYSE: AXP) traded up 1.29% at $79.26. The stock’s 52-week range is $57.15 to $82.00. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 4.3 million shares. The company had no specific news Thursday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded up 1.17% at $71.57. The stock’s 52-week range is $62.72 to $75.19. Volume was about half the daily average of around 3 million shares. The company said today that it plans to stick to its commitment to combat climate change regardless of changes in U.S. rules being put forth by the Trump administration.

Of the Dow 30 stocks, 20 are on track to close higher Thursday and 10 are set to close lower.