April 7, 2017: Markets opened nearly flat Friday and did not gather any positive strength until mid-day. Telecom and consumer staples were the top performing sectors while the utilities and energy sectors lagged. WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $52.24 a barrel, up 1% on the day and at its highest level since March 7. June gold added 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,257.30. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.01% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.03%.
Stocks traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could finish with either a small gain or a small loss for any or all of the indexes.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) which traded up 2.10% at $72.93. The stock’s 52-week range is $62.72 to $75.19. Volume was about 10% below the daily average of around 9.2 million shares. The company’s stock was upgraded to Outperform this morning at Telsey.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded up 0.76% at $48.80. The stock’s 52-week range is $46.01 to $56.95. Volume was about 10% below the daily average of around 15.4 million shares. The company had no specific news, but a reported change coming to FCC rules on net neutrality would likely be good news for the big wireless carriers.
The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) traded up 0.65% at $178.53. The stock’s 52-week range is $122.35 to $185.71. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 3.4 million. The company had no specific news, but Thursday night’s missile attack on Syria boosted most defense stocks Friday.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 0.51% at $166.18. The stock’s 52-week range is $125.26 to $172.14. Volume was 40% below the daily average of around 3.7 million shares. The health insurer had no specific news Friday.
Of the Dow 30 stocks, 14 are on track to close higher Friday and 16 are set to close lower.