Wal-Mart, Apple Lead DJIA Higher Thursday

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May 18, 2017: Markets opened lower again Thursday as investors and traders still seemed jittery over developments in Washington. By midday all three major indexes traded in the green led by telecom and energy stocks. WTI crude oil for June delivery settled at $49.35 a barrel, up 0.6% on the day. June gold dropped 0.5% for the day to settle at $1,252.80. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.37% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.51%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.79%.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) which traded up 3.16% at $77.50. The stock’s 52-week range is $65.28 to $77.66 and the high was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 80% higher than the daily average of around 8.2 million shares. The world’s largest retailer posted an earnings beat this morning and noted a 63% rise in e-commerce sales.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 1.84% at $171.97. The stock’s 52-week range is $128.76 to $176.14. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 3.4 million shares. The health insurer had no specific news.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 1.66% at $64.04. The stock’s 52-week range is $54.08 to $66.80. Volume was about 15% above the daily average of around 9 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up 1.59% at $152.64. The stock’s 52-week range is $91.50 to $156.65. Volume was about 15% higher than the daily average of around 24.8 million. The company had no specific news Thursday.

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