Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart Weigh on DJIA Thursday

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June 22, 2017: Markets opened slightly higher again Thursday, with all three major indexes turning positive after a short visit into the red and then remaining positive for the rest of the session before dipping to the break-even line again shortly before the close. Healthcare was the best-performing sector, likely due to the Senate Republicans’ version of a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. WTI crude oil for August delivery settled at $42.74 a barrel, up 0.5% on the day. August gold added 0.3% for the day to settle at $1,249.40. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.02%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.11%.

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 Thursday was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) which traded up 0.96% at $136.20. The stock’s 52-week range is $109.32 to $137.00. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 5.7 million shares. The healthcare giant got a boost from the Senate’s healthcare bill which reduces the impact of federal spending cuts in the near term but boosts the cuts later.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 0.93% at $66.07. The stock’s 52-week range is $65.40 to $66.80. Volume was around 10% below the daily average of about 8.8 million shares. The company had no specific news, but like J&J got a boost from the healthcare bill.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) which traded down 1.22% at $219.77. The stock’s 52-week range is $138.20 to $255.15. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 3.8 million shares. The investment bank had no specific news Thursday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded down 0.92% at $75.54. The stock’s 52-week range is $65.28 to $80.47. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 8.7 million. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, 15 are on track to close higher Thursday and 15 are set to close lower.