Pfizer, UnitedHealth Help Buoy DJIA Thursday

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August 3, 2017: Markets opened mixed Thursday and none of the major indexes showed much inclination to stray very far from the break-even line. New claims for unemployment benefits came in as expected and traders are likely waiting for tomorrow’s employment report before making any big decisions. Today’s best performing sectors were Industrials and utilities while energy lagged. WTI crude oil for September delivery settled at $49.03 a barrel, down 1.1% for the day. December gold dropped by 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,274.40. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.1%for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.26%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.39%.

The DJIA 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 Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) which traded up 1.61% at $33.45. The stock’s 52-week range is $29.83 to $35.53. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 20 million. The company had no specific news.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 0.89% at $194.71. The stock’s 52-week range is $132.39 to $194.96 and the high was posted this morning. Volume was about a 25% below the daily average of about 2.9 million shares. The company had no specific news.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was E.I. du Pont de Nemours Inc. (NYSE: DD) which traded down 1.35% at $81.21. The stock’s 52-week range is $66.02 to $86.36. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 2.3 million shares. The industrial company had no specific news Thursday.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded down 1.15% at $155.34. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.53 to $159.75. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 28 million shares. The company had no specific news, but cast its recent glow over a few other tech stocks.

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