Walmart, United Technologies Lead DJIA Slump Thursday

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August 24, 2017: Markets opened higher Thursday and spent most of the day drifting lower. Initial jobless claims came in better than expected and sales of existing homes came in slight worse. Consumer staples and telecom stocks were the leading losers with healthcare and real estate stocks performing best. WTI crude oil for October delivery settled at $47.34 a barrel, down about 2.2% for the day. December gold dropped 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,292.00. Equities were headed for a lower close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.04%for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 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 loss ahead of the close Thursday was Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) which traded down 1.93% at $78.42. The stock’s 52-week range is $65.28 to $81.99. Volume was about nearly double the daily average of around 8.8 million shares. The company had no specific news, but Amazon said today that it will complete its acquisition of Whole Foods on Monday and celebrate with low prices on some Whole Foods items.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded down 1.51% at $115.26. The stock’s 52-week range is $97.62 to $124.79. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 2.6 million. The company is adding 260 jobs at its North Carolina facility.

The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded down 0.98% at $125.92. The stock’s 52-week range is $103.45 to $130.37. Volume was about half the daily average of around 1.4 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded down 0.46% at $159.25. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.53 to $162.51. Volume was about 35% below to the daily average of around 27 million shares. The company said it is building two data centers in Iowa for a total of $1.4 billion, not counting $208 million in tax breaks and incentives.

Of the Dow stocks, 17 are on track to close higher Thursday and 13 are set to close lower.