Travelers, Home Depot Buoy DJIA Friday as Apple, Walmart Sink

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September 8, 2017: Markets opened lower Friday as traders and investors try to estimate how much damage Hurricane Irma could wreak on Miami, the state of Florida, and the U.S. economy. The only certainty is that the number won’t be small. The financial sector was Friday’s best performer while energy lagged. WTI crude oil for October delivery settled at $47.48 a barrel, down 3.3% on the day but up 0.4% for the week. This week’s oil rig count rose by three, undoubtedly contributing to the price drop. Gold added less than 0.1% to settle at $1,351.20, up 1.6% for the week. Equities were headed for another narrowly mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.08% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.15%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.61%.

Equity indexes traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could show either a small gain or a small loss for any of the indexes.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) which traded up 3.96% at $119.74. The stock’s 52-week range is $103.45 to $130.37. Volume was more than double the daily average of around 1.5 million shares. The company had no specific news Friday.

The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) traded up 1.19% at $159.82. The stock’s 52-week range is $119.20 to $160.86, and the low was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 60% above the daily average of around 5.1 million shares. The company had no news, but adding the expected damage from Irma to the damage caused by Harvey adds up in investors’ minds to demand for Home Depot’s products.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) which traded down 1.55% at $158.75. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.53 to $164.94. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 27 million. The company had no specific news but rumors continue to swirl about availability of new iPhones the company is expected to launch next week.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded down 1.37% at $79.03. The stock’s 52-week range is $65.28 to $81.99. Volume was about 25% above the daily average of around 9 million shares. The company had no specific news.

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