September 21, 2017: Markets opened lower Thursday while equities traders try to read the FOMC tea leaves for a rate hike by the end of this year. The Fed will begin selling some of its $4.5 trillion in assets next month, and no one is exactly sure how that will work out. Among the sectors, only financials and industrials traded higher with less than an hour to go before the closing bell. Consumer staples led the laggards. WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $50.55 a barrel, up 0.3% on the day. December gold dropped 1.6% to settle at $1,294.80. Equities were headed for a lower close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.22% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.27%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.48%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) which traded down 1.93% at $92.58. The stock’s 52-week range is $81.18 to $94.67. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 6.1 million. The company had no specific news.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded down 1.39% at $153.90. The stock’s 52-week range is $104.08 to $164.9. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 26.5 million shares. The company’s recently introduced Apple Watch Series 3 has some problems and early reviews of Apple TV and iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are not exuberant.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) traded down 1.16% at $131.67. The stock’s 52-week range is $109.32 to $137.08. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of around 5.4 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded down 1.10% at $48.94. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.80 to $54.83, a new high posted this afternoon. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 15 million shares. The company had no specific news Thursday.
Of the Dow stocks, 13 are on track to close higher Thursday and 17 are set to close lower.