Nike, Merck Weigh on DJIA Friday

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September 29, 2017: Markets opened mixed Friday following a report on personal income and spending that was in-line with expectations. Consumer sentiment for September also posted a solid reading. Among the sectors, tech and consumer discretionary stocks posted gains while energy and real estate sectors lagged. WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $51.67 a barrel,up 0.2% on the day. Black gold rose 7.7% last month based on the front-month contract and for the third quarter posted a gain of 10.5%. December gold dropped 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,284.80. The yellow metal closed the month with dip of 2.7% and a quarterly gain of about 2.6%. Equities were headed for a narrowly mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.29%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.57%.

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.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) which traded down 1.30% at $51.97. The stock’s 52-week range is $49.01 to $60.53. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 9.3 million. The athletic gear supplier had no specific news.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 0.60% at $63.91. The stock’s 52-week range is $58.29 to $66.80. Volume was less than 10% above to the daily average of around 7.7 million shares. The pharmaceutical giant announced this morning that it will discontinue its development program for a hepatitis C treatment.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) which traded up 0.85% at $237.47. The stock’s 52-week range is $157.80 to $255.15. Volume was about half the daily average of around 2.6 million shares. The company had no specific news Friday.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) traded up 0.67% at $33.58. The stock’s 52-week range is $29.12 to $34.60. Volume was about half the daily average of around 20 million shares. The company had no specific news Friday.

Of the Dow stocks, 18 are on track to close higher Friday and 12 are set to close lower.