Merck, General Electric Lead Dow Lower Monday

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October 30, 2017: Markets opened mixed Monday with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a gain that did not last past noon. Tech stocks basked in the glow of last week’s big earnings beats, but like all things that can’t last forever, this didn’t either. Two mergers were announced, one in homebuilding and the other in for-profit education, but neither had enough weight to turn things higher. WTI crude oil for December delivery settled at $54.15 a barrel, up 0.5%. December gold also added 0.5% on the day to settle at $1,277.70. Equities were headed for a lower close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.33% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.34%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.15%.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Monday was Merck & Co. Inc. ) which traded down 6.19% at $54.63. The stock’s 52-week range is $54.41 to $66.80 with a new low set this afternoon. Volume was more than four times the daily average of around 8 million shares. The company withdrew its European application for approval of a key lung cancer treatment.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded down 2.00% at $20.37. The stock’s 52-week range is $20.26 to $32.38 and the low was posted this afternoon. Volume was more than 50% above the daily average of around 51 million shares. The company was downgraded from Neutral to Sell at Citi this morning.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded down 20.7% at $47.86. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.80 to $54.83. Volume was about 30% above the daily average of around 15 million shares. The company had no specific news, but word that the Sprint-T-Mobile merger was off likely proved a drag on the stock.

3M Company (NYSE: MMM) traded down 1.69% at $230.78. The stock’s 52-week range is $163.85 to $238.90. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 1.7 million. The company had no specific news Monday.

Of the Dow stocks, 8 are on track to close higher Monday and 22 are set to close lower.