November 3, 2017: Markets opened narrowly higher Friday following a monthly report on non-farm payrolls that was probably better than it looked. The Nasdaq Composite ran up all day following a blockbuster quarterly report from Apple. The tech and healthcare sectors posted solid gains while financials and materials lagged. WTI crude oil for December delivery settled at $55.64 a barrel, up 2% for the day and up about 3.2% for the week. December gold dropped 0.7% on the day to settle at $1,269.20, down 0.2% for the week. Equities were headed for a slightly higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.05% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.30%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.68%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) which traded up 2.54% at $172.38. The stock’s 52-week range is $104.08 to $174.24 and the high was posted today. Volume was nearly double the daily average of around 27 million shares. As noted, the company reported a big quarter and could be on its way to an even bigger one. At the new high, the company was worth just over $900 billion.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded up 1.24% at $20.19. The stock’s 52-week range is $19.86 to $32.38. Volume was slightly above the daily average of around 54.4 million shares. The company had no specific news, but investors must have decided that after nine consecutive 52-week lows the time was right for adding shares.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 1.27% at $56.08. The stock’s 52-week range is $54.41 to $66.80. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 8.9 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded up 1.00% at $89.69. The stock’s 52-week range is $65.28 to $89.88, a new high posted this afternoon. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 8.7 million. The mega-retailer had no specific news Friday.
Of the Dow stocks, 18 are on track to close higher Friday and 12 are set to close lower.