Microsoft, Merck Lead DJIA to Close Flat Wednesday

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December 6, 2017: Markets opened slightly lower Wednesday even after a solid ADP report on new jobs. After the strong run-up in equity prices some end-of-the-year profit taking might be in order as well. Stock prices bounced around the break-even line most of the day. WTI crude oil for January delivery settled at $55.96 a barrel, down 2.9% for the day after the EIA reported a big addition in gasoline inventories. February gold added less than 0.1% on the day to settle at $1,266.10. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded nearly flat for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.28%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.08%.

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 Wednesday was Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) which traded up 1.40% at $82.73. The stock’s 52-week range is $59.80 to $86.20. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 20 million. The company had no specific news Wednesday.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) traded up 1.27% at $109.96. The stock’s 52-week range is $77.19 to $113.62. Volume was about about 15% below the daily average of around 7.1 million shares. The company had no specific news.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) which traded down about 2.59% at $54.33. The stock’s 52-week range is $53.63 to $66.80. Volume was about 70% above the daily average of around 10.7 million shares. The drug maker had no specific news.

The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) traded down 1.42% at $105.70. The stock’s 52-week range is $96.20 to $116.10. Volume was around 25% lower than the daily average of around 8.2 million shares. The company had no specific news other than still more chatter of an acquisition of some media assets from Fox.

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