Visa, McDonald’s Buoy DJIA on Wednesday

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December 27, 2017: Markets opened slightly higher Wednesday and all three major indexes traded in a narrow band not too far from the opening line. Among the S&P sectors, counter-cyclicals posted small gains while energy and telecom were the biggest daily losers. WTI crude oil for February delivery settled at $59.34 a barrel, down 0.6% for the day, partly due to news that the North Sea Forties pipeline has restarted. February gold added 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,291.40. Equities were headed for a narrowly higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.08% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.05%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.04%.

Bitcoin futures for January traded at $14,700, down about 6.9%, on the CME after opening at $15,655 this morning. Only 470 contracts had been traded in the session and open interest is just 491.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) which traded up 0.92% at $114.04. The stock’s 52-week range is $77.93 to $114.75. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 7.3 million shares. The credit card issuer had no specific news.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded up 0.70% at $172.48. The stock’s 52-week range is $118.18 to $175.78. Volume was about one-third the daily average of around 3 million. The fast-food giant had no specific news.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 0.55% at $157.30. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.34 to $157.30 and the high was posted late this afternoon. Volume was 30% below the daily average of around 3.6 million shares. The company had no specific news.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 0.37% at $220.41. The stock’s 52-week range is $156.09 to $231.77. Volume was about a 65% below the daily average of around 3 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, 14 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 16 are set to close lower.