February 12, 2014: Markets opened higher on Wednesday, but not by much. A report on a big jump in China’s trade balance from earlier in the day may or may not have been accurate, but there was little other economic data out today. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA was down 0.21%, the S&P 500 was down 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.19%.
Today’s big gainer among the Dow 30 stocks was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT). Shares were trading up 1.29% at $96.19 in a 52-week range of $79.49 to $97.50 shortly before the closing bell. Smaller rival Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) posted better than expected results this morning and that is likely the cause for Cat’s rising stock price. Volume today was about equal to the daily average of around 5.8 million shares.
Consumer products giant The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) said this morning that said it would take a one-time charge of $230 to $280 million related to devaluation of Venezuela’s currency. Shares traded down 1.76% at $77.45 in a 52-week range of $73.61 to $85.82. Trading volume was about 6% higher than the daily average of nearly 9 million shares traded.
S&P 500 stock Lorillard Inc. (NYSE: LO) had dropped 4.84% shortly before today’s close at $47.51, in a 52-week range of $37.95 to $53.27. The tobacco company missed estimates for the fourth quarter and the full year this morning. Share volume was more than triple the daily average of around 3 million shares traded.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) traded down 3.62% at $348.69 today after losing its Buy rating at UBS. A threatened increase to the cost of Amazon Prime could significantly reduce the number of subscribers to the service. UBS lowered its price target on the stock from $450 to $375. Amazon’s 52-week range is $245.75 to $408.06. Volume was about 67% above the daily average of around 3.3 million shares.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 14 closed lower today while 16 closed higher.