May 8, 2014: Markets opened lower on Thursday and posted solid gains on a good report on new claims for jobless benefits. Momentum stocks lost their get-up-and-go in the afternoon, though, and early gains were given back as indexes closed mixed. Shortly before the closing bell the DJIA traded up 0.14%, the S&P 500 was down 0.23%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.51%.
The DJIA stock posting the biggest gain today was AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) which traded up 1.94% at $36.46. Reports of a deal to acquire DirecTV have resurfaced and investors clearly see that as a good thing. The stock’s 52-week range is $31.74 to $37.83. Share volume was about 15% higher than the daily average of around 29 million shares traded.
Another stock that limited the Dow’s decline today was The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) which continued trading up 1.39% at $81.41 in a 52-week range of $60.41 to $83.65 after a stellar earnings report on Tuesday. Volume was about 15% above the daily average of around 7 million shares. The House of Mouse has simply done everything right for the past few quarters and the stock price is showing it.
Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK) has dropped 1.77% today and traded at $54.82. The stock’s 52-week range is $44.62 to $59.84. Share volume was about even with the daily average of around 11 million shares traded. The drug giant was downgraded at BMO Capital this morning. Investors seem not to like Merck’s sale of its profitable consumer products business when it has little else in the pipeline to replace the revenue.
The hardest hit of the momentum stocks was Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) which traded down 11.54% today at $178.04 in a 52-week range of $63.69 to $265.00. The company’s guidance after its Wednesday night earnings report just battered the stock. Volume was about double the daily average of around 9 million shares.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 17 looked to close higher today while 12 were on their way to a lower finish. One stock was flat.