November 5, 2015: Markets opened nearly flat on Thursday following a higher-than-expected report on new claims for jobless benefits. With Friday’s report on non-farm payrolls expected to improve, the odds for a rise in the fed funds rate get even better. WTI crude dropped 2.4% today to settle at $45.20 per barrel. Gold ended down $2.00, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,104.20. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the closing bell as the DJIA traded up 0.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.08%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.26%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded up 1.78% at $116.28. The stock’s 52-week range is $93.01 to $126.21. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of about 4.5 million shares traded. The company had no specific news today.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) traded up 1.37% at $132.41. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.69 to $133.52. Trading volume was about half the daily average of around 4.4 million. The athletic apparel company also had no specific news today.
On the other side of the breakeven line, Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded down 2.10% at $94.74. The stock’s 52-week range is $69.58 to $119.73. Trading volume was about 30% below the daily average of about 12 million. The company had no specific news again today, but today’s dip in crude prices weighed on the company’s share price.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded down 1.32% at $84.84. The stock’s 52-week range is $66.55 to $97.20. Trading volume was about 40% below the daily average of about 16 million. The New York attorney general has begun an investigation into some of the company’s statements on climate change.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 17 are set to close higher today and 13 are on track to close lower.