January 29, 2016: Markets opened higher again on Friday even after a disappointing report on U.S. fourth-quarter GDP. The Bank of Japan adopted a negative interest rate policy on excess reserves as part of an effort to encourage investment spending. The tech sector led the move higher today, with industrials posting the next largest gains. WTI crude oil for March settled up about 1.1% today, at $33.62, but fell 9.2% for the month of January. April gold, the most active contract, traded up slightly to settle at $1,116.40 for the day as the yellow metal posted its best monthly gain in a year, up 5.3% for the month and 1.8% for the week. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the closing bell as the DJIA traded up 2.27% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 2.30%, and the Nasdaq Composite also traded up 2.23%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) which traded up 7.07% at $74.23. The stock’s 52-week range is $60.00 to $81.01. Volume rose to about 50% above the daily average of around 10 million shares. The credit card issuer reported better than expected earnings on Thursday after markets closed.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) traded up 5.54% at $54.94. The stock’s 52-week range is $39.72 to $56.85. Trading volume was about 80% above the daily average of around 38 million. The software giant reported solid growth Thursday night on growth in cloud offering.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded up 3.46% at $66.44. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.30 to $88.00. Volume was about 10% higher than the daily average of around 11.7 million shares traded. The world’s largest retailer had no specific news today.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up 3.16% at $97.07 The stock’s 52-week range is $92.00 to $134.54. Trading volume was about equal to the daily average of around 48 million. The technology company had no specific news today, but plenty of chatter.
All 30 Dow stocks are on track to close higher today.