February 17, 2016: Markets opened higher on Wednesday, stoked by comments last night from Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren who said that the Fed could be patient before adding another rate hike. This afternoon’s release of the minutes from the January FOMC meeting showed more concern about downside risk and less about inflation. WTI crude oil for March settled at $30.66 a barrel, up 5.6% on the day. April gold rose 0.3% to settle at $1,211.40 for the day. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the closing bell as the DJIA traded up 1.57% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 1.63%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 2.13%.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) which traded up 4.21% at $88.38. The stock’s 52-week range is $69.58 to $112.20. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 12.2 million shares traded. The oil and gas company had no specific news today, but the energy sector posted the largest gain of any sector today as investors reacted to reports that Iran would be willing to consider no further increases in production. We’re not holding our breath.
The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) traded up 3.31% at $116.33. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.10 to $158.83. Trading volume was about equal to the daily average of around 5.6 million. The company’s CEO gave an upbeat presentation today at an investor’s conference.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 3.04% at $67.19. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.36 to $89.62. Trading volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 7 million. The heavy equipment maker said today that the SEC has concluded its investigation of the company’s replacement parts business. Other probes by a federal grand jury and the IRS continue.
The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) traded up 2.84% at $95.55. The stock’s 52-week range is $86.25 to $122.08. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 11 million shares. The company also had no specific news today.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 28 are set to close higher today and 2 are on track to close lower.