March 31, 2017: Markets opened lower Friday following a report from the Commerce Department that personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation came in at 2.1% for February. The best performing sectors Friday included real estate and utilities stocks. Financials and energy sectors lagged. WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $50.60 a barrel, up 0.5% on the day, but closed the month down 5.8%. June gold added 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,251.20 and closed down 0.2% for the month. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.09% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.20%.
The DJIA traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could finish with either a small gain or a small loss for any or all of the indexes.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) which traded down 1.74% at $82.24. The stock’s 52-week range is $80.31 to $95.55. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 12.8 million. The company had no specific news.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours Inc. (NYSE: DD) traded down 1.16% at $80.69. The stock’s 52-week range is $61.12 to $82.37. Volume was less than 10% below the daily average of around 2.8 million shares. The company said this morning that it is extending the merger closing date for its deal with Dow Chemical and selling some of its crop protection assets to FMC.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) traded down 0.93% at $88.20. The stock’s 52-week range is $57.05 to $93.98. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 15.9 million shares. The company had no specific news Friday.
The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) traded down 0.48% at $177.13. The stock’s 52-week range is $122.35 to $185.71. Volume was about 65 below the daily average of around 3.4 million shares. The company on Friday completed the first test flight of its 787-10, but orders are few for the $313 million aircraft.
Of the Dow 30 stocks, 12 are on track to close higher Friday and 18 are set to close lower.