April 3, 2017: Markets opened higher Monday but were unable to hold the gains for very long. The Fed’s FOMC minutes are due out Wednesday and the non-farm payrolls report is coming Friday, so it’s not far-fetched to find investors adopting a wait-and-see attitude. Consumer discretionary and energy stocks shed the most of any sector, while telecom and real estate posted the best (but quite moderate) gains. WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $50.24 a barrel, down 0.7% on the day. June gold added 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,254.00. Equities were headed for a lower close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.14%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.25%.
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 Monday was E.I. du Pont de Nemours Inc. (NYSE: DD) which traded down 0.66% at $79.80. The stock’s 52-week range is $61.12 to $82.37. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of around 2.8 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded down 0.61% at $92.19. The stock’s 52-week range is $69.04 to $99.46. Volume was about 45% below the daily average of around 5.2 million. The company had no specific news but said last Friday it will close an Illinois plant that employs 800 people.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) traded down 0.58% at $78.65. The stock’s 52-week range is $57.15 to $82.00. Volume was half the daily average of around 4.3 million shares. The company had no specific news Monday.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) traded down 0.57% at $33.61. The stock’s 52-week range is $25.81 to $34.53. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 20.4 million shares. The company had no specific news Monday.
Of the Dow 30 stocks, 10 are on track to close higher Monday and 20 are set to close lower.