December 20, 2017: Markets opened higher Wednesday but spent most of the day within inches of the break-even line. Maybe a case of “sell the news” now that the Republican tax bill is headed for the President’s desk. Existing home sales jumped but that isn’t enough to trigger real optimism among traders. The real estate and utilities sectors were the day’s laggards while energy rose more than 1%. WTI crude oil for February delivery settled at $58.09 a barrel, up 0.9% for the day following the EIA inventory report. February gold added 0.4% on the day to settle at $1,269.60. Equities were headed for a mixed close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 0.04% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded 0.04%.
Equity indexes traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could show either a small gain or a small loss for any of the indexes.
Bitcoin futures for January traded at $16,965, down 6.8%, on the CME about an hour before settlement after opening at $17,745 this morning. Only 723 contracts had been traded in the session and open interest is just 231.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) which traded down 1.54% at $110.08. The stock’s 52-week range is $96.20 to $116.10. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 8.2 million shares. The media giant had no specific news.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded down 1.23% at $36.49. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.90 to $37.35. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 15.8 million. Pfizer won U.S. FDA approval Tuesday for its Bosulif cancer treatment.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded down 0.77% at $17.45. The stock’s 52-week range is $17.36 to $32.24 and the low was posted today. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 75 million shares. The company had no specific news Wednesday.
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded down 0.62% at $172.32. The stock’s 52-week range is $118.18 to $175.78. Volume was about a half the daily average of around 3.2 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Of the Dow stocks, 11 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 19 are set to close lower.