December 28, 2017: Markets opened higher Thursday and the three major indexes once again traded with thin volume in a narrow band not too far from the opening line. Among the S&P sectors, telecom and utilities posted the largest gains while consumer staples lagged. WTI crude oil for February delivery settled at $59.84 a barrel, up 0.3% for the day following the U.S. inventory report. February gold added 0.5% on the day to settle at $1,297.20. Equities were headed for a narrowly higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.18% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.08%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.04%.
Bitcoin futures for January traded at $13,870, down about 5.6%, on the CME after opening at $15,150 this morning. Only 728 contracts had been traded in the session and open interest is just 493.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded up 0.87% at $222.34. The stock’s 52-week range is $156.09 to $231.77. Volume was about a two-thirds less than the daily average of around 3 million shares. The company had no specific news.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) traded up 0.45% at $153.82. The stock’s 52-week range is $139.13 to $182.79. Volume was less than half the daily average of around 4 million. The tech giant had no specific news.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) traded up 0.43% at $99.56. The stock’s 52-week range is $73.50 to $100.53. Volume was less than half the daily average of around 3.25 million shares. The credit card company had no specific news.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 0.36% at $56.54. The stock’s 52-week range is $53.63 to $66.80. Volume was about 70% below the daily average of around 11.7 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Of the Dow stocks, 19 are on track to close higher Thursday and 11 are set to close lower.