January 12, 2018: Markets opened higher Friday on their way to even higher new highs. Nothing seems to get under the bull market’s skin, even a slightly higher-than-expected inflation rate. President Trump has extended Iran’s waiver on sanctions, lifting crude markets which could have tailed off when rig count data showed a jump of 10 new oil rigs this week. WTI crude oil for February delivery settled at $4.30 a barrel, up 0.8% for the day and up 4.7% for the week. February gold added about 0.9% on the day to settle at $1,334.90up about 1% for the week. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.89% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.69%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.65%.
Bitcoin futures for January delivery traded at $13,910, up nearly 4% on the CME after opening at $13,000 this morning. The number of contracts fell to 791 and open interest rose to 727.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) which traded up 2.21% at $335.37. The stock’s 52-week range is $156.75 to $335.95, and the high was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 65% above the daily average of around 3.2 million shares. The company introduced a concept hypersonic plane at an aerospace conference earlier this week.
The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded up 1.87% at $134.81. The stock’s 52-week range is $113.76 to $137.95. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 1.5 million. The company had no specific news Friday.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 1.80% at $58.64. The stock’s 52-week range is $53.63 to $66.80. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 12.1 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) traded up 1.71% at $89.59. The stock’s 52-week range is $62.03 to $89.63, a new 52-week high set this afternoon. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 22 million shares. The company’s share price target was lifted from $94 to $103 by a KeyBanc analyst this morning.
Of the Dow stocks, 24 are on track to close higher Friday and 6 are set to close lower.