UnitedHealth, Pfizer Tank the DJIA Tuesday

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January 30, 2018: Markets opened lower again Tuesday and never rose above the break-even line all day. An announcement from Bezos, Buffett, and Dimon related to a non-profit health insurance company that is probably years away drove healthcare stocks lower and nothing was able to get in the way — even a good report on consumer confidence.

WTI crude oil for March delivery settled at $64.50 a barrel, down 1.5% for the day. February gold dropped about 0.4% on the day to settle at $1,335.40. Equities were headed for a second consecutive lower close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded down 1.19% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.90%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.73%.

Bitcoin futures for February delivery traded at $10,000, down about 10.5% on the CBOE after opening at $11,200 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $9,680 to $11,240.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded down 4.24% at $236.91. The stock’s 52-week range is $156.49 to $250.79. Volume was more than triple the daily average of around 2.9 million. Any little hint of bad news, no matter how far in the future, when stocks are this hot is a cause to take the shares down a peg.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded down 3.30% at $37.73. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.93 to $39.43. Volume was around 33.7 million shares, about double the daily average of around 16.9 million shares. The drug giant reported earnings this morning that were good but not over the moon. Ding.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded down 3.16% at $172.15. The stock’s 52-week range is $121.70 to $178.70. Volume was more than double the daily average of around 3 million shares. The fast food giant also reported earnings this morning, and like Pfizer, the story was good but investors wrote an unhappy ending.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded down 2.00% at $15.96. The stock’s 52-week range is $15.80 to $30.59. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 89 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, just 2 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 28 are set to close lower.