February 14, 2018: Markets opened slightly lower Wednesday as investors tried to figure out what the consumer price index report was actually saying. Lower retail sales didn’t help, but slower wage growth did. The headline CPI rate was 2.1%, but the core rate was 1.8% and that seemed to be enough to get equities moving higher again.
WTI crude oil for March delivery settled at $60.40 a barrel, up 2.4% for the day following an inventory report that showed a smaller-than-expected build to crude inventories. April gold added about 2.1% on the day to settle at $1,358.00. Equities were headed for a higher close close about 10 minutes before the bell as the DJIA traded up 1.16% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 1.46%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 1.96%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTG8) for February delivery traded at $9,330, up about 7.4% on the CBOE after opening at $8,610 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $8,470 to $9,400.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) which traded up 3.03% at $67.86. The stock’s 52-week range is $50.35 to $68.83. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 9 million shares. The company had no specific news.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) traded up 2.67% at $154.78. The stock’s 52-week range is $139.13 to $182.79. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 5.6 million. The company had no specific news Wednesday.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 2.57% at $157.92. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.34 to $173.24. Volume was around 4.7 million shares, less than 10% below the daily average of about 5.2 million. The company reported Tuesday that retail machine sales rose 34% in the last three months.
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) traded up 2.51% at $261.95. The stock’s 52-week range is $209.62 to $273.79. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 3.4 million shares. The bank had no specific news today.
Of the Dow stocks, 25 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 5 are set to close lower.