February 15, 2018: Markets opened higher Thursday still cruising on the latest inflation and jobs data. The U.S. economy is basically still growing and it’s not looking like it will overheat and force the Fed to unleash more rate hikes. Today’s producer price index came in a bit hotter than expected, but investors just don’t seem too worried.
WTI crude oil for March delivery settled at $61.34 a barrel, up 1.2% for the day. April gold dropped about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,355.30. Equities were headed for a higher close close about 10 minutes before the bell as the DJIA traded up 1.05% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 1.01%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 1.41%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTG8) for February delivery traded at $10,060, up about 8.5% on the CBOE after opening at $9,350 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $9,310 to $10,220.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) which traded up 4.94% at $44.17. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.36 to $45.10 and the high was posted this morning. Volume was about two and a half times the daily average of around 25.6 million shares. The company reported better-than-expected results on Wednesday night.
Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up 3.17% at $172.67. The stock’s 52-week range is $134.84 to $180.10. Volume was around 44.6 million shares, about 40% more than the daily average of about 33.3 million. Research firm Strategy Analytics reported that Apple took more than half of global smartphone sales revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) traded up 3.12% at $355.62. The stock’s 52-week range is $168.75 to $361.45. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 4.8 million. The company had no specific news but rival Airbus reported a solid earnings beat this morning and both companies are projecting big things for this year.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded up 2.75% at $129.47. The stock’s 52-week range is $107.05 to $139.24. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 4.2 million shares. When UTC completes its deal to acquire Rockwell Collins, a new Air Force bomber is part of the deal. The Defense Department budget for this year includes $2 billion for the program and the 2019 budget includes $2.3 billion.
Of the Dow stocks, 25 are on track to close higher Thursday and 5 are set to close lower.