Walmart, Verizon Scuttle the DJIA Tuesday

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February 20, 2018: Markets opened lower Tuesday and appear to be on track to close in the lower half of the chart. The DJIA never traded in the green today and only the Nasdaq Composite even had an outside chance at closing above the break-even line. Bond yields have continued rising and a stronger dollar are causing some equities investors to re-think current stock valuations.

WTI crude oil for March delivery settled at $61.90 a barrel, up 0.3% for the day. April gold dropped 1.9% on the day to settle at $1,331.20. Equities were headed for a lower close about 10 minutes before the bell as the DJIA traded down 1.15% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.73%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.25%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTH8) for March delivery traded at $11,710, up about 15.5% on the CBOE after opening at $10,440 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $10,3300 to $11,800.

The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) which traded down 9.76% at $94.54. The stock’s 52-week range is $69.33 to $109.98. Volume was about five times the daily average of around 9 million shares. The company reported disappointing results this morning and offered only a lukewarm forecast.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded down 2.55% at $48.87. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.80 to $54.77. Volume was less than 10% below the daily average of around 17.6 million. The company had no specific news Tuesday.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded down 2.43% at $14.69. The stock’s 52-week range is $14.23 to $30.59. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 84 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 2.27% at $55.01. The stock’s 52-week range is $53.36 to $66.80. Volume was around 9.66 million shares, about 20% lower than the daily average of about 13 million. The company saw a $2.5 billion award disappear as a judge tossed the verdict against Gilead related to a hepatitis treatment.

Of the Dow stocks, only 3 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 27 are set to close lower.