February 22, 2018: Markets opened higher Thursday following strong data on jobless claims and good news from the leading economic indicators. Wednesday’s session looked like a winner, too, until the last few minutes of the trading session. Inflation risk and the prospect of rising interest rates have equity investors jittery, that all there is to it.
WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $62.77 a barrel, up 1.8% for the day on an unexpected drop in U.S. crude oil inventories. April gold added 60 cents on the day to settle at $1,332.70. Equities were headed for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.55% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.23%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTH8) for March delivery traded at $10,050, down about 2.8% on the CBOE after opening at $10,330 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $9,700 to $10,850.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) which traded up 3.33% at $133.56. The stock’s 52-week range is $107.05 to $139.24. Volume was about 50% above the daily average of around 4.3 million shares. The company’s CEO said that company is considering breaking itself into three pieces.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 2.31% at $158.81. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.34 to $173.24. Volume was about 30% lower than the daily average of around 5.4 million. The company had no specific news Thursday.
DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded up 1.52% at $72.04. The stock’s 52-week range is $59.29 to $77.08. Volume was about half the daily average of around 8 million shares. The company had no specific news.
3M Company (NYSE: MMM) traded up 1.51% at $235.69. The stock’s 52-week range is $185.71 to $259.77. Volume was around 1.6 million shares, about a third below the daily average of about 2.4 million. The company had no specific news Thursday.
Of the Dow stocks, 21 are on track to close higher Thursday and 9 are set to close lower.