February 23, 2018: Markets opened higher again Friday and stayed there all day. The Fed’s semi-annual monetary report indicated that rate hikes are likely to number 3 not 4 this year and that the Fed expects inflation at or below its 2% target for this. This means there’ll be plenty of pretty cheap money around and equities are the likely beneficiaries.
WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $63.55 a barrel, up 1.2% for the day after the weekly oil rig count rose by just 1 new rig. April gold dropped 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,330.30 and down 1.7% for the week. Equities were headed for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the DJIA traded up 1.20% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 1.46X%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 1.62%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTH8) for March delivery traded at $9,910, down about 1% on the CBOE after opening at $9,860 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $9,530 to $10,340.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) which traded up 4.07% at $47.67. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.23 to $50.85. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 33.6 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up 2.36% at $112.49. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.55 to $133.88. Volume was about 35% lower than the daily average of around 6.5 million. The company is seeing the benefit of rising oil prices.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) traded up 2.35% at $93.89. The stock’s 52-week range is $63.62 to $96.07. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of around 28.8 million shares. The company had no specific news Friday.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up 2.10% at $77.46. The stock’s 52-week range is $73.90 to $89.30. Volume was around 8.7million shares, about a 35% below the daily average of about 13.3 million. The company had no specific news Friday.
Of the Dow stocks, 27 are on track to close higher Friday and just 3 are set to close lower.