Chevron, Caterpillar Lift the Dow Friday

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March 9, 2018: Markets opened higher again Friday following a report on non-farm payrolls that far exceeded forecasts. While wage gains remained modest, traders clearly felt that the U.S. economy is continuing to rock along with little chance of serious inflation.

WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $62.04 a barrel, up 3.2% for the day and up 1.3% for the week. April gold added about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,324.00, slightly better than flat for the week. Equities were headed for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 1.52% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 1.48%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 1.59%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTH8) for March delivery traded at $8,790, down about 6.9% on the CBOE after opening at $9,300 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $8,380 to $9,450.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) which traded up 3.53% at $117.38. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.55 to $133.88. Volume was 10% below the daily average of around 6.9 million. The company had no specific news, but rising crude prices no doubt boosted shares.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 2.93% at $158.09. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.34 to $173.24. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 5.9 million shares. The company had no specific news today.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) traded up 2.79% at $117.95. The stock’s 52-week range is $81.64 to $119.33. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of about 15.4 million. The big bank had no specific news Friday.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) traded up 2.26% at $45.34. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.36 to $45.89. Volume was about a third below the daily average of around 26.7 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, 29 are on track to close higher Friday and just 1 (Verizon) is set to close lower.