March 21, 2018: Markets opened mixed Wednesday but all three major indexes climbed out of a shallow hole to post decent gains throughout most of the day. The Fed FOMC did, in fact, raise its policy rate by a quarter-point, as expected, and may have left the door open for four, not three, rate hikes this year.
WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $65.17 a barrel, up 2.6% for the day following a surprise drawdown in petroleum stockpiles. April gold added about 0.7% on the day to settle at $1,321.50. Equities were headed for a narrowly mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.19% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.2%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTJ8) for April delivery traded at $8,930, down about 1% on the CBOE after opening at $9,040 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $8,790 to $9,190.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) which traded up 2.59% at $117.47. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.55 to $133.88. Volume was about 50% below the daily average of around 7.1 million. The company had no specific news, but another sharp jump in crude oil prices is a welcome surprise. The company also posted $36 million in high bids on drilling sites in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded up 2.12% at $67.80. The stock’s 52-week range is $59.29 to $77.08. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of about 8.5 million shares. The company had no specific news Wednesday.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded up 2.09% at $13.93 in a 52-week range of $13.57 to $30.54. Volume of about 52 million shares was around 40% below the daily average. The company had no specific news.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up 1.89% at $75.39. The stock’s 52-week range is $73.53 to $89.30. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of about 15 million. The company bid and lost on two Gulf lease blocks.
Of the Dow stocks, 21 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 9 are set to close lower.