March 23, 2018: Markets opened slightly higher Friday but the major indexes couldn’t hold onto their gains in the face of China’s first retaliatory shot in a trade war kicked off by Trump yesterday. China’s opening salvo did not hit soybeans or Boeing, two big and easy targets. The president signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill that will keep the government funded through September of next year, avoiding a government shutdown ahead of this fall’s election.
WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $65.88 a barrel, up 2.5% for the day and up about 5.6% for the week. April gold added about 1.7% on the day to settle at $1,349.90. Equities were headed for a lower close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 1.44% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 1.83%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 1.99%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTJ8) for April delivery traded at $8,630, up about 0.4% on the CBOE after opening at $8,630 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $8,280 to $8,780.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) which traded down 3.55% at $63.29. The stock’s 52-week range is $59.29 to $77.08. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 8.6 million. The company had no specific news.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded down 2.94% at $34.56. The stock’s 52-week range is $31.67 to $39.43. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of about 23.8 million shares. The company is having difficulty finding a buyer for its over-the-counter assets and its Chantix anti-smoking treatment failed a test among 12 to 19 year-old smokers.
3M Company (NYSE: MMM) traded down 2.91% at $216.66 in a 52-week range of $188.62 to $259.77. Volume of about 3.3 million shares was around 30% above the daily average. The company had no specific news Friday.
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) traded down 2.34% at $246.68. The stock’s 52-week range is $209.62 to $275.31. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of about 3.4 million. The company had no specific news Friday.
Of the Dow stocks, just 2 are on track to close higher Friday and 28 are set to close lower.