Microsoft, Intel Drive Up the Dow Monday

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March 26, 2018: Markets opened higher Monday and following a mid-day dip seem bound for a solid gain on the day. The primary mover appears to have been reports that the United States and China are talking about how to dodge a global trade war. In company news, Facebook continues to get battered over its handling of personal information, but the rest of the tech sector was flying.

WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $65.55 a barrel, down 0.5% for the day. April gold added about 0.4% on the day to settle at $1,355.00. Equities were headed for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 2.77% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 2.57%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 2.95%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTJ8) for April delivery traded at $7,940, down about 7.7% on the CBOE after opening at $8,690 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $7,850 to $11,790.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) which traded up 7.38% at $93.61. The stock’s 52-week range is $64.35 to $97.24. Volume was more than 30% above the daily average of around 31 million. Morgan Stanley gives the firm a good chance of making the $1 trillion valuation club and raised its rating on the stock to Overweight and lifted its price target from $110 to $130 per share..

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) traded up 6.04% at $52.34. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.23 to $53.78. Volume was about 2% below the daily average of about 34.8 million shares. The company had no specific news

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up 4.43% at $172.24 in a 52-week range of $138.62 to $183.50. Volume of about 28 million shares was around 30% below the daily average. The company had no specific news Monday.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) traded up 3.75% at $44.01. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.36 to $46.16. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of about 27.8 million. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, 29 are on track to close higher Monday and only GE is set to close lower.