Pfizer, Merck Sink the Dow Tuesday

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May 1, 2018: Markets opened lower Tuesday but the Dow remains the only index that hasn’t made a comeback. The tech blue chips are doing what they can, but some weak earnings reports and some apprehension over the Fed’s policy meeting is tamping down investor enthusiasm for equities. Trump has once again extended the deadline for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum for some of the country’s best trading partners and that only adds to uncertainty.

WTI crude oil for June delivery settled at $67.25 a barrel, down 1.9% for the day. June gold dropped about 0.9% on the day to settle at $1,306.80, the yellow metal’s lowest close in 2 months. Equities were headed for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.57% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.61%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTK8) for May delivery traded at $8,890, down about 4.1% on the CBOE after opening at $9,270 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $8,830 to $9,330.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) which traded down 4.44% at $34.99 in a 52-week range of $31.67 to $39.43. Volume of about 35.6 million shares was about 50% above the daily average. The company reported so-so earnings this morning.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 2.24% at $57.56. The stock’s 52-week range is $52.83 to $66.41. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 12.8 million shares. The company reported earnings this morning that were a modest beat, but solely dependent on the firm’s Keytruda lung cancer drug.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded down 2.58% at $163.12. The stock’s 52-week range is $140.72 to $178.70. Volume was nearly 10% above  the daily average of around 5 million. The company is giving back some of the gains it made after a stellar earnings report on Monday.

The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) traded down 2.05% at $42.33. The stock’s 52-week range is $41.91 to $48.62. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 13.5 million. The company had no specific news Tuesday.

Of the Dow stocks, 5 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 25 are set to close lower.

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