UnitedHealth, Walmart Buoy the Dow Monday

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May 14, 2018: Markets opened higher Monday and managed to stay in the green all day, even if not by much. The energy sector put up the best gain with healthcare performing well also. The 10-year Treasury notes stayed just a bit under 3% and the dollar regained some of last week’s losses.

WTI crude oil for June delivery settled at $70.96 a barrel, up about 0.4% for the day. June gold dropped about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,318.20.  Equities were headed for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.14% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.04%.

Equity indexes traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could show either a small gain or a small loss for any of the indexes.

Bitcoin futures (XBTK8) for May delivery traded at $8,765, up about 1.7% on the CBOE after opening at $8,685 this morning. The trading range today was $8,265 to $8,830.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded up 1.67% at $242.25. The stock’s 52-week range is $166.65 to $250.79. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 3.5 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded up 1.26% at $84.43. The stock’s 52-week range is $73.13 to $109.98. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 12 million. The company had no specific news.

Pfizer Inc . (NYSE: PFE) traded up 0.83% at $35.80. The stock’s 52-week range is $31.67 to $39.43. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 22.5 million shares. The president’s announcement last week kept boosting drug stocks Monday.

DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded up 0.63% at $67.35 in a 52-week range of $59.29 to $77.08. Volume was about half the daily average of 8.9 million. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, 19 are on track to close higher Monday and 11 are set to close lower.