Walmart, Cisco Weigh on the Dow Thursday

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May 17, 2018: Markets opened lower Thursday, bounced into the green later in the morning, turned south in the afternoon, and have moved back toward the break-even line as the closing bell gets closer. None of the movements were very large, but what there was may have been a response to another move higher in bond yields. Energy was the day’s top performer while utilities lagged.

WTI crude oil for June delivery settled at $71.49 a barrel, flat for the day. June gold dropped about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,289.40. U.S. inventories dropped last week, but not enough to push prices up much. Equities were headed for a lower close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.26% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.12%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.22%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTK8) for June delivery traded at $8,200, down about 0.9% on the CBOE after opening at $8,310 this morning. The trading range today was $8,145 to $8,4930.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CELG) which traded down 3.69% at $43.50. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.36 to $46.37. Volume was about 60% above the daily average of around 25 million shares. The company reported earnings after markets closed last night that were less grand than investors had hoped for.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded down 2.27% at $84.18 in a 52-week range of $73.13 to $109.98. Volume was more than double the daily average of 12 million. The company reported earnings before the opening bell this morning that weren’t enough to make up for today’s wider sell-off.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 1.20% at $59.04. The stock’s 52-week range is $52.83 to $66.41. Volume was about half the daily average of around 11.6 million. The company was among several named by the U.S. FDA as deliberately stalling development of generic drugs.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) traded down 1.38% at $123.62. The stock’s 52-week range is $121.28 to $148.32. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 6.8 million shares. Another drugmaker named in the FDA’s investigation into delays in licensing generic copies of trademarked drugs.

Of the Dow stocks, 8 are on track to close higher Thursday and 22 are set to close lower.