Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble Weigh on the Dow Thursday

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May 31, 2018: Markets opened mixed Thursday with the Dow and the S&P 500 giving ground most of the day and the Nasdaq Composite wobbling around the break-even line. Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel imported from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union have re-ignited fears of a full-on trade war. Only the tech sector is showing a small gain for the day while the industrials, consumer staples, and telecom sectors are all trading at least 1% lower.

WTI crude oil for July delivery closed at $67.04 a barrel, down about 1.7% for the day after the Energy Information Administration reported on last week’s inventory changes. August gold dropped about 0.1% on the day to settle at $1,304.70. Equities were headed for a lower close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 1.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.69%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.29%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTM8) for June delivery traded at $7,565, up about 3% on the CBOE after opening at $7,340 this morning. The trading range today was $7,330 to $7,640.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded down 2.24% at $151.97. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.30 to $173.24. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 5.3 million. A trade war is not a good thing for industrial products that use a lot of steel.

The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) which traded down 2.23% at $73.22 in a 52-week range of $40.73 to $94.67. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 9.6 million shares. The company had no specific news.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded down 1.70% at $47.78. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.80 to $54.77. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 15 million. The company had no specific news Thursday.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) traded down 1.75% at $82.63. The stock’s 52-week range is $73.13 to$109.98. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 10.5 million shares. The giant retailer announced a concierge service today.

Of the Dow stocks, just 2 are on track to close higher Thursday and 28 are set to close lower.

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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.

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

Today’s four leading gainers account for more than 22% of the Dow’s price-weighted index.