Walmart, Merck Push the Dow Higher Monday

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June 4, 2018: Markets opened higher again Monday after posting nice gains on Friday and finding little to worry about from weekend events. Last Friday’s jobs data still resonates even though the U.S. is much closer a trade war with China than it was last week. Consumer goods, both staples and cyclicals, were today’s best performing sectors while energy was the poorest performer.

WTI crude oil for July delivery closed at $64.75 a barrel, down about 1.6% for the day after a  3.1% dive last week. August gold dropped about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,297.30 and down 0.7% for the week. Equities were headed for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up XX% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up XX%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up XX%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTM8) for June delivery traded at $7,505, up about 0.9% on the CBOE after opening at $7,630. this morning. The trading range today was $7,455 to $7,765.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) which traded up 2.39% at $85.38 in a 52-week range of $73.13 to $109.98. Volume was about 10% below the daily average of around 10 million shares. The company announced this morning that it is selling a majority stake in its Brazilian stores to a private equity firm.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 2.44% at $62.04. The stock’s 52-week range is $52.83 to $66.41. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 11.3 million. The company’s Keytruda lung cancer treatment posted positive results in another trial.

The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE HD) traded up 2.23% at $191.53. The stock’s 52-week range is $144.25 to $207.61. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 25 million. The company had no specific news Monday.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) traded up 1.83% at $133.25. The stock’s 52-week range is $92.80 to $133.57 and the high was posted today. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 7.8 million shares. The company had no specific news Monday.

Of the Dow stocks, 23 are on track to close higher Monday and 7 are set to close lower.

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