UnitedHealth, Chevron Buoy the Dow Monday

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June 11, 2018: Markets opened higher Monday, partly a response to Tuesday’s summit meeting between Trump and Kim, but also some central bank enthusiasm and an FOMC meeting beginning tomorrow that is expected to end with another quarter-point rise in the Fed’s policy rate. Geopolitics does not typically grip markets for a long period, but in the short-term it’s a different story. Telecom and energy were today’s best performing sectors and utilities was the worst.

WTI crude oil for July delivery closed at $66.10 a barrel, up about 0.6% for the day. August gold added less than 0.1% on the day to settle at $1,303.20. Equities were headed for a slightly higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.16% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.22%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.24%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTM8) for June delivery traded at $6,755, down about 11.7% on the CBOE after opening at $6,780 this morning. The trading range today was $6,630 to $6,825. The weekend saw bitcoin plunge more than 10%.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded up 1.39% at $254.16. The stock’s 52-week range is $176.42 to $254.99, a new high set this afternoon. Volume was about 4% below the daily average of around 3.2 million. The company had no specific news.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up 1.04% at $127.75. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.55 to $133.88. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of around 6.7 million shares. The fast-food giant’s stock received an analyst’s upgrade this morning. The company had no specific news.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 0.88% at $156.69 in a 52-week range of $102.30 to $173.24. Volume was less than half the daily average of around 4.8 million shares. The company had no specific news.

The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) traded up 0.83% at $199.98. The stock’s 52-week range is $144.25 to $207.61. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 4.8 million. The company announced a plan to spend $1.2 billion over the next five years to boost delivery speed to homes and job sites.

Of the Dow stocks, 18 are on track to close higher Monday and 12 are set to close lower.