Verizon, Caterpillar Sink the Dow Wednesday

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June 13, 2018: Markets opened slightly higher Wednesday as traders were cautious ahead of the FOMC announcement due out in the afternoon. The announcement, when it came included the expected quarter-point rate hike and signaled that two more are coming this year. The yield on 10-year Treasuries topped 3% briefly before backing off slightly. The worst performing sectors for the day were telecom and real estate. The financial sector posted the largest gain.

WTI crude oil for July delivery closed at $66.64 a barrel, up about 0.4% for the day following a report that U.S. inventories had dipped more than expected. August gold added about 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,301.30 and added about $3 in electronic trading following the FOMC announcement. Equities were headed for a narrowly mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.27% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.23%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.05%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTM8) for June delivery traded at $6,310, down about 3.44% on the CBOE after opening at $6,530 this morning. The trading range today was $6,115 to $6,620. A study by researchers at the University of Texas raises some sharp questions about the cryptocurrency market and how it may have been manipulated in the price runup last year.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) which traded down 2.65% at $47.51. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.80 to $54.77. Volume was almost 65% above the daily average of around 14.6 million. The company got a favorable ruling on its planned $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Investors are ecstatic. Or not.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded down 1.66% at $154.88. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.30 to $173.24. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 4.8 million shares. The company raised its dividend this morning, but May sales were not up to expectations.

The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) traded down 1.50% at $365.05 in a 52-week range of $190.82 to $374.48. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 4.7 million shares. The company had no specific news, but Reuters reported that struggling carrier Etihad Airways may cancel or defer billions of dollars in 777X orders.

DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded down 1.49% at $68.74. The stock’s 52-week range is $61.27 to $77.08. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 9.1 million. The company had no specific news.

Of the Dow stocks, 14 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 16 are set to close lower.