June 14, 2018: Markets opened higher Thursday following an expected rate announcement from the ECB that it would hold rates unchanged and a solid report on new claims for jobless benefits and a booming report on retail sales. The financial services sector was the day’s worst drag on the Dow with only energy and industrials also appearing headed for a lower close.
WTI crude oil for July delivery closed at $66.89 a barrel, up about 0.4% for the day. August gold added about 0.5% on the day to settle at $1,308.30. Equities were headed for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.04% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.30%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.86%.
The Dow 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. Call it flat.
Bitcoin futures (XBTM8) for June delivery traded at $6,630, up about 5.7% on the CBOE after opening at $6,275 this morning. The trading range today was $6,250 to $6,705.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) which traded down 1.91% at $13.63. The stock’s 52-week range is $12.73 to $29.01. Volume was about 65% below the daily average of around 67.6 million shares. The company had no specific news today, but France’s finance minister told the company he wants it to stick by its promise to create 1,000 new jobs when it acquired Alstom’s energy business.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) traded down 1.58% at $108.24. The stock’s 52-week range is $86.02 to $119.33. Volume was roughly equal to the daily average of around 14.4 million. The company had no specific news.
Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded down 0.88% at $61.56 in a 52-week range of $52.83 to $66.41. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 11.2 million shares. The company got some good news on its Keytruda lung cancer drug but it didn’t seem to sway investors.
The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) traded down 0.33% at $43.65. The stock’s 52-week range is $41.45 to $48.62. Volume was about half the daily average of around 12.1 million. The company had no specific news.
Of the Dow stocks, 12 are on track to close higher Thursday and 18 are set to close lower.