June 20, 2018: Markets opened higher Wednesday but the Dow struggled all day to stay above the break-even line, but is on course to close the day in the red. The Nasdaq Composite posted a new all-time intra-day high this afternoon but has given some of the gain back. Among the sectors, only basic materials traded lower late this afternoon. Trade-war concerns took a bit of a breather today, although Trump’s planned $200 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods got a bad review from the CEOs on the Business Roundtable.
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.
WTI crude oil for July delivery settled at $66.22 a barrel, up about 1.8% on the contract’s expiration day. WTI for August delivery settled up 1.3% at $65.71 a barrel. August gold dropped about 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,274.50. Equities were headed for a narrowly mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.09% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.26%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.82%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTN8) for July delivery traded at $6,770, up about 0.3% on the CBOE after opening at $6,720 this morning. The trading range today was $6,560 to $6,835. A theft of around $31 million on a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange was reported overnight.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was The Travelers Inc. (NYSE: TRV) which traded down 2.45% at $125.01. The stock’s 52-range on the stock is $113.76 to $150.55. Volume of about 940,000 was around 40% below the daily average. The company had no specific news.
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded down 1.42% at $162.62. The stock’s 52-week range is $146.84 to $178.70. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 3.8 million shares. The company had no specific news.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) which traded up 1.2% at $107.37. The stock’s 52-week range is $96.20 to $113.19. Volume was approaching double the daily average of around 8.6 million. The company added some cash and raised its bid for assets of Fax to $71.3 billion.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) traded up 1.07% at $53.50 in a 52-week range of $33.23 to $57.60. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 28 million shares. The chipmaker had no specific news Wednesday.
Of the Dow stocks, 15 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 15 are set to close lower.
One closing note: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is getting booted from the Dow and will be replaced by Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) before trading begins on Tuesday, June 26.