Microsoft, JPMorgan Hold the Dow Level Friday

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July 20, 2018: Markets opened mixed Friday and never moved far from the break-even line after a short push higher in the mid-morning. The President complained again about the strong dollar and that was enough for investors to keep their hands on their wallets. Utilities, telecom, and real-estate were the day’s poorest performing sectors while consumer staples, up less than half a point, was the best.

WTI crude oil for August delivery settled at $70.46 a barrel, up 1.4% for the day but down 0.8% for the week. A weaker dollar usually supports higher oil prices, but that may not be what happens this time. The weekly oil rig count dropped by 5 this week, probably helping push crude prices up a little as well. August gold settled up 0.6% at $1,231.10, but down about 0.8% for the week. Equities were heading for a slightly lower close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.05% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.08%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTQ8) for August delivery traded at $7,330, down about 1.8% on the CBOE after opening at $7,460 this morning. The trading range today was $7,280 to $7,710.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) which traded down 1.81% at $146.54 in a 52-week range of $137.45 to $171.13. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 4.7 million shares.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded down 1.46% at $137.36. The stock’s 52-week range is $105.11to $173.24. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 4.6 million shares. Revenue for the second quarter was a little light and guidance for the full year was not encouraging.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) which traded up 1.99% at $106.48. The 52-range on the stock is $71.28 to $108.20, and the high was posted today. Volume of around 48 million was about 85% above the daily average. The company reported solid earnings after the bell Thursday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) traded up 1.33% at $111.36. The stock’s 52-week range is $88.08 to $119.33. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 13.6 million.

Of the Dow stocks, 10 were set to close higher Friday and 20 were on track to close lower.

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