July 24, 2018: Markets opened higher Tuesday but stocks mostly drifted down for the rest of the day. The Dow held onto to most of its early gains, but the Nasdaq Composite sank into the red and may not escape by the closing bell. The cause of the disillusionment was very likely concern over Trump’s tariffs (“the greatest”) for which U.S. taxpayers are now on the hook to the tune of $12 billion for assistance to farmers. Energy and materials were the days leading gainers and the defensive stocks were the leading losers.
WTI crude oil for September delivery settled at $68.52 a barrel, up 0.9% for the day. August gold settled down 10 cents at $1,225.50. Equities were heading for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.57% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.27%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.22%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTQ8) for August delivery traded at $8,275, up about 6.3% on the CBOE after opening at $7,765 this morning. The trading range today was $7,700 to $8,390.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Tuesday was United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) which traded up 3.34% at $133.70 in a 52-week range of $109.10 to $139.24. Volume was about 50% higher than the daily average of around 3.9 million shares. The company reported solid second-quarter results and lifted guidance.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up 2.07% at $123.85. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.55 to $133.88. Volume was about half the daily average of around 7.2 million shares.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) traded up 1.97% at $129.12. The stock’s 52-week range is $118.62 to $148.32. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 6.5 million.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up 1.84% at $82.90. The 52-range on the stock is $72.16 to $89.30. Volume of around 7.6 million was about half the daily average. The company on Monday raised the estimate of recoverable barrels by 25% from its project offshore Guyana to 4 billion barrels.
Of the Dow stocks, 24 were set to close higher Tuesday and 6 were on track to close lower.