Microsoft, Nike Lift the Dow Wednesday

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July 25, 2018: Markets opened mixed Wednesday with the Dow solidly in the red. The blue chips had moved to barely positive by late afternoon, weighed down by an early drubbing of Boeing. Poor results from GM and Fiat Chrysler didn’t help. Companies susceptible to tariffs are not particularly popular. Telecom and financials were the only sectors posting a drop for the day with about 40 minutes until the closing bell.

WTI crude oil for September delivery settled at $69.30 a barrel, up 1.1% for the day following a big drop in the U.S. crude stockpile. August gold settled up 0.5% at $1,231.80. Equities were heading for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.64% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.97%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 1.17%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTQ8) for August delivery traded at $8,110, down about 1.5% on the CBOE after opening at $8,285 this morning. The trading range today was $8,030 to $8,500.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) which traded up 2.40% at $110.24 in a 52-week range of $71.28 to $110.39. The high was posted today. Volume was about 20% lower than the daily average of around 26.7 million shares.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) traded up 1.88% at $76.95. The stock’s 52-week range is $50.35 to $81.00. Volume was about a third below the daily average of around 6.3 million shares.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) which traded down 1.13% at $50.93. The 52-range on the stock is $42.80 to $54.77. Volume of around 3.5 million was about 15% below the daily average.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) traded down 0.80% at $355.36. The stock’s 52-week range is $223.02 to $374.48. Volume was nearly double the daily average of around 3.7 million. The stock was getting a last-minute boost from late buyers at pixel time.

Of the Dow stocks, 23 were set to close higher Wednesday and 7 were on track to close lower.

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Equity indexes 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 for any of the indexes.

Stocks traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could finish with either a small gain or a small loss for any or all of the indexes.

Today’s four leading gainers account for more than 22% of the Dow’s price-weighted index.