3M, Pfizer Lead the Dow Higher Tuesday

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July 31, 2018: Markets opened higher Tuesday and all three major indexes are on track to post a daily gain. Only the energy and financial services sectors are trading lower on the day. Maybe the buying is signaling a belief that Apple will bust estimates when the company reports results after the bell today that get the tech sector back on track.

WTI crude oil for September delivery settled at $68.76 a barrel, down 2% for the day and down 5.1% for the month of July. December gold settled up 0.2% at $1,233.60 but down 2.6% for the month. Equities were heading for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.38 for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.44%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.53%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTQ8) for August delivery traded at $7,735, down about 4.5% on the CBOE after opening at $8,135 this morning. The trading range today was $7,635 to $8,205.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Tuesday was 3M Company (NYSE: MMM) which traded up 3.52% at $212.35 in a 52-week range of $190.57 to $259.77. Volume was about equal the daily average of some 2.7 million shares.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded up 3.39% at $39.90. The stock’s 52-week range is $32.32 to $39.99, and the high was posted today. Volume was nearly 75% above the daily average of around 20.2 million shares. The drug maker reported second-quarter results this morning.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 3.25% at $144.29. The 52-range on the stock is $112.09 to $173.24. Volume of around 5.3 million was about 20% above the daily average.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded up 1.92% at $135.66. The stock’s 52-week range is $109.10 to $139.24. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of around 3.8 million.

Of the Dow stocks, 19 were set to close higher Tuesday and 11 were on track to close lower.