August 9, 2018: Markets opened narrowly higher Thursday but looks set to end the session about the same way as Wednesday’s session ended: the Dow and the S&P 500 traded roughly flat and have all day while the Nasdaq Composite is up about a third of a point. New claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week and corporate earnings continue to beat estimates. The telecom sector posted today’s biggest gain while energy lagged again.
WTI crude oil for September delivery settled at $66.81 a barrel, down 0.2% for the day. December gold dropped about 0.1% to settle at $1,219.90. Equities were heading for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.31% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.17%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.04%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTQ8) for August delivery traded at $6,455, up about 2.3% on the CBOE after opening at $6,290 this morning. The trading range today was $6,170 to $6,540.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Thursday was Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) which traded down 1.04% at $122.61. The stock’s 52-week range is $105.30 to $133.88. Volume was less than half the daily average of around 8.3 million shares.
The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) traded down 0.98% at $81.54. The 52-range on the stock is $70.73 to $94.57. Volume of around 3.4 million was about 40% below the daily average.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) which traded up 2.23% at $69.17. The stock’s 52-week range is $61.27 to $77.08. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 3.6 million. CEO Ed Breen just reported a $2 million purchase of company stock on the open market.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 1.24% at $262.01 in a 52-week range of $186.00 to $263.00, a new high set today. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 2.5 million shares.
Of the Dow stocks, 13 were set to close higher Thursday and 17were on track to close lower.