August 22, 2018: Markets opened mixed Wednesday but the fortunes of the three major indexes varied. The blue-chip Dow promptly headed south, the S&P 500 hugged the breakeven line, and the Nasdaq Composite is on its way to a moderate gain for the day. The FOMC minutes did not hold any surprise large enough to cause more than a tremor among traders who will be watching the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole conference with renewed interest. The President’s muted (for him) reaction to yesterday’s judicial events also augured for a cautious approach to today’s trading.
WTI crude oil for October delivery settled at $67.35 a barrel, up about 3.1%. Crude got a boost from a larger-than-expected drawdown on U.S. crude oil inventories. December gold added 0.3% to settle at $1,203.30, but we don’t know what the attraction is. Equities were heading for a mixed about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.26% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.44%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTU8) for September delivery traded at $6,400, down about 0.1% on the CBOE after opening at $6,450 this morning. The trading range today was $6,386.66 to $6,880.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) which traded down 1.96% at $133.32. The stock’s 52-week range is $109.10 to $139.24. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 3.7 million shares.
The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded down 1.73% at $129.43. The stock’s 52-week range is $113.76 to $150.55. Volume was about half the daily average of around 1.4 million.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded down 1.68% at $53.99. The 52-range on the stock is $43.97 to $55.21. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of 14.3 million.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) traded down 1.10% at $47.10 in a 52-week range of $34.38 to $57.60. Volume was about 35% below the daily average of around 25.7 million shares.
Of the Dow stocks, 8 were set to close higher Wednesday and 22 were on track to close lower.