Boeing, Visa Prop Up the Dow Thursday

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September 6, 2018: Markets opened mixed Thursday with the Dow blue chips even bouncing out of the red to get on track for a modest daily gain. The energy and tech sectors led the day’s decline with defensive stocks putting up whatever good numbers there were. On the economic front, U.S. productivity growth reached a three-year high. Tomorrow’s report on the employment situation is expected to show 195,000 new jobs added in August and an unemployment rate of 3.8%.

WTI crude oil for October delivery settled at $67.77 a barrel, down 1.4% on the day following a mixed report on petroleum inventories. December gold added 0.3% to settle at $1,204.30. Equities were heading for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.19% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.27%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.83%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTU8) for September delivery traded at $6,400, down about 7.5% on the Cboe after opening at $6,915 this morning. The trading range today was $6,230 to $6,937.85.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) which traded up 1.39% at $351.49. The 52-range on the stock is $234.29 to $374.48. Volume was about 10% lower than the daily average of around 3.2 million. The company’s Wednesday investor day show must have pleased some investors.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) traded up 1.34% at $144.60. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.75 to $147.86. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 7.1 million.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK ) traded up 1.20% at $69.44 in a 52-week range of $52.83 to $70.25. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 8.6 million shares.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) traded up 0.98% at $54.35. The stock’s 52-week range is $43.97 to $55.21. Volume was about half the daily average of around 14.1 million shares.

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