Apple, IBM Lift the Dow Thursday

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September 13, 2018: Markets opened higher Thursday following another good report on new jobless claims (a 49-year low!) and a CPI reading that was higher but rising more slowly than expected. The day’s strongest sectors were technology, healthcare, and telecom. Energy and consumer stocks lagged.

WTI crude oil for October delivery settled at $68.59 a barrel, down about 2.5% on the day. December gold dropped about 0.2% to settle at $1,208.20. Equities were heading for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.45% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.43%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.62%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTU8) for September delivery traded at $6,440, up about 2.4% on the Cboe after opening at $6,300 this morning. The trading range today was $6,300 to $6,520.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Thursday was Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) which traded up 2.13%% at $225.77. The stock’s 52-week range is $149.16 to $229.67. Volume was about 33% higher than the daily average of around 26.6 million shares. The company introduced new products on Wednesday and the market liked what it heard more than it disliked it.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) traded up 1.56% at $148.85. The 52-range on the stock is $137.45 to $171.13. Volume was less than 10% below the daily average of around 4.1 million.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) traded up 1.35% at $70.80. The stock’s 52-week range is $52.83 to $70.93. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 8.6 million.

The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded up 1.35% at $128.60 in a 52-week range of $118.75 to $150.55. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 1.4 million shares.

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