Walgreens, Procter & Gamble Prop Up the Dow Monday

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October 15, 2018: Markets opened lower Monday as cautious investors appeared to be waiting for someone else to make the first move after last week’s losses. The report on retail sales didn’t meet expectations and bond yields remained strong, neither of which generate any excitement in equities. The telecom and consumer staples sectors were the day’s best performers, while tech stocks lagged.

WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $71.78 a barrel, up 0.6% for the day.  December gold added about 0.7% to settle at $1,230.30. Equities were heading for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.05% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.16%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.47%. The Dow traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could show either a small gain or a small loss for any of the indexes.

Bitcoin futures (XBTV8) for October delivery traded at $6,400, up about 3.2% on the Cboe after opening at $6,185 this morning. The trading range today was $6,130 to $6,765.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) which traded up 1.90% at $74.90. The stock’s 52-week range is $59.07 to $80.68. Volume was about 5% above the daily average of around 6 million.

The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) traded up 1.66% at $80.37 in a 52-week range of $70.73 to $93.37. Volume was about 15% below the daily average of around 7.2 million shares.

The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) traded up 1.24% at $114.01. The stock’s 52-week range is $96.89 to $118.10. Volume was about 40% lower than the daily average of around 7 million shares. Analysts at Macquarie raised their rating on the stock from Neutral to Outperform.

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) traded up 1.23% at $216.49. The 52-week range on the stock is $210.95 to $275.31. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 2.8 million.

Of the Dow stocks, 17 were set to close higher Monday and 13were on track to close lower.