October 19, 2018: Markets opened higher Friday, reversing Thursday’s steep drop. Share prices trended downward for most of the day, however, as traders appeared to have second thoughts following another poor report on existing home sales on top of reports that China’s economy continues to slow down. Dow component P&G reported excellent sales numbers this morning, following in the footsteps of PayPal which crushed it Thursday evening. Healthcare and energy were Friday’s weakest performing sectors while consumer staples performed best.
WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $69.12 a barrel, up 0.7% for the day but down more than 3% for the week. December gold dropped about 0.1% to settle at $1,229.10, holding on to a mere 0.6% uptick for the week. Equities were heading for a mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.37% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.32%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTX8) for November delivery traded at $6,380, flat for the day on the Cboe after opening at $6,345 this morning. The trading range today was $6,330 to $6,400.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) which traded up 8.87% at $87.36. The stock’s 52-week range is $70.73 to $93.14. Volume was more than three times the daily average of around 7.3 million. That’s the kind of day a stock has when it reports a five-year sales high.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) traded up 3.73% at $106.68 in a 52-week range of $87.54 to $111.77. Volume was about 40% above the daily average of around 3 million shares. The financial services giant reported another good quarter last night.
The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) traded up 2.33% at $118.89. The stock’s 52-week range is $96.89 to $118.99, and the high was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 7 million shares. Barclays raised its rating on the stock from Neutral to Overweight.
The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) traded up 1.70% at $46.38. The 52-week range on the stock is $41.45 to $48.62. Volume was slightly above the daily average of around 10.6 million.
Of the Dow stocks, 19 were set to close higher Friday and 11 were on track to close lower.