Caterpillar, 3M Sink the Dow Tuesday

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October 23, 2018: Markets opened lower Tuesday and spent the rest of the day trying to recover from a horrible start. Down by around 400 points early, the Dow has recovered and may close with a daily loss of around 25 points. Weakness in Asian markets got European and U.S. markets off to a bad start, but as the day progressed defensive stocks rose to the occasion and saved the day.

WTI crude oil for December delivery settled at $66.43 a barrel, down 4.2% for the day.  December gold added about 1% to settle at $1,236.80, its highest settlement since mid-July. Equities were heading for a lower close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.25% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.28%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded down 0.13%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTX8) for November delivery traded at $6,405, up 0.2% for the day on the Cboe after opening at $6,395 this morning. The trading range today was $6,340 to $6,425.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) which traded down 7.19% at $119.46. The stock’s 52-week range is $115.62 to $173.24, and the low was posted this morning. Volume was more than four times the daily average of around 4.8 million. The industrial giant reported decent earnings this morning, but the outlook had the smell of a warning.

3M Company (NYSE: MMM) traded down 3.79% at $193.73 in a 52-week range of $184.54 to $259.77. Volume was more than three the daily average of around 2.3 million shares. Another earnings report that disappointed.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded down 2.74% at $114.00. The stock’s 52-week range is $108.02 to $133.88. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 5.6 million shares.

DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded down 2.27% at $54.80. The 52-week range on the stock is $53.69 to $77.08. Volume was about 65% higher than the daily average of around 8.7 million.

Of the Dow stocks, 12 were set to close higher Monday and 18 were on track to close lower.