UnitedHealth, Caterpillar Launch the Dow Higher Wednesday

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November 7, 2018: Markets opened higher Wednesday partly a reaction to the Republicans’ ability to hold on to control of the U.S. Senate, generally viewed as good news for business and investors. The not-so-good news is that a Trump-proposed further tax cut is not likely in the cards nor is any kind of permanent deregulation that requires approval from both houses of Congress. The healthcare and technology sectors both traded up more than 2.5% late Wednesday afternoon, and all sectors were trading in the green.

WTI crude oil for December delivery settled at $61.67 a barrel, down 0.9% for the day to their lowest level since March following a bearish inventory report. ¬†December gold added about 0.2% to settle at $1,228.70 for the day. Equities were heading for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 2.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 1.96%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 2.40%. The Dow gained around 500 points in today’s trading.

Bitcoin futures (XBTX8) for November delivery traded at $6,515, up 1.52% for the day on the Cboe after opening at $6,440 this morning. The trading range today was $6,430 to $6,540.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) which traded up 4.38% at $134.99 in a 52-week range of $112.06 to $173.24. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 5.7 million shares.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) traded up 4.17% at $274.53. The 52-week range on the stock is $208.48 to $276.75 and the high was posted today. Volume was about 60% higher than the daily average of around 2.9 million.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) traded up 3.97% at $112.00. The stock’s 52-week range is $80.70 to $116.18. Volume was just above the daily average of around 29.2 million shares.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) traded up 3.43% at $44.49. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.20 to $45.81. Volume was about 15% above the daily average of around 21 million.

Of the Dow stocks, 29 were set to close higher Wednesday and just 1 was on track to close lower.