July 18, 2018: Markets opened narrowly mixed Wednesday but only the Nasdaq Composite struggled to get into the green for the day. Telecom and consumer staples were the day’s big losers, while financials and industrials were the leading gainers. The Fed’s Beige Book held no big surprises, so that added small improvement on the day’s trading session as well.
WTI crude oil for August delivery settled at $68.76 a barrel, up 1% for the day following an unexpected increase in the U.S. crude oil inventory. August gold settled up less than 0.1% at $1,227.90. Equities were heading for a modestly higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.34% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.25%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.02%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTN8) for July delivery traded at $7,390, up about 8% on the CBOE after opening at $7,350 this morning. The trading range today was $7,285 to $7,570.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) which traded up 2.11% at $255.56. The 52-range on the stock is $186.00 to $259.01. Volume of around 3.4 million was about 30% below the daily average.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 1.55% at $141.11. The stock’s 52-week range is $105.11 to $173.24. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 4.6 million.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) traded up 1.65% at $102.82. The stock’s 52-week range is $83.33 to $103.24. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 4.3 million shares. The credit card issuer reports second-quarter earnings after the bell tonight.
The Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) traded up 1.17% at $130.30 in a 52-week range of $113.76 to $150.55. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 1.4 million shares.
Of the Dow stocks, 15 were set to close higher Wednesday and 15 were on track to close lower.
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