March 20, 2018: Markets opened higher Tuesday as if the outcome of the Fed’s FOMC meeting has already been decided. Monday’s sell-off of tech stocks weighed of the Nasdaq Composite but even that wasn’t enough to pen up the bulls. The energy sector provided the day’s best gains.
WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $63.40 a barrel, up 2.2% for the day. April gold dropped about 0.5% on the day to settle at $1,311.90. Equities were headed for a higher close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.50% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.15%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.25%.
Bitcoin futures (XBTH8) for April delivery traded at $8,590, up about 6% on the CBOE after opening at $8,390 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $8,330 to $8,970.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Tuesday was The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) which traded up 1.93% at $338.17. The stock’s 52-week range is $173.75 to $371.60. Volume was about 30% below the daily average of around 5.8 million. The company withdrew its objections to the merger between fellow Dow component United Technologies and Rockwell Collins.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) traded up 1.69% at $51.69. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.23 to $53.78. Volume was about half the daily average of about 35 million shares. The company had no specific news Tuesday.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 1.41% at $154.29 in a 52-week range of $90.34 to $155.18. Volume of about 3 million shares was around half the daily average. The company announced Monday that it will close plants and lay off about 880 workers.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) traded up 1.49% at $66.69. The stock’s 52-week range is $50.35 to $70.25. Volume was about 40% below the daily average of about 8 million. The company had no specific news Tuesday.
Of the Dow stocks, 21 are on track to close higher Tuesday and 9 are set to close lower.