IBM, Johnson & Johnson Weigh on the Dow Wednesday

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April 18, 2018: Markets opened higher for a fifth straight session Wednesday but it’s been a bumpy ride ever since. All three major indexes dipped into the red and the Dow has not been able to recover to much more than right around the break-even line. The Fed Beige Book was released this afternoon but it held no surprises: people are worried about a trade war.

WTI crude oil for May delivery settled at $68.47 a barrel, up 2.9% for the day on a bullish U.S. petroleum inventory report. June gold added about 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,353.50. Equities were headed for a barely mixed close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded down 0.14% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.10%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.22%.

Bitcoin futures (XBTJ8) for April delivery traded at $8,110, up about 3% on the CBOE after opening at $7,880 this morning. The digital currency’s trading range for the day was $7,850 to $8,160.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) which traded down 7.68% at $148.54. The stock’s 52-week range is $139.13 to $171.13. Volume was more than three times the daily average of around 5.3 million. The company reported quarterly earnings last night and investors didn’t like what the saw or heard.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) traded down 2.08% at $127.82 in a 52-week range of $121.11 to $148.32. Volume of about 7.3 million shares was about 10% below the daily average. The company had no specific news Wednesday.

The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) which traded up 3.00% at $180.16. The stock’s 52-week range is $144.25 to $207.61. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 5.4 million. There company announced this morning that it plans to hire 1,000 IT workers to strengthen its position against e-commerce behemoth Amazon.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up 2.44% at $124.42. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.55 to $133.88. Volume was about 15% lower than the daily average of around 7.2 million shares. The company got a nice boost from rising crude oil prices.

Of the Dow stocks, 15 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 15 are set to close lower.

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