January 3, 2018: Markets opened higher again Wednesday and have improved on the opening gains throughout the day. Both the S&P 500 and the DJIA posted new intra-day highs. The day’s sector leaders were Energy and technology while telecom and utilities lagged. WTI crude oil for February delivery settled at $61.63 a barrel, up 2.1% for the day and the highest close in three years. February gold added 0.2% on the day to settle at $1,318.50 for a ninth consecutive winning session and the highest close in more than three months. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.44% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.66%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.84%.
Bitcoin futures for January delivery traded at $14,880, essentially flat, on the CME after opening at $14.900 this morning. Only 685 contracts had been traded in the session and open interest is just 596.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Wednesday was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) which traded up 2.85% at $158.65. The stock’s 52-week range is $139.13 to $182.79. Volume was about 35% above the daily average of around 4.8 million shares. The company’s stock was raised to Outperform at RBC Capital Markets this morning.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up 2.23% at $86.93. The stock’s 52-week range is $76.05 to $91.15. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 9.3 million shares. The company had no specific news.
DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded up 1.59% at $73.04. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.76 to $73.85. Volume was about 10% below the daily average of around 7.2 million. The company had no news.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded up 1.44% at $130.01. The stock’s 52-week range is $106.85 to $130.20 and the high was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 40% above the daily average of around 2.8 million shares. The company had no news.
Of the Dow stocks, 18 are on track to close higher Wednesday and 12 are set to close lower.
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General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) spent the final 24 weeks of 2017 as the worst-performing stock among the 30 equities included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Yet, at the end of the first week of trading in 2018, GE ranks as the top performer among the Dow 30, after posting a share price gain of 6.25% ($1.04 per share).
The second-best performer for among the Dow 30 this past week is International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), 2017’s second-worst performer, which posted a gain of 5.91% in the week. DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) added 5.9%, and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), last year’s big winner, added another 4.72% during the first week of 2018.
The Dow posted an all-time high of 25,299.79 on Friday and closed the week at 25,295.87. The index gained about 1.9% in the first week of the year.
Are investors buying GE shares again because they’re so cheap or because all of a sudden they have become true believers in CEO John Flannery’s turnaround program? Here’s something to consider from our report last week on the bull/bear case for GE:
The broader S&P 500 was valued at 18.5 to 19.0 times expected 2018 earnings per share. GE ended 2017 valued at closer to 17 times earnings, but that is without considering all the abnormal issues around restructuring and asset sales. The reality is that GE could currently be valued at just 13 times earnings, or it could just as easily be valued at 25 times earnings. The market just won’t have a better handle on what its real value is until more of the asset sales are seen and more of the future business is quantifiable.
GE’s shares closed up less than 0.1% Friday, at $18.54 in a 52-week range of $17.25 to $31.66. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $21.99, unchanged from last week’s target. The low end of the price target range remained at $15, and the high end remained at $36.
ALSO READ: Intel Begins 2018 as the Worst Performing DJIA Stock
December 18, 2017: Markets opened higher again Monday now that passage of the corporate- and investor-friendly Republican tax bill appears headed for passage. A few merger/acquisitions were announced this morning with Campbell Soup’s deal for Snyder’s-Lance the biggest. Materials and telecom stocks were the sector leaders today, with utilities posting the only loss. WTI crude oil for January delivery settled at $57.16 a barrel, down 0.2% for the day. February gold added 0.6% on the day to settle at $1,265.50. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.59% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.57%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.85%.
Bitcoin futures for January traded at $18,985, down 2.6%, on the CME about an hour before settlement after opening at $20,650 this morning. More than 18,000 contracts had been traded.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Monday was Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) which traded up 3.41% at $46.08. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.23 to $47.30. Volume was about 10% above the daily average of around 27 million shares. The company introduced a new chip this morning that speeds up high-performance computing tasks.
DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) traded up 2.21% at $71.54. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.52 to $73.85. Volume was about a 35% below the daily average of around 7.1 million shares. The company had no specific news.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 2.02% at $149.66. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.34 to $149.74 and the high was set this afternoon. Volume was about 25% below the daily average of around 3.5 million shares. The company had no specific news Monday.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) traded up 1.74% at $177.01. The stock’s 52-week range is $114.76 to $177.17 and the high was posted today. Volume was about 20% below the daily average of around 27.3 million. The company’s AirPods are reportedly sold out until next month.
Of the Dow stocks, 24 are on track to close higher Monday and 6 are set to close lower.
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