March 24, 2014: Markets opened slightly higher on Monday but soon took a turn south and spent most of the day solidly down. Biotechs, healthcare, discretionary, and tech stocks were all weaker today. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA had slipped 0.16%, the S&P 500 was down 0.33%, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.08%.
Today’s big loser among the DJIA stocks was Pfizer Inc. (PFE) which dropped 1.88% to trade at $31.57in a 52-week range of $27.12 to $32.96 just ahead of the closing bell. Volume was on track to be nearly 20% higher thanthe daily average of nearly 26 million shares traded. There could be some profit-taking going on here as shares have come down from their annual peak set on March 5th. Merck & Co. (MRK) also traded down 1.45%, at $53.86 today.
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Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) because of its high share price led the Dow 30 stocks down today. Shares slipped 1.06% to $221.00 in a 52-week range of $160.50 to $235.50. Share volume was about 10% higher than the daily average of around 3 million shares traded.
The Home Depot Inc. (HD) traded down 0.84% today at $79.75. There are some doubts about how good a start the home improvement stores got to their busiest selling season of the year. Trading volume for Home Depot’s shares was about 85% of the daily average of around 6.5 million shares traded.
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And the big downdraft on the Nasdaq was blown up by Facebook Inc. (FB). The stock traded down 4.54% today at $64.19 in a 52-week range of $22.67 to $72.59. The social media giant was likely caught up in today’s lack of enthusiasm for tech stocks. Trading volume rose about 30% above the daily average of around 58 million shares traded.
Of the Dow 30 stocks 15 are set to close lower today and 15 are on their way to a higher close.