January 7, 2014: Markets opened higher on Tuesday led by healthcare and tech stocks. The S&P 500 closed with a gain for the first time this year. The DJIA closed up 0.64%, the S&P 500 closed up 0.61%, and the Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.96%.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) led the DJIA higher today following an upgrade to Buy from analysts at Deutsche Bank. United can’t share in any unfound optimism about new Obamacare subscribers because the company has not been aggressive in searching for new subscribers under the new law’s provisions. Shares rose to a new 52-week high of $73.33 before closing at $76.51, up 3.06% for the day. The stock’s 52-week low is $51.36. Volume was roughly 8% above the daily average of nearly 5 million shares.
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The other healthcare stock leading the DJIA today was Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which posted a gain of 2.13% to close at $94.30 in a 52-week range of $71.25 to $95.99. RBS Capital upgraded J&J’s shares to Outperform this morning citing specifically the company’s rising pharmaceuticals business. Volume was about 23% above the daily average of 7.1 million shares.
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International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) led the Dow’s tech sector on Tuesday, rising 1.99% to close at $189.71 in a 52-week range of $172.57 to $215.90. The stock trades well below its annual high, and while it is more than $10 pricier than it was in mid-December, the stock may still be attractively priced for some investors. Trading volume was slightly lower than the daily average of around 5.2 million shares.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) played the role of anchor for the Dow stocks today. The bank announced that it will pay fines totalling $2.6 billion related to its role in the Bernard Madoff fraud scandal. The company said late in the day that it would take a charge of $850 million in its recently completed fourth quarter. Shares closed down 1.15% at $58.32 in a 52-week range of $44.96 to $59.47. Volume was about 13% lighter than the daily average of around 18.2 million shares traded.
Twitter Inc. (TWTR) closed down 7.3% at $61.44 today as the shares continue to sell-off following yesterday’s downgrade to Underperform (code for “sell”) at Morgan Stanley. The shares coughed up 4% yesterday and coupled with today’s drop the year’s off to a lousy start for the social media company. Share volume was about 27% above the daily average of around 23.4 million shares.
Of the Dow 30 stocks only 6 closed lower today while 23 closed higher and 1 was unchanged.