March 17, 2017: Markets opened higher again Friday and traded close to the break-even line until about noon when shares started moving higher. Leading indicators and consumer sentiment readings were both strong. Among the sectors, financials weighed while utilities and industrials were showing the best gains. WTI crude oil for April delivery settled at $48.78 a barrel, up just 3 cents on the day, but up 0.6% for the week. April gold added 0.3% on the day to settle at $1,230.20, and up 2.4% for the week. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.02% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.09%.
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Stocks traded very near the break-even line just minutes before the closing bell. The closing tally could finish with either a small gain or a small loss for any or all of the indexes.
The DJIA stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was McDonald's Corp. (MCD) which traded up 1.16% at $129.47. The stock's 52-week range is $110.33 to $131.96. Volume was roughly 30% above the daily average of around 3.5 million shares. The company had no specific news.
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) traded up 1.09% at $113.58. The stock's 52-week range is $96.89 to $114.44. Volume was about 20% above the daily average of around 2.9 million shares. The company had no specific news Friday.
The Boeing Co. (BA) traded up 1.06% at $180.08 The stock's 52-week range is $122.35 to $185.71. Volume was about equal to the daily average of around 3.4 million. The company scored orders valued at more than $3 billion for its Apache attack helicopters. Adding to the joy was the announcement that a U.K. investigation into allegations of corruption from arch-rival Airbus has been expanded into France.
3M Company (MMM) traded up 0.75% at $191.74. The stock's 52-week range is $163.05 to $192.14, and the high was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 40% above the daily average of around 1.8 million shares. The company announced a $2 billion acquisition of the personal-safety unit of Johnson Controls.
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Of the Dow 30 stocks, 21 are on track to close higher Friday and 9 are set to close lower.