September 28, 2018: Markets opened lower Friday and spent virtually the whole day hugging one side or the other of the break-even line. Consumer spending rose in August, but at a slower pace than previously and inflation on a PCE basis dropped from 2.3% to 2.2%. Consumer sentiment also came in a bit below expectations but remains solid near record highs. Telecoms and utilities did all they could to keep shares in the green, but financial services and basic materials stocks were fighting them all the way.
WTI crude oil for November delivery settled at $73.25 a barrel, up about 1.6% for the day and up about 3.5% for the week and 5.5% for the third quarter. Based on the front-month contract, however, crude actually dropped about 1.2% in the quarter. December gold added about 0.7% to settle at $1,196.20, down about 0.4% for the week and down 0.9% for the month. Based on the front-month contract, gold dropped 4.6% in the third quarter. Equities were heading for what appears to be a nearly flat close about 10 minutes before the bell as the Dow traded up 0.0.% for the day, the S&P 500 traded down 0.03%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded flat.
Bitcoin futures (XBTV8) for October delivery traded at $6,540, down about 2.5% on the Cboe after opening at $6,700 this morning. The trading range today was $6,520 to $6,800.
The Dow stock posting the largest daily percentage gain ahead of the close Friday was Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) which traded up 2.92% at $47.22 in a 52-week range of $37.70 to $57.60. Volume was about 60% above the daily average of around 23 million shares. The company’s CEO said that the chipmaker has enough chip supply to meet its full-year revenue guidance.
The Boeing Co. (NYSE: