Stock Market Today – Procter Gamble (PG) Merck (MRK) Caterpillar (CAT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) Report

caterpillar and walmart logos

(Best Syndication News) Stock markets closed lower in Asia and are opening mixed in Europe early Friday (see stock market charts below). In the United States the indexes were higher throughout the day, with the DJIA closing up just 20 points shy of 13,000 again.

A sense of relief swept through the investor community this week after European leaders put the finishing touches on the Greek bailout package. Other positive economic news helped instill confidence in the equity markets.

The Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor said that there were 351,000 initial jobless claims last week, down from 353,000 the previous week. Economists were expecting that number to creep-up to 355,000.

Personal spending was up 0.20 percent while personal income rose 0.30 percent in January. This was less than expected, but investor confidence was moving in the positive direction.

DJIA

Only 12 of the 30 DJIA constituents were lower on Thursday (see the Dow chart below). The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) fell more than any other DJIA component.

The share price dropped nearly 1.5 percent on average volume during the trading day. An upgrade this week didn’t keep the prices up on Thursday, but the stock had been up two-straight days.

In the after-hours PG was up four cents to $66.70. There was a bid of $66.61 on 100 shares and an ask of $66.90 for 600 shares.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) fell one percent on Thursday. The stock has been lower over the last two days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that cholesterol drugs can increase the risk of diabetes. MRK, the maker of Zocor, has a statin / cholesterol drug on the market.

In the after-hours MRK added six cents to $37.85. There was an ask of $37.85 on 5,800 shares.

The Department of Commerce reported that construction spending decreased 0.1 percent in January. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) declined nearly three-quarters of a percent on Thursday.

Like MRK and PG, CAT was higher in the after-hours. The construction and mining equipment manufacturer added 44 cents to $113.83.

The share price of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) slipped during the trading day despite an announcement that the retailer will increase their dividend. In the after-hours WMT gained three cents to $58.85.

All of the Dow sectors were higher. The consumer services sector, which includes WMT, gained 0.51 percent as a whole. The utilities sector was the laggard again, up just 0.19 percent.

By: John Waters
Business Reporter

Dow Component Chart:

Thursday Dow Constituents One Day One Day 5-Day 30 Day 100-Day
3/1/2012 Name Point Ch. % Change % Change % Change % Change
66.66 The Procter & Gamble... (0.96) -1.42% 0.36% 0.88% 4.30%
37.79 Merck & Co., Inc. (0.38) -1.00% -1.87% -3.74% 19.55%
113.39 Caterpillar Inc. (0.82) -0.72% -2.42% 7.22% 50.15%
58.82 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (0.26) -0.44% 0.48% -2.95% 9.53%
64.83 Johnson & Johnson (0.25) -0.38% -0.41% -0.55% 2.69%
69.6 The Coca-Cola Co (0.26) -0.37% 0.61% 3.19% 5.61%
25.25 Hewlett-Packard Co (0.06) -0.24% -6.65% -7.00% 1.49%
47.46 The Home Depot, Inc. (0.11) -0.23% 1.09% 4.51% 39.92%
38.01 Kraft Foods Inc. (0.06) -0.16% 0.08% -1.78% 12.59%
87.49 3M Company (0.11) -0.13% -0.47% 1.97% 18.52%
26.86 Intel Corporation (0.02) -0.07% 0.75% 4.80% 20.50%
99.25 McDonald's Corporation (0.03) -0.03% -1.55% -1.98% 13.82%
19.88 Cisco Systems, Inc. 0.00 0.00% -1.73% 0.45% 19.33%
30.63 AT&T Inc. 0.04 0.13% 0.56% 0.69% 7.70%
75.08 The Boeing Company 0.13 0.17% -1.02% -0.64% 21.47%
84.16 United Technologies... 0.29 0.35% 0.80% 9.03% 17.77%
19.12 General Electric Co 0.07 0.37% -0.98% -0.16% 23.35%
86.83 Exxon Mobil Corp 0.33 0.38% -0.22% -0.23% 18.04%
197.53 Intl. Business Machines 0.80 0.41% -0.04% 9.42% 8.30%
109.76 Chevron Corporation 0.64 0.59% 1.30% 2.65% 16.27%
58.42 The Travelers Co 0.45 0.78% -0.92% -3.12% 19.22%
38.43 Verizon Communication 0.32 0.84% 0.79% -1.46% 6.28%
51.33 E.I. du Pont 0.48 0.94% -0.19% 3.91% 22.51%
42.39 The Walt Disney Co 0.40 0.95% 2.19% 7.48% 33.72%
10.27 Alcoa Inc. 0.10 0.98% -1.82% 0.88% 5.77%
53.57 American Express Co 0.68 1.29% 1.71% 5.14% 23.35%
32.29 Microsoft Corporation 0.55 1.73% 2.93% 14.83% 23.01%
21.49 Pfizer Inc. 0.37 1.75% 2.19% -1.60% 16.54%
8.12 Bank of America... 0.15 1.88% 1.25% 16.67% 37.63%
40.37 JPMorgan Chase & Co. 1.13 2.88% 4.88% 9.31% 31.50%

Sector Chart:

Thursday S&P Sector Name (10) One-Day One-Week 30-Day 100-Day 100-Day
3/1/2012 % Change % Change % Change % Change High
562.47 Energy 0.92% -0.18% 4.85% 22.78% 565.66
236.41 Materials 1.10% -0.38% 1.77% 20.62% 239.7
320.74 Industrials 0.30% -0.43% 2.12% 22.81% 322.29
343.86 Consumer Discretionary 0.73% 1.42% 4.71% 19.92% 343.86
340.55 Consumer Staples -0.19% 0.59% 2.17% 9.90% 341.2
419.79 Health Care 0.45% 0.91% 1.18% 13.82% 420.06
200.81 Financials 1.24% 1.35% 6.01% 26.23% 200.81
475.85 Info Tech 0.65% 1.68% 9.78% 21.73% 475.85
129.77 Telecom Svc 0.32% 0.53% 0.51% 7.82% 129.91
176.65 Utilities 0.22% 0.01% 0.45% 4.24% 184.18
Thursday Dow Sectors (10) One-Day One-Week 30-Day 100-Day 100-Day
3/1/2012 % Change % Change % Change % Change High
3160.87 Basic Materials 0.83% -0.97% 2.16% 22.21% 3244.85
3544.59 Consumer Goods 0.34% 0.69% 4.17% 12.94% 3544.59
3849.78 Consumer Services 0.51% 1.17% 4.32% 19.15% 3849.78
3095.03 Financials 1.01% 0.88% 5.66% 25.48% 3095.03
3563.14 Health Care 0.45% 0.71% 2.13% 15.69% 3572.04
3362.38 Industrials 0.45% -0.44% 2.90% 24.22% 3377.39
6191.05 Oil & Gas 1.05% -0.34% 5.50% 24.48% 6234.72
7232.14 Technology 0.67% 1.41% 9.66% 22.11% 7232.14
1110.01 Telecommunications 0.35% 0.21% 1.26% 9.05% 1110.01
1836.25 Utilities 0.19% -0.32% 0.61% 5.31% 1907.11

World Market Table:

Thursday World Stock Indexes 1 Day 1 Day 1 Week 30-Day 100-Day
3/1/2012 N. & S. AMERICA Pt Change % Change % Change % Change % Change
12,980.30 Dow Jones Industrial 28.23 0.22% -0.03% 2.04% 11.47%
1,374.09 S&P 500 8.41 0.62% 0.78% 4.46% 12.21%
2,988.97 NASDAQ Composite 22.08 0.74% 1.08% 7.26% 12.04%
12,723.46 S&P TSX Canada 79.45 0.63% -0.06% 2.63% 5.31%
66,809.80 Brazil Bovespa Stock 998.07 1.52% 1.50% 7.22% 21.41%
38,033.45 IPC MXX - Mexico 216.76 0.57% 0.01% 1.74% 9.14%
2,748.75 MerVal Buenos Aires 100.53 3.80% -2.46% -4.14% 1.17%
815.22 Russell 2000 Sm-Cap 4.28 0.53% -1.69% 3.90% 14.42%
815.52 Russell 3000 98% Mkt 5.16 0.64% 0.53% 4.69% 12.84%
EUROPE
5,931.25 FTSE 100 England 59.74 1.02% -0.11% 3.54% 8.50%
3,499.73 CAC 40 France 47.28 1.37% 1.52% 5.37% 8.76%
6,941.77 DAX Germany 85.69 1.25% 1.94% 8.39% 16.33%
747.85 Athens Greece Comp. 4.26 0.57% 0.18% 5.60% -3.58%
860.91 IGBM Madrid Spain 8.46 0.99% 0.34% 0.29% -4.68%
6,128.28 SSMI - Swiss Market 18.35 0.30% -1.17% 0.09% 6.37%
17,814.93 FTSE Italia All (Italy) 464.63 2.68% 2.74% 7.81% 5.57%
ASIA & PACIFIC
2,427.61 Shanghai China -0.43 -0.02% 0.72% 4.65% -0.12%
9,707.37 Nikkei 225 Japan -15.87 -0.16% 1.17% 10.73% 10.97%
21,387.96 Hang Seng Hong Kong -292.12 -1.35% 0.03% 6.35% 15.60%
8,118.34 TSEC Taiwan Exchange -3.10 -0.04% 2.28% 12.23% 10.33%
4,255.50 S&P ASX 200 Australia -43.00 -1.00% -0.72% 0.38% 1.19%
17,583.97 BSE Sensex Bombay -168.71 -0.95% -2.74% 5.05% 2.93%
5,339.75 CNX NIFTY NSE India -45.45 -0.84% -2.62% 5.77% 4.04%
2,030.25 Korea Com KOSPI 0.00 0.00% 1.12% 4.12% 10.62%
2978.84 STI Singapore -15.22 -0.51% 0.35% 4.54% 8.55%

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