Day Traders Diary


Equities began the day on a slightly higher note. The early gains were doubled after an erroneous report on the Cincinnati Enquirer Website suggested Mr. Romney had a considerable lead over Mr. Obama in Ohio. The newspaper promptly retracted the claim, and said that the page accidentally showed a template with dummy data. However, the S&P 500 held the bulk of its gains into the late afternoon before ending higher by 0.8%.

The materials sector was among the top performers, and gained 1.1%. Looking at earnings within the space, Martin Marietta (MLM 86.98, +1.97) settled higher by 2.3% after the company's earnings of $1.36 exceeded Capital IQ consensus estimate by $0.08. Martin's revenue of $593.90 million also beat expectations. When commenting on future outlook, management said: "For full year 2012, we anticipate high single-digit volume growth in our nonresidential end-use market, driven primarily by increased energy shipments." Other providers of building materials saw similar strength. Texas Industries (TXI 45.59, +1.15) and Vulcan Materials (VMC 48.48, +1.88) advanced 2.6% and 4.0%, respectively.

Elsewhere, Louisiana-Pacific (LPX 15.70, -0.35) slipped 2.2% after reporting disappointing earnings. The paper producer's earnings of $0.20 were $0.04 worse than the Capital IQ consensus estimate. Meanwhile, the company's revenue of $467.8 also missed analyst expectations. Other paper manufacturers participated in the sector-wide rally. Neenah Paper (NP 26.78, +1.13) advanced 4.4% and International Paper (IP 35.62, +0.25) added 0.7%.

The consumer discretionary sector saw a flurry of earnings this morning. Two providers of satellite television service were among those who reported. DIRECTV (DTV 50.51, -0.15) slipped 0.3% after revealing third quarter earnings of $0.90, which was $0.04 below the Capital IQ consensus. Meanwhile, the company's revenue of $7.42 billion was ahead of the $7.31 billion expected by analysts. Management commented on the quarter by saying: "DIRECTV U.S.' third quarter results reflect successful execution of our long-term strategy to strike a more optimal balance between our top and bottom lines while DIRECTV Latin America continues to profitably increase market share in the rapidly growing Latin America pay-TV market." Peer DISH Network (DISH 36.00, +1.17) rose by 3.4% after reporting a loss of $0.35 on revenue of $3.52 billion. The bottom line may not be comparable to analyst estimates due to high litigation costs, while the top line missed expectations.

Office Depot (ODP 2.99, +0.48) and OfficeMax (OMX 8.33, +0.89) both reported mixed third quarter results. The two office store operators beat on their respective bottom lines, and fell short of the consensus revenue expectations. However, it should be noted that a Bloomberg article discussed a possible merger between the two. As a result of the M&A speculation, Office Depot and OfficeMax settled higher by 19.1% and 12.0%, respectively.

Luxury retailer Fossil (FOSL 84.24, -9.86) lost 10.5% after reporting mixed earnings. During the third quarter, the luxury retailer earned $1.26, which was $0.09 ahead of the Capital IQ consensus estimate. However, the company's revenue of $684.20 million was below analyst expectations. In addition, Fossil guided fourth quarter earnings in-line with expectations, while revenues are expected to show weakness and come in below consensus estimates. The results weighed on other higher-end apparel retailers. Coach (COH 57.75, +0.15), Ralph Lauren (RL 160.44, -0.79), and Macy's (M 41.38, +0.22) were all down around 1.0% at the start of the session before recovering their losses during the late-morning surge.

Utilities have seen considerable weakness in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Since October 31, the SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF (XLU 35.69, +0.02) is down over 3.0%. Most notably, electricity providers have been pressured as repair costs continue to rise. In addition, the failures in the Northeast are likely to result in calls for more regulatory oversight and better backup systems, which would translate to increased costs for electricity providers.

Today, the sector was the weakest performer, and major electricity providers weighed on the group. Southern Company (SO 44.14, -0.48) slid 1.1% and Edison International (EIX 45.68, -0.34) slipped 0.7%.

The Presidential election is today's headline event and first exit polls are expected after east coast voting ends at 19:00 ET. Hopefully, the results will be counted without issues and the outcome will be known before tomorrow's open.

In tomorrow's economic data, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be reported at 7:00 ET. In addition, September consumer credit will be announced at 15:00 ET.

The U.S. Treasury will auction off $24 billion in 10-yr notes.

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