Day Traders Diary


The major averages began the day on a down note and continued declining for the first two hours of the session. As the S&P 500 reached its lows, Congressional leaders held a press conference regarding the progress of fiscal cliff negotiations. During the public statement, Senator Harry Reid said that officials would not wait until the last day of December, and could agree on the framework for a deal prior to the deadline. The remarks helped the indices surge to session highs, where they spent the majority of the afternoon. The S&P 500 built on its gains and finished higher by 0.5%.

High-yielding telecom stocks continued seeing weakness as the country nears the fiscal cliff. Morning reports indicated the White House is considering a package which would delay the mandatory spending cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. However, this was received as a delay of the decision, rather than a step towards a concrete solution. The telecommunications sector slid 0.6% and AT&T (T 33.14, -0.28), Sprint Nextel (S 5.48, -0.06), and Verizon (VZ 41.40, -0.30) all lost between 0.7% and 1.1%.

Among technology stocks, Apple (AAPL 527.68, +2.06) registered a gain of 0.4% as the stock attempts to recover from recent softness.

A handful of notable technology companies have reported earnings since yesterday's close. Dell (DELL 8.86, -0.70) settled lower by 7.3% after missing on earnings and revenue. During the third quarter, the computer manufacturer saw its top line decline 10.7% year-over-year, to $13.72 billion. In addition, the company issued downside fourth quarter revenue guidance and reaffirmed its full-year 2013 earnings expectations.

Meanwhile, Applied Materials (AMAT 10.15, -0.15) reported strong results, but issued cautious guidance. The semiconductor manufacturer earned $0.06 on $1.65 billion in revenue, which beat the Capital IQ consensus estimates. However, forward guidance was a point of concern as the company expects first quarter earnings and revenue below consensus.

Lastly, Autodesk (ADSK 31.48, +0.98) rose by 3.2% after reporting mixed earnings. The software provider's earnings exceeded estimates by $0.04, while its revenue of $548 million fell short of estimates. Similar to Applied Materials, Autodesk is cautious about its upcoming quarter as it expects earnings and revenue to miss consensus estimates.

Looking at the financial sector, the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF (XLF 15.28, +0.10) added 0.7%. Even though the proxy ETF traded ahead of the broader market, major financials were mixed. JPMorgan Chase (JPM 39.53, +0.14) added 0.4% after reaching a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding Bear Stearns and JPMorgan residential mortgage-backed securities. As part of the settlement, JPMorgan will pay approximately $297 million in penalties. Credit Suisse (CS 21.94, -0.43) was also named in the settlement and will pay approximately $120 million in fines. Looking at other majors, Citigroup (C 34.98, -0.23) slid 0.7% while Wells Fargo (WFC 31.94, +0.37) outperformed with a gain of 1.2%.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average underperformed the industrial average and settled lower by 0.5%. Out of the five airlines which are part of the transportation average, four saw notable losses. Delta Air Lines (DAL 9.33, -0.16) fell 1.7%, and JetBlue Airways (JBLU 4.96, -0.07) lost 1.4%. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines (LUV 8.93, +0.09) outperformed and added 1.0%. As 17 out of 20 transportation stocks settled lower, two listings connected to the trucking industry saw strength. JB Hunt (JBHT 59.32, +0.22) and Ryder System (R 44.22, +0.45) added 0.4% and 1.0%, respectively.

Casino stocks were broadly stronger after Penn National Gaming (PENN 48.23, +10.62) announced plans to split its real estate and gaming assets into two separate companies. Under the new structure, a newly-established PropCo will be the first real investment trust focused solely on gaming. Penn National surged 28.2% while peers Ameristar Casinos (ASCA 19.52, +2.67), Pinnacle Entertainment (PNK 12.65, +0.84), and Las Vegas Sands (LVS 42.27, +1.71) all gained between 4.2% and 15.9%.

In economic news, the September net long-term TIC flows report indicated a $3.3 billion inflow of foreign capital into U.S. denominated assets. This follows the prior month's $90.0 billion inflow.

Industrial production decreased during October by 0.4%, which was worse than the 0.1% increase that had been expected by the consensus. The reading follows the revised 0.2% increase recorded during the prior month. Capacity utilization hit 77.8%, which was worse than the 78.3% expected by the consensus, and down from the revised prior month reading of 78.2%.

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