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Leigh Baldwin & Co.

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Day Traders Diary

12/4/12

Today's session was confined to a narrow range as the S&P 500 opened near its flat line, and spent the entire day within points of the unchanged level. At midday, Bloomberg TV aired an interview with President Obama, but his remarks were in-line with recent statements. The market did not receive notable economic data and sentiment-driving headlines were limited as well. As such, the benchmark index ended the choppy day with a loss of 0.2%.

Technology stocks underperformed the broader market and the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF (XLK 29.04, -0.05) slipped 0.2%. Apple (AAPL 575.84, -10.34) weighed on the sector and settled lower by 1.8%.

Even though tech stocks were generally weak, semiconductor manufacturers outperformed. The PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 0.7% and bellwether Intel (INTC 19.92, +0.38) advanced 2.0%.

Elsewhere, Netflix (NFLX 82.32, +6.32) surged 8.3% after the company announced a multi-year premium pay-TV window agreement with Walt Disney (DIS 49.30, +0.01). Besides lifting Netflix to session highs, the announcement had a negative impact on Coinstar (CSTR 47.37, +0.39) and Liberty Media (LMCA 105.56, -5.49). The two names fell to their respective lows as investors considered the possibility of increased competition. Coinstar is the operator of Redbox video rental kiosks. The stock was able to shake-off the intraday weakness, and close higher by 0.8%. Meanwhile, Liberty Media, which holds a stake in Starz and Encore, recovered a portion of its losses and ended lower by 4.9%.

The consumer discretionary sector lagged as weak guidance from Darden Restaurants (DRI 47.40, -5.02) weighed on restaurant operators. Darden slumped 9.6% after issuing downside earnings guidance for the second quarter. In addition, the company lowered its full-year earnings and revenue guidance as well. Following the update, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and Cowen both downgraded the stock. Among other restaurant operators, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD 72.30, -0.96), Cheesecake Factory (CAKE 32.80, -1.26), and Brinker (EAT 29.45, -0.41) all fell between 1.3% and 3.7%. Note that Brinker also lowered its second quarter guidance on October 24.

Select Chinese stocks were weaker after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against the Chinese affiliates of Big 4 accounting firms. The charges raise concern over the quality of financial statements of U.S.-listed Chinese stocks. Casino operators Asia Entertainment (AERL 3.00, -0.37) and Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL 14.18, -1.18) saw respective losses of 11.0% and 7.7% as investors were reluctant to buy Chinese ADRs.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average added 0.3%. As most components registered gains, trucking stocks underperformed. The group has encountered a soft patch recently, and the weakness continued today. JB Hunt (JBHT 58.13, -0.55) and Landstar (LSTR 49.25, -0.60) both slid near 1.0%.

The market will receive a full slate of economic news tomorrow. The weekly MBA Mortgage Index and the November ADP Employment Change will be released at 7:00 ET and 8:15 ET, respectively. In addition, revised third quarter productivity and unit labor costs will be reported at 8:30 ET. Lastly, October factory orders and November ISM Services will hit the wires at 10:00 ET.
All comments contained herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The firm does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information or make any warranties regarding results from it's usage.