Day Traders Diary
12/11/12Today's session was relatively quiet as the major averages followed an upbeat open with a climb to their respective highs. At noon, House Speaker John Boehner said he remains hopeful a budget deal will be reached, but first, Democrats and the President need to outline specific spending cuts. The comments had little effect on the markets as equities saw muted reaction, and continued holding at their best levels. However, 90 minutes before the close, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats do not plan to propose spending cuts, and that reaching a consensus before Christmas would be difficult. In response to Senator Reid's comments, the S&P 500 slipped from its highs, trimming its gain to 0.7%.
The technology sector was the top performer and the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF (XLK 29.23, +0.39) finished higher by 1.4%. The largest tech component, Apple (AAPL 541.38, +11.56), rose by 2.2% in an attempt to halt its slide and establish support in the $550 area.
Texas Instruments (TXN 31.01, +1.19) advanced 4.0% despite narrowing its revenue guidance and trimming its earnings guidance to account for restructuring.
TripAdvisor (TRIP 40.91, +2.52) spiked 6.6% after Liberty Interactive (LINTA 18.95, -0.19) purchased 4.8 million TRIP shares for $62.50 per share. As a result of the transaction, Liberty Interactive will control a majority voting stake in TripAdvisor. Other online travel sites also gained on the news. Expedia (EXPE 59.99, +2.28) rose by 4.0% and Orbitz Worldwide (OWW 2.38, +0.06) added 2.6%.
The health care space was one of the top gainers and biotech companies contributed to the sector strength. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 41.84, +1.59) and Gilead Sciences (GILD 76.34, +2.09) led biotech names and saw respective gains of 4.0% and 2.8%.
In acquisition news, Somaxon Pharmaceuticals (SOMX 2.65, +1.18) surged 80.3% after announcing it will be acquired by Pernix Therapeutics (PTX 7.65, -0.28). Per the agreement, Somaxon shareholders will receive $25 million in Pernix common stock.
Elsewhere, Hill-Rom Holdings (HRC 28.69, +0.62) advanced 2.2% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to 'Buy' from 'Neutral.'
Financials traded largely in-line with the broader market until late afternoon comments from Senator Harry Reid indicated an agreement before Christmas is unlikely. Morgan Stanley (MS 17.75, +0.74) settled higher by 4.4% to lead the majors. Earlier reports indicated the company may file for regulatory approval in order to begin a share buyback program. Looking at other majors, Goldman Sachs (GS 118.86, +1.85) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM 42.64, +0.33) gained 1.6% and 0.8%, respectively.
Elsewhere, American International Group (AIG 35.26, +1.90) rallied 5.7% after confirming the U.S. Treasury will sell its remaining shares of AIG common stock.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average added 0.1% and airlines outperformed. Delta Air Lines (DAL 10.66, +0.52) was the top advancer within the bellwether complex. The air carrier gained 5.1% after confirming plans to invest $360 million in Virgin Atlantic. Following the investment, Delta will hold a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic. Looking at other airlines, United Continental (UAL 21.71, +0.82) and Southwest Airlines (LUV 10.12, +0.28) finished higher by 3.9% and 2.9%, respectively.
In notable quarterly results, Dollar General (DG 42.94, -3.63) reported earnings of $0.63 on revenue of $3.96 billion. The company's bottom line was $0.03 ahead of the Capital IQ consensus, while its revenue met expectations. In addition to reporting an earnings beat, the retailer raised its full-year 2013 earnings guidance in-line with analyst estimates. However, its full-year 2013 revenue is expected to be near the low end of the previous range. Dollar General slid 7.8% in reaction to the results and peers Dollar Tree (DLTR 37.98, -1.46) and Family Dollar (FDO 64.68, -5.90) lost 3.7% and 8.4%, respectively.
The trade deficit widened to $42.2 billion during October after a downwardly revised prior month deficit of $40.3 billion. Economists polled by Briefing.com had expected that the deficit would come in at $42.8 billion.
October wholesale inventories increased by 0.6%, which was ahead of the 0.4% increase forecast by the Briefing.com consensus.
Looking at tomorrow's economic data, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be reported at 7:00 ET. Export prices ex-agriculture and import prices ex-oil will both be announced at 8:30 ET. At 12:30 ET, the Federal Open Market Committee will announce the Federal Funds Rate, and the statement will be followed by Ben Bernanke's press conference at 14:15 ET. Lastly, the U.S. Treasury will report its November budget at 14:00 ET.
The U.S. Treasury will hold a $21 billion 10-yr reopening.
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