Day Traders Diary


The major averages finished higher despite showing indecision in the early part of the session. The fiscal cliff remained the focal point, and investors showed optimism in Washington's ability to get a deal done. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle continued to exchange jabs, and Speaker Boehner said the President and the Democrats have not done enough to avoid falling off the cliff. Mr. Boehner touted the proposal he put forth, which is expected to face a House of Representatives vote tonight around 19:30 ET. The S&P 500 gained 0.6% ahead of this evening's vote.

The financial sector was the top performing space in the S&P 500 and the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF (XLF 16.70, +0.23) settled higher by 1.4%. Of the majors, Bank of America (BAC 11.52, +0.33) gained 3.0%, and was the top advancer.

NYSE Euronext (NYX 32.25, +8.20) surged 34.1% after agreeing to be acquired by IntercontinentalExchange (ICE 130.10, +1.79) for $33 per share. The transaction price represents a 37.2% premium to NYSE Euronext's Wednesday close.

On the downside, Discover Financial (DFS 38.41, -1.36) slid 3.4% following mixed earnings. During the fourth quarter, the company earned $1.07, which was $0.04 below the Capital IQ consensus estimate. However, Discover's revenue of $2.00 billion exceeded expectations.

Technology stocks lagged the broader market and Apple (AAPL 521.73, -4.57) lost 0.9%.

Among notable tech earnings, technology consultant Accenture (ACN 69.02, -1.38) slid 2.0% after reporting its quarterly results. While the company beat on earnings, its revenue reflected a slowdown in corporate spending.

On the upside, Jabil Circuit (JBL 19.95, +1.38) surged 7.4% after beating on earnings and revenue. In addition, Jabil issued downside second quarter earnings guidance while revenue is expected to be in-line with analyst estimate.

The health care space was the weakest performer, and a handful of names moved on news. Allscripts Healthcare (MDRX 9.14, -1.54) sank 14.4% after the company concluded the review of its strategic alternatives, and decided against a sale. In addition, Allscripts named Paul Black as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Black will replace Glen Tullman, who will resign. Also of note, Lee Shapiro will step down from his current function of president.

Elsewhere, Merck (MRK 42.15, -1.50) shed 3.4% after its trial for TREDAPTIVE yielded disappointing results.

On the upside, The Medicines Company (MDCO 23.71, +1.42) surged 6.4% following the announcement of positive trial results for oritavancin in the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections.

The November existing home sales report saw its annualized rate increase to 5.04 million units. An improvement in the sales of existing homes suggests new homes may face an increase in demand as well. Homebuilders responded generally well to the news. MDC Holdings (MDC 36.87, +1.24) advanced 3.5% and DR Horton (DHI 20.10, +0.15) rose by 0.8%.

Elsewhere, KB Homes (KBH 15.60, -1.06) slid 6.4% despite beating on earnings and revenue. During the fourth quarter, the homebuilder earned $0.10, which was $0.04 better than the Capital IQ consensus estimate. Meanwhile, its revenue of $578.2 million also exceeded expectations.

The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 361,000, which was worse than the 345,000 that had been expected by the consensus. The tally was above the revised prior week count of 344,000. As for continuing claims, they rose to 3.225 million from 3.213 million.

The third estimate of third quarter GDP showed growth of 3.1%, which was better than the 2.7% that had been expected by the consensus. However, the third quarter GDP Deflator was left unrevised at 2.7%.

The November Housing Price Index from the FHFA increased by 0.5%, which follows a 0.2% increase observed during the prior month.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey ticked up to +8.1 for December. This comes after November's reading of -10.7. Economists polled by had expected that the Survey would improve to a reading of -1.3.

Also of note, leading indicators for October decreased by 0.2%, which followed the prior month's increase of 0.2%.

European markets ended today's session on a mixed note. The United Kingdom's FTSE shed 0.1% while France's CAC and Germany's DAX both added 0.1%.

In the United Kingdom, Carnival (CCL 36.99, -2.07) was the weakest performer. The cruise-line operator lost 6.1% after reporting disappointing earnings. On the upside, media company ITV gained 3.1%.

In France, financials AXA and Credit Agricole led the index with respective gains of 1.1% and 1.3%. Software company Cap Gemini was the weakest index component, and lost 2.7% following disappointing earnings from Accenture.

German stocks eked out slim gains and drug makers led the way. Bayer and Merck both added near 1.0%. Meanwhile, ThyssenKrupp was the weakest performer. The steelmaker lost 2.1% after railroad Deutsche Bahn filed a lawsuit which named ThyssenKrupp as one of the defendants.

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