Day Traders Diary


The major averages spent today's abbreviated session in the red as the lack of progress in the budget debate weighed on sentiment. The S&P 500 hovered near its lows for the duration of the day, and the benchmark index lost 0.2% amid low volume. With the holiday break underway, traders turn their focus to Thursday when lawmakers are scheduled to return to the country's capital.

The energy sector was the weakest performer and coal producers were pressured. Alpha Natural Resources (ANR 9.03, -0.25) lost 2.7% and CONSOL Energy (CNX 32.67, -0.48) slid 1.5%.

Consumer discretionary stocks outperformed the broader market and multiline retailers saw relative strength. J.C. Penney (JCP 19.87, +0.28) settled higher by 1.4% after Oppenheimer said the company's promotional efforts will improve cash generation and will serve as a steady traffic driver for the retailer. Peer Kohl's (KSS 43.46, +0.11) added 0.3%.

Elsewhere, TripAdvisor (TRIP 42.45, +0.28) advanced 0.7% after Needham raised its price target for the stock to $51 from $38.

In the tech space, the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF (XLK 28.87, -0.08) shed 0.3%. Within the sector, Apple (AAPL 520.17, +0.84) outperformed and added 0.2%.

Elsewhere, Facebook (FB 26.93, +0.67) gained 2.6% after Needham raised its price target for Facebook stock to $33 from $25.

Yahoo! (YHOO 19.65, +0.30) advanced 1.6% following a 'Buy' recommendation from Needham. In addition, the investment bank raised its target for Yahoo! to $26 from $19 based on valuation.

Microsoft (MSFT 27.06, -0.39) slipped 1.4% after New York Times reported it has not seen an uptick in demand for personal computers following the release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. Computer assemblers Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 14.01, -0.33) and Dell (DELL 10.24, -0.19) both lost near 2.0% on the news.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average shed 0.4% and 18 of 20 components registered losses. Railroads were among the biggest laggards as Norfolk Southern (NSC 61.99, -0.56) and Kansas City Southern (KSU 83.21, -0.61) settled lower by 0.9% and 0.7%, respectively.

Note that equity markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Christmas Day. Normal trading hours will resume on Wednesday, December 26. Happy holidays!

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