Day Traders Diary


Equities managed to finish today's session with slim gains despite a mid-morning stumble. The S&P 500 and Dow were able to overcome the early weakness thanks in part to upbeat earnings from major sector components.

The 30-stock Dow Jones led the way as earnings from DuPont (DD 47.82, +0.83), Travelers (TRV 77.95, +1.64), and Verizon Communications (VZ 42.94, +0.40) contributed to the outperformance. Though Verizon missed on the bottom line, its stock added 0.9%.

In other earnings of note, Delta Air Lines (DAL 14.01, +0.40) gained 2.9% on the back of an in-line report. Note that Delta, along with its rivals, has soared over 30% since the start of December. The advance has been notable as crude oil gained nearly $10 in the same timeframe.

As the S&P 500 and Dow pushed to fresh highs, the Nasdaq was more deliberate in its climb off session lows. Semiconductor manufacturers weighed on the index and the PHLX Semiconductor Index slipped 0.3%. The cautious trade preceded earnings announcements from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD 2.45, -0.01) and Texas Instruments (TXN 33.46, -0.06). The market will receive quarterly reports from the two semiconductor producers after today's close.

Additionally, two major tech names, Google (GOOG 702.87, -1.64) and International Business Machines (IBM 169.08, +1.61), will also reveal their earnings after the closing bell.

While earnings contributed to today's gains, the market also received some headlines from Washington. Midday reports indicated the White House would welcome a three-month debt ceiling extension. This comes as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on a temporary extension tomorrow.

Among stocks moving on news, Boeing (BA 41.16, -0.88) shed 1.2% after Reuters reported that electrical issues with the Dreamliner were not caused by faulty batteries as previously thought. Elsewhere, Caterpillar (CAT 97.72, +0.10) saw little change following the discovery of accounting misconduct at its Chinese subsidiary. As a result of the discovery, Caterpillar will take a fourth quarter non-cash charge of approximately $580 million.

Crude oil climbed steadily throughout the session and ended higher by 0.7%. The energy component settled at $96.68.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 12.57, +0.22) advanced 0.9%, but the near-term volatility measure remained at its multi-year low.

Floor volume at the New York Stock Exchange was in-line with the 50-day average as 700 million shares changed hands during today's session.

Today's lone economic data point was the December existing home sales report which pointed to an annualized rate of 4.94 million units, weaker than the rate of 5.10 million units that had been generally expected by the consensus. The pace for December was down from the prior month's revised rate of 4.99 million units.

Looking at tomorrow's economic releases, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be reported at 7:00 ET while the November FHFA Housing Price Index will cross the wires at 9:00 ET. In notable earnings, McDonald's (MCD 92.95, +0.69) will announce its fourth quarter results ahead of the opening bell.

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