Day Traders Diary
3/20/13The S&P 500 settled higher by 0.7% after spending the entire session in positive territory.
Equities opened firmly higher amid continued speculation over the future of Cyprus as well as the impact of the parliamentary decision to reject eurozone bailout conditions.
Quiet trade continued into the afternoon as the S&P 500 spent the bulk of the day in a three point range. The benchmark index then climbed to fresh highs before sliding back into the day's range.
The afternoon spike occurred after the Federal Open Market Committee announced its decision to maintain the Fed Funds rate at 0.25% and continue its asset purchase program.
Today's statement from the Federal Reserve was largely in-line with expectations. Regarding economic conditions, the Committee observed a return to "Moderate economic growth following a pause late last year."
The Committee did not show increased concern for inflation levels, and said "Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee's longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable."
Coinciding with the move to fresh highs was a report out of Nikkei News, which suggested the incoming Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will call for "bold easing." Although the central bank's dovish stance has been widely-known, this report comes as Mr. Kuroda is expected to formally assume his new role on Thursday. The reports were met with yen weakness as the USD/JPY pair jumped to session highs near 96.00.
Although stocks maintained firm gains throughout the day, sector leadership was mixed. Growth-oriented consumer discretionary shares paced the advance, but defensively-minded consumer staples and health care rounded out the top of the leaderboard.
Discretionary shares outperformed amid strength in homebuilders. Lennar (LEN 43.43, +2.01) and Toll Brothers (TOL 36.55, +2.04) both gained over 4.5% while the broader SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB 30.52, +0.72) settled higher by 2.4%.
Elsewhere, the technology space received some support from chipmakers and software companies. The PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 1.2% while software stocks benefitted from the relative strength of Adobe Systems (ADBE 42.46, +1.71). The software publisher gained 4.2% after beating on earnings and revenue. However, the company's second quarter earnings and revenue guidance was on the low end of expectations. In addition, Adobe said its Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch is leaving the company to join Apple (AAPL 452.08, -2.41), which shed 0.5%.
On the downside, the industrial sector lagged amid weakness in major sector components. Industrial equipment manufacturers underperformed in the wake of a disappointing global sales report from Caterpillar (CAT 86.94, -1.33) as well as a Wells Fargo downgrade of Deere (DE 87.74, -2.83).
Industrial component FedEx (FDX 99.13, -7.33) endured a rough session and fell 6.9% after missing on the bottom line. The company also guided fourth quarter earnings below consensus due to a slowdown in global revenues. Peer United Parcel Service (UPS 84.03, -1.05) lost 1.2% in sympathy, and the Dow Jones Transportation Average shed 0.4%. Note that both FedEx and UPS are part of the bellwether complex.
Trading volume was below average and largely in-line with Monday's total as 673 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Taking a look at the final sector placement, consumer discretionary (+1.2%), consumer staples (+1.0%), and health care (+0.9%) sectors led the broader market while telecom (-0.1%), industrial (+0.1%), and energy (+0.6%) stocks brought up the rear.
Today's economic data was limited to weekly MBA Mortgage Applications, which declined 7.1% to follow last week's decrease of 4.7%.
In tomorrow's economic news, weekly initial and continuing claims will be reported at 8:30 ET. January FHFA Housing Price Index will be announced at 9:00 ET while February existing home sales, leading indicators, and March Philadelphia Fed Survey will all be released 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.