Day Traders Diary


The major averages ended the day on a mixed note. The S&P 500 ended lower by 0.1% while Nasdaq added 0.1%.

Although the broader market ended little changed, that did not serve as an accurate portrayal of the day's developments.

The S&P 500 began the session lower by 0.8% as European worries remained at the forefront. The future of the eurozone hangs in the balance with market participants speculating whether or not the European Union will copy the Cypriot playbook next time a troubled nation is in need of emergency assistance.

Further, Italy appears to be headed for another round of elections after Pier Luigi Bersani was unable to form a coalition government. In addition, the Bank of England warned that British banks face a GBP25 billion capital shortfall. Lastly, both France and the United Kingdom reported a 0.3% GDP contraction in their final fourth quarter readings.

The mounting worries resulted in cautious European trade, which saw a safety bid push the German 10-yr yield lower by eight basis points to 1.27%.

In the U.S., bank stocks reflected the uncertainty surrounding the eurozone. While most sectors ended the session well off their lows, banks settled near the bottom of today's range. The SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF (XLF 18.16, -0.09) ended lower by 0.5% and JPMorgan Chase (JPM 47.77, -0.87) was the weakest performer among the majors. Shares of JPMorgan fell 1.8% to close below their 50-day moving average.

Elsewhere, the technology sector trailed behind the broader market, largely due to the underperformance of Apple (AAPL 452.08, -9.06). The largest tech stock sold off throughout the day, and settled lower by 2.0%.

Although Apple weighed on technology, the remainder of the sector displayed some relative strength. Microprocessor manufacturers outperformed and the PHLX Semiconductor Index, which tracks 30 chipmakers, ended with a slim gain of 0.1%.

On the upside, defensively-oriented health care and utilities ended with modest gains. In addition, the energy sector climbed steadily off its opening lows and the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE 79.54, +0.26) ended higher by 0.3%.

Even though the broader market ended little changed, a different story was told by currencies and Treasuries.

In the foreign exchange market, the U.S. dollar index climbed in early trade, and held near its highs for the duration of the day. The index ended higher by 0.4% at 83.23. Today's strength was due in large part to weakness in the euro which fell to 1.2770 against the greenback, its lowest level since November.

Meanwhile, the Treasury complex saw an overnight bid which continued into the morning, pushing the 10-yr yield lower by six basis points to 1.85%.

Volume outpaced yesterday's second-lowest total of the year, but today's tally of 596 million remained well below average.

Pending home sales for February fell 0.4%, which was worse than the 2.0% increase forecast by the consensus. Today's reading followed last month's revised drop of 3.8%.

Tomorrow, weekly initial and continuing claims will be reported at 8:30 ET. In addition, the third estimate of fourth quarter GDP and GDP deflator will also be announced at 8:30. Lastly, March Chicago PMI will be released at 9:45 ET.

The U.S. Treasury will auction off $29 billion in 7-yr notes.
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