Day Traders Diary


After yesterday's session saw the S&P 500 log its second-largest one-day advance of the year, today's action was dictated by the sellers. The S&P fell 1.4% as all ten sectors ended in the red.

There was no single catalyst responsible for today's decline. Instead, persistent global growth concerns coupled with rumors of a possible downgrade of France and Germany set the stage for a sharply lower open. Meanwhile, the pre-market downgrade rumors were partially realized before the close when Egan Jones downgraded Germany's rating to 'A' from A+.'

Technology stocks felt the brunt of today's drop as the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF (XLK 29.62, -0.62) lost 2.1%. Apple (AAPL 402.80, -23.44) dipped below $400 for the first time since December 2011, and settled lower by 5.5%. In addition to the broad market pressure, disappointing guidance from Apple supplier Cirrus Logic (CRUS 18.05, -3.36) fueled speculation regarding the health of its largest customer.

Intel (INTC 21.93, +0.02) was a bright spot among tech shares after the company reported in-line earnings and revenue. However, other chipmakers did not benefit from Intel's results as the PHLX Semiconductor Index lost 3.3%.

Financials also finished among the weakest performers as the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF (XLF 18.02, -0.34) shed 1.9%. Bank of America (BAC 11.70, -0.58) tumbled 4.7%, and ended below its 50-day moving average after missing on earnings.

Energy and materials led the market to the downside on Monday, and the two remained weak today. The energy sector lost 1.9% as crude oil declined as well. The energy component slid 2.2% to $86.74 per barrel.

Elsewhere, the materials space underperformed amid weakness in metals. Copper slumped 3.8% to end at levels not seen since September 2011 while gold slipped 1.1% to $1373.00. Steelmakers also echoed the ongoing growth concerns as the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 39.78, -1.08) sank 2.6%. Meanwhile the SPDR Materials Select Sector ETF (XLB 37.43, -0.56) shed 1.5%.

Due to the continued weakness in materials, the space is the only S&P sector trading in the red this year.

Worries surrounding global growth have also had an impact on the industrial sector. Transportation-related stocks saw intraday underperformance, but the Dow Jones Transportation Average ended the session in-line with the broader market, closing down 1.5%.

After soaring more than 40.0% on Monday, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 16.50, +2.54) crept above those highs before ending below 17.

Today's selling took place on heavy volume as 866 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Tomorrow, weekly initial and continuing claims will be reported at 8:30 ET while March leading indicators and the April Philadelphia Fed Survey are both set to cross the wires at 10:00 ET. Among earnings of note, Freeport-McMoRan (FCX 28.00, -1.25) and PepsiCo (PEP 78.85, -1.15) will report their results before the opening bell.

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