Day Traders Diary


The S&P 500 settled higher by 0.4% to register its fifth consecutive gain.

That streak appeared to be in jeopardy when stocks began the session on a lower note. However, the three-point slip at the open was enough to entice bargain hunters who sent the benchmark average to a fresh record high.

Cyclical sectors appeared weak during the opening minutes, but most economically-sensitive groups were able to rebound, and finish in the lead.

The materials space displayed strength from the start as industrial metals traded higher after China reported a wider-than-expected trade surplus. Gains in copper were notable as the red metal advanced 1.7% to 3.361 per pound.

Comments from Rio Tinto (RIO 48.55, +1.09) also boosted the materials sector after the company said it expects iron ore demand to remain intact. Elsewhere, steelmakers displayed strength across the board as the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 44.05, +0.84) settled higher by 1.9%.

Technology stocks also finished among the leaders as the sector displayed broad strength to follow yesterday's underperformance. Major components Apple (AAPL 463.84, +5.18), Google (GOOG 873.63, +16.40), and IBM (IBM 204.82, +2.14) ended with gains between 1.1% and 1.9% while high-beta chipmakers ended higher as well. The PHLX Semiconductor Index rose 1.3%.

One of the top performers of the past week, the Dow Jones Transportation Average, began the session with a loss of 0.9% as CH Robinson (CHRW 57.26, -4.30) weighed on the bellwether complex after reporting disappointing earnings. However, the remaining components of the 20-stock index picked up CH Robinson's losses as the index settled higher by 0.2%.

While most cyclical groups finished in the lead, energy and consumer discretionary sectors trailed behind the broader market.

The energy space added just 0.2% even as crude oil climbed 1.0% to $96.54.

Elsewhere, the discretionary sector lagged as homebuilders and retailers weighed. In addition, media stocks were mixed after Dow component Walt Disney (DIS 65.99, -0.08) reported a bottom-line beat. Another Dow component, McDonald's (MCD 100.95, -1.34), also pressured the sector after its comparable sales decreased 0.6% in April.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 12.79, -0.04) ended with a slim loss, but VIX futures settled higher suggesting some downside protection was in demand.

Volume was slightly above average as 730 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Today's economic data was limited to the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, which rose 7.0% to follow last week's increase of 1.8%.

Tomorrow, weekly initial claims and March wholesale inventories will be reported at 8:30 ET and 10:00 ET, respectively. In earnings of note, Cooper Tire (CTB 26.34, +0.17) and Dean Foods (DF 19.00, +0.37) will report their results prior to the opening bell.

The U.S. Treasury will auction $16 billion in 30-yr bonds

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