Day Traders Diary
05/24/2013Stocks entered the weekend on a mixed note as the S&P 500 shed 0.1% while the Dow ended with a gain of 0.1%.
The major averages began the day on a lower note as nine of ten sectors saw losses of more than 0.5%.
The consumer staples sector was the lone exception as the group spent the entire day in positive territory thanks to the relative strength of Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 81.89, +3.19). The second-largest staple stock advanced 4.1% after the company reaffirmed its fourth quarter guidance and named Alan Lafley President, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Lafley had previously served as company President and CEO from 2000 to 2009.
With light volume ahead of the holiday weekend, the broader market drifted back towards yesterday's closing levels. However, the S&P was kept from turning positive by the underperformance of influential sectors.
The energy space lost 0.4% as crude oil shed 0.4% to end at $93.92. Meanwhile, the other commodity-related sector, materials, slipped 0.3% as steelmakers lagged. The Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 41.67, -0.42) ended lower by 1.0%.
Industrials also pressured the broader market as transportation-related names sold off. Relative weakness in truckers, delivery services, and shippers caused the Dow Jones Transportation Average to lose 0.5%. However, another industrial subgroup, defense stocks, fared relatively well as the PHLX Defense Index rose 0.1%.
Cyclical groups saw comparable losses in early action. However, the financial sector displayed some afternoon strength as major banks registered gains. As a result, the sector ended with a slim gain of 0.1%.
Today's biggest laggards could be found in the high-yielding utilities sector as the group continued its recent weakness. Including today's 1.0% decline, the sector lost 3.7% this week, and is down 6.7% in May.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 14.11, +0.04) spiked to 14.79% amid the early weakness before the near-term volatility measure surrendered the bulk of its gains.
As mentioned earlier, volume was well below average with only 591 million shares changing hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Today's economic data was limited to durable goods orders. For April, orders rose 3.3% after declining an upwardly revised 5.9% (from -6.9%) in March. The Briefing.com consensus expected durable goods orders to rise 1.6%. The sawtooth pattern in transportation held up despite Boeing (BA 100.00, +0.25) announcing lower aircraft orders in April. Transportation orders rose 8.1% in April as defense and nondefense aircraft orders increased 25.7%.
Excluding transportation, durable goods demand was solid all-around and increased 1.3% in April after declining 1.7% in March.
Note that equity and bond markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day. On Tuesday, the March Case-Shiller 20-city Index will be reported at 9:00 ET while May consumer confidence will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.
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