Day Traders Diary


The S&P 500 climbed 0.7% as all ten sectors settled in positive territory.

Stocks registered the bulk of their gains during the opening hour after upbeat economic data from China combined with Syria's agreement to put its chemical weapons under international control lured participants into equities.

In addition to sparking a risk bid, the lowered likelihood of military action against Syria caused a handful of safe-haven assets to slide. Crude oil and gold futures sold off in the morning before spending the remainder of the session near their lows. Gold fell 1.6% to $1364.90 per troy ounce while oil slumped 2.0% to $107.29 per barrel. Treasuries also faced some selling, which sent the benchmark 10-yr yield higher by four basis points to 2.96%.

With the Syrian situation remaining fluid, tonight's presidential address at 21:00 ET is expected to receive significant attention. The speech is likely to focus on finding a diplomatic solution while reserving the right for military action should Syria fail to comply.

The retreat in oil prices weighed on the energy sector, which ended flat. Meanwhile, most other cyclical groups finished ahead of the broader market.

Industrials (+1.4%) ended in the lead thanks to all-around strength. The largest sector member, General Electric (GE 23.87, +0.48) rose 2.1% and transportation companies also rallied across the board. The Dow Jones Transportation Average climbed 1.9% as lower oil prices contributed to the outperformance. Industrials were followed by the financial sector, which gained 1.2%. Goldman Sachs (GS 165.14, +5.65) paced the sector's advance after it was announced the investment bank along with Nike (NKE 66.82, +1.42) and Visa (V 184.59, +6.04) will enter the Dow Jones Industrial Average following next Friday's close. The trio will replace Alcoa (AA 8.06, -0.03), Bank of America (BAC 14.61, +0.13), and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 22.27, -0.09) in the price-weighted index.

The technology sector (+0.6%) traded in-line with the S&P through the first half of the session, but was pressured by its largest component during afternoon trade. Apple (AAPL 494.64, -11.53) lost 2.3% after its product refresh event was met with investor disappointment.

With regard to countercyclical sectors, consumer staples (+0.1%) and health care (+0.6%) lagged while utilities (+0.7%) ended in-line. The weakest group of the third quarter, telecom services (+1.1%), narrowed its quarter-to-date loss to 5.1% as Verizon (VZ 46.47, +0.56) gained 1.2% after the company's bond offering received significant interest.

Given the lowered likelihood of military involvement in Syria, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 14.52, -1.11) registered its first close below 15.00% for the first time since August 26.

Today's session received solid participation as 773 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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