Day Traders Diary


Once again, equity indices posted modest gains even as the agreement to end the partial government shutdown and extend the debt ceiling remained elusive. The S&P 500 added 0.4%, extending its year-to-date gain to 19.9%.
Stocks slumped at the open after the weekend ended without any concrete progress in Washington. Despite the opening weakness, dip-buyers were quick to step in, drawing encouragement from late-morning reports indicating a bipartisan meeting was scheduled to take place at the White House at 15:00 ET.
The rebound continued into the afternoon with upbeat quotes from lawmakers providing additional support. On that note, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is 'very optimistic' that an agreement will be reached this week. Similar remarks were made by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who said "I share Senator Reid's optimism."
A brief slip ensued during the final 90 minutes of the session when the White House meeting was postponed in order to allow more time for talks. Strikingly, the market did not appear too concerned with the cancellation as the major averages ended the session on their highs.
Eight of ten sectors posted gains while telecom services (-0.7%) and utilities (-0.6%) spent the day in negative territory.
On the upside, the technology sector (+0.5%) fueled much of the session-long rebound as top components rallied. Apple (AAPL 496.04, +3.23), Google (GOOG 876.11, +4.12), and Microsoft (MSFT 34.45, +0.32) settled with gains between 0.5% and 0.9%. Netflix (NFLX 324.36, +23.51) also displayed strength, surging 7.8% after reports indicated the company is exploring making its service available through cable set-top boxes. In addition, the company said it entered into a production deal with Sony (SNE 19.93, -0.03).
The outperformance of tech shares helped the Nasdaq end ahead of the broader market. The index also drew strength from biotechnology as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 202.30, +1.52) ended higher by 0.8% after weighing on the tech-heavy index in early going.
Elsewhere, the energy sector (+0.6%) displayed relative strength as crude oil added 0.2% to $102.22 per barrel. Meanwhile, other commodities also posted gains. Gold futures rose 0.3% to $1272.50 per troy ounce and copper futures climbed 0.9% to $3.30 per pound.
The Treasury market was closed for Columbus Day, and the holiday had a visible impact on trading volume as only 575 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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