Day Traders Diary


The major averages ended on their lows after opening gains turned into broad-based losses. The S&P 500 fell 1.3% while the Nasdaq underperformed with a decline of 1.9%.
Prior to the open, the European Central Bank cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.25% after recent data suggested the price level is moving away from the ECB's inflation target. The rate cut fueled a surge in the dollar while also sparking a risk bid. However, the equity gains were capped after a better-than-expected headline Q3 GDP reading (2.8% versus 2.5% consensus) fostered renewed speculation about a potential tapering announcement coming sooner rather than later.
The immediate reaction in Treasuries also reflected a 'taper on' trade as bonds sold off, sending the 10-yr yield from its low to a session high. However, Treasuries returned to their best levels of the day as weakness among equities redirected some flows into safe-haven assets. The 10-yr yield ended lower by four basis points at 2.61%.
The Nasdaq paced today's decline as momentum names saw a continuation of yesterday's weakness. Facebook (FB 47.56, -1.56), LinkedIn (LNKD 211.47, -9.31), (PCLN 1022.89, -35.15), Tesla (TSLA 139.77, -11.39), and Yelp (YELP 61.83, -4.78), lost between 3.2% and 7.5% with Tesla seeing added pressure in reaction to reports of another car fire after the vehicle hit some debris on the road. The index was also pressured by Qualcomm (QCOM 67.09, -2.65) after the company reported disappointing results combined with cautious guidance.
Even though the tech-heavy Nasdaq lagged, the traditional technology sector (-1.2%) ended ahead of the S&P along with two other top-weighted sectorsfinancials (-1.1%) and health care (-0.9%).
Although equities registered broad losses, a pocket of strength could be found in the shares of Twitter (TWTR 44.90, +18.90), which began trading as a public company at $45.10 per share after pricing the IPO at $26. The social media stock ended the session below its opening price, but 72.7% above its IPO price.
With stocks ending on their lows, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 13.90, +1.23) finished near its high.
Today's selling invited above-average participation as more than 900 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Taking another look at today's data, GDP increased 2.8% in the third quarter. That is up from a 2.5% increase in Q2 2013 and matches the best gain since Q3 2012. The consensus expected GDP to increase 1.9%. Final sales were up 2.0%, down slightly from a 2.1% increase in the second quarter.
Overall, the economy performed in the third quarter in a similar fashion to how it performed in the second quarter. Inventories contributed slightly more to growth (0.8 percentage points vs. 0.4 percentage points), which was the main difference between the two quarters. Inventories have now increased for three consecutive quarters and are due for a normal pullback soon. That could leave headline GDP growth coming in weaker in the coming quarters.
Separately, the weekly initial claims level declined to 336,000 from an upwardly revised 345,000 (from 340,000). The consensus expected the initial claims level to fall to 335,000. The Department of Labor stated that there were no unusual factors in the initial claims data. After two months of biases from computer glitches and the government shutdown, the initial claims report is giving a clean reading of the labor situation.
Unfortunately, the claims level is almost exactly where it was prior to the problems in the claims data. Layoff levels have remained steady and the private sector is very comfortable with its current labor needs.
Tomorrow, October non-farm payrolls, September personal income, personal spending, and core PCE prices will all be reported at 8:30 ET while the preliminary reading of the November Michigan Sentiment Survey will be released at 9:55 ET.

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