Day Traders Diary
12/4/13The S&P 500 shed 0.1%, registering its fourth consecutive decline. Today's session proved to be a bit of a roller coaster ride for stocks as the S&P 500 opened in the red, rallied into positive territory, fell to fresh lows, and regained the bulk of its losses into the close.
For the second day in a row, the early weakness coincided with heavy selling in Europe. In addition, bonds and risk assets were pressured by a better-than-expected ADP Employment report, which indicated employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 215K in November (160K Briefing.com consensus). The report increased expectations for a strong nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, and re-invited speculation about the Fed's tapering timeline. Treasuries sold off following the data, sending the 10-yr yield higher by five basis points to 2.83%.
The opening losses were followed by a swift reversal after below-consensus ISM Services (53.9 actual versus 55.0 expected) for November and a ho-hum composite home sales report for September (354K actual versus 432K consensus) and October (444K actual versus 420K expected) raised some doubts about the sustainability of the economic improvement. This calmed some of the tapering fears, and helped the major indices regain their flat lines. Contributing to the rebound, were rumors suggesting Democrats and Republicans reached a budget agreement.
The budget deal rumors faded shortly thereafter while equity indices responded with a fade of their own. The S&P 500 tumbled to fresh lows, but was able to springboard off the 1,779 level and rally back to its flat line.
In large part, the late-afternoon rebound was powered by three sectorsfinancials (+0.2%), technology (+0.2%), and materials (+0.5%)that outperformed throughout the session. Outside of the three, only the utilities sector (+0.2%) finished with a gain.
Notably, the materials sector received all-around support from most of its components. Steelmakers and miners outperformed as the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 47.99, +0.39) gained 0.8% and Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX 21.22, +0.65) jumped 3.2%. On a related note, gold futures spiked 2.0% to $1244.60 per troy ounce.
The other commodity-linked sector, energy (-0.4%), ended among the laggards while crude oil added 1.2% to $97.19 per barrel.
Today's trading volume was just above average as more than 756 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
looking at today's remaining economic data, the October trade deficit fell to $40.6 billion from an upwardly revised $43.0 billion. In large part, the decline was due to significant gains in sales of artwork (+$0.50 billion), gem diamonds (+$0.40 billion), and jewelry (+$0.40 billion). The Briefing.com consensus expected the trade deficit to fall to $40.5 billion.
Separately, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index tumbled 12.8% to follow last week's downtick of 0.3%.
Tomorrow, November Challenger Job Cuts will be reported at 7:30 ET while weekly initial claims and the second estimate of third quarter GDP will be released at 8:30 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 10:00 ET release of October Factory Orders.
Nasdaq +33.7% YTD
Russell 2000 +32.0% YTD
S&P 500 +25.7% YTD
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