Day Traders Diary


There wasn't a lot of excitement in the stock market today and there is nothing wrong with that. After rallying in broad-based fashion on Friday, the major indices stood their ground (for the most part) amid a lack of conviction from buyers and sellers alike.

Today wasn't a case so much of the stock market going up as it was a case of some influential stocks going up to keep the major indices on a winning path. In fact, decliners were just about even with advancers at the NYSE and led by a 3-to-2 margin on the Nasdaq.

Apple (AAPL 566.43, +6.41) and Google (GOOG 1078.14, +8.27) were key drivers of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite while ExxonMobil (XOM 95.84, +0.19), Chevron (CVX 123.34, +1.05), and Goldman Sachs (GS 167.67, +0.46) were key drivers specifically of the price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Another distinction in today's market is that the small-cap sector generally sat this one out as evidenced by the underperformance of the Russell 2000 (-0.2%).

The S&P 500 made an attempt to switch into a higher gear, but it was rebuffed after peaking its head above the 1811 level. That area was a technical line in the sand that was tried and trumped on three separate occasions. The last time was around 1:25 p.m. ET. From that point forward, the broader market trended lower in a choppy trade, yet there was never a cascade of selling interest.

Three Federal Reserve Bank Presidents -- Lacker (Richmond), Bullard (St. Louis), and Fisher (Dallas) -- gave speeches today that touched on their economic views, but ultimately none of them surprised the market with their thinking.

On a related note, the Federal Reserve released a report today that showed household net worth hit a record high $77.3 tln in the third quarter. The stock market took that news and sat with it. Despite the encouraging statistic, it did little to add to household net worth today.

From a sector standpoint, there wasn't a single sector that moved up, or down, at least 1.0%. The biggest gainer today was the materials sector (+0.5%), which also happens to be one of the lowest-weighted sectors in the S&P 500. A decent showing by the financial (+0.4%) and industrials (+0.3%) sectors helped carry more of today's performance load. The utilities (-0.6%) and the consumer discretionary (-0.1%) sectors were the only sectors to end the day in red figures.

McDonald's (MCD 95.72, -1.08) was a notable blue chip laggard following the company's report that comparable sales in its US business declined 0.8% in November (they were up 0.5% overall). Separately, food services company Sysco (SYY 37.62, +3.31) enjoyed a strong day with investors applauding its decision to buy US Foods for a total consideration of $8.2 bln. Aside from stocks, the bond market also stood its ground today after Friday's advance. The 10-yr note added two ticks, leaving its yield at 2.85%.

Tomorrow's economic calendar features the Wholesale Inventories and JOLTS - Job Openings reports for October. Neither is known for having market-moving potential.

Nasdaq +34.7% YTD
Russell 2000 +32.7% YTD
S&P 500 +26.8% YTD
DJIA +22.1% YTD

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