Day Traders Diary


The major averages finished a shaky week on an upbeat note. The Nasdaq led the way, climbing 1.7% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 added 1.1% and 1.3%, respectively. Thanks to the broad rally, the indices managed to register weekly gains between 0.5% and 0.8% but small caps were not as fortunate. The Russell 2000 gained 1.1%, trimming its weekly loss to 1.3%.
Prior to the open, it was reported that only 113,000 nonfarm payrolls were added in January while the consensus expected an increase of 175,000. Immediately after the release, equity futures and the dollar/yen pair tumbled while gold futures and Treasuries rallied. Strikingly, the moves reversed nearly as fast after the dollar/yen pair surged off its low near the 101.50 level.
Once again, the rebound in dollar/yen occurred in conjunction with the rebound in futures and continued into the session. This suggests participants remain very sensitive to the performance of the Japanese currency due to the popularity of the yen-based carry trade that benefits from rising stocks and a falling yen.
An interesting component of today's rally in the stock market, which was presumably predicated on the belief that pent-up demand will unleash better labor market and economic data in coming months, was that the Treasury market also traded higher. The benchmark 10-yr note added four ticks, pressuring its yield to 2.68%. The growth acceleration view, therefore, did not appear to be resonating as much in the fixed income market as it did in the stock market.
In the same vein, the US Dollar Index (DXY 80.65, -0.25) slipped today in a move that didn't exactly mesh with the stock market's seeming optimism about the road ahead. Also of note, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1262.90/ozt.
Just like yesterday, cyclical sectors paced the bulk of the advance. All six growth-sensitive groups posted gains between 1.1% and 1.6% with industrials ending in the lead. The sector drew strength from the likes of Boeing (BA 127.02, +4.35) and Honeywell (HON 93.16, +2.02) while transports lagged. The Dow Jones Transportation Average surged at the open and tested its 50-day moving average (7272) before surrendering a portion of the advance. The bellwether complex ended higher by 0.8% after being up nearly 1.2% in the morning.
Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, the discretionary space advanced 1.3%, extending its weekly gain to 1.9%. The discretionary sector ended the week ahead of the remaining nine groups after losing nearly 6.0% in January.
On the defensive side, health care (+1.7%) seized the lead during the afternoon while the remaining three countercyclical groupsconsumer staples (+0.9%), telecom services (+0.7%), and utilities (+0.6%)lagged. Biotechnology contributed to the outperformance of the health care sector as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 246.33, +9.54) surged 4.0%.
Participation was a bit above average as 751 million shares changed hands at the NYSE.
Today's data was limited to just two reports:
Nonfarm payrolls added only 113,000 jobs in January. That was up from a 75,000 (from 74,000) gain in December, but well below the consensus expectation of a 175,000 gain. Even though the claims data have shown improvements in labor conditions and a clear decline in layoff trends, it has not translated into employers hiring more workers. The labor market is stuck in the mud. Many analysts will be quick to blame the poor data on extreme cold and other problematic weather conditions, but if this was the case then jobs that are directly affected by the weather-such as construction-should have fallen in January. That did not happen. The construction sector actually added 48,000 new jobs in January, which was the most new jobs since 80,000 jobs were added in March 2007. Total private payrolls added 142,000 jobs in January, up from an 89,000 gain in December. The consensus expected private payrolls to increase by 161,000. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6% from 6.7% while the consensus expected the rate to remain at 6.7%.
The consumer credit report for December showed credit growth of $18.80 billion while the consensus expected the reading to come in at $11.50 billion. The prior month's reading was revised higher to $12.40 billion from $12.30 billion.
There is no economic data on Monday's schedule.

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