Day Traders Diary
3/24/14The stock market kicked off the new trading week on a cautious note with the Nasdaq leading the retreat. The tech-heavy index lost 1.2% while the S&P 500 fell 0.5% with eight sectors ending in the red. For its part, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%) held up relatively well.
Equity indices began the session in the green, but quickly slumped into the red as biotechnology continued its recent woes while other momentum names displayed broad weakness. Late-afternoon buying lifted the key averages off their lows, but the Nasdaq could only reclaim a portion of its loss.
The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 239.23, -6.78) settled lower by 2.8% after testing its 100-day moving average (235.61) for the first time since early November. Today's loss widened the ETF's March decline to 9.5%, but the high-flying industry group remains up 5.4% so far in 2014.
The underperformance of biotechnology pressured the health care sector (-1.4%), which spent the entire session behind the other nine groups. Health care was not the only influential sector weighing on the broader market as the consumer discretionary space (-1.0%) lagged throughout the session while technology (-0.4%) did not overtake the broader market until the late afternoon.
Momentum names did their part in keeping the two sectors on the defensive. Amazon.com (AMZN 351.85, -8.77) and Netflix (NFLX 378.90, -27.09) pressured the discretionary space, posting respective losses of 2.4% and 6.7%, while Facebook (FB 64.10, -3.14), Google (GOOG 1157.93, -25.11), and LinkedIn (LNKD 188.14, -8.58) contributed to the early weakness in technology.
Speaking of technology, the sector led the market lower in the morning, but was able to finish the day ahead of the S&P 500 thanks to the relative strength of top-weighted names. Apple (AAPL 539.19, +6.32), IBM (IBM 188.25, +1.58), and Microsoft (MSFT 40.50, +0.34) gained between 0.9% and 1.2% with Apple's strength coming amid reports indicating the company is working on a content distribution agreement with Comcast (CMCSA 50.30, +0.30). In all likelihood, the news exacerbated today's loss in the shares of Netflix.
Even though heavily-weighted sectors lagged, the broader market was prevented from registering additional losses by the relative strength among consumer staples (-0.1%), energy (-0.1%), and financials (-0.2%). Elsewhere, telecom services (+0.3%) and utilities (+0.2%) posted modest gains, but the pair carries little sway over the broader market since it accounts for just 5.5% of the S&P 500.
Treasuries posted modest gains after climbing off their overnight lows. The benchmark 10-yr yield slipped two basis points to 2.73% after hovering near 2.78% ahead of the opening bell.
Participation was in line with average as roughly 714 million shares changed hands at the NYSE.
There was no notable economic data reported today, but some news of note came out of the G7 meeting at The Hague where the G7 nations issued a joint statement, saying they are suspending their participation in the G8 until "Russia changes course."
Tomorrow, the Case-Shiller 20-city Index (Briefing.com consensus 13.3%) for January and the January FHFA Housing Price Index will be released at 9:00 ET while March Consumer Confidence (consensus 78.2) and New Home Sales for February (consensus 445K) will be reported at 10:00 ET.
Russell 2000 +1.7% YTD
Nasdaq Composite +1.2% YTD
S&P 500 +0.5% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.8% YTD
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