Day Traders Diary


The stock market began the new trading week on the defensive, with the major averages posting losses across the board. The Russell 2000 (-1.5%) and Nasdaq (-1.2%) led the retreat, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.0%) and S&P 500 (-1.1%) fared a bit better.
The major averages started the session in the red with little help from other global indices as markets in Asia and Europe posted losses. Contributing to the cautious sentiment was an apparent escalation of tensions in Eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian protesters, demanding referendums on independence, took control of government buildings in four cities. Most notably, protesters in Donetsk called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to send in Russian peacekeepers.
Similar to Friday, equity indices spent the session in a steady retreat as momentum names remained volatile. Biotechnology displayed early strength, but the industry group notched a session high during the opening hour before spending the remainder of the day in a battle with its flat line. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 226.82, +1.52) tacked on 0.7%, while SPDR S&P Biotechnology ETF (XBI 133.22, -0.24) shed 0.2%. For its part, the health care sector (-1.1%) ended in-line with the S&P 500, while consumer staples (+0.3%), telecom services (unch), and utilities (-0.2%) outperformed.
Elsewhere, the six cyclical sectors registered losses between 0.8% and 1.9%. Even though the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged, the technology sector (-0.8%) outperformed thanks to gains in some top components. Cisco Systems (CSCO 22.85, +0.14), IBM (IBM 194.52, +2.75), and Intel (INTC 26.48, +0.32) posted gains between 0.6% and 1.4%, while momentum names remained volatile. Facebook (FB 56.95, +0.20) gained 0.4%, while LinkedIn (LNKD 159.65, -6.18) and Tesla (TSLA 207.52, -4.70) lost 3.7% and 2.2%, respectively.
Other momentum names like (AMZN 317.76, -5.24) and (PCLN 1169.73, -8.35) played a part in the underperformance of the consumer discretionary sector (-1.9%), which widened its year-to-date loss to 5.2%. Retailers ended broadly lower with the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 83.01, -1.89) falling 2.2%, while homebuilders did not have a much better showing. The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction ETF (ITB 23.94, -0.65) lost 2.6%.
With stocks ending near their lows, participants displayed demand for volatility protection, sending the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 15.57, +1.61) to mid-March levels.
Treasuries posted modest gains with the benchmark 10-yr yield slipping three basis points to 2.70%.
For the second session in a row, participation was above average with nearly 820 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.
Today's economic data was limited to the Consumer Credit report for February, which indicated an increase of $16.50 billion after increasing an upwardly revised $13.80 billion (from $13.70 billion) in January. That was the largest monthly expansion since October 2013. The consensus expected consumer credit to increase by $14.30 billion. Typically, consumer credit is a volatile measure that often goes through substantial revisions before the final data are released. The revisions to January, however, were much milder than normal.
Tomorrow's economic data will be limited to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, which will be released at 10:00 ET.

S&P 500 -0.2% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -2.0% YTD
Russell 2000 -2.2% YTD
Nasdaq Composite -2.3% YTD

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