Day Traders Diary


The major averages ended the Wednesday session on a broadly lower note. The S&P 500 lost 1.6% with all ten sectors ending in the red while the Russell 2000 (-2.1%) underperformed.

For the second day in a row, the major averages slumped at the start, but unlike yesterday, the key indices could not stage a comeback with a big drop in the energy sector (-3.1%) keeping the market under pressure throughout the session.

The energy sector widened its fourth-quarter loss to 15.9% with crude oil settling lower by 4.5% at $60.92/bbl. Today's slide took place after China reported its lowest year-over-year growth in CPI (1.4%) and OPEC cut its demand forecast. In addition, crude stockpiles showed an unexpected build. Following today's drop, the energy component is down 33.4% since the end of the third quarter.

However, the recent slump among commodities has not been isolated to just oil, but the weakness factored in more prominently today as misgivings about the pace of global economic growth and the potential spillover effect for the U.S. fueled a sense that the market has come too far too fast. Accordingly, today's selling interest hit far and wide with nine sectors losing more than 1.0%.

Similar to energy, the materials sector (-2.1%) spent the day at the bottom of the leaderboard. Growth concerns weighed on steelmakers, which sent Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 36.28, -1.29) lower by 3.4%.

Elsewhere, the industrial sector (-1.9%) slumped under the weight of Boeing (BA 124.64, -5.02). The Dow component lost 3.9% and fell below its 50-, 100-, and 200-day averages. The underperformance of the influential sector component masked the relative strength among airlines after International Air Transport Association's projection that the airline industry's collective global net profit after tax will increase to $25.00 billion in 2015 from an estimated $19.00 billion in 2014. Jetblue Airways (JBLU 15.15, +0.11), Southwest Airlines (LUV 41.48, +0.75), and United Continental (UAL 63.69, +1.17) jumped between 0.7% and 1.9%, helping the Dow Jones Transportation Average (-1.4%) finish a little ahead of the market.

Also of note, the consumer discretionary sector (-1.4%) settled ahead of the market, but that was no thanks to Yum! Brands (YUM 70.53, -4.69). The stock tumbled 6.2% after issuing disappointing guidance. In a way, the guidance from Yum! echoed global growth concerns. The company said that sales at its China division have not recovered from bad publicity over the summer as fast as the company had expected.

Growth concerns were also visible in the foreign exchange market with the Dollar Index (88.25, -0.45) recording its third consecutive decline. Notably, the retreat in the dollar gave a big boost to the yen and pressured the dollar/yen pair below yesterday's low (118.00).

Safe haven demand boosted Treasuries with the 10-yr yield falling six basis points to 2.16%.

The selloff invited above-average participation with more than 890 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data was limited to the MBA Mortgage Index and the Treasury Budget:

The weekly MBA Mortgage Index spiked 7.3% to follow last week's 7.3% decline
The Treasury budget showed a deficit of $56.80 billion in November, down from a deficit of $135.2 billion in November 2013. The Treasury data are not seasonally adjusted, and the November data cannot be compared to the $121.7 billion deficit in October
The Consensus expected a budget deficit of $59.0 billion
The November deficit was slightly smaller than the CBO's forecast of a $59.0 billion deficit
Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims ( consensus 295K), November Retail Sales (consensus 0.4%), and November Import/Export prices will be reported at 8:30 ET while the Business Inventories report for October (consensus 0.2%) will be released at 10:00 ET.

Nasdaq Composite +12.2% YTD
S&P 500 +9.6% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +5.8% YTD
Russell 2000 UNCH YTD

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