Day Traders Diary
The stock market ended the Tuesday session on a broadly lower note. The Nasdaq Composite (-0.6%) was the weakest performer among the major averages while the S&P 500 (-0.5%) ended a bit ahead of the tech-heavy index.
Equities began the day in negative territory and remained below their flat lines until the close. However, participation was very limited with just 525 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor. The light activity was also reflected by narrow trading ranges with the S&P 500 bounded between 2,080 and 2,084 for most of the session.
Overall, cyclical sectors were responsible for the bulk of the weakness as three of six growth-sensitive groups settled in-line with or behind the broader market while the utilities sector (-2.1%) was the only laggard on the countercyclical side.
The utilities sector spent the entire session at the bottom of the leaderboard to narrow its 2014 gain to 26.6%. Despite today's retreat, the rate-sensitive group remains on track to finish the year ahead of the other nine sectors while health care, which has spiked 24.5% in 2014, is all but sure to finish the year in the second place.
Similar to utilities, the energy sector (-0.6%) slumped out of the gate amid early weakness in crude oil, which endured a volatile session. The energy component faced selling pressure overnight, but was able to climb into the green this morning, ending higher by 0.8% at $54.10/bbl. Today's uptick in the price of crude could not prevent oil services provider Civeo (CVEO 3.92, -4.35) from slashing its guidance for next year, which caused the stock to plunge 52.6%.
Elsewhere, other influential sectors like industrials (-0.5%) and technology (-0.7%) kept the market under pressure while consumer discretionary (-0.4%), financials (-0.1%), and health care (-0.4%) displayed relative strength.
For the most part, the health care sector withstood weakness in the biotech group that pressured the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 304.62, -3.39) lower by 1.1%. This in turn contributed to the underperformance of the Nasdaq Composite.
Treasuries notched their highs shortly after the opening bell before retreating throughout the day. The 10-yr yield slipped one basis point to 2.19%.
Economic data was limited to Consumer Confidence and Case-Shiller 20-City Index:
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index increased to 92.6 in December from an upwardly revised 91.0 (from 88.7) while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 94.4
Over the last month, gasoline prices dropped to their lowest point in more than five years, equity markets have reached historic highs, and the employment situation improved notably, but the December reading came in below the 94.1 that was recorded in October
The Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index for October rose 4.5% against a 4.4% increase expected by the Briefing.com consensus
The prior month's reading was revised down to 4.8% from 4.9%
Tomorrow, weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET while Initial Claims will be reported at 8:30 ET (Briefing.com consensus 290K). The Chicago PMI report for December (consensus 60.0) will cross the wires at 9:45 ET while the Pending Home Sales report for November (expected 0.8%) will be released at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +14.4% YTD
S&P 500 +12.6% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +8.5% YTD
Russell 2000 +4.1% YTD