Day Traders Diary
The stock market kicked off the new week on a sleepy note with the S&P 500 (-0.4%) spending the day in a 15-point range. The benchmark index settled ahead of the Dow (-0.5%), but that was a small victory considering the S&P 500 finished near its session low. Above all, today's trading volume was well below average with just 760 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
Equity indices faced some pressure at the start, brought on by lingering concerns about the eurozone. Yesterday, Greek Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras spoke in front of parliament, reiterating his intention to push back against eurozone's austerity measures. The continued defiance towards requests of the troika has led to increased chatter about a forced Greek exit from the single currency bloc. Meanwhile, Germany's Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel called the tone of Mr. Tsipras' speech 'regrettable.' Greece's Athens General Index tumbled 4.8% in response while the Greek 10-yr note sold off to send its yield higher by 64 basis points to 10.75%.
The concerns contributed to a lower start, but the S&P 500 did not go down without a fight. The index tried to reclaim its flat line, and was able to do so briefly on the third attempt; however, the third time was hardly the charm as a slide to a fresh session low followed. Nine sectors registered losses with countercyclical health care (-1.1%) and utilities (-0.9%) ending at the bottom of the leaderboard. The utilities sector widened its February loss to 4.6% while health care lagged even as biotechnology names displayed intraday strength. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 313.35, -2.24) spent the bulk of the day in the green, but slumped during afternoon action to end lower by 0.7%.
Elsewhere, another countercyclical group—consumer staples (-0.7%)—also finished behind the broader market while the six cyclical groups settled in-line with or ahead of the S&P 500.
Most notably, the energy sector surrendered the bulk of its intraday gain during the final hour, but still ended ahead of others with crude oil underpinning the relative strength. The energy component gained 2.6% and finished the pit session at $52.99/bbl. On a related note, the Baltic Dry Index fell to a new all-time low, sliding below its worst level from August 1986.
Similar to energy, the technology sector (-0.2%) settled near its flat line. The largest sector by weight enjoyed support from a handful of influential components like Apple (AAPL 119.70, +0.77), Oracle (ORCL 43.40, +0.42), and Qualcomm (QCOM 67.11, +0.76) while chipmakers struggled, evidenced by a 1.1% decline in the PHLX Semiconductor Index.
Treasuries ended the day with slim gains after a daylong slide from overnight highs. The 10-yr yield slipped one basis point to 1.95%.
Tomorrow, the Wholesale Inventories report for December (Briefing.com consensus 0.2%) and December Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey will be reported at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite -0.2% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -0.5% YTD
S&P 500 -0.6% YTD
Russell 2000 -0.7% YTD
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