Day Traders Diary
The stock market finished a strong week on an upbeat note with the S&P 500 (+0.4%) setting a fresh closing record high at 2,096.99. The benchmark index posted a weekly gain of 2.0% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.8%) outperformed to end the week higher by 3.2%.
Equity indices climbed out of the gate after the futures market received an early morning boost from a better than expected Eurozone Q4 GDP reading (+0.3%; expected +0.2%) that was largely driven by a 0.7% quarter-over-quarter expansion in Germany (expected 0.3%).
Meanwhile, Greece was not a focal point on Friday, but Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem did say he is "very pessimistic" that Monday's meeting can produce a concrete solution as Greece maintains high ambitions despite limited possibilities.
Six of ten sectors finished in the green with cyclical groups setting the pace, which was the case throughout the week. The energy sector jumped 2.0% to extend its weekly advance to 2.6% thanks to a rally in crude oil. WTI crude advanced 2.9% to $52.67/bbl and held its ground through the release of the latest Baker Hughes U.S. rig count, which revealed a decline of 98 to 1358, representing the 10th consecutive weekly decline.
Another commodity-linked group—materials (+0.9%)—rallied behind miners and steelmakers. Rio Tinto (RIO 49.37, +2.22) surged 4.7% after reporting better than expected results, boosting its dividend 12.0% to $2.15/share, and adding $2 billion to its buyback authorization. As for steelmakers, ArcelorMittal (MT 11.20, +0.74) jumped 7.1% despite reporting a Q4 loss. The broader Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 35.20, +1.14) gained 3.4%.
Elsewhere, the top-weighted technology sector (+0.7%) began among the laggards, but ended in a position of relative strength. The influential group finished the week in the lead, up 4.3%, with Apple (AAPL 127.08, +0.62) tacking on 0.5% to extend its weekly gain to 6.9%. Chipmakers kept pace with the sector, sending the PHLX Semiconductor Index higher by 0.7%.
Also of note, the financial sector (-0.1%) lagged throughout the day and its underperformance caused the S&P 500 to make a brief afternoon appearance in the red. However, other sectors held their own through the intraday slip, which in turn, helped the market springboard to a fresh high just ahead of the close.
Meanwhile, countercyclical sectors struggled, but health care (+0.5%) caught up to the market during afternoon action. On the flip side, consumer staples (-0.5%), telecom services (-0.1%), and utilities (-1.6%) settled in the red. Notably, shares of Kraft (KRFT 64.42, -1.75) lost 2.7% after concerns regarding potential currency headwinds overshadowed better than expected results.
Treasuries spent the day in a steady retreat, sending the 10-yr yield higher by five basis points to 2.03%.
Today's participation was below-average, which was the case throughout the week. Only 744 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor (50-day average 835 mln), which likely reflected some caution ahead of a long weekend, which is expected to include the implementation of a Russia-Ukraine ceasefire on February 15. Despite the scheduled truce, the past two days featured reports of increased clashes in the contested rail hub city of Debaltseve.
Economic data was limited to Import/Export Prices and the advance reading of the Michigan Sentiment Index:
Export prices, excluding agriculture, decreased 2.1% in January after decreasing 1.2% in the prior reading
Excluding oil, import prices fell 0.7%, which followed last month's 0.1% decline
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index declined to 93.6 in the preliminary February reading from 98.1 in January while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 98.3
Despite the large and unexpected decline, the sentiment level is the same as it was in December
The Current Conditions Index declined to 103.1 in February from 109.3 in January while the Expectations Index dropped to 87.5 from 91.0
Bond and equity markets will be closed on Monday for Presidents' Day. On Tuesday, the Empire Manufacturing Index for February will be released at 8:30 ET while the February NAHB Housing Market Index will be reported at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +3.3% YTD
S&P 500 +1.9% YTD
Russell 2000 +1.6% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.1% YTD
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