Day Traders Diary


The major averages hover near their flat lines at midday with the Dow (-0.1%) and S&P 500 (-0.1%) showing modest losses while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) has displayed relative strength since the opening bell.

Once again, equity indices have stuck to narrow ranges, but it is worth noting the market has made big strides in February with the S&P 500 on course to end the month higher by 5.9% versus a 7.5% spike for the Nasdaq.

Today, however, the benchmark index has been held back from climbing into the green by a 1.5% decline in the energy sector. Fittingly, that weakness can be traced back to the oil market, where WTI crude is lower by 3.5% at $49.21/bbl. Conversely, the Dollar Index (95.27, +1.07) is higher by 1.1% as it looks to overtake its January high at 95.85.

Meanwhile, most of the remaining cyclical sectors also hover in the red with losses close to 0.3% apiece while the top-weighted technology sector (+0.7%) outperforms. Large cap components like Apple (AAPL 130.00, +1.21), Cisco Systems (CSCO 29.94, +0.45), and Google (GOOGL 557.98, +10.65) hold gains between 1.0% and 1.9% while high-beta social media names like Facebook (FB 80.88, +1.32) and LinkedIn (LNKD 272.91, +3.91) also outperform.

On the earnings front, Avago Technologies (AVGO 127.57, +14.90) has surged 13.2% after issuing upbeat revenue guidance and announcing the acquisition of Emulex (ELX 7.98, +1.62) for $8.00/share. The broader PHLX Semiconductor Index has advanced 0.6%, which has been a supportive factor for the Nasdaq Composite.

Elsewhere, countercyclical sectors have had a better showing today than their growth-sensitive counterparts. Consumer staples (+0.1%), health care (+0.2%), and telecom services (+0.6%) trade ahead of the broader market while the utilities sector (-0.7%) has widened its February decline to 6.8%.

Treasuries sit near their lows with the 10-yr yield higher by two basis points at 1.99%.

Economic data included Initial Claims, CPI, Durable Orders, and FHFA Housing Price Index:

The initial claims level increased to 313,000 from an upwardly revised 282,000 (from 281,000) while the consensus expected an increase to 290,000 

The Department of Labor reported that there weren't any special factors impacting the initial claims level

The CPI index declined 0.7% in January after declining an upwardly revised 0.3% (from 0.4%) in December while the consensus expected a decline of 0.6% 

As expected, a large drop in gasoline prices was the primary catalyst for the decline in consumer prices. Gasoline costs fell 18.7% in January after declining 9.2% in December. The resulting gasoline decline caused overall energy prices to fall 9.7% in January

Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 0.2% in January after increasing 0.1% in December while the consensus expected an increase of 0.1%

Durable goods orders increased 2.8% in January after declining a downwardly revised 3.7% (from 3.3%) in December while the consensus expected an increase of 1.7% 

Almost the entire increase in orders can be attributed to seasonal adjustments in the aircraft industry. Even though Boeing reported a large decline in January aircraft orders on both a monthly and yearly basis, the Census Bureau showed a 73.7% increase in orders of defense and nondefense aircraft and parts

Excluding aircraft, durable goods orders increased a much more modest 0.3% in January after declining 0.9% in December while the consensus expected an increase of 0.5%

The FHFA Housing Price Index for December rose 0.8%, which followed a revised increase of 0.7% (from 0.8%) in November

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