Day Traders Diary


The Dow (-0.2%), Nasdaq (-0.2%), and S&P 500 (-0.2%) registered modest losses on Wednesday while the Russell 2000 (+0.6%) outperformed. The small-cap index climbed steadily throughout the afternoon while the S&P 500 spent the day in an 11-point range near its flat line before settling just below its 100-day moving average (2,042).

Yesterday's sharp slide was paced by the two largest sectors by weight, but technology (-0.7%) and financials (+0.6%) spent today on opposite sides of their unchanged levels, which contributed to the sideways action.

The financial sector settled in the lead ahead of this evening's release of the complete results of the stress test administered by the Federal Reserve. Citigroup (C 52.33, +1.10) was the top performer among the majors, climbing 2.2%.

Meanwhile, the technology sector struggled throughout the session, sliding to lows during the final hour of action. Shares of Apple (AAPL 122.24, -2.27) fell 1.8%, keeping the sector under pressure while chipmakers displayed relative strength. Intel (INTC 32.34, +0.64) and SanDisk (SNDK 82.73, +2.56) posted respective gains of 2.0% and 3.2% while the PHLX Semiconductor Index rose 0.3%. Intel rallied after VentureBeat reported that the company's processors will be used in Apple iPhones in 2016 while SanDisk was added to Goldman's Conviction Buy List.

Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, the discretionary space (-0.5%) lagged while the energy sector (+0.2%) ended among the leaders even though crude oil settled lower by 0.4% at $48.21/bbl after testing the $47.40/bbl level intraday. The dollar-denominated energy component had to contend with another uptick in the greenback that pushed the Dollar Index (99.76, +1.15) higher by 1.2%. The dollar enjoyed another day of broad strength, pressuring the euro to 1.0540.

Over on the countercyclical side, consumer staples (-0.8%) and utilities (-0.7%) underperformed throughout the day while health care ended flat after showing intraday strength. The sector saw little reaction to news indicating Endo International (ENDP 87.76, -1.24) offered to buy Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP 168.60, +10.95) for $175/share.

Treasuries rallied following today's solid 10-yr auction, sending the benchmark 10-yr yield lower by three basis points to 2.11%.

Today's participation was in-line with recent averages as roughly 760 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data released today was limited to the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, which fell 1.3% to follow last week's 0.1% uptick.

Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims ( consensus 306K), February Retail Sales (consensus 0.4%), and February Import/Export Prices will be released at 8:30 ET while the Business Inventories report for January (consensus 0.1%) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 14:00 ET release of the Treasury Budget for February (consensus -$192 billion), which was pushed back from today.
  • Nasdaq Composite +2.4% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +0.9% YTD 
  • S&P 500 -0.9% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.1% YTD


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