Day Traders Diary


The major averages rallied throughout the Monday session with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.5%) ending in the lead while the S&P 500 (+1.2%) and Nasdaq (1.2%) followed not far behind.

The key indices began the week on an upbeat note, aided by overnight news indicating China has loosened its lending requirements for purchases of second homes. In addition, Friday's dovish remarks from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who said the Fed will move cautiously when raising rates, provided another measure of support.

All ten sectors ended the day with solid gains while the S&P 500 narrowed its March loss to 0.9%. Despite the month-to-date loss, the benchmark index will enter tomorrow's session with a quarter-to-date gain of 1.3%.

Overall, cyclical sectors had the best showing, but countercyclical groups held their own. Health care and telecom services ended at the bottom of the leaderboard, but both groups still gained close to 1.0% apiece.

The health care sector settled behind most other groups despite showing early strength that was fueled by biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 351.32, +3.86) ended higher by 1.1% after being up more than 1.5% at the start. On the M&A front, UnitedHealth (UNH 121.00, +2.99) gained 2.5% after agreeing to acquire Catamaran (CTRX 59.83, +11.51) for $61.50/share.

Over on the cyclical side, five of six groups ended ahead of the S&P 500 while the consumer discretionary sector (+1.0%) underperformed.

Interestingly, the energy sector (+2.1%) ended in the lead even as crude oil spent the bulk of the day in negative territory. The energy component tested the $47.75/bbl level before settling lower by 0.5% at $48.65/bbl. WTI crude will enter tomorrow's session down 11.5% for the first quarter versus a 2.7% decline for the energy sector.

Elsewhere, the technology sector (+1.2%) caught up to the broader market during the final hour, but Intel (INTC 31.46, -0.54) weighed. The heavyweight lost 1.7%, retracing a portion of its 6.4% spike from Friday afternoon that occurred amid reports the company has approached Altera (ALTR 42.82, -1.57) about a potential takeover. However, it was reported earlier today that the deal remains on track. For its part, the PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 1.4%.

Treasuries registered slim gains after spending the day in narrow ranges. The 10-yr yield slipped one basis point to 1.96%. On a related note, the Dollar Index (98.05, +0.76) spiked 0.8%, but the greenback strength had little impact on today's equity rally.

Today's participation was well below average with fewer than 660 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included Personal Income/Spending data and Pending Home Sales:

Personal income increased 0.4% in February after increasing an upwardly revised 0.4% (from 0.3%) in January while the consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 

The increase was in-line with the 0.4% increase in aggregate earnings that was reported in the February employment report

Spending rose just 0.1% in February after declining 0.2% in January while the consensus expected an increase 0.2%

Core PCE Prices rose 0.1%, as expected

Pending home sales for February rose 3.1% while the consensus expected an increase of 0.4%

Tomorrow, the Case-Shiller 20-City Index for January will be released at 9:00 ET ( consensus 4.6%) while March Chicago PMI (consensus 52.0) and March Consumer Confidence (expected 96.4) will be reported at 9:45 ET and 10:00 ET, respectively.


Nasdaq Composite +4.5% YTD

Russell 2000 +4.3% YTD

S&P 500 +1.3% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +0.9% YTD


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