Day Traders Diary
The major averages began the new trading week on a lower note. The S&P 500 surrendered 0.5% after spending the day in a steady retreat from its opening high while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.2% after showing relative strength throughout the day.
All in all, the Monday session was very quiet with the S&P 500 spending the day inside a 15-point range. Investors did not receive any noteworthy data or earnings, but that will change as the week wears on.
Today, however, the S&P 500 appeared to be on track for its fourth consecutive advance, but the index hit resistance during the opening hour and retreated into the afternoon. A handful of heavily-weighted sectors displayed early strength, but the financial sector (+0.3%) was the only group left in the green when the session ended.
Elsewhere, the top-weighted technology sector (-0.3%) ended ahead of the broader market, but could not avoid turning negative. Large cap names like Apple (AAPL 126.85, -0.25), Google (GOOGL 548.64, +0.10), and Microsoft (MSFT 41.76, +0.04) held up well while chipmakers struggled with the PHLX Semiconductor Index losing 0.6%.
Still, the relative strength in the technology sector helped the Nasdaq spend the day ahead of the S&P 500. The index also drew support from biotechnology with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 358.32, +0.88) adding 0.2%. The biotech ETF registered its sixth consecutive gain after being up more than 1.0% in the early going. Conversely, the health care sector (-0.6%) ended among the laggards despite showing relative strength early.
Similar to health care, two other countercyclical sectors—consumer staples (-0.5%) and utilities (-1.0%)—underperformed while telecom services shed 0.2%.
Moving back to the cyclical side, the energy sector contributed to the early strength, but reversed to end lower by 0.8% even as crude oil settled higher by 0.5% at $51.91/bbl after testing the $53.00/bbl level.
Also of note, industrials (-1.1%) settled behind the remaining nine sectors as General Electric (GE 27.63, -0.88) weighed. The largest sector component fell 3.1% after spiking 10.8% on Friday.
Treasuries registered modest gains after climbing off their overnight lows. The 10-yr note ended on its high with the benchmark yield down two basis points at 1.93%.
Today's participation matched recent averages with more than 650 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data was limited to the Treasury Budget statement for March, which showed a deficit of $53.00 billion (Briefing.com consensus -$44.00 billion). The Treasury data are not seasonally adjusted, so the March deficit cannot be compared to the $36.90 billion deficit recorded in February.
Tomorrow, the March Retail Sales report (Briefing.com consensus 1.0%) and March PPI (consensus 0.2%) will be released at 8:30 ET while February Business Inventories (consensus 0.3%) will be reported at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +5.3% YTD
Russell 2000 +5.1% YTD
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