Day Traders Diary
The stock market ended the midweek session on an upbeat note with the S&P 500 settling four points below its 50-day moving average (2,104). The benchmark index added 0.2% while the Dow and Nasdaq posted comparable gains.
Equity indices began the trading day with modest gains, but the first half of the session saw a steady retreat with liquidity drying up ahead of the afternoon release of the FOMC policy statement, which called for no change to the current monetary policy stance. However, the accompanying interest rate forecast implied two 25-basis point increases before the year ends. Furthermore, the Fed lowered its 2015 GDP growth forecast range to 1.8-2.0% from the range of 2.3-2.7% that was forecast in March.
Stocks struggled for direction immediately after the release, but rallied to highs during Chair Janet Yellen's press conference, which was viewed as dovish. To that point, Ms. Yellen said the central bank would like to see more "decisive evidence" on inflation and employment before hiking rates.
U.S. Treasuries retreated into the afternoon, but surged back to unchanged in the wake of the FOMC statement. The benchmark 10-yr yield ended at 2.31% after hitting 2.40% in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Dollar Index (94.27, -0.73) dropped to a new low for the month with the euro climbing to 1.1340 against the greenback.
Speaking of the euro, the single currency advanced even though the day went by without any progress between Greece and its creditors. According to Bloomberg, Greek Prime Minister said his government is ready to give a "big no" to what is perceived to be a bad deal offered by the EU. That being said, the European Central Bank increased Greece's Emergency Liquidity Assistance to $84.10 billion from $83.00 billion.
Eight of ten sectors registered gains with four of six cyclical groups ending ahead of the broader market. The energy sector (-0.2%) was among the early leaders, but returned to its flat line by the close even as crude oil narrowed its decline to 0.2% at $59.77/bbl by the pit close.
Similar to energy, the financial sector (-0.1%) settled behind the broader market while consumer discretionary (+0.5%), technology (+0.2%), industrials (+0.2%), and materials (+0.4%) posted gains. The consumer discretionary sector ended ahead of other cyclical groups thanks to strength among media and retail names while industrials kept pace with the market even as transport stocks struggled.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average lost 0.4%, widening this week's decline to 1.2%. Shares of FedEx (FDX 176.73, -5.40) were largely responsible for the weakness, falling 3.0% after the logistics company reported disappointing earnings and revenue.
Moving to the countercyclical side, consumer staples (+0.5%) and utilities (+0.9%) outperformed while health care (+0.1%) and telecom services (unch) finished behind the broader market. The slight uptick in the health care sector masked relative strength in biotech names that sent iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 366.55, +2.17) higher by 0.6%.
Today's participation was relatively light with roughly 700 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data was limited to the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, which fell 5.5% to follow last week's 8.4% increase.
Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 276K), May CPI (consensus 0.5%), and Q1 Current Account Balance (expected -$116.70 billion) will all be reported at 8:30 ET while May Leading Indicators (expected 0.4%) and the Philadelphia Fed Survey for June (consensus 8.0) will be reported at 10:00 ET.
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