Day Traders Diary


The stock market ended July on a cautious note with the S&P 500 shedding 0.2%. Despite today's downtick, the benchmark index added 1.2% for the week, ending the month higher by 2.0%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite ended flat, locking in a 2.8% gain for July.

Equities held modest gains at the start thanks to a pre-market jump in the futures market after it was reported that the Employment Cost Index increased just 0.2% in the second quarter while the consensus expected an increase of 0.6%. The lack of strong wage growth was viewed as an argument in favor of the Federal Reserve delaying its first rate hike, which gave a boost to equity futures and Treasuries. The 10-yr note surged immediately after the report was released, and remained near its high into the close, sending the benchmark yield lower by six basis points to 2.20%.

Meanwhile, stocks climbed during the first three hours of action, but relative weakness among several cyclical sectors acted as a drag on the broader market, pulling the S&P 500 to new lows during the afternoon.

Most notably, the energy sector tumbled 2.6%, widening its July decline to 7.8% after Dow components Chevron (CVX 88.48, -4.55) and ExxonMobil (XOM 79.21, -3.80) reported disappointing results. The two names posted respective losses of 4.9% and 4.6% while crude oil slid 2.9% to $47.12/bbl. For the month, the energy component plunged more than 21.0%, returning to its January low.

Elsewhere among growth-sensitive sectors, financials (-0.4%) and technology (-0.5%) lagged throughout the day with high-beta chipmakers pressuring the technology sector. The PHLX Semiconductor Index lost 1.2%, ending the month lower by 5.0% while KLA-Tencor (KLAC 53.05, +0.99) bucked the trend, rallying 1.9%, in reaction to a bottom-line beat.

Typically, underperformance in the technology sector tends to be consistent with weakness in the Nasdaq, but the tech-heavy index outperformed today thanks to gains in the biotech space. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 382.53, +3.73) gained 1.0% after Amgen (AMGN 176.59, +4.90) beat estimates and raised its guidance. Shares of AMGN spiked 2.9% while the broader health care sector (+0.5%) ended among the leaders, drawing secondary support from the likes of Molina Health (MOH 75.28, +7.28), and Universal Health Systems (UHS 145.23, +3.79) after the two reported better than expected results.

Similar to health care, the three other countercyclical groups settled ahead of the broader market. The utilities sector spiked 1.0% while consumer staples (+0.1%) and telecom services (+0.1%) posted slimmer gains.

Today's participation was ahead of recent averages with more than 915 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI, and Michigan Sentiment:

Employment costs rose 0.2% in Q2 2015 after a 0.7% increase in the first quarter while the consensus expected an increase of 0.6% 

That was the smallest increase in employment costs since the index was created in 2001

The Chicago PMI increased to 54.7 in July from 49.4 in June while the consensus expected an increase to 54.7 

The reading represented the first increase in three months

There was a large improvement in production as the related index increased to 61.8 in July from 49.8 in June. The production gain came on the heels of strengthening growth in the new orders index, which rose to 58.5 from 51.7

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was revised down to 93.1 in the final June reading from 93.3 in the preliminary report while the consensus expected an increase to 94.0 

The index is down from 96.1 in June, which was the best reading since January

The Expectations Index was revised down from 85.2 in the preliminary reading to 84.1 while the Current Conditions Index was revised up to 107.2 from 106.0

On Monday, June Personal Income/Spending data and Core PCE Prices will be reported at 8:30 ET while June Construction Spending and July ISM Index will both be reported at 10:00 ET.


Nasdaq Composite +8.3% YTD

S&P 500 +2.2% YTD

Russell 2000 +2.8% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average -0.7% YTD


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