Day Traders Diary
Global equity markets retreated on Tuesday as investors responded to the overnight devaluation of China's yuan. Specifically, the People's Bank of China lowered the yuan fix by the largest amount on record, sending the USD/CNY pair higher by 1.9% to 6.3249.
The move invited renewed trepidations about the pace of economic growth in China while also feeding concerns that China's trading partners may feel compelled to respond by weakening their own currencies. For instance, the Japanese yen was in focus during the session amid speculation the Bank of Japan may be forced to step up its easing efforts to support the country's exporters. As a result, the dollar/yen pair climbed 0.4% to 125.07, nearing a 13-year high.
The major European indices lost between 1.1% and 2.7% with the retreat paced by exporter stocks while the S&P settled lower by 1.0% and retraced the bulk of its advance from Monday.
Today's selling sent the benchmark index back below its 50-day (2,096) and 100-day (2,098) moving averages with eight sectors registering losses. To little surprise, cyclical groups paced the slide, but the energy sector (-0.2%) spent the day in a steady rally off its opening low. The sector fought its way back to yesterday's highs even as crude oil plunged 4.2% to $43.08/bbl, settling at a six-year low.
Meanwhile, the other commodity-related sector—materials (-1.9%)—ended at the bottom of the leaderboard with steelmakers showing broad weakness, evidenced by Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 27.22, -1.15), which fell 4.1%. On a somewhat related note, copper futures fell 2.6% to $2.338/lbs, erasing the bulk of their gain from yesterday.
Elsewhere among cyclical groups, the technology sector (-1.7%) displayed relative strength at the start, but could not stay ahead of the broader market into the afternoon. That being said, the early outperformance was due to a spike in the shares of Google (GOOGL 690.30, +27.16) after the company announced plans for a new operating structure. As part of the announced change, Google will create a new company called Alphabet, which will replace Google as a publically-traded entity and should make it easier to evaluate different segments of the company's business. Shares of GOOGL settled higher by 4.1% after being up more than 6.0% at the start. As for other tech heavyweights, Apple (AAPL 113.55, -6.17), Intel (INTC 28.99, -0.65), and Microsoft (MSFT 46.41, -0.92) lost between 1.9% and 5.2% as China-related concerns pressured the multinational companies.
On the upside, rate-sensitive telecom services (+0.1%) and utilities (+0.5%) ended in the green, benefitting from strength in the Treasury market that sent the 10-yr yield lower by nine basis points to 2.14%.
Today's participation was roughly in-line with recent averages as more than 830 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data included Productivity/Labor Cost data and Wholesale Inventories:
Nonfarm productivity increased 1.3% in Q2 2015 after declining an upwardly revised 1.1% (from -3.1%) in the first quarter while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 1.4%
The increase in second quarter productivity ended two consecutive quarterly declines.
Year-over-year, nonfarm productivity increased 0.3%, down from a 0.6% gain in Q1 2015
Unit labor costs increased 0.5% in the second quarter while the consensus expected an increase of 0.1%; however, the reported increase was the smallest rise since a 0.1% increase in Q3 2014
Wholesale inventories increased 0.9% in June after a downwardly revised 0.6% increase (from 0.8%) in May while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3%
Wholesale sales increased 0.1% in June after a 0.2% increase in May while durable sales declined 1.1% in June, which resulted mostly from a 2.8% decline in automotive sales. Nondurable sales increased 1.2% on strong demand for farm products (3.6%) and petroleum (3.7%)
The inventory-to-sales ratio increased to 1.30 in June from 1.29 in May
Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET while the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for June 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 July (Briefing.com consensus -$149.00 billion).
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