Day Traders Diary
The stock market finished Thursday on a modestly lower note after erasing the bulk of its early loss. The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.3% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.4%) underperformed.
The final standing represented a notable shift from the morning dynamic that saw equity indices gap down at the start amid selling in Europe. To that point, markets in France and Germany both lost near 2.0% apiece with automakers facing continued pressure. BMW was among the weakest performers in Germany, falling 5.2%, with company executives pushing back against insinuations that the company may have taken a page out of Volkswagen's playbook, saying they are ready to provide vehicles for testing on demand.
To be sure, the losses among automakers were not the culprit behind the slide in Europe, but they represented another source of pressure in market that has been wrestling with persistent growth concerns surrounding China. Those concerns were echoed by Caterpillar (CAT 65.80, -4.40) as the manufacturer of heavy machinery lowered its guidance and announced plans to reduce its workforce by 4,000 to 5,000 people by the end of next year. Shares of CAT settled lower by 6.3%, keeping the industrial sector (-0.7%) among the laggards throughout the day.
The industrial sector finished the day in negative territory, but the cyclical group put a notable dent in its opening decline, climbing off lows alongside the broader market. As for the S&P 500, the benchmark index hit its low just after 11:00 ET, which was followed by a steady march higher that accelerated during the late afternoon.
Similar to industrials, heavily-weighted financials (-0.7%) and health care (-1.1%) underperformed into the close, but their losses were outweighed by an intraday rally in energy (+0.4%), technology (unch), and consumer staples (+0.1%). In addition, the utilities sector (+0.8%) displayed relative strength throughout the day, building on its gain even as Treasuries slipped from their highs with the 10-yr yield narrowing its loss to two basis points at 2.13% after testing the 2.09% level in the morning.
Elsewhere, the energy sector turned positive with help from crude oil, which rallied 0.9% to $44.94/bbl after briefly dipping below $44.00/bbl in the morning. The energy sector narrowed this week's loss to 1.5% while WTI crude will enter the Friday session little changed for the week.
Also of note, the consumer discretionary sector (-0.3%) settled in-line with the broader market even though homebuilders displayed relative strength after KB Home (KBH 14.60, +0.15) reported a one-cent beat on better than expected revenue. KB Home settled higher by 1.1% while iShares Dow Jones US HomeConstruction ETF (ITB 27.21, +0.07) added 0.3%.
Today's participation was ahead of recent averages as more than a billion shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data included Initial Claims, Durable Orders, and New Home Sales:
Weekly initial claims increased to 267,000 from an unrevised 264,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 271,000
Layoff trends remain extremely low as the four-week moving average dropped to 272,000 from 273,000, remaining at levels normally associated with full employment
Durable goods orders declined 2.0% in August after increasing a downwardly revised 1.9% (from 2.2%) in July while the Briefing.com consensus expected a decline of 2.0%
As expected, the transportation sector weighed down durable goods demand with total transportation orders declining 5.8%, paced be falling orders for motor vehicles (-1.6%) and aircraft (-3.5%)
Excluding transportation, durable goods orders were flat in August after increasing an unrevised 0.4% while the consensus expected an increase of 0.2%
New home sales increased 5.7% in August to 552,000 from an upwardly revised 522,000 (from 507,000) while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 515,000
That was the most new homes sold since 593,000 homes were sold in February 2008; however, at that time, sales were trending down
Demand was strongest in the Northeast, where sales increased 24.1%. Sales in the South (7.4%) and West (5.4%) were also positive while sales in the Midwest declined 9.1%
Tomorrow, the third estimate of Q2 GDP will be released at 8:30 ET (Briefing.com consensus 3.7%) while the final reading of the Michigan Sentiment survey for September (consensus 87.0) will be reported at 10:00 ET.
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