Day Traders Diary


The stock market ended the Wednesday session on a higher note with the S&P 500 climbing 0.8% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.9%) settled a bit ahead despite showing relative weakness in the early going.


Overall, the midweek session was very quiet, but there was some volatility present in the market as stocks surrendered their opening gains going into the afternoon, but returned into the middle of their ranges by the closing bell. It is worth noting that the pullback from opening highs occurred after the S&P 500 made a brief appearance above its 50-day moving average (1,997), which also served as resistance during afternoon action.


Similar to yesterday, commodity-sensitive energy (+1.3%) and materials (+1.3%) paced the opening move higher, but both sectors surrendered a portion of their gains as the session wore on. The energy sector was up nearly 2.5% at the start, but retreated from its high as crude oil erased its intraday gain. The energy component settled lower by 1.5% at $47.81/bbl after sliding from its intraday high in reaction to the latest Energy Information Administration's inventory report, which showed a 3.07 million barrel build.


Staying on the cyclical side, the largest sector by weight—technology (+0.4%)—underperformed throughout the day, but was able to climb off its low into the close. Large sector components like Apple (AAPL 110.67, -0.64), Alphabet (GOOGL 670.00, -1.64), and Oracle (ORCL 37.66, -0.07) lost between 0.2% and 0.6% while high-beta chipmakers outperformed, sending the PHLX Semiconductor Index higher by 1.5%.


The afternoon rebound in technology helped the Nasdaq overtake the S&P 500 while biotechnology also contributed to the late strength in the tech-heavy index. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 307.81, +5.90) climbed 2.0%, snapping its two-day skid, while the health care sector (+1.5%) settled in the lead.


Also of note, the consumer discretionary sector (+0.3%) struggled in the early going, but ended the day in the green despite an 18.8% plunge in the shares of Yum! Brands (YUM 67.70, -15.72) after the company reported disappointing results and guided below analyst expectations.


Unlike stocks, Treasuries spent the day in negative territory, ending the day with modest losses. Accordingly, the benchmark 10-yr yield rose three basis points to 2.07%.


Today's participation was well above average with more than 1.15 billion shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.


Economic data included Consumer Credit and MBA Mortgage Index:


The consumer credit report for August showed an increase of $16.00 billion, which was lower than the consensus estimate of $19.50 billion

The prior month's credit growth was revised down to $18.90 billion from $19.10 billion

The weekly MBA Mortgage Index surged 25.5% to follow last week's 6.7% decline

Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims will be reported at 8:30 ET ( consensus 275,000) while the September FOMC Minutes will be released at 14:00 ET.


Nasdaq Composite +1.2% YTD

S&P 500 -3.1% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average -5.1% YTD

Russell 2000 -4.3% YTD

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