Day Traders Diary


The stock market began the trading week on a quiet note with the S&P 500 (-0.2%) spending the session inside a nine-point range. The benchmark index settled right above the midpoint of that range while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) outperformed throughout the session.


Generally speaking, the Monday affair was very quiet and free of noteworthy earnings. Accordingly, the benchmark index opened with a two-point loss and traded in sideways fashion until the closing bell. Seven sectors registered losses between 0.2% (consumer staples and industrials) and 2.5% (energy) while consumer discretionary (+0.8%), health care (+0.5%), and telecom services (+0.1%) outperformed.


Notably, the energy sector fell to the bottom of the leaderboard at the start and remained there throughout the day. The daylong retreat caused the sector to narrow its October gain to 9.0% while crude oil fell 1.4% to $43.98/bbl.


Elsewhere among cyclical groups, heavily-weighted financials (-0.3%) and technology (-0.3%) underperformed while the consumer discretionary sector (+0.8%) displayed relative strength thanks to a rebound in retail names. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 45.23, +0.24) added 0.5%.


On the downside, the technology sector kept the market under pressure after spiking more than 3.0% on Friday. Chipmakers paced today's pullback with the PHLX Semiconductor Index sliding 2.0%.


That being said, the Nasdaq was able to overcome the weakness in technology thanks to relative strength in biotech. To that point, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 317.01, +0.73) advanced 0.2% while the health care sector added 0.5%.


Unlike stocks, Treasuries inched higher throughout the session with the 10-yr yield slipping three basis points to 2.06%.


Unsurprisingly, today's participation was below average with fewer than 850 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.


Today's economic data was limited to the New Home Sales report for September, which hit an annualized rate of 468,000. This was down from the revised August rate of 529,000 (from 552,000), and worse than the rate of 550,000 that had been broadly expected by the consensus. The September report was a bit surprising, considering the latest homebuilder surveys have shown strong improvement in current and expected sales growth. The September drop in sales brought inventories back into alignment with sales trends.


Tomorrow, the September Durable Goods ( consensus -1.3%) report will be released at 8:30 ET, August Case-Shiller 20-city Index (expected 0.2%) will be released at 9:00 ET, and October Consumer Confidence (expected 102.5) will be reported at 10:00 ET.


Nasdaq Composite +6.3% YTD

S&P 500 +0.6% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.1% YTD

Russell 2000 -3.8% YTD

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