Day Traders Diary


The stock market snapped its two-day skid on Wednesday, but not before seeing some intraday volatility. The S&P 500 added 1.2% while the Russell 2000 (+2.9%) outperformed.

Equity indices rallied out of the gate in response to a batch of mostly better than expected earnings. That lengthy list was headlined by Apple (AAPL 119.28, +4.73) with the top-weighted stock spiking 4.1% in reaction to better than expected earnings and revenue. For its part, the broader technology sector (+1.5%) settled ahead of the broader market while most other cyclical sectors also showed relative strength. None more so than the energy space (+2.2%), which spent the day in the lead after struggling over the past two days.

The growth-sensitive energy sector rallied behind crude oil, which spiked 6.3% to $45.93/bbl. Thanks to today's rally, the sector has narrowed this week's loss to 1.5%. Similarly, the materials space (+1.5%) also outperformed today after struggling earlier in the week.

After rallying through the first two hours of the session, the market hovered near its high until the 14:00 ET release of the latest policy statement from the Federal Reserve, which called for no change to the current policy stance.

That being said, the Federal Reserve took out a key line from its statement, which referred to global developments having the potential to restrain economic growth in the U.S. With that line being left out of the October statement, the Fed has left the door open to a potential rate hike in December.

Accordingly, the policy statement was met with a slide in stocks and Treasuries while the Dollar Index (97.65, +0.75) spiked to levels last seen at the start of October. The index remained near its high until the close while Treasuries settled near their lows with the 10-yr yield rising five basis points to 2.09%. Stocks, however, charged back to their highs after making a brief appearance near their flat lines immediately after the Fed statement crossed the wires.

It is worth noting that most sectors settled above their early afternoon highs while the financial sector (+2.4%) never missed a beat, charging to a fresh session-best shortly ahead of the close.

Elsewhere, the health care sector (+1.0%) settled a bit behind the market, but it is worth noting that today's underperformance followed two days of relative strength. The countercyclical sector extended this week's gain to 3.2% despite a struggling biotech group. That struggle was a distant memory by the close with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 331.79, +4.14) ending higher by 1.3% while one of its top components—Gilead Sciences (GILD 108.13, -2.83)—fell 2.6% despite reporting better than expected earnings and revenue.

Today's participation was ahead of average with more than 960 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data released today was limited to the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, which fell 3.5% to follow last week's 11.8% spike.

Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims ( consensus 264,000) and the advance reading of Q3 GDP (consensus 1.6%) will be released at 8:30 ET while the September Pending Home Sales report (expected 0.6%) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

  • Nasdaq Composite +7.6% YTD
  • S&P 500 +1.5% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -0.2% YTD
  • Russell 2000 -2.1% YTD


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