Day Traders Diary
The stock market ended the Thursday session on a flat note after spinning its wheels throughout the day. The S&P 500 shed 0.1% after spending the day in an eight-point range while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) outperformed slightly. Despite today's sluggish performance, the S&P 500 is set to enter Friday with a solid week-to-date gain of 2.9%.
Equities began the trading day just below their flat lines due to daylong weakness in two relatively large sectors. To that point, health care (-1.6%) and energy (-1.3%) struggled from the start with the health care space responding to a 5.7% dive in the shares of UnitedHealth (UNH 110.57, -6.68) after the insurer lowered its guidance, citing exposure to public exchanges. To be fair, UNH was not the only soft spot as biotech names also lagged with iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 333.42, -5.32) ending lower by 1.6%.
For its part, the energy sector struggled throughout the day, ending well behind the broader market despite an afternoon rebound in crude oil, which narrowed its loss to 0.5%, ending the pit session at $40.54/bbl.
Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, the discretionary space ended just above its flat line, which masked a 2.1% slide in the shares of Best Buy (BBY 30.66, -0.67) after the electronics retailer issued cautious guidance. Speaking of guidance, chipmaker heavyweight, Intel (INTC 34.30, +1.14), surged 3.4% after guiding in-line and boosting its annual dividend by eight cents to $1.04. Intel's outperformance contributed to a 0.4% gain in the top-weighted technology sector while the PHLX Semiconductor Index added 0.2%. The chipmaker index was held back from registering a larger gain due to a 12.0% plunge in SunEdison (SUNE 2.86, -0.39) after Blackstone denied having interest in backstopping SUNE.
Similar to technology, the industrial sector (+0.4%) ended well ahead of the broader market. Transport stocks contributed to the relative strength, evidenced by a 1.0% gain in the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
Moving back to the countercyclical side, consumer staples (+0.3%), telecom services (+0.5%), and utilities (+1.0%) held gains throughout the day, ending near their highs.
Unlike stocks, Treasuries climbed into the afternoon before surrendering about a third of their gains. That being said, the 10-yr note settled comfortably in the green with its yield slipping three basis points to 2.24%.
Today's participation was below recent averages as fewer than 800 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data reported today included Initial Claims, Philadelphia Fed Survey, and Leading Indicators:
The latest initial claims report didn't provide any real surprises as initial claims for the week ending November 14 fell by 5,000 to 271,000 (Briefing.com consensus 272,000) without any special factors driving the slight improvement
Continuing claims for the week ending November 7, meanwhile, dipped by 2,000 to 2.175 million (Briefing.com consensus 2.164 million)
The four-week moving average for initial claims bumped up to 271,000 from 268,000
Manufacturing conditions in the Philadelphia Fed region improved in November, evidenced by the General Business Activity Index rising to 1.9 from -4.5 in October while the Briefing.com consensus estimate called for a reading of -1.0
This was the first positive reading in three months
The dividing line between expansion and contraction for this particular survey is 0.0, so it can be said manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia Fed region is back in expansion territory, albeit only slightly
The Leading Indicators report for October was up 0.6%, which is what the Briefing.com consensus expected
Investors will not receive any economic data tomorrow.
Nasdaq Composite +7.1% YTD
S&P 500 +1.1% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -0.5% YTD
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