Day Traders Diary
The stock market ended Thursday on a higher note, putting an end to its three-day skid. The S&P 500 climbed 0.2%, but could not hold posture above its 50-day moving average (2,054). Meanwhile, the Dow (+0.5%) and Nasdaq (+0.4%) settled ahead of the benchmark index.
The Thursday advance did not occur without some theatrics as the S&P 500 marked a morning high during the first 90 minutes of the day and followed that with a return to its flat line. The benchmark index charged to a fresh high in the early afternoon, but backtracked from that level to end in the lower third of today's range.
Equity indices spent the first hour of action near their flat lines, but the energy sector (+0.6%) displayed relative strength from the start, which underpinned today's advance. The sector narrowed this week's loss to 3.2%, ending in the lead even though crude oil fell 1.0% to $36.80/bbl. The energy component continued sliding in electronic trade, which forced some backtracking in the sector. It is worth noting that the prolonged weakness in oil prices prompted Chevron (CVX 89.30, +1.70) and ConocoPhillips (COP 49.22, +0.75) to cut their respective capital expenditure budgets for 2016 by 24.0% and 25.0%, respectively.
The energy sector was the only pocket of strength in the early going, but the growth-sensitive group held its ground even as the S&P 500 retreated from its opening high during the early afternoon. The benchmark index approached its flat line around 12:15 ET, but did not dip below its opening levels thanks to late morning strength in high-beta groups. Specifically, biotechnology, chipmakers, and transport stocks got off to a sluggish start, but all three areas settled ahead of the broader market, which contributed to the afternoon push to a fresh session high.
The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 329.41, +4.21) spiked 1.3% while the broader health care sector gained 0.8%, narrowing this week's loss to 0.6%. Elsewhere, the Dow Jones Transportation Average climbed 0.6% with airlines rebounding from recent weakness, helping the industrial sector (+0.5%) end among the leaders.
For its part, the PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 0.6% with all but eight components ending in the green; however, that strength was overshadowed by a mixed showing from large cap members of the technology sector (+0.2%).
On the downside, materials (-0.8%) and utilities (-1.7%) spent the day in negative territory with the materials space pulling back after yesterday's 3.1% surge.
Treasuries spent the day inside narrow ranges, slipping to lows just ahead of the close. The 10-yr note settled on its low with the benchmark yield rising two basis points to 2.23%.
Today's participation was relatively light with fewer than 850 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data included Initial Claims, Import/Export Prices, and Treasury Budget:
Initial claims for the week ending December 5 increased by 13,000 to 282,000 (Briefing.com consensus 269,000) while continuing claims for the week ending November 28 jumped by 82,000 to 2.243 million (Briefing.com consensus 2.167 million)
There were no special factors influencing initial claims, which have remained bounded between 250,000 and 300,000 since July 2014
Export prices, excluding agriculture, decreased 0.6% in November after decreasing 0.3% in the prior reading
Excluding oil, import prices decreased 0.3%, which followed last month's decrease of 0.3%
The November Treasury Budget showed a deficit of $64.60 billion
The Treasury data are not seasonally adjusted, so the November deficit cannot be compared to the October deficit of $136.50 billion
Total receipts in November were $205.00 billion while total outlays were $269.50 billion
Receipts were $13.50 billion more than November 2014 receipts while total outlays were $21.30 billion more than November 2014
Tomorrow, November CPI (Briefing.com consensus +0.1%) and November Retail Sales (consensus +0.3%) will be reported at 8:30 ET while October Business Inventories (expected +0.1%) and the preliminary reading of the Michigan Sentiment Index for December (consensus 91.6) will both be released at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +6.5% YTD
S&P 500 -0.3% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.4% YTD
Russell 2000 -4.3% YTD
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