Day Traders Diary
The stock market ended the day on a broadly lower note as uncertainty over the global economy led investors towards safe havens. Today's loss dragged the S&P 500 (-1.2%) back into negative territory for the year (year-to-date -0.1%) as relative weakness from the heavily-weighted financial (-1.9%) and technology (-1.4%) sectors pressured the broader market. The Nasdaq Composite (-1.5%) ended its day behind the benchmark index (-1.2%) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.1%).
Today's session started on a lower note as weakness in overseas trade undercut yesterday's post-Fed minutes rally. The major headlines overnight included an extended gain in the yen, a downturn in oil, and a bid in safe havens. The defensive posture continued throughout today's session as investors shifted their attention to growth concerns here at home. On that note, first quarter earnings are scheduled to pick-up next week as investors continue to lower their expectations for the quarter. Additionally, if earnings fall, this would mark the fourth consecutive quarterly decline in corporate earnings.
All ten sectors ended their day beneath their flat lines with financials (-1.9%), telecom services (-1.4%). technology (-1.4%), and materials (-1.3%) leading the downside. Conversely, utilities (UNCH), energy (-0.6%), and industrials (-0.7%) ended with the slimmest losses.
A downturn in European banks led to a tumble in the heavyweight financial sector (-1.9%) as money center banks, investment brokerages, asset management companies, and life insurance names all traded lower in sympathy. The broader financial sector extended its week to date decline to 3.3% and its year to date loss to 8.0%. Separately, Dow component Goldman Sachs (GS 150.41, -4.78) ended its day as the worst performer in the price-weighted index.
In the technology space (-1.6%), heavily-weighted Apple (AAPL 108.54, -2.42) moved into negative territory for the month (month-to-date -0.4%) after having its price target lowered to $130 from $140 at BTIG Research. Elsewhere, Yahoo! (YHOO 36.17, -0.49) briefly moved into the green after reports indicated that both Verizon (VZ 52.00, -1.52) and Alphabet's (GOOGL 760.12, -7.95) Google were considering bids for the web portal.
Biotechnology underperformed in the health care (-1.1%) group after yesterday's 6.0% gain in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 280.69, -5.11). The ETF lost 1.8% today, but remains higher by 4.5% for the week.
The commodity-sensitive energy (-0.8%) sector was able to finish near the top of the leaderboard despite a downturn in crude oil. WTI crude ended its day down 2.4% ($36.84/bbl), extending its April loss to 2.7%. In the space, refining names displayed relative strength after yesterday's dip by the group. Separately, Baker Hughes (BHI 41.93, -0.90) lost 2.1% in light of a declining rig count and as its merger with Halliburton (HAL 36.25, -0.19) remains in jeopardy.
The U.S. Dollar Index (94.56, +0.13) ended its day slightly higher after recouping some losses against the yen and gaining some ground against the euro. The dollar/yen pair finished lower by 1.3% at 108.41 while the euro lost 0.3% against the dollar (1.1370).
The Treasury complex gained as equities continued their retreat. By the end of the session, the yield on the 10-yr note was lower by seven basis points at 1.69%.
Today's participation was above the recent average as more than 913 million shares changed hands on the NYSE floor.
Today's economic data included weekly initial claims and consumer credit for February:
Tonight, Fed Chair Yellen and former Fed Chairs Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volcker will take part in a panel titled, "When the Federal Reserve Speaks...the World Listens." The discussion will begin at 17:30 ET.
Tomorrow's data will be limited to Wholesale Inventories for February (Briefing.com consensus -0.2%), which will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.