Day Traders Diary


The stock market ended a volatile start to the week on a mixed note as a prolonged downturn in crude oil pressured equities. However, the broader market continued to show marked resilience to selling pressure as the S&P 500 (-0.1%) finished eight points off a freshly minted all-time intraday high (2178.29). Focal points impacting today's trade included strengthening in the dollar, an assortment of global manufacturing reports, bearish commentary from Goldman Sachs, and the outperformance of heavily-weighted technology (+0.4%) and health care (+0.6%). The Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (-0.1%) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%).

U.S. equities began the day on a choppy note, responding to a negative bias in European averages. Regional bourses slipped as participants eyed mixed manufacturing readings out of China and a downward revision to the U.K.'s Manufacturing PMI for July (48.2; expected 49.1). Separately, Friday's stress test results from the European Banking Authority failed to elicit buying interest. The results came in largely as expected with Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMDPF 0.386, +0.006) showing the weakest capital position.

The major averages marched off their opening levels shortly after the release of the ISM Index for July (52.6; consensus 53.1) and construction spending for May (-0.6%; consensus +0.7%). Both reports missed consensus estimates, but the ISM Index marked the fifth straight month of expansion for the manufacturing sector. The S&P 500 (-0.1%) pulled back shortly after notching a fresh all-time intraday high, succumbing to pressure from the oil patch. The energy component finished lower by 3.5% ($40.09/bbl; -$1.47), extending its decline from the June 8th closing high to 21.8%. 

The benchmark index settled off its worst level of the day, buoyed by strength from the technology (+0.4%) and health care (+0.6%) sectors. Conversely, six sectors ended in the red with materials (-0.7%), telecom services (-1.0%), and energy (-3.3%) leading the downside.

The economically-sensitive financial sector (-0.2%) settled behind the broader market as money center banks and life insurance names underperformed. Citigroup (C 43.42, -0.39) and Bank of America (BAC 14.33, -0.16) lagged as they traded lower alongside European financial names like Deutsche Bank (DB 13.07, -0.37), which declined by 2.8%. The broader sector finished behind the benchmark index as investors look ahead to tomorrow's latest inflation reading. Separately, the Employment Situation Report for July is scheduled to cross the wires at 8:30 ET on Friday. 

In the technology sector (+0.4%), heavily-weighted components Alphabet (GOOG 772.88, +4.09) and Apple (AAPL 106.05, +1.84) outperformed, gaining 0.5% and 1.8%, respectively. Both names reported positive bottom-line results last week. Apple also benefited from news that Uber and Didi Chuxing entered into a strategic agreement. The high-beta chipmakers settled slightly behind the broader sector, evidenced by the 0.2% gain in the PHLX Semiconductor Index.

Biotechnology demonstrated relative strength in the health care sector (+0.6%), as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 294.07, +4.63) jumped 1.6%. In the ETF, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals(REGN 434.00, +8.88) gained 2.1% after the European Medicines Agency agreed to review the company's sarilumab medication. Biogen (BIIB 301.83, +11.90) outperformed after Phase-3 trial results of nusinersen met their primary endpoints.

The U.S. Dollar Index (95.77, +0.24) ended off its best level of the day as the greenback gained against the euro, pound, and yen. The single currency slipped 0.1% against the dollar (1.1166) while sterling lost 0.4% against the buck (1.3180). Separately, the safe-haven yen lost 0.3% against the dollar (102.37).

Treasuries settled lower as volatility in equities failed to elicit much buying interest in the bond market. The yield on the 10-yr note rose five basis points to 1.51%.

Participation was above the recent average as more than 829 million shares changed hands on the NYSE floor.

Today's economic data was limited to the July ISM Index and Construction Spending for June:

  • The ISM Manufacturing Index slipped to 52.6 in July ( consensus 53.1) from 53.2 in June.
    • That signals a slowdown in growth, but importantly, a number above 50.0 still reflects an expansion in manufacturing activity.
    • July marked the fifth straight month of expansion for the manufacturing sector on a national level and it is the second-highest reading over the last 12 months.
    • If the PMI reading for July is annualized, it corresponds to a 3 percent increase in real GDP annually, according to the ISM.
    • The only components below 50.0, though, were the Employment Index (to 49.4 from 50.4) and the Backlog of Orders Index (to 48.0 from 52.5).
    • The Prices Index (to 55.0 from 60.5) saw the biggest monthly drop, reflecting prices that are increasing but at a slower pace.
    • The New Orders Index dipped to 56.9 from 57.0; the Production Index rose to 55.4 from 54.7; and the New Export Orders Index fell to 52.5 from 53.5. The Import Index was flat at 52.0.
  • Construction spending declined at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.6% in June. That was well below the consensus estimate, which called for a 0.7% increase.
    • An upward revision to May from -0.8% to -0.1% helped temper some of the headline disappointment.
    • The downturn in June featured a decline in both private construction (-0.6%) and public construction (-0.6%).
    • On the private side, nonresidential spending (-1.0%) accounted for nearly all of the decline.
    • The biggest drags included spending in highway and street (-1.4%), manufacturing (-4.5%), educational (-1.0%), commercial (-2.2%), and health care (-1.4%) sectors.
    • Private residential spending was down only 0.1%. Public residential spending fell 6.0%, but at roughly 2.2% of total public construction spending, that had little bearing on the monthly drop.
    • Nonresidential public spending declined 0.5% due largely to drops in highway and street spending (-1.4%), educational spending (-0.5%), and sewage and waste disposal spending (-2.7%).
    • On a year-over-year basis, total construction spending was up 0.3%, bolstered by a 2.5% increase in total private construction spending that offset a 6.0% decline in total public construction spending.

Tomorrow's economic data will include Personal Income ( consensus +0.3%) and Personal Spending ( consensus +0.3%) reports for June and Core PCE Prices for June ( consensus +0.2%), which will each cross the wires at 8:30 ET. Separately, Auto & Truck Sales for July will be released throughout tomorrow's session. 

  • Russell 2000 +7.2% YTD
  • S&P 500 +6.2% YTD
  • Dow Jones +5.6% YTD
  • Nasdaq Composite +3.5% YTD 

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