Day Traders Diary
Investors methodically pushed the major averages to record highs on Wednesday, with the Dow climbing past the 20k milestone along the way. All indices finished the day solidly higher, collectively signaling that the post-election rally isn't dead just yet. The S&P 500 closed up 0.8%.
The benchmark index jumped out of the gate this morning, as a handful of blue-chip companies reported positive earnings results between yesterday's close and today's open. Seagate Technology (STX 42.67, +5.23) spiked 14.0% after topping earnings and revenue estimates in addition to issuing upbeat guidance. Norfolk Southern (NSC 120.53, +3.91) also finished higher, increasing 3.4% to an all-time high after beating earnings per share estimates.
As far as Dow components, Boeing (BA 167.36, +6.81) also had an upbeat showing while United Technologies (UTX 110.96, -0.65) finished lower as the company's in-line earnings report was met with a sell-the-news response following a large fourth quarter gain.
However, the stock market didn't stop there, moving slowly but deliberately into the afternoon amid positive signals from the political front. President Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday, one to build a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border and another to strip federal grant money from states and cities that shelter illegal immigrants. And while these reports weren't unexpected, as border control was a staple of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, they do serve as a reminder of said campaign and the pro-growth hopes attached to it.
Strong sector leadership was also an important factor in today's session as the financials (+1.7%) moved into the top spot on today's leaderboard early, building on a positive showing on Tuesday. With two solid wins under its belt, the financial sector is back near its high from early December, overcoming the sell-the-news response that was invited by earnings from the sector's top components.
The financial sector was followed by industrials (+1.0%) and technology (+1.1%) with the latter benefiting from a 1.5% increase in the PHLX Semiconductor Index. Chipmakers received a nice bump from Texas Instruments (TXN 78.58, +1.50) as the stock jumped 2.0% in reaction to above-consensus earnings.
Energy (+0.6%) underperformed its cyclical peers, as crude oil finished 0.7% lower at $52.76/bbl. The energy component had a somewhat volatile session, reacting to a downtick in the U.S. Dollar Index (99.94, -0.34) and an Energy Information Administration report that showed a build of 2.8 million barrels of crude and a big build in gasoline inventories.
On the countercyclical side, real estate (-0.6%), telecom services (-0.2%), and utilities (unch) all finished in the red, while health care (+0.9%) bucked the trend. The health care space remains slightly lower for the week after today's gain, showing a week-to-date loss of 0.2%.
U.S. Treasuries return to negative territory for the week after Wednesday's risk-on attitude resulted in selling pressure. The 10-yr yield finished five basis points higher at 2.52%.
Today's economic data included FHFA Housing Price Index and MBA Mortgage Index:
The FHFA Housing Price Index for November rose 0.5%, which followed a revised increase of 0.3% in October (from 0.4%).
The weekly MBA Mortgage Index rose 4.0% to follow last week's 0.8% increase
Tomorrow's economic data will include Advance International Trade in Goods (Briefing.com consensus -$65.0 million) and Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 246,000) at 8:30 am ET, while Leading Indicators (Briefing.com consensus 0.5%) and New Home Sales (Briefing.com consensus 589,000) will cross the wires at 10:00 am ET.
Russell 2000 +1.9% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.6% YTD
S&P 500 +2.7% YTD
Nasdaq Composite +5.1% YTD