Day Traders Diary


A belated winter storm stirred up an extreme case of the Mondays as investors left the major averages largely unchanged to start the week. The S&P 500 finished the session relatively flat while the Nasdaq (+0.2%) and the Dow (-0.1%) closed on opposite sides of the benchmark index.


Monday's session was range-bound throughout as sectors failed to deviate from their respective flat lines; all eleven closed the day within 0.3% of their unchanged marks.


The energy sector (unch) closed just above its flat line following crude oil's fifth consecutive retreat. However, today's loss for the energy component was relatively small (0.2%), especially in light of the commodity's 8.8% plunge in the latter half of last week, which was in response to a bearish EIA inventory report. WTI crude finished Monday trading at $48.40/bbl.


Chipmakers started the week on a positive note, pushing the PHLX Semiconductor Index higher by 0.8%, following Intel's (INTC 35.16, -0.75) acquisition of Mobileye (MBLY 60.62, +13.35), an Israeli autonomous driving software company. INTC agreed to pay $15.3 billion, or $63.54 per share, in cash for Mobileye, which represents a 34.0% premium over MBLY's closing price on Friday.


The technology sector (+0.1%) profited from the chipmakers' solid performance, finishing the day with the financials (+0.1%), consumer discretionary (+0.2%), materials (+0.3%), utilities (+0.2%), telecom services (+0.2%), and real estate (unch) groups in the green. The remaining sectors--industrials (-0.1%), health care (-0.2%), and consumer staples (-0.1%)--closed with modest losses.


Tomorrow will mark the start of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. It's pretty much a given that the Fed will announce a rate hike in its official decision, but the timing of the announcement may be up in the air considering the impending winter storm that is projected to dump eight to twelve inches of snow on Washington D.C. and a foot, or more, on New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.


The rate hike decision is currently scheduled for 2:00 pm ET on Wednesday, and with no communication from the Fed to indicate otherwise, that is the time investors are still anticipating.


However, regardless of timing, the real focus will be on the Fed's updated rate projections for 2017 and beyond. In its latest set of projections, the Fed forecast three rate hikes in 2017.


Investors did not receive any economic data on Monday. On Tuesday, February PPI ( consensus 0.1%) will cross the wires at 8:30 ET.


Nasdaq Composite +9.2% YTD

S&P 500 +6.0% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +5.7% YTD

Russell 2000 +1.0% YTD

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