Day Traders Diary


 The stock market couldn't find any room to run on Monday as the bears wrapped it up behind the line of scrimmage for a modest loss. The S&P 500 finished 0.2% lower while the Dow (unch) and the Nasdaq (unch) ended just a step ahead. Meanwhile, the small-cap Russell 2000 underperformed with a loss of 0.5%.

Monday's sideways trend fits nicely with the range-bound action that has ensued over the last couple of weeks in the stock market. As leaders in Washington continue to debate the details of health care reform, investors keep their fingers crossed for a quick resolution, knowing that the longer the bill takes to pass through Congress, the longer they will have to wait for tax reform.

News flow was generally light on Monday with statements from three FOMC voters acting as the top headline. In summary, Chicago Fed President Evans could not rule out four rate hikes in 2017, Philadelphia Fed President Harker believes that the Fed will mildly overshoot the 2.0% inflation target, and Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari stated that he would like to shift the focus to reducing the Fed's balance sheet. Treasuries ticked up in the wake of the statements to finish Monday with modest gains. The benchmark 10-yr yield closed three basis points lower at 2.47%.

In corporate news, Caterpillar (CAT 95.40, +2.49) jumped 2.7% after the company reported strong machine retail sales for the month of February. However, CAT's performance wasn't enough to keep the industrial sector (-0.2%) out of the red.

Fellow Dow component Apple (AAPL 141.43, +1.44) also had a solid showing, climbing 1.0% to a fresh record-high. In a combined effort with chipmakers, which added 0.8% to the PHLX Semiconductor Index, AAPL's outperformance left the technology sector (+0.1%) ahead of the broader market. In addition to technology, the materials (+0.4%), consumer staples (+0.1%), and real estate groups (+0.1%) finished in the green.

On the downside, the utilities (-0.7%) and financials (-0.9%) sectors finished at the bottom of the day's leaderboard. The energy space (-0.1%) performed in line with the two sectors for much of the session, but eventually rode an afternoon rally back to its unchanged mark.

Investors did not receive any economic data on Monday. Tuesday's lone economic report, fourth quarter Current Account Balance ( consensus -$128.2 billion), will cross the wires at 8:30 ET.

Nasdaq Composite +9.6% YTD

S&P 500 +6.0% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +5.8% YTD

Russell 2000 +2.0% YTD

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