Day Traders Diary
Tuesday's positive sentiment lingered throughout Wednesday's session as the benchmark S&P 500 (+0.1%) chalked up its second win of the week. The Nasdaq (+0.4%) also settled higher while the Dow (-0.2%) finished a tad lower.
While the macro movement was rather subdued on Wednesday, a variety of catalysts mixed things up on the micro level. Maybe the most notable of which was the latest crude oil inventory report from the EIA, which showed a smaller than expected build of 0.9 million barrels (consensus +1.4 million). The reading awoke the bulls in the crude oil futures market and prompted WTI crude to settle 2.2% higher at $49.47/bbl. The energy sector (1.2%) capitalized on the commodity's positive performance to settle at the top of the day's leaderboard.
Amazon (AMZN 874.32, +18.32) also influenced today's price action, jumping 2.1% to push the consumer discretionary sector (+0.6%) to the second spot in the day's standings. Today's gain leaves the internet retail giant 3.3% higher since Monday when it bounced off its 50-day moving average. The positive performance was also reflected in the 2.0% increase in the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 42.54, +0.82).
Elsewhere on the corporate front, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 108.01, +18.34) propped up the biotech industry after reporting that an experimental cystic fibrosis drug improved lung function. VRTX shares spiked 20.5% and led the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 294.42, +2.41) higher by 0.8%, but it still wasn't enough to give the health care sector (unch) an edge on its peers.
The heavily-weighted financial group (-0.5%) kept the market's gain in check, but nearly all of the remaining sectors--industrials, materials, technology, consumer staples, telecom services, and real estate--failed to distinguish themselves from the broader market, settling within 0.3% of their respective flat lines. Meanwhile, the utilities space (-0.5%) finished with the financial group at the bottom of the day's leaderboard, but its impact was minimal due to its low market capitalization.
In the Treasury market, U.S. sovereign debt settled with a modest gain for the second time this week. The benchmark 10-yr yield closed four basis points lower at 2.38%.
On the data front, today's economic releases were limited to February Pending Home Sales and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index:
Pending Home Sales for February rose 5.5% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 2.4%. Today's reading follows an unrevised 2.8% drop in January.
The weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index decreased 0.8% to follow last week's 2.7% decline.
Tomorrow, investors will receive the third estimate of fourth quarter GDP (Briefing.com consensus 2.0%) and Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 245,000) at 8:30 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +9.6% YTD
S&P 500 +5.5% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +4.5% YTD
Russell 2000 +1.0% YTD
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