Day Traders Diary
The major averages opened the week on a mixed note as the influential technology (-0.6%) and health care (-0.2%) sectors mitigated gains from seven of the S&P 500's eleven sectors. The benchmark index (unch) eked out a slim victory, as did the Dow (+0.1%), while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (-0.3%) settled with a modest loss.
Led by the top-weighted technology and financials sectors, the S&P 500 quickly advanced to a gain of 0.5% at the start of Monday's session. However, the upbeat sentiment soon began to fade and a wave of selling pressure pulled the benchmark index back to its flat line. The technology group paced the retreat, dropping from +0.5% to -0.6% about an hour or so after the opening bell. The sector challenged its flat line at midday, but couldn't cross the threshold, eventually settling with a loss of 0.6%.
The financial sector also sold off in the mid-morning, but found support at its flat line and eventually worked its way back up to settle near the top of the day's sector standings with a gain of 0.5%. Last week's Dodd-Frank stress test, which went well for all 34 companies that are required to take it, helped underpin the financial group as it is assumed that most, if not all, of those 34 companies will see their capital return plans, which feature share buybacks and dividend increases, approved by the Federal Reserve.
In the end, seven of the eleven sectors finished in positive territory. The lightly-weighted utilities (+0.8%) and telecom services (+0.6%) groups finished at the very top of the day's leaderboard. Meanwhile, the consumer discretionary (+0.3%) and consumer staples (+0.4%) groups also outperformed. The consumer discretionary space used broad strength to overcome Amazon's (AMZN 993.98, -9.76) loss of 1.0% with retailers showing particular resolve, evidenced by the 1.8% increase in the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 40.25, +0.72).
Within the consumer staples space, drug retailers advanced on news that Walgreens Boot Alliance's (WBA 77.53, +1.19) pending merger with Rite Aid (RAD 4.05, +0.94) may soon be approved by the Federal Trade Commission. The two companies jumped 1.6% and 30.2%, respectively. Costco (COST 160.20, +3.07) also finished solidly higher, adding 2.0%, after the company's stock was upgraded to 'Outperform' from 'Market Perform' at Raymond James.
On the downside, the health care sector (-0.2%) struggled throughout the session as investors engaged in some profit taking following last week's health care rally. Biotechnology stocks contributed to the underperformance, leaving the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 319.72, -1.02) lower for the first time since June 16. The IBB finished with a loss of 0.3%.
The energy sector (-0.2%) also put together a disappointing performance even though crude oil ended higher for the third session in a row. The commodity advanced 0.8% to $43.37/bbl, settling just a step below its best mark of the day.
U.S. Treasuries moved slightly higher across the curve on Monday, leaving the benchmark 10-yr yield one basis point lower at 2.14%. Meanwhile, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 9.74, -0.28, -2.8%) slipped to a fresh three-week low, signaling increased complacency within the market regarding near-term risks.
Reviewing Monday's economic data, which was limited to May Durable Orders:
May durable goods orders declined 1.1%, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a decrease of 0.6%. The prior month's reading was revised to -0.9% (from -0.7%). Excluding transportation, durable orders increased 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%) to follow the prior month's revised downtick of 0.5% (from -0.4%).
The key takeaway from the report is that it provides "hard" data that suggests economic activity in the U.S. is not as robust as many would like it to be (or would like to think it is).
On Tuesday, investors will receive the April S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (Briefing.com consensus 5.9%) at 9:00 ET and the June Consumer Confidence Index (Briefing.com consensus 116.7) at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +16.1% YTD
S&P 500 +8.9% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +8.3% YTD
Russell 2000 +4.4% Ytd