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Leigh Baldwin & Co.

112 Albany Street, Cazenovia, NY 13035 | Phone: (315) 655-2964 Toll Free: 1-800-659-8044

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Day Traders Diary

7/31/17

 

 The stock market ended July's last trading session on a mixed note; the Dow climbed 0.3%, to another record high, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq settled lower by 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively. The major averages drifted within a fairly narrow range from start to finish. For the month, the S&P 500 added 1.9%.

Monday's action resembled a sector rotation trade as the four advancing sectors--financials (+0.6%), energy (+0.2%), utilities (+0.4%), and telecom services (+0.4%)--have struggled to keep pace with the broader market throughout the year. On the flip side, the strongest sector in 2017--information technology (-0.5%)--settled near the bottom of the leaderboard.

The heavily-weighted financial sector benefited from broad strength with just about all of its components finishing in positive territory. Meanwhile, the energy group leaned on Dow components Exxon Mobil (XOM 80.04, +0.44) and Chevron (CVX 109.19, +1.07), which advanced 0.6% and 1.0%, respectively.

On a related note, crude oil settled in positive territory for the sixth session in a row thanks to a sharp afternoon rally. The commodity went from a loss of 0.8% to a gain of 1.0% in about an hour, eventually settling higher by 0.9% at a price of $50.20/bbl. Today's advance left crude oil higher by 9.0% for the month of July, its best month since April 2016.

The technology and materials spaces were the weakest sectors on Tuesday, dropping 0.5% and 0.8%, respectively. Mega-cap tech names like Facebook (FB 169.25, -3.20) and Alphabet (GOOGL 945.50, -12.83) weighed on the technology group, losing 1.9% and 1.3%, respectively. Chipmakers also underperformed, sending the PHLX Semiconductor Index lower by 0.7%.

Today's tech retreat precedes tomorrow's main event--the release of Apple's (AAPL 148.73, -0.77) latest earnings report. Apple, which is the largest S&P 500 component by market cap, will deliver its quarterly results following Tuesday's closing bell. Entering Tuesday's session, AAPL shares hold a huge year-to-date gain of 28.4%.

As for the remaining sectors--consumer discretionary (-0.1%), industrials (-0.1%), health care (-0.1%), consumer staples (-0.1%), and real estate (-0.1%)--losses were very modest.

In M&A news, Discovery Communications (DISCA 24.60, -2.20) plunged 8.2% after agreeing to acquire Scripps Networks (SNI 87.41, +0.50) for $14.6 billion, or $90 per share, in cash and stock.

On a separate note, reports indicate that SoftBank (SFTBY 40.15, -1.37)--the parent company of Sprint (S 7.98, -0.24)--is still interested in acquiring Charter Communications (CHTR 391.91, +21.65) despite Charter saying that it is not interested in acquiring Sprint.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries settled Monday's session relatively flat with the benchmark 10-yr yield finishing unchanged at 2.29%. The 2-yr yield climbed one basis point to 1.36%.

On the political front, the White House announced that Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director, giving newly appointed Chief of Staff John Kelly the ability to build his own team. The equity market had a muted reaction to the news.

Reviewing Monday's economic data, which was limited to July Chicago PMI and June Pending Home Sales:

Chicago PMI for July decreased to 58.9 from 65.7 in June while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 60.0.

The key takeaway from the report is that the headline dip reflects some normal slowing after a remarkably strong month in June. All five barometer components declined in July, with new orders and production setting the pace.

Pending Home Sales for June rose 1.5% (Briefing.com consensus +1.1%). Today's reading follows a revised 0.7% decrease in May (from -0.8%).

On Tuesday, investors will receive several economic reports, including June Personal Income (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%) and Personal Spending (Briefing.com consensus 0.1%) at 8:30 ET, June Construction Spending (Briefing.com consensus 0.5%) at 10:00 ET, and the July ISM Index (Briefing.com consensus 56.2) also at 10:00 ET.

 

In addition, July auto and truck sales will be released throughout the day.

 

Nasdaq Composite +17.9% YTD

S&P 500 +10.3% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +10.8% YTD

Russell 2000 +5.0% YTD

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