Day Traders Diary
Thursday was a quiet day on Wall Street as investors engaged in some end-of-quarter profit taking. The Dow slipped 0.2%, failing to close at a new record high for the first time in seven sessions, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively. Investor participation was below average due to the start of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Nine of the eleven sectors settled Thursday's session in negative territory, but losses were modest for the most part. The consumer staples sector was the weakest group (-1.0%), extending its week-to-date loss to 2.1%. The telecom services sector also finished with a sizable decline (-0.8%), but the remaining laggards lost no more than 0.6%.
The top-weighted technology space held a loss of 1.0% shortly after the opening bell, but strengthened a bit as the day wore on; the tech group eventually settled lower by 0.6%. Apple (AAPL 153.39, -2.68) was among the weakest components within the sector (-1.7%), extending its week-to-date loss to 4.1%.
NVIDIA (NVDA 180.76, -5.08) also struggled, dropping 2.7%, following a CNBC report that Tesla (TSLA 366.48, -7.43), which uses NVIDIA hardware for its auto-pilot functionality, is working with AMD (AMD 13.41, -0.33) to develop a self-driving chip. AMD later denied the report.
On the flip side, the financials (+0.2%) and industrials (+0.3%) groups managed to escape Thursday's session with modest victories. General Electric (GE 24.75, +0.43) played a big part in the industrial sector's positive performance, climbing 1.8%. GE shares have added 4.3% since September 11, but still remain lower by 21.7% for the year.
As for the heavily-weighted financial space, today's win marked its ninth in the last ten sessions--a run that's boosted the sector 6.9% since September 7.
In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries moved higher at the start of Thursday's session, but gave back most of their gains by the close. The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note finished unchanged at 2.28%, while the 2-yr yield slipped one basis point to 2.28%.
Meanwhile, gold tumbled 1.2% to $1,294.70/ozt, the U.S. Dollar Index slipped 0.2% to 92.03, and WTI crude dropped 0.3% to $50.55/bbl.
On the political front, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at targeting individuals and companies involved in business with North Korea and said that China has ordered its banks to stop working with Pyongyang.
Reviewing Thursday's economic data, which included the weekly Initial Claims Report, the September Philadelphia Fed Index, and the July FHFA Housing Price Index:
The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 259,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 310,000. Today's tally was below the revised prior week count of 282,000 (from 284,000). As for continuing claims, they rose to 1.980 million from the revised count of 1.936 million (from 1.944 million).
The key takeaway, then, is that employers appear to be reluctant to cut their payrolls in a tight labor market.
The Philadelphia Fed Survey for September rose to 23.8 from an unrevised 18.9 in August while economists polled by Briefing.com had expected a reading of 17.1.
The key takeaway from the report is that most firms expect increased production for the rest of the year.
The FHFA Housing Price Index for July rose 0.2%. The prior month's reading was left unrevised at +0.1%.
Investors will not receive any economic data on Friday.
Nasdaq Composite +19.3% YTD
S&P 500 +11.7% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +13.1% YTD
Russell 2000 +6.4% YTD