Day Traders Diary



Stocks bounced back from recent weakness on Thursday, sending the tech-heavy Nasdaq (+1.3%) to a new all-time high.

Upbeat earnings reports from Dow components Wal-Mart (WMT 99.62, +9.79) and Cisco Systems (CSCO 35.88, +1.77) helped fuel the upbeat sentiment even before the opening bell, as did strength in overseas markets; Japan's Nikkei (+1.5%) led the charge in Asia, while France's CAC (+0.7%) and Germany's DAX (+0.6%) set the pace in Europe.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a tax reform bill in a party-line vote, as expected, which allowed the equity market to keep its bullish disposition into the closing bell. The focus will now shift to the Senate, which continues to debate its version of a tax overhaul. 

As for the other major stock indices, the S&P 500 and the Dow added 0.8% apiece, while the small-cap Russell 2000 rallied 1.6%.

The technology (+1.3%) and consumer staples (+1.6%) sectors were among the strongest groups on Thursday, underpinned by Cisco and Wal-Mart, respectively. Wal-Mart shares jumped 10.9% to a new record high after the world's largest retailer reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues for the third quarter and issued upbeat profit guidance for fiscal year 2018.

Meanwhile, shares of Cisco Systems jumped 5.2%, hitting their best level in over 16 years, after the tech giant reported above-consensus earnings and issued upbeat guidance for the upcoming quarter.

The lightly-weighted telecom services (+1.8%) and materials (+1.3%) groups also had solid showings, trimming their monthly losses. However, the heavily-weighted financial group (+0.1%) struggled to keep pace with the broader market, with insurers like Travelers (TRV 130.81, -2.90) showing particular weakness; TRV shares lost 2.2%. 

West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped 0.4% to $55.11/bbl, which weighed on the energy group (-0.6%). For the week, energy shares within the S&P 500 have lost 3.8%, while WTI crude futures have dropped 2.9%. Investors remain optimistic that major oil producers will extend their supply-cut deal later this month.

Treasury yields rose as investors sold U.S. sovereign debt, sending the 2yr-10yr spread higher by one basis point to 66 basis points. The benchmark 10-yr yield jumped three basis points to 2.36%, while the 2-yr yield climbed two basis points to 1.70%. The U.S. Dollar Index ticked up 0.1% to 93.83.

Reviewing Thursday's economic data, which included October Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, the weekly Initial Claims Report, the November Philadelphia Index, and October Import/Export Prices:

  • Industrial Production increased 0.9% in October ( consensus +0.5%), while the September reading was revised to +0.4% (from +0.3%). Capacity Utilization rose to 77.0% ( consensus 76.3%) from a revised reading of 76.4% in September (from 76.0%).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that industrial production is back on a growth track following the hurricanes. According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production increased 0.3% in October excluding the effects of the hurricanes.
  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 249,000, while the consensus expected a reading of 234,000. Today's tally was above the unrevised prior week count of 239,000. As for continuing claims, they declined to 1.860 million from a revised count of 1.904 million (from 1.901 million).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that there is nothing out of the ordinary with the initial claims jump, which reflects normal volatility and marks the 141st straight week initial claims have been below 300,000.
  • The Philadelphia Fed Survey for November declined to 22.7 from an unrevised 27.9 in October while economists polled by had expected a reading of 24.6.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that manufacturing firms in the region expect growth to continue, evidenced by the diffusion index for future general activity rising from 46.4 in October to 50.1 in November.
  • Import prices excluding oil rose 0.2% in October after increasing 0.3% in September. Export prices excluding agriculture decreased 0.3% in October after rising a revised 0.9% in September (from 1.0%).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that the 1.4% year-over-year increase in nonfuel import prices is the largest year-over-year increase since the year ended March 2012. Nonagricultural export prices are up 2.5% year-over-year, down from the 3.0% increase for the 12 months ending September.

On Friday, investors will receive just one economic report--October Housing Starts ( consensus 1198K)--which will be released at 8:30 ET.

  • Nasdaq Composite +26.2% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +18.7% YTD
  • S&P 500 +15.5% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +9.6% YTD

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