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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

11/21/17

Equities sprung to new record highs on Tuesday, with technology shares leading the charge.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq (+1.1%) outpaced the S&P 500 (+0.7%) and the Dow (+0.7%), but all three major stock indices finished at fresh record highs. The small-cap Russell 2000 (+1.0%) also posted a new all-time high, marking its first record close since October 5.

Trading volume was light once again on Tuesday and will likely remain that way throughout the abbreviated holiday week, creating the potential for outsized moves in either direction.

While there wasn't a particular catalyst to credit for the unexpected wave of buying, a positive performance from equity markets overseas certainly contributed to Wall Street's bullish bias. Indices in the Asia-Pacific region finished Tuesday broadly higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+1.9%) pacing the advance.

Stocks were strong in Europe as well, sending the Euro Stoxx 50 higher by 0.5%, despite continued uncertainty stemming from the collapse of coalition talks in Germany. On a related note, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would prefer new elections rather than trying to form a minority government.

With the positive tone having already been set in both Europe and Asia, U.S. equities followed suit, opening Tuesday's session in the green. The major U.S. averages extended their opening gains for the first hour of trading, but then began a sideways trend that carried them to the closing bell.

The S&P 500's technology sector (+1.2%) was strong from the jump, helped by upbeat performances from mega-cap names like Apple (AAPL 173.14, +3.16), Microsoft (MSFT 83.72, +1.19), Facebook (FB 181.86, +3.12), and Alphabet (GOOG 1034.49, +16.11)--all of which added at least 1.4%.

Following Tuesday's rally, the technology sector has added 38.6% year to date, more than double the S&P 500's advance of 16.1%.

The health care sector (+0.9%) also outperformed on Tuesday, led by medical device company Medtronic (MDT 82.66, +3.76), which jumped 4.8%. MDT shares advanced after the company reported better-than-expected profits for its fiscal second quarter and reaffirmed its guidance for the fiscal year.

On the downside, AT&T (T 34.33, -0.31) struggled, losing 0.9%, after the U.S. Department of Justice announced its decision to file a lawsuit against the company's acquisition of Time Warner (TWX 89.56, +1.85). Conversely, TWX shares added 2.1%. The DOJ's decision was announced on Monday afternoon.

The telecom services group (-0.5%) was the only sector to finish in the red, but the heavily-weighted financial space (+0.3%) underperformed as the yield curve continued to flatten--which doesn't bode well for the earnings prospects of lenders. 

U.S. Treasuries ended Tuesday on a mixed note, cutting the 2yr-10-yr spread to 59 basis points. The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note slipped one basis point to 2.36%, while the 2-yr yield climbed two basis points to 1.77%.

Reviewing Tuesday's economic data, which was limited to Existing Home Sales for October:

  • Existing home sales increased 2.0% in October to an annualized rate of 5.48 million units (Briefing.com consensus 5.42 million). The September reading was revised to 5.37 million from 5.39 million.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that notable supply constraints remain, which will continue to act as a drag on overall sales due to the limited inventory and the high prices on available inventory that is crimping affordability.

On Wednesday, investors will receive a number of economic reports, including the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index at 7:00 ET, weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 239K) at 8:30 ET, October Durable Goods Orders (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%) also at 8:30 ET, and the final reading of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for November (Briefing.com consensus 97.9) at 10:00 ET.

Also of note, the minutes from the latest FOMC meeting will be released on Wednesday at 14:00 ET.

  • Nasdaq Composite +27.5% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +19.4% YTD
  • S&P 500 +16.1% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +11.9% YTD

 

All comments contained herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The firm does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information or make any warranties regarding results from it's usage.