Day Traders Diary


  • Stocks have given back about a third of their weekly gains today, as investors try to digest a heap of corporate news -- most of which is earnings related. The major averages have extended their opening losses over the course of the session and are currently trading at their lowest marks of the day; the Dow is down 0.5%, the S&P 500 is down 0.8%, and the Nasdaq is down 1.0%.

    Today's sector standings have largely been influenced by the latest batch of first quarter earnings. For instance, the financial sector (+1.2%) is the top-performing group -- and the only group in positive territory -- after American Express (AXP 101.05, +5.90) reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues and raised its profit guidance for FY18; shares of the Dow component are currently up 6.2%. 

    Conversely, the consumer staples sector (-3.5%) is the worst-performing sector, with Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG 75.10, -2.38) and tobacco giant Philip Morris (PM 84.99, -16.46) weighing heavily following their respective earnings reports. Procter & Gamble actually beat Q1 profit estimates, but its shares are down 3.2% nonetheless. Philip Morris shares, meanwhile, have plunged 16.3% in reaction to the company's worse-than-expected Q1 sales.

    The top-weighted technology sector (-1.2%) is also lagging, with chipmakers leading the retreat; the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is down 3.8%. Apple supplier Taiwan Semi (TSM 39.61, -2.31) has had a bearish influence within the space after its first quarter earnings and revenues came in below estimates; the company also lowered its guidance for Q2. News that China has concerns about Qualcomm's (QCOM 52.84, -2.38) acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXP 13.90, 0.00) has also had a negative impact.

    Meanwhile, the energy sector has shown relative strength, currently hovering near its unchanged mark, as crude futures continue to rally -- although they've come off their best marks of the day. West Texas Intermediate crude futures are currently up 0.5% at $68.82 per barrel and are on track for their best close in over three years. Earlier in the session, WTI crude futures were up as much as 1.6%.

    In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries are under pressure, but longer-dated issues have shown particular weakness, resulting in a steepening of the yield curve. The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note is up five basis points at 2.92%, while the yield on the 2-yr Treasury note is up one basis point at 2.43%. Yields move inversely to prices.

    Reviewing today's economic data, which included the weekly Initial Claims report, the Philadelphia Fed Index for April, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for March:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 232,000, while the consensus expected a reading of 226,000. Today's tally was below the unrevised prior week count of 233,000. As for continuing claims, they declined to 1.863 million from a revised count of 1.878 million (from 1.871 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it covered the period in which the survey for the April employment report was conducted, so it will fuel expectations for a strong gain in nonfarm payrolls.
  • The Philadelphia Fed Survey for April rose to 23.2 ( consensus 21.0) from an unrevised 22.3 in March.
    • The key takeaway from this report is that there was a notable uptick in the Prices Paid Index (from 42.6 to 56.4), as well as the Prices Received Index (from 20.7 to 29.8), which will pique interest about budding inflation pressure.
  • The Conference Board Leading Economic Index increased 0.3% in March ( consensus +0.4%). The prior month's reading was revised to +0.7% from +0.6%.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that the 4.3% growth rate for the index for the six-month period ending March 2018 was much faster than the 1.9% growth rate over the previous six months
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