Day Traders Diary
The stock market is flat this afternoon, but held a modest gain through much of the morning. Small caps are outperforming, pushing the Russell 2000 (+0.5%) to a new all-time high.
Energy (+1.2%) is the top-performing S&P sector, by a comfortable margin, as crude prices have returned to a three-and-a-half year high -- although they have weakened since the start of the session. West Texas Intermediate crude futures are currently up 0.2% at $71.60 per barrel, but were up as much as 1.1% earlier.
However, most S&P sectors are trading in negative territory this afternoon. The rate-sensitive utilities sector (-0.7%) is the weakest group as Treasury yields remain at multi-year highs. The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note is hovering at its Wednesday close of 3.10%, which marked its best finish in nearly seven years. The rise in Treasury yields -- which offer a "risk free" return -- has lured buyers away from the equity market in recent days, putting Wall Street's bullish start to the month on hold.
In earnings news, Walmart (WMT 84.67, -1.47) and Cisco Systems (CSCO 43.61, -1.54) both reported above-consensus earnings and revenues, but their shares are down today, shedding 1.7% and 3.5%, respectively. Walmart's weakness has been attributed to a weaker-than-expected increase in same-store sales.
Meanwhile, shares of CBS (CBS 50.93, -2.90) are sharply lower, down 5.3%, after a judge ruled in favor of National Amusements' challenge to a voting-control plan. The Redstone family, which controls National Amusements, has been trying to force a CBS-Viacom (VIAB 28.19, -0.08) merger, so today's ruling clears a path for that to happen.
Reviewing today's economic data, which included weekly Initial Claims, the Philadelphia Fed Index for May, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for April: