Day Traders Diary



It's been another range-bound day of trading thus far that's left the S&P 500 just a tick lower at midday. The benchmark index remains within striking distance of record territory, hovering about 0.4% below its January 26 record close, but political uncertainty surrounding President Trump and ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations have investors playing it safe.

The U.S. and China enacted a new round of tariffs on $16 billion worth of each others' goods overnight, even though officials from both nations are in the midst of two-day trade negotiations in Washington D.C. President Trump has already said that he doesn't expect much to come from the talks.

Meanwhile, the media is still in a frenzy over President Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was convicted of tax and bank fraud on Tuesday, and Mr. Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to a range of charges, adding that the president directed him to pay two women hush money.

It's still unclear as to what the developments mean, if anything, in regards to Mr. Trump's political future.

Just about all of the eleven sectors are in negative territory this afternoon, but the outperformance of the top-weighted technology sector (+0.4%) has helped keep losses in check. Within the tech group, Advanced Micro (AMD 21.97, +1.07) has jumped 5.1%, hitting a 12-year high, after Rosenblatt raised its target to $30 from $27.

On the downside, the lightly-weighted materials sector (-0.7%) is at the back of the pack, and the financials (-0.4%) and energy (-0.5%) groups also underperform.

Looking at other markets, U.S. Treasuries are flat, with the benchmark 10-yr yield unchanged at 2.82%; West Texas Intermediate crude futures are down 0.3% at $67.69/bbl after rallying 3.1% on Wednesday; and the U.S. Dollar Index is up 0.5% at 95.43, on course to break a five-session losing streak.

Reviewing today's economic data, which includes July New Home Sales, weekly Initial Claims, and the FHFA Housing Price Index for June:

  • New Home Sales in July hit an annualized rate of 627,000, which is below the consensus of 645,000. The June reading was revised to 638,000 (from 631,000).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that the average and median selling prices increased despite the slower sales pace observed in July.
  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 210,000, while the consensus expected a reading of 217,000. Today's tally was below the unrevised prior week count of 212,000. As for continuing claims, they declined to 1.727 million from a revised count of 1.729 million (from 1.721 million).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that low initial claims activity remains consistent with a tight labor market.
  • The FHFA Housing Price Index rose 0.2% in June, and the May increase was left unrevised at 0.2%.
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