Day Traders Diary


Equities began today's session slightly higher before receiving an additional boost from positive consumer confidence data. Despite the upbeat data, stocks were unable to maintain the bullish tone as the major averages slipped into negative territory around midday. Stocks then extended their slide which also coincided with weakness in crude oil and the euro. The selling was broad-based, but financials, materials, industrials, and technology were among the worst performers. As a result, the S&P 500 ended lower by 1.1%.

Broadly speaking, today's weakness may have been a reflection of some end-of-quarter profit taking as the S&P has added 6.2% over the last three months and 15.0% since the start of the year. Additionally, the inability to sustain a rally after the strong confidence number may have exposed the idea the market is probably overbought short-term, and certainly in the face of weakening fundamentals.

Health care stocks were the top performer as the risk-off trade was today's theme. Neogen (NEOG 42.83, +2.83) jumped 7.1% after reporting mixed earnings. The company beat on earnings, while revenues fell $1 million short of estimates.

A handful of health care stocks moved on news. DARA BioSciences (DARA 1.15, +0.07) closed higher by 6.5% after announcing the establishment of a vertically integrated commercial platform for specialty oncology care and support products. Meanwhile, Genetic Technologies (GENE 3.60, +0.25) spiked 7.5% after the company announced its BREVAGen has been cleared for sale in the state of Florida. Lastly, Sinovac (SVA 2.68, +0.19) surged 7.6% after being awarded tenders in Beijing and Shanghai to supply inactivated Hepatitis-A vaccine under an expanded immunization program.

The technology sector was generally weaker as its biggest component, Apple (AAPL 673.54, -17.25) settled lower by 2.5%.

Cognex (CGNX 34.70, -3.25) fell 8.6% after Piper Jaffray downgraded the shares of from 'neutral' to 'underweight' while also lowering the price target from $30 to $27.

Paychex (PAYX 33.41, -0.97) slipped 2.8% despite beating on earnings and reporting in-line revenues. In addition, the company reaffirmed its full-year 2013 guidance. Following the report, Citigroup and UBS downgraded the company. Citigroup cut Paychex from 'neutral' to 'sell' while UBS lowered its rating from 'buy' to 'neutral.'

German semiconductor maker, Infineon Technology (IFNNY 6.60, -0.43) slid 6.1% after the company lowered its fourth and first quarter guidance. The management also said it will define and implement measures to improve future profitability. Details regarding these measures will be announced at the company's annual press conference on November 14, 2012.

The lower guidance weighed on other semiconductor producers. Atmel (ATML 5.46, -0.45) lost 7.6%, while STMicroelectronics (STM 5.66, -0.22) and Texas Instruments (TXN 27.83, -0.85) shed between 3.0% and 3.7%.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average underperformed as the bellwether group finished lower by 0.9%. Despite weakness in the space, two names saw notable outperformance. Shipper Matson (MATX 20.73, +0.21) led the complex, up 1.0%. Meanwhile, CH Robinson (CHRW 59.04, +0.47) advanced 0.8% after announcing the planned acquisition of Phoenix International for $571.5 million in cash and $63.5 million in newly-issued CH Robinson stock.

Railroad outperformed in the early going. However, the afternoon selling pressure pushed the group lower. Norfolk Southern (NSC 65.07, -1.21) slid 1.8% while Union Pacific (UNP 120.38, -0.73), CSX (CSX 21.17, -0.19) and Kansas City Southern (KSU 76.36, -0.72) all lost between 0.6% and 0.9%.

The latest consumer confidence reading for September came in at 70.3 when economists were expecting a reading of 63.0. Today's number followed prior month's 65.9 print.

The July Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index rose 1.2% when a 0.8% increase had been generally expected. This comes against a prior month's reading of 0.5%.

Separately, the latest Housing Price Index from the FHFA was also just released. For July, the Index increased by 0.2%, which follows a 0.7% increase in the prior month.

In tomorrow's economic data, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be reported at 7:00 ET, while new home sales will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

The U.S. Treasury will auction off $35 billion in 5-yr notes.

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