Day Traders Diary


The S&P 500 gained 0.9% to rebound from its two-day slide which saw the index drop just under 2.0%. However, despite today's rally, the benchmark average was unable to register a higher close for the week, thus snapping its streak of seven consecutive weekly gains.

Stocks began the session on a positive note amid upbeat European trade. The bullish bias across the old continent was attributed in part to a better-than-expected Ifo Business Climate Survey out of Germany.

With no domestic economic data of note, attention was centered mostly on earnings as several notable companies reported their results.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 19.20, +2.10) jumped 12.3% after beating on earnings and revenue. The company also issued upbeat second quarter earnings guidance, but it should be noted the stock was trading near its all-time lows as recently as late November. That multi-year weakness has caused analysts to lower their expectations for the computer company.

Elsewhere in tech, semiconductor manufacturers outperformed after begin one of the weakest groups yesterday. Contributing to the strength was Texas Instruments (TXN 34.18, +1.70), which climbed 5.2% after hiking its quarterly dividend by 33% to $0.28 and announcing the authorization of an additional $5 billion in funds aimed at repurchasing company stock. Meanwhile, the broader PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 2.1%.

Financials also finished among the leaders. American International Group (AIG 38.45, +1.17) advanced 3.1% after beating bottom line estimates on revenue below consensus.

Also of note, the materials sector underperformed throughout the week but was today's top advancer. On Tuesday, basic materials settled in the red despite a broad market advance. As stocks sold off on Wednesday and Thursday, the sector led to the downside amid weakness in industrial and precious metals. As a result, the space is now registering the slimmest gains of the year among the 10 sectors.

Although cyclical stocks outperformed, this was not the case with consumer discretionary shares. Retailers saw relative weakness and the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 67.31, 0.00) ended flat. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF 46.86, -2.19) settled as the weakest S&P 500 component after beating on earnings ex-charges and announcing plans to shutter up to 50 stores.

With consumers adjusting to lower spending power resulting from the expiration of the payroll tax cut, profit warnings from consumer companies have become more frequent. This morning, Darden Restaurants (DRI 46.23, +1.49) issued downside third quarter earnings guidance with higher payroll tax as well as rising gasoline prices cited as the reason.

Reviewing today's S&P 500 sector performance, materials (+1.3%), technology (+1.2%), financials (+1.2%), and utilities (+1.1%) led the way. On the downside, health care (+0.4%), consumer staples (+0.5%), and consumer discretionary (+0.6%) registered slimmer gains than the broader market.

Today's volume was below average as less than 690 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. This suggests the rally may not have been built on the same conviction as the recent sell off, which saw the two highest volume sessions of 2013.

There is no economic data scheduled to be released on Monday. However, it should be noted that the closely-contested Italian general election is scheduled to take place on Sunday and Monday of next week

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