Day Traders Diary


Today proved to be a one-sided affair as equities climbed throughout the session. As a result, the S&P 500 settled higher by 0.7% to notch a fresh record close while the Nasdaq rose 0.9%.

The Nasdaq displayed relative strength from the onset as technology stocks paced today's advance. Major sector components Apple (AAPL 430.12, +12.92), Google (GOOG 819.06, +17.64), and Microsoft (MSFT 32.61, +0.82) all settled with gains of at least 2.5%.

Chipmakers also displayed broad strength as the PHLX Semiconductor Index ended higher by 1.3%.

Although the tech sector was able to register a firm gain, the group was unable to overcome its month-to-date losses as it still holds a loss of 0.3%.

Meanwhile, strength in basic materials producers helped the sector erase its April losses. Steelmakers saw gains across the board and the Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX 41.96, +0.61) ended higher by 1.5%. Metal prices also provided support as gold rose 1.2% to $1470.70 per troy ounce while copper added 0.7% to $3.211 per pound.

Gains in commodities also helped the energy sector as crude oil rose 1.4% to end at $94.32 per barrel.

Even though three cyclical sectors ended atop today's leaderboard, other growth-oriented groups trailed behind the broader market.

The discretionary sector underperformed as homebuilders and retailers weighed. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 73.02, 0.00) ended flat even as J.C. Penney (JCP 17.19, +0.19) advanced 1.1% as reports indicated two hedge funds bought shares of the retailer.

With all ten sectors registering gains, defensively-geared consumer staples and telecom were the weakest performers as both settled higher by 0.3%.

Today's volume was well below average as 598 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

In the Treasury market, the 10-yr note ended flat with its yield at 1.670% after bouncing around a two point range for the duration of the day.

Looking back on today's economic data, personal income and spending both rose 0.2% in March. The consensus expected income to increase 0.3% and spending to rise 0.1%. The March income and spending data were already incorporated in the first quarter GDP report that was released last Friday. The only new information was that January income growth was revised up to -3.6% from -3.7% and that January spending growth was revised down to 0.3% from 0.4%. The February growth rates were unrevised.

In addition, pending home sales for March rose 1.5%, which was better than the 0.1% increase forecast by the consensus. Today's reading follows last month's decline of 0.4%.

Tomorrow, the first quarter employment cost index will be reported at 8:30 ET while February Case-Shiller 20-city Index and April Chicago PMI will be released at 9:00 ET and 9:45 ET, respectively. The day's economic data will be topped off with the 10:00 ET release of April consumer confidence. On the earnings front, Marathon Petroleum (MPC 82.41, +1.06) and Pfizer (PFE 30.43, +0.34) will report their quarterly results prior to the opening bell.

All comments contained herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The firm does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information or make any warranties regarding results from it's usage.