Day Traders Diary


The Russell 2000 crossed the 1,000 level for the first time ever today and the S&P 500 established a new all-time, intraday high. Those were some of the more memorable highlights of what was an otherwise nondescript day of trading.

By and large, there just wasn't a lot of conviction on the part of either buyers or sellers. The major indices spent time on either side of the unchanged line, but never put a whole lot of distance between themselves and that point for most of the day. The lack of conviction was owed in part to a lack of stirring catalysts.

There was some M&A activity, which included Yahoo! (YHOO 6.58, +0.06) buying Tumblr for $1.1 bln in cash, Vista Equity Partners buying Websense (WBSN 24.76, +5.53) for $1.0 bln in cash, and Actavis (ACT 127.13, +1.63) acquiring Warner Chilcott (WCRX 19.60, +0.39) in an $8.5 bln stock deal. Those transactions, though, didn't have market-moving punch.

All there mostly was today was a lot of sparring coming off last week's 2.1% gain in the S&P 500. Nobody got hurt, except perhaps in the precious metals space, which got hit early on chatter of a possible forced liquidation trade that knocked silver prices down close to 4.0%. Silver, however, made a resounding comeback, knocking out short sellers to settle the day up nearly 2.0% at $22.79/oz. That comeback, which was aided by a weakening dollar, helped boost other commodities like gold ($1389.00, +24.30) and oil ($96.71, +0.69).

Gains in both precious metals and industrial metals helped the materials sector outperform early, but it would eventually roll over to end the day relatively flat. In a mixed day of trading, the energy (+1.3%) and consumer staples (-1.0%) sectors were the only economic sectors to move 1.0% or more.

Presumably, some hesitation ahead of Fed Chairman Bernanke's testimony before Congress on Wednesday about the economic outlook played a part in today's mixed market. There was a little gyration in the early afternoon around remarks made today by Chicago Fed President Evans on his views about the economy and the Fed's asset purchase program, but the market ultimately did not get too hung up on those remarks.

There aren't any economic releases for the US tomorrow, but there will be a number of retailers (Home Depot, Best Buy, AutoZone, Dick's Sporting Goods, Saks, and TJX Cos.) reporting earnings before the open. What they share could set the tone that helps determine if the Dow Jones Industrial Average is able score a gain for the 19th consecutive Tuesday.

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