Day Traders Diary


The S&P 500 settled with a gain of 0.5% after notching a fresh intraday record high of 1693.13. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq underperformed, ending unchanged.

Equities climbed at the open and received an additional boost after the July Philadelphia Fed Index, which is a survey of regional manufacturing conditions, spiked to 19.8 from 12.5. That was well ahead of the consensus estimate of 5.3 and marked the highest reading for the index since March 2011.

The S&P was able to register to a new intraday high as the heavily-weighted energy, financial, and industrial sectors all logged gains of at least 0.9%. The financial space led the way with a gain of 1.3% as just about every large component settled in positive territory. American Express (AXP 74.01, -2.79) was the lone exception following its earnings beat on below-consensus revenue.

Elsewhere, the energy sector rose 0.9% as crude oil jumped to its highest level of the year. The energy component climbed 1.5% to $108.08 per barrel. The recent gains in WTI crude have caused the Brent-WTI spread to narrow to just 68 cents from $5.00 on July 1.

Despite the continued rise in oil, the Dow Jones Transportation Average notched a fresh all-time high before ending with a gain of 1.7%. The relative strength of the bellwether complex helped the industrial sector finish among the leaders.

The benchmark average settled below its session high due to weakness in technology. The tech sector shed 0.3% as eBay (EBAY 53.52, -3.86) and Intel (INTC 23.24, -0.91) weighed following the release of their quarterly results. Online auction site eBay fell 6.7% after its mixed earnings were overshadowed by cautious third quarter guidance. Meanwhile, Intel dropped 3.8% after reporting its fourth quarterly revenue decline in a row. The largest chipmaker weighed on its industry group as the PHLX Semiconductor Index settled lower by 0.9%.

Also of note, IBM (IBM 197.99, +3.44) beat on earnings while missing its revenue expectations. However, upbeat full-year guidance helped the top-weighted Dow component finish higher by 1.8%.

Weekly initial claims decreased by 24,000 to 334,000. The consensus expected claims to come in at 348,000. The encouraging headline number for initial claims is unlikely a number that can be taken at face value, just as last week's disappointing number couldn't be. The issue is that there are seasonal adjustment problems related to the July 4 holiday and auto plant shutdowns for retooling that are not occurring in their usual fashion this year. These factors, and particularly the last factor, have created some saw-tooth volatility in the claims reporting.

Separately, the Leading Indicators report for June was unchanged. That followed a 0.2% increase in May and was worse than the 0.3% increase expected by the consensus.

There is no economic data scheduled to be released tomorrow. However, quarterly earnings will continue pouring in. Notably, General Electric (GE 23.63, +0.09), Honeywell (HON 82.97, +0.53), and Whirlpool (WHR 119.37, -1.23) will report their results ahead of the opening bell.

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