Day Traders Diary


Equity indices finished the Tuesday session on their lows after spending the entire day in negative territory. The S&P 500 tumbled 0.9% with nine sectors registering losses, while the Russell 2000 fell 1.6%, settling below its 200-day moving average for the first time since November 2012.
Stocks were pressured from the get-go as index futures slid to their pre-market lows ahead of the opening bell. While the early slide was not brought on by a particular news item, it served as a reflection of the defensive sentiment in the foreign exchange market where the yen rallied to its best level in three weeks. The dollar/yen pair notched a session low in the 101.50 area, before inching up to 101.65 into the close.
The cautious posture was also visible in the Treasury market as the 10-yr note climbed off its overnight low into the New York open and continued into the afternoon. As a result, the 10-yr note added four ticks, sending its yield lower by two basis points to 2.59%.
Once the session got going, dip-buyers tried to force a turnaround, but were unable to do so as some of the top-weighted sectors kept the pressure on the broader market.
Most notably, the financial sector (-1.4%) underperformed for the second consecutive day. Influential components like Bank of America (BAC 14.73, -0.35), Citigroup (C 46.36, -0.82), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM 53.34, -0.88) lost between 1.6% and 2.3%, while AIG (AIG 50.54, -2.18) plunged 4.1% after reporting a bottom-line beat on revenue that missed estimates.
Elsewhere, the discretionary sector (-1.4%) also posted a loss larger than 1.0% amid broad weakness. Retailers (XRT -1.7%) and homebuilders (ITB -2.0%) played a part in the underperformance, while Office Depot (ODP 4.83, +0.66) surged 15.8% after beating earnings estimates.
Also of note, the technology sector (-1.2%) held up a bit better than financials and discretionary shares, but was unable to stay out of the bottom third of today's leaderboard. Chipmakers, however, had a decent showing as the PHLX Semiconductor Index shed 0.4%.
Momentum names were not nearly as fortunate, with Facebook (FB 58.53, -2.69), LinkedIn (LNKD 142.33, -8.58), and Yelp (YELP 52.13, -8.06) diving between 4.4% and 13.4%, while Twitter (TWTR 31.85, -6.90) sank 17.8% on heaviest volume on record.
Just like momentum names, biotechnology lagged, sending the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 229.33, -3.95) lower by 1.7%, while the health care sector ended in line with the broader market.
On the upside, the energy sector (+0.2%) posted a slim gain to extend its quarter-to-date advance to 5.7%.
Despite the daylong selling, participation was a bit below average as less than 690 million shares changed hands at the NYSE.
Today's economic data was limited to the March Trade Balance report:
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $40.40 billion in March from a downwardly revised $41.90 billion (from $42.3 billion) in February, while the consensus expected the trade balance to decline to -$40.6 billion. The BEA assumed that the trade balance would increase to roughly $42.5 billion in the advance estimate to first quarter GDP. The lower-than-expected trade deficit should boost first quarter GDP growth in the second estimate. The goods deficit fell by $0.6 billion to $60.8 billion in March from $61.3 billion in February. The services surplus increased by $0.9 billion to $20.4 billion in March from $19.5 billion in February.
Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET, while Q1 Productivity and Unit Labor Costs will be announced at 8:30 ET. The day's data will be topped off with a 15:00 ET release of the March Consumer Credit report. Also of note, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will appear before the Joint Economic Committee at 10:00 ET.

S&P 500 +1.1% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.1% YTD
Nasdaq Composite -2.3% YTD
Russell 2000 -4.6% YTD

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