Day Traders Diary


The major averages ended the midweek session on a flat note after spending the day inside narrow ranges. The S&P 500 hovered near the 2,000 mark for the majority of the trading day, but slumped to new lows during the last hour of action. The index then returned to its flat line, where it settled for the day. For the third day in a row, participation left a lot to be desired with just 487 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

Equity indices opened with slim gains, but were quick to return to their flat lines as most sectors traded little changed. Two countercyclical groupstelecom services (+0.5%) and utilities (+1.0%)held gains throughout the day, but neither had much say over the direction of the broader market.

Meanwhile, influential sectors like consumer discretionary (+0.1%), financials (-0.2%), health care (unch), and technology (-0.1%) ended mixed with respect to the S&P 500.

Retailers contributed to the relative strength of the discretionary sector following better than expected quarterly results from Brown Shoe (BWS 29.90, -1.47), Express (EXPR 16.45, +1.86), and Tiffany & Co (TIF 101.75, +0.98). For its part, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 89.47, +0.30) advanced 0.3%.

Elsewhere, the health care space displayed intraday strength, but finished in line with the market. Biotechnology contributed to the early outperformance, but the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 275.06, -0.65) settled lower by 0.2% after soaring 9.6% over the past two weeks.

Similar to health care, the top-weighted sectortechnologyalso showed intraday strength prior to an afternoon retreat. Even though the sector ended in the red, its largest componentApple (AAPL 102.13, +1.24)climbed 1.2% amid speculation the company will reveal a wearable device at an event scheduled for September 9.

While equities ended little changed, there was some activity in the foreign exchange market. This morning, the euro/dollar pair jumped from 1.3170 to 1.3210 in reaction to reports suggesting the European Central Bank is unlikely to take action at next week's policy meeting. The comments were attributed to ECB sources and followed earlier speculation that ECB President Mario Draghi may announce a quantitative easing program at the upcoming meeting. The single currency traded near the 1.3195 level at the end of the New York session.

Treasuries settled near their highs with the 10-yr yield down four basis points at 2.36%. More notably, the 30-yr bond rallied to send its yield lower by six basis points to 3.11%, representing the lowest close since May of last year.

Economic data was limited to the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, which rose 2.8% to follow last week's uptick of 1.4%.

Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims ( consensus 302,000) and the second estimate of Q2 GDP (expected 4.0%) will be released at 8:30 ET, while the Pending Home Sales report for July (consensus 0.5%) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.
Nasdaq Composite +9.4% YTD
S&P 500 +8.2% YTD
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