Day Traders Diary


The stock market ended Tuesday on an uninspiring note after surrendering the bulk of its intraday gain. The S&P 500 (+0.1%) added two points after showing an eight-point gain during the opening hour.


Equity indices rallied at the start, but the rebound from yesterday's 2.6% dive in the S&P 500 hit resistance right beneath the 1,900 level, at which point most sectors began backing away from their morning highs. The health care sector (+0.9%) held the lead throughout the day, but the influential group also retreated from its high as market-wide selling pressure grew heavier during the afternoon.


That being said, the sector was able to finish in the green while biotech names showed strength in the early going, but the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 289.48, -1.13) surrendered its gain in the afternoon, settling lower by 0.4% to widen this week's decline to 6.7%. Following today's drop, the former high-flying ETF is down 15.4% for September.


Outside of health care, industrials (+0.6%), financials (+0.4%), and materials (+0.4%) also finished ahead of the broader market while the remaining groups struggled. The consumer discretionary space (-0.3%) underperformed throughout the day amid weakness in apparel retailers and homebuilders. To that latter point, the iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction ETF (ITB 25.71, -0.44) ended lower by 1.7%.


Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, energy (unch) began the day behind health care, but the commodity-related group retreated into the afternoon even though crude oil rose 1.7% to $45.24/bbl.


Also of note, the top-weighted technology sector (-0.6%) traded in-line with the market during morning action, but fell to lows in the afternoon. Shares of Apple (AAPL 109.06, -3.38) were largely responsible for the retreat as the stock fell 3.0%. Meanwhile, other large cap components finished closer to their flat lines while high-beta chipmakers outperformed with the PHLX Semiconductor Index climbing 0.7%.


Taking a look at the bigger picture, the S&P 500 settled 17 points above its low from August 24 with just one trading day remaining in September. The intraday slide from highs invited some demand for volatility protection, but a spike off session lows during the final 30 minutes of the day, pressured the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 26.54, -1.09) back into the middle of today's range.


Meanwhile, Treasuries held slim losses during morning action, but they rallied intraday to send the 10-yr yield lower by five basis points to 2.05%.


Today's participation was ahead of average with more than 980 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.


Economic data was limited to Consumer Confidence and Case-Shiller 20-City Index:


The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index increased to 103.0 in September from a downwardly revised 101.3 (from 101.5) while the consensus expected a drop to 96.0

The September reading hit its highest level since reaching 103.8 in February

In a clearly unexpected move, consumers shrugged off the negative effects of the downward-trending stock market and instead focused on lower gasoline prices and a generally improving labor market

The Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index for July rose 5.0% for the second consecutive month, which is what the consensus expected

Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET while September ADP Employment Change ( consensus 200K) will be reported at 8:15 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 9:45 ET release of the Chicago PMI for September (consensus 52.9).


Nasdaq Composite -4.6% YTD

S&P 500 -8.5% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average -10.0% YTD

Russell 2000 -10.1% YTD

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