Day Traders Diary


The stock market enjoyed a broad-based rally on Tuesday, which lifted the S&P 500 (+1.1%) back into positive territory for the year (+1.0%). The benchmark index was outperformed by the Nasdaq (+1.3%) for the bulk of the day, as technology would lead the advance. Once again it was a very quiet day with fewer than 573 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.


Equity indices spiked out of the gate following a jump in oil prices heading into the opening hour. This led to a large initial uptick in commodity-sensitive sectors like energy (+0.7%) and materials (+0.9%). Their rally was short-lived, however, as the struggling sectors couldn't hold the lead. On a related note, WTI crude was able to end its day near its high, climbing 2.8% to $37.86/bbl.


In sectors, technology (+1.3%), health care (+1.2%), consumer discretionary (+1.1%), and financials (+1.1%) lead the pack, while utilities (+0.5%), energy (+0.7%), and telecommunications (+0.7%) rounded out the leaderboard.


The highly-weighted technology sector advanced thanks in large part to a strong showing from large-cap components Apple (AAPL 108.74, +1.92), Alphabet (GOOGL 793.96, +11.72), and Facebook (FB 107.26, 1.33) as the three rallied from 1.3-1.8%. The other major contributor to technology's position atop the leaderboard was the high-beta chipmaker group, which outperformed the broader market with the PHLX Semiconductor Index ending the day higher by 1.2%.


In the health care space, biotechnology was one of the sector's best performers with iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 343.11, +5.89) advancing 1.8% on the day. Elsewhere, sector large-caps AbbVie (ABBV 59.45, +0.70) and Pfizer (PFE 32.83, +0.41) kept pace with the sector.


It was a relatively quiet day with economic data being limited to Consumer Confidence and Case-Shiller 20-City Index:


The Consumer Confidence report for December rose to 96.5 from 90.4 while the consensus expected a reading of 93.5

The December survey marked the first increase in consumer confidence since September thanks to an improvement in the Present Situation Index (115.3 from 110.9) and the Expectations Index (83.9 from 80.4)

The Case-Shiller 20-city Index rose 5.5% in October to follow the previous month's 5.5% increase while the consensus expected an increase of 5.4%

Tomorrow's economic data will be limited to last week's MBA Mortgage Index at 7:00 ET and the 10:00 ET release of the Pending Home Sales report for November ( consensus +0.5%).


Nasdaq Composite +7.9% YTD

S&P 500 +1.0% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average -0.6% YTD

Russell 2000 -3.7% YTD

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