Day Traders Diary



The S&P 500 (+1.0%) began its week on a higher note as the index reclaimed its 50-day simple moving average (2056.09). Today's trade featured an upswing in the oil pit, weakness in the dollar, an uptick in M&A activity, and a rebound in the heavyweight technology (+1.4%), health care (+1.4%), and industrial (+1.1%) sectors. The tech-heavy Nasdaq (+1.2%) finished in front of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.0%) and the benchmark index (+1.0%).

The major averages began their day on a higher note as investors weighed a rally in crude oil against negative economic data. Over the weekend, Chinese retail sales, industrial production, and fixed asset investment all missed consensus estimates and showed deceleration on a year-over-year basis in April. Separately, the U.S. Empire Manufacturing Survey for May returned to contraction territory. However, weakness following the data subsided by the time the cash market opened.

Equity averages marched higher through the session as a rally in crude oil and sector leadership from technology (+1.4%), health care (+1.4%), and industrials (+1.1%) helped lend support to the broader market. All ten sectors finished their day above their flat lines as energy (+1.6%), technology (+1.4%), materials (+1.4%), and health care (+1.4%) led the pack. On the flipside, countercyclical utilities (+0.1%), telecom services (+0.4%), and consumer staples (+0.5%) showed the slimmest gains.

The energy space (+1.6%) enjoyed broad-based strength as the rally in crude oil helped the sector trim its May loss to 1.9%. In the group, Anadarko Petroleum (APC 49.17, +1.45) outperformed after Barron's offered a positive profile on the company. Meanwhile, Williams Companies (WMB 20.59, +1.24) gained 6.4% after filing a lawsuit against Energy Transfer Equity (ETE 12.79, +0.15) seeking to prevent ETE from avoiding its obligations under their merger agreement. WTI crude ended its day higher by 3.3% at $47.72/bbl.

In the heavyweight technology space (+1.4%), large cap Apple (AAPL 93.88, +3.36) gained 3.7% after Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B 141.85, +0.45) disclosed that it acquired 9.8 million shares of the tech company. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway also added to its position in IBM (IBM 149.46, +1.74) and offered financing to a consortium of investors looking to bid on Yahoo! (YHOO 37.48, +1.00). Elsewhere, the high-beta chipmakers outperformed, evidenced by the 1.6% gain in the PHLX Semiconductor Index.

The health care space rebounded 1.4%, trimming its May loss to 2.9%. Major drug manufactures outperformed with Bristol-Myers (BMY 72.83, +1.65) and Eli Lilly (LLY 78.29, +1.96) gaining 2.3% and 2.6%, respectively. Elsewhere, Pfizer (PFE 33.38, +0.19) ticked higher by 0.6% after announcing that it would acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals (ANAC 100.67, +36.64) for $99.25 a share. Separately, biotechnology outperformed, evidenced by the 3.1% gain in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 261.67, +7.77).

Retail names outperformed the broader consumer discretionary space (+0.6%), evidenced by the 0.8% increase in the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 41.38, +0.34). The ETF rebounded from last week's 4.1% decline. Conversely, Amazon (AMZN 710.66, +0.74) underperformed as the stock pulled from its post-earnings rally. Amazon has gained 18.1% since reporting above-consensus results for its first quarter on April 28.

The U.S. Dollar Index (94.55, -0.05) ended lower as commodity-sensitive currencies and the euro gained against the greenback. The dollar/Canadian dollar pair ended at 1.2906 (-0.3%) while the euro gained 0.1% against the dollar (1.1319).

The Treasury complex finished near its low as the yield on the 10-yr note rose five basis points to 1.75%.

Today's participation was below the recent averages as fewer than 860 million shares changed hands on the NYSE floor.

Today's economic data included the Empire Manufacturing Survey for May and the May NAHB Housing Market Index: 

  • The Empire Manufacturing Survey for May hasn't helped turn the tide of sentiment. It was very disappointing with a reading of -9.0 ( consensus +6.2; prior +9.6).
    • The reading resulted primarily from large drops in the indexes for new orders (to -5.5 from 11.1), shipments (to -1.9 from 10.2), unfilled orders (to -6.3 from -1.0), and the average employee workweek (to -8.3 from 1.9).
    • A number below zero for this report connotes contraction, so it's readily apparent that business conditions for manufacturers in the New York Fed region worsened in May.
  • The NAHB Housing Market Index for May came in at 58 from an unrevised 58 in April while the consensus expected the reading to come in at 59.0.

Tomorrow's economic data will include April Core CPI ( consensus +0.3%), April Housing Starts ( consensus 1135k), and April Building Permits ( consensus 1130k), which will each cross the wires at 8:30 ET. Separately, April Industrial Production ( consensus 0.2%) and April Capacity Utilization ( consensus 75.0%) will be released at 9:15 ET. 

  • Nasdaq Composite -4.6% YTD
  • Russell 2000 -1.7% YTD
  • S&P 500 +1.1% YTD
  • Dow Jones +1.6% YTD

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