Day Traders Diary
The stock market began the new year on a higher note, but the bulk of today's advance took place during the initial minutes of the session. The S&P 500 added 0.9% after being up 1.1% during the opening hour.
The long weekend was fairly quiet from the news standpoint, but investors did receive upbeat economic data from China (Caixin Manufacturing PMI 51.9; previous 50.9) and the eurozone (December Manufacturing PMI 54.9; previous 54.9). The data was used to justify the sunny disposition in the pre-market, but roughly half of the early gains faded shortly after the open. The morning pullback coincided with a spike in the yen after the dollar/yen pair failed to climb above its December high (118.67). The yen picked up about 100 pips against the dollar in just over an hour, and the risk-off move in the currency market helped cool the buying jets in the stock market. However, the last 30 minutes of the session saw the market rally back towards its early high.
Ten out of eleven sectors ended the day in positive territory with health care (+1.4%) and telecom services (+1.9%) climbing into the lead as the broader market retreated during the late morning. Telecom services rallied behind Verizon (VZ 54.58, +1.20) after the stock was upgraded to 'Buy' from 'Neutral' at Citigroup while the health care sector received support from biotech names. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 270.24, +4.86) spiked 1.8%. Although biotechnology lifted the health care sector, it could not keep the Nasdaq Composite (+0.9%) ahead of the broader market due to relative weakness in chipmaker names. The PHLX Semiconductor Index (+0.1%) spent the bulk of the day in negative territory, but late afternoon buying prevented a lower finish while the broader technology sector (+0.9%) settled just ahead of the broader market.
Like technology, financials (+1.0%) settled in the neighborhood of the S&P 500, but the sector flirted with a 2.0% gain at the start. Similarly, energy (+1.2%) backed off its opening high, but still ended comfortably in the green even though crude oil surrendered a big gain to end lower by 2.6% at $52.33/bbl after climbing above $55.00/bbl in overnight action.
Automakers were in the news today, starting with General Motors (GM 35.15, +0.31). Shares of GM ended higher by 0.9% after being down 1.0% in pre-market after President-elect Donald Trump said, in a tweet, that GM should pay a "big border tax" on Chevrolet Cruze vehicles produced in Mexico. General Motors responded by saying that most Cruze vehicles for U.S. distribution are produced in Ohio. Separately, Ford (F 12.59, +0.46) climbed 3.8% after announcing it will expand its plant in Michigan instead of developing a new location in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
On the downside, the utilities sector (-0.3%) was the lone decliner, spending the day in negative territory even as intraday demand for Treasuries pressured yields off their overnight highs. The 10-yr note ended flat with its yield at 2.45%.
Today's participation was above average as more than one billion shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data included Construction Spending and ISM Index:
Total construction spending increased 0.9% in November (Briefing.com consensus +0.5%) on top of an upwardly revised 0.6% increase (from +0.5%) in October. On a year-over-year basis, total construction spending increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.1%.
The key takeaway from the report is that construction spending is increasing and will serve as a positive input for Q4 GDP forecasts.
The ISM Manufacturing Index closed 2016 on an upbeat note, hitting 54.7 (Briefing.com consensus 53.6), which was up from 53.2 in November and the highest reading all year. December marked the fourth straight month that the index was above 50.0, which is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
The key takeaway from the report is that it helps validate the market's budding growth assumptions for 2017 considering the strength in December was forged on the back of a big uptick in the component indexes for new orders and prices.
For further detail on today's economic releases, be sure to visit Briefing.com's Economic Calendar
Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET while the Federal Reserve will release the December FOMC Minutes at 14:00 ET.
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