Day Traders Diary




The S&P 500 increased 0.1% on Monday in a lackluster session. The major averages wavered around their flat lines throughout the day with investors preferring to wait and see for progress on U.S.-China trade talks.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2%. The Russell 2000, meanwhile, outperformed with a gain of 0.8%.

Stocks began the day modestly higher amid optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade talks, which resumed in Beijing on Monday. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will partake in the the week-long round of negotiations Thursday and Friday. 

The S&P 500 industrials (+0.6%) and energy (+0.5%) sectors outperformed the broader market. Conversely, the communication services (-0.6%), health care (-0.1%), and utilities (-0.1%) sectors were the lone groups to finish with losses.

Relative strength from the transport stocks underpinned the outperformance of the industrial sector. The Dow Jones Transportation Average increased 1.3%, led by gains from Norfolk Southern (NSC 176.95, +5.49, +3.2%) and Avis Budget (CAR 27.58, +1.90, +7.4%). 

Norfolk Southern rose after it announced a strategic financial plan to target a full year operating ratio of 60% by 2021. Avis Budget rose after Goldman Sachs "double" upgraded the stock to 'Buy' from 'Sell' and increased its target price to $35 from $30, citing improved attractiveness in its valuation and seeing its positioning as favorable versus industry peers.

On the other hand, Loews Corp (L 44.56, -2.91, -6.1%) was one of the worst-performers in the S&P 500 after the company reported a Q4 loss of $0.53 per share. Its disappointment was construed as company-specific, as the S&P 500 financial sector gained 0.3%.

Separately, there was some speculation about an M&A deal within the health care space. NuVasive (NUVA 56.12, +6.57) climbed 13.3% amid reports that the company is in talks to be acquired by Smith & Nephew (SNN 38.44, -1.75, -4.4%) for over $3 billion. 

U.S. Treasuries finished the day on a lower note, pushing yields higher across the curve. The 2-yr yield increased two basis points to 2.48%, and the 10-yr yield increased three basis points to 2.66%. The U.S. Dollar Index rose 0.4% to 97.05, setting a new high for 2019. WTI crude lost 0.7% to $52.39/bbl.

Investors did not receive any economic data on Monday.

Looking ahead, investors will receive the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for January and the JOLTS - Job Openings report for December on Tuesday.

  • Russell 2000 +12.6% YTD
  • Nasdaq Composite +10.1% YTD
  • S&P 500 +8.1% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +7.4% YTD
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