Day Traders Diary


The major averages are quiet to start the day as the monthly rally is losing steam amid disappointing U.S. unemployment data and rising coronavirus cases. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading down 70 points or 0.24%. The S&P 500 is down 6 points or 0.25% while the Nasdaq Composite is up 20 points or 0.18%.

Travelers and UnitedHealth fell more than 1% each to lead the Dow lower. Utilities and financials were the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500, falling 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively.

The Labor Department said that 742,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week of Nov. 14, topping a Dow Jones estimate of 710,000.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. coronavirus cases keeps rising, dampening the upbeat sentiment seen in the market earlier in November. A CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data found that the seven-day average of daily new U.S. coronavirus infections is now at 161,165, up 26% from last week. In total, more than 11.5 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

This recent uptick in Covid-19 cases has prompted some parts of the country to retake stricter measures to curb the virus spread. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered schools to close for in-person learning "out of an abundance of caution."

Thursday's losses were kept in check, however, after the release of preliminary data showed University of Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate triggered a similar immune response among all adults.

Wall Street was coming off a downbeat session, with the Dow and S&P 500 each falling more than 1% on Wednesday and the Nasdaq pulling back by 0.8%.

Despite Wednesday's struggle, Wall Street has still seen a strong November, boosted in large part by positive news around potential coronavirus vaccines. The S&P 500 has gained 9.1% month to date, while the small-cap Russell 2000 hit an intraday record high on Wednesday.

The strength for small caps has been part of an outperformance for cyclical stocks in recent weeks after growth-oriented tech stock fueled much of the market's rally from its March lows.

Longer-dated Treasuries have edged higher, pushing yields lower. The 2-yr yield is flat at 0.17%, and the 10-yr yield is down two basis points to 0.86% after nearly touching 1.00% last week. The U.S. Dollar Index is up 0.3% to 92.57. WTI crude futures are down 0.6% to $41.72/bbl.

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