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End of Day Briefing - Thursday August 13, 2020

S&P 500 closes lower, but large-cap techs limit the decline

Dow -80.12 at 27896.72, Nasdaq +30.27 at 11042.58, S&P -6.92 at 3373.43

[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 declined 0.2% on Thursday, but continued strength in the mega-cap stocks helped limit the decline. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.3%) and Russell 2000 (-0.2%) performed in-line with the benchmark index.

Apple ($AAPL 460.04, +8.00, +1.8%) set a fresh record high in a momentum trade, helping the information technology sector (+0.04%) eke out a gain despite a pullback in the semiconductor stocks and an 11% decline in Cisco ($CSCO 42.72, -5.38, -11.2%) following its disappointing quarterly guidance. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index fell 1.1%.

The communication services sector (+0.4%) also closed higher due to its mega-cap components. Nine sectors closed lower, though, with the energy (-2.0%), real estate (-1.2%), industrials (-0.7%), and financials (-0.6%) sectors declining the most.

In key data, weekly initial claims decreased by 228,000 to 963,000 ( consensus 1.150 mln), which was the first time since March that claims checked in below one million. This was a relatively positive development for the market, but some speculated whether it would lessen the pressure for lawmakers to reach a timely coronavirus relief bill.

A report from Politico suggested that there is little hope among negotiators of reaching a deal by September. House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) said she will only resume talks with White House officials if they are willing to agree to at least a $2 trillion deal.

Interestingly, the S&P 500 grazed above its all-time closing high (3386.15) and matched its high from yesterday at around the 3387 level before facing selling pressure throughout the afternoon. The initial selling, albeit modest, coincided with longer-dated Treasury yields pushing toward session highs.

The 10-yr yield finished higher by five basis points to 0.72% after touching 0.65% at its low in overnight action. The 2-yr yield was flat at 0.16%. The U.S. Dollar Index declined 0.2% to 93.29. WTI crude fell 0.8%, or $0.34, to $42.26/BBL.

Reviewing Thursday's economic data, which included the weekly Initial and Continuing Claims report:

  • Initial claims for the week ending August 8 decreased by 228,000 to 963,000 ( consensus 1.150 mln) from last week's revised reading of 1.191 mln (from 1.186 mln). Continuing claims for the week ending August 1 decreased by 604,000 to 15.486 mln from last week's revised reading of 16.107 mln (from 16.090 mln).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that it represented the first sub-one million reading in nearly five months. However, at 963,000, weekly initial claims are still about four times as large as what the market had been accustomed to prior to the surge in late March.
  • Import prices increased 0.7% in July, and prices, excluding oil, increased 0.2%. Export prices increased 0.8% in July, and prices, excluding agriculture, increased 0.7%.

Looking ahead, investors will receive the following reports on Friday: Retail Sales for July, preliminary Q2 productivity and unit labor costs, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization for July, the preliminary Univ. of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for August, and Business Inventories for June.

  • Nasdaq Composite +23.1% YTD
  • S&P 500 +4.4% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -2.3% YTD
  • Russell 2000 -5.3% YTD

Market Snapshot

SP 5003373.43-6.92(-0.20%)
10-yr Note -12/320.717
NYSEAdv 1204 Dec 1736 Vol 719.1 mln
NasdaqAdv 1472 Dec 1772 Vol 3.4 bln

Industry Watch

Strong: Communication Services, Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary
Weak: Energy, Financials, Industrials, Real Estate

Moving the Market

-- S&P 500 closes lower, but mega-caps limit decline

-- Weekly initial claims decreased by 228,000 to 963,000 ( consensus 1.150 mln) -- first time since March that claims were under one million

-- S&P 500 unable to stay above at its all-time closing high (3386.15)

-- Coronavirus relief talks remained at standstill

Source: (

Disclosure: I may trade in the ticker symbols mentioned, both long or short. My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be taken as investment advice. Readers should do their own research before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.

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