Unsurprisingly, we managed a bit of a pop in the closing minutes after a rather lackluster day. Given the propensity for strength on the first day of a new month, plenty of market players likely wanted to position themselves for the inevitable gap up as we kick off the month of March.
Overall it was a mixed day, with quite a bit of weakness in big-cap momentum names like CRM, AMZN, NFLX and CMG, but that was offset to a great extent by strength in AAPL, QCOM and GOOG, which have very big weightings in the indices. Semiconductors were also weak, and technology stocks in general struggled a bit after a negative call on the sector by a major broker.
Oil stocks reversed to the upside and finished well as talk about unrest in the Middle East continues and skepticism grows over whether Saudi Arabia is blowing smoke again with its promise to increase production. There is still tremendous uncertainty in that region, and it doesn't look like it is going to end soon.
The big issue for us to deal with now is the tendency for positive action on the first of the month. It is very well known, so that tends to negate it to some extent, but this market has a way of producing self-fulfilling prophecies even when they seem to be painfully obvious.