In a familiar scene, the S&P 500 was little changed on Wednesday while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.7%, bolstered by the relative strength of the biotechnology and semiconductor stocks. This morning, however, the major indices all look poised to start on a similarly anemic note.
The S&P futures are down two points and are trading less than 0.1% below fair value while the Nasdaq 100 futures are down two points and are trading 0.1% above fair value.
Oracle (ORCL) did what it could to help drive things with a better than expected earnings report and outlook after Wednesday's close, yet its good news has been a stock mover more than a market mover. Shares of ORCL are trading 12% higher in pre-market action, which is a huge move for a company the size of Oracle.
Another mover of note is American Airlines (AAL). Its stock is trading 5.5% higher in pre-market action following the news that Qatar Airways has expressed its intention to acquire an approximately 10% stake in American Airlines. This development should hep put a bid in other airline stocks, which would underpin the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
Again, though, that news has been cast as an industry mover and not so much a market mover if the S&P futures trade is any indication.
In the same vein, the weekly initial claims report didn't move the broader market needle either since it was pretty much in-line with expectations and consistent with an encouraging trend that has been in place for some time.
Initial claims for the week ending June 17 increased by 3,000 to 241,000 (Briefing.com consensus 240,000) while continuing claims for the week ending June 10 increased by 8,000 to 1.944 million. There were no special factors influencing the initial claims reading, which held below 300,000 for the 120th straight week.
The key takeaway from this report is that it will feed expectations for another decent-sized gain in nonfarm payrolls since it encompassed the week in which the survey for the June employment report was conducted.
Other economic releases today include the FHFA Housing Price Index for April at 9:00 a.m. ET and the Leading Indicators report for May at 10:00 a.m. ET. Sticking with this morning's narrative, neither report will be a market mover.
Even oil prices aren't making much of a difference this morning. They are up ($42.82, +$0.28, +0.7%), rebounding from a short-term oversold condition. That move, however, is technical in nature more so than fundamental.
The same could be said perhaps for the Senate's health care bill, which press reports indicate will be released today. There will be plenty of technical ground covered in the bill, yet it is way too early to call it a fundamental piece of legislation since there is no assurance it will even pass the Senate.
The only thing the Senate health care bill is going to achieve at this juncture is that it will give the political punditry lots to talk about.
Separately, the results of the Dodd-Frank stress tests for the banks are due to be released after the close today. They will be examined closely as a harbinger for potential approval of capital return programs, which will be announced next week.
Settle in then for an open that will be replete with plenty of news items to discuss, but little in the way of scintillating market-moving action.