The word is out that the House is going to vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today after President Trump delivered an ultimatum to pass the bill already or live with the continuance of Obamacare. In essence, the president is anxious to move on to other matters like tax reform and infrastructure spending.
It is thought the vote will take place at some point between 2:00 p.m. ET and 5:00 p.m. ET today, so it may, or may not, happen during market hours.
There is ample chatter indicating the House GOP still doesn't have enough votes to pass the bill, yet the market is holding up reasonably well this morning despite the notable potential for a "no" vote.
Currently, the S&P futures are up four points and are trading 0.1% above fair value, drawing some incremental support from the upbeat guidance from Micron (MU) and the upward drift in oil prices ($48.00, +$0.30, +0.6%).
That resilience is being attributed to the thinking that "yes" or "no," there will be an increased emphasis on getting a tax deal done. We would hasten to add that the AHCA would still have to pass the Senate, meaning nothing is guaranteed on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare with a "yes" vote today in the House.
Also, there is no guarantee the tax reform process will proceed smoothly or quickly. Arguably, it should be somewhat less contentious, yet that is what many thought ahead of the health care reform effort knowing the GOP has been decrying Obamacare for years and now has the political capital to do something about it with majority control in the House and the Senate.
From the sound of it, though, politics is making estranged bedfellows in the GOP on the matter of health care reform.
Stay tuned. The AHCA topic, and all that is wrapped up in it, promises to be the headline gift that keeps giving today.
Speaking of gifts, there were several provided in the Durable Goods Orders Report for February. The first gift is that durable goods orders were stronger than expected. The second gift is that the orders data for January was revised upward. And the third gift is the understanding that this combination should lead to an upward revision to the lowly first quarter GDP forecast.
With respect to February, total durable goods orders increased 1.7% (Briefing.com consensus +1.3%) from an upwardly revised 2.3% increase (from 1.8%) in January. Excluding transportation, orders were up 0.4%, which was weaker than the Briefing.com consensus estimate of 0.7%, yet that headline disappointment was offset by the upward revision to January to +0.2% from -0.2%.
The key takeaway from the report, though, is that business spending was relatively weak. Orders for nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft, were down 0.1% after an upwardly revised increase of just 0.1% (from -0.4%) in January.
Shipments of nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft, were up 1.0% after an upwardly revised 0.3% decline (from -0.6%) in January.
There was little change in the futures market following the report.
Fed members Evans (an FOMC voter), Bullard (non-FOMC voter), and Dudley (an FOMC voter) are on today's speaking circuit, yet they aren't expected to provide any insight the market isn't already familiar with in terms of the Fed's policy viewpoints.
The focal point for the market today is what the focal point for the market was yesterday. It's whether GOP members in the House can reach an agreement to ensure a "right of passage" of the American Health Care Act to the Senate.