This week has had a seesaw quality to it, with two up days and two down days. However, because the cumulative gains on the up days were better than the cumulative losses on the down days, the S&P 500 is up 0.6% and is on track to record its first weekly gain in three weeks.
That cushion is expected to be padded at the open, too, so it would take something really jarring intraday to turn the tide enough to keep the market's losing streak alive.
It just so happens that there is an event today that has the potential to turn the tide. That would be the Kansas City Federal Reserve's Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole and specifically the speeches from Fed Chair Yellen and ECB President Draghi at 10:00 a.m. ET and 3:00 p.m. ET, respectively.
To be clear, the market doesn't necessarily expect either central bank head to fire any big policy bombs with their remarks, yet that is the essence of why the tide could turn expeditiously if they do.
If their speeches run along more of an academic course, then there will be nothing to get excited about and the market should go quietly about its business, assuming of course some political bombshell doesn't get dropped during the day either.
For now, it's quiet on the Jackson Hole front and relatively quiet on the Washington DC front. That has allowed the bulls to make some early noise on Wall Street.
Currently, the S&P futures are up six points, the Nasdaq 100 futures are up 19 points, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 42 points. That leaves them all trading 0.3%-0.4% above fair value.
There has been a slate of earnings results since yesterday's close, which hasn't produced a clean slate of earnings responses. Ulta Beauty (ULTA), Big Lots (BIG), and Broadcom (AVGO), for instance, all topped expectations, yet all three stocks are trading lower. GameStop (GME), meanwhile, missed expectations and is also trading lower.
On the flip side, Autodesk (ADSK) and Splunk (SPLK) are both up nicely in pre-market action after surpassing analysts' average earnings expectations.
The Durable Goods Orders report for July was more of a mixed bag from a headline standpoint, but beneath the headline surface it carried some otherwise good news.
Durable goods orders declined 6.8% in July (Briefing.com consensus -6.0%), pressured by a sharp 19.0% drop in transportation equipment orders that was led by a 70.7% decline in nondefense aircraft and parts orders. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders rose 0.5%, which was in-line with the Briefing.com consensus estimate.
The upshot of the report was in the shipments and new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft. Shipments for that component, which factors into GDP computations, increased 1.0% while orders, which are considered a proxy for business spending, increased 0.4%.
The key takeaway from the report, then, is that it connotes good growth news for the third quarter for the manufacturing sector.
There wasn't much reaction to the report in the futures market since it didn't deviate much from consensus estimates.
Separately, it doesn't look as if Hurricane Harvey is deviating from its path. It is projected to strike Texas later tonight or early tomorrow morning. Harvey's progress has forced the shutdown of many oil rigs and refineries in, and along, the Gulf of Mexico, which has provided some support for energy prices.