The current leaning of the futures market suggests the major indices will start today's session slightly lower. That indication, of course, has nothing to do with how the major indices will close the session.
One can venture a guess, which is really all that it is, and we suspect a lot of respondents would venture to say that the major indices will close higher since they have done so more often than not over the last month or so.
Whether they do indeed close higher remains to be seen, but what is clearly evident this morning is that there is still no strong inclination to sell.
The S&P futures are down two points, the Nasdaq 100 futures are down five points, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down six points.
We have pointed out before -- or, really, Warren Buffett has -- that the reluctance to sell is owed in part to an inclination to wait and see what happens with the tax reform plan. The idea being that investors sitting on long-term capital gains could perhaps hold on to more of their capital gains selling at a lower tax rate in a few months.
There's no guarantee there, but for institutional investors there's ample incentive to see what comes their way (or doesn't) out of Washington.
In the meantime, it's one day at a time and this day has produced better than expected earnings reports from asset management firm BlackRock (BLK) and Delta Airlines (DAL). Additionally, Credit Suisse has raised its price targets for Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOG), Amazon.com (AMZN), and Snap (SNAP), while Wells Fargo Securities has upgraded Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) to Outperform from Market Perform.
Those developments on the corporate front haven't given the broader market much of a lift, yet they have helped provide some support that has kept selling efforts in check.
Separately, Chicago Fed President Evans (an FOMC voter) acknowledged he is nervous about inflation expectations being so low and said he does not see any harm to waiting on raising rates to move inflation higher.
Market participants will learn later today how the rest of his colleagues feel about inflation and other potential policy drivers when the minutes from the September FOMC meeting are released at 2:00 p.m. ET. Since we have heard from many Fed officials since that meeting, including Fed Chair Yellen, it would be surprising if the minutes ended up being a strong market-moving release.
In other developments, Catalonia has suspended its declaration of independence in an effort to allow for some mediation with Madrid. That approach has helped boost Spain's IBEX Index 1.3%, yet it hasn't had any broader impact for global markets since global markets have effectively been viewing the Catalan independence movement as a local problem.
There is plenty out there that could be a big problem for the U.S. stock market in time, but at this juncture, the U.S. stock market isn't getting hung up on "what ifs," having chosen instead to focus on "what is," namely low interest rates, continued earnings growth, and the push for tax reform.