Today is hump day and there are a number of humps to get over before the closing bell rings.
The first hump was the ECB meeting. That has been cleared easily, as the ECB voted to leave its key interest rates unchanged, as expected, at 0.00%, 0.25%, and -0.40%, respectively. The ECB reiterated that it anticipates these rates staying at their present levels at least through the end of 2019.
The next hump was the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for March. It was cleared pretty easily, too.
Total CPI increased 0.4% month-over-month in March (Briefing.com consensus +0.3%), which was driven mostly by a 3.5% increase in the energy index. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was up just 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus +0.2%).
The key takeaway from the report is that the core rate of inflation moderated on a year-over-year basis to 2.0% from 2.1% in February, which is a trend that should keep the Federal Reserve comfortable with its position of being on hold.
The next hump is the House Financial Services Committee hearing at 09:00 ET to review the standing of global systemically important banks ten years after the financial crisis. This hearing will feature testimony from the CEOs of the nation's largest banks and potentially some heated Q&A activity.
By and large, this, too, should pass without causing much of a market stir since it is understood already by the market that these banks have a much stronger capital position than they did ten years ago.
Another hump, which has been more of a mountain, is the ability to get some closure on a Brexit plan. UK Prime Minister May will reportedly seek an extension for Brexit until June 30, with an option to leave if Parliament can agree to a Brexit plan before then. The EU, meanwhile, is reportedly going to push a plan that includes a one-year extension, with some restrictive conditions that Brexiteers are not going to like.
We're not sure what comes out of the Brexit Summit other than a new date for Brexit, which still lacks an agreeable framework for members of Parliament.
Separately, there is the technical hump of clearing the 2900 mark for the S&P 500. That hump remains in place and the climb to get over it got a little bit steeper with yesterday's retreat.
There will be a step toward it at the open, but only a baby step judging by the futures market. Currently, the S&P 500 futures are up six points and are trading 0.2% above fair value.
Delta Airlines (DAL) did what it could to provide a step in the right direction, having surpassed first quarter consensus earnings estimates and offering reassuring guidance that included an increased full-year revenue growth outlook.
Shares of DAL are indicated 2.7% higher. Some modest weakness in Apple (AAPL), however, which is indicated 0.5% lower after HSBC downgraded the stock to Reduce from Hold, has acted as an offset.
Another hump sitting out there is the release of the FOMC Minutes for the March meeting at 2:00 p.m. ET. Market participants are anxious to hear the discourse that took place surrounding the balance sheet runoff discussion and the downshift in rate-hike expectations for 2019.
It promises be a bumpy road today, then, in terms of news flow, and possibly in terms of the trading action.
(Editor's note: The comment has been corrected to indicate core CPI was expected to be up 0.2%, according to the Briefing.com consensus estimate, not 0.1% as we said originally.)