Today is May Day, which is also Labor Day in many European and Asian countries. Accordingly, many markets did not open for trading today, which means today's trading volume for the U.S. market is apt to be on the low side.
To be sure, the light volume can't be attributed to a lack of news. There is plenty of it.
- More than 20 S&P 500 companies have reported their results since yesterday's close
- The Trump Administration extended the deferral of steel and aluminum tariffs for Mexico, Canada, and the EU for another 30 days. Meanwhile, deals have reportedly been struck with Argentina, Brazil, and Australia and they, too, will be given a 30-day deferral so the details can be worked out.
- The CFO of oil giant BP (BP) said he thinks oil prices feel a bit frothy and could see a correction
- The UK Manufacturing PMI Report for April was disappointing, falling to a 17-month low of 53.9
- The New York Times has divulged a list of questions that Special Counsel Mueller would reportedly like to ask President Trump pertaining to Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and obstruction of justice allegations; and
- The Reserve Bank of Australia elected to leave its cash rate unchanged for the 18th consecutive time at 1.50%
There will be some economic news to focus on as the day unfolds, too. Auto and truck sales for April will be released throughout the session, and the ISM Manufacturing Index for April (Briefing.com consensus 58.5; Prior 59.3) and Construction Spending Report for March (Briefing.com consensus +0.5%; Prior +0.1%) will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET, respectively.
For now, though, the wires are filled with earnings news, including reports from the likes of Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE), Eaton (ETN), Aetna (AET), BP (BP), Johnson Controls (JCI), Under Armour (UAA), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Seagate Technology (STX), WellCare Health Plans (WCG), Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), and Cummins, Inc. (CMI).
The only company in that grouping that didn't surpass first quarter earnings expectations was Scotts Miracle-Gro.
True to form, however, the stock market hasn't been carried away by the good earnings news.
The S&P futures are down one point and are trading roughly in-line with fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are down five points and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 37 points. The start of today's trading, then, isn't expected to generate much trading excitement at the index level.
Things could change as the day progresses, but with Apple (AAPL) slated to release its results after the close, the FOMC beginning a two-day meeting today, and underlying angst about the stock market's languid performance during the reporting period, it would be little surprise to see a market that chops around in a tight trading range today.
The first trading day of a new month often invites a positive bias as new money gets put to work. However, this day -- May Day -- always evokes the trading axiom that one should "sell in May and go away," which connotes an understanding that the six months from May 1 through October 31 over the course of time have had a lackluster return track record relative to the six-month period from November 1 through April 30.
There's no telling for sure what the six months from May 1 through October 31 will produce this year, but if it's more of the same, it could be a long six months. Entering today's trade, the S&P 500 is down 1.0% year-to-date.