There isn't much more you could ask for on the earnings front today. Netflix (NFLX), UnitedHealth (UNH), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Morgan Stanley (MS) all impressed in one way or another with their results and/or guidance.
That all sounds impressive at first blush, yet futures traders aren't acting all that impressed.
The S&P futures are down one point, the Nasdaq 100 futures are down two points, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 24 points.
There isn't a good explanation for the lackluster response, other than perhaps the belief that the good earnings news was already priced in to the stocks and the broader market.
We'd offer a sidebar explanation that this is also just how the futures market seems to behave these days before the cash market opens. That is, it possesses a somewhat listless demeanor that more often than not gives way to a slow grind higher in the cash market as the day progresses.
The inference is that there isn't much selling pressure no matter the news, as market participants are holding fast to the supports of low interest rates, continued earnings growth, and the prospect of tax reform that is leading them to defer taking long-term capital gains.
Momentum is another factor in play as the trend in price action has yet to show it isn't the trader's friend, so many participants continue to go with the flow.
That's not a unique approach to the U.S. either. Japan's Nikkei recorded its eleventh straight gain today, meaning it hasn't had a losing session yet in October. In that span, the Nikkei has gained 4.8%.
It's all driving the contention that equity markets are reflecting the enthusiasm for a period of synchronized global growth. At the same time, it is also fueling arguments that the equity markets have gotten ahead of themselves and are due for a corrective period.
So far, however, the correction is just a figment of the bears' hopeful imagination.
There was nothing imaginative about the Export/Import Price Index report for September. It showed a 0.7% increase in import prices and a 0.8% increase in export prices.
Excluding fuel, import prices increased 0.3% for the second straight month. Excluding agriculture, export prices increased 1.0% on the heels of a 0.8% increase in August.
On a year-over-year basis, import prices are up 2.7%, versus a 1.1% decline for the 12 months ending in September 2016. Export prices, meanwhile, are up 2.9%, versus a 1.5% decline for the 12 months ending in September 2016.
The key takeaway is that these price trends will validate the prevailing belief that the Federal Reserve is likely to raise the fed funds rate at its December meeting.