There's a lot of excitement in the air this Monday, which marks the first trading day of the second quarter. The only problem is that none of the excitement is in the stock market. Rather, it resides predominately in the world of sports, which is enjoying the start of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, Masters week, and NCAA Basketball Championship games.
The stock market for its part looks stuck in the mud at the moment. The S&P futures are relatively flat and are trading in-line with fair value.
That lack of conviction partly reflects a lack of clarity on some important developments that will unfold this week, namely President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and a slate of economic data that will include the March ISM Manufacturing Index at 10:00 a.m. ET today (Briefing.com consensus 57.0; prior 57.7) and the March employment report on Friday.
Separately, the minutes from the March 14-15 FOMC meeting will be released on Wednesday and the headline banter over tax reform efforts and the Federal Reserve's policy path is certain to persist throughout the week.
There isn't any corporate news of market-moving note, which all but ensures any macro-related items will be squeezed for all they are worth as possible market drivers.
The simple fact of the matter is that today marks the start of a new quarter for the stock market, yet there isn't any "newness" in the headline drivers.
Accordingly, the behavior of the stock market itself becomes the news, as everyone is waiting to see if it can produce an encore in the second quarter of its "Hamilton-esque" performance in the first quarter, when it didn't throw away its shot of continuing its torrid, 2016 year-end run.
The hope today is that the stock market's fate will end up better than that of Alexander Hamilton.
The first quarter earnings reporting period, which will shift into high gear in the latter half of April, could help shape that fate with guidance for the second quarter and the full-year helping to dictate things. By and large, though, our assumption is that politics will continue to be the driving force behind the market.
I'll have more to say on that matter in a preview of the first quarter reporting period that I'll be posting to The Big Picture column on Friday.
In the meantime, today's session looks poised to get off to a slow start, not so much because of a lack of interest in the stock market, but because of a lack of interesting news catalysts at this juncture.