The Easter holiday is officially over in some countries, but not others. Most of Europe is off today for Easter Monday, which means major markets there remain closed. Hong Kong, meanwhile, is also celebrating Easter Monday, so the Hang Seng did not trade today.
The rub for the U.S. market, which is open today, is that trading volume should be relatively light. That could lead to some "whippy" action or it could lead to some tightly-traded, grinding action that is as exciting as watching paint dry.
At the moment, the first move is poised to be a whippy one with a downside bias.
The S&P futures are down 11 points, which leaves them 0.3% below fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are down 41 points and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are down 103 points, which leaves them 0.5% and 0.4% below fair value, respectively.
Those aren't large moves relative to recent gains, so we'd be careful about assigning them to specific news catalysts. They could very well be a byproduct of a tired market following a big run; and a market that recognizes it hasn't gotten much distance yet out of a steady round of better-than-expected earnings news.
The S&P 500 is up 0.6%, and has been hovering around the 2900 level, since JPMorgan Chase reported its results before the open on April 12.
This week will be a huge week of earnings reporting, with roughly a third of the S&P 500 set to release their March quarter results. Accordingly, there won't be a shortage of trading catalysts.
Today's primary trading catalyst flows from the upward thrust in oil prices ($65.63, +$1.63, +2.6%), which has followed on the heels of a Washington Post report that suggests the U.S. is going to announce today the end of its waivers on sanctions for importing Iranian oil.
This news is fueling supply concerns, which has propped up the price of the commodity and a wide number of related stocks in the energy sector.
Gains in the energy patch will provide some underlying support for the broader market, but they won't offset the prevailing selling pressure in the early going.
Dow component Boeing (BA), which is trading 1.4% lower, has been caught up in some of that pressure, as investors have been disappointed to hear of reports citing workers' concerns about production issues and weak oversight at the company's 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina.
Generally speaking, though, we suspect the early negativity has more to do with an absence of buyers than it does with a concerted pickup in selling interest.
The Existing Home Sales report for March (Briefing.com consensus 5.37 million; prior 5.51 million) will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. It is the lone item on today's economic calendar and it follows on the heels of Friday's weaker-than-expected Housing Starts and Building Permits report for March.