The stock market started the week on a good note as the three major indices cruised to new highs led by Apple (AAPL) and the mega-cap stocks in the information technology sector. Things are more subdued this morning. The S&P futures are little changed and are trading 0.2% below fair value.
Once again, there isn't much corporate news of note influencing matters.
Boeing (BA) raised its long-term forecast for new airplane demand; McDonald's (MCD) was upgraded at Cowen to Outperform from Market Perform; Tesla (TSLA) is reportedly looking to set up a production facility in China; and homebuilder Lennar Corp. (LEN) topped earnings estimates.
There are various other headlines detailing corporate developments, yet it's fair to say that none of them have market-moving cachet.
Oil prices, however, have a bit of that market-moving flair this morning.
Crude futures are down 2.4% at $43.15 per barrel as concerns about excess supply, and technically-based selling, continue to weigh. The weakness in the commodity is expected to act as a drag on the energy sector, which has declined 12.4% year-to-date on the heels of a nearly 20% year-to-date drop in crude futures prices.
That downturn in oil prices is going to continue to weigh on inflation expectations as well. Those expectations -- and the matter of low inflation in general -- continue to be part of the Fed's policy deliberations.
Chicago Fed President Evans said in a speech last night that he is in favor of a slow and gradual approach for raising the fed funds rate and paring the Fed's balance sheet, and he also intoned that it could be worth waiting until the end of this year to assess when the next rate hike should happen.
The market was not surprised by the relatively dovish perspective shared by Mr. Evans. Separately, Fed Vice Chair Fischer didn't dive into monetary policy matters in a speech earlier this morning; and Dallas Fed President Kaplan will be speaking at 3:00 p.m. ET today.
Political matters in Washington remain as unsettled as ever, yet there is some press attention this morning to a speech expected to be made today by House Speaker Ryan on tax reform efforts, to the possibility of the Senate voting on a revised health care bill next week, and to the special election in Georgia to fill a vacated congressional seat, which some are viewing as a vote of sorts on the president's agenda.
There is just a swirl of fragmented news items, then, that seems to be contributing to a lack of conviction in the early going. Things could change of course as the day unfolds, but at this juncture, there isn't a basis to expect an upside bias for the broader market when the opening bell rings.