Wednesday's session marked the fifth straight winning session for the S&P 500. Over that period, it has gained 68 points or 2.4%. The drive for six straight wins starts soon, yet the market's gear shift seems to be stuck in neutral.
The futures for the major indices are all little changed, leaving them in close proximity to fair value. The mixed disposition fits with a batch of lead headlines that have presented a clash between growth concerns and growth optimism.
The concerns emanate from Germany reporting a 4.2% month-over-month decline in factory orders for February and Bloomberg reporting that Italy could soon announce a cut in its 2019 GDP growth forecast to 0.1% from 1.0%.
The growth optimism stems from reports President Trump will meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu today and separate reports that Mr. Trump could possibly announce a summit date with President Xi, planting the idea in the market's mind that a trade deal could be close at hand.
There hasn't been a stronger response to the latter assumption, because the latter assumption has been serving as a catalyst for this week's gains already. Furthermore, the market knows the hardest provisions of a trade agreement are still unsettled, so it is restraining itself somewhat until an actual deal is announced.
There have been no restraints in the judgment of Tesla (TSLA). There is some no-holds-barred selling taking place after Tesla provided disappointing Q1 delivery figures and warned of a negative impact to its Q1 net income. Shares of TSLA are down 10% in pre-market action.
Tesla's problems, however, are considered to be Tesla's problems.
If anything, the response to Tesla's news might serve as a cue to take some money off the table in other momentum stocks that have rallied strongly to start the year, but thus far, the broader market is holding pretty steady.
A glowing initial claims report has provided some stability, as the key takeaway from the report is that it suggests employers are reluctant to let go of employees. That is a positive consideration in terms of the economic outlook.
Initial claims for the week ending March 30 decreased by 10,000 to 202,000 (Briefing.com consensus 217,000) while continuing claims for the week ending March 23 fell by 38,000 to 1.717 million.
The four-week moving average for initial claims dropped by 4,000 to 213,500, which leaves it close to an historical low.
The Treasury market softened a bit in the wake of the release, but like the stock market, it is holding close to unchanged levels.