Like the polar vortex, the earnings results and guidance reported so far this week have placed a freeze on the market's rally effort. That's largely because the guidance hasn't had a blue-sky feel to it. Rather, it has been shades of wintry grey.
Yesterday, it was Caterpillar (CAT) and NVIDIA (NVDA). Today, it is Pfizer (PFE), 3M (MMM), Whirlpool (WHR), Harley-Davidson (HOG), Lockheed Martin (LMT), and Verizon (VZ) that underwhelmed.
What's remarkable is that the futures market isn't under any pressure despite the underwhelming guidance.
The S&P futures are up five points and are trading 0.1% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 17 points and are trading 0.2% above fair value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 73 points and are trading 0.2% above fair value.
It's a peculiar indication that is surprisingly resilient given some other background issues that are sticking to the frozen ground like a wet snowflake.
For instance, the press is reporting today that the U.S. and China remain sharply divided on trade matters heading into this week's negotiations. That isn't necessarily a surprise, yet the news that the U.S. is filing criminal charges against Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei doesn't seem to be the type of news that will warm the hearts of Chinese negotiators.
Separately, the UK's Brexit plan remains a mystery and will be the subject of debate today in the UK Parliament. The FOMC begins a two-day meeting today; PG&E (PCG) filed for Chapter 11, like it said it planned to do; and Apple (AAPL) reports its results after the close tonight.
The inference is that there is a wall of uncertainty the market will have to climb today should it choose to do so.
It might take a small step up at the open, but it is going to need its crampons if it wants to avoid slipping on the ice that is forming from the underwhelming earnings guidance.