It's a big day today... for astronomers who will be witnessing the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse for the U.S. since 1918. For the stock market, it isn't shaping up to be a big open. The S&P futures are down a point and are trading in-line with fair value.
The lackluster disposition fits the tenor of the newswires this morning, which is to say there isn't any hard-hitting news to shake things up for market participants.
That's probably a good thing, too, since there was a whole lot of politically-based shaking that went on last week.
Talking heads remain busy talking politics, yet there is an overbearing sense this morning that everyone is just talking in circles because, well, there is no good sense of what will come next out of Washington.
There is a need for a budget and a need to raise the debt ceiling, neither of which can be considered an easily done deal. There is a desire for tax reform, which some talk earnestly about getting done soon while many others bemoan the partisan rancor as a roadblock to getting something done as soon as the earnest talkers think it can get done.
There is an unsettled geopolitical matter in the form of North Korea, which is an unsettling consideration that has curbed the conviction of buyers.
That's just some of the issues that have their roots in Washington. Other issues with roots on Wall Street, such as valuation concerns and the stark underperformance of the domestically-oriented Russell 2000 (unchanged year-to-date and down 5.4% over the last month), have also served as deterrents for buyers.
A familiar wait-and-see attitude is hanging over Wall Street at the moment.
The trading action that is taking place before the bell is predominately stock-specific. For instance, Herbalife (HLF) is up 8% following a CNBC report that it held talks with a major private equity firm about going private. Those talks reportedly ended without a deal, although it was also reported that they could resume.
French oil giant Total (TOT) is acquiring Maersk Oil in a $7.45 billion transaction. Shares of TOT are down 0.2% following the news.
The retail sector will provide its share of headlines this week as a host of retailers, including Lowe's (LOW), DSW (DSW), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Tiffany & Co. (TIF), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), and Ulta Beauty (ULTA), will be reporting their quarterly results.
There won't be much in the way of economic news this week, but what little there is will revolve around the housing market as the New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales reports for July highlight the calendar.
The Jackson Hole Symposium, however, will keep talking heads talking about the global economy and monetary policy all week. It is slated to begin on Thursday and it will feature speeches from ECB President Draghi and Fed Chair Yellen.
There is a lot of speculation about what those respective central bank leaders might say, but since they are the only ones who specifically know what they are going to say, those speeches are certainly in the wait-and-see mix this morning.
Now, back to the eclipse. Be careful what you see. If you don't have the proper glasses, you are at risk of some major eye damage if you attempt to look right at the eclipse.
With that public service announcement out of the way, we'll get out of the way now to see whether some sun shines through on Wall Street today after last week's eclipse.