The week began with a theme of deja vu that revolved around some provocative action by North Korea and some stunning action by Hurricane Irma. If that theme continues, then today should be a good day for the stock market, which rallied through the unnatural disaster of North Korea and the natural disaster of Hurricane Harvey last week.
At the moment, the S&P futures are up five points, the Nasdaq 100 futures are up 16 points, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 64 points. Those indications put the major indices on track to open the session 0.3% to 0.4% higher.
There isn't any particular driver of the turn in sentiment from yesterday, which saw the major indices close down between 0.8% and 1.1%. Some traders, though, have visions of yet another buy-the-dip rally dancing in their head and are pushing the early-morning envelope.
The news drivers this morning remain much the same.
North Korea, Hurricane Irma, tomorrow's ECB meeting, and Congress dealing with budget and debt limit matters continue to be focal points of uncertainty that are testing the limits of investor conviction.
With the exception of the ECB meeting, they aren't going to be resolved overnight, so a period of choppy market action would not be a surprise.
What is clear before the open is that there isn't a follow-through bias on the other side of Tuesday's broad-based losses.
Corporate headlines have a sporadic feel to them, which is to say they don't embody a market-moving characteristic. Some, though, will certainly be stock-specific and industry-specific drivers.
For instance, Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) is up 15% in pre-market trading after the company announced some very favorable trial data for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The airlines, meanwhile, are tracking lower after United Continental (UAL) and JetBlue (JBLU) cut their third quarter unit revenue guidance, following form with Delta (DAL) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE), which did the same yesterday.
This morning's economic news was relatively good. Mortgage applications for the week of September 2 increased 3.3% after declining 3.2% in the prior week and the $43.7 billion trade deficit for July was better than expected (Briefing.com consensus -$44.6 billion).
On a month-over-month basis, the trade deficit widened a tad from an upwardly revised deficit of $43.5 billion (from -$43.6 billion) for June. That widening was the result of exports being $0.6 billion less than June exports and imports being $0.4 billion less than June imports.
The key takeaway from the report, however, is that it should compute favorably for Q3 GDP forecasts considering the real trade deficit for July ($61.6 billion) was 1.3% below the second quarter average.
The market took the report at positive face value.
Elsewhere, oil prices ($49.17, +0.51, +1.1%) have continued to climb while Treasury prices are retracing a small portion of yesterday's big, risk-averse gains. The 10-yr note is down three ticks as its yield rests at 2.07%. The U.S. Dollar Index is flat at 92.23 and the CBOE Volatility Index, which was up as much as 39% to 14.06 on Tuesday, is down 1.3% at 12.07.