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“He not only made me believe—he made us all believe.” – John Dockery, on Joe Namath’s performance in Super Bowl III

Morning stock market summary

Below is a snippet of commentary from today’s Morning Lineup.  Start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium to view the full report.  

Earnings season kicked off this morning as the major banks along with Delta (DAL) and UnitedHealth (UNH) have all reported earnings this morning. Concerning bottom-line results, five of the eight companies reporting have exceeded results, but only four of the eight managed to exceed top-line results. Of the companies reporting, only JP Morgan (JPM) is trading higher, and the biggest loser has been UnitedHealth (UNH) which is down over 5%, and given its high share price, that is having a large impact on Dow futures this morning.

Futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are also lower this morning, and that’s partly a result of earnings news but also rising tensions in the Middle East as a US-led group launched airstrikes in Yemen on Houthi targets. As you might guess, oil prices have spiked higher in response, and as of this morning are trading up just about 4%.

In economic news, PPI for December was just released, and unlike yesterday’s CPI, the numbers were weaker than expected. At the headline level, PPI declined 0.1% on a m/m basis (+0.1% expected) and rose 1.0% on a y/y basis (1.3% expected). Core PPI was also weaker with the m/m reading coming in unchanged (0.2% expected) and rising 1.8% y/y (2.0% expected).

Everyone loves a three-day weekend, right? While you would think that, there is not much to like about the equity market’s historical performance during the holiday-shortened week coinciding with Martin Luther King Jr Day. While President Reagan signed the holiday into law as a Federal Holiday in 1983, it wasn’t until 1998 that the stock market started to close in observance of the holiday. The chart below shows the performance of the S&P 500 from the Friday before MLK Jr Day through the Friday after. As shown, the median performance has been a decline of 0.32% with gains just 38% of the time. The worst of those weeks was just two years ago when the S&P 500 declined 5.7% in the four-trading day week. While the holiday week has historically been weak, it is worth pointing out that the period leading up to the holiday has typically been better. On a month-to-date basis through the Friday before MLK Jr Day, the S&P 500’s median performance since 1998 has been a gain of 0.88% with positive returns 59% of the time.

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