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“There are two days in my calendar: This day and that Day.” – Martin Luther

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.  

It’s not for another month, but it’s starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day as futures are once again pointing to a lower open on the day.  If you’re looking for a scapegoat, the other side of the Atlantic may be a good place to start. The charts below show overnight market action combining intraday trading in Asian and European markets along with US futures.  The chart on the left shows overnight trading from Monday night into Tuesday while the chart on the right shows trading overnight into this morning.  In each case, the pattern has been the same.  Up until Europe opened, there wasn’t much going on, and while stocks on the continent briefly rallied to start the day, sellers quickly came in and overwhelmed any positive sentiment.

This morning in the US, several catalysts could either break the trend or accelerate it.  At 10 AM, we’ll get the December ISM Manufacturing report which is expected to come in below 50 for the fourteenth straight month and is the longest streak in over 20 years. Along with that report, the release of JOLTS for November is expected to increase modestly after last month’s much weaker-than-expected report.  Besides those two reports, we’ll get the FOMC minutes at 2 PM.

Yesterday may not have been an especially positive start to a year, but it probably wasn’t as bad as the headline declines in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq would suggest.  While the Nasdaq’s 1.63% decline was the fourth worst start to a year for the index on record, and the S&P 500’s 0.57% decline was steep in its own right, overall breadth on the S&P 500 was slightly positive (+19), and the equal-weighted S&P 500 was barely down on the day (-0.03%).

At the sector level, things weren’t so bad either.  You probably wouldn’t believe it, but four sectors rallied over 1% and two other sectors were up on the day.  Outside of Technology (-2.62%) and Industrials (-1.01%), no other sector ETF declined more than 1% on the day.

Yesterday’s best-performing sector was Health Care as the sector ETF rallied 1.76%.  While the sector was a big laggard in 2023, it appears to be making up for lost time in the new year as the stock convincingly broke out above the upper end of its 2023 trading range.

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