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“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Morning stock market summary

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It’s getting to the point where if you want to see the market trading higher, set your alarm an hour or two earlier.  Dow futures were firmly in the green very early this morning but reversed sharply a couple of hours ago as oil prices spiked following news that the US had launched airstrikes on certain targets in Syria.  You know what that means; we’re heading into another weekend with a ton of uncertainty over what’s going to happen in the Middle East.  There’s very little incentive to take much of a stand heading into an over 60-hour lull where the equity market will be closed for trading. Therefore, how the market manages to finish the day today will give a good idea of how sentiment looks after a rough couple of weeks of trading.  Not including today, the S&P 500 has been down on five of the last six Fridays.

While Dow futures are now firmly in the red, S&P 500 futures are hanging onto positive territory (for now), and the Nasdaq is indicated to open firmly higher. Whether those gains hold will depend in part on how this morning’s economic data comes in relative to expectations.  At 8:30, we got updates on Personal Income (weaker than expected) and Personal Spending (stronger than expected) as well as the PCE Deflator on both a headline (higher than expected) and core (inline) basis.  At 10:00, the University of Michigan will give us updates on overall consumer sentiment and inflation expectations. Of the reports, Core PCE and the inflation expectations components of the Michigan survey are the two we’ll be paying closest attention to.

The last five trading days have been painful for US stocks, but the weakness has been global in nature. The snapshot below from our Trend Analyzer shows the performance of regional global equity ETFs and where they stand relative to their trading ranges.  Outside of Europe, which is still oversold, every other ETF in the snapshot closed yesterday at ‘extreme’ oversold levels.  Declines have been widespread around the globe with every ETF trading down at least 1.5% over the last week and all but two are at least 5% below their 50-day moving averages.

Looking a little closer at the returns in the last week, US equity ETFs have been hit especially hard with declines of more than 3% while most of the other ETFs are down closer to 2% or less.  The underperformance of US equity-based ETFs is mostly a reflection of the weakness in mega caps this week.  Mega caps have been big drivers of US outperformance this year, but now investors are getting a taste of the process working in reverse.

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