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“The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.” – Fred Astaire

Morning stock market summary

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As expected, Congressional leaders made little headway on the debt ceiling and then blamed each other for the stalemate.  Given the low expectations, the market reaction was muted. Plus, investors have bigger fish to fry with the release of the April CPI which was expected to increase 0.4% on a m/m basis at both the headline and core levels.  On a y/y basis, the headline level was expected to increase by 5.0%, while the core was forecast to increase by a more concerning 5.5%.  The actual readings came in right in line with expectations although the headline y/y reading was slightly lower at 4.9%.

Equity futures were modestly lower heading into the report, following the lead of Asia and Europe, while treasuries were mixed, and crude oil was lower trading at $73 per barrel. Investors were clearly positioned for a hot reading, so the initial reaction from the market has been for equities and bonds to reverse their pre-market losses as the two-year yield drops back below 4%.

Semiconductors are an area of the market to watch here.  After a lousy April where the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) fell 7.3%, the index is down about another 1% so far in May, and the technical picture doesn’t look so great.  The index broke below its 50-day moving average (DMA) in the middle of April and hasn’t been able to reclaim that level ever since.  Not only that, but the SOX also broke its uptrend from the October lows.  Last week, it tried to trade back above both its former uptrend and the 50-DMA but was rejected.  Subsequently, last Friday it made another attempt at the 50-DMA but failed again. The S&P 500 has been having its own problems trading back above 4200, and unless the semis can regain their March traction, it could be a tough grind. On any downside in the SOX, the first level of support comes into play at around 2,850 (blue line) or about 3.5% below current levels.

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