The stock market has traded predominately with a bullish mindset today, although it did have a moment around mid-morning when its mindset wavered and the major indices threatened to give back all of their morning gains. It soon regrouped, however, and now sits near its best levels of the day.
The reported catalyst for the bullish bias revolves around an abatement of trade concerns as press reports have suggested EU and U.S. officials might be on their way to discussing a proposal that eliminates tariffs on auto imports.
If nothing else, those reports have created a sense that there has been a conversational step with the EU in the right trade direction. That thought has seemingly overshadowed the recognition that U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods will most likely take effect at midnight and will certainly be met by a reciprocal response from China if they do.
The market hasn't traded today with a great deal of angst regarding the Chinese tariffs, suggesting perhaps that the tariff action has been priced in already and that market participants still don't think a full-fledged trade war will break out on the other side of it.
It's an insular thought, reserved perhaps for only today's market participants taking advantage of thin trading conditions and vacation-oriented trading desks.
The trading momentum has been mostly to the upside and it has been driven mostly by the semiconductor stocks, evidenced by a 2.1% gain in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, and the S&P 500 information technology sector (+1.2%).
Micron (MU 52.70, +1.22, +2.4%) has been upside leader in the semiconductor space after it reaffirmed its fiscal fourth quarter revenue outlook and downplayed concerns about the negative sales impact of a Chinese court approving an injunction against two of its subsidiaries, which prevents them from selling chips.
Buying interest, however, has been fairly broad-based. The consumer staples sector (+1.1%) has been another upside leader along with the health care (+0.9%), real estate (+0.8%), and materials (+0.8%) sectors. The biggest laggard today is the energy sector (-0.1%), which is tracking a downturn in oil prices that has stemmed from a bearish inventory report.
Today's economic calendar has featured four releases:
- The MBA Mortgage Applications Index for the week ending June 30 (actual -0.5%; Prior -4.9%)
- The ADP Employment Change Report for June (Actual 177,000; Briefing.com consensus 180,000; Prior revised to 189,000 from 178,000)
- The key takeaway from the report is that it reflects difficulty for employers in finding qualified workers
- The Initial Claims Report for the week ending June 30 (Actual 231,000; Briefing.com consensus 225,000; Prior revised to 228,000 from 227,000)
- The key takeaway from this report is that there are no alarm bells ringing in it. The initial claims and continuing jobless claims levels continue to be low and encouraging, which is why the market keeps hitting the snooze button upon its release.
- The ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI for June (Actual 59.1; Briefing.com consensus 58.3; Prior 58.6)
- The key takeaway from the report is that it matched an uptick in the ISM Manufacturing Index for June, suggesting there was an acceleration in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity. That will help substantiate the belief that second quarter GDP growth is poised to pick up noticeably from the first quarter.
The FOMC Minutes for the June meeting will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be a focal point in the afternoon session.