On Tuesday, the stock market gave us a carbon copy of Monday’s action. The S&P 500 was stuck in a tight trading range, with a slight upside bias. Today we have the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcement at about 2:00 p.m. ET. Nobody expects the FOMC to do anything about interest rates today. But traders will be looking for confirmation, or not, of a potential June rate hike.
Not much has changed since yesterday. The seasonal bullishness for the first trading day of May played out – though it was a less than inspired moment. The S&P 500 closed up 0.17%. The bulls still have the momentum. High-yield bonds and semiconductor stocks continue to act well – which typically leads the stock market higher. Most technical indicators are sufficiently far away from overbought territory to give the stock market plenty of room to push higher if it wants to do so.
The first trading day of May is typically a bullish day for the market. The S&P closes higher something like 70% of the time, and the average gain is around 0.5%. Most of the technical indicators are now back in neutral territory. So there’s room for them to move higher before getting overbought.
Today, President Trump will reveal his tax-reform plan – or at least an outline of what he’d like to see done. A few of the possible proposals have already been leaked – like reducing the corporate tax rate to 15%, and taxing repatriation of foreign earnings at 10%. These are stock-market-friendly ideas. And the leaking of them is at least partly responsible for terrific rally we’ve seen so far this week.
The stock market tends to do well during the final days of April and the early days of May. Yesterday’s big 25 point rally in the S&P 500 kicked off the bullish season.
Friday was a “consolidation day” for the broad stock market. The S&P 500 stayed within a relatively tight trading range. The index DID NOT give back more than 50% of Thursday’s big gains. So the momentum remained with the bulls.
Today is option expiration day. So in addition to the regular amount of computer-driven trading programs that influence the market action, we’re also likely to see some influence from computer programs designed to squeeze as much profit as possible out of expiring option positions.
The broad stock market continues to chop back and forth in a ridiculously tight environment. Neither the bulls nor the bears can seem to make much of a move. We are entering a seasonally bullish period for stocks, and we do have a new Volatility Index (VIX) buy signal. But nothing has come of it yet.
The bulls have a slight edge today – very slight. The Volatility Index (VIX), the market’s “fear gauge,” declined again yesterday, thereby confirming the broad stock market “buy” signal that triggered on Monday. This, plus the seasonal bullishness that shows up this time of year, favors the bulls.