The S&P 500 is working hard to avoid the 10th day of alternating gains and losses. It lost its early strength but is sitting close to flat at midday. Breadth is just about even, but the big problem that we have is the lack of energy.
While the market doesn't crack to the downside, it doesn't do much to the upside either. There just isn't the same dynamic at work that helped to create so many V-shaped moves. Those moves were caused by a combination of performance anxiety, underinvested bulls and aggressive dip buyers. Confidence in the Fed is what keeps driving the dip buying. There simply wasn't any great worry that the market would correct with the bankers standing guard.
The dip buyers are still out there, but the problem is that performance anxiety and chasing have relented. It hasn't been nearly as hard to keep pace with the indices this year, although the run off the February lows did cause some consternation. Market players are not suffering from the fear of being left behind, so they aren't chasing and we suffer this choppy action instead.
I don't want to sound overly negative, as there are some individual stocks working. Celator Pharmaceuticals (CPXX), Evolent Health (EVH), Pure Storage (PSTG) and Mitek Systems (MITK), for example, are a few that I'm holding.
My frustration is that I want more like those, and this action isn't creating many. The indices are holding and keeping the bears at bay, but where's the beef?