Breadth is running nicely positive and the DJIA is hitting another all-time high, but it is sloppy action again with few stocks generating sustained momentum. What is most notable is how little correlation there is among the indices. The S&P 500 and DJIA are up and the Nasdaq 100 and small-caps are down, but even that is shifting intraday.
In addition to the inconsistency among the indices, there are some bidless small-caps that have been in freefall. For example, ShiftPixy (PIXY) was a very good trade following its IPO, but it has gone straight down after breaking over $11 and is now at all-time lows around $5.20. There are others like that out there as well, but they are being hidden by a couple names like Boeing (BA) and Cognex (CGNX) .
One particularly worrisome group is biotechnology. I'm seeing some technical breakdowns in individual names and the iShares Nasdaq Biotech Index Fund ETF (IBB) is seeing an acceleration in selling. This group is a good indicator of speculative interest since many of the stocks are story plays rather than value plays. It isn't acting well and that could be an issue.
Traders are hoping Apple (AAPL) will generate some excitement tonight but it no longer moves like it did in the old days. When Steve Jobs was in charge, Apple was notorious for low-balling guidance. There was never a question whether they would beat estimates. The question was by how much. Everyone was very aware of this game, but it still worked and created great excitement when the company blew out estimates.
Apple is now a much more stodgy play that is sure to post some solid numbers, but it is viewed now more as a valuation play than a momentum and earnings growth play. In view of what happened to both Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOGL) , there has to be some concern about a "sell the news" reaction, but the numbers here are always good enough to allow for big funds to park some cash and not worry too much about downside. (Apple and Alphabet are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.)
A poor reaction to Apple tonight will be a handicap for the market, but you can be sure there will be plenty of folks who still believe it is a great buy into the launch of the next iPhone.