As expected, neither Janet Yellen nor Mario Draghi had anything significant to say about central bank monetary policies and, as expected, the algorithms reacted anyway with a generally positive response. The market loves to love its central bankers even when they aren't talking about the policy.
The business media tried to sensationalize the news a bit, but even the algorithms had a tough time generating much movement. Both the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) ended up flat intraday while the Nasdaq lost ground.
The most bullish thing today was the strong breadth. We had around 4,450 gainers to just 2,190 decliners and nearly 300 stocks hitting new 12-month highs. Despite all that green, human traders seemed to be very quiet. I heard few comments about chasing strength and many traders complained about how boring the action was.
The action this week leaves the indices in mixed condition. There was an oversold bounce following the Charlottesville drama last week, but the buyers only had one day of decent momentum on Tuesday. The rest of the time it was just a lot of intraday churning. This may be due in part to the summer doldrums, but it isn't particularly positive.
We are entering the weakest time of the year seasonally and the bears are growing quite loud. I don't remember the last time the bearish conviction has been so high, and it isn't just the usual crowd of pessimists. Some folks who have been correctly bullish for a long time are feeling less confident.
My biggest concern about the market is the paucity of picks. There isn't much showing up on my radar, and putting cash to work is tough. It often feels like the only way to stay busy is to build some index shorts.
With the central bankers out of the way for now and earnings season over, the market will be hunting for new catalysts. Renewed hopes for tax reform helped this week and that will likely be the focus again. Heightened vigilance will be necessary.
Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday.