The good news Monday was that the market didn't have a strong negative response to the spike in oil caused by the attack on Saudi oil facilities. The S&P 500 was down about 0.34%, but the Russell 2000 exchange-traded fund (IWM) gained 0.4%. Breadth was close to even and the exchange-traded fund IBD 50 (FFTY) momentum stocks bounced back and attracted some interest.
The bad news was that it was very dull trading. The selling wasn't severe enough to produce a snap-back and the early dip-buyers didn't stick around for long. The indexes traded in narrow ranges, and there wasn't even the typical program action at the close. The oil news was of interest to the business media, but stocks yawned at that report that received so much air time.
Traders chalked it up as partly because of a hesitancy to act before the Fed news on Wednesday and partially because of a market that has a high level of negative sentiment already and not a lot of inclination toward further selling.
It is unlike any other environment I can recall in a very long time. The dramatic news flow is having very little impact on the market, but market players have to wonder if this is foreshadowing some sort of unusual action down the road. It certainly isn't bad action, but the lack of emotion and energy is confounding.
We are likely to have more of the same on Tuesday as we await the Fed news on Wednesday afternoon. The best approach right now is to stay patient and be reactive. Trying to anticipate what this market is going to do next is a fool's errand.
Have a good evening. I'll see you Tuesday.