The stock-market selloff has removed some of its positive bias

The stock-market selloff has removed some of its positive bias: Sevens Report Editor, Tom Essaye, Quoted in MarketWatch

Stock-market pessimism is climbing. Why it’s still not bad enough to imply stocks hit a bottom.

Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report Research, said the slump in bullish sentiment since November indicates the stock-market selloff has removed some of its positive bias, but that it also implies a return to a “normal” market sentiment.

“It isn’t yet created enough negativity that makes me more confident this pullback is over,” he wrote in a Tuesday client note.

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Sentiment Update

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What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Sentiment Update
  • Empire State Manufacturing Index Falls to Pandemic Lows

U.S. futures are tracking global shares lower as the ECB’s Lagarde became the latest to push back on overly dovish policy expectations. While Chinese economic data showed consumer weakness (but industrial strength) and inflation reaccelerated in Europe. This is adding to the recent trend of less-dovish/more-hawkish money flows.

Toay is lining up to be a busy session as there are a slew of economic reports due this morning. Including: Retail Sales (E: 0.4%), Import & Export Prices (E: -0.6%, -0.6%), Industrial Production (E: -0.1%), and the Housing Market Index (E: 38).

There are also several Fed officials scheduled to speak over the course of the session: Barr, Bowman, and Williams.

Earnings will also continue to come in today with several more notable financial companies reporting: SCHW ($0.65), CFG ($0.60), and DFS ($2.50).

Bottom line, trading has taken a more cautious tone this week with heavier price action in stocks. In order for that to ease and risk appetites return to the market today, we will need to see data that is consistent with a still healthy and resilient consumer but not to the point where the Fed would be inclined to delay rate cuts or cut less in 2024. Investors will look for less-hawkish Fed commentary and stable earnings as well. If those developments do not occur the risk of an acceleration lower in stocks this week will rise meaningfully.

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Why Won’t Stocks Drop?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Won’t Stocks Drop? It’s Partially Sentiment
  • Empire State Manufacturing Index Takeaways
  • Chart – How Oil Prices Are Influencing the S&P 500 Right Now

Stock futures are higher this morning as Chinese economic data was mostly better than expected while investors await more big bank earnings today.

Economically, Chinese Retail Sales jumped 10.6% y/y vs. (E) 7.0% in March which helped Q1 GDP to rise 4.5% y/y vs. (E) 3.9%. Other metrics including Fixed Asset Investment and Industrial Production were less encouraging, but the strong consumer data was well received by investors overnight.

Meanwhile U.K. wage growth rose 5.9% vs. (E) 5.1% in March which adds some pressure to the BoE to remain aggressive as there is clearly more work to do to get inflation under control.

Looking into today’s session, focus will be on earnings early with BAC ($0.79), GS ($8.14), JNJ ($2.51), and BK ($1.09) reporting quarterly results before the open while NFLX ($2.81) and UAL (-$0.73) report after the close.

After the open, investors will be watching for the only notable economic release today: Housing Starts and Permits (E: 1.400 million, 1.431 million) before there is a 52-Week Treasury Bill auction at 11:30 a.m. ET which may offer some fresh insight into market expectations for Fed policy over the next year.

Finally, the Fed’s Bowman speaks at 1:00 p.m. ET and investors will be looking any further clues about May rate hike plans and longer term policy outlook.