What’s Driving Stocks

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • What’s Driving Stocks
  • Natural Gas Update (New Highs Ahead?)

Futures are slightly higher following a generally quiet night of news as oil declined modestly and there was no further escalation in the Russia/Ukraine war.

Economic data disappointed overnight as UK Retail Sales missed estimates (-.3% vs. (E) 0.7%), while German IFO Business Expectations plunged to 85.1 vs. (E) 92.4, reflecting uncertainty related to the Russia/Ukraine war.

Today’s focus will be on the Consumer Sentiment Report (E: 59.7) and specifically the Inflation Expectations index, and if five-year inflation expectations move meaningfully above 3%, that will put a headwind on stocks.   Pending Home Sales (E: 0.9%) is the other notable report today, but it shouldn’t move markets.

From the Fed we have multiple speakers, including Williams (10:00 a.m. ET), Daly (11:00 a.m. ET), Barkin (11:30 a.m. ET) and Waller (12:00 p.m. ET) but as long as they stick to the current “script” of being open to a 50 bps hike at the May meeting (but not calling for even more) then they shouldn’t move markets.