Why Did Stocks Drop Again?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Why Did Stocks Drop Again?
  • The VIX Has Approached a Tipping Point

U.S. equity futures are trading higher this morning as upbeat economic data is helping offset renewed fears about COVID-19 lockdowns and the global economic recovery.

PMI Composite Flash data was better than expected overnight, especially in the EU (52.5 vs. E: 49.1) where economic lockdown concerns have weighed heavily on stocks this week.

Looking into today’s session, there are two economic releases that will be in focus early: Durable Goods Orders (E: 0.9%) and the PMI Composite Flash (E: 59.0), and it is important that we see more positive trends in the data or concerns about a slowing recovery could become a stronger headwind on risk assets in the near term.

From there, focus will shift to this week’s busy Fed circuit with several more central bank officials speaking today: Barkin (8:50 a.m. ET), Powell (10:00 a.m. ET), Williams (1:35 p.m. ET), and Daly (3:00 p.m. ET). Powell and Yellen’s continued testimony before Congress today will be the most important for stocks as investors look for further reiteration of easy policy measures for the foreseeable future.

Finally, there is a 5-Yr Treasury Note Auction at 1:00 p.m. ET and as we saw last month, a surprise outcome can shake bond markets which ultimately tends to reverberate through to equities.

Bottom line, as long as there are no surprises in the auction or in the morning economic data, and policy makers stick to their accommodative message, volatility should begin to ease, but all of the possible catalysts listed above have the potential to weigh on stocks and other risk assets today.