I have wondered when the rigid linkage between oil prices and the U.S. stock market would weaken, but it isn't happening yet. The contraction of China's economy is certainly a major factor in a decline in demand for oil, but one can't ignore the flooding of oil supplies in the markets by OPEC, Iran, and ISIS. The conventional wisdom appears to assume the U.S. economy is either in or about to enter another recession. The economic data don't support that conclusion.
So oil prices dropped Friday, and the stock markets rose. Today, they gave back those gains as oil prices fell. SPX closed down $30 at $1877 and RUT fell $23 to $997. Volatility rose almost two points with the VIX closing at 24.2%.
Trading volume continued to decline with 2.8 billion shares of the S&P 500 stocks trading. Trading volume on the NYSE dropped 15% and volume declined 11% on NASDAQ.
No significant economic data were released today. The FOMC meeting begins tomorrow and will end with an announcement on Wednesday. Hopefully, that announcement will put to bed this continued drum beat of four interest rate increases coming this year. The most significant economic data will be released Friday with the first estimate of fourth quarter GDP growth and the Chicago PMI.
We remain on the edge of our seats, wondering if we have seen the lows of this correction. From a technical standpoint, giving back Friday's gains is not a good sign. But it is normal to have a lot of choppy sideways trading for several sessions following the low. Take a look at the charts after the August flash crash. It took over a month to "get over" that correction and feel confident the markets were back on track.