Wednesday ("Humpday") is over and we've got a new Pope, which is certainly a more interesting development than the markets, which appears to be marking time. At mid-week the S&P 500 essentially ignored the astonishingly positive Retail Sales report ... some skepticism, perhaps? The index fell at the open, struggled through the morning, and then churned in low positive territory from shortly after noon to its 0.13% closing gain. We've had a narrow trading range all week. The index is up 0.22% since Friday's close.
Here's a 15-minute look at the week so far.
Here's another daily chart of the SPY ETF, which gives an idea of trader mentality. The volume in this chart continues to stay in the thin zone, well below its 50-day moving average.
Addendum: After originally posting commentary, I now have the Stockcharts.com data for yesterday's S&P 500 volume, hence my reference to "marking time" in the this article's title.
The S&P 500 is now up 9.00% for 2013 and 0.11% below the interim closing high of set on Monday.
From a longer-term perspective, the index is 129.8% above the March 2009 closing low and 0.7% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.
For a better sense of how these declines figure into a larger historical context, here's a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets in the S&P Composite since 1871.