After opening in the red and declining lower, the major equity indices have started to reverse off of session lows, following comments from President Obama this morning. The president called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a full investigation of the downed Malaysia Airlines plane from last week. Although, it is likely that the market picked up because there were no indications that the United States would exercise military intervention in order to maintain order. While earnings season continues to chug along this week, this morning's reporting companies have done little to move the market.
The only notable economic release of the session was the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), which is a monthly index designed to better gauge overall economic activity and inflationary pressure in the United States. The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 existing monthly indicators of national economic activity and is constructed in such a way that it has an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends towards trend growth rates over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above the trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below the trend. For the month of June, national economic growth was held back by weakness in industrial production, and slowed slightly, but remained above the historical average. The index is currently above zero at +0.12 which is slightly lower than the revised +0.16 reading in May. The three-month moving average is also above zero, at +0.13, but down from a prominently more solid and upwardly revised +0.28 in the month of May. The slowdown in June was centered entirely in the production-related component which came in at zero compared to the +0.14 in May. This directly reflects a meager 0.2% rise in industrial production compared to the 0.5% gain from May. Ultimately, the softness in production outweighed acceleration in the employment component of the index, which contributed +0.22 in June compared to +0.14 in May. The component that measures sales, orders, and inventories was unchanged at +0.04 while the consumption & housing component dragged down the index the most at -0.14 compared to -0.16 the month before.