Stock futures are lower today as buyers pause following a sharp rally late last week.
S&P 500 futures are down almost 1 percent, while indexes are lower by almost 2 percent in Europe. Both have been climbing from earlier lows in the last hour. China and Japan declined by more than a full percentage point in the overnight session.
Some attribute the drop to the Bank of Japan failing to announce measures against market volatility, but the more likely explanation is that the S&P 500 had stalled at the same 1640 area that was support in late May and has now become temporary resistance.
We appear to be entering a phase of consolidation after seven months of straight gains, with every major index except the Nasdaq 100 in record territory. A lot of good news has already been priced into stocks, and there are few known catalysts in the near term with the potential to push the market out of its current range.
One unknown today is a court hearing in Germany, featuring challenges to the European Central Bank's bond-buying program. The market, so far, expects the judges to side with the ECB. After that, the next big event is the release of U.S. retail sales on Thursday morning.
Commodities are following the bearish pattern as oil, copper, and silver fall more than 1 percent. Gold is also down almost a full percentage point, and agricultural products are mixed. The tone is similar in foreign-exchange markets, with the safe-haven Japanese yen up almost 2 percent against most other major currencies. The Australian and Canadian dollars are also tanking against the greenback.
Despite the moves, however, the yen is well below its highs from last week and appears to be consolidating. That's important because declines in the Japanese currency have been a key factor supporting risk appetite globally all year.
In company-specific news, Lululemon Athletica is down 13 percent after CEO Christine Day announced she was leaving the company. The drop comes despite quarterly results beating expectations.
Corinthian Colleges fell more than 20 percent after revealing it was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is seeking information on student recruitment, attendance, completion, and placement.
Pharmacy-benefits company Catamaran, on the other hand, is rallying 14 percent after winning a key contract with Cigna.
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