The old market adage to sell in May and go away hasn't gotten much traction as we head into the final couple of days. Stocks continue to be resilient no matter what quakes come out of Washington or how wobbly the economy looks.
Investors on this holiday-shortened week will get a few key data points plus other glimpses into what is ahead.
A June swoon
June is a historically meh kind of month for the market, with average returns for the S&P 500 (INDEX: .SPX) of just 0.7 percent. That puts it about in the middle of September's ugly 1.1 percent average loss and the robust 1.5 percent gains for July.
This, however, has been no ordinary year. The market seems virtually oblivious to bad news, with investors capitalizing on even the smallest dips to rush back in and buy.
A few nuggets to chew on as we come to the almost-halfway mark in the year:
So far, 2017 has seen 17 new all-time closing highs for the S&P 500 and just 10 days where the index moved more than 1 percent in either direction. That kind of higher highs with low volatility always — yes, always — has been positive for the market, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
The previous 17 times that has happened, the market has averaged a 19.4 percent gain, with advances happening 100 percent of the time.
So if you didn't sell in May and go away, you might not want to change your tune in June.
All about the jobs
Get ready for another exciting jobs report on Friday — investors are closely monitoring what's happening in the labor market.
Economists are expecting May payrolls to grow by about 175,000, down from April's 211,000, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.4 percent according to FactSet. However, those aren't the main numbers the market will be watching.
What will grab the most attention are the inflation-related indicators, particularly average hourly wages. Current expectations are for a modest 0.2 percent monthly rise. Inflation pressures will be key to determining the Federal Reserve's course ahead with interest rates.
"Wages are growing at 2.5 percent. If that begins to accelerate in response to a tighter labor market, that is some of the data on which the Fed is dependent," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. "If a genie appeared to me and said I will give you a perfectly clear crystal ball for any one data series the Fed is watching, I would choose the average hourly earnings report."
The market currently expects the Fed to hike its benchmark rate a quarter-point in June, and then to enact perhaps one more increase in December.
Tuesday will be the second-biggest data day of the week when we'll find out a little more about inflation from the Personal Consumption Expenditures index. The Fed watches this one closely.
On Wednesday, the Fed will present its periodic report of economic conditions around the country known as the "Beige Book."
Meanwhile, back in the USA
President Donald Trump makes his return from an eventful trip overseas. Some of the big doings in the nation's capital for this week are:
Wednesday will see the president meet with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam.
On Thursday, Trump is expected to name an American Technology Council to help the government learn how to manage the digital age better. In addition, the president is scheduled to hold a campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Looks like it will be an interesting ride this week. Buckle up!
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