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Stock markets hold the line ahead of the US profit reporting season

The stock market has looked through the air strikes on Syria and weaker than expected US jobs market as investors wait on the US profit reporting season for direction.

After an initial reaction to news of the Syrian air strikes on Friday, market moves have been limited. This indicates that investors have taken the pragmatic view that unless the situation escalates, it’s unlikely to influence economies over and above the significant impact the turmoil in the Middle East has already caused.

Although, headline jobs growth in the US was a lot weaker than anticipated, market reaction reflects the consensus view that this was mainly about weather related distortions and not a softening trend in the labour market. In fact, the underemployment rate continues to trend lower and now stands at 8.9% compared to its GFC peak of 17.1%

That markets have looked through the Syrian air strikes and the US jobs data is best reflected by the fact that since Friday, the US Dollar has risen against the Yen while,  US bond yields have risen.

The US profit reporting season gets under way this weak and is likely to hold  the key to the direction of global stock indices over coming weeks. Investors are waiting to assess whether profit results validate current full valuations.

The Australia 200 index is operating within a trading range between the recent high at 5910 and support around 5815. Daily fluctuations within this range are telling us little about the future direction of the market.

A significant correction in the spot iron ore price is now clearly under way and may prove a headwind for the ASX 200.

However, the oil price continues to push higher, assisted by the situation in Syria and could see support for energy stocks today. 

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