Each rally today was greeted with selling. Every dip resulted in a recovery. U.S. equity markets refused to go much of anywhere today after yesterday’s big sell off.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, for example, finished the day up 0.13% at 2442.07. The market refused to fall through the 2438 close of yesterday (which also represents support since May.) For instance when the index hit 2438.44 at 3:19 New York’s time, it quickly recovered to 2444.29 at 3:48 p.m. before closing at 2442.07. But the index also couldn’t build on gains with the day’s high at 2447.08 at 2:15 p.m. giving way to the day’s low within an hour.
Volatility, which spiked 44% yesterday, showed a similar pattern. The CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) finished the day down 3.55% at 15.47. But the very volatility volatility index stubbornly refused to make a big move, falling to 14.50 at 1:20 p.m. before rebounding to 16.63 at 3:20, and then falling into the close at 15.47.
I’d say U.S. stocks and the volatility index went into the weekend poised to move in either direction on Monday–depending on what news the weekend might deliver. There was no sense today that the North Korea crisis is over–but also no consensus that things were about to get much worse.