Asian markets were lower overnight after Japan's trade deficit missed expectations and showed that exports to Europe fell -25% and exports to China even fell 12%.
Europe's markets are also lower after S&P said even a full bailout in Spain wouldn't cause them to change their ratings, which are at outlook negative.
In US economic news, existing home sales for July hit 4.47 million units, a bit below estimates but up from the prior months reading. Separately, Toll Brothers (TOL) reported strong quarterly results and that is boosting homebuilding stocks.
In the REIT space, Health Care REIT (HCN) will buy Sunrise Senior Living (SRZ) for a whopping 62% premium to yesterday's closing price.
On the flip side, shares of DELL are down -6.5% after missing on revenues and issuing downside guidance.
The dollar is roughly flat so far, as are commodities. Oil prices are up slightly near $97.20 and gold prices are at $1643.
The 10-year yield has given back some of its recent gains and is trading near 1.75%. As for the VIX, it is up 2% so far to 15.30.
Trading comment: Yesterday's failed breakout stands out on the charts. The S&P 500 briefly touched new highs before reversing lower into the close and finishing down for the day. Today the market is down again (so far). So the inability to hold at new highs and follow thru on that move likely means that the market has some consolidating to do of its recent gains at best, and more of a pullback in store at worst. We also know that investor sentiment has grown more bullish of late, which lowers the wall of worry a bit. I would not be surprised to see the market chop around more to keep investors on their toes.