Never before has the S&P 500 gone so long without moving in the same direction for two consecutive days: it's now alternated between gains and losses for a record 14 sessions, although it has gained about 11 points over that stretch. The Dow's indecisiveness has continued for nearly that long, alternating between gains and losses for 13 sessions.
The new day brings a handful of lower-profile economic reports, beginning with the NFIB's look at small business sentiment at 7:30 a.m. ET. The monthly index is expected to come in at 89.5 for March, down from February's 90.8.
At 10 a.m. ET, the government issues wholesale inventories for February, seen rising 0.6 percent following January's 1.2 percent rise. At the same time, the Labor Department issues its monthly "JOLTS" report, its look at job opportunities and labor turnover.
The Treasury will sell $32 billion in 3-year notes, with the results of that sales available shortly after 1 p.m. ET.
Although there are no earnings of note out today, earnings season is officially underway, with the release of Alcoa's (AA) quarterly results after Monday's closing bell. The Dow component reported fiscal first quarter profit of $0.11 per share, excluding certain items, three cents above estimates, with revenue slightly below consensus. Alcoa's top line has been impacted by low aluminum prices.
J.C. Penney (JCP) highlights our list of stocks to watch today, with CEO Ron Johnson out and former CEO Myron Ullman returning to that post. Johnson departs after just 17 months and only partially into a massive overhaul of Penney stores.
Monster Beverage (MNST) has announced a $200 million stock buyback program. It replaces an expired $250 million dollar program.
United Continental (UAL) reports a 1.2 percent decline in March traffic compared to a year earlier, due to a cutback in capacity. The number of passengers carried and the percentage of seats filled both increased, while capacity was cut by 4.6 percent.
Google (GOOG) is the target of an anti-trust complaint in Europe, led by Microsoft (MSFT), Nokia (NOK), and Oracle (ORCL). The group says Google is acting unfairly by giving away its Android mobile operating system, but requiring users to install Google software such as YouTube.
Ford's (F) Focus model was the top selling passenger car in the world last year. The automaker sold about 1.02 million Focus models last year, according to data from consulting firm Polk. More than 25 percent of those were sold in China.
Walt Disney (DIS) will lay off about 150 people at its film studio, and will come before the end of this week, according to CNBC's Julia Boorstin.