What a difference two weeks makes.
In mid-September, the markets were certain that the Federal Reserve was about to start tapering its quantitative easing program. But the Fed surprised investors on Sept. 18 by maintaining the pace of asset purchases, and quite a bit has changed since.
Both the government shutdown and the weaker-than-expected ADP jobs number have given the Fed solid reasons to be concerned about the recovery. And before you say that the jobs number was only the ADP number rather than the official Non-Farm Payrolls measure, remember that the shutdown means we won't get the official government number Friday, so the ADP number is all we have to go on.
In the longer term, I believe that the mantra that bad news (for the economy) is good news (for the stock market) still holds, as weak data will push back the Fed's taper timetable. But in the shorter term, there appear to be a couple of obstacles that will prevent any real market conviction. Until the government reopens and the debt ceiling debate is settled, the market will be unable to develop any bullish momentum.
(Read more: Ron Paul: GOP is 'not serious' about spending cuts)
Over the next couple of weeks, I believe the market will trade with mild weakness, down to a technical low of 1,660 in the S&P December E-mini futures. I will be interested in selling the contract on a bounce back up to 1,686, with a downside objective of 1,660. A trade of 1,697 on the upside would stop me out.