The market is having an abnormally normal day

Stocks are doing something rare on Thursday: Nothing.

With three hours left in the trading day, the S&P 500 is up a mere 0.1 percent. If the magnitude of the market's move does not rise, Thursday will be the S&P's third least-move-y day this year.

The beginning of 2016 has proven an emotional roller coaster for investors, albeit not a particularly fun one. The average move (whether to the upside or downside) for a session in 2016 is 1.18 percent. That compares to an average 0.94 percent move in the comparable time period in 2015, and 0.72 percent over the full year.

The relative quietude may be a good sign for stocks. One of the things the market will need in order to bottom is a decline in volatility, investment strategist Neil Azous of Rareview Macro said this week on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Read More Beware this hurt and confused market: Strategist

Then again, it may be a bit premature to declare the gut-wrenching moves over and done with.

First off all, the S&P 500 futures saw dramatic action in the overnight session, with the e-mini hitting 1,922 shortly before 2 a.m. ET, and bottoming out at 1,891 around 9 a.m., for a 1.7 percent pre-opening drop.

Second, it is certainly helping that on Thursday, oil — which appears to enjoy outsized influence on stocks this year — is having a rare quiet session.

Finally, there are potential fundamental reasons to delay making big decisions. Some traders may be in "wait-and-see" mode ahead of a Friday jobs report that could shine some light on important questions about the strength of the U.S. economy, the odds of inflation finally cropping up and whether economic data will merit further Federal Reserve rate hikes.

But for traders exhausted by chasing the market's seesaw moves, the most notable thing might be just how un-notably stocks are trading Thursday.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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