The S&P 500 is doing something extraordinary — nothing!

One could say that a hush has fallen over the market.

The S&P 500 closed a mere 0.02 percent lower on Thursday, making the day the fourth session in the past 16 that the large-cap index has risen or fallen less than 0.03 percent.

Such a bunching of silent sessions is actually quite unusual. Over the past two decades, there has only been one other stretch of 16 sessions out of which four were moves of less than 0.03 percent. That happened in August 2014.

However you slice it, small changes have become much more common. More than half of the S&P 500's daily moves this year have seen the index rise or fall less than half a percent; for comparison, that describes less than a quarter of its moves over the last 10 years.

Volume has been markedly low as well. And the market stillness hasn't escaped the attention of Wall Street.

Referring to a well-worn market chestnut, Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, wrote Thursday that "You're not supposed to fade a dull tape and man oh man is this dull. Like late 80's college rock uninspiring."

Views on R.E.M. aside, the market mildness is having a big impact on the options world. Options prices on index ETFs and single stocks alike have fallen mightily, potentially creating a good opportunity for those who wish to bet on or against particular stocks or ETFs.

Read More This may be a great time to bet on the market rising

Of course, if markets keep up this streak, there is little reason to do either. Maybe try dusting off some old records by The Smiths instead.


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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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