The broad indices all ended with losses, following European and Asian markets lower, after China's General Administration of Customs on Sunday said the country's exports dropped 18.1% in February from a year earlier, following an increase of 10.6% in January. With imports rising 10.1% in February, China had a $23 billion trade deficit in February.
Also on Sunday, Japan's government made a downward revision to the country's fourth-quarter GDP growth rate to an annual rate of 0.7% from 1.0%.
Back home, the economic calendar was light.
We just aren't strong enough not to care. One day we will be, though, and I say that only because Europe's hanging in today, and Europe had always rolled over on poor China numbers because so much of the Chinese export market is taken by the Europeans. Somehow that has always translated into Europe being weakened by China - and not vice versa - but the futures guys who control this stuff have never been keen on real causality.
The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) rose slightly to 71.37.
Shares of Regions Financial of Birmingham, Ala., have returned 10% this year, following a 40% return during 2013. The shares trade for 1.4 times their reported Dec. 31 tangible book value of $7.54, and for 11.7 times the consensus 2015 earnings estimate of 93 cents a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is 86 cents.