U.S. equities remain subdued
U.S. equities remain subdued heading into the Fed VC Fischer speech, especially considering all the mixed signals from the Fed of late. Shares in Europe remained languid as well, with the UK FTSE down nearly a percent and the German DAX off 0.7%. Alliance's El-Erian warned that stagflation could be the net result if the UK sticks to a "hard exit." Wall Street is pretty much flat, with top decliners in the Dow Merck -1.2% and McDonald's -0.9% (after top management departures), while J&J +0.5% and Cisco +0.4% are atop the leader board. The VIX equity volatility index is 1.3% higher near 16.30, but closer to the bottom of its 17.11-16.26 session range. BofA erased pre-market gains of nearly 2% after beating estimates, while Goldman and Morgan Stanley are due later in the week. Crude oil is now 1.2% lower and back under $50 bbl, also more defensive after reports that Iran is continuing to ramp up production.