Futures Now Futures Now: Blog


  Sunday, 28 Jun 2015 | 5:00 PM ET

Don't sleep on these 2nd half picks, traders say

It hasn't been a great first half of the year for commodities.

Precious metals are trading lower, as are industrial metals. Major agricultural commodities like corn, wheat and soybeans are all down, in addition to coffee and sugar. Energy commodities have seen gains in 2015, but haven't even come close to recapturing the losses incurred over the past year.

While each commodity responds to its own distinct market forces, the rise in the dollar and in interest rates has been bad news for them all. As each greenback becomes worth more, it takes fewer of them to buy a fixed amount of any given commodity, meaning that prices fall.

Meanwhile, since commodities don't throw off yield like bonds do, greater risk-free rates makes holding commodities relatively less attractive.

But amid all the disappointment and bearish sentiment, some see opportunity. In the second half of the year, some traders are betting that corn and wheat see a rebound. Others are pinning their hopes on silver.

When asked for his "sleeper pick" for the second half of 2015, Jim Iuorio of TJM Institutional Services picked corn.

Iuorio said that further upside for the dollar is likely to be capped by dovish rhetoric from the Federal Reserve, even as they raise rates.

When it comes to corn specifically, however, the Chicago-based trader says that "after several consecutive outstanding growing seasons, corn appears to be priced for perfection. When a market starts ignoring any possibility of turbulence, that is the type to be contrarian."

Iuorio predicts that the grain, which closed the week at $3.85 per bushel, will rise to $4.20 in the near-term, and higher than that by year-end.

Brian Stutland is similarly bullish on agricultural commodities, reasoning that the dollar strength is "over" and inflation is ahead.

"The steeper Treasury yield curve is indicating that you play the reflation trade, which is long food and energy," Stutland wrote to CNBC. "Food inflation is coming faster than the Fed thinks or wants."

Read MoreChart: Can't get worse for copper, so buy it

»Read more
  Friday, 26 Jun 2015 | 8:13 AM ET

Crude is about to break out: BNP Technician

Posted ByAmanda Diaz

Crude oil has traded in a tight $10 range for the better of the past two months, but according to one top technician, the commodity could be set to break out in the second half of the year.

"We've seen commodities estimates move higher across the Street for the third and fourth quarters, and we're seeing good demand data," technical analyst Darren Wolfberg said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now."

»Read more
  Thursday, 25 Jun 2015 | 3:21 PM ET

Here's why gold will rally: RBC's Gero

Posted ByAmanda Diaz

Gold is in the midst of its longest losing streak since March, but one noted gold bug claims the selling could soon abate.

"I'm probably one of the few people that believe there are too many bears in the woods," metals strategist George Gero said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now." Gold closed Thursday's session at $1,172.20 an ounce, its lowest level since June 5, but despite the selloff, Gero insists the precious metal is oversold.

Gero attributed gold's recent demise to a healthy stock market, strong dollar, uncertainty over a Fed rate hike and unrest in Greece.

"Right now gold doesn't have too many friends because of a very good stock market," said Gero, of RBC Capital Markets. "Then of course in dollar terms, you've had a major change this year." Gold prices are down more than 1 percent year to date, while the U.S. dollar index and S&P 500 have risen a respective 5 percent and 2 percent over the same period.

Read MoreGold settles down after 4-day drop, awaits news on Greece

»Read more
  Tuesday, 23 Jun 2015 | 10:57 AM ET

Another reason to dump Jackson instead of Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.
Bob Wickham | Getty Images
Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.

A polite brouhaha has broken out after the Treasury Department said it plans to put a woman on the $10 bill.

Former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke has joined many others in recommending that Andrew Jackson be booted off the $20 note for a woman, rather than Alexander Hamilton off of the $10.

Bernanke argued for the $20 rather than the $10 due to Hamilton's key role in developing the American financial system, in contrast with Jackson's "poor" record as president.

Read MoreBernanke 'appalled' by plan to drop Hamilton from $10 bill

But there's another reason why the $20 bill might be a better fit for the historic redesign: $20s are far more popular.

In 2014, the Fed ordered the Treasury to produce just 627 million $10 notes in fiscal 2015, making it the third-least-requested currency, with only the $50 and the $2 being less popular. In contrast, 1.9 billion $20 notes were ordered, making it the most popular save for the $1.

And that doesn't appear to be a fluke. $10 notes were also the third-least-requested for 2013 and 2014, while $20s were the third most. And a glance at the below chart provided by the Fed, showing $10 note orders in purple and $20 note orders in teal, shows that $10 notes are typically far less popular than 20-spots.

»Read more
  Sunday, 21 Jun 2015 | 5:10 PM ET

It's Ron Paul vs. the Fed. So who's right?

It's no secret that former Texas Congressman Ron Paul is no great fan of the Federal Reserve, nor of pretty much any other arm of the government.

That said, listening carefully to his thoughts about the U.S. central bank may prove instructive. The libertarian firebrand's remarks encapsulate some of the unspoken qualms many hold about the state of the American economy and her equity markets.

In an interview with CNBC's "Futures Now," last week, Paul reiterated his deep skepticism about the Fed and its loose money policies.

"After 35 years of a gigantic boom market in bonds believe me they cannot reverse history and they cannot print money forever," Paul said.

Read MoreCiti economist: Fed is too chicken to hike rates

The central bank has limits in what it can do to support growth, Paul said—meaning disaster may lie just around the corner.

"It's the fallacy of economic planning through monetary policy that's at fault," the former Congressman said, adding that monetary policy decisions have "nothing to do with freedom and free markets and capitalism and sound money. It's all artificial, it's all political and that's why we're so vulnerable."

»Read more
  Friday, 19 Jun 2015 | 8:09 AM ET

Ron Paul: Stock market 'day of reckoning' is near

Posted ByAmanda Diaz

Despite record highs in the market, former Rep. Ron Paul says the Fed's easy money policies have left stocks and bonds are on the verge of a massive collapse.

"I am utterly amazed at how the Federal Reserve can play havoc with the market," Paul said on CNBC's "Futures Now" referring to Thursday's surge in stocks. The S&P 500 closed less than 1 percent off its all-time high. "I look at it as being very unstable."

In Paul's eyes, "the fallacy of economic planning" has created such a "horrendous bubble" in the bond market that it's only a matter of time before the bottom falls out. And when it does, it will lead to "stock market chaos."

Read MoreFed has Wall Street in good spirits: Cashin

»Read more
  Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015 | 8:43 AM ET

Crude oil is nearing a key inflection point: Technician

Posted ByAmanda Diaz

After a torrid run from its bottom, crude oil has settled into the tightest range we've seen in a year. But according to one highly regarded technician, the commodity is heading into a key inflection point.

"If you look back to 1984, you see that [the summer months] are some of the best times of the year to be invested in oil," technical analyst Ari Wald said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now."

»Read more
  Sunday, 14 Jun 2015 | 5:14 PM ET

This time, the 'Great Rotation' may be a thing

Ever so gently, sparingly and delicately, the long-awaited "Great Rotation" may finally be upon Wall Street.

Like a shadowy urban legend, the 'rotation' phenomenon, which describes a mass shift of money out of bonds and into stocks, never quite has the impact many analysts warn about.

Although in 2014 the trend was clear—the S&P 500 Index rose alongside bond prices—until very recently, very much the opposite has transpired. The price of the US 10-year Treasury note had fallen by 3 percent, while the S&P 500 rose less than 2 percent.

The open question is the extent to which this has been driven by investors fleeing bonds in favor of equities. And, further, whether investors will begin to pursue such a strategy en masse.

Such a move has long been hypothesized (and memorably encapsulated in a Dickensian Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysis). The idea holds that investors would eventually embrace risk, and become less satisfied with low bond returns as the economy recovered and the Federal Reserve tightened policy. That didn't exactly happen, with the 10-year yield managing to stay below 3 percent.

But in 2015, just when the meme appeared to disappear from the market's radar, it may actually be coming to pass. Last week, investors yanked nearly $6 billion out of global funds, the largest such outflow in nearly 2 years.

The bond and equity markets are forging "a whole new personality completely," commented Jim Iuorio, a Chicago-based trader with TJM Institutional Services.

Whereas stocks had been responding positively to low yields—meaning that bond prices (which move inversely to yields) enjoyed a positive correlation with stocks—now the specter of rising rates is causing "big, huge chunks of money to exit bonds and look for a new home. And since stocks are still a reasonable place to be, they end up in stocks."

Similarly, Nicholas Colas of Convergex observed in a Friday note that "at the moment, the volatility in fixed income markets is pushing the marginal investment dollar into equity products."

That would be the fear-based interpretation. The more optimistic read is that in the longer-run, yields and stocks are rising together because the American economy is improving.

As the economy heats up, so too should inflation, which means investors must demand greater yields on their bonds in order to avoid losing money on a "real returns" basis. Last week, producer prices jumped to their highest in nearly 3 years, boosted by surging food and gas prices.

Inflation, of course, stings consumers, who end up paying more for the same amount of goods. However, stocks respond positively to profit-boosting growth that many companies see in an environment of rising prices.

»Read more
  Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 | 4:43 PM ET

This chart tells me stocks are set to drop: Technician

One top technical analyst sees more downside risk than upside reward for the S&P 500 in the months ahead.

Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, is worried about how the index has behaved over the past six months. Particularly, Maley notes that the S&P 500 has tested its 100-day moving average repeatedly before rallying up to what he sees as an upward-sloping resistance line.

"The problem is when we rally and break to new highs, which we've done several times, each time it's only a slight break of 1 percent or so," he said. "Although it's kind of an upward-sloping channel there, my concern is that we haven't been able to break out in a significant way."

»Read more
  Tuesday, 9 Jun 2015 | 2:51 PM ET

Why the S&P's intraday bounce matters: Technician

The S&P 500 staged a midday rebound on Tuesday, saving the index from its fourth straight day of losses. And that bounce could be the start of a prolonged move higher for stocks, according to BTIG technician Katie Stockton.

"Today is certainly encouraging," Stockton said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "You can't call one day a reversal, but to the extent that we could see the S&P futures hold support at 2,075, that's a good thing, that's a positive. Usually the oversold bounce takes a few days to develop."

Indeed, Stockton believes that the market has become "oversold."

"If you look at where [the S&P futures] are trading today, there is some short-term support that's being tested. So this would be a natural place for additional buyers to come into the market," Stockton said.

»Read more

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