A number of companies are beating earnings expectations. Unfortunately, it's not doing much for their stock prices.» Read More
All eyes are on the Federal Reserve minutes that we'll see on Wednesday.
In the Monday morning session, equities are quietly trading in a lower range after suffering a selloff last week. The September S&P e-mini futures reached a low of 1,649 Sunday night, and are hugging that level early on Monday. We are still eyeing 1,347.50 as a level of solid support and will look to buy a fresh new low at that level. Still, if that new price is reached, buyers will want to see the market bounce off it, and not just sit there.
(Read more: Here's where the correction will stop)
As I mentioned, this week's biggest economic news will come on Wednesday, when we will get the minutes from the FOMC meeting that was held at the end of July. Traders will be looking to these notes in hopes of getting a better idea of what to expect from September's meeting.
The stock market doesn't like change. I can sympathize, as I don't really like change either.
Stocks are currently going through a transition from historically low interest rates to higher rates, because of the prospect of less Federal Reserve interference. Consequently, the stock market is shifting from buoyancy caused in part by attractive yield comparisons with government bonds to a period in which investors will have to rely on prospective growth.
(Read more: Rocky September is ahead, warns BlackRock strategist)
Gold enjoyed an incredible intraday spike on Thursday, shooting $30 higher in just 25 minutes. The quick move carried the metal above $1,350 for the first time since June.
And if one of Wall Street's top technicians is right, the move is just getting started.
On Thursday's "Futures Now," MacNeil Curry, the head of global technical strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said that there is probably "further upside" in gold. In fact, he's "looking for a move up to the $1,410, potentially $1,450 area."
He presented the three reasons behind that prediction
Reason One: Downtrend was overstretched
Technicians tend to preach "Follow the trend." But sometimes they take a page from Blood, Sweat & Tears and sing "What goes up, most come down"—or vice versa. Simply put, gold fell too far, too fast.
"If you go back and look at what we did in mid-June, the trend was so overextended," Curry said. "This trend had gotten way too stretched, like a rubber band, and now we're snapping back."
(Read more: Here's what gold bulls need to see)
With four-straight winning sessions, gold appears to be turning around. But keep watching the chart closely, because bullion isn't in the clear yet.
Gold finished on the high side of its range on Friday, allowing the market to carry slight momentum into the new week. After closing at $1,312 on Friday, gold has been up more than $20 at one point in Monday's session, reaching a high of $1,333 as it stretched above major resistance at $1,325.
(Read more: Gold climbs for 4th day, SPDR holdings rise)
It is a common expression on Wall Street: "Sell in May and go away." But BlackRock Chief Investment Strategist Russ Koesterich says that this year, the month for investors to avoid might be September.
On Tuesday's "Futures Now," he presented four big reasons why next month could bring a great deal of volatility.
Reason one: The calendar screams "Sell!"
First, Koesterich says that when you buy in September, seasonal trends are against you.
"We don't pay a lot of attention to the calendar, but it is worth it in September," he said. "September is the only month of the year that, statistically, has a very significant bias. And unfortunately, that bias is negative."
(Read more: Three reasons the market is peaking: Doug Kass)
While the market rose in September 2012, in general, the market has only risen in September about 40 percent of the time, according to Koesterich. Compare that to the 60 percent of the time that the market tends to rise in the other 11 months.
Still, Rich Ilczyszyn of iiTrader says that buying in September is generally a good call. "The market tends to drift higher toward the end of the year," he explained.
Reason two: Fed anxiety will increase
When asked for the most important day for the rest of the year most traders point to Sept. 18. That's when the Federal Open Market Committee will release its next statement, which will be followed by a press conference. On that day, the big question of whether the Fed will begin "tapering" down its asset purchases in September will finally be answered.
That gives Koesterich another reason to be concerned. "In the U.S., we have the Fed taper, and the volatility likely to surround that announcement," he said.
And this strategist believes that tapering is somewhat of a foregone conclusion. "The Fed is likely to start in the fall, and the only question is how much?" Kosterich said. "Are we going to see a more aggressive taper, or a taper-light? In my mind, that's the question that investors are going to start to focus on."
(Read more: Marc Faber: Look out! A 1987-style crash is coming)
Doug Kass hasn't exactly been dead-on with his market calls this year. In fact, Kass has been bearish all year, while the S&P has climbed 19 percent. But this bear isn't backing down just yet.
"Combine the likelihood that we're at the upper range for price-to-earnings multiples, we have political issues that are profoundly important, and we have some deterioration in the technicals," and Kass believes he has all the reason in the world to be short the market right now.
The president of Seabreeze Partners Management laid out each potential catalyst in depth on Tuesday's "Futures Now."
Reason one: Multiples will contract
When asked what he missed about the market's rise this year, Kass pointed at one factor: Multiple expansion.
"Frankly, we have to realize that most investors and strategists and talking heads on CNBC have made very little change in their economic forecasts, and forecasts for earnings, for this year and the next," Kass said. "What's happened is that valuations have gone up from 14 times at the beginning of the year to over 16 times now."
In other words, it's not so much that earnings have greatly improved, but rather that investors have been willing to pay more and more for those largely flat earnings.
"If we look at the 35 percent increase in the S&P since the beginning of 2011, 90 percent of that gain came from multiple expansion," Kass said.
A price-to-earnings multiple of 16 may not be far above the five-decade average of 15.2. But Kass still believes that given the current state of the market, it is inappropriate for multiples to be elevated.
"Given the structural global economic issues—disequilibrium in the U.S. jobs market, continuing leverage, et cetera—and the fact that all this is contributing to tepid economic growth, a discount to the average over the last five decades of 15.2 is probably more appropriate," he said.
(Read more: Why I'm buying into the market right now)
If stocks have any interest in correcting, they sure aren't acting like it.
After a 9 percent rally that took a break in late July, the market has been in a consolidation pattern, as it gathers steam for another move higher.
The fundamental argument for higher prices remains intact: We have an economy that's showing mild improvement, coupled with a Federal Reserve that has convinced markets that there is nothing to worry about. The Fed has been able to engineer a low-volatility environment across many asset classes, and although it could end badly, the Fed continues to be successful at persuading investors to take more risk.
"There has been a huge outperformance of the U.S. vis-à-vis emerging markets over the last, say, 18 months, an outperformance of roughly 30 percent," he said. "But I would say this is too early. I think emerging markets may rebound somewhat, but I think in general they will head lower."
On CNBC's "Fast Money," Faber added that there would likely be a rebound in long-term U.S. Treasury bonds.
(Read more: Marc Faber: Look out! A 1987-style crash is coming)
Marc Faber is not exactly known for his rosy outlook on equities. On Thursday's "Futures Now," he made the case that 2013 looks an awful lot like 1987, which is why he expects the market to drop 20 percent or more by the end of the year. (Read: Marc Faber: Look out! A 1987-style crash is coming)
After all, there's a reason he's known as "Dr. Doom" rather than "Dr. Feelgood."
But that doesn't mean he's universally bearish on equities. In fact, there's one sector that he's quite excited about right now.
"I think there's one group of stocks that should appeal to people who say 'I want to buy low and sell high,' and this is the gold mining sector," Faber said. "In general, the gold mining sector is incredibly depressed."
In general, two different factors have weighed on gold miners. First, gold mining stocks have always tended to be a leveraged way to bet on gold—meaning that as gold rises or falls, the miners tend to make a larger move in the same direction.
Indeed, as gold has dropped, miners' fundamentals have gotten destroyed. For the second quarter, the S&P 500 Metals and Mining industry had a bigger earnings decline than any other industry group, as earnings fell 78 percent (according to FactSet).
But the leveraged factor still doesn't explain why the Gold Mining Index is down 30 percent over the past five years, while gold is still up 50 percent. The second issue is that the SPDR Gold Trust has given retail investors a simpler way to bet on gold. So many who owned miners simply to get gold exposure went ahead and bought the gold ETF instead.
The S&P has rallied 19 percent in 2013, which is impressive by any measure. But the market did far better in 1987, when stocks added more than 30 percent from the beginning of the year to Aug. 8. The problem?
The market ended up tanking in the second half of that year—dropping 36 percent from the Aug. 25 peak to the October low, before closing out 1987 nearly exactly where it began.
And Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, predicts that the very same thing will happen in the back half of 2013.
"In 1987, we had a very powerful rally, but also earnings were no longer rising substantially, and the market became very overbought," Faber said on Thursday's "Futures Now." "The final rally into Aug. 25 occurred with a diminishing number of stocks hitting 52-week highs. In other words, the new-high list was contracting, and we have several breaks in different stocks."
Faber says that's exactly where we find ourselves this August.
"If you look at the last two days," Faber said, referring to Tuesday and Wednesday, "it's remarkable. We are close to the all-time high, at 1,709 on the S&P, and yet yesterday and the day before, there were 170 new 52-week lows. That's a very high figure."
(Read more: The S&P stalls—here comes the fall)
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