Top technician Louise Yamada sees some troubling signs in the chart of the S&P 500, says the six-year market advance is now over.» Read More
Chinese stocks have fallen dramatically over the past four weeks, a slow-motion crash that has stoked concern about the Chinese economy and the potential for financial contagion.
Yet a look under the hood of the Chinese rally shows that the move can be explained in the context of two far more basic forces: The time-honored principles of valuation and of gravity.
A comparison of the Shenzhen A Shares Index to the index's price-to-earnings ratio (the most commonly used measure of valuation) shows that the two charts are one and the same.
That is, Chinese stocks have soared on soaring valuations, with the index at one point trading at more than 40 times next year's expected earnings. That made it more than twice as expensive as the S&P 500 in terms of valuation.
Crude oil prices have been getting pummeled.
Continued fear over the crisis in Greece and worries over the state of China's economy have helped push the commodity to its lowest level since mid-April, down more than 12 percent in the past five trading sessions. And one expert claims that if history is any indication, oil could drop another 45 percent from current levels.
"Since June of last year oil is down about  percent, but we've seen worse drops than that in history," commodities expert Jodie Gunzberg said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." Gunzberg pointed to the declines in 1985 to 1986, 1997 to 1998 and most recently 2008 to 2009, where crude oil fell 75 percent in a little more than seven months. "So from current levels the index could drop another 45 percent before surpassing its worst historical loss."
To note, Gunzberg is referring the total return, which includes the cost of rolling each oil futures contract over to the next month.
According to Gunzberg, in order for oil to stabilize, the market will need to see a drop in open interest. "Historically in high-volatility periods, open interest has collapsed every time before oil bottomed," said Gunzberg, global head of commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "If open interest collapses, then production may slow as insurance in the futures market becomes too expensive, causing producers to pull back supply."
Crude oil closed Tuesday down less than 1 percent at $52.33.
The biggest story in the market the first two quarters was hardly any story at all.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average closed the books on the first half of the year with its narrowest range in history on Tuesday, but according to one technician, that consolidation could represent a huge buying opportunity for the broader market.
"History says that a narrow first half of the year tends to be rather bullish for stocks in the back half of the year," technical analyst Jonathan Krinsky said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "More often than not, these narrow ranges tend to resolve to the upside."
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."
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."
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.
"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.
A polite brouhaha has broken out after the Treasury Department said it plans to put a woman on the $10 bill.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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