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When oil was trading for about $74 a barrel in late 2014, oil analyst Tom Kloza made what seemed like a crazy call: Oil would fall to $35 in the next year.
Thirteen months later, his prediction came true.
Now, with oil rallying nearly 60 percent off its Feb. 11 low, he's back with another prediction: Don't get too excited.
Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, said that despite the recent surge, oil is trapped in a tight range between $35 and $45 — even as anticipation grows over potential production cuts that could come Sunday when OPEC and non-OPEC producers meet in Doha, Qatar.
"The expectations are pretty low," said Kloza on CNBC's "Futures Now" on Wednesday. "They have no integrity in terms of compliance and in terms of maintaining cuts."
However, a CNBC survey out Friday of 23 experts found that 56 percent saw a better than 50/50 chance of a freeze agreement.
Crude oil has broken through a significant hurdle, one that may signal that low prices are officially behind us.
The WTI contract's ability to surpass its 200-day moving average on Tuesday for the first time since July 2014 is a meaningful sign, according to Amherst Pierpont strategist Robert Sinche.
"We had a double bottom in oil back in February. We've had a good rally. It stopped a couple of times around this 200-day moving average. This could be the breakout," Sinche said on CNBC's "Futures Now.
The move comes ahead of a Sunday oil producers meeting in Doha, Qatar. The big hope for oil bulls is that the major producers will agree to freeze output at current levels.
If you're looking for a safe place to put your money, then you might want to stay away from the U.S., one market watcher told CNBC recently.
Mark Eibel of Russell Investments told CNBC's "Futures Now" that muted earnings growth, uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and a chaotic political landscape will continue to drive volatility in U.S. equities throughout the end of the year.
"The U.S. just bounces around and really if you go back to 2015 it's been a lot of churn to get to almost the same spot," Eibel said. "We think there would be continued volatility and the potential for upside exists outside of the U.S., particularly in Europe," he added.
The analyst's warning comes as Wall Street is growing more pessimistic about growth prospects and the outlook for earnings. Economists have steadily whittled down their estimates for the first quarter of 2016, which is barely expected to register any growth at all.
Investors are eyeing next week's big meeting among oil producing nations as the next big catalyst for oil, but according to one market watcher, the gathering may not have as much of an impact on prices as most people think.
On CNBC's "Futures Now," BMO Private Bank CIO Jack Ablin explained that investors should instead look to another commodity for clues on where oil could go next.
"One of the things that fundamentally weigh against oil is natural gas," said Ablin. According to Ablin, when the difference between the cost of oil and natural gas increases, it often signals an inflection point for the two commodities.
"If the spread is wide, it encourages transportation companies to make that switch from [diesel into natural gas], he said. Right now, natural gas is trading at the equivalent of $12.50 a barrel. I don't see how oil can get substantially above $40 with natural gas trading that low."
On Tuesday, natural gas rose over 5 percent to hit highs dating to early February. Additionally, AAA reported that gas prices began April at the cheapest levels since 2009.
If current demand levels remain as is, Ablin anticipates that natural gas prices will stay low heading into summer thanks to the relatively mild winter.
"I think the seasonal factor for natural gas is the winter, [which was ultimately] a big letdown," said Ablin.
However, he cautioned against the bearish case for natural gas prices by noting the potential for renewed global demand from countries like Europe and Asia.
"To the extent we can get more of a global price for natural gas, we could see those prices rise. Anything that can break the stranglehold that Russia has on [European energy] will be welcome by [international] customers."
Oil hit its lowest level in nearly a month last week, but one of Wall Street's top commodities analysts says a recovery is on the way in 2016.
On CNBC's "Futures Now", global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital Markets Helima Croft predicted that oil will rebound following a scheduled meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC members on April 17th in the Qatari capital.
"We spent an entire year with [Saudi Arabia and Russia] saying everything was fine," explained Croft.
"Their decision to come out and even mention a freeze was a catalyst for the rally" that recently pulled crude to within view of $40, Croft said. "As we look towards the April 17 meeting, I don't think Saudi Arabia would even show up in Doha if there wasn't going to be an agreement."
After a wild start to the year, stocks could be poised for big gains heading into the second quarter, according to one well-known strategist.
On CNBC's "Futures Now," Bespoke Investment Group co-founder Paul Hickey said Thursday that seasonally, we are entering a strong period for stocks. "Since 1980, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 2.7 percent with positive returns slightly more than 60 percent of the time," he said.
This could come as a relief to investors, as stocks were down more than 10 percent at one point in February, only to climb back to break even on the year. Despite the comeback, investors are still wary of the market as a recent AAII investor sentiment survey showed that sentiment has been steadily declining.
By Hickey's work, it's that very whipsaw action that could set the stage for huge returns through the rest of the year.
"As extraordinary as this move has been, we have seen similar moves in the past," Hickey explained. "We went back and looked at prior years where the S&P 500 saw 10 percent moves to both the upside and downside in the span of the first quarter … the S&P 500 has seen some big gains following similar first quarters of the year," he said.
He noted that the S&P 500 has seen an average gain of 28.3 percent for the remainder of the year with positive returns 75 percent of the time.
Of course, Hickey isn't necessarily calling for a 20 percent rally from current levels — which would theoretically put the S&P 500 at just under 2,500 — but he did say it was reason enough to be optimistic about the markets.
"I wouldn't necessarily use a 20 percent return as my baseline but it shows a positive trend," he said. "I think as long as the Fed maintains their stance I think that stocks can do well for the remainder of the year and the second quarter."
Correction: The story was updated to correct that the Hickey interview was Thursday.
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