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Art Cashin: 'Very little money to be made' in this market

Tuesday, 6 Aug 2013 | 10:12 AM ET
Cashin: What to do in a 'dull' market
Tuesday, 6 Aug 2013 | 9:16 AM ET
Art Cashin, UBS, provides a preview of Tuesday's trading action and explains why at times volatility is good for the markets

As trading volumes and market volatility hover at the lowest levels of the summer, in this "dull" market it is very hard to make money right now, said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services, on CNBC.

Of "all the old talk about what you do and don't do in a dull market, one of the things you do is stay away from it, basically," Cashin told "Squawk on the Street" Tuesday. "There's very little money to be made."

(Related: Despite 'dull' market, stocks to go higher by year-end: Pros)

"You look for opportunity, you look for news changes. You need some volatility to inspire some extra volume," he added. The CBOE Volatility Index, a market gauge for volatility among S&P 500 stocks, is currently hovering around three-month lows as traditionally low August trading volumes leave traders searching for movement.

Although the markets can expect an increase in trading volume during the first few days of a given month, Cashin said that the structure of the market has changed, with digital trading shrinking the effect down to two to three days.

(Related: Market could follow the small-cap lead)

"I think you saw it in the first two days—the market had interest rates against it on Thursday, they overcame that. Friday you had a rather so-so jobs payroll report, they overcame that. And then yesterday, you had the lightest volume of the year, so that tells you that [new August buyers] may have tapered out themselves."

Cashin also explained that the emergence of highly liquid ETFs have reduced trading volumes. In the past, traders would have to buy all of the S&P 500 stocks individually. "That's 500 transactions you don't see down here. That's a big structural difference," he said.

—By CNBC's Paul Toscano. Follow him on Twitter and get the latest stories from "Squawk on the Street" @ToscanoPaul.

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