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  Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 | 3:36 PM ET

Why 2015 will be the year for gold: Top analyst

Posted By: Amanda Diaz

Suddenly, gold is getting its groove back.

After two straight years of losses, gold is off to its best start to year since 2008. And, according to one well known analyst, 2015 could have gold bugs smiling.

In an interview with CNBC.com's Futures Now, Sterne Agee's precious metals and mining analyst Michael Dudas said that gold should continue to benefit from central banks' efforts to devalue their currencies. Gold prices rose more than 2 percent Thursday to a four-month high after the Swiss National Bank shocked the world and said it would abandon its euro currency peg. The precious metal is now up more than 6 percent year to date.

Read MoreGold rallies to a 4-month high

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  Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 | 2:52 PM ET

Why oil is in more trouble than you think

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

Crude oil just can't catch a break.

After rising more than 6 percent on the day, the battered commodity promptly sold off, falling 9 percent in five hours. And IHS Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin says it could get even worse for crude.

"There's still this downward pressure that's there. And the kind of thing that's hovering over it, and it affected things today, is the continuing concerns about economic prospects," Yergin said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now."

He says that OPEC's decision not to reduce output targets was partially aimed at stimulating demand, but the global economy hasn't quite cooperated.

India, Indonesia and Mexico are all looking to reduce oil subsidies, which would raise prices there, Yergin pointed out. Meanwhile, Europe's economy is in dire shape. And "Chinese oil demand is so [strongly] linked to construction and infrastructure, and that's weakening."

Read MoreCopper collapses on global growth concerns

»Read more
  Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 | 2:06 PM ET

Copper collapses on global growth concerns

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

Copper has plunged to a 5 1/2-year low, in the latest example of slowing global growth hammering industrial commodities.

In the overnight session, copper fell 7 percent to the lowest level since July 2009 before recovering somewhat. Still, the red metal is down a stunning 9 percent this week.

When it comes to the speedy down move, in which copper futures fell 6.7 percent from 8:20 p.m. ET to 9 on Tuesday night, few ready explanations suggest themselves.

"There was no particular trigger behind the fall, but we should not underestimate the power of Chinese fund money to roil the markets," wrote metals analyst Edward Meir of INTL FCStone. He adds that bearish put options on copper have been active, and "presumably, some fund players may have sold more copper in order to tip those options into the money."

"All in all, [there's] quite a lot of firepower lined up on the short side," he surmised.

Read MoreMiners crash, Glencore at low as copper tumbles

»Read more
  Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 | 10:37 AM ET

Why raising rates is like wearing a pair of shorts

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Narayana Kocherlakota speaks at the ninth annual Carroll School of Management Finance Conference at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., June 5, 2014.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Narayana Kocherlakota speaks at the ninth annual Carroll School of Management Finance Conference at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., June 5, 2014.

It sounds like the setup to a corny joke: Why is raising the federal funds rate target like wearing shorts in Minnesota?

But that is precisely the heuristic device used by the colorful and oft-dissenting Minneapolis Federal Reserve president, Narayana Kocherlakota.

In the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in New York on Tuesday night, Kocherlakota was asked about the theory that one benefit of tightening Federal Reserve policy is that it gives the central bank room to loosen policy if economic conditions so warrant.

Kocherlakota, who dissented to the December Fed statement and doesn't favor a 2015 rate hike, responded that tightening policy should never become a goal in and of itself. And he used a personal story to illustrate that point.

"The first year I lived in Minnesota, when May came around, I figured, hey, it might be time to wear shorts. After all, I'd been wearing pants for a while at that point. So, I put on shorts. And well, let's just say that the next day, I was wearing pants again," he said, to some laughter from the audience.

So what lesson did he learn that chilly spring day?

"The goal is not to put on shorts just to put on shorts. The goal is to have a condition in which it's good to put on shorts—or to raise rates."

Read MoreMarkets push out rate hike expectations to October

»Read more
  Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 | 2:57 PM ET

Low oil could be market ‘nirvana’: David Rosenberg

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

If crude oil is able to stabilize between $40 and $50 per barrel, that would be fantastic for both the economy and the stock market, Gluskin Sheff economist and strategist David Rosenberg said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now."

First, lower crude oil prices reduce a major expense for many households and businesses. Second, stocks as a whole would cease being victimized by the uncertainty caused by free-falling crude.

"It's not just the fact that you're still going to have the lagged impact of having lower fuel costs being a positive for margins of the non-resource producers and for the household sector," Rosenberg said. "But I think for the broad market, if we were to find a bottom and then stabilize within a range … at least it would inject some certainty into the general market place."

Crude oil prices fell again on Tuesday, hitting a new multiyear low, before bouncing back significantly, even breaking positive at one point in the day. This has reinvigorated calls that crude oil has bottomed.

Read MoreOil hitting $44 brings out bottom callers (again)

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  Monday, 12 Jan 2015 | 5:58 AM ET

Will companies fumble on earnings kick-off?

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

Corporate America is about to get its report card for the fourth quarter, but with energy prices plunging and the U.S. dollar soaring, investors aren't quite sure what to expect.

Over the course of the fourth quarter, crude oil prices fell more than 40 percent, while the U.S. Dollar Index, a basket of major counterparts to the greenback, rose 5 percent.

What investors know is that the consequences of those moves will be felt, in some way, by American companies. What's unclear are their precise business impacts.

Read MoreAs dollar catches fire, US companies break a sweat

Many companies exposed to oil and the dollar use complex maneuvers to hedge their exposure to market moves, so the extent to which their overall results were impacted remains unknown. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen by how much low gas prices have boosted retail spending—and how drastically oil companies are cutting back on their equipment purchases.

With so much up in the air, investors are taking a cautious tone.

"It's always hard to predict what earnings are going to look like, but this quarter it's particularly challenging," said David Smith, chief investment manager at Bright Rock Capital Management, where he manages $2.5 billion.

"I think is highly likely that we see more earnings misses than in recent quarters, but we'll also get bigger upside beats," he added.

The first big week of fourth-quarter results is ahead, and it will dominated by the financials, with JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs reporting results. Other widely watched names include Alcoa, which is reporting on Monday, and Intel, which releases earnings on Thursday.

»Read more
  Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 | 5:04 PM ET

Will companies fumble on earnings kickoff?

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

Corporate America is about to get its report card for the fourth quarter, but with energy prices plunging and the U.S. dollar soaring, investors aren't quite sure what to expect.

Over the course of the fourth quarter, crude oil prices fell more than 40 percent, while the U.S. Dollar Index, a basket of major counterparts to the greenback, rose 5 percent.

What investors know is that the consequences of those moves will be felt, in some way, by American companies. What's unclear are their precise business impacts.

Read MoreAs dollar catches fire, US companies break a sweat

Many companies exposed to oil and the dollar use complex maneuvers to hedge their exposure to market moves, so the extent to which their overall results were impacted remains unknown. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen by how much low gas prices have boosted retail spending—and how drastically oil companies are cutting back on their equipment purchases.

With so much up in the air, investors are taking a cautious tone.

"It's always hard to predict what earnings are going to look like, but this quarter it's particularly challenging," said David Smith, chief investment officer at Bright Rock Capital Management, where he manages $2.5 billion.

"I think is highly likely that we see more earnings misses than in recent quarters, but we'll also get bigger upside beats," he added.

The first big week of fourth-quarter results is ahead, and it will dominated by the financials, with JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs reporting results. Other widely watched names include Alcoa, which is reporting on Monday, and Intel, which releases earnings on Thursday.

»Read more
  Thursday, 8 Jan 2015 | 4:17 PM ET

The U.S. dollar trade: Too obvious to be right?

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

When it comes to the U.S. dollar, everyone seems to agree on two things: It will keep soaring, and everyone's too bullish.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the currency by comparing it to a basket of six currencies (though it is heavily weighted toward the euro) is up 15 percent in six months. In fact, the index has risen in 13 of the last 15 sessions, taking it to a nine-year high.

The impetus behind the move is clear. Firstly, the U.S. economy is greatly outperforming economies across the globe. And in turn, this means Federal Reserve policy will tighten even as other central banks are loosening. That would translate into higher short-term yields for those holding dollars, especially on a relative basis, thus making it more attractive to hold greenbacks.

But precisely because that is such a widely held belief, the bullish dollar trade has become just the kind of "no-brainer" of which traders tend to be wary.

"Every trader I talk to expects the Dollar Index to go higher over the year," Jim Iuorio of TJM Institutional Services said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "But when you get to the point where everybody seems to be short the euro and the yen, then I think the risk becomes to the upside" for the euro and yen, and consequently to the downside for the dollar.

Many currency experts agree, saying that a near-term pullback is likely.

"Positioning is very extreme right now. Everyone is bullish, and it's just one-sided," said Win Thin, head of emerging market currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. "Despite the skewed positioning, we still do favor the dollar, but we'd expect to see some correction at some point to get rid of the positioning skew."

Read More Central banks could send dollar higher: Doll

»Read more
  Tuesday, 6 Jan 2015 | 3:33 PM ET

Traders still betting on much lower oil

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

The incredible crude collapse continues, as WTI crude oil futures fell as low as $47.55 per barrel on Tuesday afternoon, the lowest level in nearly six years. And energy expert Stephen Schork, editor of the widely read Schork Report, sees no reason for the selloff to end now.

"We're divorced from the economics, from the rig economics, so now fear and greed are in the market. Low prices are becoming the excuse for lower prices," Schork said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "Trying to pick a bottom here is akin to the old adage of catching a falling knife. So don't try to pick the bottom, just ride the wave lower."

That's not to say that oil has no reason to slide. Even as oil production remains robust, "we've got really poor economic growth around the world," Schork said. "Japan is in recession, industrial production in China is falling, industrial production in India is falling, Europe is on the precipice of recession."

Read MoreNot just oil: Are lower commodity prices here to stay?

»Read more
  Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 | 5:25 PM ET

Gartman: If you buy one thing in 2015, buy this

Posted By: Maxwell Meyers

It's hard out there being a commodities king this year. Oil got crushed. Copper was obliterated. And soybeans got mashed. But Dennis Gartman has his eye on one commodity that met a particularly cruel fate in 2014: Gold

Despite bullion being just pennies away from posting its first back-to-back yearly loss since 1997, the self-proclaimed commodities king and author of the eponymous Gartman Letter told CNBC.com's "Futures Now" on Tuesday that he sees gold enjoying a solid 2015.

»Read more

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