GO
Loading...

Futures Now: Blog

More

  Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 | 2:17 PM ET

We’re only in the bull market's 4th inning: Siegel

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

There are bulls, and then there's Jeremy Siegel.

On Tuesday's episode of "Futures Now," the Wharton finance professor didn't just argue that stocks are cheap. He proclaimed that the Dow Jones industrial average will rise to his "fair market value" estimation of 18,000—10 percent above current levels—as companies continue to perform better and better.

"It could get there by the year-end, it could get there sooner, it might be later," Siegel said. "But I certainly don't think that we're in the ninth inning of the bull market yet."

In fact, it's not even time for the seventh inning stretch.

"I'm a bull, and I can't believe what S&P is putting out for earnings estimates in 2014," he said. "Operating earnings 2013 over 2012 were up 10.6 percent; S&P reported earnings were up 16 percent from last year. They're expecting reported earnings to be up 20 percent this year. We didn't have a real good economy last year, and we got 16 percent earnings growth.

"If any of these earnings estimates pan out—and they are bullish—hey, we're in about the fourth or fifth inning of this bull market," Siegel added. "This could be ... much more than 18,000 on the Dow.

»Read more
  Monday, 3 Mar 2014 | 9:48 AM ET

Ukraine fear sends investors into safe-haven gold

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg
Ukrainian soldiers stand inside a Ukrainian military base as unidentified heavily armed soldiers stand outside, March 3, 2014, in Perevalne, Ukraine.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers stand inside a Ukrainian military base as unidentified heavily armed soldiers stand outside, March 3, 2014, in Perevalne, Ukraine.

As investors attempt to make sense of a fast-moving situation in Ukraine, gold was rising 2 percent on Monday, and touching $1,350 per troy ounce for the first time since October.

Russia has dispatched troops to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, in an apparent violation of Ukraine's sovereignty that has put the United States and other nations in a tough geopolitical situation with few easy outs. The situation has led to a decline in the Dow and S&P 500, and put a strong bid under the gold market.

(Read more: Russian markets hit as Putin tightens grip on Crimea)

"Gold is moving on global risks related to the invasion of Ukraine," said Jim Iuorio of TJM Institutional Services. "At this point, it seems that gold is pricing in a Russian occupation of Crimea. Any move higher in gold would be dependent on an escalation of the conflict."

Gold is traditionally viewed as a safe-haven asset that rises in value in times of turmoil. So as fear creeps into the market and the geopolitical landscape, it is natural to see gold move higher.

"Gold and the S&P have been trading in tandem for 10 to 12 weeks, and it kind of doesn't make sense to me that they've been trading like that," said Mihir Dange, a gold options trader with Grafite Capital. "Now you have a situation that heightens geopolitical risk, and it's creating this divergence between stocks and gold once again. Sometime you need some kind of an event to shake things up, and this could be it."

The Ukraine situation certainly appears to have spurred heavy interest in gold among investors. BullionVault, which bills itself as the world's largest online gold market, reports that on Sunday, there was more buying and selling of the gold in its vaults than on any Sunday since August.

»Read more
  Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 | 2:30 PM ET

Dennis Gartman: If you buy one thing, buy this

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

Dennis Gartman's favorite commodity pick right now isn't gold, crude oil or copper. In fact, it's something much more edible.

"Corn looks like it's made its lows," Gartman said on Thursday's episode of "Futures Now." "If you have to buy something, go buy some corn."

(Read more: Dennis Gartman: 'I was wrong')

It's been a long road down for corn futures, which hit a high of $8.49 per bushel in August 2012, and got close to $4.00 in January 2014. But the grain has bounced off of that low, adding 12 percent in the following month and a half.

In fact, on the very day corn hit its intraday low, it jumped 5 percent higher on the USDA corn production forecast, in which the agency cut its forecast of 2013 corn production from 13.989 billion bushels to 13.925 billion bushels.


»Read more
  Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 | 1:16 PM ET

In Yellen’s words, small hints will matter big-time

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg
Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Board chair, appears before the House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 11, 2014.
Getty Images
Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Board chair, appears before the House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 11, 2014.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, in the delayed second day of her monetary policy testimony. And though no major bombshells are expected, subtle nuances could speak volumes to a market hungry to learn what the Fed will do next.

Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 11, and had been slated to appear before the Senate Banking Committee on the 13th. But a snowstorm intervened, pushing the second day of her testimony two weeks into the future.

That means that Yellen, inquiring senators and market professionals alike have been granted the benefit of having seen the Federal Open Market Committee's January meeting minutes as well as some additional economic data, between the two sessions.

"The odds have gone up for something interesting to happen in day two," said Carl Riccadonna, Deutsche Bank senior U.S. economist. "This is particularly the case because we've seen the meeting minutes, and those minutes showed internal debate about what to do with the fed funds rate thresholds."

One of the Federal Reserve's key tools is the federal funds rate, which is the Fed-targeted rate at which banks lend to each other. In its January statement, the FOMC stated once again that it would keep that rate "exceptionally low ... for as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent" and inflation remains low.

But now that the unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent in January, just a hair's breadth away from that long-watched 6.5 level, the Fed might look to change its guidance.

The problem is that the Fed is currently divided on how, exactly, to go about that.

(Read more: Kudlow: Janet Yellen's problem)

"Participants agreed that, with the unemployment rate approaching 6-1/2 percent, it would soon be appropriate for the Committee to change its forward guidance," according to the recently released minutes of the January meeting. "A range of views was expressed about the form that such forward guidance might take."

Suggestions included shifting from quantitative guidance to qualitative guidance, or including additional factors in the threshold. Other possibilities are reducing the threshold unemployment rate, or going ahead and raising the federal funds rate "relatively soon," as some hawks suggested.

"The key focus on Thursday will be any and all comments around forward guidance," Riccadonna said. "She doesn't want to commit to something, as that may upset other committee members. But she could talk about the pros and cons of different options, which would be a way of showing her hand in terms of what she favors."

(Read more: Happy #FedValentines, Janet Yellen!)

»Read more
  Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 | 3:09 PM ET

This explains the strange action in natural gas

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

It's called "the widow maker" for a reason.

Natural gas futures for March delivery fell some 8 percent on Tuesday, after an extremely volatile Monday session that saw the commodity lose 17 percent in eight hours.

These two days of serious losses came after a gut-wrenching rally that saw nat gas rise from $4.81 per million British thermal units to above $6 in four sessions.

But even as the March futures plunged on Tuesday, the April futures clung onto a modest gain for much of the session. This is because the March contract expires Wednesday, so even as traders rushed to exit positions, some looked to the April contract as they continued to make bullish bets on the fuel.

For traders who speculate on the futures of natural gas or any other commodity, it is imperative to exit a long position in order to avoid receiving the physical commodity (or "taking delivery").

"Rather than just bailing out of their longs in March, [some traders] still have faith that this market's going higher, so what they're doing is selling March, buying April," said Anthony Grisanti of GRZ Energy on Tuesday's episode of "Futures Now." "So that's why you see the March contract lower today, and the April contract up a bit, because the money is still flowing to natural gas right now, looking for higher numbers."

Indeed, while about 60,000 March contracts traded on Tuesday, some 175,000 of the April contracts traded.

Yet while the contract rollover explains the move, it doesn't quite explain its magnitude.

"This volatility is unprecedented for this market," Grisanti said. "This is completely abnormal for these markets. Usually you'll see 3-, 4-, 5-cent—not a $1.50 move, which is what we've seen."

(Read more: Natural gas could rise to $8: Energy expert)

»Read more
  Monday, 24 Feb 2014 | 12:16 PM ET

Either analysts are wrong, or stocks will go crazy

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

As the last of the fourth quarter earnings trickle in, the S&P 500's earnings growth rate for the quarter looks strong, at 8.5 percent. What's weird is what analysts are predicting for earnings growth in 2014.

In an outlook that could only be described as disjointed, analysts are expecting earnings growth to dive to 0.9 percent in the first quarter, only to grow to 11.9 percent in the third quarter.

(Read more: Big money is bullish on stocks, bearish on bonds)

»Read more
  Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 3:08 PM ET

Natural gas could rise to $8: Energy expert

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

It's been a banner week for natural gas. Hitting $6.40 per million BTUs on Thursday, the commodity has risen more than 30 percent in eight trading sessions, up to a five-year high. But expert energy trader Rob Raymond says we may not have seen the top just yet.

"With sustained cold, you could see $7 or $8," said Raymond, the founder and principal of RCH Energy, on Thursday's episode of "Futures Now." "This is about rationing demand. Because basically, you're running out of molecules, and at some point, if the supply side can't react in a 15-to-30-day period, you've got to bid it up to cause people to consume less of it."

(Read more: Natural gas soars on threat of another polar vortex in March)

Natural gas tends to rise in the winter and the summer, because it is used for both heating and cooling. The problem is that logistical difficulties make it difficult for the market to adjust to highly unusual weather.

"We had the coldest winter in 100 years this year and had the warmest winter in 50 years in 2012," Raymond wrote to CNBC.com. "The system isn't designed to handle these sort of multiple standard deviation events from an inventory management standpoint, as there isn't enough storage capacity in the ground. This translates into lots of volatility in the short term."

New developments have made the problem even worse.

"Further exacerbating the issue is that we have moved 20 percent of US daily supply to a very cold part of the country in the winter, the northeast. So when it gets really cold, the supply side is now affected due to well freeze-offs," Raymond wrote.

(Read more: Low on natural gas, California told to power down)

»Read more
  Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 2:56 PM ET

All-time highs are 2 weeks away: BofAML technician

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

MacNeil Curry, the head of global technical strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says that historic highs in the stock market are just around the corner.

"For all-time highs in the S&P it's probably not that far away—I'd say probably a couple of weeks on the outside," Curry said on Tuesday's episode of "Futures Now." "Seasonals start to get much more constructive once we get past February and we're already almost through February, we've got a week and a half. So I'd say probably two weeks or so with regard to higher S&P."

The index's current all-time intraday high is 1,850.84, which it touched on Jan. 15. (The S&P also made its all-time closing high, 1,848.38, on the same day.) With the S&P currently trading at 1,841, those levels are just a hair's breadth away.

Yet Curry was bearish on the S&P 500 until Friday, when the market's strength told him he was wrong.

"We were pretty bearish a couple of weeks ago for a whole host of reasons," including market breadth, the price action from the 1,850 high and seasonal trends, he said.

"But the fact of the matter is the price action said we were wrong. We broke through some pretty decent resistance. ... It said to us that our analysis was wrong and that the correction had run its course, and that the larger uptrend had proven to be far more resilient than we anticipated," Curry said.

(Read more: BAML's top technician: I was wrong—buy stocks!)

»Read more
  Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 5:00 PM ET

What the Fed will tell markets this week

Posted By: Alex Rosenberg

The Federal Reserve is set to release the minutes from its January FOMC meeting on Wednesday, and market participants are sure to closely sift through them for any clues about the future of quantitative easing.

"The minutes are going to be important, and there's always some morsel that people tend to gravitate toward," said Deutsche Bank's chief US economist, Joseph Lavorgna. "My guess is that in these minutes, it will relate to the outlook."

For any group that relies on economic data to determine its next move, this is a difficult time. Two straight employment reports have shown markedly weak gains in nonfarm payrolls (113,000 in January and a marginally adjusted 75,000 in December) but the extent to which bad weather adversely impacted those numbers is being rigorously debated.

New Fed Chair Janet Yellen, for one, told the House Committee on Financial Services on Tuesday that she was "surprised by the weak jobs reports in December and January, but we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions when interpreting what those reports mean—there were weather factors—we've had unseasonably cold temperatures that may be affecting economic activity in the jobs market and elsewhere. The Committee will meet in March. We will have a broad range of data on the economy to look at, including another jobs report."

However, LaVorgna points out that the February employment report could also be marred by weather conditions, given that last week's massive storm came on a survey week for the report.

Ironically, the storm even caused the Senate Banking Committee to postpone the second day of Yellen's congressional testimony, which had been planned for Thursday.

(Read more: U.S. Senate postpones Yellen hearing as snow nears)

»Read more
  Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 | 8:40 AM ET

US stock futures trim gains after Empire State results

Posted By: Katy Barnato

U.S. stock-index futures pared Tuesday gains after a measure of manufacturing activity in the New York region came in below expectations.

»Read more

Contact Futures Now: Blog

  • Showtimes

    Watch Futures Now Tuesdays & Thursdays 1p ET exclusively on cnbc.com!

Follow Futures Now: Blog

Sponsor Links

  • CME Group brings buyers and sellers together through its CME Globex electronic trading platform and trading facilities in New York and Chicago.

  • Take your trading to the next level with a platform that lets you trade stocks, options, futures and forex all in one place with no platform or data with no trade minimums. Open an account with TD Ameritrade and get up to $600 cash.