Despite all that should be hurting gold, the precious metal has traded flat for the month. Is that a bullish sign?» Read More
Brent Johnson, the CEO of Santiago Capital, believes that economic problems in the United States will lead to a $200 rally in gold over the next two months.
"It wouldn't surprise me to be back at $1,500 or $1,550 by the end of the year," the portfolio manager said on Thursday's "Futures Now."
Gold, which settled on Thursday at $1,350 per troy ounce, hasn't touched $1,500 since early April, when it shed more than $200 in two harrowing sessions.
Johnson does note that sentiment around gold is "really low." The latest example of that came on Oct. 8, when the head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, Jeffrey Currie, said that gold would become a "slam dunk sell" after the government shutdown ended and the debt ceiling debate was settled.
"A number of different firms around the world are saying 'Sell gold,' that it's a 'slam dunk sell,' so there's still a lot of negative sentiment out there," Johnson said. "And there are a lot of shorts out there."
To Johnson, this is actually good news.
"You can get a bit of a pop, and all of the sudden those shorts start to cover, people start to realize that QE is here to stay and not going anywhere, and things can change very quickly," he said. "I mean, gold can go up just as quickly as it came down."
In early Wednesday trading, crude has dropped below $96.50, and has blown through most major support levels below $100 just this week. The next major level of support comes in at $94.75.
Ralph Acampora is not looking forward to next year. While Altaira's director of technical analysis is bullish into the end of 2013, he fears that a year-end rally could set stocks up for a painful 2014.
"2014 is a year that we should have some sort of a decline," Acampora said on Tuesday's "Futures Now."
Acampora, often known as the godfather of technical analysis, then went on to enumerate the three reasons that next year makes him so nervous.
Reason one: The market will be overextended
Acampora believes that stocks will have a sweet end to 2013, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing out the year "somewhere between 16,500 and 17,000"—or 7 to 10 percent higher than where the index is trading today.
But once the market gets to that level, buyers might suddenly make themselves scare.
"Assuming I'm right, and we get a little bit of a correction here and then we go higher and it's across the board—all-time highs in the Russell averages and the S&P, and the Dow catches up and everybody's euphoric—if that happens and we go into the new year, 2014, then we're going to be facing extended price charts," Acampora said. "The market will be very overbought."
(Read more: Cashin: Tech valuations remind me of dot-com bubble)
Rightly or wrongly, a bevy of companies are likely to blame weak fourth quarter earnings on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate.
In third quarter earnings commentary and guidance, several companies in a wide swath of industries have outright warned that the D.C. situation would impact fourth quarter earnings, or at least remarked that it added a measure of uncertainty. And some, such as Stanley Black & Decker and Linear Technology, have lowered their fourth quarter guidance, partially as a result of what happened in Washington.
Companies are "setting the table," said FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters. Bringing up the government's potential impact now allows management to say "Look, we pointed this out as a potential concern early in the quarter, and now it's happening."
Only a few companies have blamed third quarter weakness on Washington, and with good reason—the shutdown started on Oct. 1, just after the quarter ended.
But after Citigroup missed earnings expectations, CEO Mike Corbat included the D.C. situation on a laundry list of problems, saying on the earnings call that "our results reflect a challenging operating environment, including the slowdown in client activity based on uncertainty regarding Fed tapering, concerns about the effect of a U.S. government shutdown, and forecasts for slowing economic growth, particularly in the emerging markets."
The way people are treating technology companies, it's starting to feel a bit too much like 1999 and 2000, Art Cashin said on Thursday's "Futures Now."
"I do worry a little bit that we're beginning to hear things that are reminiscent of the 1999-2000 period—the number of hits, the number of eyeballs," said Cashin, the director of floor operations for UBS Financial Services.
In the heat of the tech bubble, investors infamously valued site viewers—or "eyeballs"—more highly than revenue. In one of the most dramatic examples of this, Yahoo purchased Web hosting site GeoCities for some $3.6 billion in January 1999—despite the fact that GeoCities' expenses at the time were trumping the minuscule amount of revenue the company was taking in.
Yahoo overlooked the financials in favor of the fact that it was the third-most-visited site on the Internet. But as those visitors steadily disappeared, Yahoo's decision looked the opposite of prescient.
When Cashin surveys the tech landscape today, he similarly hears rhetoric that values users over profits.
"I think if we hold to the old tried-and-true—how many dollars are coming in—then we might be better served," Cashin said. "But people are extrapolating, in some way, in a manner similar to the way they did in 1999-2000."
Many thought that a catastrophic outcome that involved the U.S. hitting the debt ceiling was gold's best hope for a sustained move higher—which left some traders surprised by gold's positive reaction to the deal announcement.
But George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Capital Markets, reports that gold open interest fell on the deal even as gold futures rose, meaning that traders were closing their short positions.
(Read more: Wall Street not listening to Washington anymore)
Gero said that people made debt ceiling bets by trading gold and stocks together. "One could have been a hedge against the other."
But now, with the Senate agreeing on a deal and voting about to start, "If you've been using [gold] as a trading vehicle, you want to get out, because there's no more reason to be on the short side of gold," Gero said.
In other words, if you were making a bet on gold and stocks amid the D.C. uncertainty, "You basically want to just square your book now." And for those who were shorting gold on the hunch that it would drop off of a coming deal, squaring their book means closing their short positions.
While investors fret over D.C. brinkmanship as the government gets closer and closer to the debt ceiling, "Dr. Doom" Marc Faber has other concerns on his mind.
"I think the markets will move according other events rather than what is happening in Washington," Faber said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now."
Specifically, the publisher of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report newsletter warns of disappointing earnings, deteriorating technicals, and a decline in consumer confidence.
(Read more: Buffett: Debt limit shouldn't be weapon)
Earnings will disappoint
As companies start to report their third quarter earnings, Faber is getting nervous.
"We're coming into earnings season, and the earnings are likely to disappoint," Faber said.
And because earnings will be weaker than investors anticipate, "the market is not cheap anymore, according to different valuation methods," Faber said.
Indeed, the S&P 500's price-to-earnings ratio, the most commonly used valuation metric, has risen from 17 to more than 19 over the course of 2013.
And because stocks are getting more expensive, "the returns over the next five to 10 years will be very moderate," Faber said.
(Read more: Marc Faber: Apple 'could go bust')
Famed investor Marc Faber believes that Apple is a troubled company making an array of frivolous products—and for that reason could be on the road to bankruptcy.
"This is the kind of stock I'm really not interested in," Faber said about Apple on Tuesday's "Futures Now." "I'm not saying it will go bust," but "it could go bust eventually."
Faber added that it won't go under "tomorrow" or "the day after tomorrow." But the editor and publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report compares Apple to another technology company that's now infamous for moving slower than the times.
"This is kind of like Polaroid of the 1970s," Faber said. After all, Polaroid, like Apple, was founded and driven by a famous innovator who eventually left the company.
"Dr. [Edwin] Land, who was the founder of Polaroid, had more patents under his head than anyone else in the world," Faber noted.
In 1982, Land (who received more patents than any other American save Thomas Edison) left his seat on Polaroid's board, and gave up his research post at the company. In 2001, Polaroid filed for bankruptcy protection, and proceeded to sell off its businesses.
(Read more: Apple snags Burberry CEO as new retail chief)
A swath of U.S. states are getting a big break at the pump, website GasBuddy said on Monday, with retail prices dipping below $3 a gallon for the first time in nearly a year in some areas.
According to GasBuddy—a site where motorists around the country can post and view local gas prices—16 states are seeing major gas price relief. Among them are Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Florida.
In rural Texas, some lucky motorists are getting the rock-bottom price of $2.70 per gallon.
The site added that a handful of other states, including Alabama, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, could see similar relief later this week.
Gold dropped $25 in two minutes Friday morning following what appeared to be a single massive sell order, and professional traders are now pronouncing the sale a deliberate attempt to manipulate the market.
At 8:42 a.m. ET Friday morning, a firm appeared to sell 5,000 gold futures contracts "at the market," meaning at whatever price was available. The massive order was more than the market could take at once and led the CME to automatically halt trading for 10 seconds.
Eric Hunsader of Nanex told CNBC.com on Friday that 2,700 contracts were sold, which triggered the halt, and that the remaining 2,300 were sold once the market resumed trading.
(Read more: Gold's plunge blamed on one massive sell order)
Since one futures contract controls 100 troy ounces of gold, and each troy ounce was worth $1,285 at the time of the sale, this party was selling some $640 million worth of gold in one shot. And it overwhelmed the liquidity in the market.
"Anyone with knowledge of the size and volume in the market would absolutely never, ever place a 5,000 [contract] sell [order] at market, because you could not estimate the offset price," said iiTrader CEO Rich Ilczyszyn.
If Ilczyszyn's firm were placing the order, he said, "we generally would piece the order in to work a better price." That's why he believes the trade was "an error."
But Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, a longtime gold fan, infers darker motives.
"Someone's obviously trying to move the market lower," he told CNBC.com. "A legitimate seller would work a limit over time to get a good price."
Jim Iuorio, managing director at TJM Institutional Services, sees similarities between what happened to gold Friday and what happened Sept. 12, when a big gold sale at 2:54 a.m. ET similarly caused a trading halt and hurt the market.
"There is only one conclusion that seems logical regarding Friday's gold trade and the one from a month ago, and that's that they were designed to manipulate prices," Iuorio said. "They were slightly different, in that the one from a month ago was done when the market was illiquid in order to get the biggest prices movement. Friday's was done around the opening to ensure that there was maximum visibility."
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