Contrary indicators: Banks stocks jumped Monday as Wall Street expects very strong earnings from Goldman Sachs — but star analyst Meredith Whitney also predicted 13 percent unemployment, which would hobble financials' longer-term recovery.
Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services, offered CNBC his stock-market outlook.
"Everyone's focusing on Goldman [Sachs] and the financials," Cashin said.
"It'll be interesting to see how long the shelf-life is on this thing...if they can sustain it," Cashin said.
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Cashin used a classic colloquialism for unofficial wall Street consensus to voice his caution:
"On the charts, on the cocktail napkins, the market looks quite vulnerable here."
"We're concerned they've broken out of a so-called head-and-shoulders* formation. I'd be a little wary" of stocks right now, he said.
Cashin pointed to upcoming housing data as a cause for concern.
He weighed in on reports that lender CIT Group, the "smallest stock" on the S&P 500, is asking regulators to increase liquidity.
"It's a lifeline to a lot of [smaller] companies. Even if they're saying it doesn't pose systemic risk, at a time when they're talking about taking TARP money to help small businesses, it'd be ironic to let CIT go under, since they do help small businesses."
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* CNBC Glossary:
Term referring to a chart formation in which a price exhibits three successive rallies, the second one being the highest. Believed by technical analysts to be a bearish indicator.
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Disclosure information was not available for Cashin or his company.