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Art Cashin: We're seeing a two-pronged 'sigh of relief rally'

  • Art Cashin says traders on Wall Street are relieved by news about both North Korea and Hurricane Irma.
  • On North Korea, Cashin says investors are pleased the U.S. has tempered down sanctions against the reclusive nation.
  • He also says investors are relieved that devastation from Hurricane Irma was not as great as feared.

Closely followed trader Art Cashin said Monday that traders on Wall Street are seeing a two-pronged "sigh of relief rally."

U.S. stocks were sharply higher on Monday as the damage from Hurricane Irma, which flooded several northern Florida cities over the weekend, didn't appear to be as bad as feared. Investors were also relieved that North Korea opted to not launch another missile.

"There's another part to that story. The U.S. seems to have tempered down the U.N. procedures that they were going to put in. It doesn't look like they're going directly for the oil embargo," said Cashin, UBS' director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange.

On Monday, the U.N. was set to vote on a new watered-down sanctions resolution against North Korea. It would eliminate initial U.S. demands to ban all oil imports to the country and freeze international assets of the government and its leader Kim Jong Un.

"So now there is some thinking. Are we going get moderate here? Will there be a chance to sit down and talk perhaps? I mean the fact that (Kim Jong Un) didn't let loose with the missile and that we tempered our proposal," Cashin added in an interview on "Squawk on the Street."

Cashin also said investors are pleased that devastation from Hurricane Irma was not as great as feared, which allows for a rally in insurer stocks.

"What a lot of people forget is that it's not that it would just hit the insurers but they might have to liquidate equity portfolios to raise the money to pay that off," Cashin said. "When it failed to be as catastrophic as it first looked, that risk of selling began to come off the table. And that's added to the sigh of relief rally that we've had."

Turning to the Federal Reserve, Cashin said he doesn't think the central bank will raise interest rates again as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"I think they're definitely on the sidelines," Cashin said. "I don't think they will hike again and I think it will be perhaps even very moderate in shrinking the balance sheet."

"I think they're going to dip a toe in the water, see how hot it is before they dip another toe," he added.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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