Caterpillar is not the way to play this US-China trade truce, Oppenheimer says 

Caterpillar just got a big bump from easing trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Shares of the industrial bellwether surged more than 2 percent to begin the week, wiping out some of its year-to-date losses. Its stock remains 12 percent lower for 2018.

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, says this is not the stock to take advantage of the trade war truce.

The trade war cease-fire "should be good for the stock market. I just don't think Caterpillar is the way to play it," Wald told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Monday. "In general, we are cautious on capital goods stocks that are exposed to the global economy, and what we see as a decelerating macro backdrop."

Caterpillar has been trending lower for much of the year, caught between trade headlines and fears of slowing global growth. The industrials giant is particularly sensitive to any drop in global economic activity.

"If you're buying this stock you're making the case that the global backdrop is bullish," said Wald. "What we instead see is a stock rallying into very formidable resistance at around $142. This marks the stock's … falling 200-day moving average as well as its Q1 lows."

Caterpillar would need to rally another 2 percent to reach its resistance at $142.

Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, is more bullish on the stock, naming two macro factors that could carry Caterpillar higher.

"The Fed seems to be easing its monetary path cycle, and therefore if it really isn't going to hike rates as much as the market thinks in 2019, that's positive for Caterpillar, which obviously has a lower cost of capital as a result of this," Schlossberg told "Trading Nation" on Monday.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week eased concerns that the central bank would move too aggressively next year to raise interest rates. Investors see a more dovish Fed as less of an impediment to economic growth.

"The second thing everybody is noticing, of course, is the U.S.-China trade relation tension that is easing right now," said Schlossberg.

The U.S. and China agreed over the weekend to a 90-day trade truce to hold tariffs at current levels. That three-month stretch allows them time to reach a more formal trade agreement.

"Both of those things have provided a very strong tailwind for the stock right now," Schlossberg said. "If the dynamic for those things changes very quickly, the stock goes right back down, irrespective of its own internal fundamentals."


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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