Art Cashin: Why I Sold Stocks Yesterday

U.S. jobless claims and GDP are showing seemingly positive signs even as stocks slipped Thursday. What's ahead?

Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services, offered CNBC his stock-market insights.

Cashin pointed out that he had called the march rally along with top strategists Doug Kass and Jeremy Grantham — though he joked that their successes lay in being "smart" and his in being "lucky": "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while."

But now Cashin sees a different market direction.

"I'm taking a little risk off of the table. I sold some stock yesterday," he declared.

As a sign of investor anxiety, he noted that "a lot of Elliot Wave followers are worried about finishing this leg" of the rally.

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With seeming positive reports lately -- stronger durable goods, new homes, Case-Schiller and jobless claims -- why sell stocks? Cashin offered his rationale:

"Valuation is always important. Fair value for the S&P is probably around 850, 880."

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"But some of the data, when you drill down into it, isn't what it seems. I'm kind of surprised the market took initial [jobless] claims data so benignly."


Cashin explained: "The employment situation is hanging tough. Even though I know unemployment is a lagging indicator, with the severe layoffs we've had recently, you find people looking and saying, 'okay, I've still got my job, but the guy down the block lost his, and those two guys over there lost theirs' — and that's beginning to rain down further on housing."

What Did Cashin Sell? Watch the Interview to Find Out

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Disclosure information was not available for Cashin or his company.