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Staying Optimistically Cautious in a Delicate Market

In this week's interview with Toni Turner of TrendStar Trading Group, we discuss the market's intense fixation on the Fed, and why it isn't going to change anytime soon. EQ: Despite

In this week's interview with Toni Turner of TrendStar Trading Group, we discuss the market's intense fixation on the Fed, and why it isn't going to change anytime soon.

EQ: Despite being in the heart of earnings reporting season and a busy week in economic data releases, the market seems to be focused primarily on the Fed. Despite its efforts, why hasn’t the Fed been able to reduce its influence on the market?

Turner: In rocky economic environments, such as the one we’re in now, the market tends to focus more on the Fed and its policies. After all, the Fed’s decisions drives interest rates. Interest rates, in the simplest terms, are the cost of using money and the cost of using money affects all of us. It affects individual homeowners to credit card users to multi-national corporations. The cost of money runs the financial world.

If our economy was rocking and rolling, nobody would be paying attention. But with the current stimulus program potentially being wound down, the Fed will  continue to be a primary focal point for the remainder of this year

EQ: You’ve been watching oil prices and the United States Oil ($USO) recently. It’s dipped about 4.5 percent off its recent peak. What are you hoping to see here?

Turner:  A month or so ago, we discussed an inverse head-and-shoulders pattern that I saw form on the USO, with the head forming in April. At the time, we noted that the measured move to the upside would reach $38 or $39. That move has been fulfilled, and the USO made a relative new high on July 19 of $38.62. Subsequently,  during the last two weeks, the USO retraced 38.2 percent of that move on the Fibonacci retracement line.

On Wednesday, it bounced nicely off that support, which is where I entered on the long side. I’m looking for a move back to $38 or so, but of course, that depends somewhat on the unemployment numbers at the end of this week.

EQ: When we spoke last week, you said there wasn’t much in the market that seemed appealing to you. Has anything changed since?

Turner: I’m still not one to buy at market highs, because  that is just not my strategy. However, I do like some of the Industrials here, especially if the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ($XLI) can continue to over $45.50. Some of the components are Cabot Corporation (CBT) . I like the pattern and fundamentals going for it. I also like Fastenal Co. (FAST) , although it’s moved up a lot over the last few days. I would look at that on a pullback.

Another group I’m just watching is the gold miners and the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ($GDX), which may deserve some attention here as long as it can stay above its 50-day moving average at about $26.

EQ: Are there any broader catalysts or trends that you’re watching closely in the near term?

Turner: The market is certainly in an uptrend here. We can’t argue with that. But we’re at market highs, in the summer time, on low volume, with the Fed murmuring at the back of the room that it’s going to take away our cushy allowance. On top of that, emerging markets are falling.

So with all these opposing dynamics—and by the way, the market always has opposing dynamics—I’d have to say that I’m optimistically cautious here. I’m also watching those interest rates that we talked about. If the 10-year note start to move up dramatically, then I suspect the market may take notice and start to consolidate or shift lower.

As the markets put the debt ceiling debacle in the rearview mirror, more than a few issues remain open.