"It's not the news that matters but how the market responds to the news," Aaron Task told
"RealMoney" radio show listeners Friday, adding that the market was having "a very positive reaction to news that on the surface ... is very negative. Task was filling in for Jim Cramer. Intel ( INTC) warned that first-quarter sales would miss estimates, sending the stock lower intraday. But the tech complex and the Nasdaq shook off the news and moved higher. Moreover, the 10-year Treasury note slumped, sending the yield to its highest level since June 2004, due to inflation fears, the notion that the Federal Reserve will take rates as high as 5.5%, and evidence that interest rates worldwide could move higher. Task said that this should be weighing on the broader equity markets, or at least on "growthier" areas of the market. This is because in today's global market, financial players from around the world borrow money from one part of the world and invest in another part, a strategy known as the carry trade. Right now, Japan's key lending rate is at 0%, so you can get money for free there and then invest it in other places. This excess of liquidity has fueled rallies in commodities and small-caps, among other sectors. But the European Central bank said Thursday that it will take rates up a quarter-point and the CPI data that just came out in Japan has solidified expectations that rates will soon go up there as well. The prospect of less liquidity weighed on Treasuries, even if stocks managed to ignore the news, Task said.
The lack of demand caused people to get worried about energy stocks, Edmonds said, adding that this is something that investors should pay attention to through April and May. Task pointed out that the Energy Information Administration said the U.S. has 21% more in natural gas reserves than a year ago, and he wanted to know if Edmonds believes that natural gas prices have reached the floor. "I think the floor depends on where oil trades ... and what kind of winter we get for the rest of March," Edmonds said, saying that natural gas could go as low as $5.75. But traders believe the fundamental story is intact, Edmonds said. "The commodities market always overreacts at any inflection point," he said. But he said it was hard to tell if this was what was happening on the downside. Edmonds said that stocks in the energy complex will track the price of the commodity directionally, but that the magnitude of the change is another question. Task wanted to know if a risk premium had been built into the price of oil, and Edmonds said that he believes a "sizable" premium is there, adding that the more fundamental question is when does the premium go away. Iraq, Iran and Venezuela are countries in the mix that do not like the U.S., Edmonds said, and therein lies the risk. Edmonds also said he believes it's time to think about repurchasing exploration and energy production stocks that have been beaten up. He said that they will benefit from firming commodity prices and from declines in acceleration of their service costs. He also believes that Nabors ( NBR) is a best-of-breed land driller, and that it is fairly too undervalued at its current price.
As a best-in-breed company, it deserves a premium, Edmonds said. Edmonds also suggested taking a look at natural gas producers like Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), and resource plays like Southwestern Energy ( SWN), if they come in a little more. A caller wanted to know if Dynegy ( DYN) could be a takeover target. Task said that the company has made a great turnaround after being tarred with the "Enron brush," and that it's a pick in TheStreet.com's
Stocks Under $10 newsletter. Edmonds said that Dynegy ultimately could be sold, but that its worth will depend on issues like the price of natural gas and transportation costs. "I won't speculate except to say that it makes sense for large- and mid-cap companies to look at Dynegy's assets," Edmonds said. Another caller wanted to know more about BHP Billiton ( BHP), a company that Jim Cramer owns for his charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS. Task and Edmonds said they believe the company has put together a diverse portfolio of hard assets that should continue to work in the coming months and years.