This column originally appeared on Real Money Pro at 9:07 a.m. EDT on Sept. 7.NEW YORK ( Real Money) -- It was a fun session with Melissa Lee and the "Fast Money" gang last night on CNBC. Let's go straight to the tape! In today's opening missive, I will expand on my responses that I gave to the "Fast Money" team last night (and incorporate some of my writings from this week), as, given the swift line of questioning typically characteristic of the show, there is usually only time for relatively brief responses and sound bites. Melissa Lee first asked me if my top call of two weeks ago was still valid. I said that I remain cautiously pessimistic. I am net short but not yet over my skis short the market. I am bruised but unbowed, and I am unyielding in my concerns. I am long some one-offs such as Avon Products ( AVP), which is hopefully still the apple of Coty's eye, but I find that few stocks meet my standards of value. I was obviously wrong about the near-term market prospects discussed a few weeks ago on "Fast Money." I had expected a top at 1420-1425 for the year, and we have overshot that by a few points (so the book may not yet be closed). I continue to view us at or near the top end of the trading range for this year, and I see problems aplenty as we move toward the end of the year. What made stocks ramp on Thursday were the words "without limit and no cap" by Draghi, but I would remind all that the ECB has not spent a single euro yet words alone over the past two months have reduced the Spanish three-year yield to 3.5% from 7.4%, the 10-year Spanish yield to 6% from 7.4% and the Italian 10-year yield to 5.2% from 6.5%. (Now that is a heck of a lot of moral suasion and jawboning!) I know that the gang last night, many of whom are moved by price, was optimistic on the technicals, but I say that there is only so far that central bank policy can take stock prices higher when a host of fundamental issues plague us.
- President Obama seems likely to win the November election. (He has risen to a multiyear high of 58.7% on Intrade.) A Democrat win will be seen as business- and market-unfriendly). Despite the odds of a Democratic presidential win, the election appears to be a cliffhanger -- the closer the vote is, the greater the animosity between the parties and the steeper the fiscal cliff might be.
- Third-quarter 2012 earnings will be challenging (probably down 4%) -- guidance has been cautious -- and profits will likely decline for the first time (year over year) since third quarter 2009. For the full year, earnings in 2012 should be up 6% or 7%, but next year the gain will be between zero and 5%. So, we need P/E expansion for the S&P 500 to make further progress, and I don't see it. (Note: Intel (INTC) warned this morning.)
- I remain uncertain about the U.S. fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, dividend, capital gains and tax policy.
- I remain uncertain about the eurozone's economy, banking union and fiscal integration.
- A Chinese economic slowdown not only threatens world economic growth and commodity prices but implies less demand for the purchase of U.S. Treasuries.