[CNBCfix.com Fast Money Review Archive, April 2012]
[Monday, April 30, 2012]

The best thing to come out of Bellevue, Wash. ...

For the longest time, we've thought of Bellevue, Wash., as the proud home of that firm we can't pronounce Trutina Financial (OK, maybe Coinstar too, but that's inside baseball).

Turns out, it's also the home town of David DeCastro, No. 1 pick of the so-happy-he-fell-to-us yinz in the 2012 NFL Draft.

NFL draft picks, um, can tend to be overrated, but for a team that for 4 years running, including a Super Bowl championship season, has had the shoddiest, crummiest, plodding clods at the guard position, the selection of DeCastro was a welcome relief, particularly the expert analysis that goes something like "gets to the 2nd level like a ghost."

What say DeCastro gets a timely deal, reports to camp on time, and lets Patty Edwards take care of that signing bonus, which means Mr. Rooney's cash could be headed to HLF, CBI, HD and maybe even SNPS.

Go, Russell

Speaking of the Seattle area, an interesting little drama played itself out on Friday's Day 2 of the NFL Draft that too many fair-weather fans never saw.

The subject was Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, whose draft wait was caught by ESPN's living-room cameras and culminated in celebration when Pete Carroll rang him up in Round 3.

Wilson intrigued ESPN, and will be a topic of interest in the NFL, because he is a very good quarterback ... who happens to be 5-11.

(Yes, we know you're thinking, "Pat Haden ... pea shooter ... somehow a 12-4 record with a 13-19 TD/INT ratio before a sorry playoff wipeout .. this won't work.")

We're normally not into the underdog thing. But not only did Wilson, an obvious uniter, watch the draft with a multicultural contingent, he also proved to be, by far, the most eloquent of all draft picks.

Anyone not rooting for this gentleman to succeed doesn't have a pulse.

Still wondering if CHK’s $12 million Aubrey’s maps ever actually changed hands

For whatever reason, perhaps to show that Aubrey McClendon has indeed received at least some criticism on a network that usually gushes about having him on, CNBC's Fast Money aired a clip at the end of Monday's 5 p.m. show depicting Karen Finerman in 2009 denouncing McClendon's financial arrangements that included the company buying his antique map collection.

"I've been pissed ever since," Finerman said Monday after the clip aired; "still haven't gotten over it."

Jon Najarian though pointed out that the stock hasn't been going lower amid the most recent bad headlines, so it could be on the upswing.

This page is evidently alone in asking where McClendon's map collection is these days (see, it's within the realm of possibility the company just wrote him a check and told him to take care of the maps on its behalf), and lo and behold, we're making some progress.

A story a few days ago in the NYT says that after a shareholder suit, McClendon "agreed to buy back the maps." And the story ends there.

Meanwhile, the WSJ from a few days ago has a few more details," specifically that "Earlier this year, the company settled the suit and agreed to reverse the map sale, although the settlement isn't yet final."


If only Kate had known how much money she made for Dr. J, she’d surely smile

The camera initially caught CNBC's Kate Kelly a little unhappy (no, not possible, don't write that) a little off-guard at the beginning of her report on Delta's refinery deal on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, and then a sleepy-looking Kelly waded in with, "Hey Melissa, how you doin'."

Kelly, continuing a subject she's been out front on, said Delta is securing its place in the refining business not with some JPMorgan financing, but an "elaborate set of swap arrangements with BP."

Kelly said she hears from experts who would say to Delta, "Why are you not hedging in the paper market?" Kelly said the cost around $150-$180 million is "dirt cheap" compared with 5 years ago, and in the "paper" market, "it's impossible to fully hedge jet fuel."

Jon Najarian, in not much of a question, told Kelly thanks for reporting on this subejct, he "rode your coattails into this one," but "now that the baby's born," he's out of the trade.

Josh Brown used the term "predilection" and conceded the deal is "not the worst thing I've ever heard." But "nobody wants to own refineries," and airlines aren't exactly AAPL either; "put 'em together, how do we have a good business."

Guest doesn’t seem to think highly of Fast Money flipping

The last thing we'd ever try to do is give Leo De Bever advice. He's undoubtedly a successful money manager who could probably identify dozens of favorable risk/reward bond scenarios in the amount of time it takes us to locate the "MENU" button on the remote.

But, there's an exception to everything.

Check out the screen text in the photo above.

Losing sleep ... over the debt market?

Yeah, we know that's where the Masters of the Universe play (when they're not being the big kids in Dr. J's afterhours stock-trading pool), at least when they're not crushing it in Dan Dicker's endless Nymex bid.

Trust this page — if A. Gary Shilling's (rear-view-mirror-only) "we've had a bond bull market since I called it in 1981" and Jeff Kilburg's "sometime it's gotta test 1.67% again because I keep saying it on TV" (those are both paraphrased interpretations of commentary surrounded by quote marks for entertainment purposes only) have become too much of your overnight thought process, you should switch to something less stressful — like golf watching football The Gartman Letter.

Anyway, De Bever told Mel Lee in the Fast Money "Portfolio" that the bond bull market "might last a year or 2 more" but that he thinks the world will embrace a more risk-off environment, in which he likes high-quality corporates.

Basically, De Bever thinks, the chickens are coming home to roost within 3 years. "What this is all about is that the social programs put in place in the last 40 or 50 years, uh, were not well-calibrated," he said, which is a nice way of putting it.

Karen Finerman, as she almost always does, said to De Bever, "It's Karen, let me ask you something," specifically, what does he like in terms of inflation plays. De Bever said he likes companies with "some pricing flexibility," which includes XOM, MCD and IBM, and we don't have much of a clue about these things (as we seek the "POWER" button on the remote), but if they've got that pricing "flexibility" now, why don't they just raise prices?

De Bever assured Tim Seymour he thinks long-term, and is not in "day trades."

What about the 3rd year of a presidency usually being gangbusters?

Fast Money seems to have an endless stable of chartists, and on Monday's 5 p.m. show it was Steve Suttmeier who identified "an election-year pattern in the market" that he predicted would lead to a "shift to defensive groups" that started in April.

Suttmeier suggested the S&P could ultimately tumble to the "1,300, 1,250 area," at which point it would be a "good buying opportunity."

He told Guy Adami this would be a "6- to 8-week event."

In the meantime, Suttmeier advised, "Look to take some profits on the financials right now," and that he likes the integrateds more than oil services.

Jon Najarian referred to Best Buy as having a CEO who was "chasing some employee around."

Show almost omits AAPL

Dr. Mark Schoenebaum painted a boring, uninteresting if positive case for PFE on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying the company with its excess cash could operate from the notion that "share buybacks are the case to beat" but that it hasn't ruled out small acquisitions.

Schoenebaum said he doubts there will be any surprises on Lipitor in Tuesday's report, but there's a promising vaccine for pneumonia, and as far as emerging markets, the "risk is pricing."

Guy Adami focused on one of his ongoing favorites, HGSI, predicting "this has at least 18½ to 20 written all over it."

Colin Gillis said utterly useless MSFT investment in the Nook and textbook arm of BKS is part of a "broader trend" of strategic partnerships without doing acquisitions, and a "good use of Microsoft's cash."

Guy Adami got a little too giddy on this development, first claiming that "fair valuation" for MSFT is "38, 39," then later suggesting if the stock got a "12½, 13 multiple," then 36 or 37 makes sense.

Jon Najarian said of MNST's reversal, "I wish I would've had the good sense to get short this thing."

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on television, said "I'd like to be short Aussie dollar" and recommends selling it vs. the U.S. dollar at 1.0415.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was long XBI. Tim Seymour said he likes XOI, Guy Adami said long TMO, Karen Finerman said long Canadian Oil Sands, which is a trickier symbol than the screen's COS but we're not sure exactly what it is (Toronto suffix, or something like that), and Jon Najarian said TXN, though the screen said "TXM."

Guy Adami insisted the Fast Money AAPL trading range works, and at 583 is "probably a no-touch here."

Josh Brown challenges colleagues to issue a sell rating

There's nothing the Fast Money gang enjoys chatting about more than MSFT (OK, maybe RIMM), but punches were being pulled on Monday's 5 p.m. show quicker than you can click the Start button.

Tim Seymour said BKS is troubled, and "I don't think this is the answer here." Karen Finerman laid out a few reasons why Microsoft might be interested in dabbling here (as Ed Maguire said at Halftime, see below, it's not much more than couch change) but then concluded, "I actually don't understand-" and then she was cut off by Jon Najarian so we couldn't determine what she couldn't understand, but it did sound like "New Coke," as in, "I actually don't understand what the New Coke is here," which might've been an odd way of saying BKS doesn't have a dynamic new product; or it might've been "I actually don't understand what the Nook-" and then not being able to finish her sentence.

Whatever. Najarian questioned, as did we, why Whitney Tilson would mind-bogglingly hang onto his shares in hopes of his sum-of-the-parts $37 price; "aren't you kind of surprised that Whitney wants to stay in it?"

Finally Josh Brown buzzed in and said this is no life preserver for BKS, and "Why is everyone so afraid to say sell the stock?" Jon Najarian suggested it's in the same boat as BBY.

Guy Adami: GNW pop possible

Guy Adami suggested at the top of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that pieces of April (that would be GNW) could experience morning in May (that would be Three Dog Night in a reference Doug Kass should like).

GNW is reporting Tuesday after a rough slide, and "although there's a very good chance that this stocks (sic) gets obliterated, I also think there's an equally good if not better chance that you see a pop in this name tomorrow," Adami said.

The Fast gang tackled the biggest gainers and most dreadful losers of the month, and Tim Seymour said FSLR continues to be a sell on any bounce, and Karen Finerman said NFLX is no longer such an appealing short, but "I would not be going long here NFLX."

Seymour shrugged as to whether the SUN deal portends some more oil team-ups, while Jon Najarian predicted that AMZN is "due for a little bit of a pullback," and that people might actually consider a short "perhaps short-term."

Guest Rick Summer said Groupon's board shakeup might be a positive change, or it might just be "optics for everyone." Karen Finerman, who didn't ask for clearance this time to ask a question, openly wondered about Howard Schultz's departure being immediate, only to get dead air from Summer. "That was sort of a question to you," Finerman said, smiling. "It certainly was curious," Summer said.

Summer seemed to think GRPN is anything but a daily deal, citing a "huge overhang on the stock ... big lockup ... we think they've been pursuing growth in areas where they really have less competitive advantages than even local advertising."

Update: Summer said "at the end of the day."

They say that bulls get rich, bears get rich, hogs get ...

It wasn't enough that Microsoft handed him a lucky score Monday.

Whitney Tilson boasted on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he had already "made a lot of money on the short side" in Barnes & Noble before deciding last Tuesday to suddenly go long, largely because he saw that Jana Partners had taken a large position.

The stock, he said, was prone to experiencing "the mother of all short squeezes." Now he's got the difficult problem of managing a position that has grown "65% size-wise" (as opposed to 65% amorphously) while he still believes the stock market is "underreacting" to its potential.

Tilson evidently doesn't think his windfall is enough, claiming BKS right now suddenly has a "$37 combined, sum-of-the-parts valuation."

Tilson also delivered a shout-out to ValueInvestorsClub.com, but don't expect to make any money there; "admission is highly selective."

Whew — MSFT ‘didn’t do what Time Warner did’

The Fast Money Halftime Report gang on Monday generally trumpeted Microsoft's investment in some of Barnes & Noble's prizes, but to be honest, it kind of sounded like the excitement you heard last weekend from NFL teams predicting their 7th-rounders are going to contribute on special teams.

"I think Microsoft becomes really interesting here," offered Mike Murphy.

Guest Ed Maguire said there's underrated opportunity for MSFT in the "highly lucrative" college textbook market.

Jon Najarian even curiously said, "Microsoft is key to what goes on as far as back-and-forth transactions on the Internet," and we'll pretend for the purposes of this post that we know what a "back-and-forth" transaction is.

But all of that said ... Najarian indicated the best part of the deal for Microsoft is that "they didn't do what Time Warner did" and buy AOL. (Or do what AOL did and buy Huffington Post.)

Maguire conceded that this deal as a factor in MSFT's income statement amounts to "change on the seat cushions."

As for the other side of the back-and-forth transaction, Najarian advised, "Take your profits on the Barnes & Noble pop."

Maria also gets an interview with Mohamed El-Erian; what a break, he never does CNBC otherwise

Maria Bartiromo, getting a much earlier wake-up call than usual, got a hit during Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report from the Milken conference, shrugging off someone walking in front of the camera at the opening to discuss Brazilian economics with Eike Batista, who said what's going on with Argentina oil is "very sad ... populism at its best."

Tim Seymour, who has basically never found Brazil uninteresting no matter what the EWZ has been doing, said Batista "could be the world's most interesting man" (does that mean he likes Dos Equis?) and then suggested mid-caps might be the best Brazilian play; "I do think things are getting very interesting here."

From somewhere besides the Milken conference, guest Sean Clark issued a chart showing "median gains in election years" that indicated May is generally up 1.09%, June 1.88% and August 0.87%, while only July is down, a whole 0.67%, suggesting you don't have to sell in May and plan your NFL training camp vacation. Judge Wapner rightly pressed Clark to make a market call, but the data was far more interesting than any forecast as Clark said it's a range-bound market, you should be "trading the break" and if that break happens to be up, the S&P can probably get to 1,500.

Steve Grasso said 1,397 is the S&P level to watch, with a little margin for error, and a breach there figures to take us to 1,384.

Clark said he likes consumer discretionary and financials, including JPM, ABT and KO.

MNST’s roller-coaster bolsters the argument for flipping

Mike Murphy on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report cheered the possible M&A activity in MNST, saying consumers in general are "getting away from sodas" and that a portfolio such as Monster's presents "tons of synergies" for KO.

Joe Terranova said that if you've been long MNST stock, "trade it in for upside calls."

Jon Najarian had an interesting suggestion, that with the recent death of Red Bull's co-founder, maybe that estate would look to sell.

Meanwhile, Pfizer watcher Catherine Arnold told the Fast gang the company is going in the right direction, that it's actually been a "great performer" relative to the market for 6-12 months. "They're not buying for 2012 earnings," she said.

Jon Najarian said options suggest people are betting the stock won't top 23 this week.

Najarian also explained that MDRX bounced around $10.50, and that he bought stock and sold calls.

Update: Coca-Cola said Monday afternoon it's not in talks to buy MNST.

Tim Seymour wasn’t on long enough to accuse Joe Terranova of shopping at the Gap

We've been waiting a while for Patty Edwards' opinion on the Gap (actually, come to think of it, we've been waiting a while just to see Patty Edwards on the Fast Money Halftime Report), but Monday, Halftime Report viewers got a sample from analyst Adrienne Tennant, who said GPS is committed to inventory control and just had a "really good quarter for them."

But Tennant conceded GPS has benefitted from a "little bit of a rising tide."

Steve Grasso cited Old Navy as a liability and said he's "hesitant" to buy.

Mike Murphy flat-out "actually just got short the name."

Jon Najarian predicted AAPL tests $578, and then it's a "screaming buy" when it gets there. Joe Terranova again touted NXPI.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was long XCO, Mike Murphy said HAL and Jon Najarian said LVLT.

Mandy Drury on Street Signs pronounced it the "Empire State's (sic) Building."

[Friday, April 27, 2012]

Hang it up Ray, you’re too old — Lewis cites dropped pass, missed field goal for dooming Ravens but not decisive TD allowed by defense, then says Giants would’ve won anyway

It was a nice touch for the Fast Money Halftime Report to add some NFL flavor on Friday by inviting (cough/"Raven") Ray Lewis to the NYSE set.

First: Lewis' financial literacy program for athletes sounds like a fine nonprofit, and he spoke eloquently of it (although in this post-mortgage-meltdown era you have to wonder about a goal to "put people back in homes").

Second: How come some guys (who, um, don't exactly have the cleanest off-field record) who hit hard are treated like NFL royalty, and other guys (who quite frankly are better players in recent years) get fined every other week?

In an interesting hint at dissension that Judge Wapner flatly failed to follow up on, Lewis said of Baltimore's draft activity, "I don't know what our thought process is."

Lewis said "you make a catch" (that would be Lee Evans), "you make a field goal" (that would be Billy Cundiff), Baltimore would've been right there in the Super Bowl. And apparently he thinks the Ravens can still get there; "we have the right wisdom" among other things.

Pete Najarian, dressed like he's expecting to get a hug from Roger Goodell, first nailed Warren Sapp with a financial literacy reference, then guaranteed Hall of Fame status for Lewis, "As soon as you get done playin', 5 years later, you're in."

Ray showed he's got the preeminent Fast Money cliche down pat, saying "at the end of the day" twice.

Analyst claims company earnings report an act of heroism

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report indicated "2 new executives" in Europe are just what SBUX needs; he "bought some at 56.60."

Guest Nicole Miller Regan, who spoke in front of an image of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome but wasn't issuing any bounties, called AMZN's results impressive in the most jaw-dropping terms: "This is a stock you're gonna make money in, and the results last night were nothing short of heroic," Miller Regan said.

She said, why stress over Europe with CPG up 57%, and China revving.

Jon Najarian made a lengthy, semi-clumsy point about iced drink margins that proved to be only a statement and not a question for Miller Regan, who responded, "amen for hot weather."

Jim Iuorio called a short in GWW on the Amazon foray. "I sold it at 209 and a half-ish," he said, to some criticism, but "still like being short this name." Mike Murphy concurred, "I think it's a great short here."

Iuorio also said he's long TBT, but that's maybe "wishful thinking."

Previously Dr. J has been chiding the first people to make a sale in afterhours

Evidently Friday wasn't one of Dr. J's most lucrative days ever.

Jon Najarian lamented on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Amazon's rise surprised him and dinged his call-selling; "I actually was short from, uh, 225 on up, so it was a painful morning."

Later, Najarian revisited his questionable DECK play from Thursday's afterhours, revealing that Mike Murphy convinced him to take a little gain Thursday night but not the whole thing, and he unloaded the rest Friday. "Takin' a little off the table, that, that kept me in the black," Najarian said.

Najarian recommended taking profits in Expedia and looking ahead to Priceline. He also suggested taking a small stake in the social media space, perhaps Zynga or Yelp, which as Facebook looms have "explosive upside, at least for a short terms (sic)," he said.

Najarian also said he thinks GOOG is sort of embedded with the authorities, and as for any probes, "I don't worry about that hurting them."

He also said if bad news fails to push CHK down any more, it "might be near a tradeable bottom," which is generally the case if the stock ceases to keep going down.

Steve Grasso a couple times lamented that he's a fan of Amazon, but "I was not long the stock! I just did not believe the price action." Grasso said the issue of Amazon having to charge sales tax has been "coming down the pike forever" and that maybe they go brick-and-mortar but with a "very, very small footprint," and more importantly, "I don't ever think we're gonna deal with this question."

Guest Herman Leung said the headliner from AMZN was "probably the 3rd-party business ... actually doing a lot better than people expected."

AAPL, QCOM suddenly hot plays in the dividend sector

Guest Chris Konstantinos on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report revisited a subject we thought was drying up a couple months ago, the notion of AAPL having an untapped dividend-centric investor base.

"The growth is infinite because it was starting from zero, right?" Konstantinos posited, and we'd have to think about that one, but then again, we had trouble telling the difference between a parallelogram and an isosceles triangle, so we might never know if he's right.

Steve Grasso questioned why Konstantinos doesn't recommend Altria. "I wouldn't say we're bears on tobacco," Konstantinos said, but he indirectly referenced the wake-up-with-a-bad-headline risk similar to Dennis Gartman's flooded gold mine.

While Judge made a good crack about Mike Murphy ordering lunch on the open mike, Konstantinos said there are a "number of headwinds" with the U.S. telco market. He told Pete Najarian that instead of China Mobile, he likes QCOM.

Alan Mulally, in a glitch-marred chat with Phil LeBeau, said Ford had "probably almost the best ever" quarter in North America. Mike Murphy in a lukewarm pick said maybe you can try Johnson Controls or Dana.

Pete Najarian said Barton Biggs said INTC and big tech are in the "2nd and 3rd innings." Mike Murphy said of PG, "I'd wait for this to pull back tomorrow." Steve Grasso revealed, "I'm still long GDX." Jon Najarian said of bond yields around 1.95, 1.90, "I don't think we break that." Willie Williams' Final Trade was selling Aussie at 104.50 vs. the dollar.

Mike Murphy's Final Trade was HTZ. Pete Najarian said XCO, Jon Najarian said PCLN and Steve Grasso said CRK.

[Thursday, April 26, 2012]

Colleagues think Jon Najarian’s afterhours DECK purchase might get floored

Jon Najarian visited the Nasdaq to tell Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang that he's looking to recapture the QCOM/FFIV afterhours lightning in a bottle with DECK, which, like Cordy Glenn and Mike Adams, found itself in something of a free fall on Thursday.

"I just don't understand why you wouldn't want to own this stock at 56 where I was able to buy it in the afterhours," Najarian said, assuring this wasn't a long-term call, but an oversold flipping opportunity. "I'll be out of this thing by the time, uh, Squawk on the Street finishes tomorrow," Najarian predicted.

Guy Adami tried to be nice, suggesting there could indeed be a pop but concluding, "the guidance was an atrocity," and he would expect "farther (sic) room on the downside."

Mike Murphy flat-out declared, "I don't think you go near this thing."

Amazon generally surprises Brian Kelly to the upside in estimated delivery date

Guy Adami said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that operating margins were fueling the big gain in Amazon afterhours; "5 times larger than the Street was looking for." Still, Adami said, "Now's probably the time you take some profits."

Mike Murphy agreed the pop was too much; "I don't think you can buy it here," Murphy said.

Keith McCullough helpfully said, "Shorting valuation by the way doesn't work if you have the numbers wrong" (it's hard to argue with that), and said Amazon has 41 buy ratings compared with 1 sell.

Brian Kelly chipped in, "I know when I order something, and I ask for 2-day shipping, it comes the very next day."

Melissa Lee said something about Amazon being "inured."

Keith Goddard first stressed he owns both SPLS and AMZN, and then said of SPLS in this entertaining little twister, "The biggest way it's not a little Amazon is in valuation." Guy Adami asked why Staples has such a large short interest. Goddard said blame the economy; "there is a surprising amount of, of, cyclicality to the office-supply business."

Does the InBev analyst have to get intoxicated every night?

Jane Wells headlined the Starbucks report on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money telling the panelists that Howard Schultz is reporting great things in China. Guy Adami said he'd look to buy SBUX on the pullback.

Tim Seymour said the commodity situation in the 2nd half is bound to be a tailwind. Keith McCullough explained, "We're long it," but that it's a "hyper-momentum stock."

McCullough was asked if SBUX and GMCR can co-exist. "In the end, no," he said.

McCullough twice said "at the end of the day" when arguing in favor of his since-2008 thesis that you have to reduce long exposure with the VIX at 14-15, but made a convincing argument that since late March or early April, every sector is down.

Michael Pachter insisted the ZNGA results were "in line with what we expected," then complained, "I have to play all these games" just to get a handle on how the company operates and makes money; "My wife wants to leave me."

Brian Kelly said ZNGA is a little "reminiscent of bubbles."

A necessary question, and Dave Barger gives the answer you knew he would give

Melissa Lee asked JetBlue boss Dave Barger, who's almost sort of an extension of the Fast Money brand, on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money what effect the airline has experienced from the Clayton Osbon (we think she pronounced it "Osman") meltdown.

"We haven't seen any impact at all," Barger assured.

Brian Kelly said the airline is worth watching as long as it can increase fares. Mike Murphy declared, "I wouldn't go near JetBlue or any of the airline stocks."

On the ground, automotive watcher Peter Nesvold said "industry sales in the U.S. are getting better," and one reason he likes Ford is that "earnings revisions are nearing a bottom."

Maybe Limited Brands (LTD)?

At some point (if we ever have time; see, things grind to a halt around the NFL Draft) this weekend we hope to produce a post on the goofy CNBC stock draft (actually a clever idea but not really executed very well), but it's worth noting that Guy Adami reiterated on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money his pick of RSH; "It's either going to zero or 15."

He explained it's because Shaquille O'Neal walked into the green room, and that's what inspired him. Then he told Melissa Lee that if she had walked into the green room, "I can't even tell you what I would've picked."

Mike Murphy, who didn't really talk up any bull cases Thursday, countered that "zero is in the very near future" for Radio Shack.

Mike Khouw suggested buying the May 38/40 call spread in BRCM.

Tim Seymour hoped to harvest gains with a Final Trade in DE. Guy Adami said PPG, Keith McCullough said to short TOL and Brian Kelly said he likes ITB.

Let’s hope whoever straightens out CHK does a better job than Moe Green did with Fredo (by the way, ever wonder if that private map collection is still in Aubrey’s closet somewhere?)

Can't say guest Theo Francis didn't tell it like it is regarding Chesapeake, saying on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "This is pretty bad. Uh, Chesapeake has a real mess on its hands right now," stressing this isn't the first time the company has had "questionable and unusual transactions."

Francis recalled the time Chesapeake bought McClendon's private antique map collection and noted with a straight face, "This is not your typical employee-board relationship."

In one of the boldest stock calls, Dan Dicker said "gotta sell it," asserting CHK is in "one of these death spirals" and predicted the stock is "gonna see a single digit."

Humorously, Dicker predicted it will take a buyer, perhaps XOM seeking to balance out its ridiculous XTO purchase in which according to Paul Sankey it was partly interested in hiring engineers, to "straighten out the entire company," and that shareholder confidence has reached the "final straw."

Stephanie Link said she's interested in Ensco and Schlumberger.

Dr. J basically knocked one out of the park on buying AAPL below 578, selling over 610

Jon Najarian, perhaps stating the obvious, pointed on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report to Akamai's plunge and declared, "I think that's a sign that you wanna be out of names that are doing that."

Mark Mahaney said the management change "gives the stock a pause." The question of the day went to Stephanie Link, who said the stock would be "dead money" if the margins don't rebound to that upper 40 level and pushed Mahaney as to whether he thinks it will get there, with a follow-up demanding his opinion. "We don't think that the company's gonna recover uh and sustain 45 to 47% EBITDA margins in the future," Mahaney tried to say as straightforward as possible.

Mahaney was his typical usual enthusiastic self about AMZN, saying unlike EBAY, "we'd buy right here" and that he likes the risk/reward for 6-9 months.

Jon Najarian, in another curious comment prompted by a curious line of discussion from Judge Wapner about Andrew Mason's beer (and let's be honest, it doesn't take Jeff Sonnenfeld to flag this one as troubling), first joked, "call me anything but late for beer," then, in a remarkable understatement, said, "That should be sort of a hidden thing they do at Groupon."

Along the lines of a trade, Judge revisited Najarian's AAPL call of the past week, which worked even through the earnings, of buying below 578 and selling over 610. "I got out yesterday," Najarian said, but he said by the time it reports the next quarter he thinks it'll be "a lot closer to a 7 handle."

Brent Thill guested because in Judge Wapner's words, Thill finds NUAN a "strategic takeover candidate" (but what exactly would an "unstrategic" takeover candidate be?). Thill said the company will "continue to dominate the speech category" and has been a "walking Frankenstein" of acquisitions, but still manages to do them well. Brian Stutland said the stock should move in tandem with AAPL and that it can be played for a quick short squeeze.

Jon Najarian said there's some hope for ZNGA, that someone has been buying call spreads in the form of the 9/11.

But what to do if it’s 2.25%?

Mike Murphy revisited his questionable WHR short on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, and while we're happy for his account that this trade has been going in the right direction for him, it just never felt right in his original low-60s price (even in the high 70s it was a risky call) and we're not sure it's a good time to be declaring victory, even if "we covered half our short here" as Murphy explained.

He said WHR turned south during the earnings call and has a "lot of inflationary pressures," as well as an expectation that consumer confidence won't pick up until year-end.

Murphy insists there is "more downside for them here."

Stephanie Link agreed that the earnings report was a "horrible call."

Guest Paul Coster said Coinstar "seems to be garnering significant market share" but acknowledged there's a "raging controversy (pronounced "con-TRAH-ver-see") here" over the decline of the DVD industry.

Coster said the stock could have legs in the short run, but "long-term this stock is likely to be range-bound."

Mike Harris spoke rather generically about the market perceiving a Bernanke put, which has given something of a floor to precious metals. Andy Busch, in one of the most needlessly convoluted Money in Motion trades, said if GDP is => (that's correct, "=>" symbol on the screen chart) 2.5% to sell the kiwi vs. the dollar, and if GDP <= 2.0%, sell the dollar vs. the peso.

Jon Najarian recommended "get to the sidelines" on LVS and wait for $53.

Brian Stutland's Final Trade was MSFT and selling calls to collect premium. Jon Najarian said NWL, he's long stock and options. Pete Najarian said SBUX and Stephanie Link said LII.

Tyler Mathisen dropped his mike in a regularly glitch-marred feature, CNBC's daily Power Lunch teaser near the end of the Fast Money Halftime Report.

[Wednesday, April 25, 2012]

Eli Manning’s unusual courage

Nowadays when you hear the name "Eli Manning," it's usually accompanied by the phrase "2-time Super Bowl champion," and that's pretty much all New York fans need to hear.

The rest of the country — we're not sure which particular subset should be most appreciative, but it's just as much the 99% as the 1% — can thank Manning for defeating a bizarre little pocket of socialism, or at least putting a ding into it.

Manning, it's generally forgotten, stood up for freedom 8 years ago when he told the National Football League he did not plan to perform in San Diego.

See, the Chargers had somehow acquired this somehow iron-clad right to dictate the future of one of America's most promising college grads simply by losing more football games than anyone else.

It's the entertainment world's version of socialism, in which old-school types whose own product had passed them by decades earlier (the draft only moved to prime time a couple years ago) still cling to a version of indentured servitude based on the notions 1) a draft provides competitive balance (how come the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions have never reached the Super Bowl and the Dallas Cowboys have been there 8 times) and 2) a draft keeps salaries down (irrelevant; there's a cap dictating a ceiling and a minimum).

Mostly, it's part of the strange mind-set that these jocks are so lucky to be able to play sports and make millions of dollars, they shouldn't complain about where they're told to play, which means the public is OK with them having far less freedom than high school athletes.

Eventually someone in the Freakonomics realm will actually do an economic study of the draft and realize how much it likely hurts teams by "slotting" players to the point that guys drafted from about, oh, 15 through 50 are virtually guaranteed a high range-bound salary based on previous years when in fact many of those guys are not considered elite, will never be elite NFL players, and would not be so desirable if the system were open free agency for incoming players.

The draft wouldn't be so galling if it wasn't such a blatant reward for losing. It will be all smiles in Indianapolis on Thursday as the team celebrates its 2-14 record occurring at the perfect time by being handed a rare player who could make them a double-digit winner for an entire decade — and apparently is OK with that situation.

It's equivalent to Research in Motion at its next earnings report being handed ownership of Facebook.

Regardless, around here, we'll be watching the draft; the impact here is likely to be felt for perhaps 24 hours, as on Draft Night, all other bets are off and it may be a while before we get to Thursday's Halftime Report and certainly the 5 p.m. Fast Money, maybe more if we happen to run into any street toughs with a difference of opinion over the yinz's selection at 24. As always, celebrate responsibly, and what's good for the stock market is good for NFL general managers; in other words, happy trading.

(Note: The picture above is not of Eli Manning, but another memorable moment of the 2004 NFL Draft.)

Further proof P.E. ratio means nothing (cont’d)

Gene Munster found himself in a bit of an Amazon pickle on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying "I would not be long the stock" going into earnings while defending its longer-term prospects and the valuation it's achieved.

Karen Finerman once again was the instigator on this subject, saying, "I am short it through put spreads," which (saving work of having to pick another stock) ultimately became her Final Trade. "I. Do. Not. Get it."

Munster said the multiple is based simply on the expansion of e-commerce, and so AMZN will get a "lot of free passes on valuation for the next couple years."

Finerman insisted other elite retailers only trade at 12 times earnings, so for it to make sense at AMZN, "a lot of good things have to come."

Munster insisted, "The opportunity is just that big," then claimed the multiple reflects nothing more than "30 to 35 times 2013 numbers." However, he closed by reiterating he's not a buyer going into this earnings period.

Multiples are like time of possession in a football game; on some level but certainly not the most important one (whether people will buy or sell the stock) they matter, but they don't reflect the "big-play offense" that buyers for whatever reason see in AMZN.

Doug Kass on collision course with sell-in-May crowd

In a positive sign for bulls, Doug Kass spoke on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, said the stock market has practically achieved his suggested 5% correction from an earlier appearance, and we might be back to sustained-bull land.

If there was a problem, it's that Kass rattled off so many names he likes, you might as well do the David Harding thing and own about 2,000.

Kass said he likes TBT and TBF as well as the TLT short, that it's a "perfect environment" for BAC, C, GS and MS, that he likes BRCM, INTC, MSFT and YHOO, and "I love General Motors and Ford."

Meanwhile, first-time guest Michelle Stevens was bedeviled by an extraordinary video delay in trying to converse with Judge Wapner and talking through a couple questions. Stevens first trumpeted Rent-A-Center (RCII), which she said has a new business model that allows people to rent stuff they can't afford to buy.

Tim Seymour amid the delays and breaks tried to get Stevens to admit that her specialty, small- and mid-caps, is more susceptible to volatile market churning. But Stevens said she owns names that tend to be more boring and predictable and thus actually have lower volatility.

Stevens said she owns VMI because of the "opportunity they have in the utility structer (sic), uh, segment," and her third pick for the show was Helix (HLX).

Bill Walton, by the way, was known in high school as "Mount Helix."

Another day of stock trading; another day BRK-A does not sell for $180,000

Anthony Scaramucci, whose comments on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money were minimal as the Romney campaign shifts into general-election mode, said he has to disagree with Tim Seymour and thinks there's a Fed problem in that "Bernanke was too positive."

Seymour insisted that the negative tone of the Fed's statement actually returned from a hiatus.

Josh Brown chipped in that it's "very obvious that there is no tightening in sight," and among other things, he thinks the gold miners look "atrocious" and are possibly still a sell.

That brought in the welcome return of the Ilchmeister, Rich Ilczyszyn, who unlike some gold experts on Fast Money can discuss its prospects without declaring he owns it only in yen terms and on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show, being afterhours, was able to speak without the din of the pits in the background. Ilczyszyn said it's been a "10-year-long story," but "16's my cutoff. Uh, if we break that, it's a bear."

Tim Seymour jumped in to say he would "maybe take the opposite side" of that assessment, saying the 10-year gold run has also been a 10-year weaker-dollar run, but really he was taking the opposite side not of Ilczyszyn, but Josh Brown, in arguing that miners have a healthy dividend and are trading at a low multiple.

Seymour said "people overreact" to what Caterpillar CEO "Oberman" reported. Brian Kelly said he likes the fact XOM is "less oily, more gassy" (and oh man, that doesn't sound like a good thing to say about anybody) (but he didn't say like Paul Sankey did that if nothing else, paying so much for XTO brought them engineers, whom they apparently couldn't have afforded to hire on their own). "I'd be an owner of Exxon," Kelly said.

Mike Khouw is suggesting calendar trades all over the place

Brian Kelly declared on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I don't get the Coinstar model," which means he really doesn't get Mike Khouw's suggested market-timing Options Action trade of selling May 65 calls for $2.85 and buying June 65 calls for $3.70.

Tim Seymour concluded the reason AKAM was taking a dive in afterhours based on the numbers it reported is that "some of this is management change." Josh Brown said he likes the company but it is prone to be highly sensitive at earnings time, so he'd wait until the open Thursday and the commentary to decide if he wants to get into it; "I think they have that Facebook halo," so it might be good to buy.

Brian Kelly said once a story like CROX takes a hit, it takes a while to stabilize, so stay away for a month or 2. Josh Brown cautioned it's not a big market cap, and "I would not count this out just yet."

Jane Wells got to stand outside a casino somewhere to report LVS' blowout results were keyed by Singapore being much stronger than expected. Tim Seymour tried to be contrarian, suggesting people try beaten-down American-centric name MGM.

Seymour's Final Trade was DE; Anthony Scaramucci said SBUX, and Brian Kelly said ANDE.

Guest suggests Judge be better informed about his research notes

Brian Sullivan's Fed coverage ate up a half hour of Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, which was lucky actually because the show otherwise might've been a total zero.

Guy Adami said if you're plunging into AAPL on Wednesday, "I think you're late," and he recommends pulling the ripcord; "I think you take profits to be honest with you."

Judge tried goading AAPL analyst Walter Piecyk into something explosive, asking if he had "egg on your face, omelet all over your suit" after Piecyk's recent downgrade. Piecyk bristled, although chuckling, saying, "If you had read the downgrade we said specifically that China was going to deliver a very strong quarter which it did."

Then Piecyk tangled with Dr. J over how many phone buyers are in China and how many could get the iPhone 5 and when.

Stephen Volkmann said Caterpillar has a "big headline problem" because for years they've been telling everyone how great China is for them, and today we realize it's only about 3% of sales. Nevertheless, "I think you buy it," even though, "at the end of the day, we had some headline issues here." He has a buy rating and $130 target.

Charles Reinhard also said, during Brian Sullivan's Fed chat, "at the end of the day."

Jon Najarian said Lloyd Blankfein's strategy points in his interview with Gary Kaminsky were "good news," and that "he is doing a great job managing risk."

Dennis Gartman, who has been long gold in yen terms and not dollar or euro terms, said "the Fed has effectively taken, uh, QE3 off the table for at least another month."

Steve Cortes said he agrees with Gartman but thinks "silver is very overbought" and is a better option to short than gold.

Jim Iuorio said he added to his small TBT long position. Cortes said he thinks bond rates are fairly priced.

Guy Adami said it's time to take something off a KSU long but he likes NSC.

Steve Cortes' Final Trade was PFE though he continues to like tobacco stocks; Jon Najarian said GLD, Guy Adami said RHI and Joe Terranova said JNPR.

[Tuesday, April 24, 2012]


Fast Money trader rebuked for being ‘pissed’ not being excited enough about AAPL

Judge Scott Wapner gave a hint at the top of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Celebration of Dear Leader Apple Fast Money where he would be directing most of the day's hectoring at the Pyongyang Marketsite:

Joe Terranova.

It started with Judge chiding the low-ball forecasts of iPhone sales (in millions), reminding Terranova, "You didn't even expect 30!"

Despite Terranova's quite reasonable explanation that he expects "incredibly good fundamentals" and that the technical negativity of the shares has been "neutralized," Judge wasn't satisfied, asking Terranova moments later, "Why aren't you more fired up? ... You seem almost a little subdued ... are you pissed right now?"

Terranova, whose enthusiasm and demeanor were utterly no different than any of his colleagues (see below), assured "candidly" he wasn't p---ed, that he stopped trading the stock a couple months ago, that the fundamentals of the stock are "dislocated," and that there's a lot of hype built into the name now thanks in part to (God's gift to money-making) weekly options. "Some find that beneficial," Terranova said, but he's not sure he's one of them.

Brian Kelly said AAPL is undeniably a "barometer of market sentiment."

AAPL’s run

Judge Wapner on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money referred to the "ecosystem," then "so-called ecosystem," and what better ecosystem to celebrate (especially on a show in which we later learned from David Harding that machines rule the world) than that of "Logan's Run"? (That's correct, Farrah in the middle.)

Guest Dan Berenbaum affirmed for the Fast gang, "This is good for the whole ecosystem."

Guest Brian White, dubbed "Mr. 1,001" by Judge Wapner, declared "Apple fever continues," and that he's not concerned about VZ or T because, "Who owns the customer at the end of the day," and it's not those latter 2.

Karen Finerman, just as unenthusiastic about the Dear Stock Market Leader's blowout quarter as Joe Terranova, pointed out the stock is "back to where we were what, Wednesday of last week?"

Finerman in fact used the term "hate" to describe how she feels about the stock becoming a "proxy for market sentiment," then scoffed at the company's alleged "guidance."

"I don't know why Apple gives any guidance at all ... we know exactly what it won't be," Finerman said.

The market proxy is an important reference, and that's where Steve Grasso comes in handy, because most stocks, not all but most, move in correlation with the broader market, and while some may regard AAPL as a fully independent tin man/abominable snowman named Box, its chart the last couple years is strikingly similar to unrelated businesses such as SBUX, RL, CMG, PCLN, SPG, and so if the "Mr. 1,001" price is somehow reached in a year, chances are great you'll make equally good if not better cash in those other names.

We couldn't figure out where Judge was going on a line of questioning as to whether Tim Cook's ability to deliver will ever be questioned. Mike Murphy said, reasonably enough it seemed, "I think the jury is still out."

Judge curiously responded, "Might be a harsh jury, I don't know."

Berenbaum chided ecosystem member QCOM a bit on inventory management, saying, "That's the cardinal sin of a business, leaving revenue on the table."

Guest admits tips ‘useless’

Judge Wapner brimmed with pride on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money over the "exclusive interview obviously" the show landed with David Harding. ("Exclusive obviously" apparently meaning Gasparino didn't have a camera and mike at the Nasdaq Tuesday.)

But unless viewers have a team of statisticians and programmers ready to write algorithms for them — and actually even if they somehow do — Harding had very little to offer in the way of an actual trade.

Harding's talking-points goal apparently was to 1) insist he's not doing high-frequency trading, 2) point the finger at an unnamed culprit of the Flash Crash, and 3) deliver a Brag Trade for all of 2008 (although, at least he didn't claim he called the bottom March 9).

"We're really not a high-frequency trader," Harding insisted, addressing the Flash Crash and fingering "a company in the United States trying to sell 75,000 contracts of S&P in 20 minutes ... you will crash the market."

Harding opened, after a good question from Judge Wapner, with a stark admission that he doesn't really know what stocks he's got at the moment; "not always to be perfectly honest ... I could guess sometimes what positions we have."

But then again, he said he holds "over 2,000 stocks," so why would he care about individual names?

Harding said his programmers are merely identifying "statististical patterns of behavior" and that he has nothing to tell people asking him for a tip; "our 'tips' are individually useless," but collectively they form a position.

In case you weren't impressed, "We were short at the beginning of 2008," Harding revealed.

Maybe the most interesting thing Harding said was that he doesn't want his positions to affect the market, which he said would render his statistical research "invalid" if the data were affected by his own moves, a reminder of one advantage small investors actually have, that if they decide to unload their, say, NFLX position, unlike Whitney Tilson, they won't take it down an extra 10 points.

Another discussion of Sprint, another Fast Money panelist says the stock is like an option

Judge Wapner, in all fairness on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, was handed a bit of a lemon pile (virtually no material except AAPL's anticlimactic report and not the most outspoken crew of all time), but he didn't exactly make lemonade either, with his gauche-ity (or is it gauche-ness?) toward Joe Terranova actually picked up by Karen Finerman.

Mike Murphy had observed, "I think Corning could be in a bit of trouble here," prompting Finerman to affirm, "Corning has sucked for us actually. It really has."

Guest Karen Holthouse, in what we think was a maiden Fast Money appearance, glanced too often at the monitor to her left while suggesting CMG shares "may pause for a couple of months here."

Finerman said, "It's Karen, let me ask you then, what is the right multiple" for CMG. Holthouse said she'd prefer it was in the mid- to high 30s rather than 40-plus.

Mike Murphy said he's been interested in going long HD, but now he's concerned in light of the AmazonSupply reports and will "reassess that thesis."

Mike Khouw suggested a calendar trade in selling April 185 puts in AMZN for $4.50 and buying May for $6.40.

Khouw's Final Trade was to sell PHM move into earnings, although the screen text indicated some kind of calendar spread. Mike Murphy said CAT, Brian Kelly said IBM, Karen Finerman said TKR and Joe Terranova said IGT.

Mike Khouw described S as "almost an option itself" and having "unusual activity," specifically in August 2½ puts.

Whitney Tilson buys NFLX at 85; Grasso says $20-$30 of downside left

Whitney Tilson, who twice referred to the "harvesting" of his huge NFLX gains in the 1st quarter as though he owned John Deere, revealed on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report (apparently he didn't have stock research to do or conferences to attend) that "we did buy more at about 85 in afterhours yesterday ... we didn't see anything that troubled us" in the earnings report.

"Q2 is always weak," Tilson asserted.

Judge Wapner read Tilson comments from Michael Pachter, who claimed the "seasonality" argument about Netflix results is "disingenuous b.s."

Tilson responded that he's not going overboard; "we don't supersize this" position.

Rather, Tilson said, he's just enjoying the fact the "market's giving us a gift ... Thank you Mr. Market."

Steve Grasso was not at all convinced and said the market gave investors a "gift" of cheaper Research in Motion shares a while back. Netflix, Grasso said, "still looks like it has about 20 to 30 dollars to the downside," and is "very iffy."

Josh Brown said the "worst thing" anyone can do is allocate money to NFLX here. Simon Baker, on the other hand, admitted he, like Tilson, has been "adding to our position."

Obviously, Whitney Tilson isn’t holding a large WMT position

People got screwed by the financial crisis, mortgages, MF Global, and nobody's been getting charged ... but Whitney Tilson is all for lowering the boom on the WMT gang.

"I would bet my last dollar that these allegations are- are true," Tilson told Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying the New York Times article on the company's Mexico bribery cover-up is "one of the best pieces of journalism I've read in a long time."

"There could be criminal indictments, in fact I hope there are ... this kind of thing can't be tolerated," Tilson said.

That was about it for Wal-Mart de Mexico references on Tuesday's Halftime, as we continue to gauge the institutional/public outrage over this scandal.

LinkedIn still apparently hasn’t realized the importance of advertising in making money off free Web labor

Mike Murphy, who is setting a new standard for the Fast Money franchise by almost daily delivering a new trade, dialed into Tuesday's Halftime Report to explain he is shorting 3M, looking to cover around 80. "I don't think the quarter was anywhere near as good as people were looking," Murphy said.

Steve Grasso said at this point he'd be a buyer rather than seller of X, the "metrics are on my side here."

Judge countered, "The only metric not on your side is the movement in the stock, Grasso." But Grasso rebutted that met coal is demanded for steel, not for making Coca-Cola. Simon Baker said he's in favor of both X and AKS, would be "buyers of both these stocks here."

Guest Mark Zgutowicz acknowledged LinkedIn has a high valuation, but "we're most optimistic about its advertising potential." He said with 150 million members, "they really haven't tapped this."

Josh Brown asked how many free users are being converted to paying users. Zgutowicz said the company collected $110 million last year from premium users, but he didn't seem that interested in the question, it's "not a real big driver though to our model."

Brown says he likes the company but not the valuation, and he thinks the stock "runs into the Facebook IPO."

Simon Baker said "we still like the story" in MWW despite a Fast Fire, but no clip was shown so he wasn't able to joke about hopefully not wearing the same clothes.

Joe Terranova said people could take a flier on RSH options, but not the stock.

Restaurant analyst Bryan Elliott said he already pulled the ripcord on Panera and Buffalo Wild Wings; "we downgraded to underperform a few weeks ago," but "we remain pretty bullish on a number of names." Joe Terranova suggested DRI with a $48.25 stop. Josh Brown predicted, "Brinker is not done going up."

Macneil Curry was given the honor Tuesday of answering Judge's favorite question, where's the euro going, and recommended focusing elsewhere until the euro breaks out or breaks down. He likes buying the dollar vs. yen at 81.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was inaudible (that's a description, not a company name). Josh Brown said HSY, Simon Baker said QCOM, Joe Terranova OIH. Patty Edwards, unfortunately, was a scratch this Tuesday.

Steve Liesman marked probably the only time, besides on this page, that anyone noticed the order of timing of segments on Fast Money. Lamenting his 2nd-half-hour presentation on QE3 expectations, Liesman savvily noted, "I'm taking a cue on that."

Josh Brown said QE3 is essential; "this market without stimulus is extraordinarily ugly."

Grasso: Be a seller of AAPL

In commentary that was fine for the moment, but had a sell-by date of about, oh, 3 hours and 45 minutes (if that), the Fast Money Halftime Report gang on Tuesday tried to guesstimate what AAPL was going to do or what AAPL was going to need to do to accomplish whatever.

"Technically, the stock looks terrible," said Joe Terranova, who claimed it "needs an absolute, blockbuster quarter."

Josh Brown said the stock recently was "way overdue for a pullback," and if the shares should drop late on something like AT&T activations, then "what a great buying opportunity."

He also said there could be AAPL-related names selling off in tandem, which would be a great opportunity to get in.

Steve Grasso, for about the 4th time recently pointing out that Priceline fell the same day as the e-book claims even though it has nothing to do with e-books, said, "You've gotta be a seller of Apple right here," and is looking at $558 as a key level.

Toni Sacconaghi's appearance was super-hyped, just so viewers could hear him predict 30.5 million iPhones and 13.4 million iPads. Joe Terranova said to look at NXPI.

In an understatement, at least around CNBC, Judge Wapner said it "has to be, gosh, such a highly anticipated earnings report."

[Monday, April 23, 2012]

Analyst $50 off on NFLX, but ‘we’ll figure it out’

It's hard to imagine an analyst getting something more wrong than Mark Mahaney's call last week with NFLX.

Simon Hobbs on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money asked Mahaney if it's true he just issued a report Friday with a buy and 130 price target.

"That's absolutely the case," Mahaney acknowledged, but he'll digest the earnings report, and "we'll figure it out from there," which is nothing if not determined.

Mahaney also acknowledged that the bears were winning the afterhours battle; "I think there's an overreaction however," he said, saying the domestic streaming subs figure to be back-loaded on the year. Guy Adami said it would take a lot of sub growth to meet targets by year-end and asked if that's really possible. Mahaney said it's "almost impossible to know."

Say this about NFLX; they’re not bribing anyone south of the border

Pete Najarian said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that volatility was giving him a great chance to play God's gift to money-making, weekly options, explaining he was able to get $5 for the 80 puts in NFLX thanks to 180 implied volatility.

Fundamentally, Najarian said, what sounds troubling about the NFLX report is "international expansion costs."

Karen Finerman said those weekly options are so appealing, she even had to try some. "We bought put spreads, not a big position. I would not be swingin' the bat big in Netflix," Finerman said.

Guy Adami said the stock is in a maelstrom and figures to want to move lower, but you have to be careful. "This is the move that a lot of the shorts have been waiting for," Adami said.

Steve Grasso questioned why anyone would mess with the stock at this point; "buy the content providers" such as VIA and CBS, he suggested.

We wondered why Dr. J wasn't around to lambaste the first person who sold NFLX in afterhours, at roughly $90 (probably because that person made about $5 a share more than those kiddies who waited for the FFIV bounce that everyone's supposed to wait for according to Doc's "very expensive lesson" of afterhours trading).

Let’s be clear, to the extent that Dan Greenhaus issued cliches and revealed his reading list on Monday’s Fast Money

Dan Greenhaus on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money paid a special visit to the Nasdaq to do ... we're not quite certain ... apparently assess the state of the markets ... and give the Fast Money panel a lesson in cliche-building.

It started innocuously, when Greenhaus warned that investors not heeding the performance of Francois Hollande are "doing themselves a disservice," and that he can see a "little more downside in the near term," while remembering wisdom he has picked up in books including one given him by Tony Crescenzi.

From there, it felt like Greenhaus was getting paid for each usage of "clear," as in "Let's be clear" (to Steve Grasso), "Let's be clear, uh we've taken earnings expectations so low" (to Simon Hobbs), and "clear ... clear" (to Guy Adami).

Greenhaus also managed to tell Pete Najarian, "To the extent that you want to dip in here," and then in a combo with Karen Finerman, "I mean, let's be clear ... to the extent that Europe has leaders, it's Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy ... to the extent that we factor in those European concerns ..."

Perhaps they are just subtle references to the Phish catalog.

Finally, Simon Hobbs asked Greenhaus to "bottom-line" the conversation. "It's still too early" in earnings season to know where we're going, Greenhaus admitted.

Ultimately, Greenhaus resorted to Meredith Whitney-land. "At the end of this year, at the beginning of next year, the U.S. economy and the investing landscape is gonna be kicked in the face by the fiscal adjustment that's going to occur. And unless we do something about it, there's no way markets are not going down," he said.

Simon waits until the end of the interview to stick it to Diane Jaffee

For a while, Diane Jaffee on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money succeeded in making dividend investing sound as easy as playing blackjack with Rain Man.

Jaffee trumpeted PFE (prompting guest host Simon Hobbs to get Karen Finerman hooting when asking how Pete "uses" Pfizer), insisted "the story is not over" for HD, and shrugged off Karen Finerman's concerns that uncertainty over the dividend tax rate could hurt the sector, saying rates were much higher during the Reagan years and the stocks did great.

Eventually, Jaffee mentioned owning Merck during the Vioxx crisis, prompting Simon Hobbs to ask for the damage. "We were down 10 or 15%," Jaffee admitted, before cheerfully explaining that any sudden move of that magnitude prompts a "complete automatic fundamental review of the name," which prompted her to get out at that level of loss, which prompted Hobbs to note that's a lot of 3-4% yields getting subtracted.

Jaffee told Steve Grasso she can't get into MO because "it's the legal issues" that are too hard to quantify.

Will Power is the obligatory AAPL guest on Fast Money

Pete Najarian actually admitted on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that AAPL is so volatile, he can't even play it (though he's apparently hanging on to that $589 buy, even though he talked about possibly being a "hero" with it).

Steve Grasso courageously wandered into territory that can draw angry e-mail, saying, "I would be a seller of Apple at this point."

Guy Adami said there's a trade coming, but the bottom is unclear, so "let tomorrow come and go."

Guest Will Power, another who has had little to preview the earnings with, predicted, "overall, it's gonna be a good quarter," and he'd buy on weakness. But Karen Finerman said, "It's Karen, let me ask you," and the question was how many iPhones, iPads and Macs was he predicting, and Power said 29 million iPhones, which he thinks has "upside," while the 12 million iPads could be light, and so could the Macs.

Dennis Gartman’s armageddon gold position must be in yen terms

Dennis Gartman, for some reason looking rather grim on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, twice said gold held up "reasonably well" on Monday, but the metals aren't looking so hot.

Especially, "copper to me looks very, very poor," Gartman, and it was a risk-off day in which people were selling everying.

Gartman revealed, though, he has an "armageddon" gold position.

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson recommended buying the Canadian dollar vs. yen at 81.50.

Pete Najarian admitted he has owned NSC for a "couple of months ... I've been selling calls each and every month against this," he added, with an all-too-common redundancy.

Guy Adami said KSU valuation is kind of high, but if it sells off Tuesday, look to get in. Scott Nations recommeded selling the May 70 call in NSC for $1.30.

A bribe is paid in Mexico, a Lockerbie culprit is sent home as Libyan oil drilling is negotiated, a ...

Karen Finerman, showing off the guns (Tim Seymour wasn't around to say it) on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, delighted this page by uncorking a bona fide Dalton "Road House" line in regards to WMT.

"I think it gets worse before it gets better," Finerman said.

Finerman explained she owns the shares, but "We did sell some today ... ... I'm not surprised that it happened. I don't know if it's true, but I sort of think that's the way you have to do business around the world."

Scott Nations reported that despite the stock selloff, 3 calls traded for every WMT put, though that didn't stop him claiming WMT down as his Final Trade.

As we said at Halftime ... definitely a concern, reflects badly on management (that's Wal Mart de Mexico, not this page), shouldn't be shrugged off, but the notion that this is going to affect the business operations of the massive infrastructure that is Wal-Mart is laughable, and good grief, when you look up various corporate shenanigans, SEC cases, price-fixing allegations, sweatshops, payments to foreign thugs, etc., you'd have to think regulators have more low-hanging fruit than they can actually pick.

Meanwhile, Finerman had nothing but praise for JAKK, saying "I think Oaktree could pay more than 20 ... I think shareholders win with this."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was AEO. Guy Adami said TRN, even though it "reeks of a Fast Fire." Karen Finerman said, "I like CVS right here," while Pete Najarian said long V calls.

Michael Pachter is wrong, but sort of right at the same time

It might not take a cynic to conclude NFLX critic Michael Pachter was trying to have it both ways on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Pachter predicted a pop in the name by Monday afterhours based on supposed furious subscriber-adding that would be temporary until the chickens come home to roost in the fall — which means, if the stock really did pop, he could say "See, I was right," and if it didn't, he could say, "Well, my bear thesis is just coming to fruition faster than I thought."

Certainly, the latter is what Pachter was saying privately (he wasn't on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money) after the stock not only didn't pop Monday, but went straight in the tank.

So, a total bust if you bought NFLX Monday afternoon based on Pachter's comments. But at least it was based on some kind of thesis, unlike Joe Terranova's rationale for not owning GRPN, because "potentially it could go below where it is right now."

Joe Terranova bristles at Contrafund chief’s distinction between ‘fast money’ and ‘smart money’

We didn't realize it at the time, but the most explosive moment of Fidelity Contrafund chief Will Danoff's appearance on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report came when Judge Wapner asked about AAPL's recent weakness.

"You guys are Fast Money, I- I try to be, I guess, uh, slow and smart money," Danoff shrugged, sort of rolling his eyes.

Later Joe Terranova flagged that quip, saying, "The only thing I don't, or somewhat disagree with, is I never understood what defines money as smart. That- I'm- I'm still, still trying to figure that one out."

How is a fund that likes AAPL, BRK and WMT considered ‘contra’ anything?

Other than defining the intelligence of money, Will Danoff couldn't offer too many specifics on Monday's "rare TV interview" on the Fast Money Halftime Report other than America-centric names and restaurants.

"I'm bullish," Danoff assured, rattling off "regional banks ... retailers, restaurants, homebuilders," but not naming any names, which is like saying most of the teams in the NHL's Western Conference are/were going to make the playoffs.

Then Danoff elaborated a little bit, saying he's also attracted to "best of breed," whether it's AAPL products or Warren Buffett's leadership.

Curiously, Danoff said of BRK, "The stock hasn't done anything in about 15 years," and also said roughly the same thing of WMT, but BRK actually has done something if you go back 15 years, although it's hardly like winning Mega Millions.

Joe Terranova said Danoff's point is in line with seeking "quality names," which then prompted Judge Wapner to say "quality" about 3 times, and Terranova a couple times more, but at least nobody implied AAPL was not a quality name.

Gotta admit, it seems like CNBC went overboard on this subject

Unlike the Contrafund big shot, guest David Strasser recommended what might be an ideal Fast Money trade on Monday's Halftime Report.

Strasser argued that the Wal-Mart Mexico bribery scandal was 1) not a big deal for the company's stock, and 2) possibly even helpful because it might curb the international growth that Strasser and others think is too speedy.

Strasser said the company can afford whatever fines might be coming, and that a few individuals could be in trouble, but that's about the extent of it.

"Every country runs, you know, works their, their own way here; these guys got caught," Strasser shrugged.

Judge Wapner, who insisted he can't believe this revelation is "anything but a near-term overhang," asked if the cover-up might prove worse than the actual offenses. Strasser acknowledged that's what happens in government and can mushroom, but he questioned the legs of this story that "may or may not be 100% accurate."

Brian Kelly questioned why anyone would get into WMT at this point and actually mentioned JCP as an alternative.

A couple thoughts ... if every business practice of every multinational company operating in Latin America and Asia were revealed, 1) the Justice Department would have to go on a Google-like hiring binge, 2) Warren Buffett would be chortling about how it's time to buy American when others are fearful, and 3) CNBC would never get Jeff Sonnenfeld off the air. It's a dubious incident, someone should get fired; it's hardly Bernie Madoff.

Pachter: NFLX half of today’s price in October

Michael Pachter, generally one of the most quotable guests on Fast Money, was throwing in the towel temporarily on his NFLX-sucks argument on Monday's Halftime Report.

Pachter said the company decided to "advertise like crazy in the 2nd half of the quarter," which they do when they want to jolt subscriber numbers, so Pachter predicted the domestic streaming subs will "blow that 1.93 million number away."

Pachter described that as the company giving investors "exactly what they want" ... and that's a problem, because ...?

Having fun with Joe Terranova's beef earlier, Pachter drew a contrast between the "dumb money" (bidding up the shares tomorrow) and the "smart money" (staying away or shorting) in the name, with this stark prediction that that the stock will be "half of today's level by this time, probably October."

Judge promised viewers that Whitney Tilson would be on tomorrow's Halftime Report, and does Whitney Tilson spend any time actually managing money (as opposed to attending conferences and doing CNBC hits)?

God’s gift to money-making, the weekly AAPL options (cont’d): People bought calls when the stock recovered, after buying May puts when it crumbled

Joe Terranova, launching an hourlong trend, kicked off Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report saying it's a market for finding "quality names."

And nothing on Fast Money is more "quality" than JPMorganChase, which is exactly what Terranova mentioned.

"I think we're at the bottom of this trading range," Terranova said.

Mike Murphy said he added to his JPM stake today and bought IR and JCI.

Murphy made one of the most interesting points of the show about a repeat of "sell in May" (actually last year, the S&P 500 really didn't get crushed until about mid-July), saying money managers are afraid of getting caught in the same trend as last year with cracks in Europe and then a washout, but actually Murphy thinks that's not the blueprint this year; "I believe it's gonna play out differently this time."

Brian Kelly said to even look at STI, which isn't often confused with the "quality" names, but warned, "This market could be lower every day that you see the European market lower."

JJ Kinahan said indeed, there are positives "domestically" irrespective of Europe or China.

Joe Terranova said in terms of patent analysis, the spotlight is on whether RIMM can "monetize" what it's got. Terranova also suggested oil service names SLB, HAL and HOS.

JJ Kinahan delivered news on one of Fast Money's favorite subjects, the weekly AAPL options, saying people are buying 575 and 595 and 600 calls, but when the stock cratered early in the day, people were seeking out the May 500 and 495 puts.

Guest Channing Smith, meeting the show’s daily Apple guest quota, had little to say except recommending "take a step back," because 95% of analysts have a buy, and there's balking about subsidies.

Mike Murphy recalls one of the oldest Fast Money lines in existence

Mike Murphy on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report called gold "still a sell," and JJ Kinahan confirmed, "not seeing the new money coming into gold."

That set up a later chat with Steve Cortes, of all places on the Fast Line, who concurs about gold but says "I would rather short silver," largely for reasons of Asia, QE3 not imminent, and the silver chart.

Cortes said his vehicle for this is ZSL, "I've been long it for a couple weeks" and bought more around 11.50 (presumably Eastern, because it wasn't 11:50 Central, Mountain or Pacific time yet) this morning."

Mike Murphy took a Fast Fire on a stock we'd forgotten about, GBX, insisting it's still a good rail play because it's not taking the coal hit, and once it rallies, "that 14% will come pretty quickly."

Judge though questioned, if it rallies.

Murphy also referenced the original Eric Bolling Fast Fire joke: "Glad I'm not wearing the same tie" Monday as in the Fast Fire clip.

Judge gets inaccurate advance notes on key housing guest

Guest Megan McGrath said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the results from DHI aren't as important as what the CEO says about the housing market, which is ... drum roll ... "kinda flattish."

Judge Wapner challenged McGrath that maybe she was wrong and surprised by stronger than expected numbers; "you have a sell rating on the stock."

"Actually we have a neutral on Horton and a $16 price target," McGrath said, a bit too politely, although by the end of Monday's session, she probably wishes she did have a sell.

JJ Kinahan's Final Trade was a clumsy packaging of YUM and SBUX. Joe Terranova's Final was an even ridiculously more clumsy tagging of TXN, NXPI and countless other chips and drinks. Brian Kelly said TLT and Mike Murphy did the work-saving repeat of IR.

[Friday, April 20, 2012]

Does she or doesn’t she? Sara Senatore introduced as believing MCD has ‘room to run,’ but mostly makes a bear case

Sara Senatore revisited the Fast Money Halftime Report and decided she deserved a break on Friday over her curious view of MCD shares.

"The last time I was on, I may have been recommending it, but back in January, um, we did downgrade it to market perform, and that's been a good call to date," Senatore assured viewers.

But that's hardly the whole story.

In fact, on Jan. 24 (check out our archive), Senatore called MCD a "good core holding" with "very visible top-line growth, some very healthy comps."

Fair enough. But we also noted then she wasn't so enthusiastic that date about SBUX and CMG, saying there's "still some question around margins for those 2."

CMG is up 16% since then; SBUX is up 25%.

Those were some margin questions.

Margins, coincidentally, came up again Friday with MCD during Senatore's squishy is-she-bullish-or-bearish-on-the-stock characterization.

"Valuation is always a consideration," Senatore said. "I do think we have to get through this period of peak margin pressure."

So basically, she was on to reference a Brag Trade, but in all of her Fast Money appearances, never really offers an actual opinion as to whether to buy or sell the stock.

Josh Brown said a name like WEN might be more interesting. Brown at another point called Arcos Dorados a "very, very inexpensive stock right now." Pete Najarian volunteered that MCD and SBUX look to be in a "pause state right now," while Stephen Weiss said he likes HAIN.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who looks great every day but has struggled to pin down guests on accuracy, said MCD had "better than expected same-store stales" (sic).

Relax, NBC Universal’s
Earth Week is basically over

Talk about needing a catalyst.

Guest Neil Auerbach sat in with the Fast Money Halftime Report gang on Friday and spoke of how great the prospects in solar and wind energy are these days.

The only problem, Auerbach conceded, is that "over half of the country today is in the money for solar — if they only knew about it and they had ways to finance it."

So it's a tremendous product ... if people only 1) were actually aware of it, and 2) could take on debt to purchase it.

Auerbach insisted wind and solar are "increasingly competitive with fossil fuels," and that nat gas with a 1 handle is not a long-term problem because nobody in natural gas can make money on it, and the nat gas giants will "erode" the cost/price differential.

Auerbach said he likes the "solar downstream" plays, as well as or including "residential retail solar."

Josh Brown admitted, unfortunately not in the same strong terms used by Steve Cortes, who tells the truth about this subject, "the sector just scares me," just before guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was heard off-camera counting to 10, which was apparently Brown's allotment of seconds.

Brown concluded that the sector is in a "deflationary spiral" and China is eating everyone's lunch at it. Auerbach was given a brief (10-second) rebuttal and insisted the growth is healthy. Brown then asked the best question of the interview, what stock exactly does Auerbach recommend, and Auerbach either didn't hear or pretended not to hear, and MCC cut the whole thing off.

And now we'll never know, will we, said Kevin Bacon in "A Few Good Men."

Kate Kelly twice refers to embattled CEO as ‘Aubrey’

Kate Kelly seemed to have a silver lining for every possible Aubrey McClendon cloud on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Kelly, summarizing a variety of negative news reports about McClendon's leadership (and that of the CHK board), curiously began by referring to McClendon's ghastly stock sale in October 2008 that caused a 94% plunge in net worth, which was an attempt by Kelly to portray either 1) dogged persistence and determination in the face of personal crisis; or 2) basic knuckleheadedness.

Kelly did have lunch with a trader who is familiar with McClendon who claimed the time to buy CHK is after McClendon makes a mistake, because then he hunkers down and gets focused and evidently starts unlocking all that great value out there.

"Don't ever do that. Don't ever do that," urged Josh Brown, who wasn't buying that theory.

Stephen Weiss agreed, saying no one knows what the mistakes are right away, and "it's way too levered."

Kelly then said, "There's a contingency to that thesis that I was just articulating," probably the first time we've actually heard a CNBC personality refer to what he/she is saying as "articulating."

That "contingency" amounted to the notion that McClendon's there for the long haul, so buying his mistakes is apparently buying the dip.

Yeah, sure.

Kelly pointed out that this seems to be the most pressure the man has ever been under, "really been a pile-on effect on Aubrey."

Josh Brown said everything that could be wrong with an energy stock is wrong with CHK and then, in a curious reference, said that Chesapeake is "the Super Bowl of weak corporate governance."

That's one that really depends on your point of view. If you're talking about the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl VIII (which you know the Najarians were cheering), the "Super Bowl" is one thing, but if you're Doug Williams in XXII, it's quite another.

Jon Najarian said he wishes he was in SLB. Pete Najarian touted COP.

Josh Brown for some reason qualified for a Fast Fire for a March 20 bull call in COP, which is since down about 6% (good grief, they should see some of the trades around here; down 6% sometimes seems like a Mega Millions jackpot). "I'm sorry everyone ... I love this stock. We're buying it," Brown affirmed.

For other great moments in CEO fire sales, note that Lions Gate hero Michael Burns managed to ditch 49% of his company stock on Oct. 10, 2008, when Merrill Lynch (not actually awesome at preserving stock value in its own right) gave Burns the old Eric Bolling tap on the shoulder.

Ladies day

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was thrilled to join Prettiest Hair on Cable Television Mary Thompson in interviewing Betsy Graseck on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

"Ladies!!!!" chirped Caruso-Cabrera in what indeed proved to be a cute little chick chat.

(This page has long advocated to get Isla Fisher on the show to talk to Mel, Karen and Patty about shopping, mall walks, personal finance, etc., but it hasn't happened for whatever reason.)

Graseck, who is in the running for 2nd-most-famous Betsy of all time behind Betsy Ross (with columnist Betsy Hart, who presently is concerned not with Citigroup share price but with the female rock-climber in the Citibank commercial taking a vacation with a non-husband), didn't have much explosive commentary, saying the banks have been helped by strong capital markets, but the low points are "very idiosyncratic by bank" (make sure you're careful about those bank idiosyncracies). Her favorites (and if you did not think you would hear JPM here, you don't watch nearly enough Fast Money) are JPM, WFC, USB and BBT.

Josh Brown said he's long JPM and also "long Berkshire," though at least he's not drinking Whitney Tilson's BRK Kool-aid. Stephen Weiss disclosed a "small, speculative position" in BAC.

$525 suggeseted for AAPL

A stock like AAPL soars into the $600s, and you start hearing about 4-digit price targets, and then it falls below $600, and then you start hearing how "unhealthy" it is for the shares to go up.

Chris Verrone expressed a typical Wall Street chartist's absurdity, the notion that a stock that falls is more likely to go higher, when forecasting a greater slide for AAPL on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

The shares have been "correcting from an unhealthy position, which is ultimately a good thing," Verrone said. "We're more interested buyers around 525," he said, predicting consolidation for 2-3 months.

But, he thinks EBAY's on its way to breakout land.

In perhaps the show's most provocative trade, Jon Najarian suggested waiting to grab the RVBD bounce, but only for about a day, when you "get a chance to load up on this thing Monday."

Pete Najarian revealed detecting a lot of May 9 call buyers in RENN and mentioned "this point in time." (However, no one seemed to be "at the end of the day"-ing it on Friday.)

Another day of trading; another day Dennis Gartman is presumably long gold in yen terms

Jon Najarian raised chuckles and eyebrows on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report in trumpeting KOG. "I haven't been this excited since, uh, Hooters lifted my lifetime ban," Najarian said, reporting "unusual activity in this name ... I'm long it."

Mike Murphy revealed, "We're buying Cummins here," in part because of the coming "truck-replacement cycle." From there the commentary took on helium, with Murphy predicting a $150 stock next year (prompting a "wow" from Michelle Caruso-Cabrera rather than a "holy smokes") and claiming in 2014, it's "off to the races."

Jon Najarian cogently pointed out that a box-office bomb for DIS is not nearly as catastrophic as it would be for a company such as LGF, which nobody on Fast Money seems to realize has been a wonderful short since "The Hunger Games" release. "It's not the end of the world for Disney," Najarian said.

Stephen Weiss revealed, "I'm still short the long bonds." Money in Motion personality Camilla Sutton, in what proved to be an extremely female-centric show (except what happened to Patty Edwards, who sometimes owns Friday?), said to go long euro against the dollar, with a "lot of upside" in the near-term.

In a show beset with microphone and technical glitches, Josh Brown's Final Trade was AMGN, Stephen Weiss said to hold SNDK (that's some trade), Jon Najarian recommended a UA short, and Pete Najarian suggested BMY calls.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera opened the program by calling it "Half Money."

[Thursday, April 19, 2012]

Clients ask which momentum stocks are ripe to sell, and lo and behold, he’s able to find them some

We're always kind of amused by the term "overbought," which is what Barry Sine brought to the Fast Money table on Thursday's 5 p.m. show.

Sadly, no one on the panel had the brass to challenge Sine over what particular data he's looking at that magically deems 6 particular stocks "overbought" and/or whether these computations produced the same results 2 months ago, when these supposed collapses are actually going to happen, and how is it anything different than a 50-day moving average theory (only Steve Grasso identified that); Jon Najarian wouldn't even answer an entirely valid question as to whether he believes this mumbo jumbo or not.

Sine said he's been doing research on 2 momentum oscillators, RSI and stochastic, and has determined 6 stocks fit the "overbought" category, led by CMG and including FDO, MO, SBUX, PAY and SHW.

Guy Adami asked if the RSIs would come down if the stocks merely flat-line, and then resume their upward trend. Sine said he doesn't think so, because he's been getting "a lot of calls from our clients, asking me for momentum names to take profits in, so I don't think it's gonna flat-line."

So that's how this self-fulfilling prophecy is supposed to work ... clients asked him which stocks they should be unloading, he runs programs that give him 6 names, and he can be confident the programs work because the clients will start selling those names once he gives them to them and disseminates these revelations to a national television audience.

Sine was so eager to produce results, he noted that SHW reported earnings in the morning, and actually claimed, "you lost money on the stock."

Yes, the stock fell a grand 42 cents, and even traded up part of the day.

Sine also cited as evidence for the validity of his CMG call the fact it wasn't going up high enough afterhours.

Guest host Simon Hobbs asked Jon Najarian a perfectly good question, how useful does he find this, which Dr. J dodged just as surely as he took all the kiddies to the cleaners on QCOM a day ago.

Sine seemed to think CMG was most "overbought," suggesting 400 as a nice round number and saying "I think it will fall." Najarian asked how far SBUX would fall in this scenario, and Sine said 53. Mike Khouw said you might want to enact put spreads to deal with this information.

Simon Hobbs pronounced the company "Chipolte" at least twice.

Steve Grasso actually called 53 a "round number."

Another day of stock trading; another day BRK-A is not worth $180,000

Dr. J had even more advice for the afterhours players on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

He noted VMW had hit a 52-week high early in the session, "But if you hung around too long up there, uh, shame on you ... you take your profits, you turn and run."

So much for Joe Terranova's Buy High, Sell Higher.

Guy Adami said EBAY jumped so much that even though he likes PayPal, you should "absolutely be taking profits."

Adami said 1,370 remains the key S&P level; a breach and we're talking 1,340; Steve Grasso reiterated his Debbie Downer "flat on year" at some point prediction.

Jon Najarian praised MSFT in that "this is one of those disintermediation plays." Colin Gillis said he likes the stock approaching 32; Zzzzzzzz, it's the "7th consecutive quarter in a row this company has put up north of $5 billion in net income."

Two $32 moves, in the same week!

Jon Najarian opened Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money giving either "blame" or "credit" to the high-frequency guys for AAPL's roller-coaster ride (remember how Pete was grinning about that $589 purchase? Surely he flipped it for a huge winner), and made sure to twice tell viewers the stock has had $32 moves in back-to-back days this week.

Pointing to the chart, Najarian said, "If it was an EKG, and this was a, a loved one, you'd be very worried."

Steve Grasso, by contrast, didn't want to defend the HFT crowd, but said they were only accelerating the moves that were already taking place, and better to have it happen sooner rather than later.

Karen Finerman, who actually thought Simon Hobbs had called APPL "highly leveraged," seemed troubled by the whole thing and complained, "These swings don't give me information" that she can act on, but Tuesday's report will.

Guy Adami had the most useful comment, saying to expect a flush in the shares Friday, and then to buy. Najarian basically agreed, saying to buy below 578, then sell above 610.

Mike Khouw pointed out that a company with $200 billion market and $100 billion cash would be 50% cash in valuation, while one with $500 market cap is only 20% cash valuation, then suggested selling the July 620 calls in AAPL for $33.

Fast Money daily requirement of a pro-HD call is satisfied

Nishu Sood guested on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to tout just about every homebuilder we can think of (OK, he didn't mention KBH); the screen showed MDC, TOL, DHI, RYL and MTH, but Sood only mentioned the first 3, with MDC first.

Sood said the sector, which petered out in March, looks to be in bottoming mode, and that rates aren't the main risk, rather jobs are.

Steve Grasso suggested HD instead, which he called "a little bit safer" than the homebuilders. Guy Adami seconded that, but then pointed to TPX in the afterhours as a sign you might want to be careful in housing-related stocks.

Jon Najarian noted that TPX "was down over 10 at one point in the afterhours tonight, so I don't think you wanna chase these things late," a day after implying that everyone should've been chasing FFIV after that boy/girl without adult supervision selling at $110 learned "a very expensive lesson."

(We're not picking on Dr. J; he's just been the most quotable of the bunch for the last 2 days.)

Karen buys more PLCM

Jon Najarian did provide some semi-contrarian food for thought on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money regarding the status of Europe, where he's been ahead of many pessimists since at least late last summer, saying Thursday he's heard too many "doomsayers" who he thinks are "completely wrong," at least about consumer spending disintegrating.

Guest Charles Kantor, a former Strategy Session staple now, like many others from TSS, asked to give Fast Money an afternoon boost in filling out its questionable 2-hour daily allotment, said the environment is great for stocks; there's a "large margin of safety in equities," and with everyone's favorite cliche, "at the end of the day I'd rather invest into skepticism than into safety."

Interestingly, the 2 stocks Kantor trumpeted were DNKN and TGT, which haven't gotten a whole lot of trumpeting on Fast Money recently.

Really all viewers needed to hear from Capstone Turbine chief Darren Jamison, who sounded a tiny bit happier than his frown indicated, is that "business is great."

Karen Finerman, who had kind of a tough day, said she's still a believer in PLCM; "I actually bought some more stock today," and "still am long some Flowserve," but she wouldn't buy that one here.

Guy Adami said SanDisk's results seem "Sandisk specific." Jon Najarian said those results are "certainly not good for them."

God's gift to Fast Money, weekly options, got another shout-out Thursday when Najarian said CMG's went "Boom! Through the roof."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was SLB. Guy Adami said CHD, Karen Finerman said sell GRPN puts, Jon Najarian said long P, and Mike Khouw said long CNX.

Mylan spokespeople undoubtedly watching Thursday’s Fast Money Halftime Report

Herb Greenberg on Thursday finally made a return appearance to the Fast Money Halftime Report to deliver a hit that reminded us sooo much of the Henry Blodget era — even though, admittedly, it's not the type of thing that got Henry in trouble.

Herb was up in arms over 2 analysts making similar cuts in MYL estimates, even though "Mylan hasn't said anything public about its financials since its February 21st analyst day."

The issue, Herb said, is "whether Mylan engaged in some kind of selective disclosure."

What's a bigger surprise to us is that neither analyst put a $1,001 price target on the stock to get an automatic interview on Fast Money and instant attention.

The Fast gang went around the horn on biotech possibilities, with Simon Baker suggesting Medivation with some pause, and Mike Murphy saying he's long Amylin, definitely not because he's got an inside scoop, but because, "there's been a lot of talk, I mean this isn't something that you can't pick up just from, uh, logging on to the Internet."

Guy Adami had the most interesting remarks on the story of the day, HGSI, calling it "still too cheap in my opinion" even over $14, and predicting it goes "significantly higher." (This writer, it must be noted, since this is an item about disclosure, somehow, incredibly, was actually long HGSI into Thursday's announcement ... a windfall that utterly never happens around here ... but (sigh) the cloud (not CRM/FFIV) to that silver lining, as there always is one, is that the total dollar amount of said HGSI holding was 3 tiny digits before the decimal point, so after cashing in, we've got maybe enough for a new iPad and not much more.)

Herb Greenberg also teased to his blog report on the Mylan CEO's salary but didn't reveal the number, which was noticed by guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who was semi-condescending in concluding with, "You're learning TV; I like it a lot Herb."

Hearing about the Windows 8 upgrade cycle is going to become routine on Fast Money

Guest Robert Breza said he likes MSFT still among the tech giants because it's diversified and has an appealing valuation, and, he even said, it could improve its dividend 20-30%.

Breza noted that Windows XP will be heading toward extinction, which brought a "holy smokes" from guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Guy Adami was lukewarm at best on the shares, saying to get long now is more or less "flipping a coin."

Stephanie Link said she doesn't own it, but under 30, anyone has to look at it.

Quickly emerging as a Fast Money cliche: Transition to mobile payments; around-the-horn recommendations for PAY, EBAY, and V, except they forgot the V on Thursday

If Michelle Caruso-Cabrera would just flirt with this site 1/10th (no, 1/100th) as much as she flirted with Simon Baker on Thursday's Halftime Report, there'd be buckled knees and blushing galore around here.

But it got a bit ridiculous when Baker, who was getting a pun name from MCC every 5 minutes, actually claimed that CNBC's "Larry Ludlow" liked his jacket.

Baker touted Verifone as his favorite pick in the transition to electronic transactions. That pleased MCC, who said, "With the cool symbol, P-A-Y, PAY, I like it."

Gene Munster, who normally talks strictly about AAPL, chipped in his 2-cents' worth (electronically, of course), saying he likes EBAY; "mobile payments is gonna be a huge 5-year secular theme" and it's at the "pole position," so he "raised our price target to 50 this morning."

Mike Murphy, though, is not on board, standing behind yet another Fast Money cliche, the notion that this is yet another market that Google's going to enter to sink someone, and that he doesn't like EBAY at this level. "Google is focusing on this market," Murphy asserted.

Fast Money panelists dine together, make grooming observations

Maybe the hottest stock discussed on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report was QCOM, the stock the nitwits sold right off the bat a day earlier to savvy folks like Jon Najarian who instantly got ahead of the boys and girls without adult supervision in afterhours land (see below).

Stephen Weiss brought things to a head Thursday after first dissing Simon Baker's jacket as reflecting a "dress-down" day (it was a great jacket, actually), and then revealing "I traded quite a bit of it in the aftermarket yesterday," and then, "I bought more today," apparently at $64.15, according to the CNBC graphic.

Guy Adami said he likes QCOM but only at the right price; "below 65, you've gotta stay away."

Guest Glen Yeung explained why he removed QCOM from some hot list; "the stock has already had such a good run," so it wasn't so much the miss that prompted the removal. He said he likes BRCM, and "also like AMD here."

Stephanie Link said she's buying EMC because she likes the valuation much better than in VMW. Mike Murphy also trumpeted EMC, saying, "We're getting longer the position today also." Simon Baker said Rackspace, which he recycled for his Final Trade.

Gene Munster pronounced QCOM no problem for AAPL, with the top Fast Money cliche to boot, "at the end of the day," people will buy the iPhone regardless of QCOM's chip situation.

Munster said he still sees "huge upside over the next couple years" in AAPL, with a $910 price target.

Simon Baker did outduel Stephen Weiss on the appearance disses, saying, "I didn't say anything about your hair when we went out to dinner the other day."

One would be a minimum 48% return, the other would be a maximum 31% return, but Mike Murphy prefers the latter

Guy Adami said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "there's a trade here" in financials, but only with a tight stop. "I don't think the bottom's in for the banks, uh, by any stretch," Adami said.

But Adami came through with his favorite bank cliche, USB, in case you wanna put money in a bank stock and be able to sleep at night, he said, and if just getting to sleep is your goal, you probably should not have any of your money in a bank stock.

Guest David George said that Bank of America is "simply not as big a player in the mortgage business as it has been in the past," and "I think it's a push here." George said the emphasis probably should be on smaller names such as ZION, but he wasn't quite on board with that one either, saying the ZION share count has doubled recently.

Mike Murphy said "We're long JPMorgan," because if BAC gets to the low teens, JPM would be in the mid-$50s (and if both of those happen, HD would probably be $179 a share, so why not opt for that one instead?).

What’s happened to the everybody-goes-to-COST-now-that-there’s-high-gas-prices trade?

Guy Adami said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that, assuming China is slowing, FCX is actually a "tad rich here," a view we're certain is not shared by Tim Seymour, who ridiculously has spent the last month attaching his Fast Money capital to that stock. Adami said the chemical names would be a much better play.

Mike Murphy though noted his own purchase of FCX a day earlier ("under 38," which seems capable of reoccurring on Friday) and said Thursday, "Still like it ... very strong quarter ... I think you can make a lot of money getting long Freeport here."

Simon Baker at one point touted the fertilizers as a nat gas trade, which basically have very similar longer-term charts to FCX, and said his favorite is CF. Mike Murphy said LNG.

Murphy said he'd wait for a pullback before buying more YUM. Simon Baker said he doesn't like airlines and would get out of LUV on a pop. Stephanie Link said FDO is really "not that expensive."

Willie Williams recommended buying the pound sterling against the dollar at 1.60, though we could swear the flag shown above the pound was actually the flag for the euro.

Simon Baker noted James Cameron is wealthy, but, "I think he's on his 5th wife already though." Guy Adami cracked that when the lights went out over Stephanie Link (someone call Steve Fastook), it was "like the dating game," and we wonder who Stephanie chose, or maybe more importantly, who got to choose Stephanie?

Mike Murphy said for his Final Trade that Michelle is "not David" Caruso, and he likes SWK. Stephanie "dating game" Link likes SLB, and Guy Adami mentioned HUN while praising Michelle Caruso-Cabrera the way we like to around here as a "woman with 3 names, which is very attractive."

[Wednesday, April 18, 2012]

Dr. J basically says everyone besides him who made an afterhours trade Wednesday sucked at it

Careful making an afterhours stock sale — Jon Najarian just might call you a child.

Najarian spent Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money as Bobby Brady's Stock Market Safety Monitor, logging and denouncing the worst trades in QCOM and FFIV.

Najarian first observed that QCOM, while down, had bounced notably off its afterhours low, and that anyone selling QCOM or AAPL based on 28 nanometer chip scarcity "is gonna get their lunch handed to 'em," and in fact that had already happened.

But Dr. J waited till the end of the program to lay it on as thick as that box of Safe detergent Bobby poured into the washing machine, pointing out the after-hours reversal in FFIV.

"There were a bunch of people that hit that sell button way too quick in the afterhours, and that's where the big, big girls and big boys play in the afterhours," Najarian asserted. "Somebody shouldn't have been there or should've had some adult supervision," he added, explaining that a bloc of 25,000 shares went for $110.56. "That's a very expensive lesson," he scolded.

So apparently, no one should've been childish enough to sell for less than the top afterhours price.

(Frankie Valli, by the way, said big girls don't cry, and he also said grease is the word, but Fast Money didn't talk about Europe on Wednesday.)

But fear not for Dr. J's own account, at least as it relates to QCOM. "I bought some in the afterhours tonight," he said, undoubtedly under strict adult supervision.

We’re told the economy needs a new president, and yet the Romney campaign's latest idea apparently is a hologram

Sometimes, the most startling comments on Fast Money have nothing to do with stocks.

Digital Domain chief John Textor, who spent much of his tentative appearance on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show backpedaling on any major hologram initiatives, did manage to let slip one utterly bizarre request:

"We were asked, uh, if, Ronald Reagan could introduce Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention," Textor revealed.

Oh my.

We're going to keep the fingers crossed and hope/declare that the campaign's finance wing (that would be Anthony Scaramucci) had nothing to do with this one. (Although, it could easily have come from the Etch-a-Sketch yo-yo.)

Unfortunately, the Moochmeister only made this cringe-inducing revelation worse.

Textor explained that producing such an image would "probably be a lot more expensive" than, for example, delivering Tupac to a concert. Scaramucci actually then asked, "is Nancy cheaper than Ronny?"

Good grief.

(Tangent: This page does happen to be a big fan of Reagan, not actually for all the typical reasons cited but for various attributes that time does not permit mentioning, and doesn't have a problem with Romney, but the Republican Party needs to stop trying to win elections by invoking the popularity of someone who last served in office 24 years ago; you're not going to see Terry Bradshaw and Mean Joe Greene, hologram or otherwise, suiting up Sept. 9 in Denver when the yinz relegate the Peyton-as-a-Bronco era to an 0-1 start (because there's no chance they'll deliver a 2nd-straight garbage-fest of football in the Mile High City, is there?).)

Anyway, Scaramucci quickly realized what this sounded like, so before Textor could respond, Scaramucci corrected himself to say "that wasn't my question," but in fact he wanted to know if there's an "artificial intelligence" element (oh man, now we're into Steven Spielberg and Haley Joel Osment) that would allow the holograms to respond to audience reaction. Textor didn't really answer but finally said, "It is possible to have that real-time interaction," although we doubt it'll be like Luke Skywalker seeing Leia for the first time.

Textor said, as far as Tupac doing more "performances," "that's entirely up to Dr. Dre," not a comment you hear too often on Fast Money.

In case anyone was wondering how a small-cap might swing around while its chief was being interviewed on Fast Money (assuming adults are available to supervise), Mel Lee took pains to caution viewers, "We should note that this stock is on the smaller end of the market caps in terms of the stocks we talk about," at $246 million, and that's after the 15% gain.

Short of the year: LGF the day before ‘The Hunger Games’ release

How come Dr. J isn't admonishing the "Hunger Games" knuckleheads?

It wasn't too long ago that Lions Gate was the toast of Fast Money and Wall Street.

During the week of "The Hunger Games" release, which was officially March 23 (overnight Thursday the 22nd), the stock for a day crossed the 16 barrier, Michael Burns did victory laps on CNBC, Carl Icahn threw in the towel with a tacky e-mailed congratulations, everyone hailed the near-doubling year-to-date in the shares, and some even forecasted continued growth because the "Hunger Games" isn't just one movie, etc., yada.

On March 22, Brian Kelly called LGF "absolutely a buy on a pullback." It closed that day at $14.55.

On the Monday after the opening weekend, when the stock closed at $15.18, analyst James Marsh called LGF his favorite, saying the company's franchises are like "hitting the lottery 4 times."

As recently as April 3, Mike Murphy was making the multi-franchise argument in favor of LGF, which closed that day at $13.51.

As of Wednesday, it sits at $12.20.

Not a crash, but much more of a cratering than the S&P 500's grand 1% down since March 21.

Alan Gould of Evercore was the lone Fast Money guest who said, on March 22, the stock was overheated and there wasn't much left north of $15.

The Fast Money gang gets paid to (purportedly) identify quick ways to make money. You'd think with all the attention this film received on the network and elsewhere, some panelist might've identified and disseminated this short trade at the height of the mania, which would've instantly vaulted him/her into the top 5 best Fast Money trades of the year, but instead it was a collective bust.

Tim Seymour fails to get the answer he’s hoping for on FCX

Melissa Lee likes to say Fast Money is not a "political show," but that didn't stop guest Shawn Reynolds on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money from saying the Keystone pipeline is "inevitable" has only hasn't been cleared because it's been "more of a political football" than anything.

Reynolds said his top picks include PXD, a "pure play on the Permian Basin" that has stalled for a couple months after a monster rise from October that was flagged really only by Joe Terranova and no one else, and XEC.

Those might've been cheery picks, but then Reynolds played Debbie Downer to Tim Seymour, who wondered about Reynolds' view of FCX tomorrow while hinting to Reynolds what he was supposed to say by claiming the stock has a "fantastic valuation."

"Freeport is facing a lot of internal problems," Reynolds said. "They're gonna have problems on cost ... tomorrow, it could be a tough day for them."

Anthony Scaramucci, who of course is a financial kingpin for the Romney campaign, waded into political territory also on the Keystone pipeline, saying it's definitely a done deal, prompting Mel Lee to accuse him of "inside information," which prompted Scaramucci to quickly defend, "not inside information, it's political insight."

Tim Seymour, who somehow feels he has to prove his pop culture recall to everyone within earshot of his conversations, helpfully said during the Digital Domain conversation that re-introducing Tupac at concerts would cause a revival of the East Coast-West Coast rap war.

CNBCfix.com free translation:
‘Old paradigm’ = everyone nowadays just gets a bailout

Charles Bobrinskoy, whose surname gave Melissa Lee a heap of trouble on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, acknowledged that Morgan Stanley tends to twist in the wind but insisted "the stock is extremely cheap."

Bobrinskoy, who we learned from an online bio is a Duke grad, said the market thinks of MS as the "weakest sister" on Wall Street that could face a Bear Stearns/Lehman situation in the wrong environment. But Bobrinskoy called that an "old paradigm" and asserted "it is a very crowded trade on the bear side."

Dan Nathan, a Penn grad with a B.A. in poli sci (how come no one asked Dan about the Reagan/Romney hologram idea?), was practically shut out on Wednesday's program, but did say the Street view of MS is accurate. "If we do see a crisis similar to last summer, or, 2, 2008, 2009, Morgan Stanley will be the first one to go," Nathan said, in fact issuing a sell-the-pop recommendation as his Final Trade.

Bobrinskoy wasn't nearly so positive on BAC, saying, "Frankly we just can't figure out how you value, uh, Bank of America."

Tim Seymour said of EBAY, "I like the name ... PayPal will continue to grow." Guest Brian Modoff said calendar Q2 is always the weakest quarter for QCOM and conceded the guidance was a little more conservative than he would like.

Anthony Scaramucci said he was using an "SAT word" (see, afterhours is where the big boys and girls play) to explain that QCOM is the "doppelganger" of VMW.

Mike Khouw suggested playing CMG with an April 425/400 put spread, which expires this week, the 425 costing $6.70 and the 400 collecting $1.90.

Somehow no one mentioned HD; the rehab/foreclosure trade must no longer be on

How much of a reach is it when the best Fast Money can do to trumpet the First Solar bull (snicker) case is to bring in an analyst who merely has a hold on the shares.

Dale Pfau on Wednesday's 5 p.m. edition begged off any endorsement whatsoever of the stock or sector, saying FSLR could go any number of directions with the recent improvements it has made.

"I'm not positive on the solar panel industry at all," Pfau asserted. "We're moving to the sidelines; that's essentially our call."

So bringing Pfau in to supposedly defend the stock would be a little like bringing in Debbie Wasserman Schultz to explain that Reagan/Mitt hologram idea.

Pfau did say with some conviction that American consumers are actually helped by the solar-panel capacity. "We haven't had much subsidy in this country," he said, saying it's mostly in Europe, but nowadays people can buy panels and install them at home and come close to the price for retail electricity, especially in California. "We're benefitting from all of that," Pfau said.

Jon Najarian said that with SCSS, if nothing else, their product is good. "I just bought one of their beds. I love what they make," Najarian said.

"Too much information," said Tim Seymour, who evidently didn't have an instant sitcom bedroom-scene flashback handy to parlay into another reference. (Let's see, the Cleavers in separate beds?)

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell August FCX calls against the stock. Tim Seymour, apparently waving the white flag, said to sell FCX heading into earnings but buy the dip afterwards. Dan Nathan said to short MS on any pop, Anthony Scaramucci trumpeted INTC, and Jon Najarian said long JCP, as well as how he's looking forward to SALT.

‘Dumbing it down’ on Fast Money involves watching 50-day moving averages of stocks you don’t want to buy anyway

Steve Grasso must be a fan of geometry (assuming that subject doesn't get too "dumbed down") because he sure was going off on tangents on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Grasso began his remarks on IBM and INTC saying the 50-day moving averages must be considered. "You gotta dumb it down for the, for the average investor ... because I need it dumbed down for myself."

"Good save, Grasso," offered Stephen Weiss.

Grasso continued amid the chuckling that for IBM the level is about 200 and for INTC it's about 27.42, then asked, "Explain to me how these things jump ... You really can't just throw out Spain just yet."


Joe Terranova said that when it comes to IBM, he's converting to Léo Inc. "Europe appears to be a headwind ... cut down and sold some IBM today, bought more Hewlett Packard," Terranova said.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera implies nobody on Fast Money knows anything about AAPL

Fast Money Halftime Report guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera has looked great all week, but the same can't be said of all of her commentary, including some teleprompter glitches from this introduction Wednesday for a guest who was about to discuss Intel: "Let's actually talk to somebody who really does know something about Apple."

That somebody was Tristan Gerra, who said he is "still very bullish on the name" (that would be INTC, not AAPL) and calling the selloff a "very good entry point."

Stephen Weiss followed up with a question and clarification that utterly made one's head spin, asking why anyone would get long a name tied to Windows 8.

Gerra said, among other things, inventory is at a "10-year low in the supply chain" for PCs.

But then Weiss demanded Gerra tell him, "When have you ever seen a technology stock go up in the face of a major product platform upgrade. I don't think it's ever happened."

Certainly it must've happened at some point, but we're not about to look that one up.

Gerra said the stock has been rising and he wouldn't call a peak ahead of what he sees as a rebound in gross margin.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who really likes the name pun thing and was trumpeting "Edelweiss" all day, signed off with Gerra saying "my regards to Isolde, OK."

Dennis Gartman implies peace might be igniting in the greater Indian subcontinent and could trickle over to Hamas

Dennis Gartman spoke briefly on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to do one of his own Money in Motion trades, asking/answering, "Where is the safest thing in the world at this point? I think it has to be the Canadian and the Australian dollars."

Gartman said that it's possible we could see $85 in either WTI or Brent.

But things ultimately got a little loopy when Gartman said India and Pakistan were having talks for the first time in a long time, and "if they will sit down, maybe we'll see other people in the Middle East, you know, what, 3,000 miles to the west..."

"Hope springs eternal," concluded Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Michelle apparently doesn’t realize ‘Downton’ only has 1 ‘w’

First, we're always happy to see celebrities helping out a good cause, no beef there.

However, footage of New York jocks at Wall Street firms, after about the first or second helping, gets a little old, just like the way newspapers like to gather the personnel around for the Pulitzer announcements and take gobs of pictures of themselves cheering and sipping champagne. (See, the media often covers itself better than it covers most of its subjects.)

Anyway, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Joe Terranova haplessly tried to conduct an "interview" (um, more like a "congrats on the great game last night love the Yankees" manifesto) with C.C. Sabathia in the partylike atmosphere of the BTIG offices.

Incredibly, Walter Piecyk took the business portion of the chat almost too seriously, asked by MCC about Apple TV and then arguing it might not be a must-have product and that the real issue for AAPL is carrier subsidies, the negative AAPL gripe we've been hearing for years to zero avail.

Superstar media watcher Rich Greenfield, one of the all-time greats of Fast Money guests, took his portion of the Apple TV discussion in stride, questioning, "What is this gonna look like," and asserting "their problem is gonna be the quality of service," it's hard to believe someone buying an iTV and opening the box and signing up with AAPL on some sort of satellite feed wouldn't get something somewhat dicey, and Apple won't release a "less than perfect" product, so he actually likes TWX instead.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera conceded similar issues watching "Downtown (sic) Abbey."

MCC’s inexperience on Fast Money shows in not asking pro-VMWare guest about impact of CFO departure

But if the BTIG offices were a camera-phone, N.Y.-jock-infested atmosphere, the mood at Don Yacktman's shop was decidedly different Wednesday during the Fast Money Halftime Report.

Yacktman didn't seem particularly keen on debating anything, offering terse answers about his top picks, saying, "Stay with very high quality" with names such as PG, NWS and PEP, and shrugged off MCC's valid question about News Corp problems with "no worries."

Brian Kelly said near the top of the program he doesn't fear a meltdown across the ocean. "I would expect the ECB and/or the Spanish banks to be in there buying that auction tomorrow, and I think we're off to the races," Kelly said.

Guest Joel Fishbein, who thinks VMWare is off to the races in part because he sees 20% license growth vs. the Street's 14%, mostly just had to field questions about owning VMW vs. EMC.

"I like the pure play," which is VMW, over EMC, Fishbein said, noting that Citrix is No. 2 in the VMW space.

Joe Terranova said he likes EMC better, because it's "less risky than being in VMWare."

Stephen Weiss called QCOM "actually my top pick in technology."

Joe Terranova doubled down on his accurate rebuttal of Whitney Tilson's ridiculous BRK-as-AAPL analogy, saying of BRK, "it is going to get cheaper."

Brian Kelly mentions USG for the umpteenth appearance in a row, but somehow nobody mentions HD

Stephen Weiss and Steve Grasso conducted a shouting match over steel Wednesday, but it only came at the end of the Halftime Report, and there was so much Brag-Trading-talking-over-each-other, we ceased caring.

Weiss first said it would be a "public service announcement" to skip Grasso in this discussion before he makes a money-losing call to be bullish steel.

Grasso countered that his pro-AKS call in December made believers 20% in a week and told Weiss, "Hold one of your trades up to the light, maybe it'll make money." Weiss insisted he was shorting X at $45.

Grasso said that doesn't figure to work now, the risk/reward in steel favors getting long a name like X rather than short, with "met coal, iron ore leveling off."

Weiss also defended Aubrey McClendon, one of the most controversial CEOs, saying, "He pays for the maintenance on the wells himself." But even in that discussion he found disagreement with Grasso, who said people aren't buying Aubrey McClendon, "they're buying CHK" stock, which is too leveraged.

Brian Kelly mentioned USG and ITB.

Brian Kelly's ridiculously conditional Final Trade was that if you're worried about Spain, consider the TLT. Steve Grasso said long LNG, Stephen Weiss said short MT, and Joe Terranova said MCD long.

Mike Murphy’s WHR short no longer a cesspool of loss

It's an impressive comeback.

Mike Murphy's dubious WHR short (right after his big-time long in the stock) that apparently began in the low 60s has rightfully taken some criticism here, particularly when it spent much of March in 78/79 land.

Now, it looks like Murphy's patience is being somewhat rewarded.

Wednesday marked the 2nd straight day of a healthy drop, to the 66 range, so maybe we're nearing the point where Murphy will go long again.

Meanwhile, Murphy popped up on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, and while he didn't address WHR, he did reveal a new FCX stake. "We bought Freeport this morning," Murphy said, citing expected positive management commentary as the catalyst. He said he bought "under 38" and has a "35.75 stop," and expects a breakout above 40.

[Tuesday, April 17, 2012]

Embarrassing CNBC coverage fails to tell viewers Warren Buffett’s age

After 19 minutes of discussion of Warren Buffett's prostate diagnosis on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Melissa Lee finally attempted to reveal something important:

Warren Buffett's age.

Except she said 82, which was wrong. (It's 81.)

And then panelist Brian Kelly said 82, twice.

About 20 minutes later — still no correction either spoken or listed in screen text — it only got worse.

NBC's chief science correspondent Robert Bazell spoke about Buffett's condition and obviously had no idea what Buffett's age was, but didn't mind attempting a few guesses.

First Bazell said "most men his age" without saying what that age is, then made a reference to people experiencing this condition in their "late 70s or mid-70s," then said "75 or 76 years old, 78," all implying Bazell believed Buffett to be in his 70s.

Fast Money panelist Karen Finerman then asked about the life expectancy of an "82-year-old man." Bazell didn't give a good answer, if there even is one, but referred to someone "in his 80s."

The next guest, Dr. Andrew Lee, an oncologist, described Buffett's age as "early 80s."

Certainly age is a critical element of a story about any important man experiencing prostate cancer, so much so that the Associated Press correctly reported it in its lede.

CNBC host Becky Quick's call to the program was the lone highlight of the coverage, having just spoken with Buffett on the phone, but Quick didn't mention the age either.

Proving how artificial TV slogans can be, Fast Money host Melissa Lee said during commercial breaks from the middle to the end of the program that "this is a story we will continue to monitor and cover from all angles throughout the show ... we're all over these stories for you tonight ... continue also to monitor the Warren Buffett story from all angles ..."

"All" angles, except perhaps the most basic, with wrong numbers freely disseminated throughout an hourlong program with no emphasis whatsoever in getting the number right in a lapse that can only be described as jaw-dropping, although it's the type of thing that can happen on a news channel that sometimes veers too far from news in favor of programming that too often is for entertainment purposes only.

Lee closed by telling viewers, "Tomorrow, 9 a.m., 'Squawk on the Street,' full coverage of Warren Buffett."

Maybe they'll have the number by then.

As Fast Money gives Whitney Tilson an opportunity to publicly talk himself into maintaining that huge BRK-A position, Joe stands tall

Certainly, Whitney Tilson, like anyone else, had little time to prepare or think about his Warren Buffett commentary on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Tilson started out fine in expressing concern for Buffett's health, but unfortunately, instead of just saying something like "We wish Warren the best and don't believe what's been revealed here affects the business and suggest people buy on any selloff," Tilson came across like a cheap stock market huckster whose emails tend to end up in the spam filter.

"I only found out just a moment ago," Tilson said, expressing relief at learning via "quick Google search" that the 5-year survival rate (apparently irrespective of the patient's age) for this type of cancer is "99.9%," before invoking the Adele Trade and rollin' in the deep.

"Our valuation of Berkshire Hathaway, which is now pushing $180,000 per A share, um, is, uh, do we- we do not factor in $1 of Warren Buffett premium in that," Tilson said, calling this assessment "conservative."

Tilson insisted that Berkshire couldn't possibly botch its mysterious succession plan (the one where even the anointed successor doesn't know yet), then went on to draw a ridiculously favorable comparison to AAPL, suggesting people sold on reports of Steve Jobs' health problems only to get burned and implying the same would happen here with "this sort of non-news."

Joe Terranova, in perhaps his finest hour on Fast Money, recognized the difference between the companies and the greater health risk to BRK. "I disagree with Whitney completely," Terranova said, referring to the "buffer" of Apple products, whereas given the stock-picking at Berkshire Hathaway, "It's all about Buffett and the investment model itself."

Karen Finerman refused to take a side, saying, "I don't know what to make of it yet."

March 30, 2011, Whitney Tilson told Fast Money that ‘statistically speaking,’ he expected Warren Buffett to run Berkshire ‘another 10 years’

Evidently, Stage 1 prostate cancer is irrelevant to the formula.

Whitney Tilson told Melissa Lee on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he had just heard about the Warren Buffett news, but "I haven't had a chance to do too much research on it."

But a year ago (see, we knew these archives would come in handy), amid the David Sokol controversy, Tilson confidently said he expected Buffett, then 80, to run Berkshire Hathaway at least 5 more years, and actually said, "statistically speaking, we'd bet another 10 years."

Tilson on Tuesday reiterated his "assumption" that Buffett "almost certainly" will run the company for 5 more years with a "good chance" he'll be running the company for 10 years.

We can't imagine how someone, particularly someone who's a hedge fund manager and education activist rather than a doctor, can claim "statistically" to predict the 10-year health outlook and employment capacity of an 80/81-year-old person, but if anyone can, it's someone who believes BRK-A is already a $180,000 stock and actually claims there's "no Warren Buffett premium" in that figure.

Melissa Lee, in a rough performance, said in one understatement that "we don't know exactly who" the successor to Buffett is, and while never querying Tilson on the approximate size of his Berkshire position (obviously worth knowing given the extent of his remarks and claim that the shares are actually worth 50% more than they closed even in the wake of Tuesday's news) also tripped over Tilson's concealed characterization of it, calling it his "mid-digit percentage position."

Herb Greenberg had the misfortune of drawing the late shift Tuesday, meaning he had to read a piece of paper into the camera.

Doug Kass unfortunately sounds clueless, makes ridiculous BRK argument, thinks Melissa is still host of the Halftime Report

If Whitney Tilson seemed ridiculously defensive on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about the value of Berkshire Hathaway stock, Doug Kass seemed equally ridiculous in unloading his BRK-B shares after-hours.

Kass said his pro-Berkshire argument that he made just a day earlier, based largely on a long-term recovery in housing, is suddenly on hold, because "intrinsic value is impacted, in other words, the upside reward is reduced."

"I actually sold a little stock in the aftermarket," Kass said, saying that unlike Tilson's $180,000 valuation, his own fairy tale price is only $150,000 but will probably fall to $145,000 or $140,000 in the wake of the news.

At least Kass acknowledged the shares have a "premium value" from the "Oracle's presence," which he said is changed because yesterday we didn't know he was ill and today we do, which marks a "big unknown now."

Kass also referenced Monday's Halftime Report with something of a dis to Halftime host Scott Wapner, telling Lee Tuesday that he made his pro-BRK-B case then "when Michelle was subbing for you Mel."

A health concern is reported, and pop music disappears from Fast Money commercial breaks the rest of the program

In other news Tuesday ... Shaw Wu said on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that the IBM story is obviously totally intact, revenue "slightly light," but nobody cares because earnings beat "quite a bit."

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who wondered if, based on current valuation, there aren't other names more attractive in tech.

"That's a fair point," Wu agreed, before adding, "We like HP for that reason."

Guy Adami was enthusiastic on YHOO, saying, "This was a good quarter ... huge win for them," and he sees the stock as having a risk of 14 and reward of possibly 21, predicting it will "push through 16."

William Muggia, in the Fast Money Portfolio segment, said it sounds like an "oxymoron" that the U.S. has gained a major competitive advantage in energy thanks to the low price of natural gas, but it's true. He told Karen Finerman, who asked a good question about what exactly one of his top picks, URI, is a precise pegged to, that it's a "levered play at the beginning of an up cycle."

Joe Terranova actually opened the program, before the Buffett news arrived, channeling a partial Dirty Harry quote, "I think you have to ask yourself" if INTC and tech are headed for a summer swoon. "I wouldn't buy the stock here," Terranova said.

Mark Standish and New York Jet D'Brickashaw Ferguson spoke about a decathlon of a small number of athletes to benefit charity in July.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was IYT, although whether he meant to go long or short was totally unintelligible. Guy Adami said ASH, Karen Finerman said CVS and Joe Terranova said EMC.

NBC’s Robert Bazell: Buffett has ‘excellent’ prognosis

In an episode rekindling memories of the time Dr. John Najarian spoke about Steve Jobs' prospects after his transplant, NBC's chief science correspondent Robert Bazell reported on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "the odds are overwhelming that Mr. Buffett will live to die of some other cause" than Stage 1 prostate cancer.

Karen Finerman, as expected, said, "It's Karen, let me ask you something," which was, what's the life expectancy for an 82-year-old man in general good health. Bazell didn't actually answer the question except to say the average for males is 79, so Buffett has already topped that.

However, oncologist Dr. Andrew Lee later cautioned "there are some other factors" beyond the stage and that not enough Buffett details are available for drawing a conclusion.

‘Comparisons here between RIMM 2½ years ago and Google today’

We certainly didn't expect that Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report guest Eric Jackson would prove to be the most interesting in a long time.

Pete Najarian sought to pin Jackson down on a report Jackson wrote apparently claiming Google of 2012 is the Microsoft of 1999 which, quite frankly, we hadn't thought of, but makes a lot of sense.

Josh Brown called that reference "apt" but questioned if that isn't why Android makes a lot of sense (but then again, MSFT got into video games too). Jackson told the panel there are "eerie similarities," then defended it with a Brag Trade. "I hated RIMM, uh, 2½ years ago."

However, feeding on that momentum, he took it a step further, asserting there are "some comparisons here between RIMM 2½ years ago and, and Google today."

"Holy smokes," that's a bigger claim than MSFT 1999, gushed guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

First Jackson had to deal with the yada yada yada on Yahoo, that it might as well put Loeb on the board because he's got a bigger stake than Icahn did but Scott Thompson is too "nervous" as a first-time CEO to do so.

Jackson said "I love Yahoo, it's the opposite of Apple" and that people should own it for the same reason they should've owned AOL a couple weeks ago.

Pete Najarian said he thinks there is "very limited downside for Yahoo."

Actually it’s just speculators speculating that other speculators will be coming in to bid higher because the financial world doesn’t have any other sure things anymore

Dan Dicker on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report ran into the sexiest buzz saw in recent memory when Michelle Caruso-Cabrera introduced his appearance by mocking the president's denouncement of oil speculators.

Dicker chuckled and asserted, "The oil market is overrun with, with speculation," though he said he doesn't believe there is "manipulation."

Dicker got a little weary of some of the hectoring and tried to bring the conversation to a conclusion, saying in the end, "The DOJ has a lousy record on fraud ... none of this really goes anywhere."

Josh Brown asked Dicker what the pure price of crude is sans speculators. Dicker said he gets that question all the time and the best answer he can offer is that after the financial meltdown in 2008, it got to $32, so "I'm guessing it's 30, maybe $40 a barrel."

Steve Cortes, who earlier chided the president for making speculators "such an absolute scapegoat," disagreed, saying, "The Fed is the reason that oil is triple digits right now," which quite frankly is incorrect.

Dicker acknowledged easy money but insisted, "To relitigate the speculation case here when I spent 3 years and 336 pages trying to describe it in a book I think is a mistake."

Actually, according to Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com, it's 338 pages.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera at one point referred to Dicker as "you guys in the pits," but according to his various bios, Dicker is in wealth management now.

Pete’s $589 AAPL buy instantly pays off

In something of a clunker, Steve Cortes revealed on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he was in an AAPL short (with GOOG long) but he got out of it before AAPL's tumble Monday, which was quite a miss, though he said he made a small amount of money on the trade.

Simon Baker said it's really tough to short the name but told Cortes, "I'm glad you made some money on it." Cortes said the stock is too volatile to trade now.

Pete Najarian acknowledged making money on his $589 buy yesterday and that he's "in the Kool-aid."

Tavis McCourt says he's got an $800 price target on AAPL because the P.E. used to be lower and it's expanding.

Simon Baker said Computer Associates has more upside than IBM. Pete Najarian touted INTC, saying "I think it gets to 35."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera pronounced Jimmy Iuorio as "Jim eye-urio." Eye-urio said he bought INTU, for a short-term, technical trade but because it has a "decent monopoly in their business." He has a "63 target on it" and would bail at 56.

Halftime Report opens with
Michelle’s fashion show

We pointed out over the weekend that the markets came down once Steve Cortes took a 2-week break from the Fast Money Halftime Report.

Now that he's back, so are the buyers, apparently.

But on Tuesday's Halftime, Cortes remained undaunted, asserting, "I think Europe continues to smolder," and that Spain is obviously facing systemic not transitory problems.

Pete Najarian though was all aboard, saying he thinks big-cap tech continues to work and that he likes the material space.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera delivered news that Meredith whitney has raised Citigroup from underperform to hold. Josh Brown, who was called "Mr. Joshua Tree" by MCC, said the Smith Barney headwind could be lifting.

Brown said he's still alarmed by Europe, but in general, "We did a little bit of nibbling."

Guest Doug Sipkin said he prefers MS to GS and said GS's quarter is "probably not good enough to keep the run going."

The TV bleeped out late during the program just when Andy Busch was about to unleash his Money in Motion Trade, so we'll have to take a pass on both that and the Final Trades.

Producers clumsily arranged for Michelle Caruso-Cabrera to often turn her back and once again walk behind the camera row at the beginning of the program, but it did give viewers a 360, full-length view of Michelle's sizzling black dress.

[Monday, April 16, 2012]

AAPL and ‘at the end of the day’: Fast Money cliches run amok

Pete Najarian said something about AAPL at the top of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that was really profound.

"Somebody very large may be positioning themselves into something else, and taking off some," Najarian said, identifying a "slight rotation away from Apple."

Really. The world's largest market cap drops 4% on a day the Dow rises 71. Wouldn't it stand to reason someone "very large" was "taking off some"?

Nevertheless, Tim Seymour, when he wasn't trying to impress people with song titles, labeled that observation a "great call."

Karen Finerman, doing the Paul McCartney Trade (My Brave Face), claimed the plunge as a positive; "I'd rather have it trade down a lot into earnings" rather than trading up with higher expectations. (Umm, if you're holding it for the long term, what difference does it really make if it reaches $580 today or $580 in a week?)

Guy Adami was spot-on here, pointing out that people constantly look at stocks like this and say they'd love to buy on a pullback, and so this is "exactly what you folks have been looking for."

"I don't think it's a broken stock yet," Adami added.

Tim Seymour said a lot of pros who you'd think wouldn't be chasing this one have turned it into a momentum trade par excellence in Q1. Pete Najarian revealed he bought the shares, not the options, but the shares, at $589, and he's using calls against it. Scott Nations, who said AAPL options weren't "apocalyptically bearish" Monday, was excited to find that 1,500 January 960 AAPL calls sold for $4, but Najarian said it's too much of an outlier to pay attention to. (But how come nothing about God's gift to money-making, those weekly options?)

Guest Brian Marshall was either next in the Fast Money AAPL-guest rotation, or the only guy they could get to appear on Monday's 5 p.m. show to assure everyone it's all OK. At the end of the day, that is precisely what Marshall did, using the show's favorite cliche twice in noting Mac sales are really an insignificant part of the equation, and iPhone profits are largely from carrier subsidies and "incremental resale of NAN."

Marshall also, referring to the share price, said he would "use the word collapsing and it's not collapsing."


But it's actually a "pretty healthy move."

Yes, anytime a company loses $20-billion-plus market cap in a day, it's "healthy."

Marshall said AAPL's undoing won't be anything immediate, but a "hairline fracture in the wall."

Dennis Gartman dislikes the gold miners so much, he apparently won’t even own them in yen

Karen Finerman revealed on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money she is long RIMM calls because she thought there might be a strategic alternatives type of situation brewing, but just in case regulators might've been watching (because "at the end of the day," who knows, maybe they are), Finerman assured it "wasn't like I had any particular insight" before Monday afternoon's report on RIMM possibly hiring a bank.

Guy Adami said of the stock, "Risk/reward, you have to be on the long side here," because where else would anyone on Fast Money be with that stock?

Anthony Scaramucci downplayed the "muppet incident" as a "blip on the radar screen" in claiming Goldman Sachs is "reinventing themselves," and he said he doesn't mind possible Fast Fire scrutiny as he gave the firm a $140 price target for 12 months.

Scaramucci said Mel Lee won't be broadcasting at SALT this year, but a guy who is "less lovely than Melissa" (that would be Judge) will be doing the honors.

Guest Ruchir Sharma, smiling from ear to ear, visited the Nasdaq to talk about his book about emerging markets, which Tim Seymour says is great (but he also said Pete Najarian's analysis of a large player taking something off in AAPL Monday was great), explaining it was a "freaky decade" (that's not the name of the movie) for emerging markets, and complaining that Brazil is "far too big a welfare state."

Colin Rusch, in the token this-one's-for-Immelt GE tribute to green week (instead of the inevitable wind/nat gas/hybrid car/water cliche "trades," we'd much rather hear Steve Cortes tell the truth about the solar space which he will do and has done), explained how appealing Tesla's cars are going to be, and he's got a buy rating and $39 price target. Guy Adami recommended buying the stock just before earnings because of the massive short interest.

Scott Nations said "I'm bearish" on INTC and offered a rather modest trade; buy the April 28 put for 45 cents. Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on television, said to short the Aussie against long yen. Pete Najarian tried to tell a Tout questioner to hold on to CHK even though he likes other names a lot better.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was VALE, Guy Adami said ASH, Karen Finerman said "Bank America" (sic) and Pete Najarian said Home Depot, meeting Fast Money's once-an-episode requirement.

Dennis Gartman, not looking particularly happy on Monday, said he expects a stock market correction possibly to the eye-opening level of ... 1,360. "I got stupid and got out in February," Gartman admitted, but now, borrowing Steve Cortes' lines, he thinks the general (AAPL) is getting wounded if not shot, and the rest of the market will follow. And, while he didn't talk about the possibility of waking up and learning a mine has been flooded or that he's been studying these kinds of things for 35 years, he did say the miners have underperformed gold for a long time, will continue to underperform, and there is "no sense in owning them."

Bottom-calling in natural gas

Kate Kelly — who always has a new hairstyle these days — turned up on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report with a comment that sounds a little bit like the check's in the mail.

"There's a growing belief that Friday may have been a recent bottom, if not the bottom," in natural gas, Kelly said.

"A growing belief" ... that took less than 1 whole business day to manifest itself.

Is this Fast Money, or what?

Steve Grasso recommended staying away from CHK and playing nat gas by buying the actual commodity.

Substitute host Michelle asks the wrong final question of a guest

As much as we like Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (and who doesn't), gotta admit, her guest-host gig on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report was a bit rocky.

First, she did too much teleprompter reading at the intro, then the choreographer screwed up something about the set, forcing Michelle to actually walk behind the cameras after opening in front of the heat map.

Moments later, Caruso-Cabrera introduced Steve Grasso as "Christo." Christo actually is an artist (we actually knew that, although we have no clue what Christo does/did, except it's sort of one guy and sort of one couple).

Moments after that, MCC cut off Grasso when he was making a point about AAPL.

MCC, who is not as honed in on single stocks as Judge Wapner, tended to let her guests go unchallenged. Doug Kass touted BRK-B as the best play on housing recovery (apparently the insurance and rail portion don't matter nearly as much as Brian Moynihan's sweetheart deal), and Sam Isaly promoted his big pharma holdings in Eaton Vance's Worldwide Health Sciences fund essentially "because they haven't done so much in the past, uh, 10, 12, months." (Well, neither has Research in Motion.)

Worse, while Isaly was an otherwise fine guest, Caruso-Cabrera closed by asking him for "final thoughts," which became a commercial for Eaton Vance's "worldwide" fund (did you know it was a "worldwide" fund?).

Patty Edwards brought back the tiny redundancy, saying, "I like Bristol Myers, I like Johnson & Johnson at this point in time," reasoning how much worse can JNJ get, although Isaly said he's not that high on JNJ. Steve Grasso predicted, regarding ObamaCare, "Probably nothing happens with the Supreme Court."

Patty warns Joe, this is how you fill up the inbox, and it’s not spam

Patty Edwards on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report referenced a recent call, and we gotta admit, we were instantly sympathetic.

Joe Terranova happened to say that AAPL was falling because money managers have changed the mind-set and are now "looking for quality" over high-fliers.

Edwards then cautioned Terranova, "The second that I said that Apple was not a quality stock, which was not exactly what I meant, I got e-mail like you would not believe."

No e-mails came from here, but this page did note the comment, which came March 23 on the BATS meltdown day.

It was an odd comment, but then again, no one putting public commentary out there is going to bat 1.000 in terms of precision, witness this page; sometimes we can barely spell "cat" while being spotted the "c" and the "a." (Though too bad for Thomas Henderson, someone days after that assessment hung 250 yards on him in the first half against an overmatched secondary, but that's neither here nor there.)

Where we would continue to quibble is with the panel's ongoing use of "quality" stock; really, there is no such thing. "Quality" companies yes, but stocks twist in the wind, you can have CSCO and MRK and MSFT one day as some of the most "quality" stocks of all time, and another day as absolute busts.

Wrong adjective for the wrong characterization.

Anyway, Patty said Monday that AAPL was likely selling because it's been moving faster than a lot of the Dow names. Joe Terranova said to stay away for now; "wait till after earnings to pull the trigger on Apple." Jon Najarian indicated he'd jump in around $575.

However, guest JC O'Hara seemed to think this is a gift for wannabe AAPL buyers. "This is your time," O'Hara said. "This is where you have to be looking to add positions."

Fast Money daily requirement of a long HD/DIS call is met multiple times

Patty Edwards on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report had a new wrinkle on the endlessly bullish home-improvement trade.

"I couldn't even get a parking space at Home Depot this weekend," Edwards said. (Editor's note: That's probably because the Canucks were playing at the same time.)

Guest Peter Keith in sounding a bullish call for the home-improvement chains said he prefers to "disaggregate home-buying and home-remodeling" and predicted a "large home-remodeling cycle that's just beginning to develop."

Edwards agreed. "Absolutely, I would be all over Home Depot," Patty said, but thankfully she didn't introduce yet another cost-of-foreclosure-rehab dollar amount this time.

Joe Terranova suggested LPX. The Fast gang tried to pin down JC O'Hara on whether WHR, Mike Murphy's favorite short, is going up or down. O'Hara would only commit to saying $70 is a very important support level and that depending on whether it holds, the stock figures to go to either $80 or $60. Patty Edwards said she'd rather look at it fundamentally, which means Latin America, which means a lukewarm call on acquiring half a position now.

Doug Kass, the day's star guest, first said "inherently" when talking about what he sees as a years-long recovery in housing, then trumpeted BRK (the B shares, which he said are preferable) because of its equity stake in WFC, bond stake in BAC, and all those Dilly Bars at Dairy Queen housing-related side businesses.

Brian Kelly for the umpteenth day in a row mentioned USG.

Grasso: Retest of 1,257 coming

Steve Grasso indicated on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the stock market has not yet taken off and left 2011 in the dust.

"I do think at some point, we're gonna test flat-on-year in the S&P," Grasso asserted.

Jon Najarian noted the VIX's recent increase and said you can still get long volatility, but assured, "I don't see a panic out there yet."

Jeff Kilburg got to do a Brag Trade on TLT profit-taking. Joe Terranova suggested LQD.

Terranova reiterated, "I did buy Goldman Sachs last week." Patty Edwards cautioned about jumping into SBUX Monday, suggesting, "Allow it to grind sideways a little bit."

Edwards' Final Trade was KMB. Jon Najarian touted INTC, Brian Kelly said KRE, Steve Grasso said LNG and Joe Terranova said EMC.

S&P 500 down 2.4% since Steve Cortes’ last Fast Money appearance

Apparently, all he had to do was give it a rest.

Throughout 2012, Steve Cortes has been warning of the China bubble and other headwinds facing the financial markets on the Fast Money Halftime Report ... only to have Judge Wapner rub it in virtually every episode as the S&P levitated toward and above 1,400.

But since Cortes was last heard preaching the China-demise story on Fast Money (by our calculation), March 29, markets have curiously suddenly experienced their roughest 2 weeks of the year, including the 15-point drop below 1,400 on April 4, and the 24-point drop to 1,358 on Tuesday.

It's hardly like any longs have been wiped out since March 29 — 1,403 to 1,370 — but, if you're a believer in the bear case, maybe it's a start.

Then again, Cortes on March 29 proclaimed natural gas "incredibly oversold," so it's not like he's on pace to get absolutely everything right.

[Friday, April 13, 2012]

‘Taking care of these CEOs’ is ‘Priority 1’ for Wall Street banks

In one of the strangest reports we've heard on Fast Money, Kate Kelly (who always has a new hairstyle) explained on Friday's Halftime that the Goldman Sachs security tab for Lloyd Blankfein has doubled in a year.

"Obviously taking care of these CEOs, making sure they're safe in their homes, their cars, their offices, is, is Priority 1 for these public companies, and uh, they're having to shell out much more to do so," Kelly said.

Gerard Cassidy said people were selling JPM because "margin compression was greater than expected." He assured Jon Najarian that more people are paying mortgages on time. He also got tangled up with Judge by saying there'll be a "focus" on Citigroup.

Pete Najarian said he still likes the banks (but he didn't hang any wonderful doubling action on them like he did WLT).

Fast Money gang manages to make WLT sound like AAPL

Listening to the crew on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report — especially Pete Najarian — you'd think Walter Energy was as hot as Kate Upton.

Pete thundered praise on WLT as well as ANR, claiming, "We will see these names double I think over the next year or so."

Steve Grasso thankfully was more measured, although he was heard to say "Walters" again at one point while suggesting it's better to be perceived as a buyout target than as an accumulator like ANR.

Grasso said CHK doesn't look ripe yet; "I'd probably still stay away." He'd "still be a buyer" of LNG, and then, in the most half-hearted shout-out possible, called GE "still buyable."

For the 2nd day in a row, guest gets carried away with ‘at the end of the day’

Some of the most annoying cliches are the ones used as a crutch for people attempting to be more profound than they're actually being.

And so you get "inherently," "in and of itself," and the bizarrely out of control, "at the end of the day."

We won't pin a gripe on homebuilder watcher Michael Widner, whose analysis is otherwise interesting, but talk about piling it on; when arguing on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Toll is overvalued he managed to say, "At the end of the day I mean, I think Toll is alone in its niche, and that's a good thing, but again, at the end of the day, they need to make money."

And what do they need to do at the beginning of the day?

But that wasn't all. Widner said long-term PHM is good, but "in the short term we think they're vulnerable," because the market "at the end of the day" is focused on a doubling of sales volumes.

Widner drew a contrast to MDC, which he said has made dubious decisions but still has a strong balance sheet and may benefit short-term from "low expectations baked in."

Guy Adami was right;
fade the move

Ben Schachter on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report shrugged off Google's results as a "pretty good quarter," but nothing to get excited about, saying the key isn't a stock split but "how they're playing the transition to mobile."

Jon Najarian reassured longs, "I'm not scared out by what I see here in Google."

Steve Grasso said shorts had a chance at Friday's open. Mike Murphy continued his skepticism from Thursday, saying he prefers AAPL.

Jon Najarian told a Twitterer he would not be short Zynga. Pete Najarian reported that NTAP April 42 calls are hopping.

Shout-out: Albert Hammond

Steve Grasso said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the week's low of 1,357 is the new support to watch.

Brian Kelly dialed in to say, "I bought China today. I bought CAF," and Mike Murphy concurred with that, saying "I think China has bottomed here," but he's playing it through CAT.

Guest Nicholas Consonery pointed out that Shanghai markets were up on the GDP news and also asserted the China bottom is in. "It's a matter of a month, if, if it isn't, if it hasn't happened already," Consonery said.

Camilla Sutton said she'd be shorting euro/Canadian dollar at 1.3060.

Mike Murphy mentioned a pile of names Friday, including JCI ("We're long the name here," estimates are too low) and MCD, which he said you can buy at these levels.

Murphy was most effusive about URI; "This is a huge growth story; it's going a lot higher," maybe to the mid-$50s, he said.

Murphy's Final Trade was JPM. Steve Grasso, who was rewarded for hanging in with GDX, mentioned that name, while Jon Najarian said TXT and Pete Najarian said INTC.

Jane Wells introduced her dairy-pricing hit asking, "Who says it never rains in California." We knew the answer, though Jon Najarian got to announce it on the air. Wells reported on dairymen who have given up hedging because the price disparity between California and the CME is too difficult to manage.

[Thursday, April 12, 2012]

Fast Money gang apparently expected Larry Page to announce, ‘We’ve asked Carl Icahn to review how we could better run our business’

Sometimes, it just feels cool to agree with Keith McCullough.

(Other times it might make you feel like a knucklehead.) (That was only a joke, hopefully.)

The 5 p.m. Fast Money gang Thursday — with an assist from Colin Gillis — responded to the Google announcements as though they were personally offended about the perceived unwillingness to better serve the shareholder, particularly the stock split that only helps concentrate control around the biggies.

"In terms of corporate governance, it's really not ideal," lamented Karen Finerman.

Mike Murphy said it seems like GOOG management is hell-bent on taking away shareholder rights, and if he was long the stock, "this would be my exit point."

Keith McCullough, though, pointed out "they're being transparent about what they're doing," so if you don't like it, get out.

That didn't stop Finerman from criticizing "the expense control, or lack thereof," and the space program, etc.

See, here's the deal ... stocks are not your friends. They're scraps of paper (actually more like data in a cloud nowadays) that give you a legal right to a company's earnings and (snicker) governance.

If you don't like what they're doing, invoke The Bob Seger Trade, and turn the page.

Citigroup exec realizes health-care costs are rising faster than, say, natural gas

Citigroup's Steven Wieting found an effective way to draw attention to his findings that health-care inflation is unsustainable — attach the word "bubble" to it.

Wieting told Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang that it's a "fundamental bubble" that, should it continue at present rates, will require government debt financing "to an extent, uh, that we have, you know, never seen before."

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," said (who else?) Karen Finerman, who asked Wieting where the "bubble" would start to burst if he's correct. Wieting didn't have the most straightforward answer, suggesting there's an imbalance between U.S. drug prices and those abroad.

Keith McCullough astutely was the only panelist seizing on the "bubble" gimmick and demanded to hear a trade from this. Wieting dodged that, saying that's someone else's call at Citi, but maybe one would look at high-margin, highly domestic producers.

Until now, the only health-care bubble we knew about (but then again the enlightenment around here is slim) was John Travolta's "Boy in the Plastic Bubble."

Trying to play along with the theme, Mike Khouw suggested trying to "thread the needle" (right there, the risk/reward alarms go off) and came up with going long HCA vs. a short in "Community Health" (CYH), which was his Final Trade also (interesting Final Trade on a 2020-something thesis) while the screen actually showed HCA purportedly paired with Coventry. Dr. J said you might want to keep an eye on ISRG and SYK, 2 rather volatile stocks certain (guffaw) to trade this spring on this decades-away thesis.

Dr. J: SD calls are hot

He wasn't suggesting a flip, but Mike Murphy's Wednesday call of buying CAT at $102 is already a nice little winner. Nevetheless, Keith McCullough on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money sought to draw a distinction between inflation and growth and warned that it's really the former propelling the "China" rally.

McCullough also admitted of GS, "I'm long this stock and it scares the living daylights out of me." Mike Khouw suggested playing GS by selling an April/May 115 put spread, getting $1 for the April and paying $2.90 for the May.

Mel Lee, who had another nice outfit Thursday but not quite as fetching as that shimmering, contoured blue top of Wednesday, first called the noted China critic "John Chanos," then said "Joe."

Colin Angle tried to promote the iRobot line of Gekko-esque toys and drew snickers when showing footage of the vacuum; Angle said 1 out of 4 vacuums sold in Spain are robots. Dr. J said a robot vacuums the dog hair off his bathroom floor, but he doesn't use it on actual carpet.

The Lee Partridge interview suffered a technical glitch (though not before telling Mel Lee she asked a "great question"), prompting Karen Finerman and her gorgeous sense of humor to note, "We don't have too much exposure to him, apparently."

Keith McCullough said he owns German bunds, which presumably was the pro-bond trade from leading nations that Partridge was going to talk about. Indeed, Partridge did mention Germany among the 6 nations, and he said PAA is his top MLP, but he didn't talk about the tease on the screen text that seemed most interesting, how people aren't diversified enough in equities. Mike Murphy and Keith McCullough also disliked the MLP trade, saying too many people have already piled in.

Jon Najarian reported that September 8 calls in SD are hopping, and he said that is his Final Trade as well.

Mike Murphy's Final Trade was two-fold; PHM and URI. Keith McCullough said to short France, and Karen Finerman said she likes CVS.

‘At the end of the day’ is said by guest at least 4, maybe 5, times in just a couple minutes

David Lipschitz turned up on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report to demonstrate he's got the cliche thing down pat.

First he said the coal correction is in the "late innings," then he got to the good stuff: "At the end of the day, it's still the China story for coal right now."

Then he said "at the end of the day" the prices are being supported by production cuts, and then we think he said it again in a mostly unintelligible comment, and then Guy Adami asked about WLT and Lipschitz said, "At the end of the day, WLT is coking coal ... at the end of the day."

Patty Edwards said at the end of the day she's going to keep adding WLT, but it'll be over the next week or so because she's hesitant to buy (at the end of the day) on the pop Thursday.

Dan Dicker meanwhile said he likes Baker Hughes, because "rig counts dropped but not that much." He credited Jim Chanos for noting that America is cranking out oil and gas these days. "As a Fast Money trade, this one's ready to break out," Dicker said. Guy Adami suggested ALB and HUN on that theme.

Patty’s firm contributes to the local economy

Guy Adami said on Thursday's Halftime Report that no matter which direction GOOG goes after-hours, the trade is to "fade the move."

Ken Sena said he expected "some upside on revenues" but that, if Google has another bad quarter, it's "a little too early to say" if the business model is in question.

But he conceded, "There has to be concern" about Facebook.

Patty Edwards wasn't too keen on the PC space. "We own a little bit of Microsoft but that's mostly a legacy because of where we're located," Edwards explained, before saying she prefers INTC, QCOM and SNPS because PCs are just an "old dinosaur (as opposed to the younger ones) that's going to pay dividends."

Later, guest Kulbinder Garcha trumpeted, as everyone on Fast Money does, QCOM; "you have to be in the name." He also said "inherently" when talking about the margin issues for Apple's phone providers.

Dennis Gartman is happy to own gold in yen terms because people who own gold in dollar terms or people who own gold in euro terms have just been ...

Guy Adami said at the top of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I think we have to be weary (sic)" of 1,340, but you can be bullish as long as the S&P is over 1,370.

Brian Kelly insisted "There's a difference in Europe this time," but don't fret, he still likes USG. Patty Edwards said it's time to look at "consumer names that are affected by China."

Edwards said "we are long" SBUX but she'd be wary of buying at its new high, so she'd recommend "legging into a position."

Brian Kelly took a Fast Fire on MS, while guest David Konrad said it's not a stock to get excited about; "The quarter's just not really set up for them well, you know, right now," and things look better for JPM or GS. And, "We love USB here."

Andy Busch offered the most ridiculously conditional currency trade of all time, saying if China GDP is above 8.5% to buy the Aussie vs. the dollar, and do the opposite if the GDP number is below 8.0%.

Patty Edwards still likes the global cigarette Marlboro-Man-wannabe trade. Guy Adami recommended CXW but was more effusive about the GLD; he's a "big gold bull here."

Patty Edwards' Final Trade was SYT; Brian Kelly said KRE. Judge Wapner cut off the rest with his fascination of showing pictures of the World Financial center buildings where someone ordered a toy grenade.

[Wednesday, April 11, 2012]

Dead air on Fast Money

Forgive Bob Weir if he wasn't quite prepared on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to deliver glib soundbites about the future of popular music in the Internet age.

Admit it, if he had told viewers to buy LULU at $72.30, you would've fallen off your chair.

Unfortunately, we couldn't figure out exactly why Weir was gracing, of all programs, Fast Money, with his presence, other than giving Tim Seymour 2 opportunities to score fan points and doing everything short of offering the guests Cherry Garcia the 5 p.m. Eastern hour being apparently the only time he was available.

Weir, who we realized resembles Wade Garrett of "Road House" but wasn't looking for a skinny little runt named Dalton at the Nasdaq, has built a "flying saucer" recording studio, for performing anything, a "place that will bend time and space."

Weir paused a bit, at one point got an assist from Chris McCutcheon on "improve," and curiously mentioned the "model of the gaming industry" while explaining that listening to music isn't so great anymore because of digitalness, but that the Tri studio is at the forefront of putting high-quality recordings on the Web (and hopefully can sell a patent or two to the person who installed the current video used on CNBC.com, which to be honest, absolutely sucks).

Someone thinks MSFT will be back in the low $20s by the AFC Championship Game

Tim Seymour suggested on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that for GOOG, this is "maybe value-trap territory."

Seymour also has finally written off NOK, saying, "This stock is lost."

Dan Nathan took that a step further and spent a lot of time explaining that some mope is rolling into January 25 MSFT puts because based on the Nokia partnership, "it's a risky proposition," and that at least some options players are betting "their mobile bets with Nokia are gonna run dry here," which triggered an instant argument with Karen Finerman over Google's margins in mobile search that Finerman just as instantly backed down from.

Guest Michael Binetti said he's neutral on Macy's because "We're looking for the next leg up to get more bullish on the stock."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who wondered if the JCP turnaround is for real. (Good question, but the right person to ask is Liz Dunn.)

Binetti's lone buy rating is reserved for JWN, because this is a "good economy for them."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell premium in coal stocks. Tim Seymour, while impressing everyone with his song-catalog knowledge, said buy BIDU. Dan Nathan said to short IWM, Karen Finerman said she likes a Groupon put spread, and Steve Grasso said MO.

Dennis Gartman thankful to own gold in yen terms because people who have owned it in dollar or euro terms have been ...

Dennis Gartman said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money (as the Fast gang eagerly awaited for Grateful Dead cover guy Steve Liesman and Bob Weir) that "we finally put the 1-handle" on nat gas, the "obscene number," but actually, as Tim Seymour had already said, it's great for the U.S., especially agriculture.

Tim Seymour asked Gartman what catalyst will turn the corner on the fert stocks. Gartman said he's learned in 35 years in the business that sometimes it's about recognizing a fundamental driver and waiting for the technicals to turn around.

Tim Seymour actually claimed FCX "looks interesting today" then excused the selling on the ex-div and the "overdone" earthquake activity.

Karen Finerman said "Dennis it's Karen, let me ask you something" about the spot price of nat gas vs. the forward curve. Gartman said "it's very simple" and exactly like WTI crude.

Finerman earlier said, "I think there's still very meaningful upside in CF Industries ... buy it right here." Steve Grasso did little more than summarize the met coal space and once referred to WLT as "Walters" (sic) in a couple remarks before Mel Lee requested a call; Grasso ultimately said "unless you're committed" to the space, just dabble for now.

Gartman called his own long Canadian dollar/short euro trade a "great idea."

Karen Finerman finally caught up with this page and observed that Gartman likes to refer to owning things in yen terms (perhaps she'll also note how often she requests clearance for asking a question).

Mike "Khouwl" is looking at BTU and said it's close to fairly valued and suggested selling a strangle of June 31 calls and June 25 puts for $1.10 apiece.

Doolittle: 1,422, or 1,340

Abigail Doolittle in separate presentations took up both the S&P and Dow on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report — and neither assessment was particularly promising.

"Today I'm watching 1,385," Doolittle said, explaining that if we get above that, the S&P 500 could actually go "probably toward 1,422 or so," but if not, then it's "only doing some bearish consolidation in here" and figures to land around 1,340.

Later, Doolittle said, "The Dow is looking pretty bearish at this point," explaining it's in "sideways or sudden death" mode and that sideways could mean it actually gets above its recent highs before the plunge which could ultimately reach 10,400 later in the year, while sudden death means what you think, possibly a tumble to 12,000 this month which, when you think about it, basically means stocks could go utterly anywhere and the chartists can say "We were right."

Doolittle said BA also has a troubling rising wedge pattern, and as for FCX, "This chart is really quite bearish" featuring a "messy rounding top." (Like this page has said, it's basically the same chart as the fertilizer plays, not exactly the same but close.) Stephen Weiss said he's more inclined to short the materials than buy them.

VMW in ‘2nd inning’

But for those looking for a buy-buy-buy on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, consider VMWare, which got one of the more robust calls you'll hear from analyst Daniel Ives.

Ives called VMW "a company in the 2nd inning of just a monster product cycle," with a "strong bench" that will ensure a "pretty seamless transition" to a new CFO.

Continuing the baseball theme, Ives said top line growth is worth a "double," but overall bookings are what could produce a "grand slam in terms of this name as owning it for the year." He said he's got a $125 price target on VMW but thinks it could hit $130 or $140. He also called EMC a "mid- to high $30 stock."

Possibly 1st reference of 2012 blaming stock price on tax-rate expiration

Fast Money Halftime Report guest Jason Helfstein on Wednesday showed he's got the cliches down pat, saying of Yelp, "At the end of the day, it is a very expensive stock," and so even though it does have solid growth opportunities, people are taking a "wait-and-see approach."

Jon Najarian complained that uncertainty over tax rates is leaving a headwind on the stock, and if we only had a "consistent policy" it would prevent the possibility of holders eager to "slam the market with stock" so they don't get hit with a higher rate next year.

Josh Brown said of the Yelp underwriters, "I admire their restraint; I'm very proud of them," then offered, "I don't see any reason why anyone would buy the stock here" except those attempting the "Greater Fool" gambit.

Murphy buys CAT;
Weiss buys CSC

Mike Murphy, always good for an actual trade, dialed into Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to promote his purchase of CAT "around 102," predicting a "lot of upside from here."

Josh Brown said it's a great company, but, "I'm not a fan of pulling the trigger here ... I don't think enough money has come out of the industrial names" and he would buy it lower.

Stephen Weiss complained about the emphasis on Alcoa with a funny: "First of all, the only relevance AA has to this market, or anybody, is if you drink too much and you have to go to a bunch of AA meetings," Weiss said. Josh Brown added that OI "also has no relevance" and that its beat was company-specific.

Stephen Weiss, like Murphy, revealed his own purchase Wednesday, saying he bought CSC. "The new CEO has turned around other companies before," Weiss said, and "I love what he had to say." Weiss predicted "significant upside from here" and said "I bought it twice today."

Josh Brown, in something of an understatement, said of BAC, "This thing is acting like a mood ring for the financial sector in general and for the overall health of the economy."

Abigail Doolittle, in another understatement, said, "Natural gas really looks like it could go below $1.50." Brown cracked, "It's gonna be free."

Kate Kelly, who has a new hairstyle for every appearance, reported that "Delta may actually be crazy like a fox" if it gets JPMorgan to take the financial risk in buying a refiner.

Steve Liesman reported early on the Fed, which can be summarized as, "QE3, the bar is pretty high." Jon Najarian urged the Fed to not "draw the gun" on QE3 because law enforcement advises that if you draw, you better use it.

Stephen Weiss' Final Trade was long BRCM. Josh Brown said long EMC, and Abigail Doolittle said to short ORCL. The cupboard was empty for Dr. J.

[Tuesday, April 10, 2012]

Carter Worth begins presentation by showing viewers where Melissa gets all her good lines

Carter Worth on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money attempted to marry technicals with semantics and the end result was a strange brew of illogicality.

Worth spoke about the apparent "correction" as something for bulls to cheer. "The root, 'correct,' implies that something has been incorrect, which is the case; the angle has been too steep, it's been complacent," Worth said.

He said corrections are typically 3-4 weeks; this is the first week, but at worst he sees 1,285 before stocks resume their uptrend.

At this point we'll take over for Google Translate so you don't have to cut and paste Worth's transcript (remember, you get what you pay for): What Worth is really saying is that the level of selling in the last week is more likely to draw future buyers than sellers.

Assuming the numbers along your X and Y axis on Yahoo finance are accurate, there's no such thing as an "incorrect" chart or market; that's the type of slogan coined by the financial-services industry to (yep) prompt people to constantly put money in their accounts and never take anything out.

Worth is implicitly suggesting that one's goal is being met by the opposite happening, that, like some sort of medical immunity, getting the occasional flu makes one stronger indefinitely. He talks as though there's some finite financial timeline for your investments to peak. If the S&P 500 in 2 weeks (or years) is at 1,200, this week's sellers will look like genius. Worth is doing the equivalent of arguing that a football team leading 7-3 in the first quarter is on a much more sustainable path to victory than a team leading 21-0. That alone is absurd enough, even moreso when you consider that football teams quit after 60 minutes and start over, whereas you can't just buy LULU at $8 next week (presumably) and try again for $75.

Worth must think January and February were "correct," and March was "incorrect."

We were also waiting to hear the dreaded "healthy," which we got when Worth referred to "support" as not a floor but a mattress, something you can sink into.

Worth said BAC has had an "epic" move since last fall. Karen Finerman made long BAC her Final Trade.


Analyst explains to the Fast Money panelists that a forward P.E. is different than a trailing P.E.

Melissa Lee turned the end of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money over to Jane Wells, who proceeded to take us inside a textiles factory with controversial American Apparel chief Dov Charney.

We kinda tried to get semi-stoked about the images we were seeing ... lessee, maybe a little "Norma Rae" ... or even "Save the Tiger" ... but really have to admit just not feelin' it.

Charney at one point told Wells that the developed world will run out of Third World places to make shirts; in the process, "We would hope that worldwide wages are gonna rise."

Elsewhere, guest Sara Senatore was allowed to talk right into the music near the end of her 51st-minute segment, explaining that hot names such as CMG, SBUX and YUM will continue to be driven by performance, and that the multiples aren't so out-of-whack when considering growth.

Pete Najarian and Dan Nathan (twice) each pronounced "Chipotle" as "Chipulte."

(The "Save the Tiger" chap in the picture above is not Jack Lemmon, but of course you already knew that.)

(The "Save the Tiger" filmmakers, by the way, had a costuming dilemma in one scene after realizing the girl actress was philosophically opposed to ... um ... (blush) ... shaving.)

(And now you're rethinking how much fun it really is to hang out with Hollywood actors.)

(And you're also really regretting having read this page.)

Dennis Gartman thankfully owns gold in yen terms because in dollar or euro terms, it’s just been ...

Guy Adami managed to say not once, but 2 or 3 times in the front end of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, that if we should get a sub-1,340 close for April, it's another outside reversal, but in the wrong direction.

Karen Finerman was unfazed, saying Tuesday was no debacle; "it did seem orderly to me," and that she snapped up a "little bit" of names like CMI, MSFT and TKR.

Brian Pitz said things are looking up for GOOG because of a "very big increase in product-listing ads," and his price target is well into all-time high territory.

Karen Finerman said (you guessed it) "It's Karen, let me ask you a question," (OK, this time it was "a question" instead of "something"), and it wasn't about "Norma Rae," but cost per click, and quite frankly was a clumsy question and not at all clear what she was specifically asking Pitz, other than to comment on cost per click. Pitz said it's decreasing in importance given the other stuff that's going on, but "still gonna be a key factor."

Guy Adami suggested that refiners might be "sufficiently washed out" to get long. Pete Najarian revealed "I'm in Conoco" and that the spinoff should unlock some value.

Adami even said OI could have more room to go from its after-hours binge; "might be worth actually chasing this one."

Mike Khouw, in limited airtime, suggested a blockbuster in buying the June 133 SPY puts but selling the June 120 against it in order to pay the same $2.60 for downside protection that you could've had without selling the 120 a week ago.

Pete Najarian was heard to say "Oh. God" during a playing of Freddie Mercury singing "I want to break free."

Dan Nathan said if there's one more big day down to start trimming your hedges. Guy Adami said to expect another SVU day up. Pete Najarian said to go long WLT, but at least didn't assert "it's goin' higher" like he did recently with MOS.

Asher Edelman effectively promoting art business these days on CNBC

We're not about to knock an interview with Asher Edelman — always interesting, undeniably — but CNBC is starting to delve into broken-record territory in giving Edelman a roughly quarterly platform to trumpet the wisdom of CNBC viewers owning art as an asset class.

On Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money Edelman became the questioner in a go-round on BID, with Karen Finerman, who ventured into that territory we always find interesting, that a company is somehow "better-served" being private (how does that make the auctions any better). This thread became a mild train wreck when Edelman corrected Finerman on Sotheby's not doing guarantees, and then went off on a "friction" tangent.

There's nothing wrong with buying art ... but unless you're among a rare number of savvy dealer pros, shouldn't you buy it because you like how it looks on your wall, and not because you actually believe you can flip it faster than Pete Najarian's TJX?

Bottom line: If it's never occurred to you to be interested, you shouldn't be.

Jeff Sonnenfeld gets free pass on saying 4-letter word on Fast Money

Jeff Sonnenfeld began his remarks on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report praising Judge Wapner's question about how there are bigger issues for Best Buy and other troubled companies than just a new face at CEO ... only to then argue, "the individual still matters."

Most dubious was this comment by Sonnenfeld: "You've got some excellent people on this board who clearly know that this company should be performing better," and that there's no reason they can't be just like AAPL stores in which "something very different is happening."

"Clearly performing better."

Should it?

It's an old business model facing a massive permanent headwind. It's got a huge real estate problem, and this isn't exactly a good time to be unloading real estate, especially enormous anchor sites nobody wants anymore. It may have been busy but was never that popular of a store in its prime, providing little customer service except pestering questions about buying $10 warranties on $50 products.

Sonnenfeld complained, "The Geek Squad's in the back playing games, they're not talking to you," which is actually smart, because people don't want the Geek Squad wasting their time selling them warranties.

The only thing people want from this store is cheap stuff, and Netflix has proved that customers would rather wait for the cheap stuff from the convenience of their home than frequent a sterile store they'd rather not spend too much time in.

Shareholders are probably actually lucky the stock is as high as it is.

So you've really gotta wonder if anyone who claims to "clearly know" that this company is underperforming actually knows what he/she is talking about.

Pete Najarian said that if the new guy announced he was going to reduce store size within a year and a half, and the Geek Squad was going to provide more customer service, "then I'd buy the stock."

So basically, BBY doesn't need to do a CEO search, it should just hire Sonnenfeld and Pete, who have figured out the robust new big-box electronics-retailer model for the 2010s which involves the Geek Squad in a shop the size of Radio Shack accosting patrons the moment they walk in to presumably help them do price-checks.

Sonnenfeld got away with profanity when discussing the brainpower at a Silicon Valley Web company. "I mean, s---, they have expertise that they were bringing into Yahoo," he said, noting Jeff Zucker was a "great board candidate," and wouldn't that have spiked the stock.

Michael Pachter, like Jeff Sonnenfeld, thinks all Best Buy has to do is just be like an Apple store

Michael Pachter on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report also grumbled about BBY leadership, but at least he's not as convinced as others that the problem's fixable.

Although he did assert, "This is a 5-year fix, not a quick fix," and complained that it didn't start 10 years ago.

He admitted that the exit of Brian Dunn is curious. "I'm surprised that they didn't do it 12 days ago," Pachter said. "He's the wrong guy to lead the company."

Pachter re-emphasized his life-support thesis within years if things don't change dramatically but dampened expectations that it really will happen. "I'd be surprised if the stock ticks above 23 anytime in the next couple of years," Pachter said.

Steve Grasso claimed Amazon will buy a brick-and-mortar outlet if it loses its tax advantage.

Dennis Gartman is thankful to be owning gold in yen terms because if you’ve owned gold in dollar terms or in euro terms you’ve gotten hammered

Jeff Kilburg evidently rehearsed a speech for his TLT victory lap on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, announcing, "I like to say I dream in color but I trade in black-and-white," and crowing that in the Treasury-bull camp, "2 weeks ago that seat was pretty hot," but "at the end of the day," nothing has changed in his strategy.

He said there have been "over 14 buying opportunities" in the last year, validating his great strategy to "really load up the truck."

Brian Kelly said that for stocks, "Europe is the real problem here," and after crediting Kilburg said there's a bigger bang in Europe; "I actually bought German bonds today."

Kelly added the redundancy "at this point in time" when talking about USG.

Brian Kelly suggests an easy win by the world over Iran will be bearish for crude

Steve Grasso on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report said "Valero's the bullish call" for refiners related to the seaway expansion, but Dan Dicker, who rarely misses a chance to say Iran will keep oil high, said the refiner trade is "a little bit heavy for me" and he doesn't want it. However, for crude, "All of the risks I'm saying are to the upside."

Steve Grasso said he thinks it's still too early to bottom-pick in coal.

Simon Baker got Fast-Fired for CBI (if Baker's gonna get dinged, then Patty Edwards probably should be also because she's recommended it in far more appearances) but said, "still like it."

Scott Nations said "TiVo as a takeover makes a lot of sense," because of the patents; "they're now magically more expensive," but he also noted there is takeover fatigue among people who have waited a long time for a buyout here.

Mary Thompson, Prettiest Hair on Cable Television, reported that Jeff Harte, the Will Rogers of bank stock analysts, thinks JPM and GS are likely to surprise to the upside.

Willie Williams was given a lemon in terms of time and was forced by Judge to cut off his thesis to say he would sell the euro at 1.31 against the U.S. dollar.

Kate Kelly reported that FBK is planning to price the IPO on May 16 or 17 so it can be committed before the Memorial Day holiday.

Pete Najarian said he's concerned about stocks based on the VIX at 21 (which by the way is making Keith McCullough look pretty good).

Steve Grasso unleashed a twofold Final Trade of selling into a short-covering rally Tuesday if it happened, and otherwise long MO. Brian Kelly said buy TLT, Simon Baker said buy GOOG, and Pete Najarian said INTC.

[Monday, April 9, 2012]

Guest couples Gordon Gekko line and title of Robert Downey Jr. movie

Guest Jason Bazinet visited the Nasdaq for Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to declare that cable TV companies are in an era where they probably should be resetting expectations because ratings among cable programs are in a downtrend as media continues to be disseminated in formats not measured by Nielsen.

In fact, it's a "zero-sum game or less-than-zero somehow," Bazinet said, which figures to "continue for quite some time."

He said his top pick is Cablevision but in the media space, it's Viacom, which he said is a "very controversial call."

‘At the end of the day’ is actually justifiably said

Steve Grasso opened Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money with something you don't always hear from the Fast Money panelists: "I'm interested in what the, you know, other people on desk (sic) think."

Grasso called 1,370 "ultimate support" but if we "blast through" that level, then it's "another 50-handle move."

Brian Kelly said the 1% down on the jobs report was it; from there it's on to other catalysts.

Then Kelly said of the stock market, "at the end of the day, it just fell apart."

Karen Finerman said big tech names such as IBM and MSFT are not stretched; "they did not go hyperbolic in any way." Steve Grasso then cut in to say how bad he feels for buying the gold miners instead of the pure gold play; "I feel stupid buying GDX," Grasso said.

Steve Liesman said poor traders are "so confused now" by the Fed, because there is uncertainty over how the Fed is processing data; plus there are 2 ways of thinking about Friday, that 1) it's a replay of the last 2 years' sell-in-May-and-go-away theme, or 2) it's just a blip and not important. Liesman said maybe a bigger event than Ben Bernanke's remarks Monday is the Janet Yellin speech Wednesday, "potentially the speech of the week."

Fast Money campaign to get viewers to buy Research in Motion and Yahoo continues

Sure enough, AOL gets an early Christmas present, and the first thing the Fast Money gang can talk about is what does it mean for Research in Motion, a stock virtually no one (including Carl Icahn) (except Lee Cooperman) has cared about for about 12 months.

Guest Maulin Shah said on Monday's 5 p.m. show that RIMM has a lot of patents for wireless infrastructure. Mel Lee said whenever there's a conversation about monetizing patents, there are the "usual suspects" that are named, so she asked Shah for some under-the-radar plays on this theme (and trust this page, if there were other legit plays on patents, you would've already heard about them). The best Shah could do was "A social networking company that was based in Japan," as well as a "number of companies out there." Pressed to name a name by Lee, he said ImaHima.

Scott Nations then recommended buying YHOO October 16 calls for $1.10.

Karen ‘skeptical’ of JCP

Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money got a welcome re-appearance from the Zekemeister (by the way where has the Ilchmeister been lately?), Zach Karabell, albeit in curious format, the "Fast Money Portfolio" segment, which is usually devoted to Strategy Session-type guests who follow the capital markets.

With no Steve Cortes standing in the way Monday, Karabell said if you're China, "You absolutely want inflation," and that the uncertainty related to political transition is something to be "moderately concerned about," as well as the possibility leaders will "prime the pump" unnecessarily for the economy but for political reasons.

Karabell's picks included COH, NKE, YUM, LVMH and RL.

Google's John Lagerling might be a handsome fellow but at first we feared we were dealing with the Winklevi; Lagerling specialized in committing GOOG to absolutely nothing in this interview except to say it would "partner accordingly" with whatever technology, market, etc., brings.

Scott Nations credited Melissa Lee for a "great question" about data hogs and said when he travels, his iPad isn't always connected.

Karen Finerman said the AVP leadership structure is a "completely untenable situation."

Finerman, who is definitely north of 30, (don't you dare say that) (of course anyone would think 28 on sight) who told an anecdote about her analyst finding that everyone at JCP under 30 believes in the turnaround and those older than that are skeptical, said, "I'm skeptical of JCPenney," but she doesn't have a position.

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on television, said she'd be short euro vs. the Canadian dollar. Scott Nations said he is "cautiously optimstic about Goldman Sachs," which puts him not quite in Greg Smith's camp; Joe Terranova on the other hand disagreed and said GS is a lot stronger than people think.

Brian Kelly said, "I would not be buying Shutterfly on any pullback."

Nations' Final Trade was to stay short DHI. Brian Kelly said long KRE, Steve Grasso said long GLD, Karen Finerman said long RIMM calls, and Joe Terranova said long EBAY.

Shippers in free fall since
Dennis Gartman’s latest call

For about 6 weeks or so, Dennis Gartman has spoken bullishly about the shippers, sometimes it's Genco, sometimes Diana, sometimes even DryShips.

Last week, April 2, it was to be long shippers as a commodity play.

And since then, you could get DSX 11.3% cheaper, DRYS 7.9% cheaper, and GNK (remember Carter Worth's Feb. 9 "fairly well defined bottoming out formation"), down 15.8%.

Gartman dialed into the Fast Line on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, not to talk about shipping, but mostly gold, where, "thank goodness I've been long gold in yen, uh, because at least it was breaking even; if you were long gold in dollar terms in the past several months, you're down dramatically." Now he thinks it's time to get out of gold because he's been wrong. Meanwhile, Joe Terranova said he was getting out of his short-gold and short-silver trades, because there's too much uncertainty.

How the Wall Street analyst community works (cont’d)

Analyst Walter Piecyk, in a thoughtful and well-rounded conversation about AAPL on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report (see, this page has been ahead of the curve in suggesting CNBC might as well do an AAPL-only show), was asked by Judge Wapner about price targets, and said this about analysts:

"A lot of times you find yourself moving the numbers up in order to mark to wherever the market is on those particular numbers," Piecyk said.

Or in another words, analysts (with, say, $1,001 targets) are just making momentum-trading guesses.

But Piecyk insisted "We are not even close to where 1999 was" in terms of euphoria.

Piecyk was on the program however to cast a pall on the AAPL story, asserting a "change that's gonna occur in 2012" in the amount of subsidizing AT&T can afford to do on the iPhone; a "change that has to happen."

If we had to go out on a limb, we'd reject that one out of hand; we've been hearing that since about 2008.

Piecyk also told Mike Murphy that the iTV is priced in, and what if the iTV doesn't get delivered.

But he allowed that he thinks the current quarter will be a blockbuster, and that the Street is actually too low.

JJ Kinahan said now's not the time to short. "The trend is your friend," Kinahan said. "I think you'd be pretty silly to short that trend."

Stephen Weiss, Mike Murphy
using same scriptwriter

Stephen Weiss said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, "1 number is not going to change my investment thesis."

Moments later, Mike Murphy said, "I'm not out changing my entire thesis based on this 1 number."

(And after that, Dennis Gartman came on to say he is in fact changing his gold investment thesis at least a little bit, because he's been wrong.)

Weiss said he is still bullish, that he added to his KSS short and is still short JCP, and added to his homebuilders short. Murphy said he's "watching Home Depot (doesn't quite qualify as the daily buy recommendation but close), waiting for a pullback to add there."

Joe Terranova said to play the markets now, "You have to wait for earnings."

Kate Kelly gets a crack at Halftime Report guest, who doesn’t really answer either of her questions

Kate Kelly joined the crew on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report to talk about people being "naked" in natural gas lows in nat gas, which Judge Wapner called the "perfect segue" to the show's interview with Linn Energy chief Mark Ellis.

Ellis delivered a fine description of his company; "at the core of our strategy is hedging," although regarding nat gas, "personally I'm surprised it's dipped below $2."

Kelly got a chance to ask 2 questions, the first being, how does the MLP structure give an advantage (if any) over a typical E&P company. Ellis merely said he's got "mature-based assets" that make for a steady payout stream.

Then Kelly asked how someone looking to start hedging nat gas right now should do it, whether options, etc. Ellis crowed about how well LINN is already hedged and said it was through swaps and puts, and that the puts are a little expensive.

Kelly concluded afterwards that the price might take a further beating if it's a mild summer, but "I hear a lot of optimism about nat gas in 2014, 2015."

JJ Kinahan said the price could "hold" at $2 for the short term. Joe Terranova shrugged, saying he tried that $2 psychological level in 1998 and it "didn't work."

(Nearly) real-time trading in HPQ

Dr. J had likely the most actionable trade (that's a category we should start recognizing every show) on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, and he wasn't even a panelist.

Najarian dialed in the Fast Line to say the "Bank America" (sic) weekly 9 calls are hopping, a sign investors expect the stock to (you guessed it) climb over $9 a share this week.

Joe Terranova came close to an instant trade, saying he's looking to get back into "kitchen sink" HPQ. Judge Wapner affirmed that Terranova "literally almost pulled the trigger in the commercial break folks."

JJ Kinahan said the VIX was up, but its stabilization suggests stocks will hold the technical levels.

Stephen Weiss said he's "impressed" that AOL was up as much as it was. Joe Terranova said "the trade in the moment right now" is to "buy the strength in AOL" (although by the end of the show the trade in the moment was evidently HPQ).

Guest Chad Bartley said PCLN can keep going because "this is a high-growth company" with "room to go," and if it had Expedia's valuation, it would be a $1,200 stock. He added that he's "not overly concerned" about GOOG right now.

Stephen Weiss' Final Trade was long airlines. Mike Murphy said long GBX, JJ Kinahan said long IDCC, and Joe Terranova said long HPQ and predicted he'd have some by the 5 p.m. show.

JJ Kinahan fumbled a bit in explaining why he thinks TBT will rise; "I just said this backward for the viewers ... the rates will pop back up." Stephen Weiss revealed, "I added to the TBT today and also TBF," but that doesn't seem to be reflected in the official show disclosure above (which is why we generally like to say, those are for entertainment purposes only). Kinahan and Murphy, as you can see from above, apparently got a free pass Monday in "disclosure"-land.

[Friday, April 6, 2012]

Slow day in Bank-Land; Dick Bove asked to spend quality TV minutes comparing Yankee salaries to Wall Street CEOs

Richard X. Bove began his appearance on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money analyzing the compensation of the New York Yankees infield, before Karen Finerman cut in.

"Hi Dick it's Karen let me ask you something," Finerman chirped, asking if "Bank America (sic)" could keep going after a huge quarter.

Bove conceded he thinks May sellers will return, and there's a "probability that the stock will come down a bit." But, "I would be a buyer, aggressively, all through the summer."

The funny thing about the baseball chat is that it was just barely a year ago that the Dickster revealed to the New York Post he was cutting back his TV appearances, in part because, "It would take an hour and a half out of my day to do an interview that lasted 3 minutes."

Apparently, spectator sports are worth the sacrifice.

You can always tell the days when Steve Grasso is not on Fast Money

Brian Kelly on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money offered this assessment of today's stock trading.

"You push a button. It doesn't matter. You push a button and it goes someplace and it really doesn't matter if it's Nasdaq or NYSE," Kelly said, in a discussion of Facebook's apparent choice of the Nasdaq.

"I'm surprised they didn't list on BATS," cracked Josh Brown.

How come Melissa never asks Whitney about his favorite subject — school reform

Melissa Lee trumpeted Whitney Tilson's appearance on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money by announcing Tilson posted a "23% return in the first quarter alone."

Once on the show, Tilson indicated his only mistake was the Dr. John Trade in the banks last year, which has now panned out. "I think the real lesson for us is, is, if you- if you're certain something is cheap, and it gets cheaper, don't lose your conviction," Tilson said.

Tilson said his newest portfolio addition is AIG, conceding it's a "very complex business" but essentially a "global insurance company" and one of the "premier global financial companies."

He described owning the stock as a win-win; either it'll go up now, or will get support from buybacks. "We think it's a double in 1 to 2 years," Tilson said.

"Wow," said Melissa Lee.

Tilson then indicated his biggest problem is not making money but putting a clamp on greed. "We have a high-class problem this year, which is, when do we harvest gains?" he said, before explaining he's been adding to BRK-B.

Wonder what a "low-class" problem for a value-investor bigwig is.

Interesting that in all these appearances, Melissa Lee never asks Tilson about school "reform," something the entire Fast Money gang (and virtually anyone with a degree or with kids or both) certainly has an opinion on and occasionally registers in cyberspace or elsewhere and something Tilson feels compelled to devote countless hours to.

We'll give Tilson the benefit of the doubt and presume he does have ideas not being heeded that he honestly thinks will make kids smarter ... and isn't just enamored with the bureaucratic/political sub-cottage-industry of education advocates who enjoy 1) expressing skepticism in every news article they can manage to get themselves quoted in, and 2) sniping at each other.

Rare is the Fast Money panelist who dares wonder about HD’s rise

We've quietly lamented for a while that super-CEO Clay Jones, one of Guy Adami's favorites, never appears on Fast Money anymore.

On Thursday's 5 p.m. show Matt Espe put AWI on the map (like Josh Brown, we found this one to be under the radar) with an impressive and straightforward assessment of the housing and commercial construction environment as well as an understanding of the earlier remarks by The World's Cutest Economist, Michelle Meyer. Espe said it's a "broad-based, modest recovery," and that AWI is now deriving 60% of residential revenue from remodeling, up from typical 50%.

Dan Nathan was actually a rare voice on the program urging restraint over HD, saying wait for a pullback.

Kimberly Greenberger mostly painted a rather stark picture of JCPenney's market share drain but said "our favorite pick is Urban Outfitters ... best opportunity for a double here."

Brian Stutland suggested playing GOOG by buying the April 610/660 call spread, with the 610 costing $36 and the 660 netting $11.

Brian Kelly said he'd short high-yield through the HYG. Karen Finerman answered another tweet (or was that a Tout?) on PLCM saying, "I would do nothing yet."

Brian Stutland's Final Trade was long IBM. Josh Brown, who looked at the wrong camera, mentioned BRK-B. Karen Finerman said PACD while the screen said PASD, and Brian Kelly said USG.

Josh Brown again touted PAY, saying it's "right in the eye of the storm" of the buildout toward electronic payments, as human beings continue their transition to the ultimate cloud (if we're not there already) of their wealth represented by computer digits in a legally protected database somewhere.

For all observing Good Friday and Passover, be safe, and best wishes for a relaxing weekend.

Michelle Meyer returns to
Fast Money, visits Nasdaq

We figured it would be a humdrum pre-holiday version of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Lo and behold, Michelle Meyer, The World's Cutest Economist, showed up.

Meyer, in extremely striking black dress that probably puts her ahead of Alexandra Lebenthal for best-dressed Fast Money guest of 2012, said the current housing market is distorted against marketplace demand; "there's too many big homes that are on the market for sale," she said, and we'll let the redundancy go. But she said investor renovation is "nice support" for the construction market.

Karen Finerman this time didn't ask if this is an "after-school" job but wondered how Meyer can discern for any given home "who just bought it," whether it's an investor or resident, and Meyer insisted there's no privacy issue, "I'm looking at macro data, I'm not looking anything (sic) that Bank of America would have independently, but, um, no, all that data's available to us," although it's "time-consuming" to sift through it.

TWCE deferred a question about stocks to buy for renovations but still managed to uphold the daily Fast Money HD recommendation, saying BofA's Denise Chai "feels pretty strongly that Home Depot is a good buy."

When will Guy Adami get a Fast-Fire for saying don’t bet against Ron Johnson in the $40s?

Perpetually cute Dana Telsey (that's one of the reasons she's such a popular TV get) lightened up Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report brimming with optimism over retail sales. "Weather, traffic, color, it's like hello sunshine," Telsey said.

Telsey hailed the "turnaround at Gap," and also said Macy's is benefitting from others' issues and its own strengths.

Telsey said the hot retailer for 16-year-old girls is Pink, although there's also Forever 21. (So, uh, 16 going on 21 apparently, or something like that, and we definitely don't have any clue what we're talking about in this realm.)

Stephen Weiss said he's shorting JCP because it has a higher multiple than AAPL did when Ron Johnson left, and that the "market is giving it too much credit" while Macy's is better. Weiss was asked if the market won't give JCP a lot of time for the stock to move. Weiss said "they'll get tired of it."

Telsey said Johnson will be "speaking in May" at a conference, so we'd say you probably want to get long a couple days in advance.

Sometimes in Fast Money land, even the Fast Fires are victories

Stephen Weiss said at the top of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report "I think you have to be crazy to put on trading positions today," then went on to list a bevy of positions he holds, and you know what Karen Finerman always says, a hold is the same as if you bought it today.

"I'm short Ericsson, I'm short Juniper," Weiss said.

He also took a pleasant Fast Fire on SanDisk, admitting it was a bad idea to buy it but saying it's now valued so low it's worth hanging on for a payoff in a few months.

Anthony Scaramucci cut in to question Judge Wapner's kid-gloves treatment of Weiss' call, telling the Najarians, "He's so nice to him. He dips you guys in boiling oil."

Jon Najarian then added a little salt to the SNDK wound, saying people could probably get it around $40, though not necessarily right away.

"You're killing me Jon, you're killing me," Weiss said. But Najarian insisted "I've sold a lot of 43 puts here today," so it's not like he thinks or hopes it's going a whole lot lower.

The Fast Money always-buy-HD/DIS-recommendation requirement is satisfied by Pete Najarian

In a segment that promised more than it delivered, recruiting-background-checker Bill Greenblatt said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report he doesn't expect great employment numbers because it's "a little choppy" in the business world.

Meanwhile, nothing was choppy in Chip Brewer's world, as the Callaway boss explained that basically everything is awesome in golf-land. "Rounds are up, weather's been good, the consumer's coming back" ... the RAZR Fit driver has a "halo effect" on the company ... great business in Asia ... Top Flite is a great brand that will be great for Dick's but Callaway has a different strategy now, etc. ...

Judge Wapner explained, "I'm still using the X-16 irons, playing all right with 'em ... hitting a Big Bertha 3-wood."

Elsewhere, Pete Najarian hailed HD, "This thing's really moving to the upside."

Jon Najarian emphatically sums up what’s been the truth about the euro for months even though Judge always asks the Money in Motion guest to make a call on it

Kate Kelly spent a few moments talking up the Delta-refinery interest on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying someone told her to "think of it as portfolio risk-mitigation."

Anthony Scaramucci curiously said "I completely hate the idea" because it's a "totally different business," and "if you get that distracted away from your core business, it spells doom and disaster," although it just so happens people in the hedge fund business were recently interested in buying the New York Mets, but whatever.

Back to golf, Stephen Weiss said independently that he likes the airlines, in part because he was on the course recently with a manager of a large fund who asked what kind of business you can buy these days at 2x earnings with little to no overseas exposure, and after "2 holes, slow holes, lots-of-stroke holes," Weiss still didn't know, but it's the airlines. "I own Southwest," he said, along with LCC and a little UAL.

Willie Williams said he wants to get long dollar/Swiss at 0.92 with a target of 0.96. Jon Najarian indicated he coudn't care less where the euro goes unless it's 10% or so; "when you're talking about fractions of a penny move, who cares."

Stephen Weiss' said to still be short BTU. Jon Najarian's Final Trade was an SEE short. Pete Najarian said TJX, Stephen Weiss said long TBT and Anthony Scaramucci said long Mets, which ties into another posting higher up this page.

[Wednesday, April 4, 2012]

The 1st Tout is almost unintelligible, definitely the sound not in synch with the footage

A resoundingly forgettable 5 p.m. Fast Money aired Wednesday, with traders merely in wait-and-see mode as to whether we're going to get another benign tape before they actually commit to doing anything.

Tim Seymour said it was a day of "risk-off" even though that term is "very annoying and simplistic."

Doug Kass said "I suspect the market is probably 5 or 8% overvalued," and Mike Khouw recommended the rip-roaring June 133 SPY put for $2.60 to protect yourself in the future in a time frame that Pete Najarian dismissed as way too far away requiring too much premium.

The show was so desperate for material, viewers even had to listen to Dennis Gartman contemplating whether he'll cut back on his gold-in-yen-terms position, and Guy Adami felt obliged to revisit the old $20-or-better IBM EPS in 2015.

Tim Seymour got Fast Fired for his GFI call on March 15, one we knew had no real catalyst or at least not nearly enough to be as enthusiastic as Seymour was. Like a good PR machine Seymour tried to get ahead of the story, saying, "it's about time for that Fast Fire."

Karen Finerman said of Research in Motion, "I believe it is up for sale," and likened it to a melting ice cube.

Tim Seymour felt compelled to correct Pete Najaian's pronunciation of "Nokia."

Mortimer Zuckerman, a semi-regular on "The McLaughlin Group" where he's always demanding Eleanor Clift stop talking, said the shrinking showrooms of America's big-box retailers is a trend that's still in uncharted waters, so we're not sure how bad it'll be, but "there will be an effect without question" on the sales floor and real estate. (Basically it's really no different than what self-serve gasoline did for the pump attendant, but whatever.)

Zuckerman also had an interesting angle on downtown real estate, saying law firms have fewer lawyers on-site, and this will affect occupancies downtown.

Zuckerman asserted "certainly the worst is behind us" in the real-estate crash, but it's not a great market right now, and then went on to trumpet his role as champion of an independent press (except the editorial pages, where he's involved).

The Fast Money crew enjoyed its 1st "Tout," a question about SPG. Karen Finerman suggested holders should "take some money off the table."

Jane Wells reported on NFL players taking moviemaking lessons in Hollywood, but Jane forgot to ask Terrell Suggs if the Baltimore Ravens are taking any football lessons about winning in January.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was MCD; Guy Adami said M, Karen Finerman said MSFT and Pete Najarian thundered away on INTC. The camera did a nice 360 of Mel Lee's complete orange/black combo in edge-of-the-chair pose.

Contrarian Day on Fast Money Halftime Report, but they didn’t invite Steve Cortes

Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report welcomed as guest host Tom Barrack, who began his remarks curiously with, "I think all of us have a difficult time with, with transparency and visibility in the world," but nevertheless thinks we're in a "great spot."

Barrack, whom Judge said is known as the world's greatest real estate investor and whose commentary was soft-spoken and measured, offered this eyebrow-raising analogy; "real estate is always the drunk driver on the highway of the economy. Always."

Barrack said for those with "contrarian testosterone ... now is the moment ... herds are running." Specifically, "Fixed income on a long-term basis I think is, is a trap."

A couple times, Barrack said it's time for people to start "working for a living" rather than borrowing against their homes and investing for a living, which brings to mind (ugh) the jaw-droppingly bad character portrayed by Susan Sarandon in (yep, sorry) "Wall Street II."

He indicated he likes the potential of single-family REITs.

Barrack wasn't picking stocks but was later joined by Marc Utay, who also sounded the contrarian theme and stressed the advantages of investing long-term rather than quarterly.

The thing about "contrarian" ... If you were a "contrarian" during last season's NFL playoffs, you cleaned up like John Paulson in 2007-08 or Peter Lynch in the 1980s.

And if you were a "contrarian" on the NCAA men's basketball tournament from about 1964 to 1975, um, you ended up in AIG-land.

Like everything, sometimes it works, and sometimes the herd is right.

Judge touts pair of guests who repeatedly stress slow money, not Fast Money, is the answer

Like the last time Judge Wapner brought on a guest host, Tom Barrack on Wednesday's Halftime also teamed with an associate of sorts, Marc Utay, but at least even though Utay brought a bunch of charts, he wasn't comparing AAPL to Sperry/Burroughs.

In fact, Utay had an iron-clad idea for making money in the markets: Know "where are the flows of capital going ... (where) is there money flowing into, and where is there money flowing out of."

So basically if you know what people are going to buy in the future, you can profit by getting ahead of that.

Utay said he likes equities a lot more than long-term debt. Like many, he questioned the sustainability of low bond rates, saying in only 6 of the last 300 months have rates been at today's level or lower.

Without getting too specific, Utay said advertising tends to lead out of slumps, and he sees "very strong demand in those companies."

Judge Wapner referred to Edward Lampert as "Eddie."

The Fast Money daily HD/DIS recommendation requirement is satisfied by Jon Najarian

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report suggested that his play on the housing sector is HD and LOW; "I buy those on dips."

Najarian said he was just at a distressed-equity conference and asked guest Tom Barrack if there isn't better value found overseas. Barrack said theoretically that's true, but on a practical matter it doesn't work, "the European system serves at the benefit of the borrower."

The regular panelists had to take a back seat to Tom Barrack, but Stephen Weiss did get to say "I'm short XHB" in a theme of shorting homebuilders and going long mortgage REITs, and "I actually added to JPMorgan nearly at the bottoms yesterday ... the wind is completely at their back, there are no issues going forward ... very few issues."

"No issues going forward" with the big banks.

Joe Terranova said "risk is coming off the table," said HFC is "a name I bought today," and mentioned ESS.

More prominently, he asserted, "I am short both gold and silver. ... not looking to cover at all ... I keep hearing everyone coming on the network saying 'You gotta buy it here, buy it here'."

Guest Josh Stirling, in rare bow tie, said AIG is actually interesting; "we see a claim-restructuring story."

[Tuesday, April 3, 2012]

Carl Icahn suggests RIMM shorts are attaching his name to the stock

Carl Icahn and Michael Burns had an interesting Fast Money debate a while back, but Icahn's subsequent appearances have sunk so far into cliche-land, this page could write all the dialogue before he actually says it.

Why isn't management letting the shareholders vote, why are they dragging their feet, plenty of interested suitors want to buy this company, how come they're trying to prevent the shareholders from getting this offer, can't tell you if I'll sweeten it, no interest in Research in Motion, etc.

And so it was, regarding CVR (CVI) on Tuesday's 5 p.m. show, "They should call a meeting and get this done," Icahn grumbled.

Melissa Lee said maybe the company has "time on their side." Icahn insisted, "They've had months ... and now it's over."

Icahn spent much of the conversation carping about the lack of sportsmanship and pleasantries. "I think it's sort of despicable ... In Lions Gate, I congratulated the guys," he said, although he didn't explain that he only congratulated them via e-mail.

Moving on, Icahn grumbled about AMLN; "if ever a company should be sold, it's this company."

Somehow, he said that RIMM sellers were attaching his name to the stock, a head-scratching claim questioned later by Tim Seymour. "Guys that were short I guess kept linking my name to it ... I can hardly spell it," Icahn said. As a "freebie" to the Fast Money gang, he said he is not involved.

Joe Terranova said "I think RIMM goes below 10, I think CVI, there's no buyers for the company," and that if Icahn wants it, he'll have to pay "well above 30, probably 35, 36."

A reach-y water segment is just as uncompelling as Eric Bolling’s in 2007

Every so often Fast Money tries to convince viewers that water is a great investment and then grasps for any kind of stock that is somehow a pure play on water.

Guest David Henderson of XPV first told Tuesday's 5 p.m. gang that "we don't disclose our returns," but "on average our portfolio companies grew by 50% last year," then the best he could do was recommend GE for the players at home, while adding Xylem and Pentair.

Tim Seymour chipped in SBS, and Joe Terranova mentioned AWK.

In one of the crazier end-arounds you'll see, Mel Lee spoke as though Chris Mutascio were standing next to Joe Terranova — in fact Lee seemed to be addressing Mutascio — only to have Mutascio communicate off-camera on the phone. He said, in commentary that went way too long, people might rotate out of a name like USB into something like FITB. And he said fixed income trading might be better for banks than expected.

Larry Goodman was the next guest who did actually appear next to Terranova with an "all hail the Fed" presentation, explaining, "These minutes were incredibly important," and dismissing Keith McCullough's question about what happens if the Fed's timing is off by claiming the Fed is "careful" about what it's doing, and "The Fed is perfectly hedged."

Mike Khouw recommeded a really exciting trade, buying June 8 calls in STD. His Final Trade was to sell AMZN, putting him at odds with Patty Edwards' recent don't-bet-against-Bezos theme. Tim Seymour offered the most useless Final Trade ever, take profits in your GFA short. Dan Nathan's mike wasn't working so it became a Shields & Yarnell short KO (per the text on the screen), Keith McCullough said long GS, and Joe Terranova said to stay with Churchill Downs, assuming you were in it to begin with.

But there were 59½ other minutes in the show to fill

Keith McCullough early on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gave viewers the Cliffs Notes on the day's stock market, showing a chart of the S&P and Europe stocks and commodities.

"On a day like today, all you needed to know was that the U.S. dollar was up 80 basis points, and all that stuff on these charts came straight down," McCullough said.

Panelists including Dan Nathan and Tim Seymour downplayed the SNDK warning, with Seymour noting the stock has been mostly flat in 2012 while Nathan pointed out that being an AAPL supplier isn't so great, "they really squeeze."

But McCullough said the takeaway is "weak demand," which we haven't been hearing.

Joe Terranova warned that MU could take collateral damage.

Guest David Riehl said it's been pricy to short GRPN and thus the sellers are highly committed, and then in the ultimate understatement, "They seem to be, uh, getting this trade right."

More from Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, and Mel's hot striped top (rrrrowr, rrrrowr) later.

Guest in the last 10 minutes gets the obligatory ‘sorry we didn’t have more time, look forward to having you back’

Dan Dicker said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Carl Icahn is embarking on another bust (and no, he wasn't talking about LGF).

Dicker said the "end game" in Icahn's CVR (CVI) play is that he wants to acquire shares but "he's also looking to flip it to someone else," and Dicker doubts there are takers.

"Clorox was one disaster," Dicker said, and this has the makings of another, unless of course CVR (CVI) has a "Hunger Games" franchise in the works.

Dicker said, "Actually don't like the refining space right now," saying the trade has had an "obviousness to it" and drawn a lot of weak hands. For a recommendation, he said "hate to do this," but for the long haul it's nat gas, even though he expects a 1 handle.

Guy Adami said he expects a pullback in CVR (CVI) after Tuesday's news, but "this is a real story that I think will continue to go higher."

Guest Sam Dubinsky, who was interrupted by presidential "coverage," said he likes the prospects of a recovery in construction/steel and suggested people play NUE for a construction recovery, or AKS for a more speculative play.

"I still like Walter Energy," said Pete Najarian, for reasons we can't fathom.

Stephen Gengaro got the short end of the timing stick in the last few minutes of the program, touting SLB on what he said is "basically a bottom for 2012 numbers … activity levels have ramped." He said the biggest growth in drilling will be in the deepwater Gulf, and he has a $93 target.

Josh Brown piled onto Pete Najarian's Halliburton mention to say if this space climbs, HAL will have a bigger pop than SLB.

How many people are going to cast their vote in November based on Paul Ryan’s budget?

Judge Wapner strongly hinted on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that viewers were going to hear President Barack Obama give a speech to the AP complaining about a budget plan.

In fact, viewers got no Barack at all, but John Harwood's "analysis" that the speech will link Paul Ryan's budget to Mitt Romney and that this represents "game on in the general election campaign."

Ya think?

Oh. Joy.

Gillis: ‘No real news’ about AAPL in 2012

Sales apparently aren't a big deal in Colin Gillis' universe.

Gillis said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he has noticed his peers "jacking up" price targets on AAPL, which he said has surged in 2012 "on essentially no real news." Gillis also complained that there's "no historical precedent" for reaching a trillion in market cap, and the difficulty in being a mass-market and high-end product at the same time.

Pete Najarian disagreed, saying AAPL has "no penetration" in China and still plenty of room for growth. But Gillis countered that the transition into cell phones is past the halfway mark.

Guy Adami asked Gillis if it's possible that Apple devices could become a commoditized product, and the story could go away. Gillis not surprisingly said yes, and that the stock is heavily owned by hedge funds that can bail.

Josh Brown said his price target is $2,275, based on the phone keypad.

QCOM is mentioned on Fast Money, but DIS and HD are not

Some might want to take profits in PCLN, but Guy Adami remains in the bull camp, telling viewers on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Apple would love to have the PCLN chart, and "I think this thing is headed toward 800."

Adami also said QCOM "still works," not the most hearty endorsement but whatever, everyone on Fast Money always says QCOM works. Josh Brown says NTAP is one of the "very interesting" storage names.

Simon Baker suggested people move out of NFLX and into CSTR as risk-on remains. Josh Brown noted that NFLX might be having a great year, but the calendar is essentially irrelevant (except when Steve Grasso talks about the steel trade in late November) and that NFLX has faced a lot of resistance as it crawls back to levels in the last year "from whence it got crushed" (we don't think "from" is needed before "whence," but we're not grammarians).

Pete Najarian predicted INTC will keep roaring to $30.

NFL jerseys jumping the shark

Mike Murphy dialed in Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to talk up a stock we've been wondering about, LGF, given the pummeling since about the day before the "Hunger Games" opening. Murphy noted there are 2 more "Hunger Games" (not exactly a new thesis) but that the stock is much cheaper than people think.

Simon Baker mentioned an interesting play on the automotive sector, Sonic Automotive, saying he likes the 24% short interest.

Pete Najarian said Macy's can keep going. Guy Adami hailed Church & Dwight; "the stock speaks for itself." Josh Brown said really interesting things happen in SIRI north of $2.40.

Guest Macneil Curry recommended shorting euro/Aussie at 1.2850.

Simon Baker's Final Trade was MWW, Pete Najarian said SBUX, and Guy Adami cracked up Pete with a return to Jack in the Box, which Adami has never been to, though that's not necessarily his fault because it's basically a West Coast chain.

Darren Rovell spoke briefly with Nike's Charlie Denson, who explained there are now 3 tiers of NFL jerseys for fans to buy starting the day of the draft. There's a $250 game jersey, then a fan-friendly jersey, and finally a "hybrid" game/fan-friendly jersey that's somewhere in between … for all those torn over what to wear when the game is on.

Pete Najarian said you're not getting the pullback in NKE so you just have to pull the trigger. Guy Adami said "there's nothing not to like" in the stock.

[Monday, April 2, 2012]

Have to doubt this is the last time a bunch of credit cards will be ‘compromised’

See, there aren't a whole lot of pop-culture examples of corporate grace under fire, and the rare ones tend to get a little bit overrated.

Anthony Scaramucci on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money applied a 30-year-old example of the "Tylenol fix" as reason to be a little cautious on scooping up otherwise attractive GPN; "I do think you need more crisis guidance though from management here," Scaramucci said.

Well, nobody has died, and it's not exactly feasible to recall everyone's credit card.

Jon Najarian, meanwhile, was making the type of Fast Money call that often turns into serious money, saying, "I think you buy this on this kind of a dip." Guest Kevin McVeigh said now that Visa's decision is out, the stock will perform based on "how Global Payments reacts to it."

Tim Seymour gave a maybe-buy/maybe-don't-buy, positively lukewarm endorsement of WU.

Guy Adami fails to get analyst excited about stock Adami is interested in

Guest Paul Newsome said that AIG's possible entry into home loans should be watched but would only be a "small piece of what they're doing."

He managed to work a "c" word into the conversation, saying its returns in this endeavor would be "pretty commensurate" with any bank's.

Guy Adami said, "For me AIG is trying to play stock market" and wondered about Aon instead. "I have some reservations of Aon," Newsome said, because while its U.S. pricing power is robust, that's not necessarily the case abroad.

Anthony Scaramucci apparently heard enough to be convinced about AIG, making it his Final Trade.

Surprised he didn’t predict AAPL would join the ‘700’ Club

Dennis Gartman on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money spoke about shippers from Pat Robertson's studios, and one can only pray he gets it right this time (sorry, couldn't help that one).

He's notably not talking up Genco anymore, but he did tout agriculture and the shipping of agriculture, though he suggested hedging with S&P futures that sounded a bit more complicated than what most people want to do.

Guy Adami hailed DE, and Tim Seymour agreed, saying it has "room to run" to $90.

Adami said he agreed with Phil LeBeau's bullish call on BWA and that the stock will go up.

Ideal person to discuss the AVP bid (her initials are KF) is not on Monday’s show

Jon Najarian on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said that while some fear a top, "fresh money's goin' in" to the market. Scott Nations said, "The market really is facing a headwind; it is slightly overbought here," but that protection-buying is keeping the VIX over 15.

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on television and especially so on Monday, recommended shorting the Aussie dollar into the rate meeting against the kiwi.

Jon Najarian said retail investors in the options market think AVP is peaking out, while institutions see a higher bid over time. Tim Seymour said for Coty, "This deal makes a ton of sense."

Jim Keenan, delivering the Strategy-Session-esque part of the program, said, "I actually like high-yield right now," and that the auto-parts sector is attractive.

Scott Nations said he'd "move to fade" KMX by selling the April 34/36 call spread.

Tim Seymour trumpeted Brown-Forman (spelled Brown-Foreman in one part of the graphic) by explaining, "Jack Daniel's is kickin' it down in Mexico."

Anthony Scaramucci predicted Kansas would win the NCAA Tournament. Scott Nations' Final Call (see, he went to Rock Chalk) was Kansas winning 85 to (-3). Tim Seymour said to remain long EEM vs. SPY; Guy Adami said CERN, and Jon Najarian said ADM.

Dr. J draws a square for viewers who might not know what a square is

What's this? Ron Johnson might not be infallible?

Patty Edwards reported on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report — with its slick new graphics — that a Citigroup study has found that most people "were not aware" of JCPenney's flat-pricing strategy, and meanwhile, "I'm hearing a lot of anecdotal talk about people getting fabulous bargains at Kohl's" (yes, we wondered if the talk could've been anything but "anecdotal," and it really couldn't in this case, but maybe it possibly could've been, if it were just the channel-checker guys making something up, so we'll unplug the redundancy meter in this instance).

Jon Najarian gave viewers a visual aid as to the JCP "square pricing" strategy.

Mike Murphy reiterated, "We've been short JCPenney for quite some time now," and long Macy's, a better short than that ridiculous Whirlpool notion, thankfully. Murphy also hailed ANF; "We're long the name and we think it goes a lot higher."

We were wondering if Johnson could buy LULU, but actually it's probably the other way around.

Judge finds sell ratings ‘extreme’

Judge Wapner pretended to complain on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report about Brian White's $1,001 AAPL price target being little more than a gimmick, then brought White on for a lengthy promotional chat totally validating the effectiveness of said gimmick.

First, White reached back for a Brag Trade, claiming he called AAPL a "great buy" in October at $400 while there was a "lot of skepticism around it." Then White said the numbers have simply been better than expected since.

He added, "The big hit this year is gonna be the iPhone 5."

White also had the Fast Money Cliche Game down pat, saying, "At the end of the day."

Joe Terranova asserted that for AAPL, "There is no competition for them in the space," and he mentioned CRUS as a 2nd-derivative play.

Another guest, Jordan Rohan, was asked by Judge how Rohan arrived at such an "extreme" rating, "sell," on GRPN. Rohan said it's not that extreme, because he only has 3 ratings in his arsenal and this is one of them. Judge then got defensive and insisted Rohan knows what he means. Rohan said the revision isn't just little stuff that nobody cares about, and that it might be a sign the company is a haven for low-quality operators. And maybe it's too young to be traded; "Most companies that are less than 4 years old wouldn't be public yet," he said.

Rohan stumbled over "inglamourous" and "unglamourous" and predicted the stock could fall to "13 or even perhaps lower."

Jeff Hirsch is 2nd person on Monday's Halftime to pat himself on the back for an October call

Jeff Hirsch, trying to duplicate Mike Murphy's recent WHR fiasco, on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report attempted to call a short-term top on the stock market citing historical sell signals, including that in election years, the Dow and Nasdaq tend to do less well than in other Aprils.

(And like we say, every time the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the yinz win it a year later.)

Hirsch then indicated viewers should take this call seriously, because, "We're OK, because we had a big move since our buy signal back in October," and is there anyone on the plant who was not (claiming to have been) screaming "BUY!!!!!" back in October?

Hirsch recommended HDGE as a "nice liquid ETF" for protection against downside.

Patty Edwards at the top of show indicated otherwise, saying, "To me it feels a lot more like 1998 than, say, 2007 ... I think that this market continues to go higher until it has a reason not to, and we don't have that yet."

Edwards said people are betting against Jeff Bezos short term, but that's a "bad move."

Connie Maneaty didn't seem terribly enthusiastic about her appearance on Fast Money ("Connie, the boss says some guy named Judge Wapner wants to talk to you around lunchtime") but kinda did a good job with a straightforward assessment that Coty's offer for Avon is based on "very depressed earnings" and that the company's worth more, but at the same time there aren't many natural buyers for it.

Patty Edwards, demonstrating impressive research, said the offer for AVP is like 8.6 rather than typical 10.2 and predicted, "they get taken out much higher."

Jim Iuorio was given a cup of coffee to say he "increased my longs to TBT." Todd Gordon recommended going long dollar vs. Norwegian krone.

Without Steve Cortes, unanimous bullishness for China goes unchecked

Mike Murphy was pressed to defend his JOY buy on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report but insisted all's well that will end well; "we're still in the JOY name, still for the same exact reasons," and yes, "same exact" does ring the redundancy bell.

Joe Terranova proved again why he's one of the Fast Money good guys (there aren't actually any bad guys, but you get the idea), admitting, "I'm long Joy Global well above 80 bucks."

John Rutledge, brought in apparently to discuss PMI but doing nothing but an end-of-Abbey-Road rerun on China from his last visit, saying, "There is no hard landing in China and there's not going to be one, but there is an imaginary one that happens about every 3 months when Western investors misinterpret the data from China."

Rutledge mentioned all the resource purveyors, but let's hope BHP Billiton isn't planning on buying CMG or LULU. Joe Terranova offered another name he mentioned twice, "I bought it today, Teck Resources," saying later he's not a big fan of coal but likes TCK and CNX.

Mike Murphy evidently is drinking the Tim Seymour Kool-aid, saying the China news is bullish for FCX, which could be "up easily 10-20% from these levels." Jon Najarian actually backed that for his Final Trade, and also said he added to GDXJ, but Dennis Gartman was not around to suggest he do it in yen terms or warn that you could wake up any morning and learn that a mine got flooded.

Patty Edwards' Final Trade was PM. Mike Murphy said HTZ, and Joe Terranova said TIF.

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