[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — April 2015]
[Thursday, April 30, 2015]

OptionMonster wealth management clients pick a bottom

Jon Najarian revealed on Thursday's Halftime Report that he bought WYNN for OptionMonster wealth management clients and that the primary reason was that "Steve Wynn is a winner."

Pete Najarian concurred that WYNN is capable of an upside rip, but he doesn't know when that upside comes.

Josh Brown said there's "no reason to bet" that WYNN has suddenly turned the corner.

Joe said he recently expressed the same WYNN concerns about LVS.

So basically, nobody besides Doc thinks any clients should be buying this junk.

Jim Lebenthal’s IBM U-turn

Joe Terranova, who spent much of April predicting an all-time high in the S&P 500 late in the month, shifted that accurate call into high gear on Thursday's Halftime Report in claiming that "all bets are off at this point" and predicting that if buybacks don't hoist up the market, expect a "multimonth correction."

Pete Najarian predicted a "choppy" market but thinks it grinds higher.

Steve Grasso downplayed Thursday's action given that it's the last day of the month.

Jon Najarian predicted a pullback from the rise in interest rates.

Ed Yardeni said he thinks Europe is still OK and that "June is not off the table" for a Fed move.

Paul Hickey contended that selling in early May makes sense but that stocks historically show gains in the last week of May.

Mr. New Land asked Hickey, why not sell Treasurys in May and go away. Hickey said that when stocks sell off, typically there's an "inverse correlation."

Doc said the sniping between Marc Benioff and Larry Ellison is "very aggressive" and questioned if they could work together. Pete Najarian said MSFT is the most logical buyer of CRM.

Scott Nations said crude's run still has legs. Jim Iuorio said stocks would like $70 oil.

Jim Lebenthal, under the justification that "I want to win this competition," explained that he dropped mighty IBM from his Playbook Playoffs portfolio and replaced it with AAPL.

Doc unloaded EVEP (for those who knew he was playing it) and added OC.

[Wednesday, April 29, 2015]

Tim Cook would probably have a nice go of it if he didn’t have to mess with the management of AAPL

Scott Devitt on Wednesday's Halftime Report hung a 35 (or worse) on TWTR while Josh Brown questioned if the risk/reward doesn't merit getting long, that is, "if they figure out the user growth problem."

Devitt said his price target (actually 36) is for 12 months and thus it would require the stock in the low 30s to be appealing.

Devitt told Judge that Twitter's problem isn't really people but business model, "not necessarily a management issue."

He added, "Dick's life would probably be easier if he wasn't running this company right now."

Doc explained how TWTR May 40 puts were going for 2 cents before the early earnings report.

Run into a famous alleged troublemaker years ago, land interview on CNBC

Dan Goldberg, whose credentials for appearing on Wednesday's Halftime (once knew or supervised Navinder Singh Sarao) seemed sketchy, didn't answer Judge's first question, which is whether Goldberg believes that Sarao helped cause the Flash Crash.

Helima Croft said the Saudi shake-up implies a "hardening" of the security stance.

Croft also suggested there's "heightened regional turmoil" regarding Yemen, at odds with Jim Lebenthal's prediction that the Saudis, with different ethical standards than the U.S., will be able to clean this one up quickly.

Doc declared he would fade the rising rate move.

Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis that traders woke up and realized there was a Fed statement Wednesday. Jim Iuorio said rates are going higher but it's more about Germany than the Fed.

Pete Najarian said there's "a lot of reasons" why GPRO is on the rise.

Doc said SSYS may have lower to go.

Joe said it was time to "neutralize" his long crude futures during the show.

[Tuesday, April 28, 2015]

Didn’t Carl give Judge a $203 target late last year?

In an edition of the Halftime Report that sort of got Abe'd on Tuesday, Jon Najarian said he's hanging onto AAPL calls as a "rental" and told Judge he doesn't just own the name permanently because "this is what I do."

Pete Najarian contended that we're still in the "early innings" of something about AAPL without quite specifying exactly what.

Invoking one of Joe's legendary terms, Josh Brown put TCS in the "penalty box" (Drink).

Jim Lebenthal said FCX is suffering from the "huge overhang of too many mines."

[Monday, April 27, 2015]

Steve Schwarzman is not asked about liquidity in the bond market, $900 NFLX targets or the SumZero what-would-Buffett-buy contest

It's kinda like Baryshnikov showing up on "Dancing With the Stars."

Monday's Halftime Report hit the big time immediately with Brian Sullivan at the Milken conference with none other than Steve Schwarzman.

"Housing is a good investment," Schwarzman declared.

He also said that Chinese money is constrained by having very few places to put it, and so when it goes somewhere, "it really goes into a boom."

Judge was able to squeeze in a question about private equity opening up to individual investors. Of course, Schwarzman thinks that's just dandy.

By virtue of not unbuttoning his jacket, Sully demonstrated both a bit of a style flaw and also that subtracting about 5 pounds wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Bob Peck no longer talking about the ‘good chance’ that Dick Costolo gets the hook this year

Halftime Report viewers on Monday learned something about TWTR they might not have already known when Bob Peck explained one of the reasons for his downgrade from 58 to 50.

There's "some questionable content on Twitter deemed not safe for work," Peck said. "It's in violation of their terms of service. They cleanse it off a lot. But the problem we found is there is some advertising around this content from premier- premium Ad Age 100-type companies that you would know well. ... We don't think Twitter's complicit in this; we just think they don't know what's happening."

Hmmm ... premium advertising companies are hopping aboard Twitter material that's not safe for the office.

Who woulda thunk.

We're not sure what's worse, companies who typically police this stuff going along for the ride ... or Twitter purportedly not having a clue about it.

Peck said good Q1 numbers are built in, and he's focusing on Q2 and believes the MAUs and engagement "haven't been that strong" and that a "shortfall" is possible.

Peck also said TWTR is not the "must buy" for advertisers like FB is (despite the fact premium companies have somehow latched onto content not safe for the workplace).

The signature moment of the interview occurred when Judge finally, after months of stalling, pinned down Peck on what looks like a bust of a prediction that Judge once trumpeted like V-E Day, the notion that there's a "good chance" Dick Costolo gets the boot this year, when in fact Dick isn't going anywhere.

"As long as they're executing and they're hitting on the fundamentals, I think he's probably OK," Peck grumbled Monday.

Josh Brown told it like it is. "Not a slight to my friend Bob; it's funny how everyone's cool with Costolo as long as the stock's up 23%," Brown said.

Remember, Jeff Sonnenfeld found that 5 of 11 companies underperformed after Trian got a board seat

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime Report said the ISS recommendation of Peltz for the DD board "changes the odds here," but Weiss would wait for a pullback in the stock to buy it.

"You have to be on the payroll of the company's existing management in order to concoct a way that this is a negative," said Josh Brown.

Investing in biotech: ‘Vegas-like losses when you miss’

Pete Najarian said on Monday's Halftime Report that options players underestimated AAPL's move last quarter and right now, calls are beating puts 2-to-1.

Steve Grasso said to keep an eye on 127 for AAPL.

No. 386 claimed, "No one's expecting anything from the iWatch (sic)," failing to note that Jim Lebenthal just last week said it's now a reason to get behind the stock.

Elsewhere in the space but at a much different location, John Chen told Brian Sullivan (with coat unbuttoned) at Milken that to chart a new course for BlackBerry, "We're gonna focus a lot on security, privacy."

Chen said he doesn't think BlackBerry will get any product placement in the new "Star Wars" movie.

Steve Weiss actually suggested there's "a place" for BlackBerry somewhere. Josh Brown scoffed that "I have no idea why anyone would be allocating to this."

Later, Atul Lele visited the set and told Judge that Chinese growth is as bad as 2009 and that there's deleveraging in the property space, and "significant hot money flowing out of that economy."

Stephen Weiss questioned how Lele can fight the central bank. Lele said "the issue is that the PBOC does not print U.S. dollars."

Lele said he likes Japan and Europe.

Josh Brown explained the difference between the XBI and IBB and then indicated the overall risk in the space at least with the smaller names, stating "it's Vegas-like losses when you miss."

Mandy Drury called the show "Half-money fast, um" before correcting herself.

Pete Najarian, as he often does, pointed out how people are buying options protection.

[Friday, April 24, 2015]

Doc: Wear an Apple Watch, expect folks to make fun of you

It's rare that an Apple product is dubbed something akin to a laughingstock, but that's basically how Jon Najarian characterized the Watch on Friday's Halftime Report.

Doc predicted that millions will buy the Apple Watch and wonder why they did.

Even worse, "a lot of 'em wandering around will be made fun of, much like people wandering around with Google Glass," Najarian predicted.

But, he said that the "next iteration" is what people will really want.

On the other hand, Jim Lebenthal said Watch estimates are moving higher for good reason and that the Watch is now a reason to get behind the stock.

Toni Sacconaghi said his AAPL upgrade, with a modest price boost from 135 to 142, is tied in part to higher pricing and margins in the Apple Watch, though he conceded that the iPhone is facing tough comps not too far away.

Jim Lebenthal said Sacconaghi's price target seems kind of low for all the positives ahead.

Rob Sechan made an interesting point about how the iPhone has proved a "tremendous disinflationary force" among the devices people own.

Kicking off the Watch discussion, Mel tried to put a word in Doc's mouth, and not a particularly pleasant one ("crap"), but she said it quietly.

Surprisingly, nobody recommends raising the price of Prime (because everyone will just pay whatever they charge)

It's been a long time since AMZN could be called the Stock of the Week, but that was undeniably the case Friday as its 15% gain vaulted it to the top of the Halftime Report conversation.

Guest host Melissa Lee summoned Janney analyst Shawn Milne, who has an outstanding surname (that one's a long story that goes too far back), to discuss his upgrade to a 488 price target.

Milne cited not just the cloud but improving North American retail margins and a "really strong growth in their 3rd-party marketplace."

Jim Lebenthal gave himself too hard of a time on the subject, stating he felt "a little bit like an idiot" for being neutral the last couple quarters on AMZN.

Jon Najarian said MSFT looks "very, very attractive" to him even into the low 50s as he has a 55 target.

If you own it — at the end of the day — it’s like if you just bought it

On a day with a splendid gallery of CNBC faces, guest host Missy Lee welcomed Sara Eisen to Friday's Halftime Report to share some highlights of her chat with Muhtar Kent.

Eisen said tea is a hot commodity in the beverage space and that there has apparently been some kind of ownership resolution of the Arizona brand that you always see at golf courses and this "could potentially put Arizona in play."

Jim Lebenthal shrugged that "niche-y" purchases won't move the needle for a giant like Coke.

Doc made the confounding assertion that you can "continue to own" KO but you don't buy it, which, as Karen Finerman likes to point out, really doesn't make any sense.

Josh Brown made a similar assertion that makes no sense, stating that when his mythical SBUX holding in his Playbook Playoffs portfolio turns a 20% gain this year, he'll exit.

Josh finds another $91 stock

In an interesting partial discussion about a retailer many folks know little about, Josh Brown said on Friday's Halftime Report that TSCO has "become the Home Depot of rural America."

The only problem with Brown's bullish-TSCO call is that it's the same call he makes for every $91 stock, that it's going to $100.

Jim Lebenthal said he loves the TSCO stores but that it's not really a farming supply company, rather a place that sells Lee jeans, and thus is expensive.

Lebenthal questioned if this is as good as it'll ever get for airlines.

Brown called DDD an utter disaster.

Doc said he's eager to buy BIIB in the 370s if it ever happens.

Rob Sechan contended that "persistently low rates are bad for the economy."

Jim Lebenthal was compelled to declare that he thinks IBM is going higher (Drink).

Doc said RIO had unusual option activity.

Rob Sechan said "it's time to nibble on EM" and touted India and Taiwan over China and Russia.

WYNN: Another company Buffett probably won’t buy, if you’re playing the SumZero contest

Halftime Report viewers got a double dose of CNBC greatness on Friday, and that's not including an appearance from guest host Melissa Lee, looking dynamite and beaming throughout the day.

David Faber, who used to own this time slot on "The Strategy Session," made a rare appearance to report on how Charter will take a quick look at TWC.

Moments later, Lee turned to Jane Wells, who reported that Elaine Wynn lost her battle for a WYNN seat in what is one of the most curious board fights in recent memory.

Jim Lebenthal took a pass on a WYNN opinion, stating gambling is "not an industry that I personally want to get behind."

Josh Brown shrugged that WYNN stock simply "acts terribly."

Doc, who a while back touted WYNN at least for a short-term trade, admitted there's "nothing really percolating."

More from Friday's Halftime later.

[Thursday, April 23, 2015]

LVS: Probably not a stock that Buffett would buy if you’re playing that SumZero contest

A low-key edition of the Halftime Report on Thursday featured a debate on LVS that was mostly about momentum trading but proved interesting regardless.

Jon Najarian contended that LVS won't retest its December midday sub-50 low because "all the bad news is out for this one."

But Joe Terranova questioned the suspension of the buyback and wondered if the stock is "dead money."

Josh Brown said LVS is not cheap but you can buy it with a 50 stop.

Doc insisted that with a 17 P.E., the stock is cheap.

Jim Iuorio didn't sound really certain why gasoline is outpacing crude oil; he told Jackie DeAngelis he's bullish gasoline but is waiting for a crude move. Jeff Kilburg said to watch the 2.09 resistance level.

Kilburg made a great point: "Happy wife, happy life."

Someone needs to hang a $200 on FB, land invites to business television shows

You have to wonder when a stock moves one direction, and the consensus is that it should be moving the other direction.

Youssef Squali on Thursday's Halftime Report called FB's slide Thursday "very healthy" because the stock still has "a lot of runway ahead of it."

Mr. New Land hung a $100 target on the shares while he and Josh Brown and the Najarians agreed with Squali that the earnings were actually great and any selloff is a gift.

Elsewhere, in a sedate opening, Rich Pzena told Judge that a lot of money has flowed into low-beta, low-volatility equity yield plays and "these are priced at record-level valuations."

He said the overall market valuation "makes sense," but the low-beta safety plays are the risks.

Pzena explained that high-beta plays are actually at a historically low valuation, but he mostly seems to like banks' potential with the prospect of rising rates.

Joe Terranova said he would short utilities as a hedge against the overall market.

Joe called Toyota "Motors" (sic "s") the best auto trade right now.

Pete Najarian said that stronger coal volumes mean "there's something going on here" in a good way in the rail space.

Doc said he's long HSBC. Josh Brown endorsed DNKN a little more than SBUX.

Judge seemed to find Robert Frank's assessment of Floyd Mayweather's wealth at $250 million too low.

Karen Finerman finally resurfaced on the 5 p.m. Fast Biotech, but actually she and the panel had a quiet show. Karen noted that today's Nasdaq valuations are far more "realistic" than the "vapor" of 1999, though she still finds today's AMZN "vaporish."

New ‘Wall Street Week’ draws parallels to Fast Money

Former CNBC contributor Anthony Scaramucci launched his reborn "Wall Street Week" franchise last Sunday, an endeavor that has proved to be a sensitive subject at CNBC.

The show had some strengths and weaknesses. (Our review is right here.) It also had a remarkable similarity, in its resemblance to the 5 p.m. Fast Money set of 5 chairs around a curved desk in front of windows overlooking Times Square.

The opinion here is that Melissa Lee's positioning in the center of the conversation is superior to the initial "Week" arrangement of Scaramucci to viewers' far left.

And, the glitches of "Week" quietly demonstrate how skillfully Mel handles being the "traffic cop" of the program and how difficult the job of host really is.

This page is an observer, not referee. Best wishes to both programs and to their respective participants and any of those caught in between.

[Wednesday, April 22, 2015]

That skirt.

OK, CNBC keeps dangling the bait, so we bite.

Every time there's a conversation about Yahoo, we get Marissa Mayer in the purple skirt outfit.

Honestly, we don't have the first clue about women's fashion. (Tell the whole truth; we don't know anything about anything.) So we couldn't begin to describe the specifics of what kind of outfit this is. Nor, in any way, by mentioning this physical topic are we downplaying or ignoring the smarts and savvy and all those attributes mentioned in Karen Finerman's "Rules" book that are obviously possessed by Mayer ... but that is, in fact, a very good-looking outfit.

Nobody takes up Ross Levinsohn’s suddenly forgotten plan for TWTR to buy YHOO

With apologies to B.B. King, the momentum is clearly gone in YHOO as longtime champion Pete Najarian (lessee, what was the highest number, 55 ... 60 ...?) said there's an issue now (Momentum Trading Alert) as to whether the company is "truly going in the right direction."

Jim Lebenthal, who apparently got a haircut, said Yahoo's core business is worth "much less than half of the overall market cap," and he doesn't see a buyer.

Jon Najarian said he's not making the case to oust Marissa but that "this thing is broke."

Stephen Weiss, grasping for ideas that weren't exactly original, said "maybe they do- they sell to BABA," or JD. (This writer is long BABA.)

Anthony DiClemente, the star guest of this feature, seemed to protest that Yahoo is getting a bad rap.

"This is not a negative valuate- valuation here," DiClemente said, defending the action and inaction (kinda both at the same time) of Marissa Mayer.

"What do you want her to do. They- she's not gonna go take her business and, and, and crawl into a corner and die," DiClemente opined.

But, DiClemente conceded to Judge that it's "fair" to say that Yahoo is not performing "at near the rate" of competitors.

Judge asked DiClemente if someone takes out YHOO. "Here on television I can't speculate about that," DiClemente insisted (but then again if Tim Seymour's pouring free drinks at his tavern later ...).

Stephen Weiss asserted that YHOO is not a short and opined, "The same story could've been told about AOL before Tim Armstrong took it over, and look what he's done with the stock."

Not really sure of the long-term benefits of hypothesizing about what Warren Buffett might want to do

Divya Narendra, chief of SumZero (we're still not exactly sure what that is), brought in former CNBC intern Christian Solberg on Wednesday's Halftime as the winner of the contest to determine the No. 1 stock that Warren Buffett should be interested in buying.

However, Narendra immediately protested to Judge that he can't speak for why Solberg was judged the winner, although Solberg's choice of PGR meets the Buffett typical track record of "durable, sustainable" earnings.

So Judge turned to Solberg, who couldn't speak for the judges but explained that PGR is "very very similar to Geico" and trades purportedly at 28% below intrinsic value."

No one bothered to ask if the government would have a problem with such a combination; according to some recent data we found, BRK + PRG would at 18% of the U.S. market eclipse State Farm as No. 1.

Jim Lebenthal told Solberg "2.2 times book value is high" and demanded a response.

Weiss: Large hedge fund I covered regularly canceled major orders

This one falls under the category of Too Much Information.

(Or to be more precise, let's call it "Bungled Unnecessary Afterthoughts.")

A discussion on Wednesday's Halftime Report about Judge's onetime favorite subject, the Flash Crash, concluded with Stephen Weiss opting to throw in this jaw-dropper:

"I used to cover a large hedge fund when I was in sales, and he'd always put these major orders in right below the market, knowing that he would never get it, but it was support."

"Was there a cancel attached to it?" asked Pete Najarian.

"Yeah. As soon as it got close, he'd cancel. But there was not a cancel tax to it," Weiss further explained.

Honestly, given that the folks who tend to carp the most about this subject haven't made a convincing enough case as to why regular blokes should care, we might not have even noticed that line if Jon Najarian hadn't said moments earlier about the Flash Crash guy, "This guy cleared through MF Global ... and I'm not tarring everybody at the firm, but I'm saying, obviously MF Global was not paying attention. This guy's trading 19- er, canceling 19,000 orders ... if there was a freeze-up ... and the market did turn to the upside ... he would've blown MF Global out of the water; he would've wrecked the financial markets."

Jim Lebenthal, a bit out of step with today's household attire but well in tune with how difficult it is to interfere with a nuclear facility, questioned "how one guy in his bathrobe" gets access to making a market and then concluded with the same term; "We can't just have wingnuts, in their bathrobes, making markets."

Stephen Weiss, before recounting the dubiousness of his sales days, actually said with a straight face that to stop this, you need "more severe penalties" and must "beef up basically the regulators."

4th, 1st, whatever ...

Cheniere Energy chief Charif Souki told Kate Kelly on Wednesday's Halftime Report that "it's nice to be relevant again" before the two carried on a somewhat clumsy exchange.

Kelly tried to clarify with Souki whether LNG is the 4th-largest liquefied natural gas purchaser in the U.S. or the world; he said they're No. 1 in the U.S. but he doesn't know about the world.

Souki said crude prices "probably have bottomed" this quarter, and also as would likely be expected predicted no trouble in the Shell acquisition gaining approval.

Jim Lebenthal praised Souki's foresight in building an export network, stating Souki is "putting in the hard work right now" ... however, Lebenthal said he wouldn't buy the stock because it's had a great run, however, he would buy natural gas.

Stephen Weiss asserted, unchallenged, that LNG is "the most widely held energy stock of all the hedge funds that we look at, by the smartest energy players," and praised Souki for being "light years ahead of any competition."

Jon Najarian mentioned GLNG, an old Karen Finerman favorite. Pete Najarian trumpeted COP.

Jim Lebenthal for a change is not asked to re-recommend IBM

Jon Najarian declared on Wednesday's Halftime Report that you "stick with" MCD because "they're doing a lot of things right right now."

But Jim Lebenthal twice said he doesn't have the "narrative" to what turns around MCD.

Stephen Weiss said he's not interested in MCD "in the least."

Weiss said some people are concerned BA's at the end of the cycle, but he's not.

Pete Najarian said KO is going higher.

Jon Najarian curiously put a $100 on YUM but only a year from now.

Scott Nations told Jackie DeAngelis that a strong dollar "is just kryptonite" for gold and that it would take a geopolitical problem, which nobody wants, to make gold go up. Anthony Grisanti said if gold breaks below 1,117, then 1,150 is possible.

Doc said EBAY April 56.50 calls are hot and that QCOM May 67.50 puts were hot but Doc thinks that's an "upside play."

Pete said IMAX June 40 calls were hot, that he "grabbed" some about a half-hour or 15 minutes before the show, and he'll hold them for (yes) about 2-4 weeks (Drink).

[Tuesday, April 21, 2015]

Give Judge credit for keeping Futures Now crew around so Josh could heckle a controversial oil call

Usually, he cuts them loose with barely an afterthought.

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, Judge invited the Futures Now gang to stick around after their soundbites and listen to what Josh Brown thinks of their opinions.

Anthony Grisanti started things off telling Jackie DeAngelis he thinks we see $60 in crude before $50, no big deal.

But then Brian Stutland predicted that oil and the S&P "will start to trade hand in hand" over the next 6-9 months.

So Brown urged viewers not to get caught up in the purported "correlations" between oil and stocks; rather, the further out you go, Brown said, the more it's a "mishmosh" (sic pronunciation).

Stutland insisted there is a "high correlation." Brown demanded to know what kind of data Stutland's got, then heckled Grisanti, who basically agreed at least partly with Brown that oil would be a negative over $75.

For all those folks out there day-trading IBM ...

We can't fathom why Judge insists on making this a regular feature ... but on Tuesday's Halftime, Jim Lebenthal (who wasn't even on the show) was once again enlisted to defend his goofy preoccupation with a stock that is anchored in the 160s.

IBM, as Stephanie Mangano in "Saturday Night Fever" told Tony Manero, is basically "nowhere, on your way to no place." (We think that's the exact quote but don't have time to watch the movie again overnight.)

Lebenthal, who revealed to Judge that he didn't realize what his own voice sounds like, contended that the "new hands" buying IBM (snicker) are doing so for more than a quarter and in fact are looking out to ... (snicker) ... 3 years.

Stephen Weiss said he thinks it will indeed take 3 years to make any money on this stock.

Prof. Weiss

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime announced that Steve Weiss is going to be teaching Introduction to Capital Markets for the University of North Carolina's online business program.

Unfortunately we don't have more time, because this is one of our favorite subjects; basically the Web should be revolutionizing education a lot more quickly but this is perhaps the most conservative space (please note: that does NOT refer to politics, just strictly the fundamental approach to the job) in the American workforce (also please note: we are NOT claiming that is bad or necessarily a negative, only that it tends to be a sector resistant to change). The truth is, as Weiss indicated Tuesday, a lot of subjects can be spectacularly taught online and with materials that in many cases no longer need to be printed.

Best wishes to Weiss in this new endeavor.

Uh oh ... don’t forget, a whole 5 of 11 of the companies where Peltz got a board seat underperformed afterwards

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report made a bull case for DD that Josh Brown said he agreed with, but Brown said he thinks by now, too much of the move has been missed (so, he basically doesn't agree with it).

Judge actually raised the question as to how DD will do if Peltz gets 4 board seats or less.

Judge then pointed out that DD is "up 50% ... or so" since Peltz got in (remember, that's different than how Jeff Sonnenfeld measures it).

Joe warns: If you don’t expect a 10% market correction, you better not short

Stephen Weiss, who had a great show, got it going early on Tuesday's Halftime in declaring that Mark Mobius is "talking his own book" in touting emerging markets.

(Honestly, it's hardly any different than Tim Seymour mentioning MBT whenever Mel calls on him, although to Seymour's credit he doesn't often recommend actually buying this stuff but usually just "keep an eye on it.")

From that, Weiss curiously moved on to "idea dinners," scoffing and implying that they exist mostly so that fast talkers can find some easy marks; "they talk about the crap that they want other people to buy so they can get out at the higher price."

Mr. New Land claimed "there's so much pessimism" and everyone's waiting for the correction. Joe said that to take a short position, you have to have a "high degree of confidence" in a 10% market selloff or you're playing a "fool's game."

Joe said the mutual fund world is underweight energy equities.

Christine Short, who kind of resembles Kelly Evans, insisted Estimize's earnings numbers are a higher bar than what the Street really expects but that earnings probably aren't going to be that great. Steve Weiss protested that earnings can be bad but still might beat expectations.

Pete Najarian, in his usual well-rounded commentary at the opening in which buying puts when times are good is always mentioned, opined, "I think we just continue to see rotation Scott."

Pete: NFLX to 620

Paul Meeks explained on Tuesday's Halftime why he's apparently got some dry powder; he said all of his buy orders are limit orders below market prices, and "I'm just not getting filled."

But, Meeks said "the contrarian in me" is looking at semiconductors.

He told Pete Najarian exactly what Pete wanted to hear, that DAL will do "quite well" over time.

Meeks also told Joe Terranova that BABA is "interesting" and at 80 is "quite compelling." (This writer is long BABA and we are talking Dog City here.)

Josh Brown predicted the Stifel analyst who downgraded SHAK will be upgrading it again in no time, and Josh would buy with a 5 handle.

Joe lukewarmly said you can maybe take a "small position" in HOG.

Pete Najarian hung a 620 on NFLX.

Meg Tirrell, who had a new hairstyle, said BMO downgraded TEVA under the theory that it's just trying to get bigger and not necessarily better.

[Monday, April 20, 2015]

Usually these conversations end with Steve Weiss declaring that COH can’t become a ‘lifestyle brand’

Jim Lebenthal on Monday's Halftime Report said that while Target would like to have a functioning Web site with heavy demand, its problems fall under the category of "any publicity is good publicity."

As producers eventually showed footage of someone (above) almost as good-looking as guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Lebenthal revealed, "Michelle, I don't do cool. I do classic."

Josh Brown curiously said he likes TGT but scoffed at the impact of a hot sale. Joe Terranova challenged him on that, pointing out that Brown was gushing last week about his LULU sweatshirt that doesn't need to be worn with a T-shirt underneath but just caresses the body.

Mr. New Land said he had to cut losses in KORS because "I have no clue" why the stock is in free fall. (Speaking of which, we've wondered what's happened to Karen Finerman's boundless optimism in that stock.)

Josh Brown said he was out shopping and saw "tables, and tables and tables" of 25% or even 50% marked-down Michael Kors merchandise.

Interesting topic scrunched into end of the program (but there was still time for the ‘high’ puns)

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Monday's Halftime Report began her late interview with Giadha Aguirre De Carcer by asking how legal marijuana gets to be a $15 billion industry. De Carcer said it's $4.5 billion now and is growing at a 27% clip, so by 2020, it's $15 billion.

De Carcer predicted "price wars" in Colorado given the "very high demand elasticity."

Josh Brown predicted that soon, "Marlboro" and alcohol giants will enter the legal pot space and "institutionalize the whole thing."

MCC, who wrote a book about her political ideology that, let's say, leans Libertarian, got in a late dig regarding De Carcer's point that high taxes and regulation only help the illegal drug marketplace.

Joe’s right on Greece

In the day's summary of global market issues, Jim Lebenthal on Monday's Halftime Report said he thinks a Grexit is "likely" and would trigger a domino effect over the years and would "bring about the beginning of the dissolution of the European Monetary Union."

But Dr. New World, who for some reason struck a grim pose in the opening introductions, stiff-armed that notion. "Should it happen? Probably. Will it happen? No, I don't think it will happen," said Joe, predicting a deal.

Andres Garcia-Amaya, who sat in for the entire show, contended that the Chinese central bankers are "doing what they're supposed to be doing."

Jim Lebenthal asked Garcia-Amaya if the law of large numbers applies to an economy the size of China's. Garcia didn't directly answer but said he's more concerned about how China gets to that slower growth rate.

Jim Lebenthal said PBR is not in his "wheelhouse." Andres Garcia-Amaya said that if things get really really badder there, it'll be good because reforms will happen.

Garcia-Amaya told MCC that he thinks there's "still more room" for Russian equities to run. But Jim Lebenthal said he'd "stay well clear of Russia" because it has only stabilized because Ukraine has (sorta) stabilized.

Oh joy, turn on your kitchen lights from your iPhone

In a curious feature, Michael Nunez joined Monday's Halftime Report to explain to guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that Apple has an AppleKit app on the iPhone that sort of embeds the roots of the smart home movement in everyone's lifestyle.

Joe Terranova said he wouldn't buy AAPL based on Nunez's report, stating "it's a little ridiculous" to need an app to tell you when to water the plants in your garden.

Josh Brown said Joe plays Taylor Swift at home with dimmed lights. (Wrong, it's Coldplay; you definitely don't wanna misstate Fast Money folks' music preferences or you'll get the Britt McHenry treatment.) Brown also said that falling energy prices stunt innovation in the smart home field.

Morgan Brennan, who wore an exquisite outfit, reported on the pending talks between Comcast/Time Warner Cable and the government.

Jim Lebenthal said to buy the dip in these names and chided government interference in this matter, stating, "all they're doing is squelching, uh, future deals." MCC impressively pushed Lebenthal to explain why the stocks are appealing if the government is the one bungling here.

Josh Brown said he thinks Comcast and TWC will be able to "make that case" to get the deal through, and he finds CMCSK "an OK long." Joe Terranova said he'd be "surprised" if the deal doesn't happen.

Jim Lebenthal continued to defend owning IBM; "I can't be more in." Joe touted BX and HAL and TXN.

MCC said while cooing during Sue Herera's report of the Timberlake baby that she and Sue were having a "girly moment," which was cute.

Last Fed hike: 25 basis points to 5.25% on June 26, 2006; then there were the 75-basis-point cuts in January 2008 and March 2008

Jim Lebenthal on Monday's Halftime Report pronounced Monday's bounce as a "snapback" from Friday's meltdown, "which I didn't quite believe." (And nobody else did either, based on the commentary on Friday's programs.)

Mr. New World revisited his forecast that April would be great for stocks, acknowledging a setback on Friday but asserting the S&P "has the potential" to take out its all-time high this month.

Josh Brown was the latest to weigh in on interest-rate hikes. "They're gonna go in June or September, pretty much regardless," as a "test" of the markets, Brown shrugged.

"I am not convinced they're raising this year," said Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Jim Lebenthal said he couldn't recall the last time we had a rate hike and correctly suggested 9 years ago. That's a great question; it took a bit of refined Googling (you'd think that's the type of thing you could retrieve immediately through Google but no) to find that, according to this chart, the recent peak was 5.25% in mid-2006. The 50-basis-point cut came more than a year later.

More from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, April 17, 2015]

Rob Sechan seems to say we’re too early in the late innings

Bill Pulte, the star guest of an abbreviated Halftime Report (thanks to some rather long-winded responses to reporters' questions from President Barack Obama, who wasn't exactly offering the most candor but oh well) on Friday, said there's "a lot of M&A" in the housing industry and contended that the housing market is strong.

Pulte touted FBHS, MAS and BLDR.

Mike Block asked Pulte whether "job dislocation" in the energy patch could hurt housing. Pulte acknowledged that and several other headwinds or potential headwinds.

Rob Sechan then in "Chinatown" style uncorked the commentary of the day, first saying "we're too far in the late innings" to buy the homebuilders that he said have gotten ahead of themselves, only to conclude that income growth could support them, but, "It's just too early."

Sarat Sethi said there are "signs of a top in terms of valuation" in housing.

Mike Block said a Rhino analyst has a "sell" on HD.

If Italian journalists had asked President Obama about Marissa Mayer’s job security, he couldn’t have topped the ambiguity of Ross Levinsohn

On a rocky (to say the least) day in the stock market on Friday, nobody on the abbreviated Halftime Report was hitting the panic button.

Mike Block bluntly pointed out the Dax is up 23% year to date and called this week's stumble "nothing."

Gemma Godfrey said a Greek default is a "real risk" and a "rising risk" but contended that Friday's tumult will be "short-lived."

Sarat Sethi said that "everybody's" trying to call the correction, and that the market is reacting to the prospect of "OK" but not "great" earnings.

Jeff Saut said the S&P has been range-bound, and the best strategy is "patience."

Saut claimed he called oil's "bottoming phase" on the Halftime Report in late January and then called the bottom in March.

Jon Najarian dubbed the Bloomberg outage "very significant."

[Thursday, April 16, 2015]

Judge warns guest with $900 NFLX target, which is what got him on the program, that he’s likely to get dissed

Well, that was a warm welcome.

Judge introduced NFLX superbull Barton Crockett to Thursday's Halftime telling him that he must expect some "ridicule" for upping his price target to a "hyperbolic" $900.

Crockett explained that he has covered the stock for "a number of years" and had a buy rating from $100 to $350, but he stepped aside because he didn't realize that the international growth would overachieve.

Furthermore, right now, Crockett said his proprietary survey, taken in early April, showed remarkable staying power of subscribers, giving Netflix "tremendous leverage."

Josh Brown said if you believe Crockett's prediction of 300 million international subs (ex China), you own the stock.

(Brown also noted that Michael Pachter raised his price target from $170 to $205, probably because there must be less chance of Amazon getting into the space and Comcast charging an arm and a leg for all the streaming.)

Judge said it's a "big move" in Crockett's prediction, and that's an "understatement."

2 hours a day of NFLX

Unlike Barton Crockett, Rich Greenfield on Thursday's Halftime offered pretty much the usual slogans for NFLX bullishness.

"People love streaming content on Netflix," said Greenfield, who said the average U.S. subscriber "is streaming over 2 hours of Netflix a day."

He also contends that cable cord-cutting only helps Netflix because it reduces the amount people are spending on non-Netflix programming.

Greenfield said that for the more traditional TV providers including CNBC's parent, "it should be concerning that consumers are shifting to ad-free television."

Jon Najarian said the only competitor he sees "on the horizon" for NFLX is AAPL. He opened the show admitting that after riding Mark Cuban's NFLX coattails, "I got out way too early," and in fact he has "had a lot of friends tell me that they had nice positions and stuck with it."

It wasn't clear whether Joe was completely praising Carl Icahn's savvy in getting long NFLX way back when or whether Joe was pointing out that Carl did some trimming too early.

Joe sets Judge straight on strange concern for hotshot rich guys overdoing it on Silicon Valley IPOs

Sven Weber joined Thursday's Halftime Report, with a noticeable satellite delay that occasionally had him and Judge talking over each other, to tackle the possibility of a bubble in the private markets.

Weber launched into an assessment of ETSY, calling the valuation "quite rich."

Judge questioned if some folks are getting a little euphoric over stocks with shoddy fundamentals over even no revenue. Weber countered, "Don't underestimate the revenue," then acknowledged that "the real winners are always the private investors."

Josh Brown, citing Box, asked Weber about the potential for a "chain reaction of valuations being ratcheted down."

Weber explained that the last round of Box investors "did very nice" because of conversion rights, but he does anticipate a correction up to 30% in "some of the companies."

Judge nevertheless expressed concern for those folks who get in late and end up "holding the bag."

At that point reality entered the conversation, as Dr. New Land rightly pointed out, "Investing is not an entitlement. What we're seeing in terms of capital formation and companies actually coming to the marketplace, this is exactly what the capital markets are all about. It's a good thing."

Pete Najarian added that there's "serious risk" in getting into these things in the beginning.

Thursday’s Halftime really needed to end about 7 minutes before it did

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report said OptionMonster wealth-management clients got some ETSY IPO shares out of "sheer luck." (He didn't say if he's advising them to do an instant flip as he did with the "gift" of GPRO.)

Pete Najarian called the SNDK report Sandisk-specific, but he didn't say anything about how some morons thought the sky was falling on Microchip's warning when they should've been listening to Intel and other biggies.

Judge conducted another one of those uninteresting which-bank-do-you-like go-rounds; at least Joe came up with CME and WETF.

Jeff Kilburg said the 10-year has been stuck in a range but said "buyers are comin'."

Doc said he jumped into May 128 TLT puts.

As Judge wrapped up the end of Thursday's show with a decent amount of filler, Joe said he likes the S&P to make a new high, and he likes the 2nd half of April.

[Wednesday, April 15, 2015]

Eyeing a 2016 bid?

Midway through his interview on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Ross Levinsohn described YHOO this way:

"I think it's a company with a billion users, 4½ billion revenue, a billion- potentially a billion dollars of profit, that is a great asset to go run."

Moments later, he revealed, "It is a really, really tough business to go run and grow."

Ross Levinsohn is a talented guy, but he should leave the headline writing to the professionals

Ross Levinsohn told Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report that the "sub-headline" on the current Yahoo activist story could be ...

"Mr. Smith comes to Sunnyvale."

Ummm, no.

(What would the main headline be, anyway?)

In 10 minutes of virtually unprecedented equivocation, Leventhal proceeded to tell Judge 1) how great Yahoo is, 2) how challenged Yahoo is, 3) how activists help push buttons, 4) how the company already knew some of the buttons needed to be pushed, 5) how incredibly talented Marissa is, and 6) how Marissa hasn't really done anything with the core.

Levinsohn asserted there's a "confluence of events" going on with Yahoo right now and observed that when he dealt with Loeb on the activist front, "Dan pushed a lot of the right buttons."

Judge, who referred to Levinsohn as just "Ross" a few times, tiptoed excruciatingly painfully into one of his questions, "I'm sure you expect that I'm gonna ask you" about whether Levinsohn's criticisms of the company stem from sour grapes, but it should've been nothing more than a simple "What about people who say you have an ax to grind as the former CEO?"

Levinsohn then went to equally excruciatingly painful lengths to praise Mayer before concluding, "I think the company's growth is not matching the market. Period."

Levinsohn hung a $31 on the BABA portion of YHOO, then $5 for Yahoo Japan and $9 for the core.

This page has said it before many times; Levinsohn is a talented individual who should be CEO of something far bigger than whatever he's doing now ... but honestly, declaring that Marissa Mayer could be replaced or YHOO could be bought if there isn't enough core improvement seems hardly worthy of a 10-minute interview (in which, somehow, Judge didn't find enough time to ask about Levinsohn's idea for TWTR to buy YHOO.)

Pointing to the unfairness of being a CEO, Levinsohn said of Carol Bartz, "They built her up to be the savior and then- then tore her down at the end."

Another day goes by without fears of Jamie Dimon’s crisis, Pete’s concerns about bond-market liquidity

Josh Brown opened Wednesday's Halftime Report stating the XLE is the 3rd-best S&P 500 "sector" this year.

But Doc warned he'd be selling crude if people get too "giddy" around 60.

Jim Lebenthal, who was practically shut out on Wednesday, predicted Mr. New Land would take off his RRC instant blockbuster in the Playbook Playoffs contest.

Doc said that in his portfolio he "flipped out" of RKUS, which he assured viewers was "a winner." Now he's into EVEP, partly because of the "double bottom in the chart" and (Drink Alert coming) it also registered on the HeatSeeker. (Drink)

Jeff Kilburg said he wants to see "2 or 3 days" of consecutive crude closes over 55.85 before he gets bullish. Jim Iuorio first conceded the dollar-crude inverse correlation has broken down, then contended there's not yet a breakout in crude but that the market is merely "probing the upside of the range."

Pete Najarian hung a 50 on DAL.

Jim Lebenthal advised being "very cautious" on CSX.

Josh Brown said to "stay away" from GOOG and try to buy it closer to 500.

Not clear if the SumZero champ checked with the Nardashians as to possible heavy call-buying in RCL

Divya Narendra was back on Wednesday's Halftime Report to introduce another SumZero contest winner, Travis Cocke, whose winning idea was a short of RCL, citing negative cumulative free cash flow over the last 25 years and a historically high valuation.

Honestly, we've been through this drill a few times and still don't really know what SumZero is, but whatever.

Narendra mentioned FedExing "Warren" a list of top names that people in his latest contest are coming up with as ideal companies for Berkshire to buy.

Katrina Dudley briefly joined the gang and said most of the European rally has been a multiple-expansion rally, and she sees "much more upside" once the earnings start rolling in.

Josh Brown said the buzz in China is related to newfound stock-market speculation, and he considers it only "temporary excitement."

Brown said he would "continue to buy dips" in SHAK during a laugh-a-lympics on the subject that was frankly boring and even featured a strange call from Brown's wife.

Pete Najarian said OC August 42 calls were hot, so he expects to see the stock go higher. Doc said he bought CIT October 50 calls as well as the stock.

Jim Lebenthal advised against buying CAT. Pete Najarian pointed out the chemical names are hopping.

Doc said BAC didn't give enough of a reason to own the stock.

[Tuesday, April 14, 2015]

Bill Nygren implies N.Y. Times headline writer missed the point

Bill Nygren told Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report that the N.Y. Times headline on the Larry Fink letter was "offensive."

But "then when I actually read the letter," Nygren said, he found he doesn't actually disagree with what Fink wrote.

Stephen Weiss said some companies do require some immediate activism to right the ship, and "it's up to investors" whether they agree with the activists.

Grandpa Josh Brown, a panelist on a show called "Fast Money" and its offshoot, suggested we used to have a system where people bought stock and held the certificates "and cared about what happened with the company," but now it's a nonchalant ETF universe that Fink has helped shape that doesn't vote proxies.

Nygren said he has scooped up PCP and CAT.

Declaring himself a contrarian on GE, Nygren said he's "absolutely a fan of the move" by Jeff Immelt because of upcoming margin improvement; "the nastiest shareholder letter I got this quarter was chastising us for buying GE."

Actually in 1999, you should’ve been putting it in Research in Motion

Mike Mayo isn't a big fan of BAC.

Seeking verification on Tuesday's Halftime Report, Mayo dared viewers with a homework assignment: "If you're watching the show," look up Brian Moynihan's letter and try to determine what the company's priorities are and whether the company met its financial targets last year.

Sorry, too busy.

(Mayo, however, did say "Bank America" (sic) a couple of times.)

Mayo gave a decent nod to JPM, stating it's in the start of a "couple-year trend" of optimizing earnings. But he said "there's even more to optimize" at MS and C.

Josh Brown asked Mayo how MS can further extend its wealth-management margins when there's "fee compression" throughout the industry.

Mayo said MS is finally getting its "act together" on Dean Witter, which, assuming it's true, would certainly be a lengthy process.

In the day's most curious call, Mayo said he's reversing what he said in 1999 (sic), stating he said to take money out of bank stocks and put it in the bank, and now it's time to take it out of the bank and put it into bank stocks. (Honestly his timing seems a little off in both cases, but whatever.)

Mayo said he just ran into Ed Garden at the BK meeting and that Garden said he supports management, but that they expect "best-in-class performance in each of their businesses," so the standards are high and immediate.

At the end, the panel conducted a clumsy exchange of who likes which bank the most.

In the face of a Goldman Sachs risk-off warning, the momentum trade prevails

It's little more than a suggestion box for a risk-off environment.

But, David Kostin's list of stocks most likely to undperform in an expensive market, which Judge defined as "stocks with an enterprise value to sales ratio greater than, than 10 times," proved interesting fodder for Tuesday's Halftime Report.

The upshot is that no one on the panel was taking it very seriously; basically no one's worried about a March 2014-like rout of lofty names.

Mr. New World called Kostin's list a "fantastic note" that provides "process" and "structure" and a "plan that you can actually implement."

But ... all that euphoria aside ... Joe cautioned that there's still a lot of "positive momentum" behind a lot of those names and said he would only short the ones that are already down for the year such as Z, N, GLNG and YELP.

Josh Brown basically said what Joe said, that some of these high-flying names can still go a lot higher, so look for the ones that are breaking down.

Stephen Weiss opined that it's "difficult" to call biotechs expensive, though he doesn't disagree with calling V and Z expensive.

Pete Najarian used the moment to recommend doing stock replacement for a high-P.E. name like UA using options.

On a bit of a tangent, Joe suggested mutual funds are "underweight" AAPL, BMY and PFE, which gives them the kind of potential momentum that's "almost like a short squeeze."

Stephen Weiss said everyone in energy owns LNG "because it's a unique asset." Weiss then tried to explain where Kostin is coming from, delivering a brief history of being a "sales guy on the Street," explaining he would look at where his shop would "separate" from the pack on the "universe" of stocks on the top and bottom and that some analysts will pick extremes "just to get their name out there" for the buy siders.

Haven’t heard a cabbie make an oil forecast for a while

Dr. New World on Tuesday's Halftime Report predicted an energy breakout and said "right now" is the time to chase beta in the energy space, so he's ditching VLO in his Playbook Playoffs portfolio in favor of EOG, CXO and RRC.

Stephen Weiss said Joe's move is a "gutsy call" but that Weiss is not concerned about the retail move in oil.

Josh Brown cautioned that if oil rises, it won't be good for the retail/consumer names that are doing well. But Joe said strength in energy would take "the stress" off the high-yield energy market, which would help equities.

Using the cabdriver analogy, Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis that cabbies are telling you to sell oil but savvy investors are getting in.

Scott Nations said crude "continues to grind higher."

Joe squeezed in an APA recommendation at the end of the program.

Josh Brown touted JBHT, no surprise given that it's over $90.

[Monday, April 13, 2015]

Sara Eisen is guest host of 5 p.m. show (a/k/a whatever happened to Karen’s short of BKS?)

Pete Najarian, who evidently didn't have enough time to express his views at Halftime, turned up on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Biotech and pointed out that YHOO trades with BABA and said "the big question" is whether Marissa Mayer has been doing a great job or whether she's just been "along for the ride" ... except he didn't try to answer. (Thanks for posing the questions; that's supposed to be the host's job.)

Guy Adami actually said that NFLX could see 530 by the 16th. (Translation: What happened to Pachter's years-long argument that 1) Amazon and all kinds of other competitors were going to buy all the content and compete and 2) the Internet providers were going to squeeze Reed Hastings for bandwidth usage.)

Brian Kelly admitted that when he saw the BKS move, he had forgotten that it was even a publicly traded stock, something we had forgotten as well.

Guest host Sara Eisen wasn't the only CNBC superfox on Monday's show; she brought in Jane Wells later (but we didn't get a good image of Jane so we're not doing a picture of that), and also MCC in sleek gray 2-toned dress ushered in the program from Closing Bell.

Suddenly, Pete isn’t concerned enough about liquidity in the bond market to challenge his differing colleagues

In an excellent discussion on banks that was a bit different than usual, Anton Schutz told Judge on Monday's Halftime that he owns C, BAC and STI and "a lot of merger candidates among the smaller banks," but he doesn't own JPM, GS, MS and WFC — even though he expects good quarters — because he's concerned about them being "consensus longs" and crowded trades.

Things got even more interesting when Schutz singlehandedly revisited an issue from earlier programs.

"If we ever get a tightening cycle ... man oh man, it could be, really wreck (sic surely meant "wreak") some havoc in the bond market," Schutz said.

But then came the money quote. Schutz said he's concerned that the big banks "are gonna have some issues providing liquidity for bonds."

That was met with absolutely zero follow-through.

Mr. New Land predicted M&A in the asset-management space.

Steve Grasso said the big banks are "all overbought at this point."

Whew — no one wrote an op-ed about performance of companies since Jana got a board seat (or whether it should be measured since it started buying the shares)

Pete Najarian observed on Monday's Halftime Report that there's "common ground" between Jana and Qualcomm.

Jim Lebenthal said Qualcomm's bigger concerns than a breakup are whether other products are being designed around its patent portfolio and what chips are in the Samsung Galaxy 6.

Dr. New World said that if QCOM gets back to 81, it's going to take a "long time."

Pete Najarian tried to talk himself out of saying NFLX is going higher (translation: that's where the momentum is but I haven't seen any options activity).

Jim Lebenthal similarly said "the devil will be in the details" on the Sears-Simon 50/50 joint venture but he likes the 50/50 part of it (and he said "50/50" enough times to evoke memories of the Seth Rogen movie).

Joe contended that "longer-term, GE's going above 30."

Josh Brown said talking about UNH is "like the guy in your office that wants to talk about 'Breaking Bad.'"

Honestly, if you are excited about UA because Jordan Spieth wore it ... you need to get a life

In a total non-surprise on Monday's Halftime Report, Pete Najarian endorsed UA in the athletic-wear trade.

Josh Brown declared that "everywhere I go is Under Armour," and that it was "so poetic" and "so perfect" to see Jordan (Zzzzzz) Spieth "blow by" (sic they were never in front of him) Nike-wearing Tiger and Rory.

Brown said his wife bought him a LULU sweatshirt and that it's awesome, you don't need to wear another shirt underneath it; "it almost caresses your skin."

"This is not women's clothes; it's men's clothing," Brown clarified.

Pete Najarian exhorted everyone to use options in UA. Josh Brown had the audacity to point out that in options, you could lose the entire amount of the investment.

Judge apologized to Sue Herera for the "awkward segue" of jokes into the CNBC News update that featured a couple of grim stories.

Still no one on the Halftime Report questions if there isn’t a better deployment of $50 billion of GE’s money

Hardeep Walia, one of the best of the regular Halftime guests because of the subsectors he mentions (some seem pretty savvy; others a bit loopy), spoke on Monday of the rising-rates Motif, which comprises many of the online brokers.

Mr. New Land offered, "It makes sense."

Jim Lebenthal wondered about including non-financial stocks in such a Motif, suggesting (Drink Alert coming) AAPL (Drink) "as well as others."

Walia said he's got a Motif called "bullet-proof balance sheets" for those and that he keeps out the non-financials from the rising-rate Motif because he wants it "relatively pure."

Walia also said he's got a Motif for (cringe) buybacks. (Because if any of the panelists were handed $50 billion to invest, surely they'd put it all in General Electric shares and not in Facebook.)

Actually, when you think about it, a lot of companies/industries are universally hated (none as much as GE Capital)

Phil LeBeau on Monday's Halftime Report delivered a troublesome conclusion about air travel from O'Hare Airport, suggesting investors don't care about the quality of air travel given UAL's shares and that travelers might as well lower their expectations; you're not going to have an empty seat next to you.

Jim Lebenthal lamented that he sold UAL a bit early and cautioned that everybody tends to "hate" airlines, and that they can't be "great businesses" when everyone from customers, regulators, etc. "hates you."

Lebenthal revealed that he doesn't hate anyone.

Looks like Christine Short’s point about people ‘bored’ by the Apple Watch seems accurate

Alex Gauna visited with Monday's Halftime Report to say the "side story" of the Apple Watch is "off to a less-than-momentous start here."

Nevertheless, Gauna said he's wavering "not in the least" on his $150 price target because of the strength of the iPhone.

Joe advised viewers, "Own the stock; don't trade the stock," then credited Cramer for telling viewers to do that "for years now."

Still no takers on Jamie Dimon’s unknown crisis

Jim Lebenthal, batting leadoff on Monday's Halftime Report, said, "This is a good time to have 10 to 12% of cash in your equity portfolios to pick up the opportunities as they come up."

Sounds fine of course, but honestly, what is the other 88-90% doing ... sitting on CAT?

Judge, who ran a good, crisp show on Monday, asked a good question, pointing out that if Deutsche Bank's 2015 earnings number is correct, the market is presently trading beyond a 17 multiple, and perhaps there's a "disconnect."

Dr. New World acknowledged a disconnect but said April will be a good time to bet on the consumer regardless.

Pete Najarian said he continues to like health care.

Josh Brown said aside from energy, S&P 500 earnings aren't bad and pointed to leadership coming from the Russell 2000 growth.

Jim Lebenthal said TGT seems to be going only 1 direction.

Pete Najarian said MAC May 85 calls were hot, and he jumped in.

[Friday, April 10, 2015]

Evidently CNBC’s mutual-funds-only policy has loopholes for longtime employees

Venerable CNBC broadcaster Bill Griffeth revealed on Friday's Closing Bell, "I had a couple shares, still do, from my days when GE owned NBC, and it's in my 401(k)."

Which should probably serve as Exhibit A that buying your own company's stock can be a lousy way to save for retirement.

What if Jeff Immelt were spending $50 billion on FB?

Now entering Year 6 or 7 of the extrication from Apparently The Worst Company In The World, GE Capital ...

On Friday's Halftime Report, Judge aired a clip of Jeff Immelt saying "at the end of the day" (Drink) that investor view of financial services vs. industrial assets is "starkly" different.

That's the stated rationale (as opposed to the unstated one, which is "We would've loved to unload this junk in 2008 but nobody would take it until now") for General Electric's sudden shareholder-friendly transformation that was somehow earning praise on Friday for one of the loopiest of ideas — a gigantic buyback.

The notion that the best thing this company — or any entity on the planet — could do with $50 billion is buy GE shares is beyond laughable.

If anything, the savvy contrarians have to be thinking that there are going to be some quality assets here sold off on the cheap.

Sarat Sethi said GE is making a "great divestment" as real estate is "close to its peak or getting there."

Stephen Weiss called it a good move but questioned why there wasn't a "competitive auction" for the real estate, which he called "a little troubling."

Nevertheless, Weiss called the stock a "pretty good buy."

No one on the program bothered to question how unloading NBC Universal a couple years ago when supposedly "it's all about content" was a visionary move.

Jim Lebenthal said GE has "deconglomeratized," which it really hasn't, but whatever.

Jon Najarian said Jeff Immelt is making a "repatriation" move of $36 billion and throwing down the "gauntlet" to other companies. Stephen Weiss questioned the wisdom of doing that and paying nearly half in taxes rather than snapping up smaller companies overseas with cheap money.

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Biotech somehow suggested 25% upside on GE on the strength of the buyback alone and laughably called it "grossly underowned."

Jon Fortt apparently didn’t ask any shoppers what they thought of Joe unloading the stock at 128 in his Playbook Playoffs portfolio

Jon Fortt on Friday's Halftime Report said he ran into a Michigander at the Apple store who didn't even know the Watch was coming out today but found it too expensive.

Jim Lebenthal said he "couldn't care less" about the Apple Watch.

Christine Short said, "I'm not a big fan of the Watch," stating some customers seem "bored" with it.

Whew — Bill George didn’t say that 5 of 11 of Nelson Peltz’s board-seat companies have underperformed the S&P since getting the seat when Peltz thought he should be measuring since he started buying the stock (a/k/a inversions are fine if they fulfill a mission)

Not about to let this (boring) subject die, Judge revved up the DuPont activism controversy on Friday's Halftime by interviewing Harvard prof and former MDT boss Bill George ... who seems to think activist investors kind of have a Gekko streak.

George rattled off DuPont's greatest hits and said "it's wrong" for someone to suggest carving it up into pieces.

George said Ellen Kullman is making "all the right moves" and that rather than helping out, Peltz's interest is merely a "huge distraction."

Judge questioned if George is targeting the right activist for purported short-term greed given that Nelson Peltz tends to stick around in his companies for a long time. George insisted "there is a tendency" among activists to close out positions in less than a year.

But it seems like George's biggest concern is keeping the R&D doors open at DD.

"His initial plan was to eliminate the central research labs," George said.

Judge, taking a queue from Peltz's suggestion days ago that Jeff Sonnenfeld is being sponsored by someone with an interest, asked George if he's not conflicted by serving on the Goldman Sachs board.

George said "I don't get involved with who Goldman advises; in fact, they don't really let us know those things as board members."

George defended inversions, stating there are "very serious problems in the U.S. tax code;" he said he supported the MDT inversion because "it was nece- it was part of an overall strategy to expand the mission of Medtronic ... fulfills the mission of Medtronic; adds another 5 to 6 million new patients every year."

He's "sorry" that there's pressure on inversions.

Stephen Weiss described the whole process as "capital markets."

Jim Lebenthal first said Peltz is a "questionable" name to go after, then he said Peltz is the "wrong" name to go after, but he also questioned why one would go after DD.

Day 2 of Jamie Dimon’s unknown-crisis prediction; no takers

Well, they decided to give bond-market liquidity a pass, which basically tells you how pressing (or not) of a problem it is.

Jim Lebenthal opened Friday's Halftime Report pronouncing this "a stock picker's (Drink) earnings season."

Christine Short predicted -1.5% earnings growth and said even domestic companies will blame it on the dollar.

Jon Najarian said he thinks the earnings bar is too low; he's heard as much as -5%.

Short predicted beats from PCLN, GILD, AMZN, ISRG and WHR.

Stephen Weiss called this a "kitchen-sink quarter (Drink) for currency."

Short said "we're looking for a miss here" in JPM, but she wasn't referring to Jamie Dimon's upcoming crisis.

Mel has the whole package working

Paul Sankey, given a few soundbites late on Friday's Halftime, told Judge that rig count, "to be honest," is no longer the biggest story in the oil market; rather it's Saudi production.

Sankey wouldn't give Judge a 2-handle in crude but said it's "backing up on ships offshore West Africa" and that the price of oil in Canada could "easily" dip below $30.

Sankey did offer a $100 crude target for 2017 and 2018 and suggested HES and OXY as M&A candidates; if Dr. New Land were present he would've reminded viewers that "Hess is tethered to the price of oil" (Drink).

Scott Nations hung a 100.785 on the DXY.

Doc said Dave DeWalt (that would be FEYE) might be covered on "60 Minutes," always a good fundamental case, so he bought that stock.

[Thursday, April 9, 2015]

Pete questions what kind of
bond-market liquidity his absent colleagues were looking at

Who woulda thunk that the primo topic of Thursday's Halftime Report would be ... bond-market liquidity.

Dan Greenhaus, who had a great show, got the ball rolling, stating during the Jamie Dimon-Dodd-Frank-or-whatever-he-was-writing-about discussion that Greenhaus had "a number of conversations with clients this morning" about liquidity in the bond market and "I cannot stress enough ... how many people think this is a total abomination in the sense that liquidity in the market has effectively gone away."

Pete Najarian chimed in that, "A couple of weeks ago we sat on the desk and some of the traders were disagreeing, they said, 'Oh there's plenty of liquidity in the mark- bond market. I don't know where they're looking," because, "I'm getting hit from people all over Wall Street telling me, 'There is not liquidity'" in the bond market.

So we looked that up and decided that Pete was referring to the March 19 appearance of Michael Chuang, who, commenting on a WSJ story, states that rising rates could trigger a rush out of bonds, only to have Dr. New World defend the "deep liquidity" of the market — backed up by Josh Brown and to some extent Pete's brother Doc — which now seems an outlier with the "people all over Wall Street" who are bending Pete's ear on this topic.

Later Thursday, Brian Stutland said he sees 2% as resistance for bond yields and predicted rates stay low for a "considerable" amount of time.

Dan Greenhaus, with a couple of decent examples, warned that "the bond yield can move much quicker than I think a lot of people on this network and watching this- uh, watching this show right now really take account for."

It sounded like Sarat Sethi was saying "stay short" bonds, but Stephen Weiss astutely got him to clarify that Sethi only meant to stay in short-duration bonds, not longer term.

Pete implies that the Watch tested by NYT critic is an outlier

Thursday's Halftime entertained a visit from the New York Times' Farhad Manjoo, who told Judge of the Apple Watch, "It took a few days to get used to it," a comment that by the conclusion of the discussion had the Halftime panel writing off this product.

Manjoo said the Apple Watch battery has never run out in 1 day and typically at the end of the day he has "about 20% left," which he said is better than his phone most of the time.

Pete Najarian said, "I've heard the exact opposite from everybody else who's actually had this experience so far."

Randy Frederick produces
the Jacket of the Month

We always say it's rare when the Fast Money/Halftime crew reaches unanimity.

But that's basically what happened when Judge opened Thursday's Halftime with a go-round on Jamie Dimon's predictions.

(Oops, OK, Pete Najarian actually got to open the program urging viewers to buy put protection with the VIX low.) (Drink.)

Dan Greenhaus, who put together a mini-tour de force, bluntly declared, "Worrying about a crisis is not a rewarding investment strategy in the short term in any mean- way, shape or form."

Judge referred to his Schwab guest as Randy "Fredericks" (sic); Frederick questioned whether there was anything in Jamie Dimon's letter that surprises anyone.

Frederick asserted that there's some "pent-up demand" (Drink) in consumer discretionary.

Judge admits he wasn’t expecting to wake up Thursday and learn that Mark Pincus was a CEO again

Slow news day.

In a story that got overcooked on CNBC's Thursday morning production like a well-done Pittsburgh steak, Judge told Halftime panelists that "I was surprised, to say the very least, uh when I heard about this news" of the change at Zynga.

Sarat Sethi said ZNGA is "probably gonna be dead money for a while."

Stephen Weiss correctly asked, "Who cares?"

Karen absent from another episode of the 5 p.m. Fast Biotech (rest assured she’s long XBI, IBB and FBT)

John Dowd, repeating a common refrain these days, told Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report, "I'm constructive on oil prices."

Dowd said he expects to see non-OPEC supply "slow" while demand remains brisk.

He likes APC and NBL because of their "differentiated skill set" for finding new reserves.

Stephen Weiss, matching Dan Greenhaus on Thursday with some cogent observations, said Mark Mobius' pro-commodities call is "tough" and said that many commodity hedge funds "haven't made money in 4 or 5 years," then added that Jim Rogers likes calling the bottom in commodities; "How many times has he called it over the last few years."

Sarat Sethi said he owns AA and would "keep on buying at these levels."

Stephen Weiss said NFLX and AMZN could reach new highs in the near future.

Pete Najarian and Sarat Sethi endorsed homebuilders on a pullback; Dan Greenhaus asked for a definition of pullback and was told 10%.

Pete Najarian said he likes INTC but indicated he's waiting for the options to tell him when to buy.

Steve Weiss, in a point that wasn't worth a whole lot actually, suggested that if you like the BBBY fundamentals, the selloff is an opportunity.

Dan Greenhaus said it's refreshing to know that Lynda.com charges a $25 membership fee so that LNKD is not just buying some site where you go to "scroll around and have some fun" that sounds like this place, and we wouldn't turn down a premium offer from LNKD.

Pete Najarian said MYL 72.50 calls were active.

[Wednesday, April 8, 2015]

CNBCers complain about heckling when they express skepticism about AAPL, do the same to Soc Gen

One of the standard punch lines on Fast Money or the Halftime Report is for a panelist to inform viewers, "Every time I question anything about Apple's stock — I think it's a great, great company, but there's a difference between the company and stock — I get bombarded with hate mail, but I just think the stock is due for a pause ..."

Yet, on Wednesday's Halftime, the panel wasted no time in mocking the Soc Gen downgrade.

Walter Piecyk scoffed at Soc Gen's rationale (currency, sluggish March quarter) for the downgrade, while Pete Najarian hailed AAPL's ability to hedge the currency headwinds.

Dr. New Land suggested that if you want to play soft iPhone sales, consider owning CRUS puts or SWKS puts.

Piecyk said there are a lot of improvements that need to be made in Periscope, but that given the potential, DISH is "really the name to own here." Pete Najarian seconded DISH.

50s, 40s, 30s, 60s ...

Jeff Currie, star guest of Wednesday's Halftime Report, kind of had a number to please everyone when it comes to the price of oil.

Currie seemed to write off a 2-handle, telling Judge that for that to happen this year, it would have to happen in the next few weeks, something he called a "very unlikely event."

"The 40s is where we actually expect prices to be," said Currie, who said his August forecast is $39 a barrel.

Yet, a screen graphic indicated Goldman Sachs expects $65 crude in 2016.

Currie stressed an oddity in the space, stating the names with the higher quality assets tend to have the lower-quality balance sheets, and vice versa. He called the Shell deal part of "the new oil order" (as opposed to, say, this is worse than Rex Tillerson buying XTO).

Mr. New Land suggested the deal is about the LNG space and called it "very bad for the coal industry," which would've been an interesting subject for Christian Zann a day earlier (see below).

Currie said "the price outlook going forward (sic last 2 words redundant) is not all that positive" in the LNG space, but there is lots of value in the legacy assets in which the sunk costs have been paid.

Judge quoted Cramer as saying Shell "paid too much." Pete Najarian exhibited some of his expertise at delivering the most measured commentary possible, stating it "gets everybody now starting to question themselves on, all right, when? When do we jump?"

When, indeed.

Kate Kelly suggested the Santos Basin could have North Sea potential.

"Anything that has a cost basis above shale is gonna be unlikely to be developed," Currie said, but he said the Santos Basin is below shale.

Mr. New Land, whose oil-stock recommendations in 2015 seem to have more resembled wishful thinking than hard-core conviction, said if you think oil is going to 70 longer term, then get in now.

Meg Tirrell gets a little more space with latest biotech CEO on Fast Money

A day earlier, Judge and Duke fan John Harwood interrupted the Halftime Report to include a couple minutes of Rand Paul's I'm-in-the-presidential-race-now-because-Hillary's-easier-to-beat-than-Obama-in-2012 speech.

And, had Judge on Wednesday simply asked his panelists what they think of the George W. Bush presidency, that would've been a helluva show.

But, that never happened.

(Yeah, we know what Pete Najarian would've said ... "Well I think some things absolutely turned out for him but other things might not have gone as well as he wanted but now there's another president," etc.)

However, Judge did bring up something from that day — Christian Zann's intriguing BTU bull call.

Jeff Currie said coal "has a lot of headwinds," starting with "excess capacity" in China and competitive natural gas prices.

Joe Terranova called it "amazing" that there hasn't been any M&A in coal in the last couple of years but said BTU will be a "survivor."

Revisiting a term that Eric Bolling in the early days of Fast Money felt compelled to say every night as though he had a quota, Currie contended that we're still in the commodities "supercycle," but only the "exploitation phase."

Currie called gold "lackluster" recently and predicted "sideways" trading for months but said once the economy gets some tailwinds (snicker), he thinks it'll find $1,100.

Currie called copper "one of our highest-conviction shorts."

He also made an interesting observation about the difference in commodity ETFs that back something such as gold, that can be easily stored, and crude, which would take enormous amounts of tankers to store and thus affect the shape of the forward curve with a negative carry in contango.

Gordon Charlop gave a summary of the day's market events and predicted "some volatility" but seemed to say the market's gonna be OK this year.

Brian Stutland told Jackie DeAngelis "there's a lot of support behind the dollar." Scott Nations predicted the dollar would "weaken a little bit" and questioned if interest rates are ever going to rise.

Mr. New World predicted BX will "elevate above 40 bucks." Pete Najarian noticed that MYL was up on the day.

Joe suggested a low bar for S&P energy earnings that will be "pretty easy to beat."

[Tuesday, April 7, 2015]

In the middle of a rare BTU bull call, we have Rand Paul noting government expansion under the last Republican president

Christian Zann, who might've been the star guest of Tuesday's Halftime if it wasn't Dan Niles, went to great lengths to clarify Balyasny's strategy before offering Judge an opinion on the price of crude.

Amid some effort, Zann explained that Balyasny's approach is to stay "oil neutral" and find areas to buy it on the cheap and short it more expensively.

Zann ultimately allowed, "Generally speaking, we are more constructive" on the price of crude, citing OPEC's attempts to get the market to fix itself and improving demand.

Zann, who was rather stoic and apparently hasn't realized yet how this show is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, told Kate Kelly that with the approach of summer driving season, he thinks "full storage" won't happen this spring as some expect and thus, essentially, the bottom might be in for crude.

Stephen Weiss said he's an investor with Balyasny and praised Zann and asked whether oil-service stocks still have lower to go. Zann said he likes SLB and HAL right now.

In a coal point strangely interrupted by the first 2 minutes of Rand Paul's presidential-declaration speech, Zann said he sees "materially" improving free cash flow in BTU.

Zann told Kate Kelly, who has a new hairstyle every day, that he sees the Permian Basin producers as "overly bid" but said he'd "rather not" give Kelly a name to short.

Kelly said the Merchant Commodity Fund got the downturn in crude right and is up "close to 10%" year to date.

Judge conducts long discussion about TWTR, says utterly nothing about Dick’s job status

Dan Niles, star guest of Tuesday's Halftime Report, said TWTR's valuation is "impossible to get comfortable with," but he got long the stock because he thinks the "search deal with Google" will goose the all-important monthly active users.

Stephen Weiss asked for "a little more clarity" as to why Niles is in the stock now, suggesting the Google deal isn't new.

Niles responded that he wasn't buying it Tuesday, but "in early March," but didn't disclose a price, then pointed to the Google deal as a catalyst.

However, he didn't answer Weiss' question about how many users it'll take to justify the valuation, suggesting higher ad load would do the trick. "There's a bunch of different ways to win" in the stock, "but the catalyst is really the Google deal in my mind," Niles said.

Niles said you can't own a stock just for takeout potential but nevertheless repeated a favorite Fast Money/Halftime refrain, suggesting TWTR is "obviously somebody that you can look at" if you're Google; "who uses Google+? You know, that's- that's pretty much dead."

Judge claimed Niles didn't like the stock at 30 or 35. But Niles said, "No, that's not true," without clarifying except to say he covered the stock in the mid-30s after making "pretty good money on the short side, and so we've been watching this for a while."

Niles, who thinks tech earnings are going to be terrible, cited as reason "No. 1" the terrible winter weather, then China, then currency issues.

Josh Brown said "there's a degree of reflexivity" in the social media space in which analysts tend to evaluate the new products based on recent stock momentum. (Translation: The market knows how good these products are before the analysts who give market recommendations do.)

Stephen Weiss' bull case for JPM was centered on the "best management in the industry." But Doc said "When you pay off a bully, the bully'll keep coming back," in this case the federal government, perhaps for more than $13 billion more.

Josh Brown said he'd be long JPM.

[Monday, April 6, 2015]

‘Homeland’ sounds intriguing

Helima Croft, who brought more smiles to Monday's Halftime Report than the whole gang has put together for weeks, predicted a recovery in crude in the 2nd half of 2015 while declaring that "we've kind of dodged a bullet on Iran."

But she questioned if the Iran deal won't ultimately have the same sticking points it has always had; "I don't think it's a done deal," Croft said.

In a reference to a TV show we've never seen ("Homeland") and a column we never read (Maureen Dowd), Croft revealed that real CIA female employees are working long hours for little pay out of love for country and "not running off getting drunk, going to jazz clubs, picking up men in bars, making themselves honey traps."

Mr. New World said he loves the fact that Andy Hall is among everyone else questioning his/her own opinions on oil. Joe predicted a crude breakout "very soon" and said he would add to HAL.

Apparently people have trouble figuring out how to order food at McDonald’s

Monday's Halftime Report picked up steam after a sluggish start when Judge enlisted the panel in an interesting go-round on MCD.

Jon Najarian's primary MCD bull argument was the "REIT structure." But Dr. New Land insisted that the REIT notion is not happening "anytime soon."

Furthermore, "They need to simplify the menu," said Joe, before sort of tangling up an old expression, "and most and fore- uh, importantly, they need to lift what has been horrible, weak operating margins."

Joe claimed MCD has "no strategy," but Doc said, "I like the strategy right now."

Nobody really addressed Judge's question as to whether there's a floor in the stock. Josh Brown said he wouldn't short it, but there's no reason to buy it.

Pete Najarian said MCD is worth owning because it's shareholder-friendly. But he conceded the menu is "too complex."

Dan Nathan takes out massive BABA bungle on Karen’s banks

Pete Najarian and Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime endorsed gold miners as hot trades; both stressed that these are only trades, but Doc said the calls have been popular for a while.

Joe said he likes gold because nobody at investment conferences is talking about it anymore.

Kate Kelly said Citadel's flagship fund is kicking butt.

Pete Najarian said April 62.50 HOG calls were popular.

Doc said he jumped into TSLA 205 and 210 weeklies and will stay in them for 1-2 days.

Josh Brown pounded the table for KRE while Pete Najarian said he wants the asset managers instead.

Doc said he likes SE and said the Friday jobs data gave the market a break from the purported taper tantrum.

Joe endorsed UA and hung an 85 or 90 on the stock.

Josh Brown suggested you could try EUFN.

On Monday's Fast Money, Dan Nathan gave Mel (in cute green-stripe outfit) a chuckle with an "S car go" joke about TSLA, an upgrade from when he said last week that WMT has long been considered "you know, the ugly red-headed stepchild to Target." Nathan nevertheless bashed Karen Finerman's banks while Karen protested that they were flat in reaction to the weak-jobs-means-lower-rates data.

Nathan, who spent November cheerleading for BABA and talking about how it "probably closes towards the high of the year," whatever that means, decided on Monday's Halftime that it was really a stock for "muppets" and predicted 68 "in the next 6 to 8 months."

Lee conceded she knows Tim Seymour hates TSLA and, "I don't even know why I go to you" on the subject.

‘Very strong equities month’

Mr. New Land on Monday's Halftime predicted a "very strong equities month," stating we're "validating the concept that we're 1 and done in terms of any form of a rate hike" as Judge's panel seemed caught off-guard by the strength in the stock market.

Steve Grasso said it's all about the dollar and pointed to 2,088 as a crucial level.

Pete Najarian pointed to COP, CVX and XOM and suggested buying oil's volatility. Doc called the jobs data last week "horrific" and suggested trimming oil names in the short term.

Josh Brown said the dollar has become "the most crowded trade in the universe, even worse than Apple," despite the fact Mike Santoli a week ago called AAPL "underowned."

David Albrycht, who likes leveraged finance, said the jobs data gave the Fed "a lot more flexibility."

In an interesting observation that got no follow-up, Albrycht pointed to "financial deterioration" in Chicago and lack of union concessions but said not to sell "because you can't replace the yield; I'd be looking to add on any weakness."

Joe questioned the notion of activist impact on IBM. Doc said IMAX is popular because people want to watch "Furious 7" in a "blow-you-away sort of format."

Joe said of MAT's upgrade that "kids don't want toys anymore; they want apps." Josh Brown called TSLA's gains a "sell the news" situation, but Doc said weekly calls in Tesla are popular.

More from Monday's show later.

[Thursday, April 2, 2015]

Foreign policy bust: Jim Lebenthal predicts quick handling by Saudis in Yemen

It was one of the more provocative comments in recent months on the Halftime Report.

But it looks like a massive bust.

Just a week ago, Jim Lebenthal said on the March 26 Halftime Report (just PgDn a few times) that "frankly," the Saudis are "not held back by the same level ... of ethics as, say, U.S. military force would be" and will "clean up the situation quickly" in Yemen.

According to the New York Times on April 2, "The Houthis, portrayed as Iranian proxies by the Saudis but few others, have continued their advances despite nine nights of Saudi-led airstrikes. On Thursday, Houthi fighters captured a presidential palace in the southern port of Aden, killed a Saudi soldier in a skirmish at the border and wounded five others. Islamist militants, meanwhile, capitalized on the chaos caused by the airstrikes to free a leader of Al Qaeda and hundreds of others from prison and to partly seize control of a crucial city in the south. Regional militias are battling one another with little thought of the exiled president whom the Saudis had hoped to restore. A week of clashes in Aden have left bodies lying in the streets. The state has collapsed, and aid groups warn of an escalating humanitarian crisis ..."

We don't claim to know anything about this situation or anything about anything in general frankly ... but we do know that every time we hear about upheaval in this part of the world being handled "quickly," we give it about the same amount of skepticism as that "grand bargain" and "corporate tax reform" that will bring all those "repatriated" tech-cash stockpiles back into the U.S. economy.

Jeff Sonnenfeld is not the DuPont Professor of Management at Yale

Judge set it up as the Great Rebuttal of Jeff Sonnenfeld's op-ed.

But it was really much a-Du (how 'bout that) about nothing.

Nelson Peltz, via phone, told Thursday's Halftime Report, "I don't mind anybody coming after me as long as they come after me with facts. Uh, he's a professor — I assume he's telling his students to do good work. Uh, his work was just- is a bit faulty."

But Peltz never proved his assertion that Sonnenfeld's article was "inaccurate."

The biggest bone of contention was Sonnenfeld's claim that 5 Trian holdings underperformed the S&P after getting a board seat.

Peltz called that assertion "quite disturbing," and on the Halftime Report he said he shipped Judge a chart as proof. "I don't know where he gets his numbers," Peltz said.

But Judge, finally putting Peltz's information on the screen, pointed out that Peltz's chart shows returns since making Trian's first purchase ... while Sonnenfeld was citing returns from the time Trian landed a board seat.

That forced Peltz to say he doesn't know what Sonnenfeld's numbers are and would have to do a lot more research to address what Judge is saying because "everything we've found so far that he said has been inaccurate."

Oh well.

Peltz also complained, "He mentioned our returns for 2012 and 2014. He sort of missed 2013, when we were up 40% net."

A fair point.

Sonnenfeld also stated in his op-ed that "5 of the 11" companies with Peltz board seats underperformed the S&P 500 after the board seat was achieved through end of 2014, meaning 6 others apparently outperformed, which doesn't sound too bad.

Judge claimed that Fidelity is urging Peltz and DuPont to settle, but Peltz said, "I don't know that Fidelity said that."

In the only glitch in an otherwise crisp, well-done interview, Wapner — quite reasonably for time concerns — wasn't able to clarify what's really going on with DD board invitations. Peltz complained of Sonnenfeld, "He said that DuPont invited Ed Garden on the board," but it was never settled during the interview whether that was or wasn't the case and whether Peltz is adamant that, as Sonnenfeld claimed, Peltz must be the board nominee.

Peltz called DD a "shadow" of its former self and proclaimed it in "decline for decades."

Here's the real issue for Peltz — DD simply isn't a great activist target. It's been doing well for several years. He's the only one who thinks it's a disaster. He'd find far more support targeting ... oh, lessee here ... DWA, in which case someone who owns this hazmat stock could probably put forth some ideas and produce some big-time content and quite possibly do it in teamwork with Jeff Katzenberg, who's a brilliant guy who has stumbled here, and turn this flagging studio into the hottest thing since Texas Air. (This writer is long DWA.)

If DuPont wasn't Peltz's most recent high-profile project, he probably wouldn't have been mentioned in Sonnenfeld's article.

The bottom line is that this disagreement settled absolutely nothing in terms of business practices ... but in terms of media, it was an excellent production. Sonnenfeld produced not a perfect case by any means but worthwhile food for thought. Peltz filled in some of the blanks about his own capacity to deliver.

Peltz's weakest point was this reach about Sonnenfeld's position: "Really, you've gotta start to understand, Who are his sponsors? Who are his honorariums?"

According to Sonnenfeld's Yale bio, he is the "Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management."

Lester Crown, 89 according to his Wikipedia page, is an industrial heir and regular on the Forbes billionaire list ... though there are a host of companies and investments listed on the page, DuPont is not one of them.

Kate Kelly made the best case for Peltz, stating that in the last 3 years, activist hedge funds "have dramatically outperformed the average hedge fund."

Kate Kelly hangs a 22 on crude

Mike Block on Thursday's Halftime said, "Wake me up when we get to 42" in WTI — and then the fireworks started.

Remarkably it was CNBC Wall Street reporter Kate Kelly who took that and ran with it, stating she thought Block was going to say "22" rather than "42" given that a lot of energy stock players "are just staying away" because of the volatility.

Jeff Kilburg said the short-term and long-term trend in crude appears to be lower. Jim Iuorio said a weakening euro can take crude lower.

Paul Richards predicted tomorrow's a "3-handle" in the jobs report and suggested that will be trouble because the market isn't ready for a June hike. "Good news will be bad news I think Scott," Richards said.

Mike Block predicted a "strong number" and appeared to agree with Richards, that it would provoke a sell-off.

But Block doesn't agree with Richards' forecast of possibly several hikes this year, saying the resulting sell-off early next week would be a buying opportunity.

"I'm dubious they move this year," Block said of the Fed, which we're inclined to call a contrarian opinion, except there are so many opinions on this subject that virtually everyone is contrarian.

Judge served one up for Doc T-ball style, pointing out that Heather Bellini has apparently reiterated a "sell" on MSFT.

"Same sell she's had on since 22, Heather," Najarian said, adding she also affirmed a sell at 28.

"If she wants to play, let's play," Najarian shrugged, before adding that Judge was "a little frisky" in the morning in the Jeff Sonnenfeld interview.

Honestly, we have no doubt, zero, that the folks at Goldman Sachs are smart ... but we gotta wonder what kind of value added has occurred here in Bellini's stewardship of this rating.

Doc delivered an excellent summary of how the ALTR options trade went down, but Josh Brown suggested "this sounds like a lottery was hit" and that most times such a trade probably doesn't work. Pete Najarian then went out of his way to say the same thing Brown did.

[Wednesday, April 1, 2015]

Halftime crew: Plenty of suckers buying GDDY on Wednesday

Wednesday's Halftime Report crew was united by one subject:


Josh Brown declared, "I would sell this with both hands."

Brown said he doesn't have a hosting account with GoDaddy because "you start off with one price," and by the time you get to the shopping cart, they've added on so many things that "you're just totally grossed out."

Jon Najarian said GoDaddy's competitors charge a lot less and that GoDaddy "is for people that really need the training wheels."

"I think the pros are lining up their shorts," said Stephen Weiss.

Josh takes a pass this time on challenging Liesman’s destructive-weather claim

Steve Liesman got some early soundbites on Wednesday's Halftime and said there's "downside risk" in the jobs report because "it's an unrelentingly lousy quarter."

Revisiting his claim of unusually bad weather (but saying nothing about his ticketing situation for the Dead's farewell in Chicago in July), Liesman said "all these shocks" from the dollar to oil could take 6 months to be absorbed by the economy.

Josh Brown suggested stocks might rally on a weaker jobs report because of the old "bad news is good news" thing, which Judge mocked, then claimed he was only mocking it because he was thinking the same thing earlier.

Stephen Weiss bluntly declared that the hand-wringing over rate-hike timing doesn't matter, stocks go up when rates go up.

Jim LaCamp haggled with Stephen Weiss as to the strength of the recovery.

No update on whether the music always stops or is not stopping in the corporate credit market

Sam Isaly joined Wednesday's Halftime to say there's "no bubble" in health care, but it does depend on which "subsector" you're looking at (basically, he said emerging biotech is the only subsector that appears in stretched territory).

Pete Najarian was hoping for a rousing endorsement for ZIOP, but Isaly said that wasn't a name he was planning to bring up.

Isaly said he likes Regeneron and Actelion; he said both have "marvelous new product outlooks," and isn't that always the story in CNBC biotech interviews, the incredible new drug that's just around the corner.

Josh Brown later said IBB buyers step in at the 50-day "every single time."

Still can’t find Sara’s bracket

Dan Loeb and David Einhorn immediately released quarterly results, which sent Kate Kelly scurrying to the Halftime Report set on Wednesday.

Kelly said Loeb's flagship fund beat the S&P in Q1 with a 3.3% return, and that Einhorn had a frustrating quarter thanks to MU's stumble.

If we heard correctly, and we probably did, panelists offered 2 or 3 stats as the actual S&P return for the first quarter, none of which were actually correct.

Jeff Kilburg said the 10-year is the "steak" of the global buffet (that's correct not "Buffett"). Jim Iuorio said 1.64% might be in the cards.

Iuorio got Jackie DeAngelis laughing by pointing out that Kilburg likes to talk about Notre Dame football.

Josh Brown invokes the legendary TWTR catalyst, the World Cup (which we think comes around again in 2018)

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said the airlines are "absolutely" a buy on the pullbacks. Steve Weiss backed that call, saying airlines are still "near-monopolistic" in many markets and are successfully "upcharging."

Doc predicted airline stocks will "soar" in Q2 but said he's not in them now.

Josh Brown was actually hanging a $17 billion value on Twitter's video potential.

Brown said his philosophy toward the casino stocks is "short every bounce."

Pete Najarian said he thinks there's more upside in CSX and said he'll probably hold his calls for 2 weeks.

Pete said "some of the grocery stores" could be hurt by Amazon's new wrinkle.

Doc said BMW is doing the best of the auto stocks.

Stephen Weiss said the 3 largest mall developers are all from Detroit.

Josh Brown would not buy PIR on the dip.

Pete Najarian backed the HPQ upgrade (of course).

Panelists shrugged off short-term sluggishness in AAPL.

Josh Brown said you'll be better off buying SHAK on selloffs than chasing rallies.

Judge aired gratuitous clips of himself hosting a hedge fund award banquet.

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great moments
of 2011

K-Fine bailed too early on year's most spectacular call

special report: CNBC ‘Fast Money’ trader positions often go undisclosed

♦ Daily online recaps often omit certain traders' holdings, appear voluntary, unenforced, no requirement for accuracy or timeliness, no description of the size of position or whether positions are for clients or traders' own accounts

Fast Money review

FM archive: Mar. 2015
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FM archive: Dec. 2012
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FM archive: Dec. 2011
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FM archive: Dec. 2010
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FM Viewers Guide
Fast Money cliches

CNBCfix capsules:
Movie of the week

♦ Bonnie and Clyde
♦ Rain Man
♦ The Paper Chase
♦ The Cooler
♦ Giant & There Will Be Blood
♦ Return of the Jedi
♦ Rocky II
♦ The Last Picture Show & Friday Night Lights
♦ She's Out of My League
♦ Con Air

Movie review:
‘Wall Street’

Gordon Gekko:
The Michael Corleone
of Wall Street

CNBC/cable TV
star bios

♦ Jim Cramer
♦ Charles Gasparino
♦ Maria Bartiromo
♦ Lawrence Kudlow
♦ Karen Finerman
♦ Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
♦ David Faber
♦ Guy Adami
♦ Jeff Macke
♦ Pete Najarian
♦ Jon Najarian
♦ Tim Seymour
♦ Zachary Karabell
♦ Becky Quick
♦ Joe Kernen
♦ Nicole Lapin
♦ John Harwood
♦ Steve Liesman
♦ Margaret Brennan
♦ Bertha Coombs
♦ Mary Thompson
♦ Trish Regan
♦ Melissa Francis
♦ Dennis Kneale
♦ Rebecca Jarvis
♦ Darren Rovell
♦ Carl Quintanilla
♦ Diana Olick
♦ Dylan Ratigan
♦ Eric Bolling
♦ Anderson Cooper
♦ Neil Cavuto
♦ Liz Claman
♦ Monica Crowley
♦ Bill O'Reilly
♦ Rachel Maddow
♦ Susie Gharib
♦ Jane Skinner
♦ Kimberly Guilfoyle
♦ Martha MacCallum
♦ Courtney Friel
♦ Uma Pemmaraju
♦ Joe Scarborough
♦ Terry Keenan
♦ Chrystia Freeland
♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

♦ Bill Gross
♦ Dennis Gartman
♦ Diane Swonk
♦ Meredith Whitney
♦ Richard X. Bove
♦ Arthur Laffer
♦ Jared Bernstein
♦ Doug Kass
♦ David Malpass
♦ Donald Luskin
♦ Herb Greenberg
♦ Robert Reich
♦ Steve Moore
♦ Vince Farrell
♦ Joe LaVorgna
♦ A. Gary Shilling
♦ Joe Battipaglia
♦ Addison Armstrong
♦ Jack Bouroudjian
♦ Stefan Abrams
♦ Warren Buffett