[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — April 2017]
[Friday, April 28, 2017]

The other reason is that people probably point at her and say, ‘Aren’t you on television?,’ like in ‘The Electric Horseman’

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime said SBUX's "big problem" is that mobile orders are clogging the lines at the shops.

"It's a mosh pit, you go in there, and the nightmare is, there's too many people in there," Pete explained.

Guest host Melissa Lee revealed that, when that happens, "I walk back out, and I don't go back to Starbucks for months. For months!"

Jim Lebenthal told Pete there's something "slightly Trump-esque in your explanation." Jim said at this multiple, he'd buy SBUX "down another $5."

Stephen Weiss said he doesn't think SBUX stores are "run with the same manner they were run years ago; they're a little dirtier."

Joe said if SBUX gets the international right, "then it's a 65-70-dollar stock easily in the next 18, in the next 18 months."

Julia Boorstin says ‘sh---er’ (sic) on 5 p.m. Fast Money

Joe Terranova on Friday's Halftime Report called passive investing "the next bubble," stating, "I just believe that over the next couple of months, you are going to be, have to be more active … volatility will be elevated over the next couple of months," plus there's a "dislocation" coming in energy.

Yet earlier, he's talking about how great the tech names are; trust us, if volatility elevates over the next couple months, you don't want to be in AMZN or FB.

Larry Kudlow paid a visit to the panel and called Trump's tax proposal "great," but "I think it's gonna take a while."

Joe said Trump "probably" made a mistake (snicker) putting health care before tax reform.

Steve Weiss quibbled with Larry over whether the repatriation is a 1-time "amnesty" or a permanent policy. Weiss rightly questioned the description; Kudlow seemed to argue that it's both.

As for the cost of tax cuts, "These will pay for themselves over time," Larry asserted.

Pete Najarian said July 48 ORCL calls were popular. (Maybe they're going to buy LNKD from MSFT.)

Jim Lebenthal said of QCOM, "This stock is poised asymmetrically to rise when they settle with Apple, which they will."

Jim said "GM is the Rodney Dangerfield stock of the stock mark-." (Impressively, he didn't explain what the Rodney Dangerfield reference means this time.)

Jim told Weiss to come to his farm; "Maybe a tree will drop — on you."

Weiss said XOM had a "cautious macro outlook."

Jim is "not too enthused" about CVX or Big Oil.

Joe Terranova called PSX a "nice, stable play." (Zzzzzzzzzz.) Aren't we entering elevated volatility?

Joe said he thinks CVS is "beginning to recover."

Weiss said there's gonna be "euphoria" in FB next week.

Reporting on Jack Dorsey's stock purchase on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, CNBC's Julia Boorstin said, "Now sh---er, Twitter shares went up about 1% on this news."

Funny how the $26 billion acquisition never is mentioned during the constant MSFT bull calls

Friday's Halftime Report skidded into the weekend with almost an entire hour devoted to tiresome fawning over Silicon Valley.

Leading off, Joe Terranova said AMZN is over 2% weighting in the S&P. So if you're a money manager, "You have to own Amazon."

Stephen Weiss mocked Jim Lebenthal for touting "old tech."

Jim said AMZN is no value stock, but as for GOOGL, if you're a value manager, "you do have to own this stock." (Really. Aren't there other stocks to own?)

Guest host Melissa Lee kind of obnoxiously asked Pete Najarian, who glowed about AMZN, if he's "worried" about MSFT encroaching on AMZN in the cloud, which of course only gives Pete carte blanche to talk about how great MSFT is. Pete said AMZN is "probably not" worried about that, and then Pete took the opportunity to gush about MSFT and Satya Nadella (without saying a word about LinkedIn).

Joe said he's waiting for a pullback in AAPL and AMZN while acknowledging, "I may not get it." (But volatility is going to be elevated, and stock picking is really going to matter.)

Paul Meeks said all the big cloud players will have a "nice run."

But at Amazon, "The international business is still losing money," Meeks said.

Pete said he sold his FB calls, regretted it, then bought some more. Oh. Joy.

Ari Wald the QQQ is "breaking out of a yearlong range." Even. More. Joy.

[Thursday, April 27, 2017]

2 exceptional arguments for and against airline overbooking

It was one of the best conversations in recent Halftime/Fast Money history, even if guest host Sully relied on Doc for the heavy question lifting.

It started when CNBC's Phil LeBeau on Thursday's Halftime mentioned new United policies for bumping passengers.

That prompted airline watcher Jamie Baker of JPMorgan to claim, "Overbooking is pro-consumer. OK, so let me make that, you know, patently clear here. If you eliminate overbooking, it drives higher ticket prices. Overbooking helps keep ticket prices low."

Then, to emphasize the point, "Make no mistake: Overbooking keeps airfares low."

Jon Najarian complained that if the seats are already sold, and nearly all of them will be non-refundable, why in the world is the airline overbooking; the seats are already paid for.

If they didn't overbook, "They're walking away from revenue," Baker asserted.

Doc insisted that most seats are non-refundable; "it's a real small number" that aren't. But Baker said seats are "perishable" and stated, "If overbooking were legislated out, if it was regulated away, revenue trends would initially go lower, and then ticket prices would have to be increased. … That would come out of vacationer's pocket."

Otherwise, Baker downgraded AAL to neutral and 52 target and told Sully it's in part on the labor deal; he said part of his rating is "simply a modeling exercise," but the American deal makes the unions think "you can come back mid-contract, ask for whatever you want."

Incredibly, producers didn't run the clip of Dr. Dao being dragged.

Evidently everyone involved in ‘Betting on Zero’ didn’t know Ackman (but might’ve been on the rowing team in some cases)

John Fichthorn on Thursday's Halftime Report said there's some "seriously leveraged car loans" on Ford's balance sheet, contending that Ford finance company earnings fall $120 million for every 1% drop in used-car prices. He said the finance arm is 20% of F.

"We have borrowed as many sales from the future as we can," Fichthorn said.

Sully, to his credit, did an excellent job of summarizing the effect of a 10% drop in used-car prices.

Fichthorn also suggests shorting USNA. He said he "helped back" the movie "Betting on Zero," though "I didn't know Ackman at the time."

He said China is 50% of USNA's exposure and that he "discovered in the Chinese press (snicker) recently" that Usana had "13 people suspended and 3 arrested." (See, Beijing knows how to deal with stuff like Wells Fargo's fake accounts.)

Fichthorn also said he's been identifying a Canadian housing "bubble" for 3-4 years, "and they all go, ah, no, it's different up here, you guys don't get it." But Fichthorn contends, "The mortgage application fraud is maybe more pervasive than it was in the U.S."

Halftime gang has forgotten AMZN’s mammoth plunge just a year ago

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said of AMZN and GOOGL, "You're hoping for one thing: You're hoping for an earnings miss."

Jim Lebenthal, who had a quiet show, said he "generally" agrees with Joe but cautioned that if Amazon has a big miss and people decide to "value it on any reasonable metric, that will scare the heck out of this market."

Jim said he doesn't think AMZN could fall 20% Thursday night, but "at some point, valuation will matter."

Josh Brown agreed with Jim about the AMZN multiple but said, "It's been 20 years, nobody's cared."

Well, actually, they have. Barely more than a year ago, AMZN traded 690 on Dec. 30, 2015, and by Feb. 8 was 475.

That's a 31% drop in 6 weeks.

So basically, you want to own it in bull markets ... and maybe not so much during corrections.

Anyway, Josh said AMZN is expected to have 22% revenue gain and cautioned that "anything short of that" will hurt the stock.

Jon Najarian said AMZN has been a "fabulous" stock to be long via options. He said he can "bank some big coin right now" for selling AMZN puts at lower prices.

Pete Najarian thundered that "Microsoft is important!"

Josh said he likes both AMGN and BMY, the former being a darling and the latter looking like "somebody dropped a piano on it a few months back."

Brown rightly said, albeit with hyperbole, that trading stocks around what Donald Trump was tweeting was the "most ludicrous thing I've ever heard."

Doc pointed out Kourtney Gibson's great call a day ago on the KSU slide.

Joe said health care has "potential for repatriation" (snicker) and has high EPS growth; he singled out SYK and "Medtronics" (sic plural), asserting "health care's clearly working."

Sears Holdings sure was
a great investment

Guest host Brian Sullivan on Thursday's Halftime brought in CNBC superfox Ylan Mui, who reported on the interesting debate over the federal deductibility of state and local taxes.

Robert Frank explained some interesting numbers about the super rich, though he used averages, so someone who makes $100 million probably stands to have a larger deduction than someone who only makes $1 million.

Shaggy-haired Rick Rieder said he thinks the Fed will hike in June and September and then talk about reducing the balance sheet. Rieder said the demand for fixed income continues to be "profound."

Jeff Kilburg mentioned the 48-54 crude range again without really saying anything. Jim Iuorio said "56 to 48 is the long-term trend," and he thinks risk/reward suggests buying it rather than selling now.

Pete Najarian said May 22 calls in SNAP were popular. He said he likes the name and bought into it. Doc endorsed that trade, then said INFN June 10 calls were popular.

Joe Terranova offered TER as a final trade. Jim Lebenthal said INTC again. Doc said DIS. Pete said UNP and the rails. John Fichthorn suggested SRG; the only thing about that, we've seen faces temporarily ripped off shorting Eddie Lampert plays even if the calls are right longer term.

[Wednesday, April 26, 2017]

Weiss would’ve ‘pulled an Aaron Hernandez’ if he’d been stuck in X on Wednesday

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Stephen Weiss said he dabbled a day ago in X and "got stopped out in about literally in a, in a heartbeat; a painful stop because I lost money. Uh, thank God, because I would've been, uh, I would've pulled an Aaron Hernandez, the part where he hung himself, not the other part, today."

Later, Weiss said, "at some point you buy this again," but he's staying away, "I learned my lesson."

Weiss said he bought SCHW, and he sold LULU, "because I hated the way it was acting."

Weiss touted OA again.

Sarat Sethi said BA was experiencing "a little profit-taking." He touted UTX.

Jon Najarian said someone was selling June 44 puts in MS.

Doc also said his GD calls went from $3 to almost $8; "we'll have pizza after the show because of it." But on the other hand, Doc said of STX, "I was not long puts into it unfortunately," and he's not selling puts in it now because he thinks it's got lower to go.

Kourtney Gibson said to hold PG and buy more on dips such as Wednesday's, though she hadn't bought that dip yet.

Mel said Steve Wynn talked about how things in China are "normalizing," which Mel interprets as people there are being "corrupt again."

Weiss: Twitter little more than
‘a hundred thousand trolls’

CNBC contributor Ross Levinsohn on Wednesday's Halftime Report described TWTR as "one of the most important companies in the media space and the tech space."

That didn't sit well with Steve Weiss, who told Levinsohn, "If this company went away, uh, maybe the president would care and about a hundred thousand trolls out there sleeping in the basement on their mother's couch laying around in their underwear thinking, 'Who can I hate today?' If it went away, nobody would care."

Levinsohn explained, "It delivers breaking, real-time, inf- news, breaking news, real-time information."

"But so do so many other-" Weiss said.

"It's an important tech media company," Levinsohn insisted, taking issue that only 100,000 trolls would care.

Otherwise, Levinsohn said TWTR did its best job recently of managing expectations. He said the good part of the report is that MAUs grew, but the last 5 quarters have only produced "really small" growth.

Levinsohn also mentioned the "huge stock-based comp in that company."

Jon Najarian mentioned "an 11% decline year over year in advertising revenue" and questioned how the company can survive with that number. "Part of that problem is tied to leadership," said Levinsohn, citing the loss of Adam Bain.

Doc called TWTR a no-touch. Kourtney Gibson said that when AT&T went down, "there was nowhere else on the Internet" except Twitter to get the information.

Weiss: ‘Too soon’
to make tax-overhaul trades

John Harwood on Wednesday's Halftime Report said it's "highly doubtful" that the White House can get the business tax rate down to 15%.

Sarat Sethi suggested domestic-focused companies such as refiners, utilities and regional banks would benefit most from Trump's tax plan.

Jon Najarian suggested "any of the online brokers" that are domestic.

Doc said we might get a "2-pronged" approach that will include repatriation (snicker). Sethi said if repatriation is just a "1-time" move rather than permanent, stocks won't get a bump.

Kourtney Gibson suggested UNP, CVS and even FB as having a lot of U.S.-centric revenue.

Stephen Weiss halfheartedly predicted a "pop" but said there's a "long way" to go with "lots of issues to be resolved" before the latest White House plan comes to fruition.

"It's too soon" to play these names, Weiss said, adding there are "countless" stocks with 38% tax rates.

Sarat Sethi said if Trump "gets something done, the market rips," but he predicted a pullback if not.

Kourtney Gibson said she'd like to buy AMZN and NFLX on a dip.

Doc suggested selling puts to play a market like this that's ripping.

Doc said that if there's an executive order withdrawing from Nafta, that would be bad for Ford, GM and Chrysler.

Kourtney Gibson suggested now's your chance to get into KSU, "assuming this does not happen" in regards to Nafta.

Panelists scoff at stock that has actually made huge money in 2017

Nobody on Wednesday's Halftime panel admitted owning CMG, and in fact, they seemed to be taking pleasure in not being long. (In the category of, "Why want to make money.")

Kourtney Gibson said, "I have not stepped foot back in one since the issues."

"The valuation's out of sight," grumbled Steve Weiss.

Sarat Sethi said he'd be "careful" to buy CMG now.

Jeff Kilburg predicted crude stays above 50 "short term." Anthony Grisanti said the 200-day in crude was tested and held, so "we should go higher from here."

Kourtney Gibson's final trade was TWLO. Doc touted AAL on unusual activity. Sarat Sethi said he's looking at LUV. Weiss said TBT.

[Tuesday, April 25, 2017]

Kevin O’Leary actually says Wells Fargo should change its name to Ograf Bank

WFC defender in chief Stephanie Link on Tuesday's Halftime Report refused to tell guest host Mel how she voted her shares.

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary said WFC should change its name because "it is so hated." Link said it still has "a good brand" and plenty of customers.

"A lot of bad news is priced in," Link contended.

Josh Brown said WFC committed identity theft "on an industrial scale."

Brown advised, "Get rid of the people that allowed for a boiler room to be operated coast to coast" and then asked Link, "What does a board member at Wells Fargo do."

Link responded, "You know what, I'm not gonna go there, I'm not." (Because she has no idea.)

Mike Mayo bolsters credentials as worst cliche-machine on CNBC

Mike Mayo on Tuesday's Halftime Report said C had an "upbeat shareholder meeting," but "it was a tale of 2 cities" (groan) (oh my) for shareholders.

Mayo said Michael E. O'Neill "seemed to support" a double-digit return on tangible equity by 2019 (snicker), which according to Mayo is the best of times. But Mayo noted they also said "their return on equity has fallen short," which is the worst of times.

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary wondered, why do "they suck" on return on assets.

Mayo said one reason cited by management is because they've "been investing in credit cards, Mexico, equities, their processing business, overall technologies." And what about personal privacy and noise statutes. (That's for you movie fans.)

Josh Brown said investments aren't Citi's problem, but it's "the divestments that are killing them," specifying Smith Barney. "They missed the boat on wealth management," Brown said.

"It's the worst financial-services stock in the world," said Grandpa Kevin O'Leary.

Mayo said that over 3 years, long C is an "easy call."

Trump’s trade battle manages to unite Canadian rivals

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary on Tuesday's Halftime Report said if Trump conducts a milk war with Canada, "You will wipe out millions of farmers."

Jon Najarian made a very cogent observation, pointing out that WY should've popped on this news but didn't, "because they were expecting a much bigger tariff out of Canada." (He also mentioned Georgia Pacific, but we don't think that one's publicly traded.)

Mel brought in Chrystia Freeland, a former regular on "The McLaughlin Group," who apparently had spare time for this program while in Berlin.

Freeland demanded to know who made the pro-Canadian argument and was told it was O'Leary. "OK, Kevin, well, we are on different sides of the political divide, but I agree with what you just said," Freeland said.

Freeland said that between trading partners as large as the U.S. and Canada (and could've said on business TV programs), there are "irritants."

Josh Brown actually stated, "Trump with every passing day is becoming more pragmatic." Note: He didn't call Trump "an asset to the country."

Joe Terranova said "the homebuilders will be totally fine."

Kevin thinks European banks didn’t do anything on Monday

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said he continues to buy into the rally and talked about how people aggressively bought HD calls and how there are areas of the market people are "chasing" and catching.

Joe Terranova opined, "Since last Thursday, it has been once again a cyclical story."

Kevin O'Leary, whose assignment is to trash the banks once a week, said Europe has had a "phenomenal tape," and that's where he sees the "biggest upside."

Grandpa O'Leary actually claimed, "Everything moved in Europe except financials" on Monday, which drew a strong rebuke from Stephanie Link, who said they "absolutely outperformed yesterday."

Josh Brown asserted, "We're not just talking about an S&P rally," adding, "The Russell's up 5% in 7 days."

Dennis Gartman doesn’t like to own the miners because you never know when you’re gonna wake up and learn a mine got flooded

"I'm never gonna own miners again," grumbled Grandpa Kevin O'Leary on Tuesday's Halftime, indicating GLD is the way to play gold. Joe Terranova agreed.

Dom Chu said Einhorn made 1% last quarter. (Good enough for a News Alert.)

Stephanie Link predicted the CAT momentum continues. (But she didn't opine on what its board members do.)

Josh Brown said the MCD breakout is one of the most "well-telegraphed" you'll see in the market.

Joe Terranova predicted KO "moves sideways" and said PEP and DPS are better and that MNST is "clearly the best."

O'Leary said he likes MMM because of the "taint" of trade wars.

Mel sympathizes with analyst for making enough headlines to merit TV appearance

Guest host Missy Lee on Tuesday's Halftime asked Aaron Kessler why AMZN's valuation matters now enough to prompt a downgrade.

Kessler said, "We think the risk/reward's a little more balanced here," and he'd like to see better margins for the stock to move higher.

Joe Terranova asked Kessler where's the price target and whether he'd call it a buy if it fell to 800. "We don't have price targets on market perform stocks," Kessler said, though he offered the "high 700 range" as the bottom.

Kessler said about half of Prime users are international.

Mel actually said Kessler's downgrade "must have been a difficult call to make."

Josh Brown said analysts have "never ever gotten ahead of what this thing has been capable of."

Joe Terranova got Steph Link to say she bought AMZN at "690." Which is really helpful for determining whether it's a buy at 900. #bragtrades

Grandpa Kevin O'Leary questioned what AMZN's price would be with a 20 multiple, a fair question. Everyone including Mel scoffed that it's never traded at that multiple before.

Doc said someone "aggressively" bought SBUX 60 calls and (oh joy) sold the 62 calls.

Jim Iuorio said he's "closer" to being a buyer of crude. Scott Nations said if crude goes much lower, it'll be a technical "double whammy."

[Monday, April 24, 2017]

Weiss: FIT’s a fad

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime Report mentioned the woman flying American Airlines landing the same lawyer as the guy dragged off the United Airlines flight.

"You don't wanna call it ambulance-chasing, but certainly it's … airplane-chasing is another way that you could put it," Joe said.

He said to look at the "niche regional type of carriers" in the space.

Joe said he likes KEY; he also said he liked RF but got stopped out after its "disappointing" post-earnings performance because he's playing these names by technicals.

Rob Sechan said he prefers "large integrateds" among banks.

Stephen Weiss sees "no reason" to be long FIT, which he dismissed as a "fad."

Jim Lebenthal said HAS is a "very good stock," but he'd like to buy it lower.

Josh Brown said he's "hoping" AMZN has a "quote-unquote disappointing quarter" so he could buy it.

Kari Firestone explained she just bought SHW "because it does not have the level of disruption that is going on in the retail sector." Firestone pointed out that paint can't fly and thus can't be co-opted by Amazon.

Kari Firestone and Josh Brown both pounded the table for SCHW; Firestone pointing out that the company's biggest margins are in sweeping the cash balances into its banks and Brown saying that accounts at Schwab are "extraordinarily sticky."

Joe Terranova said GS has been "thrown out as a name" that would love to acquire the Schwab customer base.

Mel welcomed Evan Sohn, who spoke about the origins of the Ira Sohn conference. With Sohn was Marc Grow, a previous conference winner who said he's staying short DXCM. Mel wanted to bring up a chart to show the stock slipping after Grow spoke, but it didn't happen until the end of the interview.

Jim Lebenthal said he's long GOOGL, and if it falls, he's buying more.

Joe touted AMG.

Leslie Picker reported on what may be the most boring board fight ever, Buffalo Wild Wings.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, in to-die-for orange, said Monday's gains were nice, but "a lot is still going on" that makes her "very skeptical of this rally," including "potentially North Korea (snicker)."

Gorjus Deirdre Bosa, in new hairstyle, reported on John Legere's interview.

Josh: Market doesn’t care who wins in France, only wants election over

Joe Terranova led off Monday's Halftime stating the word "cyclicals" 6 times that staying with financials is the "right play," but the question is whether you try global cyclicals rather than domestic cyclicals.

He told Mel that the answer to that is "Don't leave the financials."

Jim Lebenthal said cyclicals are dependent on the Trump agenda and contended Monday's rally is based on "kind of a ho-hum piece of news."

Mohamed El-Erian said the election "avoided a significant tail risk" because the 2nd round of the France election isn't far right vs. far left.

Rob Sechan said "pollsters finally got it right," and he sees a "75% probability" that the French election matches pollsters' predictions.

In his first of 3 fights in the opening minutes, Stephen Weiss said that unlike Sechan, he doesn't like energy.

Atul Lele said he thinks the global expansion can continue a couple more years. But Weiss said the great burst of growth that Lele is talking about is "off a very low base" and is still "very low growth."

Joe questioned how the 10-year can be at 2.26 if there's all this growth. Rob Sechan said there's no "inflation impulse," and it's "Goldilocks."

Josh Brown said "the biggest story in the world right now" is the all-time highs in the MSCI world indexes. "The market would've done exactly what it's doing right now if the poll went the other way. If the election went the other way … What we like is when these events are in the rear-view mirror," Brown said.

Brown asserted that "the most money is made when things are horrendous but getting better before people start to realize."

Brown added, "I am the only person on this desk talking about, you must be global last year, you must buy Europe."

"That's absolutely not true," Weiss said about 4 or 5 times.

"All I heard from guests, from panelists, from people on Twitter, Europe is terrible," Brown insisted.

"We invested in European hedge funds before you even got on an airplane (and) knew where Europe was," snapped Weiss.

More from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, April 21, 2017]

Grasso: Buy Le Pen breakout

Steve Grasso on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said that if Marine Le Pen pulls away in the polls, "I would guess that that's a buying opportunity."

Grasso said the French election isn't "a big enough event" to derail U.S. stocks. But Karen Finerman, opined, "I think it's bigger than Brexit," suggesting Le Pen's strength is a "terrible sign for the euro."

Tim Seymour mentioned all the "conniptions" they used to have on Fast Money about Greece. (Including that entire show a few years ago when there were no commercials and MCC was live in Athens explaining that people in the crowd were pointing green lasers.)

Meanwhile, Karen Finerman noted the "comeback" of SHLD, but "I still wouldn't touch it," it's a "dinosaur." Steve Grasso, the contrarian of this program, said you can't short SHLD but that it's time to buy the brick-and-mortar retailers for a trade.

Tim Seymour shrugged, "There's just way too many stores out there." He called SHLD a "burning house."

Josh suggests people who like COST maybe wouldn’t like it so much if they didn’t have to buy a membership

On Friday's Halftime Report, CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera explained that, of the 4 leading French candidates, the markets like Emmanuel Macron and Francois Fillon.

Josh Brown said he wouldn't be so sure what the market reaction will be to the various French candidates.

Kate Moore likes European stocks "from a fundamental perspective."

Jon Najarian said volatility was rising, indicating "people are nervous," after the latest France terror attack.

Steph Link predicted "better traffic trends" at COST. Josh Brown said buying a Costco membership "kind of obligates you" to like the store and questioned how many people would like it if Amazon bought BJ's.

Josh called MCD "not a difficult stock to hold," but Sully tossed Josh's France point back at him, questioning if everyone's on the same side of the trade.

Regarding the Bernstein short call on K, Doc said, "70 to me looks like a pretty interesting area," so he'd be interested in selling puts. Josh said he's on the other side, there's an "apocalypse" coming in the packaged-goods space.

Doc said HD June 155 calls were popular.

Doc said TMUS June 70 calls were popular.

Josh Brown admitted that GE is "like watching paint dry."

Sarat Sethi said HON is "the new GE, the GE of the '90s" and said you can hold it for 5-10 years.

Steph Link admitted she made a "terrible call" being long MAT, though she's been "trimming it."

Doc said he's in HAL on unusual activity.

Josh predicted SCHW will "get back into rally mode." Link trumpeted SWK. Sarat Sethi predicted rates will rise after the French vote, helping banks. Doc thinks people are "aggressively accumulating" BAC.

Sully says Celtics
are ‘up 2-nothing’

Dom Chu on Friday's Halftime made the case that AAPL, GOOGL, MSFT, AMZN and FB are carrying the market.

That prompted guest host Sully to turn to Doc, "a former professional football player," to handle Sully's analogy about NBA teams in which Sully said the Boston Celtics are "up 2-nothing" (sic).

Doc said he called the FB "gift" at 114, which doesn't really have anything to do with the subject. Then he dropped the head-scratcher:

"That team is like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the stocks we saw up there, back in the '80s, when they were just winning, you know, one for the thumb that they talked about because they had the 4 Super Bowl rings," Doc said. "I think you're gonna see more of that, uh, from those stocks."


Sadly, or maybe gloriously, the Steel Curtain peaked in January 1980 (actually slightly before) and, after that point, had exactly one month of decent football left before a sad crumbling that took decades to overcome.

Yes, in autumn of 1980, people talked about "one for the thumb," then they stopped talking about it by November. And the Curtain never won the one for the thumb; that was the Roethlisberger/Polamalu/Ward/Bettis gang.


What happened to Carl’s
Day of Reckoning? (cont’d)

Sully on Friday's Halftime said Paul Tudor Jones is saying that "central bankers should be terrified" about stock prices.

Jon Najarian said "there are reasons to be worried" because of "what has not happened with the administration."

Stephanie Link said the market as a whole isn't expensive, but there are "pockets."

Josh Brown said that back to 1926, the market drops 20% "roughly every 2½ years, so this is not really a bold prediction" by Jones.

Brown knocked the latest overvalued calculations. "There are always red flags," Brown said. "Most people won't see it coming."

Sarat Sethi said, "This is the most hated bull market rally we've had for 5 years."

Gene Todd told Sully, "I'm not really worried." Todd said it makes sense to have exposure to fixed income.

"I think Emmanuel Macron will win," Todd said, but he's probably "risk off" in Europe.

More from Friday's Halftime/Fast Money later.

[Thursday, April 20, 2017]

BWLD 450 (snicker)

We've kinda wondered what, exactly, is wrong at BWLD.

Apparently everything, according to Mick McGuire, who once again Thursday made his activist case on the Halftime Report.

The specific faults were these: "Traffic, comp store sales, restaurant-level operating margins, returns on capital, guest experience, technology implementations."

It seems like McGuire just wants the board to have an "ownership orientation."

And, based on his comments over multiple appearances, more franchise-owned restaurants.

McGuire said he thinks 4 new board members could work with other board members to find a new CEO.

Leslie Picker read off the company's response about how it's tried to appease Marcato. But McGuire, grasping to explain what exactly is going wrong, called that "window dressing around the edges that still fails to uh you know, really to address, uh, you know, the wide range of, of, of issues that, that need, that need to be focused on."

Guest host Sully asked a good question, why does McGuire think his team can succeed in the crowded restaurant space. McGuire said he's not a restaurant expert, but he's got 3 nominees who are. "I don't think that there's any one quick fix," McGuire admitted.

McGuire claims his criticism has been shared by "employees" among other parties. (Um, not sure the cooks are really debating the merits of Marcato's activist plan.)

Joe Terranova actually said McGuire makes a "very compelling argument" about what the company "can do going forward" (sic last 2 words redundant) and asked what the shares are worth. McGuire restated the question and came up with 450, but only if the company can hit the "value drivers," including margin improvement and the "highly franchised model" that was the signature call of the last appearance.

Steve Weiss told McGuire his target is "pretty hefty" and that the stock hasn't been cheap.

Weiss sounds like he negotiated the VIRT-KCG deal

In a choppy, statement-filled episode of the Halftime Report on Thursday, Steve Weiss made an even stronger case for the Virtu-KCG deal than Virtu chief Doug Cifu did.

Weiss said in this particular deal, "1 + 1 = closer to 3."

Cifu praised the KCG franchise and its "access to the marketplace." Joe Terranova asked about volatility. Cifu said, "The opportunity is, when margins are getting squeezed, it's a time to bring efficiency to the marketplace."

Weiss mentioned the "constant pressure" on active management and actually suggested Virtu might be putting "the big investment banks" at a disadvantage. Cifu admitted, "We need them as much as they need us."

The big question in signing steel orders is whether company execs or union chiefs get the pen

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Thursday's Halftime Report interviewed Wolfgang Schauble, who insisted Germany isn't sticking it to anyone.

Then viewers got a long saga about steel dumping. Wilbur Ross told Sully, "We don't contemplate absolutely prohibiting the imported steel," rather, they want to "change the arithmetic."

Steve Weiss told Mario Longhi that the unions have "driven up the cost of doing business," and even if Chinese steel is limited from entering the U.S., "they'll just dump it into the rest of the world and limit your ability to export."

Longhi said X takes a "Carnegie way approach to making our company more efficient" and said technology that can "track everything that moves around the world in a much more timely manner" can help identify the manipulation that's happening.

Jim Lebenthal said Thursday's steel action is "late in coming."

Jeff Kilburg said you have to "trade the range" in crude from 47 to 54. Anthony Grisanti said he doesn't think crude will break 50.

Joe Terranova said the stock market was making a "cyclical move" on Thursday.

Jon Najarian said HAL 48.50 calls were popular and that buyers were selling the 50.50 calls.

Joe touted PNC. Jim Lebenthal said he may add to GOOG after earnings. Weiss touted LULU and Doc touted VOYA for unusual activity.

[Wednesday, April 19, 2017]

Isn’t it a tautological truth that if there are no levers, doesn’t that mean they’ve been pulled and therefore there won’t be a recession?

Guest host Melissa Lee on Wednesday's Halftime clarified with Steve Liesman that Eric Rosengren is talking about reducing the Fed's balance sheet while the rate hikes are actually occurring.

(At least, that was the observation that was made and confirmed a few times.)

Stephen Weiss opined, "I think the market's saying, go ahead and do it."

Weiss said it's gotta be in the back of people's minds, "if we go into recession, there are no levers for the Fed to pull."

Jim Lebenthal said it's a "tautological truth" (we had to look that up) that it's easier for the Fed to tighten by reducing the balance sheet "politically" than by rising rates.

Guy Adami: GS is ‘major double top’ going back to 2007

Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he still owns LUK and BAC, though he "did pare back on Citi."

Weiss said banks are "swimming upstream" against rates.

Kari Firestone gushed about SCHW, calling it "really on a runway" for gaining market share.

Guest host Missy Lee sounded disheartened that GS wasn't rebounding on the MS report. Josh Brown suggested GS' quarter was "probably idiosyncratic."

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, in tricolor top, said she thinks there's more to go in the AXP price wars.

Guy Adami said there's a "major I think double-top now in Goldman Sachs, going back to Halloween of 2007 and the recent high of 253, so, technically, it does not bode well for the space."

Karen admitted, "I have big bank exposure. Um, hasn't been great the last month for sure, 6 weeks."

Kari Firestone on Halftime touted BX and mentioned the partnership overhang and the K-1s that nobody wants.

KO, IBM, exciting

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the Credit Suisse's analyst's $49 KO target, if realized, would be "exactly equal to the last 5 years' return in the stock price on Coca-Cola."

Jim said you can have the KO dividend, but he's not going to get excited about the stock.

Josh Brown though shrugged that KO's a decent stock; it's "going up and to the right."

Kari Firestone said if you're long KO, "you're buying a nice yield," but you're "really praying that they make it work for you."

Stephen Weiss said the KO analyst is only making a "relative value call" in the analyst's sphere.

The fact guests aren’t being asked if they’ll still fly United indicates all of them still will

In the best line of the day, Steve Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime said there should be a "premium" for IBM's "consistency" in posting falling revenue.

Weiss said he wouldn't buy the stock; it's "perennial cheap."

Josh Brown said the 200-day no longer holds in IBM.

Jim Lebenthal said IBM's "main" business is artificial intelligence (snicker), but "they can't make any money from it."

Kari Firestone said "part of the reason" IBM has been climbing in the last year is the buyback, and perhaps it should've bought CRM instead.

But Jon Najarian said he made "a nice chunk of money already" selling IBM puts.

Toni Sacconaghi, who's had IBM as a market perform for 6 years and has a 140-150 target (for those stock market thrill-seekers), said in some ways, IBM appears cheap, but there's debt, and "the cash flow has benefitted from a number of one-time items," so it's actually too expensive.

It was unclear if Sacconaghi will fly United; Mel didn't ask.

Josh Brown touted INTC and MU and called NVDA "such a great risk/reward."

Josh suggests making
FAST money

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he would "strongly recommend" against buying NAVI, though he said the company would make more money as the 10-year yield rises. (That kind of applies to a lot of names.)

Josh Brown endorsed FAST.

Steve Weiss said he owns CCI, calling it a "phenomenal story."

Kari Firestone said RARE is worth "at least a hundred dollars."

Jon Najarian likes Cowen's SWN call.

Doc said KSS May 42.50 calls were being bought "with abandon." Doc said he's probably going to be long LULU until the May options expire. Weiss said LULU has a great product that can't be "disintermediated" by the Internet.

Karen Finerman lamented GE's P.E. ratio. Phil LeBeau spent a week rattling off United Airlines press releases before being sent to China, where surely people have been asking him, "This Dao fellow — did he insult the party?"

Bill O’Reilly is the final trade on a CNBC program

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Brian Stutland told gorgeous Seema Mody in hunter green that profit taking and lower volatility are pushing gold lower.

Scott Nations said 1,260 and 1,300 are the key gold levels on either side; "we're in technical no-man's land."

Jim Lebenthal said the bullish HAL call "makes sense as a trade." Steve Weiss said RRC has been "an absolute pig." Jon Najarian said he's "not excited about the sector" but that you could take a shot with RRC with risk capital. (Or you could sell some IBM puts.)

Josh Brown said he's been long XLE for a while. (Zzzzzzz.)

Josh said EBAY is a "breakout in progress." Kari Firestone and Brown like V.

Weiss' final trade was ADC, "one of the best-managed REITs out there." Jim Lebenthal suggested INTC, Josh said NVDA, and Doc said SKX. Kari Firestone's final trade was for Fox to dump Bill O'Reilly for Steve Bannon.

[Tuesday, April 18, 2017]

Karen: Everyone was apologizing on United conference call

Guy Adami, apparently disheartened by his Goldman Sachs bullishness, predicted on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that GS touches 200.

David Seaburg said that until the 10-year turns around, banks can't go up. Seaburg said if GS gets to $200, buy it. He also said to buy JPM at $80.

Karen Finerman said she bought GS calls on Tuesday, because "I just thought this was sort of overdone," and "such a big penalty" seems too much.

Finerman listened to the United Airlines call. "Every time anyone answered a question, they would start with an apology over the incident of last week," Finerman said. "I thought the conference call coordinator was going to apologize for the incident last week."

Pete Najarian again said United has lousy management and wondered, "How many times do we have to hear 'em apologize."

Karen questioned the repetition we're getting not just from United Airlines, but the White House. "I think it's just talk, actually. I mean, I don't know, every day we see these things come out, we got a, you know, great tax plan just, just around the corner," Finerman said. "How many times can you say that."

Finerman also questioned the latest executive order. "Is this a policy? It's just a press release. What's the difference between an executive order and a press release," Finerman asked, finding no takers.

Pete: United Airlines management ‘is the worst there is potentially in the entire industry’

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report argued Warren Buffett's presence as a reason for being long UAL.

"I like the stock, I think you do buy it on these dips," Najarian said.

But at the end of the show, Najarian admitted he only took the bull case for the sake of taking the bull case and stated, "I don't own this stock at all."

Pete Najarian said Buffett bought other airlines too, and, "I think the United management team itself (sic redundant) is the worst there is potentially in the entire industry."

That may come as a surprise to Brad Gerstner, the Altimeter activist investor who told Judge on April 20, 2016, after his UAL board deal that "We think, you know, when you look back on this industry 5 years from now, uh, the Harvard Business School case studies are gonna have to be rewritten on how industries evolve and change."

Lesson 1: Don't drag a guy from flights to Louisville.

Pete likes DAL and LUV and HA (yep) and JBLU better than UAL.

Joe Terranova bluntly said to stay away from UAL "for a very long time."

Steph Link said UAL is a "battleground stock." She likes DAL better.

Guest host Melissa Lee, who looked dynamite in maroon top and new hairstyle and whose strength is stating reporters' names with a certain oomph better than other CNBC hosts ("Thanks very much. Jackie. DeAngelis. ... Aditi. Roy. ... "), said she used air quotes while stating Pete gets the "trophy" for winning the UAL argument even though the air quotes occurred offscreen and viewers didn't see them.

Mel is stunning in maroon but misses opportunity to ask Mark Mahaney if he’ll fly United; instead asks about ‘implications’ of Facebook Live murder

Mark Mahaney on Tuesday's Halftime, handling a satellite delay with Mel fairly well, said Reed Hastings made "surprising comments" about no longer evaluating NFLX on subscriber growth.

Mahaney said Netflix reported kind of a "push quarter" but that it has "momentum" in international subscriber growth.

Jon Najarian, somehow thinking Mahaney is tracking unusual activity, asked Mahaney about the stock moving $3 while options suggested it would be a $12 move. Mahaney said it "probably" means the market is looking long term.

Mahaney said he doubted FB would launch a new catalyst for the stock at Tuesday's meeting.

Regarding the Facebook Live murder, Mahaney said the Internet is the "regulatory Wild West," but at least in Facebook and Snapchat, users' friends serve as a "social censor," while anything goes on Youtube.

In a good slam (with professional courtesy), Doc said Michael Pachter (haven't seen him for a while) gave NFLX a 73 target. Doc encouraged Pachter, "Time to get off of this one and move on."

Joe Terranova said the average NFLX price target has "jumped $35 since January," which makes him skeptical of the stock.

GS trades almost as if they dragged someone off a plane

One of the Halftime/Fast Money refrains, basically since inception, is that Goldman Sachs is always just about to crush the next quarter.

That wasn't exactly the case on Tuesday's Halftime, as none of the panelists were plunging into GS.

"I think you gotta wait on Goldman" said Pete Najarian, adding the rest of the banks are a "good opportunity."

But Stephanie Link asserted, "I think the group will take a pause until rates can stabilize."

Wilfred Frost, who has emerged as CNBC's go-to host on the big banks, contended, "That doesn't have to mean it means an unwind in the banks trade more broadly" (sic grammar).

Frost said Morgan Stanley is Goldman Sachs' "nearest comparitor (sic)."

"Well I think it's Goldman's Fax- uh, Sachs, specifically obviously that is concerning," offered Joe Terranova. "And I don't think you buy Goldman Sachs right here. I think the franchise, you do have to question why is FICCs down again for a second consecutive 1st quarter."

"It's evolving into a very ugly tape," Joe added.

Jon Najarian said "a lot of what happened" with GS is that the big banks in general were "robbing from Peter to pay Paul," and it's unclear who might be grabbing some of Goldman's market share.

Erin Browne cited weak data and suggested, "I think we're at close to the bottom," but she nevertheless wants to wait on the French election.

Stephanie Link said she was buying WFC on Friday.

Joe Terranova doubted that certain protests will impair Congress' chances of a tax overhaul and sounded offended by the linkage. "Tax reform is, is, completely, has nothing to do with the president's tax returns," Joe said.

Erin Browne said the markets want to see a "clear budget plan" from the White House.

Grandpa Pete Najarian grumbled that "we are so consumed by everything, and every single news story now is bigger than the other one."

Consensus: CMG over MCD

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report said Bernstein's 160 MCD target seems "awfully high," though he likes the stock and the company's innovation.

Steph Link said she "totally" sees why CMG is moving but can't buy it. Everybody else said CMG's a better bet right now than MCD.

Joe Terranova scowled at the valuation note on KMB and halfheartedly suggested that longs maybe buy some puts or "sell half." Joe endorsed CVS and suggested looking at TSN.

Steph Link wouldn't add to to CL but said it could be an attractive target.

Jon Najarian shrugged that "everybody's kinda neutral" on CLX. (But not as "neutral" as he apparently is in UAL.)

Joe called UNH "a winner" while Pete trumpeted the name. Steph Link sees more upside in CI.

Limited availability
+ reduced shipments = ...

Brian Stutland on Tuesday's Halftime Report said 3 things are hurting the dollar's strength and suggested possible mid-90s.

Jim Iuorio predicted the dollar will find support at 98.50.

Erin Browne said the snap election is "probably the best-case scenario for the U.K." Joe Terranova praised Browne's analysis and said Theresa May views the opposition as "weak" now.

Steph Link said she thinks CAH is "bottoming," but buyers have time to wait.

Pete Najarian said "the squeeze is on" at GNC.

Jon Najarian said HOG curiously has "limited availability" and "reduced shipments" at the same time.

Joe Terranova said he likes COF on the CAB news.

Pete said someone was buying November 34 calls in WFM. Doc said FXI May 38 calls and May 39.50 calls were popular, apparently bought by someone selling the May 36 puts.

Erin Browne's final trade was EEM. Pete trumpeted V, Doc said LL and Steph Link said LRLCY and EL. Joe touted TXN past 80 and playoff hockey.

[Monday, April 17, 2017]

Guests not asked
if they’re flying United

Sully missed his chance.

One of the secrets to quality interviewing is getting subjects off the script into something they probably have an opinion about. (For example, Kevin Plank switching from "this company's been succeeding for 20 years" to someone being a real "asset" to the country in a recent chat with Judge.)

So guest host Brian Sullivan on Monday's Halftime Report should've asked Bill Nygren if Bill still plans to fly United in the wake of the embarrassing video.

Now, it's within the realm of possibility that Bill's answer to even this question would've been something like, "As long as it looks cheap" and "we don't care about one-time incidents but where a company's going to be in 5-7 years." But surely Nygren is at least an occasional business traveler; his off-the-cuff answer (yes/no) would help indicate the real depth of this problem for United.

But no.

On Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, who looked golden in new hairstyle and top, said if she were the United CEO, "I would be as conservative as I could coming, going into this call actually."

Tim Seymour bluntly declared, "I think people have mischaracterized this whole thing," adding the impact on United's business will be "almost nil."

Dan Nathan predicted S&P 2,300 "in the next month or so," then "panic" sometime this spring.

Joe calls Korean tensions bearish for crude

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime curiously told a skeptical Kevin O'Leary, "Anything in, in the Korean Peninsula as it relates to (yep) oil is bearish."

Like O'Leary, we weren't too sure about that; Josh Brown also suggested it "hastens demand."

Joe insisted, "It's impacting the demand."

Joe opened the show stating, "Trading the macro is very very difficult to do, nearly impossible" and adding we're in a "time correction."

"Technicals right now to me are the biggest risk," Joe said.

Stephen Weiss noted expectations for tax reform and an infrastructure bill are "muted," and the "generational move" from bonds to stocks "clearly hasn't happened."

Josh Brown said 43% of the S&P 500 is below its Election Day price.

Pete Najarian said "we're in a volatile market" and cited the VIX dropping from 16 to 15.

Kevin O'Leary said the "gift" of Q1 was the rest of the world.

Joe called energy earnings a "huge obstacle" to the market.

Still not sure what it all means for Tom Lee’s CRAP trade

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime invoked Kensho in pointing out that markets are typically weak in the 2 weeks prior to Tax Day, then they perform well in the 2 weeks after Tax Day.

Steve Weiss wasn't buying it, stating, "But it looked like the data says that it's still up more often than it's down."

"This is not launch a hedge fund and trade this each year!" Brown protested.

"It's interesting information," Weiss said, but, "It's not what I do."

Jonathan Krinsky said there's downside risk beyond 2,320, which he said would take us down to 2,275.

Krinsky cited recent ramped-up VIX and put/call activity as signals that complacency is fading a bit and suggested we're "more near a low than a, than a high at this point." Pete Najarian said he needs to know whether people are buying options or selling options.

Krinsky suggests DPS or KO rather than betting against the market.

First we’ve heard about Einhorn’s GM plan in weeks

On Monday's Halftime Report, Bill Nygren — always a fine guest but one who tends to rattle off 5 stocks with the same description, "it's cheap" — stated that there's an "enormous" list of things that figure to have crashed the market over the last 25 years, but the market's up 10-fold in that time, so "market timing's a fool's game."

Nygren actually suggested analyzing other stocks like Einhorn analyzed GM and stated that for several big stocks that yield about as much as the bonds, "you're getting growth for not very much today."

Nygren touted DLPH and said the argument about these stocks meriting a lower multiple is "pretty much a historical artifact" (sic).

Nygren said CHK's valuation ignores the "massive amount of property" that the company has.

Judge off; entire program takes place without discussion of the 10-year yield

Kevin O'Leary on Monday's Halftime Report said he hates the Barron's call on F; "the car story is over … the whole Detroit car story is very, very difficult."

O'Leary called F's chart "really ugly." Josh Brown said the stock has "always been too cheap."

O'Leary suggested a supplier instead, MGA.

Weiss started to suggest Jim Lebenthal is rolling over on his desk. Pete Najarian said, "I like the GM story much better than the Ford story."

Kevin O’Leary: 20% takeout premium in NFLX

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime said he's still long NFLX but isn't trading it around earnings. He said it would be a "far better" acquisition for AAPL than for DIS.

Kevin O'Leary, obviously taking Ross Levinsohn's comments to heart last week, said, "The problem with the stock is, the reason you own it is you think, this week, it's going to be Apple buying it. Last week, it was Disney buying it. All of a sudden, everybody gets out of this 'it's gonna be acquired' issue, this stock's down 20%."

But Weiss said he owns it because "everybody's cuttin' cords. And so, this is the future."

Josh Brown said if you're going to be long NFLX, you have to expect two 30% pullbacks a year.

O'Leary said neither AAPL nor DIS can buy NFLX "on an accretive basis."

O’Leary: United should pay dragged doc $30 million to make this end (incredibly, CNBC doesn’t show the video)

Kevin O'Leary on Monday's Halftime said United Airlines should pay Dr. Dao $30 million; "I've never seen a brand get slaughtered like this."

Josh Brown said MCD has been "on fire" and said he agrees with Wells Fargo's bullish take on the first mover advantage of app ordering.

Steve Weiss said LLY is overvalued, "and I don't think Trump's done coming after 'em."

Pete Najarian said RBC's 157 target on AAPL is "a little bit low."

Josh Brown said he doesn't think the Facebook Live news over the weekend is "epidemic enough" to derail FB's march to 150.

Joe Terranova got to tolk about "Palo Alto" (yep) again; he said "I've avoided this one thankfully; the better name is Fortinet. FN," except "FN" is not the ticker symbol for Fortinet. (This writer is long PANW.)

Steve Weiss said he's not buying MNST.

Pete Najarian said the ARNC stock reaction "speaks for itself."

Kevin O'Leary said the music business is "the worst of the worst."

Joe touted V on the old 90-to-100 theory. Weiss said airlines have bottomed (but have they, if $30 million is on the table). Josh said he's staying long JPM. Pete said August 14 calls in RF were popular (even though Doc predicted last week that financials will trade sideways for months). O'Leary touted his own ONTL.

Guest host Brian Sullivan, who had a quiet show by Sully standards, said Judge is on vacation this week.

Sue Herera marked CNBC's 28th birthday Monday.

[Thursday, April 13, 2017]

Shocker of the day was Judge stating Ross Levinsohn is ‘our newest CNBC contributor’

Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime revealed that Lee Cooperman thinks stocks might not do anything through late summer but lift near the end of the year.

Jon Najarian hailed Lee Cooperman for selling upside calls to play a flat market.

Pete Najarian said Coop's NFLX stake is a "pretty interesting" trade.

Speaking of NFLX, Judge brought in Ross Levinsohn to discuss RBC's suggested "logical" AAPL-DIS combination.

Levinsohn said "it's good for headlines," but he's not sure it makes "all the sense in the world."

As for AAPL, "I'd rather see them go buy Netflix," Levinsohn said, plus Spotify for $10 billion, and even $27 billion for WPP, "and on top of it with a cherry go buy Hulu for 10 billion."

Levinsohn suggested AAPL is a distribution company and needs to be "somewhat Switzerland" rather than throwing in with 1 company, so "go get Netflix and Spotify."

"I think their competition down the line is more Amazon than anybody else," Levinsohn concluded.

Steve Schwarzman helped himself out by not saying Donald Trump’s business skills are a real asset to the country

Erin Browne on Thursday's Halftime Report theorized that "People are skittish into the French election" and said she would "just sit" for another week.

Unfazed, Jim Lebenthal noted, "We're right at the beginning of the earnings season."

Jim said he thinks the 10-year yield will climb from 2.25% but admitted under annoying pressure from Judge that he was wrong thinking it would go higher from 2.60%.

Pete Najarian found something to like about the banks (surprise, surprise), stating trading volumes are the "balancing act" offsetting loan growth.

Joe Terranova said banks are in a "consolidation range." He said he bought back into RF.

Jim Lebenthal said Donald Trump's agenda is "absolutely mired." But Judge claimed Steve Schwarzman "halved the losses in the stock market" the other day when he said "health care is not dead yet."

Joe protested that the stock market is "absolutely nowhere" in the last 6 weeks, so it's not like we're in the middle of a sudden crash.

Nevertheless, Judge said, "I think the biggest story in the market right now is rates."

Joe again pointed out that "the day after the State of the Union (sic not correct title)" was the stock market high.

"This is looking a lot like 2015," said Jim Lebenthal, explaining the market's being led by only a few juggernauts.

Rick Santelli said Donald Trump should "lay low" as far as speaking about foreign exchange.

Forgot where tech falls in Tom Lee’s CRAP trade

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said Guggenheim's 150 target on ADBE "seems like it is the right call."

Joe Terranova said that in a "decent marketplace," he can see ADBE 150 in 12 months.

Grandpa Judge wondered about "tech coming, coming back to earth."

But Jon Najarian noted that FB and AAPL have been knocked down "hardly at all."

And Pete said to look at AVGO, SWKS and CRUS.

How many touchdown passes did the owner throw?

CNBC on Thursday's Halftime Report rolled the clip (Drink) of the man being dragged off the United flight while Phil LeBeau reported the lawyer's press conference.

Pete Najarian said, "They've gotta get rid of this as fast as humanly possible."

Doc said UAL "hasn't corrected enough" for him to buy.

But Jim Lebenthal stated even though United is "gonna pay this poor, unfortunate gentleman a few million dollars … people are still gonna fly United."

Joe Terranova countered, "You don't buy United, because now, this is going to snowball" and become a "Washington, D.C., event."

Meanwhile, Jeff Kilburg said $1,300 is the "imminent test" for gold. Scott Nations said the "only concern" is that the RSI indicates gold is slightly overbought.

Noting the big bomb in Afghanistan, Jim Lebenthal told Judge the market is not prepared for a hawkish president.

Doc said May 190 calls in GD were popular. Pete said someone's selling July 80 puts in AXP.

Doc said someone bought a "ton" of VXX May 18 calls and sold September 24 calls.

Judge told Suzy Welch that the Patriots are a "remarkable partnership between the coach and the owner."

[Wednesday, April 12, 2017]

We just figured out — Halftime Portfolio contest apparently is defunct

It's quietly gone away.

This page just realized, to its own embarrassment, that we hadn't noticed that we haven't heard a word this year (nor could we find a web page) about the so-called Halftime Portfolio challenge, in which panelists pick a tiny portfolio and change it during the year (the rules changed every year of this concept) and vie to be the year's top trader.

The contest provided some interesting info during the year but couldn't get out of its own way, specifically with its rigid rules that had no relevance to actual stock buying and selling and the show's willingness to just excuse certain folks who posted ghastly returns by February as though bad numbers don't matter.

Oh well.


On Wednesday's Halftime, CNBC superfox Leslie Picker reported on ValueAct returning $1.25 billion to investors because Jeff Ubben is "skeptical" of higher returns.

Josh Brown said Ubben is "smart," but, "He's not supposed to be fully invested pretty much at any time."

Kevin O'Leary said there's nothing bullish at all to say about Ubben's move; "it's protectionist in every way."

Pete Najarian though said "there's always opportunities."

Kevin O'Leary claimed the 10-year yield "means a soft 36 months ahead." But Josh and the Najarians agreed "it was dead wrong last summer."

Things you can’t tell Jim Nantz on national television

Star guest of Wednesday's Halftime Report Stewart Hagestad said it was "a special moment" to join Sergio Garcia in Butler Cabin.

Hagestad, the low amateur at the Masters and an extremely classy bloke, actually said he plans to get his MBA and pursue a career in finance rather than try to make it on the PGA Tour.

Hagestad, who works for Oaktree Residential & Management according to the CNBC graphic, explained that he hasn't spent all of his recent time in the office. "I think there's been a little bit of a misconception here, but I wasn't gonna correct Jim Nantz on TV," Hagestad said. "Um, I took a leave of absence to prepare for the Masters."

O'Leary asked Hagestad, who pledged Sigma Chi at USC according to an L.A. Times profile, why he's pursuing an MBA rather than pro golf; "Are you kidding?"

Hagestad told "Mr. O'Leary" that regional banks aren't so bad he's an "avid watcher" of Shark Tank, and perhaps Kevin could make a counteroffer.

"You're wasting a hell of an opportunity," O'Leary said.

Doc makes a prediction based on Kensho rather than unusual activity

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime went first to Kevin O'Leary, who complains about regional banks on every show, and we're sick of writing it.

Mike Mayo was also present and countered that there's an important distinction between "Wall Street banks" and "Main Street banks," adding the latter are more challenged.

Jon Najarian predicted the banks will "trade sideways" for months based on Kensho data from the last 5 years that he researched with John Melloy.

Mike Mayo said he didn't see it reported, but in Jamie Dimon's CEO letter, Dimon said JPM would buy back stock at 2 times book.

Doc: LULU to 60

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime scoffed at the LULU upgrade, but Jon Najarian cheered it, stating, "It's goin' back to 60."

But Josh said, "Closing weekly basis, if this stock cannot hold 50, say good night."

Josh said LULU is trading where it was 6 years ago. Pete Najarian acknowledged previous "mismanagement" but pointed to menswear and children's wear.

Sarat Sethi, who had a very quiet show, said tech has been used as a "source of funds," and he's just waiting for a few stocks to come back.

Pete fails to answer
Josh’s question

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said someone was buying May 36 EBAY calls and selling May 38 calls.

Josh Brown said EBAY, for whatever reason, appears to be breaking out and questioned why a Chinese firm doesn't just buy it.

Pete said, "I can answer that," but he didn't, stating EBAY is tapping artificial intelligence (snicker) and has partnerships with India.

Jon Najarian said October 18 calls in MRO were getting bought. (This writer is long MRO.)

Brian Stutland predicted gold heads higher. Anthony Grisanti said the charts indicate gold is going higher, possibly $1,300 "in the next few sessions." Kevin O'Leary touted the GLD.

Josh Brown said he bought JBLU a day ago. Doc mentioned WLL. Pete touted WFM.

[Tuesday, April 11, 2017]

Karen concedes she has ‘evolved,’ sees animal spirits in the market

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Ylan Mui aired a short clip outside the White House of Jack Welch, who seemed a little out of breath, stating that Donald Trump is "pushing this job agenda … hard."

Grandpa Dan Nathan grumbled on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that the CEOs have had "numerous" meetings with Trump, "and they come out with nothing."

Karen Finerman validated what this page has said for months, stating she's "evolved" on the Trump rally, first thinking it was based on tax and policy expectations, "then I really started to think that there is something to it of animal spirits."

As Wade Garrett says, "Exxxxxxxxxxactly."

Put it this way: If participating in the stock market were like watching the Chicago Bears or New York Mets, this year would be 1985 or 1986.

So don't change the channel.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money helpfully pointed out that a lousy earnings season "will have a negative effect on the market."

Grandpa Dan also grumbled about when the "dossiers" from Russia come out.

Speaking with Kayla Tausche at Halftime, Steve Schwarzman chuckled about health care legislation: "Doing it in 17 days was perhaps not practical." (Hmmmm. Sounds like they should've done tax-reform first. Literally.)

Schwarzman begged off specifics of tax reform, stating there's "so many different ranges" of things that can be done. (Translation: Let's not tinker with carried interest.)

Joe Terranova complained "there's too many policy initiatives" (snicker) from this administration.

Enough already, CNBC (a/k/a Guy Adami actually says he wouldn’t buy UAL if he knew it was going to 150)

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime for the first time in months if not years actually brought up Dick Costolo, who apparently tweeted that the Monday night email from United is "one of the most tone-deaf corporate emails ever sent."

Wow. That's quite the condemnation.

Jon Najarian claimed that "every single traveler that I know" who's not at the "peak global level for United" but part of the "herd" who has to "ride at the back of the plane anyway, you're not gonna fly United."

"I don't think the stock has reacted enough yet," Doc said, predicting it goes lower on lower bookings.

Joe Terranova said he was perplexed by people Monday noting UAL stock hadn't moved on the bad news, "and that meant you go buy it." Joe said you have to wait for facts and details to emerge.

Steph Link said she's more nervous about UAL's comments on capacity and suggested the stock is subject to multiple contraction.

Pete Najarian said DAL has "already made a correction" and has upside.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Guy Adami claimed he wouldn't buy UAL even if someone told him it was going to 150. (Exhibit A for why BlackRock is turning to quants.)

Karen Finerman though predicted, "I think the public will be somewhat forgiving."

We're not going to add to the chorus about how much Sara Eisen thinks the leggings policy for employee passes is stupid how bad this looked, but we're sick of the video and the blond woman aghast stating "OH MY GOD!!!!," we get it and don't need to see this pathetic incident 5-6 times per hour anymore.

WFM gets ‘Meh’ reax from panel

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime with a report on Jana's goals for WFM, stating the activist just wants WFM "to put all of the options on the table."

Leslie Picker congratulated Judge for "great reporting."

Jon Najarian said "somebody had an inkling" that something was happening at WFM evidenced by the purchase of 28 calls weeks ago, but he's not seeing activity now.

Joe Terranova said he used to trade WFM, but there's huge competition in the space now, and management has been "very slow to react to the pressures." Joe said what's interesting is that Jana "knew when to be short the company."

Stephanie Link said WFM has a restructuring in progress, but it's just not enough. She called the stock "expensive" but said she'd follow Jana if she thought Jana could make a difference on execution.

Link said we're hearing about "less food deflation" in the sector.

"What about the board?" demanded Pete Najarian, calling for a shake-up.

But Karen Finerman likes the stock and made it her Final Trade on Fast Money.

Sounds like you can buy any chip company (but this is the year, for the first time in a long time, where you have to be stock-specific)

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime pounded the table for AAPL suppliers on the pullback. But Steph Link said it's good to take profits; "All of my semi names are up on average 20%."

Joe Terranova pronounced QRVO as "Cuervo" (which Judge flagged, in another impressive one-liner) and said he'd be "maybe nervous" about the name.

Doc endorsed STX because "storage is everything."

Pete said somebody on Monday bought 5,400 upside calls in WDC. Doc made that his final trade.

Pete's final trade was AMD.

Doc said "surprise, surprise," YELP rose after "huge upside call-buying."

Joe said, "Facebook is just gonna make everyone else disappear."

HES too scary for Steph

Bob Iaccino on Tuesday's Halftime said he doesn't know who in Saudi Arabia is talking to the WSJ. Jim Iuorio said "56.50's in the cards" for crude in the next couple of weeks.

Stephanie Link said she doesn't want the "beta" of HES.

Joe Terranova related another observation, stating it's very difficult to trade oil, and "that's a problem as it relates to Hess." (But he didn't say Hess is "tethered" to the price of oil.)

Jon Najarian predicted crude "bounces" between 48 and 58. Pete Najarian said 50-60.

Judge said "literally" that when you get a headline from the Saudis, "all bets are off."

Doc: Hertz hoppin’

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said he thinks the VIX will stay around 15 "for a little while."

Joe Terranova cited TOL as the 1 homebuilder name that will "work well" in the next 12 months (or as it relates to the next 12 months).

Stephanie Link would be "inclined" to buy DE on a pullback.

Link said PF is not cheap but has superior growth.

Pete said, "The cash flows at Disney are incredible." (Zzzzzzzz.)

Doc said May 20 HTZ calls were being bought. Pete said May 19 puts in ABX were bought as "protection" rather than a downward bet. Pete also said there was "massive" weekly call-buying in AAPL.

Joe offered DAR as a final trade. Link said CSX.

[Monday, April 10, 2017]

Syria strike not even discussed on either Halftime or Fast Money, just as we predicted Friday (see below)

Judge on Monday's Halftime showed that Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson made a 12-month, 2,700 S&P call.

That set off the panel on an interesting, forest-through-the-trees assessment of the 2017 market. (We'll summarize it better than they did: If you're outta this market, you're nuts. Or, alternate theme: Kevin O'Leary is clueless.)

Jim Lebenthal called Wilson's analysis a "bold call" but said the number seems more like a 24-month estimate.

"I'm a 6-8% guy," said Kevin O'Leary, who said his cash percentage is "exactly 17" and stated Wilson's "mistake" was the 12-month time frame because crude is going to be capped in the mid-50s, and energy names will struggle to get going.

Steve Weiss said he agrees with Wilson's argument that it's about the global economy, and if tax reform keeps getting pushed back, the market will still climb. "Yeah, I think it's upward trend," Weiss said.

Joe Terranova pointed out again that "the State of the Union" (sic not formal title) was the market high. He said there's "no reason" to exit, and if you're not in the market and it goes higher, "you're basically short the market."

Josh Brown said there's no correlation between GDP and stock-market returns. Josh said that if the bull market is entering euphoria, the last ride tends to be good; the average return in the last year of all bull markets since 1926 is 26%, according to Brown.

But Josh said there's no euphoria because Wall Streeters aren't sure they'll have a job in a couple years.

Joe Terranova said, "I don't understand why we're talking about euphoria in any context of this conversation."

"I do Joe think it's euphoria," insisted Jim Lebenthal, warning of a market ending in a game of "musical chairs."

Weiss disagreed with O'Leary's headwinds, stating the bond guys are only "sometimes" the smartest guys in the room and that buying Treasurys doesn't make you the smartest guy.

Thank goodness Sara Eisen wasn’t on to complain about United’s leggings policy for employee passes

CNBC's Phil LeBeau, in heavy demand all day because a man was removed from a flight, explained to viewers of Monday's Halftime that air-ticketing terms indicate that if your flight is overbooked and you're bumped, "you have to leave."

Judge protested that a flier who's going to be asked to leave shouldn't have been allowed on the flight in the first place. "How hard is that?!"

Phil responded that both he and Judge have been on flights where fliers are told on the plane that the flight is overbooked and that those who take a $600 offer will leave. Judge said he's heard those conversations at the gate, but "none that I can personally recall" on the plane.

Stephen Weiss brought up leggings and pointed out a big problem, that if you're flying, "You're sort of afraid to say something to anybody that works for an airline, because then they're gonna take you off as disruptive, and breaking federal laws and everything like that."

Judge noted that Gordon Bethune was taking heat for his CNBC comments suggesting the United passenger was "immature."

Judge said if you live in a major city, chances are you're "hamstrung by the hub system, so you really have no choice."

Weiss said he lives in New Jersey, and Newark is the closest airport, a United hub, so, "What am I gonna do, fly to, you know, drive to Kennedy?"

Josh Brown tried to point out how ejecting someone looks "so much worse" on a plane than, say, a steakhouse.

But, "This is just abject stupidity," Weiss said.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said she cares about the United incident as a human being, but, "As a stock owner, no, I don't really care." She said if you're an airline, "You want your flights to be full."

Another way to put it is that it’s typical human research just being done far faster by machine

Roy Niederhoffer impressively stood his ground with down-to-earth dialogue on Monday's Halftime Report, stating his firm's strategy is "completely automated" and that his computers are scanning and identifying "predictable, short-term moves."

Josh Brown pointed out "the human element" is writing Niederhoffer's programs.

Stephen Weiss told Niederhoffer that it's really a "relative value strategy." Niederhoffer said he'd call it more of a "directional strategy."

Niederhoffer told Judge he's running a "long-vol" strategy, which accounts for lagging performance in a low-vol environment.

Niederhoffer told Kevin O'Leary his fund was up 50-plus percent in 2000 and 2008; "We're not designed to outperform during the ups; we're designed to make your overall portfolio better over longer periods of time."

Weiss said hedge funds are too crowded, and maybe quant investing will be the same way.

Overbooked airplane succeeds in knocking Trump administration out of the news cycle for 1 day

Nili Gilbert joined Monday's Halftime Report to contend the market is being driven by "unsustainable winners" or "rocket stocks," which can "flare out and crash to the ground."

But Josh Brown said the bulls would say "70% of the S&P 500 is above its 200-day moving average."

Gilbert said there are "behavioral dislocations" in the market in which "the valuation can't keep up with the growth story at the end of the day" (actually probably meant growth story can't keep up with the valuation).

Joe Terranova hung a 120 on BABA. Stephen Weiss touted LULU. Josh noted UAL was up.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said of Tesla, "I can't make it work."

Guy Adami said at the end of the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "Melissa in person is far more beautiful than she is on air."

Judge uncorks his
best line in months

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime Report said Piper Jaffray's TSLA call is a "great argument" for technical analysis.

Kevin O'Leary said he's got "no problem" with Elon Musk or Tesla's cars; his 20-year-old son "beats me up every day to buy the new gull wing, you know, SUV version."

Judge impressively cut in, "Must be nice. My son beats me up to buy him a new Nerf football."

But O'Leary then declared, "The company is not generating cash flow."

Stephen Weiss observed, "Amazon is not that much distinguishable from this, right."

In an interesting analogy, Jim Lebenthal said Tesla reminds him of "Southwest Airlines 15 years ago," stating if you bought it then, it took 10 years to make money.

More from Monday's razor-sharp Halftime — one of the best episodes in months — later.

[Friday, April 7, 2017]

Nobody will be talking about Syria strike next week

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said he's not buying the defense trade based on the Syria strikes because Tomahawks are not the same as boots on the ground or B-52s.

But Josh Brown said the stocks are already rolling; there's no sign anyone's getting "bored" with these names.

Steve Weiss said he owns OA.

Jon Najarian said someone was buying January 70 calls in ICE and selling the January 60 puts.

Jim Lebenthal backed QRVO and SWKS. Josh Brown said to buy SCHW in a "false breakdown" in the 10-year yield. Steve Weiss said airlines are in an upside-down candle. Erin Browne said to buy the XLE.

Another Syria chemical attack would put pressure on Trump; otherwise it’s 1 and done

Once again, Judge tried to convince his panelists that the sinking 10-year yield might be a problem for stocks, to no avail.

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said the 10-year yield is in the bottom of its 5-month range. "2 and a quarter is the line in the sand," Jim said.

"I still think we're gonna hit that 2.25 number" before a bounce, said Jon Najarian, who gushed about selling at-the-money JPM calls and then watching the stock correct 4%. But "I still own JPMorgan!"

Josh Brown said he's "not impressed with the wisdom of the bond market," and, "The bond market is just as dumb as the stock market."

Josh insisted banks' stall is fine given the post-election rise and that anyone told in October that banks would skyrocket for a couple months after the election and then stall for 3 months would take it. Judge insisted that XLF is down 5% in the last month and that banks are giving reason to believe "there could be a retracement of all of the gains that you had."

Josh also "totally" disagrees with Judge's characterization of a "far worse" jobs report than what people expected. "We're at full employment. What do you people want?" Brown demanded.

Erin Browne said we're starting to see a "synchronized global recovery."

Browne said "tech has been 41% of the attribution of the S&P returns year to date." Judge asked, "Isn't that worrisome in and of itself?" (sic last 4 words redundant) (Drink).

Stephen Weiss, who had a quiet show, said he sold some of his C because it's now "swimming upstream."

"It's amazing to me that we're not leading off with Syria," said Weiss.

Doc said someone Friday bought a lot of 121 puts in the TLT.

Brown: WMT breaking out

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime referred to "Nordstroms" (sic plural) and JCP for their omnichannel approach. Jim pronounced retail "good for a trade."

Josh Brown suggested getting long WMT for a breakout with a 70 stop.

Jon Najarian touted LB again (that started in the upper 50s) and then his newfound favorite, RL, mentioning the NYC lease again (Drink).

Stephen Weiss predicted LULU will bounce because it can't be "disintermediated."

Erin Browne unloaded retail at the end of the month but is bullish over the longer term.

Jim O’Neill really disheartened that Trump has used China as punching bag

Jim O'Neill, from Lake Como, Italy, told Judge on Friday's Halftime he didn't know Trump had called U.S.-China relations "outstanding" but said that's a "relief."

O'Neill said he's not sure what Trump hoped to achieve with saber-rattling before the visits.

Judge asked O'Neill what he meant in stating the White House seems "stuck in the Dark Ages." O'Neill said he was referring to the "hostile approach about unfair China."

O'Neill said China has been letting the yuan rise since 2005 and intervening to keep it from falling.

Judge asked about steel dumping. O'Neill said China's had to deal with eliminating a "considerable number of jobs in their own steel industry," and they don't, "as far as I know, blame any other country."

O'Neill then asked the most interesting question of the day: "Are we really trying to suggest that the U.S. wants to become some kind of major producer in the global steel industry?"

We looked up some info readily available on the Internet (so take that for what it's worth); Japan, India and the European Union are all ahead of the U.S. in steel production, and China is enormously ahead of everyone.

Viewers told 3 times in a matter of minutes that Apple sells more iPads and iPhones in China than the U.S.

China watcher Richard Kang, who's apparently based in Canada, on Friday's Halftime said "Trump needs a win, uh, pretty badly, and he needs to make the Chinese a friend."

He said the average Chinese is "frankly a little bit scared" about what's going on in the U.S., but in terms of what they're accustomed to in leaders, "Donald Trump is actually their kind of guy."

Then he said what Jim O'Neill said, that Apple sells more iPhones and iPads in China than in the U.S.

Josh Brown said American investors are "not plugged in" to BABA, but it's now become "a giant company in a lot of categories that they were only talking about prior to the IPO." Josh said over 110, "the juice is loose" in BABA.

Steve Weiss for some reason said "a lot of the move in BABA is a credit to Facebook."

Josh said the FXI is up 12% this year.

[Thursday, April 6, 2017]

Doc suggests Larry Fink’s Europe exposure amounts to peanuts

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime Report claimed the U.S. "cyclically adjusted" P.E. ratio is 30.

Yes, 30.

"We've almost never been this high," Brown said.

He said Europe is 17, and emerging markets is 15.

And he said he believes in mean reversion, while Stephen Weiss appeared to grasp for a mike or some other equipment.

Much more straightforward and with far less dubious numbers, Weiss suggested the HEDJ is a "good way to go" and that the U.S. has "some issues."

Rich Saperstein said Europe is cheaper and that that's an "asset" to U.S. equities rather than a liability. He said Europe has a 15½ forward P.E. while the U.S. has a 17½ forward P.E. He told Weiss he's using the Stoxx600 for the European P.E.

Jim Lebenthal, the best voice here, correctly noted Europe is "always cheaper than the U.S."

But Josh said that's a "false statement."

Jim said, "Josh, I've been doing this for 20 years." Josh cut him off and said, "OK good so you can remember 15 years ago, in the oughts decade, when the euro was a stronger currency than the U.S. dollar and there were stock valuations across Europe that were higher than the U.S." (Sure, Europe has an AMZN, a GMCR, a CROX...)

Weiss said he'll acknowledge Brown on Europe valuation but that it's "not true" as Brown said that the U.S. tech valuation stems from "market performance" and a "look-ahead bias." Weiss said, "The makeup of the indices is dramatically different in Europe than here."

Jim correctly noted, "We should not have a discussion of the U.S. vs. the rest of the world." (But that doesn't stop Judge from doing it all the time.)

Jon Najarian said he's continuing to put customer money in the U.S. market and doesn't think it's expensive.

Doc noted the clip of Larry Fink talking about raising his European exposure, but Doc said he wants to know what Fink's allocation to Europe was prior to raising it. "'Cause I guarantee you, he didn't go from a 40% allocation to Europe to a 55% allocation," Doc said, suggesting perhaps 5-7%.

Melissa's hair on the 5 p.m. Fast Money was absolutely divine.

Whatever happened to that order about the travel ban?

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said STZ went from 170 to 145 after the election and gave JPM kudos for ugprading STZ a few weeks ago.

Josh Brown said it's the "amateurs that are reacting to Trump tweets, and the pros who are reacting to the reactions."

Judge said "tax" was mentioned 46 times in the STZ Jan. 5 earnings call. Stephen Weiss said that "everything Trump had promised to do early days, he did through executive orders."

Jim Lebenthal said there's a "fundamental problem" with the industry, that there's a "1,000-pound gorilla" known as Budweiser and that STZ is only a distributor and not a brewer. "BUD's the place to invest right now," Jim said.

Grisanti: 10-year yields rising

Stephen Weiss on Thursday's Halftime said Chinese President Xi has a "very tough balancing act" at home, and as far as the meeting with Trump, "I think basically nothing comes out of it at all."

Jon Najarian said as bad as Syria is, North Korea blowing up "is what the world's most worried about."

Doc said DVN May 43 calls were being bought in big numbers. "I think it goes considerably higher," Doc said.

Josh Brown said YUMC "looks good."

Weiss said BBBY's guidance was poor, but they beat. "I'd avoid it," he said.

Rich Saperstein said he likes COST.

Jim Lebenthal said LB has been "a disaster of a stock for a year," and it's got a "long way to go" before you can say retail is back.

Doc said RL "cratered" to 75 on word of that horrid NYC lease.

Scott Nations said 125.16 has been a "wall" for 10-year futures since November. Anthony Grisanti said he'd be a seller and predicted "yields are climbing in the next few months."

Judge noted JWN, KSS and GPS were doing well. Jim said the industry needs to "right size." (Unfortunately, he says that every show, along with buy CSCO/QCOM/GM.)

Josh Brown chuckled that "in the next recession … these stocks are dead. Like, everything's dead. But this is really, really, really dead."

Jim Lebenthal, who has waffled on TIF, said to get long. Steve Weiss said he thinks LULU has "bottomed out." Doc bought OLN on unusual activity. Rich Saperstein said to buy defense.

Evan Williams bailing

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime said Evan Williams lost the "civil war within Twitter" 3 years ago and is "not really material to what's going on at the company anymore."

Stephen Weiss said Williams is selling at specific points in time, which is better than making a price call; Jim Lebenthal said "we don't know what the limits are that he put in" and suggesting it could even be 25 (snicker).

But, "any way you cut it, it's negative," Weiss said.

Jon Najarian said Williams is "sending a message to the rest of the board" that things aren't going right at this company.

Josh sounds fine with AMD stumble

Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime said he read the Goldman Sachs initiation of AMD, then he sought to downplay the significance.

"When an analyst initiates coverage, it's different than an upgrade or, or, or a downgrade," Brown said, explaining the analyst is trying to make a splash in some way and that 10% drops in the name are common and that he'd like to buy the dip.

"I like buying downgrades that are based on valuation," said Brown.

Jon Najarian said he likes AMD and recommended buying dips.

More from Thursday's Halftime later.

[Wednesday, April 5, 2017]

Karen talks about supermodels,
prom dating

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman addressed the PNRA buyout with a curious analogy.

"This is the thing, though. You know every spring, you hear about some kid, invites some supermodel to prom, and she actually goes with him? Well that was the one. The Panera one was the one who gets to go with the supermodel," Finerman said. "I don't think anybody of- any of these other restaurant chains are gonna get any suitor like that."

The funny thing is, take it on our good authority, there are quite a few dudes out there who would rather take Karen Finerman to prom than take a supermodel to prom.

Alas, that ship sailed a while back. (The usual disclaimer: Yes, we know Karen's got a husband; we're just trying to be nice and pay a compliment he's got a LOT more cash than we've got but he can't compete with us in watching football or "Road House.")

Later in the show, when Tim Seymour suggested sending Guy Adami into space, Karen quipped, "One way, or round trip?"


Here’s what Lee was about to say: The thing that bothers me most is that we’re doing a charity to help 100 kids, and with all the money this case is costing me, we could help 500 kids

In the last minute of Wednesday's Halftime Report, Judge finally got around to asking Lee Cooperman about the status of the SEC case.

Lee said he's up over 6% this year, then he said the SEC has "overreacted" and that he's "anxious" to go to court.

Then Lee's video/audio froze; Pete Najarian joked "the window closed at 1."

Trump thinks his wife is better looking than Queen Rania

Eamon Javers on Wednesday's Halftime Report noted the wives were at the Trump-Abdullah meeting in the Oval Office; that's because Rania was one of the wives, and our president thinks he competes at that level.

Lee Cooperman said he was most concerned about the traffic in Palm Beach while Trump hosts Xi.

Lee said he's "very selective" in the oil space, believing the price of oil will be higher a year from now, possibly in the 60s next year. He said he's long HES and WPX.

Lee said UAL is benefitting from industry consolidation and better pricing power, and also, Buffett likes it.

He said he likes GOOGL for valuation and "fortress balance sheet." And he likes FB for all the fundamentals.

Lee said his son owned PNRA a long time ago when it wasn't worth that much.

Lee said he has a "very large position" in MSFT but "outtraded ourselves" on AAPL and got out too early.

Lee Cooperman thinks stocks are reasonably priced

If we had a dollar for every time Lee Cooperman said "reasonably priced" or "fully priced" or "normalization" on Wednesday's Halftime, we could launch a hedge fund.

Cooperman said of the rally, "We're not in the early innings," though he didn't opine on whether it's the 9th inning.

He thinks the market is reasonably priced and not "euphorically priced." He said the market is a "very gradual slope" upwards, and "We're heading back to normalization."

Lee said nominal GDP is reaching 4%, thus, the Fed funds rate should be more likely at 2% than 0.65%.

As for the 10-year yield, which panelists struggled with a day ago, "I don't know what it's telling us," Lee said.

He pointed out the 10-year bottomed around 1.40 or 1.50 about a year and a half ago.

Lee hung a 2,414 valuation on the S&P 500.

He mentioned attending a conference about artificial intelligence (snicker) and income inequality and said the conclusion seems to be the Fed is trying to reduce social stress.

Lee said people he talks to think "no way" the tax package happens by August.

He said the market will end the year "modestly higher than it is now."

Josh squandered his moment with Lee with a statement rather than a question

Halftime Report panelists who basically whiffed a day ago on the interest-rate question presumably got a full hour's pay Wednesday just for floating a couple questions Lee Cooperman's way.

Lee told Jon Najarian he agrees that if tax reform is pushed back, the market can take stair steps higher; he even said he was playing it with options.

Lee had to listen to a long speech by Josh Brown about how tech, and not the perceived "Trump trade," is the only thing working. "I think it's about growth," Lee said several times in response.

Jim Lebenthal asked about "overbuilding" in the aircraft industry and how that pertains to AER. Lee said the book value of AER is "well over 50," and he doesn't see "signs of overcapacity."

Pete Najarian asked why MGM as opposed to WYNN. Lee said he can't own everything or "kiss all the ladies"; he just finds MGM a more attractive stock.

Jim: AAPL’s upgrade story might be a sell-in-May event

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime said the summer iPhone rally has been brought forward; he sees another 10% gain but thinks it may be a sell-in-May story.

Jon Najarian said YELP May 37 calls were popular as the stock rose on Chinese takeout rumors.

Pete Najarian said "a bunch" of HAL April 51.50 calls were bought.

Judge congratulated Pete for his TECK call this week; Pete said it's doing great but you could also trim.

Scott Nations said crude could rise another 10%, we're "continuing to continue upwards" (sic grammar). Brian Stutland suggested there's resistance at 53.50; he sees maybe 5% to the upside.

Lee Cooperman said that in money management, "You cannot charge a premium fee and deliver a subpar performance." But he cited an article in January of 1970 (not clear if Laszlo Birinyi keeps that one in the scrapbook) about the demise of hedge funds and suggested they've survived tough times.

"The golden period for hedge funds was 2000 to 2007," Lee explained.

Lee boasted that he didn't get to this level of wealth by buying an index.

[Tuesday, April 4, 2017]

Halftime gang actually insists with a straight face that rates don’t matter for banks

Well, this was a head-scratcher.

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report actually claimed that none of his fellow panelists last year "were buying financials because they were making a call on where rates were going."

We gotta think, if we went through the tapes, we'd find countless soundbites of people trumpeting banks citing rising rates. But, we unfortunately don't have the time.

Judge at least told Joe it was "part of the equation, without question."

Pete Najarian conceded lower rates aren't good for banks, which was about the only comment of the startlingly long opening session suggesting today's banks aren't the greatest thing of all time.

Oh, Stephanie Link said you want to "respect" the bond market.

Joe Terranova traced BAC's move and insisted financials are trading "at the upper end of their range." He also claimed BAC will "monetize" the Merrill Lynch franchise "at some point," an argument we stopped hearing around 2011.

Kourtney Gibson actually claimed banks are driven by "fundamental business decisions" and that rates are just "icing on the cake."

Jon Najarian tripped over "Jeffrey" vs. "Jeff" Gundlach, then said, "You cannot dismiss the anchor that Europe is to these rates" before gloating that people said rates were going higher at 2.60 and now say they're going lower at 2.30, which sounds to him like buying the top and selling the bottom.

Doc bellowed that he doesn't care about "one little sector" — the banks — while he really cares about the S&P 500.

Rick Santelli suggested a range of 1.87-2.25 if the 10-year continues to fall.

Judge, to his credit, tried in vain to convince Tuesday's crew that sliding 10-year rates really would be a problem for bank stocks.

Pete basically said not to listen to the Citi analyst who downgraded BAC.

Mel: Dynamite chic

Stephanie Link on Tuesday's Halftime said she's tempted to buy retail as a contrarian because it's been hit so hard.

Joe Terranova actually claimed, "Retail in the last 5 days is, is clearly coming back strongly."

Judge questioned that, but Joe insisted it's true, citing JWN, DRI (snicker), M and KSS.

But Joe said to take profits (if any) in SPLS "and run."

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said that if the BAT dies, retail stocks will rip higher for a short time.

On Halftime, Kourtney Gibson said XOM is a good long-term name and will be good if oil holds 50.

Doc said August 85 CL calls were popular. Pete said there was "huge call buying" in FB April 146 calls that expire on the 28th.

Jim Iuorio said the prospect of currency wars is good for gold. Jeff Kilburg agreed that with a close over 1,260, it could "grab" 1,300.

Steph Link likes CAT and is "undeterred" by the feds' investigation, which she called a "one-time event."

Link likes FDX. Pete Najarian hailed UNP.

Kourtney Gibson is taking a "really hard look" at ETSY.

Judge promised Lee Cooperman on Wednesday. Hopefully this time, Judge will ask Lee what Lee meant last time by being ready to "cooperate."

It’s either a sell or it isn’t; it doesn’t matter who’s done the ‘homework’

Pete Najarian, who only follows Katy Huberty the analysts who have been right, said on Tuesday's Halftime the most interesting part of the Pacific Crest note on NVDA was the praise for SWKS, CRUS.

Kourtney Gibson hailed "Betsy's" bull call on NVDA and said longs should do their "homework" before selling.

Joe Terranova grimaced that NVDA is "just a trading stock."

Jon Najarian said a lot of people "switched horses" from NVDA to AMD; he hung a 16 on the latter.

Pete Najarian gushed about CRM and said it's going higher, as he always does.

Steph Link said AMZN is moving because of "ad momentum."

Joe Terranova endorsed SYMC.

Doc said he'd buy CRUS with options and said to buy GOOGL on any "significant dip."

[Monday, April 3, 2017]

Technical analyst tells Judge he evaluates stocks on … technicals

Jonathan Krinsky on Monday's Halftime Report said the MKM all-star stock list represents the "best stock in each sector."

Judge concluded, "So you're specifically looking at the technicals."

Krinsky chuckled, "Well, uh, we're- I'm a technical analyst Scott, so yes."

Josh Brown asked Krinsky about KO vs. the XLP. Krinsky said KO is getting above its 200-day and likened it to MSFT's longtime pause. Jim Cramer said the new KO CEO is being handed the company on a "silver platter," which coincidentally is the name of one of TV's most famous rock groups.

Kevin O'Leary asked Krinsky why Krinsky likes NOV. Krinsky said it's "just starting to break above an 18-month base."

Krinsky said a C breakout over 63 would be powerful. Cramer said that's book value. Pete Najarian said his favorite stock on the MKM list is SMG.

Kevin O'Leary said he actually owns IR.

Without LeBron James, the Cavaliers would be a down franchise

Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime Report pointed out the market high was the morning after the State of the Union (sic not technically a State of the Union address). We found the intraday S&P high on March 1 was 2,400.98, and the close was 2,395.96.

Out of curiosity, we checked out the action post-Inauguration Day. Stocks fell the following Monday, but then it was off to the races.

In any case, 2,400 seems the current ceiling/next floor.

Judge predicted "stocks are going to move from faith to fundamentals."

Claiming there was heavy volume late last week as people scooped up AMD into Friday's afterhours, Jim Cramer suggested there's a "little quicksand" in the stock market.

Pete Najarian said stocks' run into the end of the quarter was "huge," and he thinks Monday's selloff could persist until earnings.

Invoking a rival TV channel, Cramer suggested that Trump won't start talking about tax reform until he sees it on "Fox & Friends."

Kevin O'Leary predicted energy and his least-favorite sector will miss in this quarter.

Josh Brown said "what's really going on" is that global stocks are beating the U.S.

Susan Li said PNRA was spiking on reports of possible sale. Judge mentioned "animal spirits."

Joe said "as it relates to" during the Panera discussions.

Pete said the big banks are killin' it right now. But Kevin O'Leary shrugged that this is a "not-yet market."

We didn't even know the president of Egypt's name until Judge aired the clip of Trump's remarks.

The goofiest comment of the show came from Josh Brown, who stated, "Without the Nasdaq, this would be a down quarter."

Uh oh — Don’t tell Chip Wilson that UA looks like LULU

Jim Cramer, who sorta grabbed the reins of Monday's Halftime while Judge promoted Mad Money for an hour (the text under Cramer's name reminded viewers he's "HOST OF MAD MONEY, 6PM ET"), said NKE doesn't like Kevin Plank and vows to "eviscerate" him.

Kevin O'Leary said he's worried the sector is turning into "fashion" and pointed to LULU.

Judge scoffed at the "fashion" label, claiming, "We referred to Under Armour for years as a technology company."

But O'Leary said, "It looks like a Lululemon to me."

Cramer referred to Mike Curtis decking the fan who ran on the field.

Josh Brown claimed there are enough "underpinnings" of an Under Armour sentiment shift that it may be near the bottom.

Joe Terranova said there's a "tremendous inventory glut" in the NKE-UA space and touted adidas.

‘Really gotta be careful in your stock selection’

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime said getting the public to forget about fast-food debacles usually takes about 18 months and that CMG is in month 17.

Kevin O'Leary actually claimed people are talking about high "salt" levels in CMG food. Cramer said people want "fresh."

Josh Brown said the lines are no longer out the door at CMG, and the company is spending lots on advertising. "This is not ever gonna sell at the multiple that it used to," Brown said.

CNBC scheduling: 1 hour, 2 hosts

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime said the SBUX changeover reminds him of when Patrick Doyle took over DPZ.

Pete Najarian said TECK August 26 calls were popular.

Pete said there could be 20% more in LOW, especially after more call-buying last week.

Pete pointed out the 52-week high in LL and said to play it in options, not stocks.

Josh Brown said CAT will trade on global growth, and he's "not terribly" worried about the investigation.

Joe Terranova said to wait for earnings on JILL.

Joe touted FMC. Josh cited "fundamental catalysts" in MCD. Jim Cramer touted GOOGL.

Kevin O'Leary talked about his new ETF, ONTL.

Judge said it was a "great hour" with Cramer.

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