[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, August 2012]
[Friday, August 31, 2012]

Najarians say downside
in Facebook ‘might be zero’

Some of the stock commentary on Fast Money really perks up the ears.

Jon Najarian, blasting FB, said on Friday's Halftime Report, "Unfortunately I'm already in this pig," and "you don't have downside to 15, you have downside to zero."

Brother Pete complained that investors "hear nothing" from FB management aside from the earnings call, and that he's long at "a lot higher level than Jon," but startlingly, "the downside might be zero as Jon said."

Steve Grasso pointed to P as a stock that experienced a "180-degree difference" in sentiment, and said that Facebook actually is talking to institutional investors, but "they're not coming on this network."

Almost out of nowhere,
Steve Grasso suggests likelihood that the ‘whole eurozone just totally falls apart’

Steve Grasso was the outlier on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report with a stark warning that no one else believes.

Mike Murphy got things going, contending, "I think the market's in a bull trend."

Grasso responded, "I think the market actually is breaking the bullish trend right now," and that in Europe, "all this is smoke and mirrors" that is delaying the "inevitable," in which the "whole eurozone just totally falls apart."

"Not happening. Not happening," Jon Najarian cut in.

Grasso was adamant about why the money's on the sidelines. "They don't believe the rally," he said.

Equities down 20%, gold to $2,400

Guest Tom Fitzpatrick unleashed the only bit of explosiveness on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report (basically the only explosiveness on the show(s) all week), pinpointing "a lot of similarities with the price action today and what we saw in the 1970s, particularly into that period around 1976, 1977."

Between that, and the VIX "complacency" he has seen since October 2007, Fitzpatrick has identified a stock market due for a 20% correction, and a 10-year yield "somewhere between 1 and 1.2%," though that was based partly on the "summer of 1993."

But Fitzpatrick said we're on the "cusp of a breakout in gold," and "at the end of the day," the euro is going lower, to 1.10 in his opinion.

Pete Najarian shrugged, "I'd wanna be on the opposite side of most of this." Mike Murphy sided with Pete, "I think the market has a lot of upside from here ... stay long but buy your insurance."

It should be noted that 1976 was a year an incumbent president was tossed out — and also the year the Cincinnati Reds ran roughshod over big league baseball (and that injuries robbed the yinz of a 3rd straight Lombardi, but let's not go there) — although Fitzpatrick didn't opine on politics.

‘There’s really no volume out there’

Jon Najarian said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that once gold took a little dip on Ben Bernanke's comments, it "turns and burns to the upside," and in fact unlike many stocks Friday just built on its gains all day.

The gold "volume was extreme," Najarian said.

Pete Najarian pointed to JPM and WFC, seeing "great opportunities there."

Steve Grasso said homebuilders figure to rally on this and he'd "still be a buyer of TOL," but advised people to "wait a couple of days, go for high-beta the more you hear about QE3."

Grasso said Bernanke was "purposely being cute" about QE3 because of its presumed impact on commodities; "it's going to lower President Obama's re-election chances if oil spikes," he said.

Steve Grasso insisted 1,442 looks like a possible top for the S&P, which isn't a whole lot of upside here, so he'd "still be lightening up."

Mike Murphy, hilariously dubbed Slim Shady by guest flirter host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, said "there's really no volume out there" right now, which is "exasperating (sic) the moves."

Jon Najarian said people are buying "call-stupids in the VIX" that aren't actual spreads; "they've been losing lots of money on that trade lately."

Q ... E ... 3!!!!!

Steve Liesman said at the top of Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that at least the possibility for QE3 is considerable, that Ben Bernanke "laid a foundation here for doing it."

Mohamed El-Erian, representing the Pimco wing of CNBC, said his own assessment of QE3 odds is "higher than Steve's 2/3," and that the speech amounted to "laying the ground for more activism from the Fed."

El-Erian said the bet on the Fed is the short end of the Treasury curve, high-quality corporates and mortgages.

And, "hard assets especially gold will benefit," El-Erian said.

Pete Najarian, hoping for a bull call in the SLV, got one when El-Erian called that a "high-beta version of gold."

Mike Murphy cheered the chairman, saying "I think he played it perfectly" in stepping back to wait for Europe, and wondered if El-Erian sees it the same way.

El-Erian said Bernanke was "right not to give specifics" but cautioned Murphy that "it's not a done deal that we move next week."

El-Erian told Jon Najarian that "policy coordination globally is as low as I've seen it," then launched into a definition Trade School of the difference between "correlated, rather than coordinated," which amounts to, with correlated, you "don't get the multiplier effect."

El-Erian spoke for Neel Kashkari, saying Neel views this as a "market for stock selectors."

Dennis Gartman opined that now QE3 is "on the table," and that gold was "really quite impressive ... it looks like it's going higher," regardless of dollar, euro or yen terms.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera interrupted Gartman to explain the difference between Brent and WTI, calling that a "didactic for the novice viewer."

Gartman said Isaac means nothing to corn, but "probably is helpful to the bean market."


Jon Najarian said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the health-care sector has "a little bit of fluff built into this one," so he wouldn't add to that.

Pete Najarian though disagreed, calling it a "brother vs. brother kind of a thing" and predicting health care has another "5-10% upside."

Jon Najarian said he's been seeing "bearish trades" in the airlines recently because of crude and agreed with Kayla Tausche there's a risk on LCC's deal falling through.

Mike Murphy said, "Intel I think is a buy here." Steve Grasso said, "I wouldn't be a buyer of Groupon."

Jon Najarian didn't make a call either way in Splunk but said it gained on the trifecta of good news. Mike Murphy, impressively called "Stan" by MCC, said to play CMI in the truck space, not NAV. Pete Najarian said that GLW is a slow play, "don't expect to see 16 for quite some time." Steve Grasso said X could get a boost from a Mittal strike, but "I'd still stay away though."

Kathy Lien didn't talk about the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, but given more time than Judge Wapner usually allots to the late Money in Motion trade, said she's looking to sell dollar/yen at 79.10 with a target of 78. Mike Murphy touted the UUP, but Steve Grasso cautioned that ECB action could be negative for the dollar.

Superfox Seema Mody, in sleeveless white top, referred to Ben S. Bernanke as "Benny Boy." Mike Murphy's Final Trade was HOV, and Steve Grasso's was NOV, and those rhyme. Pete Najarian said SWKS and Jon Najarian said UPL.

[Thursday, August 30, 2012]

Dr. J jacks one out of the park

And he didn't even brag about it on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Just a day earlier, Jon Najarian suggested P could experience a short squeeze if the earnings were good, and "the stock could be back at 12 bucks."

That proved spectacularly correct. Najarian noted the move on Thursday, calling it "mainly a squeeze."

Just hours away — the end of Fast Money’s Jackson Hole speculation for 2012

Jon Najarian said at the top of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the selloff before the Jackson Hole speech has "occurred every single time," and then there's always a rally.

Guy Adami advised that regarding the S&P, "Don't fade whichever way it goes ... don't get in the way of this."

Guest Jon Hilsenrath, on location, spent much of his limited time insisting to Brian Sullivan that while Ben Bernanke likely won't issue a new policy declaration, the speech will be "filled with substantive information."

Regarding data, Hilsenrath said, "There's some improvement but I don't think it's anything to stand up and cheer about."

Brian Kelly said markets will go from monetary concerns to "foking on" fiscal policy. Then he referred to Hilsenrath as "Jon Hillenrath."

Just hours away ...

Marty Feldstein told Steve Liesman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Ben Bernanke is "not gonna tell us at this point" what the Fed's next policy is.

Feldstein said the economy has been in "terrible shape; has improved a little bit," but suggested additional easing would bring what "at best is a very marginal gain."

Most significant, Feldstein said he's done the math on Romney's tax plan and found that the cuts can be made and "you don't have to do anything to people earning less than a hundred thousand dollars."

Feldstein said a weakened euro "would be a very good thing."

Jon Najarian opined, "We have a spending problem, not a taxing problem."

Kelly: Long dollar

Guest Jonathan Weber reported on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Tim Cook and Larry Page had a conference call, and "it was about intellectual property."

Brian Kelly cited "900 million users" as his argument for putting FB shares in a drawer for a long time.

Guy Adami said Warren Buffett pick PSX is in the "sweet spot" and "still worth owning here." Brian Kelly said he likes WFC on the Buffett list.

Mike Khouw said, "I'd be a seller of Wal-Mart." Khouw called FSLR "just a disaster" and advised staying away. He also cited a big buyer of October 12 calls in CY, which is presenting at "a number of conferences," and made that his Final Trade.

Guy Adami questioned the UBS analyst who downgraded AKS; "where you been for the last 5 bucks?" Brian Kelly advised staying away from JOY. Kelly trumpeted the dollar as the trade on the Fed announcement.

China watcher Helen Zhu of Goldman Sachs called the crumbling Chinese stock market "probably more of a short-term issue," and that insurance and retail are in "historical trough valuations," making for a "pretty interesting entry opportunity."

Joe Terranova said to "keep holding" Agco.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was NOV. Guy Adami said GIS (screen text programmer actually thought symbol for General Mills was "GM"), Brian Kelly said UUP and Joe Terranova said LNKD.

A company so awesome, it can’t even charge $1 a month for its product

Invoking the Hope Trade, Gene Munster on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report made the biggest reach for a bullish case for Facebook we've heard yet.

Munster said he likes the shares now because there's "evidence of this 'want' button," which Munster says is "a whole level of monetization that no one's talking about."

Just for the record, Munster assured, "They're gonna get mobile right."

Munster conceded there could be a "7% downside" in the stock until the next lockup expiration in mid-November, but if you have "1-2 years as a real investor, I think it doesn't matter if you buy it now, or in 2 months ... we think this is a great time to buy Facebook."

Stephen Weiss asked a great question. What if Facebook suddenly started charging users $1 a month. Munster said, "I think that their usage would go right through the floor ... I think that just sends the wrong message."

Weiss later said in the program that FB is a stock "I would look at in the lower teens."

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera called Munster a "deeply influential" analyst.

Grasso: QE3 ‘factored in’

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said at the top of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "it is a game of chicken, folks" in Europe and asked her panelists what to do ahead of the Fed.

Joe Terranova said it's time to avoid significant exposure to energy, builders and materials, and, complimenting MCC with a comment about being out of high school 10 years, predicted this game of chicken will linger; "Spain needs the money in October."

Stephen Weiss said what's going on with Spain is "really just another negotiation," and "I continue to be short materials."

Steve Grasso said, "I'd be a seller into this," and asked his colleagues, "Do you not think QE3 has been factored in? ... I'd rather be a seller here than a buyer."

Stephanie Link said she(/Cramer) has been buying GIS and BMY, and "I don't expect major action."

Things That Make Melissa Michelle go ‘Wow’ (cont’d)

Guest Larry McDonald told Thursday's Fast Money Halftime crew that Bernanke & Co., with problems lingering in Europe, need to hold back through September, and so, "at the end of the day, the Federal Reserve wants to keep its powder dry."

That prompted a "Wow," not from Melissa Lee, but guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who asked McDonald, "What does the market do tomorrow then?" McDonald indicated stocks could drift lower but that it's a "vacation" week.

Steve Grasso tried to put words in McDonald's mouth, contending McDonald's thesis is a "sell-sell," that in the base scenario we'll get nothing from the Fed, and if we do it's a sign of a European fiasco.

McDonald, who never appears on Fast Money without mentioning a book title or Web site, acknowledged that "a lot of good things have been priced into the market."

Stephen Weiss said, "It's the lingerie market ... the expectation is better than the reality."

Good call: Joe seeking $50 for SBUX

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report advised staying out of GMCR and said SJM was better.

Then he said, "And I finally got my 50 print in Starbucks that I was waiting for; time to get out ... much better selling at 50 than it was a few weeks ago at 44."

Terranova had mentioned in the last week or 2 that he was hoping for the stock to reach 50, so he could indeed unload it; certainly looks like a smart hold.

But we happened to notice, according to both Yahoo and Google finance, that SBUX peaked Thursday for some brief instance at exactly $50.00, and not a penny more.

Which means, given Joe's lack of conclusive commentary, 1 of 3 things has occurred:

1. Terranova sold at the absolute top of the day. 2. Terranova's trade was invoked when the stock hit $50.00 but was likely executed at a lower price. 3. Terranova's order didn't actually get filled, and he's still seeking that lofty $50 exit.

LTD ‘hitting it out of the park’

Undoubtedly the sexiest sector (no, not Seema Mody's show-stopping purple dress with new hairstyle) getting mention on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report was retail.

Joe Terranova said that even though GPS has soared, stay in it, and stay in URBN also.

Stephen Weiss admitted, "I missed Gap completely ... I do own Nordstrom."

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera revealed that she "had dinner with a young college student last night who said, 'Oh I love the Gap'," and so some lucky soul out there gets to cross "Dinner with MCC" off the bucket list.

Steve Grasso said he still likes AMZN because of the "possibility of a phone ... cloud space ... back to school ... I'd still be a buyer as the stock comes in."

Kimberly Greenberger said August-September retail performance has about an "80% correlation" to the holidays. "Macy's is our favorite" in the space, she said, and LTD is "really hitting it out of the park." Greenberger also likes COH and URBN.

But Greenberger was neutral on Steve Grasso's mention of AEO; "a lot of good news is in the stock here."

Stephen Weiss said of SHLD, "I continue to stay away."

Goal: Sell it higher than you bought it

Barbara Marcin is a veteran of Louis Rukeyser's Wall $treet Week, but you have to wonder what possessed her to appear on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

In a couple of clumsy exchanges in which Marcin seemed unsure where to look, Marcin insisted to guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that the dividend trade isn't crowded, because multiples are still low. And she agreed with Joe Terranova that the special dividend will be a factor.

Marcin even uncorked a bit of stock-market wisdom that even the knuckleheads behind this page could figure out: "That's one of the keys to making money in the long term is buying at a good price."

Marcin's top picks are PFE, NEM, INTC, IP and COP.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reveals, ‘I have never seen a yoga studio in Nebraska’

Jeff Kilburg said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "at the end of the day ... the SPR's been tabled now ... supply is not an issue right now."

He said the next move in oil is coming from the "Grand Tetons."

Kilburg said nat gas "has formed a base" and seems poised to get back to $3, and he sees gasoline "above $4 in the short term."

Steve Grasso said before plunging into P, "I'd like to see it hold 11 and a quarter range for a couple of days."

Stephanie Link said DB's call on LPX was just valuation; "We're playing it through Weyerhaueser."

Stephen Weiss said of STX, "I'm not ready to buy it yet." Stephanie Link said JOY under 50 is "interesting," which is basically what Jon Najarian said a day ago when it actually was under 50.

Andy Busch advised selling euro at 1.2575, with a target of 1.2425.

Link admitted her(/Cramer's) bullishness on VALE has "been completely wrong" — but it's not the company's fault. "The macro has continued to worsen."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was COST, but he said to wait a couple days to buy. Joe Terranova said nat gas, Stephen Weiss said JWN and Stephanie Link said COH.

[Wednesday, August 29, 2012]

Coal: The Romney Trade

Dan Clifton joined the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang on Wednesday to try to spin the Republican convention into a trade.

"The consensus is overwhelmingly" in favor of Obama keeping the presidency, Clifton said, and so if expectations for Romney begin to rise, the markets would figure to see movement in defense, coals and energy, particularly the PPA and KOL.

"I think that you'll see a rally in the coal stocks," Clifton said.

Dan Nathan said he'd bet his right pinky that Obama wins, so you might as well take those pro-Romney scenarios off the table.

Josh Brown was the only one talking sense here, saying, "Real investors should not be doing those trades."

Yet another China-growth discussion while Steve Cortes isn’t on the panel

In a program utterly bankrupt of ideas — not even anything about the Facebook lockup — guest host Brian Sullivan brought in China watcher John Rutledge on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to make clear that Beijing is not on fire.

"Most investors haven't actually been there," Rutledge said, his first point about China concerns, but the only issue is that it's "growing slower than it was."

Sullivan then delved into a Q&A about China economic facts. Rutledge said it accounts for half the growth in the entire world.

As he has done before, Rutledge indicated that the best way to trade this is companies affected by China's infrastructure. "This is not the time to be a bull on the commodity cycle," he cautioned, saying "that'll be a next-year story."

Josh Brown argued that Australia is extended, but the "EWA hasn't budged ... I think it's about to." Mike Khouw countered that Australia's economy is smaller than China's so it's not a big concern, but he would look at a name like LVS.

Upper 20s VIX in ‘near future’

Viewers must've spent a decent chunk of Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money wondering why the heck Michael Cuggino was even on the program.

His theme right now, Cuggino said, is "diversification I think."

And by the time he was through, Cuggino had rattled off virtually every type of investment you could make.

Pete Najarian said he thinks big pharma and big-cap tech can continue to work. Dan Nathan noted the disappointment from DELL and HPQ and how that might affect MSFT.

Najarian said "I'm not worried" about the VIX, predicting "upper 20s at some point in the near future."

Brown: HNZ is a buy

Josh Brown raised some eyebrows on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money in saying, "The Pandora story, I'm starting to really like it a lot."

Dan Nathan wasn't sold, saying, "Buyer beware this one."

Brown said in a Fusion IQ morning note, they listed stocks to buy and stocks not to buy, and a couple to buy were VLO, even though it "consolidates here for a little while," Brown said, and CREE; "I like this one to 40 over the next year or so."

Brown said HNZ is a stock you buy when it drops on earnings, just use a stop loss under 52.

Pete Najarian wasn't going to plunge into X; "I don't think it's time yet." Najarian backed EBAY, saying, "I think it's still too cheap."

Intel put-buyers playing
a pre-announcement

Jim Bower, like the other guests on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, didn't have a whole lot to say about his area of expertise, so Brian Sullivan might as well have asked him what he thought of Ann Romney.

Bower said soybeans could perhaps reach 19.50, but "I do think the market will probably go range-bound for a while."

The corn yield, he said, "is still very much in question."

Stephanie Link said she/Cramer are looking at Coach because it's "totally out of favor ... underappreciated," and "I also like Nike," as well as CVS, though she "probably wouldn't touch Walgreen at this point." (This writer is long CVS.)

Link also touted an "interesting turnaround in the dollar stores."

Josh Brown said 51% of the float in MAKO is still short. Dan Nathan identified some put buying in Intel that expires this week; "people are playing for a pre-announcement."

Mike Khouw identified a big buy of an MU call spread, someone buying the Jan 2013 9/10 spread and selling puts against it, seeing a price of $10 or more. "Maybe Apple's gonna start depending on Micron as a supplier more," he said.

Guest Brian Cooley, opining seemingly several days late on the Apple-Samsung dispute, said "it's a real challenge for Google" to ensure its hardware-makers remain committed to products that may face legal taint.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was quarterly put spreads in SPY. Dan Nathan said sell MSFT, Josh Brown said long XLV, Stephanie Link said long AET and Pete Najarian said MCP.

Producers asleep at the switch — Guy Adami gets Fast Fired for excellent call

This page has complained for the longest time that the Fast Money franchise, now at 2 hours a day, sometimes seems as stretched as thin gruel.

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, you had to wonder if they even know which end is up at Englewood Cliffs.

In a segment that was actually teased — in other words, someone should've made the "Cut! Cut! Cut!" signal during the commercial break — Guy Adami was hit with a purported Fast Fire for what the video showed was a great call on the recent CBI selloff in the $34s.

We actually tracked that one, because that acquisition-related selloff was steep, and in fact Adami's call was a winner within a day or 2, and obviously remains so.

Ya gotta wonder what in the world show producers were thinking, when they instead easily could've flagged Dennis Gartman's bungle in the steel jungle of last week (see below) that continued worsening Wednesday.

CBI "actually was a decent call … pretty prescient," Adami quietly asserted Wednesday. "I don't understand the Fast Fire."

No questions for Dennis Gartman about U.S. Steel

Dennis Gartman, whose call in steel last week (see below) was a total bust (see X today) but went unmentioned on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, stressed "I'm flat and I'm nervous" on the market, and "Now I'm just neutral."

Gartman rattled off several reasons, but wasn't overly concerned about China; "they can jam liquidity into the system."

Gartman said if he had to pick whether to be long or short gold in dollar terms, he'd be a "buyer rather than a seller."

Gartman said some rain is coming that will be "somewhat bearish" for wheat and bean prices.

Negative 5% GDP? Buy stocks!

Guest Jeff Utz of Credit Suisse made sure to stress to guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he only sees a "15% likelihood" of going over the fiscal cliff, and it's not his firm's base scenario.

But if it does happen, Utz said, "real GDP could be negative 5%" in Q1.

Incredibly, Utz suggested some stocks would be winners in that scenario, saying he would expect "defensives to outperform," and even "technology could outperform."

Brian Kelly asked the obvious question, why buy any stocks at all.

Utz claimed, "The market is probably discounting some of this right now."

Then Stephen Weiss piled on, questioning how the market could be discounting such a result when it's near 2012 highs.

Utz said, "There's a lot of questions there," and claimed that even in bad economic environments some sectors outperform, and in fact ADP did well in the recession, and he would also suggest MRK and LLY in that kind of environment.

Dr. Ryan to the rescue
in The Bureaucrat Election?

Noted Mitt Romney backer Anthony Scaramucci spoke briefly about the convention ("it's been a very exciting couple of days") on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, and reported that "Governor Christie electrified the crowd last night."

Scaramucci called Paul Ryan an "amazing guy," a "bipartisan sort of person" and, incredibly, even a "healing sort of person."

We hate to say it … because we were hoping for more … but this convention, and likely campaign, is a bust. The tell was when Sarah Palin was not invited to speak, that spoke volumes about the utter lack of theme, coupled with an obvious nice-guy approach exhibited Tuesday by Chris Christie, that will go nowhere in November.

The Tea Party — not that it's right about everything, but it's the most dedicated GOP bloc — is being told, "Up your nose with a rubber hose" in what is obviously a big-government continuation election made close only by the dollars of big businessmen/women. There is zero red meat here, no Zell Miller, no Rudolph Giuliani, not even Joe Lieberman. It'll be try again in 2016.

The Moochmeister did invoke a baseball reference, saying mortgage securities have been working, and we're only in the "3rd inning of that trade."

Once again, the crumbling-China thesis is discussed without Steve Cortes present

Evidently tapped out of Facebook-lockup material — though that did surface briefly on Wednesday's Halftime Report — the Fast Money gang took up the sudden apparent crisis signals from China.

Brian Kelly said the weak-China play is to short the Aussie dollar via FXA or try the EWA.

Stephen Weiss denounced the Chinese real estate "disaster" and shadow banking system and said he's short VALE, X, AKS and TCK.

Jon Najarian contended that "Europe is a nightmare for China," but then, in a helpful trade that was already over, pointed to JOY's tumble at the open to 49 and noted how great it would've been to buy there before revealing, "I bought the stock" and sold puts, and "maybe the worst is over for them."

Guy Adami said of China, "I think they lead us," which is at odds with Dennis Gartman's opinion that sometimes it's the other way around, but then asserted "we're not staying here" in the S&P and he expects 100 points either higher or lower in a short time.

Near the end of the show, when superfox Seema Mody did the Twicker report, Brian Kelly said YUM is the way to play the China slowdown. Guy Adami pointed to CAT, noting, "that stock's been awful since February."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, for the 2nd day in a row, reiterated, "I don't do flat."

Free labor can only carry a busineses-for-profit so far

Guest Rocky Agrawal had an eye-opening assessment of YELP on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report: that it's headed to zero "within the next couple of years."

That is, unless AAPL or YHOO decides to buy it, Agrawal said.

Agrawal wrote off Wednesday's gain as "short covering, that's all there is." His beef seems to be not that YELP relies on unpaid volunteer labor to succeed, but that its ads cost way above market rate, and "a lot of customers that I talk to really hate Yelp."

On the other hand, "OPEN is actually a pretty good business," Agrawal said.

Jon Najarian said there is "massive short interest" in P, and if the earnings deliver, "the stock could be back at 12 bucks."

Flash: Paulson’s having a bad year

Apparently because CNBC isn't yet tapped out of John Paulson news, Kate Kelly returned to the Fast Money Halftime Report on Wednesday and used terms she said wouldn't work in the Wall Street Journal in pointing out that "John Paulson buried the lede" in his call, that being that the gold fund was down 22% through July 31, though it has bounced back a bit in August.

Once again, the issue of why anyone needs a 2 and 20 fee structure to be bullish on gold came up. Kelly said Paulson is managing money for free because his return has been so bad recently, but that one argument for staying with someone like Paulson is the "deep bench" he's apparently got.

Stephen Weiss scoffed, "Wake me up in year 5; I'll get in then," and said the lesson is, "Don't chase the hot manager."

Dicker: Expect SPR tap

Dan Dicker said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that an SPR release is "coming," and that the G-7 statement "was the tell." Dicker said the traditional way to play it would be through the crack futures, but home gamers might as well try HES and VLO, "I think it can go higher."

Dicker told guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that such a release would "affect gas prices only psychologically."

Jon Najarian identified a buyer of a million USO shares who also bought puts.

Brian Kelly said of CLF, "I wouldn't short it here." Guy Adami predicted FSLR would test the teens.

Bertha Coombs feels compelled to explain what a Rodney Dangerfield reference means

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, as a guest host, perhaps isn't fully versed in her panelists' various pet stocks, or else on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, she probably would've summoned Stephen Weiss to be the first to opine on WLP.

Instead, Jon Najarian got the call, referring to the CEO and saying, "I don't know the lady personally," but that the stock loved her exit, and "I think it continues to pop quite frankly," though it could pull back, but "like it from this point on."

Weiss jumped into the end of that, revealing, "I sold three-quarters of my position today … It's a nice profit; it's time to move on," while admitting he bought it at a series of different price levels.

Bertha Coombs resorted to the most tiresome of cliches involving INTC, citing a "Caddyshack" star in saying the stock is "getting no respect."

Brian Kelly said the prospect of a BBY buyout is "really a binary trade," and said you'd have to "pick a side" and do it with options.

Stephen Weiss knocked TiVo, "the stock's a dinosaur … just gonna continue to waste away," and advised staying on the sidelines.

Weiss said the most depressed person Wednesday has to be the CEO who left SEE and saw the stock soar.

Stephen Weiss waited until the end of the program, to avoid any Fast Fires perhaps (since they give them out for being right or wrong these days), to say he's now long JCP, looking for a couple bucks, "then I'm gone," apparently decided his assertions of late in the low $20s that it's headed lower won't come to fruition for a while. Guy Adami's Final Trade was LLY.

[Tuesday, August 28, 2012]

Dennis Gartman’s steel call
already a bust

A week ago (Aug. 22), Dennis Gartman spoke with the Fast Money Halftime Report gang and said, based on stock resiliency in the face of falling iron ore prices, it's "time to start taking a look at the steel companies," and "Big steel has refused to make a new low."

That day, U.S. Steel closed at $22.77.

Tuesday, it closed at $20.43.

Just what the Republican Party needs during convention week: a senator on a show called ‘Fast Money’

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) opted to trumpet his FT op-ed on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, of all places, and assert that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is ready to call it a career.

"I don't think he even wants to be reappointed," Corker said, making this suggestion twice.

Corker said he appreciated what Bernanke did during the 2008 crisis but that we've become "overly dependent on monetary policy," and blamed the Fed's dual mandate.

"I believe he should show a lot more humility," Corker said, while acknowledging a couple times that Congress hasn't done anything.

Stephen Weiss took issue, saying that "if we didn't have the Fed, we'd probably have negative GDP by 3%, nothing would have gotten done." But Steve Grasso countered, "You can never prove the counterfactual."

Weiss hailed the dual mandate, saying, "I like America; We're leaders; we're not followers," and that the ECB "uses their single mandate, and just b.s.'es about why they're doing it," which is to stimulate growth.

Grasso: AMZN in September

Guy Adami on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money called the S&P's 1,425 level "pretty critical," and said with the VIX this low, there's "absolutely no reason" to not buy puts.

Adami said he'd be in LLY and PFE right now. (That is, presumably, if he actually traded, as opposed to the 7 stocks he has listed as owning in disclosures for about 3 years running.)

Steve Grasso brought up "the seasonality trade," pointing out that "September for Amazon has been very kind," but nevertheless suggesting people trade this with "upside calls."

Stephen Weiss, on the other hand, trying to sound profound, claimed, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it," and as far as Septembers, "it's totally different this time." He said he likes M, JWN and PVH, and prefers U.S. names with low P.E.s.

Simon Baker suggested FWLT; "the orders are starting to come in."

Lessee ... pay 2 and 20,
or just buy the GDX

Kate Kelly on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said that, in the BAC-led conference call with John Paulson, it was decreed that Paulson's fund is an "excellent way to play the gold-miner thesis."

Simon Baker, without even mentioning the 2 and 20 issue, was the lone voice on the panel saying, "There's better ways to do it than being in the fund."

Guy Adami said he agrees with Paulson's belief that gold is going higher, but the problem with being invested with him is that "you need to have an exit strategy," or else it becomes a "roach motel."

Neel Kashkari said it's unclear if Ben Bernanke would announce QE3 this week, but "we do expect more strong signals," and there would be a market pullback if not.

In fact, Kashkari said, if the Fed would remove its arbitrary timeline and express an "open-ended commitment" to easing, "that would be very, very powerful."

Kashkari tried to have it both ways when asked about Bob Corker's Fed criticisms, saying, "I agree with the substance of what the senator was saying."


Steve Grasso said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that refiners are winners in this tepid market because "they wind up renting these names higher and higher," but because it looks extended, he "would still be a seller of the refiner space."

Brian Stutland reported that BP and XOM have been getting a "steady diet of bullish tape."

Guest Billy Procida said the homebuilding space is getting better, but he's not sold on the big builders like he is the regional ones.

"I think it bottomed a year ago, and it's a seller-by-seller story," he said, saying the key is liquidity from the local banks; "that's what we really need."

Simon’s brass in pocket

Guest Jeff Clavier was asked by Brian Sullivan on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money whether social media is in a free fall, but only semi-cheerfully tried to assure "it never ends," because there's always a new innovation.

Then Clavier used the rest of the time to talk up companies you can't buy, in "next-generation commerce," such as Fab.com, with others (according to the chart) being Ubooly and Fitbit.

Clavier admitted that Facebook's stumble has "definitely been a wake-up call," but that interest in social media plays is still great.

Simon Baker, apparently intrigued by Clavier's accent, asked, "Are you from Queens?" But Clavier didn't really get the joke.

Baker touted Yelp; "I think it's a real business ... I think you buy it on weakness tomorrow," while calling ZNGA and GRPN "pretenders."

Stephen Weiss hailed MSFT a couple times. Brian Stutland added, "I'm long this stock ... great conservative play."

Stutland's Final Trade was HNZ. Steve Grasso said the controversial IOC (with 82 as a stop), Guy Adami said PSX (thought Pete Najarian claimed no one talks about that stock), and Simon Baker said P.

Seema Mody, a unanimous like if there ever was one, handled the Twicker report on social media/Internet names.

Fast Money fills up 2 hours a day with FB-lockup and Snooki palaver while saving constructive commentary for the Web Extra

Addison Armstrong, part of CNBC's relentless Gulf-radar-and-up-to-the-minute-crude-oil-and-gasoline-price predictions, said, in a bit of an understatement on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, that the Isaac effect on gas and oil depends on "just how heavy the rains are."

Armstrong said he doubts an SPR release would do much for prices and that president can't do it willy-nilly; "what he really needs in the run-up to the election is some sort of cover."

Armstrong predicted crude would average $93 into year end, but could go lower if no Middle East attack, because "at the end of the day ... certainly the supply/demand fundamentals do not justify prices at these levels."

Jeff Kilburg said we'll see the "momentum continue to build" in oil, and that he doubts an SPR release, and thus likes the USO.

Sexy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera told Kilburg, "Thank you sweetie."

Pete Najarian said "I think Valero still has upside," then claimed no one talks about PSX when it's actually been mentioned several times in the last couple of weeks, a "stealth name, no one ever brings its up."

Guest Jason Seidl pointed out diesel is up "over 10% quarter to date," and should be a "headwind in 3Q" for the trucking industry. He said that in the fuel space, don't expect a game-changer in the Gulf, but "Isaac is just gonna compound some things."

Joe Terranova, called "Mr. New World" by Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, said there's a "huge fundamental tailwind" for refiners, and even, "natural gas really is the sleeper trade here."

Terranova insisted he's not a weatherman, because "I actually have consequences if I'm wrong," but then cited a comment apparently made by Brian Kelly on the Fast Money Web Extra, that because of Isaac, the Midwest "could see significant rains."

Guest predicts market disappointment from Bernanke speech

Josh Brown argued on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "September-October, we should get a correction," as part of a "typical election-year pattern."

Meanwhile, Brown recommends the XLV, "this thing looks like it's poised to break out ... could go right into the mid-40s."

Joe Terranova asserted, "A lot of folks remain incredibly bearish ... the trend is your friend." And so he went on tout financials, such as WTFC, that "will continue to work," and rattled off a spree of retailers. "I like Gap, I like Urban Outfitters, I like Macy's, and I like the basic and bland Target," Terranova said.

Jon Najarian said, unfortunately probably correctly, "I think we're gonna be biding our time" until Jackson Hole and the holiday are over.

Najarian said Draghi might've been absent Saturday because "they're giving Ben Bernanke the stage," which sexy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera called "central bank chivalry."

Guest Gina Martin Adams said, "This is really the Fed's show," but unfortunately, "I think we're more likely gonna be disappointed than really excited" by what Ben Bernanke says. Martin Adams said the case for QE3 is "pretty weak right now."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera:
‘I don’t do flat’

Sexy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera — purportedly talking about the stock market at the beginning of Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report — told viewers, "I don't do flat."

Later, as the screen text suggested Mario Draghi might have a date with Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, MCC revealed, "I do like Italians."

Those are the likely Flirting Highlights from Tuesday's show.

MCC also hilariously questioned Jon Najarian's nickname, noting the Najarians played football, but "didn't Dr. J play basketball?"

Jon Najarian cracked that he played more football (at a bunch of stops, we might add) more than basketball; "the vertical just wasn't there for me."

Seema Mody makes a mistake

Herb Greenberg, who had to pinch-hit a bit for Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report because of Pete Najarian's traffic-delayed arrival, said the amount of insiders unloading CRM is not huge, but it should raise concerns about insiders wanting to get out.

Joe Terranova said CRM has "solid earnings," a point Greenberg said is questioned by some.

Jon Najarian, who called the CEO "Marc "Benehoff," said there's nothing wrong with taking chips off the table in this name, and that a guy like Peter Thiel being in Facebook for years and unloading vs. this CRM acquisition unwind is a "completely different bit of information."

Later, Greenberg said the issue for energy drinks right now is that household penetration for energy drinks has, according to the chart, "gone flat," the 2nd "flat" reference in the program, but MCC can do this kind of flat.

Seema Mody, called on to deliver the Twicker report, unfortunately referred to Michelle Caruso-Cabrera as "Melissa."

Superfast money on JPM?

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report touted how much the August 38 calls in JPM are hopping, even though "they expire on Friday."

Jon Najarian said the BKS deal with John Lewis "seems like a pretty good partnership."

Joe Terranova said he wouldn't sell LXK because there's still more short covering to go, though he's not a believer in the rally. Jon Najarian said of AKS, "I don't think there's a ton of opportunity here .. about a quarter of the float is short right now ... best to avoid."

Boris Schlossberg said "the short squeeze could go on a little bit further" in the euro, and that he wants to buy "if it breaks 1.26," and sees it possibly going to 1.2950.

Kate Kelly revealed, "John Paulson has hit some tough spots," but, "redemptions have been relatively limited so far," and that banks have an issue with ditching Paulson's funds because that could lock in losses for clients.

Josh Brown said investors sticking with Paulson are making the bet that he's not a 1-hit wonder, and "so far, the evidence is scant."

Brown's Final Trade was XLV. Jon Najarian said JNPR, Pete Najarian said CRUS ("that name's goin' higher"), and Joe Terranova said DPZ.

[Monday, August 27, 2012]

Tim Seymour suggests
‘significant top’ for AAPL

Tim Seymour, while asking a question/statement of guest Savita Subramanian on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, unleashed a thought-provoking assessment of Apple's courtroom victory, which he predicted would "mark a significant top for this stock."

"This is the last leg for Apple," Seymour explained, adding, "We can't price in anything better ... there's nothing left to do," and that it poses a "major technical problem for the market."

Subramanian said that whatever happens with AAPL, tech looks good to her, in part because it has a lot of cash.

Mike Murphy said, "I think Cisco will have a lot of money coming into it," as one example of a non-AAPL winner.

The gut feeling here is that Seymour is basically right, but it's extremely dicey to call a "significant top" in AAPL. The idea that this company can ever in the future command as much presence and high prices in cell phones and utterly useless tablets as it does now defies belief. But that hardly means a top is at hand; short at your own peril.

Stock gains ‘largely over’ for 2012

Savita Subramanian, who is cute, pulled up a chair at the Nasdaq for Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and said that because we're so close to her 1,450 S&P target, it's time to "buy some downside protection."

This year's run in stocks, Subramanian said, is "largely over."

Mike Murphy contended that after 1,450, it's on to 1,500.

Subramanian said, "I just think the next few months are gonna be tricky," and cited as one reason, "the fact that nobody's talking about the fiscal cliff." She said the presidential election won't be a driver of the broad market, but only select sectors.

Brian White seems carried away enough to epitomize Tim Seymour’s Apple-top claim

Guest Brian White, unlike Tim Seymour and guest host Brian Sullivan, hailed Apple's courtroom win as a game-changer and said it "should be" moving AAPL shares as it was a "very, very sweet victory."

The verdict, White said, "Really enhances, uh, their brand as an innovator."

Brian Sullivan asked White a great question — will the judgment cause 20-year-olds in cell phone stores to spurn Samsung.

White dodged that. "I think it definitely puts a dent in the brand," was all he would say, adding, "I think it will have an impact on the devicemakers."

Tim Seymour, who by the way has been a longtime champion of Samsung, claimed "the Samsung news is overdone," and said it's like in the 1980s when Japanese automakers were "copying all of our stuffs (sic) in the auto sector and making 'em a little better."

Brian Sullivan, trying desperately to identify a trade in this event rather than just "buy AAPL," pushed the wrong buttons of a feisty Scott Nations, who insisted "RIMM could not be a beneficiary ... it's a horrible company," and that the NOK bounce will be short-lived.

Sullivan asked if it was possible to short Samsung and indicated he didn't know. Nations grumbled, "I don't know why you have to overthink this," it's a big win for AAPL, etc.

"Well it's well said; I disagree with you overthinking," Sullivan said, explaining the verdict "wouldn't change my mind if I was 18 and wanted to text my girlfriend."

Mike Murphy and Brian Kelly stayed out of it, and Joe Terranova, who brought an impressive amount of homework to Monday's show, didn't seem terribly inclined to opine, so, despite White's enthusiasm, we're gonna chalk this one up as a non-event.

What?!!?!! They went an entire show without tackling the Facebook lockup??

Guest host Brian Sullivan, in what apparently is expected to be a low-rated vacation-type week, welcomed Jon Hilsenrath to the top of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to opine on ... a boring speech that is days away.

Hilsenrath predicted Ben S. Bernanke will talk in "great depth" about the economy and possible remedies. Hilsenrath said the chairman will convey, in some way, that "the benefits have been greater than the cost" of QE.

Tim Seymour argued that with ongoing low rates, "I see financial repression," but Hilsenrath said they want the unemployment number down, and they're targeting "financial stability" in ways that could be a problem down the road.

"At the end of the day..." Hilsenrath said.

Brian Kelly dubbed himself "the bear on the desk here" and predicted "monetary stimulus is not gonna work" unless there's "massive" QE.

Why was Jeff Kilburg brought on to repeat what Joe Terranova already said?

Joe Terranova on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money pointed to the DAX and claimed, "That's what matters," while dismissing Brian Kelly's concerns about China. "You just trade the direction of the policy," not the cash flow, Terranova said of Beijing.

Tim Seymour said, "At the end of the day," the Chinese policymakers can't control 100% of the economic dynamics.

Amelia Bourdeau, who generally looks good on television, suggested getting long euro vs. the dollar ahead of the Bernanke speech, and in fact become "long euro on a multi-week horizon," buying at 1.2460, with a target of 1.2750 and stop at 1.2375.

Jeff Kilburg got a brief appearance to discuss oil and refining, recommending VLO, MRO and CVX as refiner plays here; "follow Joey T is my guess," Kilburg said.

Scott Nations identified a "hugely bullish trade" in WFT, a seller of November 10 puts for 19 cents who used the cash to buy November 15 calls for 31 cents, seeking a price above $15.12 by November's expiration.

Brian Sullivan told Nations, "Thank you very much, bud."

One thing Sarah Palin did great in 2008 was give a convention speech. So this time they won’t let her speak at the convention

It's Republican convention week, and so who better to make a guest appearance on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money than Lawrence Kudlow, whose (um) sympathies in this election are fairly well known.

Monday was quiet in Tampa, but it's "Game on tomorrow," Kudlow said, predicting speeches that will deal with "Barack Obama's failed promises."

One thing we like is how these conventions feature a presidential nominee, or even an actual president, and a vice president nominee or actual vice president, plus first ladies and (in some cases) former presidents ... yet some demographic star is always billed as "keynote speaker."

Tim Seymour said HCBK is "probably tapped out here," and also said AOL "looks toppy."

Mike Murphy said "be careful here" in playing NAV, but insisted "Hertz is very interesting here."

Brian Kelly said it's a good idea to take a little off the table in homebuilders such as PHM; they're undergoing the "pause that refreshes."

Joe Terranova sneaked in that you should "continue to own" PVH, which will reach a new 52-week high. Terranova, while advising "don't touch" Zynga, said to get long LNKD with a reference of $100.

Scott Nations touted AMT, the first (brief) argument being, "Revenue growth has been huge," and later adding that the "nationwide rollout of 4G" is a big plus.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was ERJ, Brian Kelly said SLV, Mike Murphy said DNKN and Joe Terranova said ULTI.

Speak, GOP, speak

Sam Stovall talked politics on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying he's looked back to 1900 and found "the market does a little bit better whenever the Republicans are in their actual convention," and then goes "relative flat" in the 5 days after.

When Democrats congregate, the "market has declined on average" 10 of 16 times, Stovall said.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera pressured Stovall to declare he really has stats for this and isn't just making a political call. "The numbers bear this out," Stovall assured.

Stovall said that if Barack Obama is re-elected, it could benefit REITs. But short-term, Stovall cautioned, "September is the worst month by far."

What’s going on with
Ron Johnson?

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Monday welcomed back noted JCP fan Liz Dunn to the Fast Money Halftime Report ... and proceeded to ask Dunn zero questions about JCP.

Dunn explained TIF's gain as "a bit of a relief rally ... there was a lot of fear in the stock."

Dunn wasn't nibbling on Steve Grasso's ANF question, saying there's "a lot of uncertainty on the horizon for them."

When ready to cut away, MCC said, "Liz Dunn, you're done." Dunn smiled.


Joe Terranova gets to sit next to Seema Mody

Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report gang took up a bunch of stocks, but none of them particularly convincingly.

Most convincing was superfox Seema Mody's navy dress, as Mody promoted the India angle of a Bob Pisani nighttime documentary on diamonds.

Joe Terranova, as the panel conceded there's not an effective way to invest in diamonds, said people still want to own gold and silver.

We will add, if it's OK to praise MCC, that in the group shot, there are 2 smoldering superfoxes at the table.

AAPL drama ‘far from over’

Joe Terranova said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that AAPL is trading "technically perfect," and that you can "own the 700 calls ... I think this accelerates."

Guy Adami said the stock, despite its recent climb, "probably still makes sense," Steve Grasso pointed out we're close to Christmas season, and Stephanie Link predicted a "psychological positive" from the Samsung case.

Yet of all people, Apple bull Gene Munster seemed most restrained, calling it "not as big of a positive as I think a lot of people think today."

Munster said the "bigger question" is the Samsung division that makes components for the iPhone, will that business relationship continue.

Munster also said that Google bought Motorola Mobility for patents, and will be scrutinizing those patents to see if there are cases, and so "this drama is far from over."

Guy Adami floated the argument that Sony once had a lot of must-have products too, and look at it now, and could AAPL go down that path. "I think it's a different animal," Munster said, because, of course, "it's the ecosystem."

Munster said the Kindle Fire is looking at a "freight train" when the "smaller, form-factor, iPad" comes out.

Nothing to see here, yet

Scott Cohn got a rare hit on the Fast Money Halftime Report, reporting from Isaac-land on Monday and making a "day at the beach" joke.

Joe Terranova again referenced the refiners but argued that the situation in Venezuela is bigger than Isaac. "You wanna be long a name like Valero," Terranova said, adding HFC, WNR.

Guest Andy Lipow predicted "downward pressure on oil prices," perhaps $5-$7 a barrel, not because of Gulf drilling issues but that the refineries will take a pause from buying. "I think the refiners still look pretty good," Lipow said, mentioning CVI and CLMT.

Steve Cortes is not around to take part in discussion of his signature call

In one of the most wishy-washy fear trades recently, Guy Adami claimed on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the FXI "scares me a little bit," and "maybe they're trying to tell you something."

Adami also said in the program that the S&P has hovered for long enough that we "probably have another leg up."

Joe Terranova predicted that "special dividends will begin to come out" of the flush corporate coffers.

Stephanie Link said she thinks it will prompt more Chinese stimulus, which should help.

Steve Grasso said of the market, "I think we're closer to the top than we are from the bottom," and also said "I actually sold my Altria Group this morning" as well as D and XLU, because the market feels a "little bit toppy there." Selling the high-dividend payors was Grasso's Final Trade, the only one on the show.

This time, nobody makes the diminishing-returns-of-QE argument

Dan Greenhaus took up Monday's installment of Jackson Hole Chronicles on the Fast Money Halftime Report, downplaying what will come out of the conference and asserting it's "really, really unlikely" for Ben Bernanke to "endorse" an outcome of Fed action.

Greenhaus noted that "Mario Draghi speaks the next day," which prompted a dis from guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who quietly scoffed that's Saturday, when markets aren't open. Regardless, acknowledging the prospect of a rough Monday, Greenhaus said the central bankers will confer, and "it helps to have everybody on the same page."

Asked if we really need QE3, Greenhaus embarrassingly backpedaled, saying what he thinks should happen is different than what he thinks policymakers might do, but, "I personally don't think they quote-unquote should do QE3."

WY, oh, WY: Stephanie Link
uncorks a rare Brag Trade

Guy Adami on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report cautioned that some may see a double-top in AMZN; "watch this 240 level."

Stephanie Link said she(/Cramer) bought WY at $16-$18, and it's "had a nice run," but "I'm not chasing it here." Joe Terranova added LPX to that trade.

Steve Grasso said AOL looks "technically" OK, but he "probably wouldn't buy it here."

Joe Terranova said on the DTG news, "I think you go to Rush Enterprises here," or Penske.

Herb Greenberg complained of the NAV management shuffle, "What took 'em so long ... they are not out of the woods yet."

Steve Grasso said NAV has a "potpourri of issues that are negative ... I wouldn't be touching it." Stephanie Link said rather than NAV, try "something like an Eaton."

Link said of BBY, "Who knows if this deal is gonna come about or not." Guy Adami said don't expect the HCBK move to ripple through the sector.

[Friday, August 24, 2012]

Investigative reporter
makes bull call on FB

Judge Wapner, seeking new faces for his incredibly tiresome daily Facebook stock discussions, on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report brought in (bearish) investor Paul Meeks and (bullish) reporter Nicholas Carlson — described on the Business Insider Web site as someone who has "re-written the histories of Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon" — to take a crack at the stock with utterly no new news.

Meeks said he can't see where "almost any price is viable" for the shares right now.

Carlson called it "a long-term buy," on the grounds that it's "extremely well-positioned in mobile" and will tap the "sponsored stories" market.

Meeks said it's "too early to tell," and with 9,000 stocks out there, "you don't have to buy Facebook."

Judge questioned how Carlson can be sure FB is "extremely well-positioned in mobile." Carlson cited FB's user numbers and claimed it's ahead of everyone else. He added, "They could buy Spotify" or Vivo, and all it takes is tapping into these portals that so many people use.

Simon Baker wasn't impressed with the bull case, calling the stock "very much like Prince Harry's bum. I mean the stock's just very overexposed." Pete Najarian said he wonders why, if Carlson is so optimistic on the stock, he isn't in it.

Such a crisp, cutting-edge analysis, he even used Buffett’s buy-when-others-fearful slogan

Before Judge was rehashing FB with the same arguments from February on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, he brought in Craig Johnson of Piper Jaffray to make the most generic arguments possible for a 2-year bull case.

"A new bull market's probably closer at hand than people think," Johnson said, because we're seeing the "financial sector really engage" and the tech sector become "more constructive."

Johnson felt compelled to invoke a Warren Buffett-ism about people being greedy and fearful. Judge questioned drawing a bull case from that; "aren't people greedy right now? You're- you're getting more greedy." Johnson said a lot of people aren't participating and contended, "There's still a lot of fear."

Johnson would add, "I'm also starting to see the housing sector work ... in some markets they're having difficulty even getting enough employees ... to build houses," which will help the economy and create "meaningful multiple expansion."

Johnson drew a parallel to 1995 — AOL must be the next big thing — and took a page out of the Patty Edwards playbook (what in the world happened to our Patty Fridays??), saying "at this point in time" at least 3 times.

Johnson's 6-month S&P target is 1,550, followed by a 12-month of 1,700, and a 24-month of 2,000.

Judge Wapner asked Jon Najarian if he's buying that 2,000 number. "I guess anything's possible Scott," Najarian said.

Fortunately someone plunged into SPY calls this morning to give Dr. J some ammo for the bull case

The Najarian brothers on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report teamed up to pronounce the rally alive and well.

"I think this can extend," Pete said, saying financials can continue to climb, while Jon merely insisted "it's not" done, though a pullback is possible.

Judge asked Jon Najarian what he likes in this market. Najarian admitted he turns to Heat Seeker® to answer that question, and someone bought 60,000 SPY calls of the December 152 strike.

Simon Baker suggested we're "a little bit overextended" and expects a short-term pullback. Mike Murphy reiterated he thinks the market can take out 1,422 and go higher.

Doc actually recommends a stock that apparently didn’t have off-the-charts call-buying in the morning

Energy watcher Tom Petrie told Judge Wapner on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that gasoline is experiencing a "largely late seasonal" run, but "we're into cumulative demand destruction," and he could see crude under 90 (Middle East crisis aside), with a "greater likelihood of a downward move in the coming months."

Petrie said higher energy prices are "like a tax" because they "siphon off consumer spending," despite the evidence that oil and stocks have gone up together and fallen together this century.

Jon Najarian, taking a while to make up his mind, said the integrateds are fine, but in a long list of possible energy plays, finally suggested WNR.

Mike Murphy concurred. "I think the refiners are in a great spot right now," and also mentioned LNG.

Jeff Kilburg, just like his earlier appearance this week, said "I think there's more room to the upside" in SLV, and he's still bullish on gold; "I see it going up to 1,725."

Tip: ‘k’ means ‘thousand’

Pete Najarian said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the ADSK selloff might be a plus; "I actually think this is a great opportunity."

Pete downplayed any bad news for LLY. "I don't think this is any kind of a bump."

Pete also downplayed the report about Apple's mobile share in China, calling it an "air pocket," while Simon Baker agreed it's a "non-event."

Mike Murphy predicted that "Sears can take out that 60 level." Murphy also praised AMZN; "It's really hard to bet against these guys."

Baker said SVU was up on "regurgitation" of rumors. Jon Najarian said hats off to David Russell for spotting the ARUN activity.

Macneil Curry, who once again didn't realize how quickly Judge wanted him to reveal his trade, said strength in the euro "probably will last in the near-term," but his trade is to sell Aussie/dollar at 1.0385.

Jane Wells said according to data, sales of fresh orange juice are up, while frozen sales are down. And, Jane said, "Sales plummet after about 10 a.m."

Simon Baker on that report halfheartedly recommended Dole; "ready for a good short squeeze."

Jon Najarian cracked that NKE's margin on the LeBron James shoes are probably "about $295."

Superfox Seema Mody read some Twitter predictions on the S&P 500, including one from "Calvin" that predicted the S&P would range from "12k" to "14k," which superfox (oops) described as "12 and 14 thousand." Pete Najarian didn't want to make a call on whether Europe or the Fed is more important to stocks, leaving that to Mike Murphy, who said Europe.

Mike Murphy's Final Trade was HTZ. Jon Najarian said ACN calls, while Simon Baker touted ADSK and Pete Najarian, who said "Happy birthday to my wife," said PSX.

[Thursday, August 23, 2012]

Why do they need to prepay for a discounted drink? Is the tavern afraid they wouldn’t buy anything otherwise?

Few Fast Money interviews recently have entertained the way Michael Waxman's visit did on Thursday's 5 p.m. show.

Waxman runs Grouper — which has already landed him a girlfriend — in which 3 guys who are friends arrange to meet 3 girls who are friends at a tavern, and then que sera sera.

It's a "really simple business model; it's a fee per Grouper," Waxman said, explaining the clientele is "mostly people in their 20s right now."

Waxman struggled to identify what "success" means for this type of operation, suggesting some users have ended up on co-ed volleyball teams.

Karen Finerman, beaming often on Thursday's show (that's why there's a photo above), identified the most intriguing of situations; what if "2 of the girls like the same guy?" Waxman assured that because it's groups of friends, "it kind of works out."

Boy, we know how that goes; you should see when like 3 or 4 of 'em swarm the CNBCfix HQ at the same time, and then it has to get sorted out, and it generally doesn't end up with co-ed volleyball.

Josh Brown asked, "Can he get us dates?"

12 for VALE

Brad Lamensdorf, who runs a short fund and occasionally turns up on Fast Money, said on Thursday's 5 p.m. show he's "back up to fully invested," and began by unloading on poor VALE; "I think the stock's going to 12 bucks."

Stephen Weiss piled on, saying, "I think you may be aggressive at 12."

Lamensdorf's top shorts according to the chart shown on TV (not pictured) are C, COH, DB and GMCR, and for the latter, he said it's still going "much lower."

And for COH, Lamensdorf said, "We've actually added on the bounce" because its premium is too high relative to competition, and after its bounce off 50, "we're even more bearish now."

Josh Brown got Lamensdorf to admit he sometimes has bad calls, like when he tried shorting PHM early in the year and got out, because he won't stick around forever and get "beat to death."

So much for the ‘everybody’s so pessimistic’ theme (and perhaps trouble for Keith McCullough’s timestamp of last week)

However, panelists on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money weren't nearly so enthusiastic about shorting as Brad Lamensdorf was.

"I don't think I would short the market," said Josh Brown, explaining that "all the central banks are still at the party."

Joe Terranova sputtered a couple of times that he would just use S&P futures to "blanket" his positions in his "porfilo" (sic).

Stephen Weiss even said, "I'm positive the market ... I'm looking to get much longer."

Terranova said specifically, he would be interested in shorting SPLS, which he believes will hit $10, and WEN and AMD. Weiss said JCP is the "best short I can see out there ... when Ron Johnson comes out and gives his, New Age, you know, b.s., great. But that's going to 10."

Karen Finerman revealed she's short JCP too.

The funny thing about that is, the official disclosures at CNBC.com (remember this is all for entertainment purposes only) don't reveal anything about a JCP short for either.


Joe Terranova contended at the top of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that this is "much different than 2010," and so QE3 isn't automatic, and that gold rallied for technical reasons.

Karen Finerman said Europe and Asia are far more important than QE3; in fact, "I don't know that it matters really."

Stephen Weiss agreed with Karen, "I just don't think it matters," but also said "I'm going with Bill Gross" on the subject, and that the Fed gobbles up so much long-term data they "make Warren Buffett look like a day-trader."

Josh Brown agreed with Finerman and Weiss that QE3 doesn't matter.

Joe Terranova reiterated that we'll see "a shake-the-trees type of correction," and that the first place he'd go looking to buy on a pullback is tech.

Guest: Plenty of takers
for Best Buy real estate

Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money revisited something she said on a "Web Extra" Tuesday (we actually saw it on the site but didn't bother to click) about a trade she apparently still likes ... even though it doesn't work.

(That's called being in love with your own thinking, despite evidence to the contrary.)

Finerman on Tuesday had made an interesting case against the REITs that lease space to Best Buy and other big box stores, under the "tipping point" theory that once the Best Buys disappear, so will others, and rents will fall.

She admitted REITs have been desirable for income, and a name such as Simon is too elite for this trade, but suggested people who believe her could try DDR or WRI.

That prompted DDR's Daniel Hurwitz to visit the Nasdaq for Thursday's 5 p.m. show, in one of the show's best discussions recently, to debunk what the market has already debunked about Karen's thesis, acknowledging he leases 29 Best Buy sites but insisting "demand is outstripping supply at record levels," and that if those Best Buys should close, he's got a "waiting list" for those spots where the new contracts would be at market value, which is more than Best Buy has been paying.

Hurwitz added, "We would like a little more inflation quite frankly ... we are in a deflationary environment," and everything sells at a discount.

Hurwitz said the notion some retailers (think Sears) express about being "real estate plays" because of their locations doesn't really work, because properties are zoned for specific uses, and there are many restrictions to fight, say, if Best Buy thinks it can suddenly sell its land where its big box sits to someone who wants to put a gas station there (that's our analogy, not Hurwitz's).

Mel Lee asked Hurwitz if he makes more money leasing a huge amount of space to one client, or leasing parcels to various clients within that space. Hurwitz didn't answer but only said "competition for space" is what proves most lucrative.

Bottom in Europe?

Josh Brown was given a few moments on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to outline a trade he's been hearing about, which is identifying European multinationals without much exposure to the European banking system that might be unjustly beaten down.

"I'm seeing a lot of people put this trade on," Brown said, making an interesting case that the indexes are financial-heavy and thus causing some undue punishment.

Brown in fact said Wisdom Tree on Aug. 29 is going to launch a vehicle (symbol HEDJ) that will feature those companies against a hedge in the euro.

Karen Finerman asked if it might also be worth identifying European companies that sell predominantly in Europe that have just been overly beaten. Brown said that's a trade for the next level but he's not ready to go there yet.

Prize: Seema Mody and 2 friends meeting yourself and 2 friends via Grouper

Guest Michael Feroli, in a conversation theme that is already colossally boring and sure to get colossally boringer, told Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that September QE3 is "far from a slam dunk," but he still sees better than average chance for easing, and while he expects a fiscal cliff compromise, is planning on a "little more austerity next year."

Josh Brown cautioned that if the markets start to think this is August-October of 2011 again, with the whole debt ceiling, etc., you'd see "how quickly" stocks tumble.

Jeff Kilburg said that "1,725 is the next stop" in gold, and that for SLV he sees "back and fill on that chart all the way up to 37."

Stephen Weiss said he "bought UGL yesterday." Joe Terranova said he "wouldn't try to be short here" of gold.

We also learned what contest superfox Seema Mody is running with Twicker that we found confusing on Thursday's Halftime (see below); basically Mody rattles off the Twitterer's short picks (at 5 p.m. it was MCP and LNKD) and asks the Fast Money panelists to pick a winner. Joe Terranova indicated it was MCP by default; "I wouldn't short LinkedIn," Terranova said.

Joe botched an AAPL derivative play

Karen Finerman said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that BIG might have more room to the downside.

Joe Terranova said there's no reason to get in coal for 6-12 months.

Mike Khouw said he "probably would fade this" move in FSLR based on a speculative India venture.

Karen Finerman described HPQ as, "It seems like there's just no bottom in sight." (Right. And why again is it in the Dow?)

Joe Terranova admitted he had "gotten Cirrus wrong over the last couple of days" but stressed that he earlier had been right about it.

Josh Brown said GES' problem was a failure to communicate better with shareholders, and he was "really surprised" at the size of the miss.

Mike Khouw reported that there was a big buyer of the December 8 puts in DAL, for 49 cents or a bet it reaches $7.51. Khouw said there were also puts in UAL.

Khouw's Final Trade was that if you want to short COH, use put spreads. Josh Brown said long TGT as long as it stays over 60. Stephen Weiss said CLNY, Karen Finerman said PACD and Joe Terranova said CSTR as well as DLR.

The stock was $30 in February, but the ship is ‘righted’

Léo never got the same benefit of the doubt.

Brian Kelly on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report called HPQ a "corporation in transition," and actually claimed that Meg Whitman has "kind of righted the ship."

But Kelly at least admitted he doesn't see a short-term catalyst for the stock.

Stephanie Link said there are better stocks with that kind of valuation.

Seema Mody appearance

In a reflection of her obvious rising status on the Fast Money Halftime Report, Seema Mody was showcased early Thursday to report on what stocks/currencies Twitterers were calling sells, which was basically YUM, CAT, the euro and even mighty AAPL.

And then she asked traders to opine, saying without being totally clear whether she was referring to the tweeters or the panelists that the best call would win a prize, and one can only hope it's dinner for 2.

Brian Kelly said he loves the YUM short. Simon Baker disagreed with that, saying it's "tough to bet against YUM."

No mention of NFLX

Will Duff Gordon, who does little on his Fast Money Halftime Report appearances except rattle off the most obviously shorted stocks, suggested Safeway and R.R. Donnelley could fall under the "value trap" category.

Simon Baker, seemingly wary of selling anything, said he thinks short sellers tend to be smarter than long investors, and he "would not short a grocery store."

Stephanie Link said she found the revelation that HAS is on the highly shorted list "surprising."

Mike Murphy said he would be very wary about shorting those heavily shorted names because they're prone to a squeeze.

Andy Busch, saying he's put together a thesis for Money in Motion, said if Merkel and Hollande agree to an extension of whatever credit line is going to whoever, you would want to stay long the euro, but if there's any disagreement, which he expects, it'll be a "nice time to sell the euro."

Brian Kelly helpfully offered, "You can short the Swedish krona."

Kelly ‘short the market’

Brian Sullivan on Thursday took a turn at the wheel of the sleep-inducing summertime version of the Fast Money Halftime Report and, except for his "I stink" howler when misreading the prompter, proceeded to pour Sominex onto the fire.

While he at least didn't bring back Doug Kass to say the same things Kass has already said twice in a week, Sullivan managed to elicit only one provocative market call, that from Brian Kelly, who revealed, "I am short the market."

Kelly, making a Horshack gag, said stocks could fall 5-10%.

Stephanie Link said she's "not shorting" this market. Simon Baker said the risk is being out of the market. Mike Murphy said (again) that the best-case scenario for the market is no QE3, and regardless of September, "I think the 4th quarter we build on those gains."

Mike Murphy prefers talking about the winners

Kayla Tausche reported on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the Nasdaq is in hot water over its handling of the Facebook IPO.

Mike Murphy uncorked a bit of a Brag Trade, saying he shorted NDAQ shortly after the bungling of that IPO, but recently the stock seems to have stabilized, so he is "no longer short," but he still thinks there's more to the story.

Murphy was later Fast Fired for DNKN, and he admitted the stock is down since his bull call and that he's "still holding the Dunkin," but then felt compelled to trumpet what he claimed was a great call on SBUX in the same dialogue, where he ended up buying at 44 and selling at 47, and so "there has been a trade there behind the scenes."

Simon Baker said Krispy Kreme makes a better doughnut than Dunkin.

Jackie DeAngelis reported that there's tension in the Middle East. Baker said you could try SLB on that one.

Brian Sullivan apparently takes analyst price targets more seriously than most people do

Brian Sullivan on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report seemed downright astonished at the Deutsche Bank price cut on BIDU from 186 to 137.

Brian Kelly said that once the story breaks in a name like this, you've gotta run away.

Stephanie Link, though, said if BIDU gets close to 100, it'll be "interesting."

Mike Murphy said in fact the BIDU selloff could be an "overreaction," and that if it crosses the 50-day, you could get long.

Citi finally catches on to
John Paulson’s performance

Guest Mark Kiesel said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the run in junk bonds is not over, but has merely gotten "less attractive."

In fact, he said that some "high-yield" has actually become "kind of medium yield."

But Kiesel conceded that "defaults will be relatively benign in the near-term," it's just a "valuation" call, and he likes select returns from WY, USG, LVS and PAA.

Kayla Tausche reported that a Citi unit is yanking cash from a couple John Paulson funds. Brian Sullivan wondered if that means the Citi folks are bearish on gold. Brian Kelly said actually it's a case of, "I think you're saying you don't like the fund."

Simon Baker said the "driving factor" behind that move was likely Paulson's poor performance. Baker, meanwhile, likes KGC.

Stephanie Link said she/Cramer's trust own WY, WFC and STI.

Brian Kelly tackled the report of Ackman's GGP demand, saying, "I would not be buying on this spike," and would take profits off the table.

Kelly's Final Trade was SLV. Mike Murphy said LNG, Simon Baker said FIO and Stephanie Link said STI.

[Wednesday, August 22, 2012]

Mike Murphy suggests that DELL might be a candidate for the costliest way possible to spare management embarrassment

DELL has unofficially crossed into stock market embarrassment land.

The lowest point is probably when people refer to a "take-under." Somewhere above that ranks the "take it private" suggestion, for companies still maintaining some degree of respect despite a flagging price/business.

Mike Murphy was the panelist on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money who knocked this one out of the park, saying he doesn't see a reason to buy DELL or HPQ, but "I think the near-term catalyst for Dell would be if they get taken private."

(Sigh) We always bring this up, and David Faber used to bring it up quite a bit on The Strategy Session, but the impact of going private amounts to ... (no, not the nonsense about "not having to please fickle investors every quarter") ... borrowing money to basically spare management/ownership the embarrassment of publicly announcing all the bad news.

Who knows, we might even be hearing similar talk about Mark Zuckerberg much sooner than anyone would've thought. If going private is so advantageous, "for not having to meet quarterly expectations so you can manage your business for the long-term," how come Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos and Larry Page and the Priceline people didn't/haven't entertained it?

Tim Seymour, always sympathetic to Samsung, claimed in its standoff with AAPL that "this lawsuit's not helping either company actually." Seymour also quizzed Mel Lee about the "Show Me State." Lee correctly said Missouri.

Bartels: 8-10% September tumble

Mary Ann Bartels made seemingly every market call in the book on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, starting with an "8-10% correction in the month of September."

"I think this market is actually set up, uh, to correct going into September," Bartels began, then curiously noted as her first argument that it's "traditionally the worst-performing month" before stressing the 13 VIX, and the "negative divergences" involving small-caps and transports.

So then Bartels turned that down-10% call into a this-is-the-time-big-caps-start-outperforming call, explaining, "These megacaps have much more upside" than the small caps from here, and "we are in the early stages of an emerging bull market."

Bartels pointed to pharmaceuticals and beverages as great-looking sectors.

Tim Seymour pushed back, "This is not the S&P we had in 2008," while others questioned if the megacaps aren't more exposed to global fears than the smaller caps.

Undaunted, Bartels predicted the market, after its September swoon, would catch a rally into year-end, and even allowed that if it tops 1,422 right now, the next stop is 1,440.

Panelist comments suggest Keith McCullough’s timestamp of last week might not be a bust

Most of the Wednesday 5 p.m. Fast Money gang cast doubt on a sustained rally with some of the most milquetoast of arguments.

"QE3 is not going to do anything," asserted Brian Kelly.

Tim Seymour said the Fed release "does set the stage for a bigger disappointment, uh, I think at Jackson Hole," and then, making a baseball analogy, claimed, "They're crazy if they're gonna ease it here ... We're juiced up here. We don't need it."

Dan Nathan said "at the end of the day" while pointing out that the market has rallied since the actual Fed meeting of Aug. 1.

Mike Murphy was slightly more enthusiastic than the others, saying that if the market can hold up without QE right now, it bodes well for an end-of-year rally.

Nothing’s changed in a week

Count Doug Kass among those not liking this market.

Referring to his call last week that the highs are in for 2012, Kass told Melissa Lee on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I stand by what I said," based on the potential for a "disappointing downturn in corporate profits," the "likely erosion in China's economy," and even the "growing likelihood" of Barack Obama's re-election.

Kass sparred, rather wearily, with the panelists over how bad Europe and China really are and whether the Shanghai stock market matters. Kass told Lee, "I'm slowly adding to my short positions. I'm at my lowest gross long position."

It’s bad enough that it’s still in the Dow, but how much longer will Fast Money consider it relevant to cover the HPQ earnings call?

Jon Fortt on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money relayed the gloomy words of caution from Meg Whitman about a slow turnaround (we should probably put "turnaround" in quotes) in HPQ and managed to actually refer to Melissa Lee as "Marissa."

Tim Seymour actually claimed, "This is a transformational company."

Armstrong: $110 crude possible

Addison Armstrong, who used to be a staple of Fast Money but now rarely makes an appearance, told Melissa Lee on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show that crude can "absolutely" hit 110, based in part on central bank action.

Tim Seymour, making a long-winded statement, argued, "I think the Saudis wanna see oil go lower," and also tried to claim that Russia's oil giants are actually stretched when oil rises.

Armstrong said eventually crude could tumble, but it won't happen until we get through "all of this palaver about stimulus."

Tim Seymour admitted, "There's a lot of palaver that comes out of my mouth on this show."

Seymour, piggybacking on what Dennis Gartman said at Halftime (but with a different outlook), said of iron ore dipping below 100, "this could go back to 60." But Seymour argued that "gold can go higher."

Mike Murphy touted LNG, citing "a lot of call buyers" at 15 and 16 strikes. "I think it goes higher," Murphy said.

Kelly: ‘Bubble’ in Aussie banks

Mike Khouw reported on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money a "big buyer" of the September 133/127 put spread on the SPY. Khouw liked the trade, calling it a "pretty cheap way I think to play for a potential pullback," and even made it his Final Trade.

Dan Nathan noted that in the EEM, someone bought the November 39/36 put spread.

We're not really sure why David Mechner wanted to be on the show, except to complain that HFT is screwing investors in terms of price. "The sheer number of orders from high-frequency market makers" is forcing passive orders to frequently cross the bid/ask spread, Mechner said.

Kayak chief Steve Hafner fended off concerns about mobile and Google as though he gets asked about them all the time, explaining, "Kayak is really an e-commerce site," and they're seeing "a lot more people doing queries on mobile and booking on the desktop."

Hafner took issue with Brian Kelly's description of 3 others in the space as "monsters," telling Kelly those monsters are his company's "partners."

He downplayed Mel Lee's query about Google's encroachment to the business. "We haven't seen any impact from their entry into flight search or hotel search," Hafner asserted.

Brian Kelly, invoking some statistics of size that we're not sure signal a cratering overnight, told viewers that Australian banks are too heavily weighted, "so if you're looking for a bubble, I'd look right to the Australian banking sector."

Mike Murphy praised TWI; "I think it goes higher."

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was sell MBT before earnings. Dan Nathan said short MSFT based on HPQ/DELL results. Mike Murphy said if you own TOL, use puts. Brian Kelly said to short ADM.

If we had to guess, we’d expect Mr. Damodaran’s order will get filled this week

Judge Wapner opened Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report with — what else — his favorite subject, Facebook.

Blah blah blah, Stephen Weiss insisted, "You need to know what the strategy is," and cautioned that when you bring "emotion" into stock-buying, "you're sure to lose money."

Joe Terranova, who at one point referred to Sheryl Sandberg as "CEO," said you'd have to be "crazy to buy this company."

Steve Grasso complained about the "absentee management." Jon Najarian bashed Mark Zuckerberg, saying, "I think he needs to come out and talk" and build or restore "trust" in the company's future.

Aswath Damodaran, who has a limit buy order in the shares at $18, was the star guest on this subject, complaining about how quickly markets turn on companies and likening the negativity toward the first public earnings report to changing Junior's college plans after his first kindergarten report card.

Damodaran, who did concede taking his price target down from 27 to 24 after the earnings report, used the "m" word, insisting the company has "incredible potential, and capacity to monetize the potential," and that since the IPO, "not much has changed in terms of the fundamentals."

Judge Wapner, desperate for anything fresh to say on this tiresome topic, grumbled that his panel was making it sound like "Facebook's the biggest piece of crap that ever went public."

‘I don’t even know what high-frequency trading means,’ he said with a straight face

Guest Bill O'Brien on Wednesday's Halftime Report figured out a new way to defend electronic trading on Fast Money — plead ignorance.

"I don't even know what high-frequency trading means," O'Brien insisted, but he knew enough to tell Judge that the Facebook and other IPO issues had nothing to do with it.

Stephen Weiss acknowledged that O'Brien would be compelled to defend HFT but argued that it actually has "sucked the liquidity out of the market." O'Brien insisted that electronic trading has "democratized the business" and that the challenge of buying a million bucks worth of IBM in 2012 is the same challenge as 1972.

Weiss said that's a bad example of the issue because IBM is a "very liquid stock," but that the retail investor sees it at $200, puts in a market order and gets it filled at $200-$201.

Steve Grasso was then about to call that a great example of why people should use limit orders, but got cut off and Judge never gave him a chance.

O'Brien said air travel isn't about the number of airlines or speed of the jets, but how the air traffic controllers manage the system, which he likened to his own line of work.

Guest suggests world’s most valuable company doesn’t have enough wherewithal to focus on copycats and upstarts at the same time

Guest Steve Milunovich, like some of the savvier analyst types, figured out a good way to land on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report — give a research note a really provocative title, and then back off that title as a bit of an exaggeration when actually interviewed on television.

Milunovich said it's not necessarily a good thing for Apple to lose this Samsung case, but that the company might be focused on the wrong threat. "We don't think it's copycats that really cause Apple a problem," Milunovich said, but rather someone with a (gasp) better idea.

Regardless, "Now's a great time to own the stock," Milunovich said, telling Judge Wapner he doesn't think the company is that interested in a split, and "I would not expect a TV product anytime soon."

Joe Terranova once again mentioned the AAPL derivatives (not NXPI by name this time) and said to avoid them, but said "one cautionary element" for AAPL itself would be a slowdown in China revenue growth.

Will S&P outgain Ray Rice?

Tony Dwyer told Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that his 1,575 S&P target was actually initiated last October, and it "seemed as insane then as it does now."

While Dwyer's assertion of improving profits might be a little sketchy, he did do a good job of deflecting the non-event concerns raised by the panel such as the fiscal cliff and the election and tax rates or whatever and pointing out the ongoing short-term benefits of cheap money.

Oddly, Dwyer rattled off all kinds of concerns, including fiscal cliff, China, Europe, and others, and said if he was bearish, it would be "very easy to come out with that story," but "I try to stick with what works."

Dwyer said the economy is "improving and trending right," and that we're "relatively early" into this era.

But, he acknowledged we're benefitting from a "credit boom we have that someday will blow up."

Dwyer came prepared with stats, explaining how well consumer discretionary (a sector that needs a catchier name), IT and financials have done percentage wise months after a similar statistical situation. (And every time the Giants have defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the yinz have won it the next season.)

Stephen Weiss shrugged, "The only way you get to his target is if the S&P does a reverse split."

Hopefully, ‘Big Steel’ made its low in Denver in January

Dennis Gartman on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report recommended steel in a way that reminds of his February recommendation on the shippers (ouch) — that the stocks are holding up better than the fundamentals.

Gartman pointed to iron ore and said it's sinking toward 100, the "obscene number," and that it's so "awfully cheap," he thinks it's "time to start taking a look at the steel companies."

Stephen Weiss disagreed, advising people to wait for steel inventories to come down first, and then pointed to met-coal stock performance Wednesday as proof of what he's saying. Gartman insisted, touting X, "Big steel has refused to make a new low."

Steve Grasso then agreed with Weiss without saying he agreed with Weiss, pointing out that steel inventories are just sitting.

Gartman responded, "Steel stocks refuse to make new lows, and that I find interesting." Then he told Judge Wapner, who called him a Southern gentleman though he's from Akron, they drink martinis this time of year.

Stephen Weiss manages to turn a Fast Fire into a Brag Trade

Stephen Weiss braced himself on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report for the short-KORS hit from Judge Wapner, and deftly turned it into victory.

Judge pointed out the shares have been up something like 24% since Weiss' bear call, but Weiss said he never intended to short it going into its blockbuster earnings, and he "actually made a little money on the trade," which he said was "pennies."

Nevertheless, he "still would not buy it."

Joe Terranova, who also crowed about getting that one right on the long side, mentioned AWI as a way to play the homebuilders. Steve Grasso said you can try USG, but it's "really scary to play." Weiss admitted he missed the homebuilder trade, but "I still think they're overvalued."

Jon Najarian pointed out a couple times how much he "loves" the move in TOL on Wednesday, even though he's not in the builders now.

Joe Terranova advised WSM longs to "continue to hold it long" and use 40 as the proverbial "reference point." Jon Najarian said the SRZ move is done but to focus on other possible targets in the space in the next couple of weeks.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was long LNG. Steve Grasso said buy SDS, Stephen Weiss said buy M, and Joe Terranova said sell MCD.

[Tuesday, August 21, 2012]

$77, or $9

Gordon Johnson, who has spectacularly called the decline of FSLR, told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang that the pop will be short-lived.

Right now, it's a "new company with a new story," Johnson said, but he expects that next quarter, it will "significantly miss Street estimates ... I think this is a 1-time thing."

Johnson also told Brian Kelly that Japan has closed off its markets to outsiders, so don't expect a lift for First Solar there.

What was odd about this interview was that, right away, the screen text said, "Johnson has 12-month price target of $77 on (FSLR)" — which seemed rather high for a notable bear of a stock trading around $24.

Mel Lee, making no acknowledgment of what the screen said, asked Johnson what his price target was, and Johnson said, "9 bucks."

So there you go.

Seema Mody does something different with her hair

The gist of Laurence Balter's downgrade of AAPL was covered earlier on this page (see below), but it's worth noting that Brian Kelly gave Balter "kudos for downgrading a stock at its all-time highs," before asking what it would take to get a "sell" rating.

Balter said it would take "acceleration in the decline of the growth rate," and a "slowing of store growth."

Balter, who took a position that some such as Stephen Weiss found loopy but nonetheless did it with some degree of credibility unlike the last Apple bear on Fast Money (can't even remember who the guy was but it was a Fast Line thing), contended that, "The average selling price has been coming down ... at almost a dramatic rate, uh, in the iPhone and the iPad," and based on reports of some TV contraption of set-top boxes, "the market's getting a little bit ahead of itself."

It would be negligent of this page to not include a photo of the person who later in the program read off some Twitter respones to Balter's interview. After this treasure of television was finished, Stephen Weiss said of AAPL, "it's not where they're coming from, it's where they're going to."

Kelly: All the buyers
are already in

This page has contended since May that this market's a disaster — it hasn't turned out that way, at least not yet, unless you were expecting SBUX, NKE, PCLN or CMG would take part in any recovery — but if Brian Kelly's argument on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money is the best the bears have got, we're probably in the bull camp.

"I just don't know who's left to buy this market," Kelly complained.

Steve Grasso said the issue is that "liquidity's just so horrific ... crazy low across every space," and the old axiom about not shorting a thin market applies.

Stephen Weiss scoffed at the importance of volume; "there's no room in the scorecard for that."

Karen Finerman assured, "There is a ton of money on the sidelines."

Fast Money comes close to discussing Léo, but doesn’t

Shaw Wu, who didn't say anything about DELL on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money he couldn't have said about 3 years ago, said the company's quarter is "definitely, uh, not, not positive" for HPQ.

Wu said DELL is reducing its PC business from something like 75% to 65%, but it's still battling the "law of large numbers."

Stephen Weiss suggested that HPQ is more appealing than DELL right now, but "frankly I'd stay away from both."

Steve Grasso outlined a stark future for the latter. "I'm not really sure how Dell survives," Grasso said, explaining he might want to buy a laptop but he would want to buy an Apple laptop to be connected to the "ecosystem."

Weiss asserted that "the iPad is taking share from computers."

Scott Nations predicted that DELL would have a tough day on Wednesday.

Business exec wants the government to do only the things he likes and not anything else

Melissa Lee ran clips of her interview with Toll Brothers' Doug Yearley, who actually claimed that "consumer confidence" is the most important stat he looks at, and contended, "The biggest thing we have going for us is 7 years of pent-up demand."

Yearley said he wants the government to stay out of his buiness, but before doing that, it could stand to "ease the mortgage-lending rules a little bit."

Stephen Weiss said, "I think the homebuilders are fully priced here ... the risk is on the downside." Brian Kelly suggested WY as an alternate homebuilding play.

Flash: Instability in Middle East

Guest George Friedman told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Israeli rhetoric typically accompanies some kind of international pressure on Iran, and in reality, there's about a "15%" chance of an Israeli attack.

Friedman outlined considerable problems with this notion, one being that it's a lot of real estate to cover for a limited Israeli air squadron, and an attack might not destroy the weapon(s), which would be trouble.

Stephen Weiss questioned if the ongoing possibility of this scenario doesn't put a "permanent bid under crude." Friedman said it will until the market becomes "more sophisticated about geopolitical forces," which will probably happen around the time Iran and North Korea decide to really give up their nuclear programs in exchange for extra shipments of corn (the kernels that weren't droughted out).

Karen Finerman said the odd thing about crude's strength is that "We haven't seen tanker rates really move," suggesting to her that it's really going to end users. Weiss said there's been a lot of overcapacity in the tanker space.

‘Groundhog Day’ was not produced by Wendy Finerman

Karen Finerman, assigned FB in the Pops & Drops session of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, resorted to movie cliches; "I feel like it's Groundhog Day."

Steve Grasso said he likes PSX but would wait for a pullback in the whole space.

Stephen Weiss said he'd stay on the sidelines regarding VZ.

Scott Nations identified a "big buyer of puts" in the XOP, specifically 10,000 of the September 51 strike.

Brian Kelly said he bought SPY puts.

Jane Wells identified all kinds of things you could buy with $315 instead of the Nike LeBron James shoes.

Scott Nations' Final Trade was short LVS. Steve Grasso said long AET. Stephen Weiss went to the WLP well for about the 12th time in 2012, Karen Finerman said long MHP and Brian Kelly said long GLD.

No one on Fast Money explains the real reason AAPL has a 12/13/15 P.E. ratio

Melissa Lee on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money invited Oracle Investment Research's Laurence Balter to discuss his $650 AAPL price target and downgrade to hold.

The most provocative point raised by Balter went unaddressed: "It's a value stock. It's not a growth stock. If it was a growth stock, we'd have a 30 P.E. on it Why- why is the market only assigning a 12 or 13 P.E. ratio?" he asked.

Stephen Weiss merely responded, "That's opportunity."

What he could've said is that this chart looks like the charts of all the previous superhot telephone makers, and the market knows that eventually — who knows when, as Karen Finerman pointed out, "one of these days he's gonna be right," though she's skeptical it'll be right now — the phone chart hits a fiscal cliff.

Balter said the market cap of AAPL represents "$88 per person for every man, woman and child on planet Earth."

More from Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money later.

Wien: 1,500 before year-end

Byron Wien visited the Fast Money gang on Tuesday's Halftime Report and predicted, "I think we'll go to 1,500 ... sometime before year-end ... no matter who wins," because the outlook for the U.S. economy is improving.

Wien said "Europe is providing liquidity" to at least push that headwind away for now. He sees U.S. stocks at 15 times $100 earnings, but he cautioned that there could be earnings issues in 2013.

Wien said another reason he likes stocks is that "almost everybody on this program is pretty negative," but not necessarily the panelists.

Terranova: 1,390 is next

The bullishness battle on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report ended in a record of 2-0-2.

"I don't think it's over by a long stretch," Jon Najarian said of the rally.

"I'm still a buyer", Stephen Weiss said.

But Joe Terranova said it's "time to shake the trees" and predicted, "near-term we pull back to 1,390."

Josh Brown failed to make a call, saying it depends on 2 things: whether there's small-cap strength, and market "participation."

Stephen Weiss’ buddies are
outperforming hedge funds as a whole

In case you feel badly about your own investment returns, Kayla Tausche reported on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the average hedge fund is only up 2.8% this year, and mutual funds are up 8.4%.

Josh Brown defended the industry as best as any spokesman could, saying that's why they're called hedge funds and people invest to avoid volatility, and so hedge fund investors aren't "particularly perturbed."

Stephen Weiss seemed to doubt the data, saying, "I know one guy, he's up 41% this year and he's never been more than 20% net long."

Judge Wapner invokes ’70s
pop-culture cliche in latest attempt to say something new about Facebook

In a curious description of the FB bubble, James Altucher on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report claimed that the share price was driven on the private markets by "all of these offshore billionaires in a feeding frenzy trying to buy Facebook at the last minute."

Stephen Weiss was the panelist who pointed out that a lot of those billionaires are smart, and so how come retail investors were dumb for doing the same thing; obviously smart people thought it would go up too.

So Altucher called it a "feeding frenzy on both the sophisticated investors and the unsophisticated investors."

Judge Wapner said that it may be true that billionaires bought it on the private markets and lost money, but if you're a small investor who tried to buy around the IPO, "You're mad as hell and you don't wanna take it anymore."

Altucher insisted "the stock market, and the secondary markets, are gambling."

Altucher went on to make a bull call, predicting, "In the long run, the price will be much higher than 40 ... I do think there's been irrational selling lately in Facebook ... and so what we have here is a strong buy."

He added that, given the amount of money raised and the low fees for doing it, Facebook "did the best IPO in history."

Jon Najarian complained about the private FB market, "they're gaming the system even more than usual ... this is a crazy market." But Stephen Weiss reiterated that it wasn't retail investor suckers, but, "Billionaires were doing it, they should know better." Judge asked why, and Josh Brown made the off-camera explanation that brought nods, "'cause it's Greater Fool."

Wapner later had to clarify he wasn't just talking about Second Market, but "Second Market and others" that deal in the private shares.

Najarian: Thiel sale, Zuck’s lack of presence ‘speaks volumes to how bad things are internally at Facebook’

Meanwhile, in its obsession over the Facebook lockup, Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report tackled the question of whether Peter Thiel did the wrong thing.

Stephen Weiss told everyone to get over it and move on; this is what investors do, and "this is the ultimate capitalistic game."

Jon Najarian said he didn't disagree with that, but added, "We're seeing under the kimono, and it's pretty damn ugly."

Najarian, who recently mentioned a call spread on FB, unloaded on Mark Zuckerberg, saying "he should be on-air with us here folks, and instead he's hiding. I don't know where this guy is ... I think it speaks volumes to how bad things are internally at Facebook."

Josh Brown said of Thiel's sale, "Actually I think this action is fantastic ... great lesson for the little guy."

Byron Wien, like so many recently including even Jeff Sonnenfeld, seemed to suggest the worst is over for FB, saying the stock is "stabilizing at about the proper price."

Guest Ann Winblad, who according to the CNBC graphic handily lists Apple, Amazon and Google as her top picks in the various big tech spaces, said the issue is, "Who should be on the board of Facebook." Winblad told Joe Terranova that Facebook doesn't need to recruit an Larry Eric Schmidt; "I think Sheryl is the Eric Schmidt there."

Weiss long JPM

Jon Najarian, who has made bullish Apple recommendations recently, said the Oracle firm's hold downgrade of AAPL was done for a "terrible reason" if it's about the set-top boxes ... but it might make sense if the firm thought iPhone sales projections by others are overoptimistic.

In a remark we're not gonna touch, Josh Brown said BKS is selling Fifty Shades of Grey paper copies likely because women are reading it "Somewhere where they want to be comfortable," such as the bathtub, where a tablet device wouldn't be so wise.

Stephen Weiss complained regarding URBN, "A lot of analysts don't know what they're doing."

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson advised viewers to "fade euro strength" and recommends selling euro at 1.25.

Joe Terranova said he's been rolling out of regional bank names but owns XLF 15 calls. Stephen Weiss said he's still in JPMorgan; "I still think you can buy these stocks." Josh Brown said Morgan Stanley, above 15, is the tell for the sector/market.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was DEM. Joe Terranova said to be careful with AAPL derivative plays (but didn't mention NXPI this time). Stephen Weiss said TBT, and Jon Najarian said GLD.

[Monday, August 20, 2012]

Maybe Best Buy isn’t looking for a ‘fix,’ but the status quo

Michael Pachter — who assured Fast Money viewers weeks ago that he's done the "homework" on FB and it's worth $44 — wasn't too impressed with Best Buy's new hire on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Pachter called results of Hubert Joly's previous posts either unknown or terrible; "his turnaround at Vivendi I think was an abject failure."

He said the board was "pretty much out to lunch" in making this hire, and "I don't know how they found this guy."

Most telling was Pachter's contention that hiring Joly is a "huge, huge, huge stretch" to think that this is "the guy to fix this company."

But maybe Joly isn't there to fix it.

If Pachter looked down the street from a Best Buy, he'd likely find either a Sears or a KMart. Those 2 aren't reinventing anything, but maintaining some level of cash (and real estate speculation) to give the owners some kind of financial engineering leverage.

Nothing is going to "turn around" Best Buy. Check out Sears or JCPenney. Its hope or expectation is likely that the weaker hands in the space — which already included Circuit City — eventually go away, and then it can survive on a bigger portion of a smaller pie.

Not everyone wants to redo a struggling company. Hef not too long ago made an offer to buy out Playboy ... um, not exactly because he had a grand new vision, but because he wanted to preserve his seat at the Mansion dinner table (ahem) for life.

Pachter grumbled, "I just can't lower my price target fast enough."

Josh Brown said, "I just don't see how this doesn't turn out the way Borders did, in the long long long run."

Jon Najarian was given RSH in Pops & Drops and predicted the stock would break through $2, "at some point in the next few weeks."

How else would we mail a letter?

Mel Lee invited MasterCard rep Ed McLaughlin on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to talk about how great the company is to help explain a little bit about the progress the company is making in mobile transactions.

After a couple minutes of explaining how MasterCard is doing everything for the customer on whichever platform the customer wants, we finally got this much, that "85% of the world's transactions are still based in cash," and according to McLaughlin, if we were starting from scratch we wouldn't even use cash, "like a postage stamp."

Karen Finerman said the recent "Starbucks announcement was critical," and, "we've been short Verifone recently." But she said she's long Gemalto and long MA.

Josh Brown, who in the spring hailed PAY a couple of times, said Monday that he doesn't want to try to pick the winner of the infrastructure battle but take part in the "broader secular trend," which means names like MA.

Joe Terranova, who apparently is going to provide an update on NXPI whenever possible, said he thinks security software is the right play here, and he's long CHKP.

Somebody actually thinks BAC is going north of $8.63

Another guest on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Cornerstone Ondemand chief Adam Miller, spent pretty much the entirety of his very limited interview time trumpeting growth in clients, but if nothing else the CSOD chart looks interesting.

Joe Terranova said in that space, ULTI is "a name you can own here."

Continuing a theme of the day, Dennis Gartman — aside from explaining that it rained and so he couldn't play golf, always a big disappointment — really didn't have much to say either, except that Europe is moving on all kinds of dueling headlines, and to expect 2 big events on Sept. 12, when a German court will rule on something that everybody already knows the outcome of, and there's an election in the Netherlands (and this is probably the last time you'll even hear about that).

Jon Najarian, who seems to flag a lot more suspicious options activity than the authorities do, said someone made a "windfall" buying 33 calls in CVH for January 2013 recently.

Scott Nations said there was a "big buyer of the November $8 calls today" in BAC, and "this makes a lot of sense" (especially if Aetna ends up buying BAC tomorrow).

Julia Boorstin, responding to a good question from Karen Finerman after first determining she was unable to answer it, said it's "possible" that Peter Thiel could've canceled his planned FB sale if he wanted to, but "highly unlikely," for a lot of technical disclosure type reasons.

Josh Brown said the AET deal is an indication ObamaCare is going to survive. Brown recommended that people long LUV "take this pop and walk away," which is kind of the advice Tom Cruise got from the casino in "Rain Man."

Brown said to Augusta National, "Welcome to the 19th century."

Joe Terranova said there's no reason to get out of VLO just yet, but if you're long, buy puts.

Browns' Final Trade was MRK. Jon Najarian said AAPL, based on call-buying. Karen Finerman said PACD, and Joe Terranova said to "ring the register" on CVBF.

Apple’s awesome

Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang was compelled to take part in a celebration of AAPL.

Jon Najarian said people were taking off 615 calls and rolling them into October 710 calls.

Joe Terranova said, "I remain long AAPL," and advised owning 640 puts with it, but suggested it might be time to get out of derivative names such as CRUS and SWKS.

Josh Brown waffled, saying that in "raw nominal numbers," AAPL's market cap "certainly is a new record," but that AAPL would need $900 to top 1999 MSFT in inflation-adjusted terms, so there's room for AAPL to go higher, but "the pace may slow."

Karen Finerman said AAPL shares are experiencing "a little bit of levitation."

Aaron Task, who apparently qualifies as an AAPL expert because of his status as "editor" of a financial news site (actually his most famous moment was being Jim Cramer's sidekick the moment Cramer explained that he would "create a level of activity" when short to artificially move the futures), said he's not aware of any market in history that was "dependent" on 1 stock.

Karen Finerman, who somehow felt the need in person to introduce herself to Task and unleash Fast Money's most common cliche ("It's Karen let me ask you something" — 3 times in only the show's first 20 minutes), apparently found Task an expert as to whether retail investors are relevant to Apple's price. Task said he thinks they're "very relevant."

Task said AAPL would probably have to split 3-for-1 to be admitted to the Dow.

More from Monday's Fast Money later.

Another day, another person
on Fast Money calls a Facebook bottom

We've been hearing it almost since IPO Day. (Even from Jeff Sonnenfeld last week.)

Guest Rory Maher was the latest Facebook watcher to suggest the stock might be at or near a bottom, telling Judge Wapner, "primarily, uh, it's- it's a valuation call ... the risk/reward is looking pretty attractive."

Maher said the shares are "fairly cheap down at this level," and that looking "1-year out," the fundamentals look good at 19 even despite Stephanie Link's expense concerns.

And we remember when Pete Najarian was talking about the 28-35 "sweet spot" in May.

Steve Cortes admitted he took the plunge. "I bought it today," Cortes said, explaining, "The rationale is sentiment and technicals."

Jon Najarian seemed to second that, saying, "I think that Bill Gurley nailed it last week" about Facebook having a moat unlike any other company, but both Najarian and Cortes conceded this isn't one to bet the farm on, "this is risk capital."

Judge cracked, "These social stocks have produced antisocial returns for people."

Yet another reminder that the world’s most valuable company is a telephone maker

In a bit of a head-scratcher, Judge Wapner reported on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the CNBC research team, in "shining a light" on the stock market, is uncovering facts that the most casual ticker-viewer already knows.

"We've crunched the numbers to find the top performing and most widely held stocks in the U.S.," Judge explained, and that led them to ... AAPL.

Guest Brian Marshall said he spoke with Apple's CFO (we had to go to Marissa Mayer's Yahoo Finance to learn that Apple's CFO is Peter Oppenheimer) and said it's Marshall's impression that the iPhone 5 is unveiled in "about a month or so," maybe Sept. 12, and "launches" on Sept. 28.

Marshall said that "obviously," the company will be "penetrating the TV market," even though Judge made Porter Bibb's argument from last week that it won't; Marshall said it doesn't matter as Bibb said that other companies are exiting the TV space.

More relevant to the stock, Marshall said the "iPhone actually generates roughly 65% of the company's gross profits" (that's progress; the BlackBerry probably once generated 99% of Research in Motion's profits) and that the iPad constituted about 20%.

Steve Cortes said CSCO has been outperforming AAPL in August and asked Marshall about that name. Marshall said investors would be "better-suited to look elsewhere" for growth opportunities.

Marshall said he put the "pretty slim" chance of an AAPL split at 20%, because the company likes the high price.

Stephanie Link said she's not going to chase the stock here, and that there's "better value" in a name such as EMC.

Steve Cortes later addressed the AAPL-GOOG race to $700 and said, "I've not seen a race this good since Seabiscuit raced War Admiral," but opined, "I really prefer Google over Apple," though he wasn't calling AAPL a short.

1,422, then 1,442,
then 1,468, then 1,494

Amid a mostly positive panel on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Steve Cortes was basically the lone bear.

"I don't think we're going higher from here," Cortes said, while Judge Wapner forced him to admit he's been thinking that for a couple of months.

Cortes insisted, "I don't think Europe is the real worry here. It is China ... nobody cares until everyone cares."

Stephanie Link didn't seem to think China is a big problem, predicting "real aggressive monetary policy easing there."

Steve Grasso though was playing a bullish game of leapfrog, saying 1,361 in the S&P, "that was the defining line," and now we're around 1,422 resistance, and if we get through that, it's 1,442, then 1,468, then 1,494.

Jon Najarian said critics have "misinterpreted" the VIX into believing it's not relevant, but the truth is it remains low not because everyone's fearless, but because there are smaller trades being made in the market.

Cortes insisted the U.S. drought "could not have come at a worse time for China." And Cortes argued that if there's no QE, that's trouble for many because of currency concerns; "I continue to own the dollar, and I think the dollar is a major problem for multinationals."

Suddenly market bulls are claiming they don’t need QE3

Jim Paulsen joined the bull-pen on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying there's good reason to be optimistic about stocks here; "the biggest catalyst here is the U.S. economy is giving a lot of evidence here late that it's exiting a soft patch."

Paulsen said Fed inaction would be good news, and that Europe, sensing possible recession in Germany, is now an "economic union there for the first time."

Steve Cortes said QE is like a drug, it loses effectiveness over time, and predicted we could be looking at "a disinflationary world."

Cortes later made a call for LQD, but with something of a tight stop — below $118, he'd be wrong and would get out, he says. "I call this the 'Matlock' trade," Cortes said, because it's for grandparents.

Guest Lewis Alexander said if people are counting on QE3 right away, "I think they're likely to be disappointed." Steve Cortes asked if lack of QE3 would be bad for gold. Alexander responded, "I'm not sure I would go that far," because he thinks we would still get QE3 later in the year.

LOW ‘kind of interesting’

Stephanie Link on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report contended that LOW is "kind of interesting" should it fall a couple more percent.

Steve Grasso though cited the company's mention of changing discounts to everyday low prices and suggested that "sounds an awful lot like JCPenney, doncha think?"

Grasso said he and Link spoke about the Aetna/Coventry deal during the commercial break, and Grasso said the name to buy on the news is AET.

Link said "this is a crazy story" regarding Best Buy and questioned how the new CEO has no retail experience. "This is not a name you wanna be involved in," Link said.

Link said, "I prefer LVS over WYNN at this point," and shrugged off Judge's Fast Fire on BMY, saying "we're (i.e. Cramer) buying more."

Cortes: Short USO

Steve Cortes, who unfortunately hasn't been on Fast Money very often recently but at least was invited to a seat at Judge's table Monday, unleashed a fun fact for viewers, explaining that "garbage volume in the United States has actually been sideways to dropping for years," which is a headwind for WM, but he said the stock still has a nice dividend if you're interested.

Cortes, who said, "I don't like financials right here," teamed on that view with Jon Najarian, who said, "international banks I'm really nervous about" in the wake of the Standard Charter ripple effect.

But Stephanie Link insisted, "The bank rally is real," and rattled off JPM, USB, WFC, STI. Steve Grasso added BBT to that list and admitted, in a self Fast Fire, that Link was right and he was wrong about JPM around 32.

Jon Najarian suggested there's more in NFLX, "I like the way it's moving here."

Grasso said, "I think Valero's a little long-winded here."

Grasso's Final Trade was AET. Link said, "I like Fluor," Jon Najarian said SSRI, and Steve Cortes in a bit of an eye-opener said to short USO.

[Friday, August 17, 2012]

Actually comes out to 1,474, but who’s going to quibble over 1 point

We wouldn't say that Thomas Lee tends to be bullish, although in recent years we can't remember there being a stock market he didn't like.

Lee told Judge Wapner on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he arrives at a 1,475 high for the S&P 500 this year based on "simple math."

"The multiple we're using is 13.4 on a 110 number for next year," Lee explained.

Lee said the market has 2 tailwinds, one being construction, especially housing, and the other being corporate credit and high-yield.

But on top of that, Lee contended there's a 3rd catalyst, that "fund managers are just still too bearish."

Lee is so enthusiastic, he suggested the market actually "could be up 25%-plus" this year, predicting a "big chase into Election Day ... we just think it's a melt-up."

Lee said cyclicals vs. defensives are at their "largest discount in 40 years."

In a point that merited rebuttal — but Judge chose not to bother — Lee contended, "I think the market builds on its gains on a Romney victory," and if it's Obama, "I think that there may be disappointment on a re-election" because investors would expect trouble from the "fiscal cliff."

The counterargument to that is that the market is likely to decide well before Election Day who will win — maybe it will be as razor-tight as 2000, but probably not — and thus the "chase" likely won't stop at Election Day, but either well before it, or not at all.

Lee identified the top risk to stocks as a "September surprise out of the Middle East."

Pete Najarian said he's not so sure materials are going up in the short term. Stephen Weiss concurred with Najarian, saying the "fundamentals are terrible" in materials and so he disagrees with Lee on that. "However, I'm long TCK," Weiss revealed, saying it's based on short interest.

Weiss: Another happy month

In a roundtable of market assessments on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Pete Najarian pointed to Aug. 2-3, when he said the banks broke through their 100-day moving average, as the start or acceleration of the current rally, and noted the VIX remains low.

Stephen Weiss, who said he's happier making money on the long side than short, said what matters is Europe and China, and Europe is positive because Draghi has given a "road map" (for kicking the can down the road). Meanwhile, "China's actually getting worse," Weiss said, predicting for U.S. stocks another "month or so of upside."

Weiss also dismissed hopes of market sugar from Jackson Hole. "There's going to be nothing coming out of there," he said.

Jon Najarian said the financials surviving the headwinds starting with JPMorgan in May is the key to this rally and once again noted the 1987 comparison of yields to the 10-year; "that's why the rally has more legs."

Josh Brown was the only skeptic, cautioning, "We know earnings estimates have to come down for the S&P ... I would not get carried away."

The funny thing about all this talk is that nobody on Fast Money has been inside a JCP in ages

Retail semi-legend Allen Questrom wasn't the least bit bashful about discussing Ron Johnson-land on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Johnson's discount strategy has "clearly been a failure," Questrom said, citing the 20% drop. "I've never really seen a strategy of some company this size drop that much."

Johnson may think he's right, Questrom said, but "the customer does not believe in it."

As for the "redo" of the stores, Questrom said, "I can't tell" just yet, but even so, "I'm shocked that we're going- they're going forward with this without even testing 1 or 2 stores to see how the customers like it ... You have to question what kind of a strategy that is."

Questrom refused to give odds on Ron Johnson's overhaul actually succeeding. "I'm not a gambler," Questrom said, before invoking a variation of the Rocco Lampone Trade: "It's improbable, but not impossible."

Judge said he had 1 more question on JCPenney for Questrom, which was whether Questrom owns JCP shares. Questrom said no, then Judge sort of asked another question about JCP stock's hammering for months, which apparently satisfied the "1 more question" limit because it was more of a statement than a question.

Throughout, Questrom made one excellent point, saying that JCP generally serves the shoppers who are struggling the most in this economy and thus are sensitive to games being played with the discounts they've come to expect.

Questrom even suggested that for those with a college degree or more, we're "probably adding jobs there," but for those with a high school education or less, "That's where the big, big problem is."

Questrom said, "Absolutely am supporting Mitt Romney," in part because ObamaCare is "gonna cost us much more money."

Like, but don’t chase, GPS & ANN

While JCP is struggling, another staple of the mall is not.

Gap Stores, according to Stephen Weiss on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, has pulled off "one of the most amazing recoveries in retail that I've seen." But given where the stock is, Weiss said he'd "rather wait for a pullback."

Jon Najarian said GPS would be his top pick in the specialty retail space as essentially a "binary bet."

Josh Brown said ANN is proof that the company didn't "need to discount as much as they were," but that Friday's pop was so big you have to wait; "you cannot get filled here."

Pete Najarian hailed JWN, "they are doing everything right," and said he'd buy FL in the low 30s.

Stephen Weiss touted M, saying it has perhaps the best management in retail, and it's "another way to play the JCPenney short" without actually shorting JCP.

Supposed management critic
Jeff Sonnenfeld can make a stock-price call too

Judge Wapner, without even cracking a smile, actually unleashed one of his best lines recently when he asked Jeff Sonnenfeld on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report if Mark Zuckerberg is "in over his hoodie."

"Very well done," Sonnenfeld said. "Over his hoodie."

Judge smiled and said he wasn't the one who actually wrote that line.

Sonnenfeld said "the heroic stature has gotten away" from Mark Zuckerberg, but "he can grow into it." Sonnenfeld mentioned Thorsten Heins, Scott Thompson, Zuckerberg and Ron Johnson as recent prominent CEOs suffering from this not-yet-realized "grandiosity." (We didn't know anyone cared much about Thorsten, and we think the only one who cared about Scott Thompson was Dan Loeb.)

Sonnenfeld said Zuckerberg is "right to not manage around the stock price."

And that is supposed to mean ... lessee ... hypothetical example ... employee brings Mark an idea that might make the stock go up for a few months. Mark says no, because he only wants ideas that make the stock go up later than that.

Sure, whatever.

"I don't know if it's gonna slip much below 20," Sonnenfeld said, his most eye-opening remark.

Rather than dissect Mark Zuckerberg's "leadership," Sonnenfeld seemed more intent on bashing Ron Johnson, saying guys like Johnson "get caught up in the heroic aura," and that Sonnenfeld himself was "surprised" that Allen Questrom was "cautious" in his criticisms, and then said "a C+ would be generous" for Johnson right now after his strategy that "trashes the customer."

Sonnenfeld agreed with Judge that some of these CEOs experience peaks and valleys, calling John Chambers the "Comeback Kid," a term that doesn't seem to apply, but whatever.

Josh Brown wondered, "When does Ron Johnson come on and do this show?"

Dennis Gartman hell-bent on bashing the White House for an SPR tap that hasn’t yet occurred while Judge only demands a commodity call

Dennis Gartman said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that if the administration taps the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, it would be "the most political move we have seen thus far this year."

Now that's a dubious category. "Most political move we have seen thus far this year."

This would be "totally out of character," Gartman said, at least for the philosophy of the SPR but maybe not of the administration. Pressed by Judge, Gartman predicted that crude in such a scenario "will fall rather precipitously for a very short period of time," but then, "that oil has to be rebought again very soon. It'll go back to new highs."

Gartman flat-out declared, "QE3 is, for all intents, off the table."

Josh Brown hailed CVX. "This is one of the most obvious layup breakouts I've seen in a long time ... there's nothing in this thing's way."

Jon Najarian, like Gartman, tried complaining about the potential of an SPR tap, asserting "it's not gonna impact gasoline at all," but pushed by Judge to make a trading call suggested OAS and UPL.

Long Norway, short Sweden

Guest Macneil Curry — whose mike scarily didn't work in his Shields & Yarnell-esque opening remarks on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report — said concerns about Europe are lessening. His trade is to buy the Norwegian krone at 1.12 vs. the Swedish krona. (And if you weren't thinking about that one in the last 24 hours — or 24 years — join the club.)

Jon Najarian noted the rise of GOOG and said, "It's really all about search."

Najarian's Final Trade was XCO. Stephen Weiss said long HK, Pete Najarian said IBM and Josh Brown said CVX.

[Thursday, August 16, 2012]

Maybe this will help Maria/CNBC get an elusive interview, since she evidently can’t get Tim Cook, Chuck Prince, Mark Hurd, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos ...

In one of the more bizarre Fast Money features in recent memory, Anthony Scaramucci was summoned near the end of Thursday's 5 p.m. program to tout the book again to sing the praises of ... one Jon Corzine.

And, in the process, made it sound like Corzine should be on Mitt's ticket.

"He is a terrific guy," Scaramucci insisted, before complaining that, "Because of social media, and the media in general ... we lynch people first and then we ask questions later."

Apparently, those farmers and traders with money locked up in MF Global's failure have no right to be upset.

Scaramucci continued, "He's a standup guy, he's a gentleman," and then actually recommended Corzine for a new job. "I do think that he would make a good hedge-fund manager," he said, while clarifying he thinks Corzine is "nowhere near doing that at this moment."

Karen Finerman asked, apparently in disbelief, "What could he possibly do that would make you say, 'You know what, maybe I shouldn't invest money with him'."

"Nice," chipped in Tim Seymour, before Scaramucci could respond.

"It's obvious that he's been tarred and feathered in the media," Scaramucci said, calling the MF Global meltdown an "operational snafu."

"I think he's an honorable guy," Scaramucci added, arguing that Corzine's downfall was "not ascertaining" he'd get downgraded by the ratings agencies.

Superfox Seema Mody, who has zero trouble finding defenders, in gray outfit, read 3 tweets assessing Corzine's past and future.

Larry, the cable guy

Guest Larry Haverty argued on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Apple's multiple, given its potential in TV and other places, is "underrated."

This despite the fact that the world's most valuable company, at an all-time high, is a phone maker.

Haverty said the cable companies will be "very cautious and only strike a deal that's, uh, protecting their content," which sounds like a wise move.

He said the cable industry is winning the broadband war, and, "At the end of the day it's not getting I think the respect that, uh, that it deserves," and is "really in the driver's seat."

He also said the AAPL multiple "vastly underrates the uh, the growth potential of the company."

Joe Terranova suggested if Apple partners with someone, it would be DIS. Stephen Weiss, on the other hand, called set-top boxes the "worst business in the world," and regarding Apple, you've "really gotta wonder what they're thinking about."

Terranova said he owns EMC and advised viewers to "stay long." Tim Seymour said CSCO, even after the pop, looks cheap compared with JNPR.

Expiring patents a ‘good thing’

Melissa Lee's intro to her interview with Bill Stone on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was clumsy enough that we weren't sure what exactly Stone was supposed to be recommending or not recommending, but before he had a chance to do either, Lee asked him about historically high premiums on health-care stocks.

Stone said that subsectors of health care are still appealing, "maybe like a pharma."

Stephen Weiss complained that pharma has "flat earnings," and so, even though it's got a lower P.E. than historical standards, "aren't they now very expensive given growth rate?"

Stone said they're not, based on 3 reasons including that they've got "some big drugs" approved or about to be approved, and they're "right in the teeth of, of a lot of patent expirations," which is some kind of contrarian "good thing," and they've "gotten religion" about returning capital.

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, wondering about Stone's view of energy. Stone said he's "slightly underweight that space," but "over the long run I think there's interest there."

Joe Terranova asked if the 10-year is really on the verge of a "generational" move and "massive reallocation."

Stone, saying that bond yields can be interpreted like blood pressure (not too high, not too low), said "I believe eventually that will happen," but "I don't think it is yet."

Karen: Take profits in PLCE

Joe Terranova said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money he bought CSTR, though not for takeover reasons. Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of CSTR August 50 puts for 37 cents.

Tim Seymour said GNC's CEO has been selling lots of stock. Karen Finerman was making a point about PLCE when her mike faded, but taking profits in the stock was her Final Trade.

Joe Terranova recommended CHKP a couple of times. Mike Khouw's Final Trade was December put spreads in XLU to make a bearish bet. Tim Seymour said ERJ, and Stephen Weiss said QCOM.

Jeff Kilburg normally says interesting things, but Thursday merely asserted that, "Right now, the bulls are in charge."

Kilburg told Tim Seymour that light volume "plays into my strategy" that HFT will drive investors into a retest of the 2012 highs.

But Kilburg cautioned that we've had 4 instances of a sub-15 (he kept saying "15 dollars") close in the VIX since 2007, and each time, 2 months after each one, the markets dropped 6%.

Kilburg said the 10-year's not lost; "people are getting a little overexcited about this Treasury exit."

Rich Greenfield’s opinion on Facebook involves more dancing than ‘Saturday Night Fever’

Tuesday on Fast Money, Karen Finerman recommended ARO as her Final Trade on the theory the stock's beating was over.

By Thursday, that was apparently not the case.

Finerman said at the top of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "Europe has not been solved ... Now's the time to be taking some profits."

But Joe Terranova insisted that "Technology's the place to go," citing stats that most of the time buying tech at the beginning of August, it's up at the end of August.

Stephen Weiss said kick-the-can-down-the-road is working for the short-term stock market and he's actually somewhat bullish. Tim Seymour said markets are getting a chance to rally for the right reasons.

In a curiously, semantically risky, Belgian-waffle-esque conversation, Greenfield indicated over 3 non-answers to 3 questions that there's no level at present that he'd buy FB, though he called it a "great question" as to where he would buy, while he constantly stressed how tough mobile advertising and mobile gaming is for Facebook, but he didn't emphatically say he'd never buy it, but that he doesn't issue price targets at where he would enact a buy rating.

Joe Terranova and Karen Finerman argued that it's just a difficult fundamental story.

More from Thursday's 5 p.m. show later.

A ‘flip’ Keith McCullough doesn’t see much use for Judge’s spree of FB questions

Opening Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report with (what else) another go-round on the Facebook lockup, Judge Wapner unexpectedly discovered that panelist Keith McCullough wasn't too interested in opining on this name.

Wapner asked McCullough where the stock is going.

"Go lower, I don't know what else you'd say about that," McCullough said.

"You think it's going to go lower," Wapner followed.

"Yeah. Why not," McCullough said, extremely curtly, and we don't mean Gowdy.

"Well I mean you're being a little bit flip about it," Wapner pushed.

"I mean it's a broken stock, it's a broken idea, it's not being flip, it's just being, you know, making the obvious call. Unless you have a catalyst, why wouldn't it go lower," McCullough insisted.

The exchange was so stiff and defensive, the cameraman had to cut away for a question from Stephanie Link to Mark Hawtin, before Judge and McCullough tried again.

This time it was a little more conversational, with McCullough, after acknowledging he liked it on the IPO, argued the stock has become "hostage to price momentum" and that you can't own it now unless you own your firm or have an endless holding period, "what you need really is time."

Then McCullough insisted again that's not a "flip" assessment.

Judge concluded that McCullough's "180-degree turn is fairly dramatic in a pretty short period of time." McCullough eventually got the last "word" in this program by expressing his apparent disdain for being scheduled Thursday by not even looking at the camera near the end of the show when the 5-mugshot template was used.

The I’m-Sure-They’ll-Monetize-Sometime Trade is alive and kicking

Mark Hawtin, not Keith McCullough, was actually the star guest of Thursday's Halftime Report Facebook discussion, and proceeded to talk his book.

Hawtin owns the shares and said he last bought after the earnings report. He said investors can "make a very clear valuation case down at these levels."

Hawtin said the stock has been hit for 2 reasons, "lot of technical issues," and "understanding the business model is extremely difficult" (translation: company's not doing as well as people expected).

Hawtin invoked the Hope Trade, insisting, "They will find a way of monetizing, I'm pretty sure of that," and says that beyond advertising, the company should be a "major driver for fee income."

Judge asked if Hawtin has faith in Mark Zuckerberg. "I do," Hawtin said.

While he apparently wasn't buying Thursday, Hawtin said of the $20 mark, "This level represents a basic floor to me."

Mike Murphy agreed, saying FB "sets up pretty interesting here at these levels" and that "you can take a chance with it," but use options. Stephanie Link thinks there's a "cap on the shares" because among other things of the lack of clarity about expenses. Brian Kelly said he's been saying since the $40s and $30s that you can't analyze it like any other stock, made the 20-years-in-a-drawer argument again, and predicted that one of these days the "weak hands" will be out of it.

Hawtin said STX is "probably" his top pick.

Keith McCullough issues
timestamp for sell-stocks call

With drama as high as it gets on the Fast Money Halftime Report, Keith McCullough told viewers that they're getting a "2nd opportunity here to sell stocks and buy bonds."

And he marked it with an "11:55 a.m. timestamp."

McCullough said "economic gravity matters ... growth continues to slow."

Brian Kelly said stocks and bonds can both go higher, and mentioned the LQD.

McCullough said the 10-year is at 1.80 merely because of "mean reversion ... at the end of the day growth is gonna continue to disappoint on the downside," which he called a "protracted and structural thing."

"At the end of the day," McCullough reiterated, viewing equities against the VIX and bonds sends the "same message."

Pressed by Judge Wapner, who pointed out that for every WMT that doesn't beat top line there's a TGT, McCullough insisted, "We're talking about some of the most abysmal volume readings that are really sucking people in," and then unleashed an eye-opener (that if it really mattered would've been the first point he made), that the "beat/miss spread on revenues" is the worst since Q3 of 2008.

Mike Murphy said the "best-case scenario" for stocks is not having QE3.

Guest: No Apple TV

Porter Bibb is occasionally summed to CNBC for a folksy type of viewpoint on the new media/new economy, but on Thursday's Halftime Report, he uncorked a whopper.

Bibb said the report of Apple being in TV talks is merely "old news" and that Apple already has an "existing box" that has sold about 4 million times, and that they're just willing to consider a TV partnership rather than try to create their own "television ecosystem."

But as for making an Apple TV, Bibb asserted, "It'll never happen."

Judge Wapner pointed out that the analyst community and many experts believe there will be one, and Mike Murphy said of Bibb's call, "I disagree."

Bibb also said a couple times that Google for some reason isn't in the same kind of talks as Apple, but it should be.

Judge is now going to identify every unusually steep drop

Judge Wapner did the Shields & Yarnell Trade twice on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, the first time after the first commercial break, the 2nd time when he tried to follow-up the DLTR segment in Pops & Drops by asking his producers aloud if he should bring up the "mini Flash Crash" thing.

With sound restored, Wapner pointed out "the stock lost 18% in about 1.5 seconds earlier today," a "Flash Crash type of event in a single stock."

Mike Murphy said it's likely because there's "a lot of algorithms" trading in the shares.

Keith McCullough made it simpler. "That's definitely the machines," McCullough said, positing that "at the end of the day this kind of stuff is gonna be ongoing" because machines are the only boost to the margin in the trading sector, which is why he's shorting Knight, the "issues are endemic and structural."

Brian Kelly said "I'd stay short" of DLTR.

Weinswig: High-end shopping ‘change’

Debbie Weinswig said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that, because WMT doesn't issue monthly sales, its earnings report amounts to "a lot to digest," but one thing Weinswig digested was that we're "definitely starting to see some change in the consumer on the higher end."

"This is something really interesting," Weinswig said, explaining WMT reported "they're starting to see a paycheck cycle on the Sam's Club side and also on the international side."

Weinswig said online is just 1% of WMT sales, and so she thinks they'll make a "bigger focus" there. She added that for back to school, "apparel has been extremely strong," and that there's "still a long-term growth story here."

Keith McCullough said he and Weinswig go way back in evaluating WMT and asserted that the stock was down because it missed the top line.

Mike Murphy said to him it looks like a "blowoff top almost" and not a serious selloff, but "backing and filling."

McCullough said "the corollary" (which might not have been the right term) was HD, which went up on earnings.

Brian Kelly said right now his pick in the space is TGT.

Judge has one of his tougher days in a while

Mike Murphy said on Thursday's Halftime Report he got out of MANU a bit before the peak, but he's "glad to be gone now."

Keith McCullough said he'd short COH over 57. Stephanie Link said she wouldn't chase CSCO here.

Mike Murphy said of the potential buyout names bandied about, Coinstar is most likely to get a private equity bid. But Brian Kelly argued that Best Buy is the "no brainer here."

Todd Gordon recommended buying euro against the Aussie at 1.1750.

Guest Julian Mitchell touted 3 names — ROK, SI, EMR — as plays on ongoing Chinese automation activity, but didn't seem terribly thrilled about being on the show.

So he received a question from another person who didn't seem thrilled about being on the program, Keith McCullough, who actually this time rallied with some impressive facts about Siemens' portion of automation revenues and how Emerson is impressive in a bottoms-up analysis regardless of the broader market, and asked Mitchell for some more levered picks on automation. Mitchell added Cognex as another and said SI is on the list just because it's the biggest in the automation field.

Stephanie Link said "we own Emerson ... we'll be buying it under 50."

Thursday amounted to a heap of trouble for Judge Wapner, who had microphone problems, Keith McCullough problems, and even referred to hottie Jackie DeAngelis as Brian Shactman.

Keith McCullough's Final Trade was short S&P 500. Stephanie Link said buy NOV, Brian Kelly said buy CP, and Mike Murphy said buy FDX.

[Wednesday, August 15, 2012]

2nd day in a row Fast Money suggests insurers will pick up the tab for drought, but no mention of which insurers to short

Guest James Bower spoke on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about an investment theme that few if any viewers either can or will take advantage of — a possible surge in rice.

Bower conceded that corn and soybeans are "rock stars" this summer, but "we think there's potential there down the road in the rice market," apparently because global acreage has gotten smaller while global consumption is "at or near record levels."

Dylan Ratigan would ask, "What's the trade," but none was forthcoming.

Bower said the world is really dependent on a big year in soybeans in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mike Murphy raised the most provocative question, asking Bower if it's true that "85 to 90% of most farmers' crops are in fact insured."

Bower acknowledged that's likely the case, but "maybe some of the farmers overcommitted."

That question came a day after Dennis Gartman said farmers are insured, which is starting to make us think the insurance business really can't be beat, if it's really going to backstop this drought and yet nobody on Fast Money calls any of the insurers into question (oh that's right, we forgot, BRK is a proxy for the banks).

Guy Adami said MON, which once seriously divided Zachary Karabell (for) and Scott Nations (against), has been hot.

The only part of Carl Icahn’s Fast Money chats we care about — how the company management congratulated him (or vice versa) on the outcome of their showdown

Assuming he continues to place mind-numbing phone calls to Fast Money, Carl Icahn might want to make Red Bull his next target for agitation.

Icahn told Wednesday's 5 p.m. gang that Howard "called me to congratulate me," which Icahn thought was very gracious, for winning 1 board seat. (At least a call is more impressive than the e-mail Icahn sent to Michael Burns.)

Icahn was also pleased with himself and his own crew, explaining, "It's very hard to win these," and this was a "very good victory."

Icahn indicated this situation will apparently be a cordial one; "peace is probably more effective than war," and without divulging all of his strategy, offered that FRX "could be a great candidate" for a takeout.

Karen Finerman asked Icahn what he and Mark Rachesky (this time CNBC didn't show the picture of Jon Feltheimer and label it as Rachesky) are cooking up with Navistar. Icahn tried to plead almost total ignorance, asserting that because of the poison pill, "You can't even talk to each other."

As always, Mel Lee and Finerman and Icahn went through the "what is your goal" drill, this time with Navistar, with Carl saying the obligatory, "You know better than to ask me that. You know I'm not gonna answer it."

Gloom, boom, doom, snooze ...

Marc Faber, a friendly fellow for Fast Money chats, really didn't give panelists or the viewers anything to hang a hat on during his introductory chat on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show.

"I think the market is gonna break out of this range. My guess would be on the down side," Faber said, because stocks are "already overbought."

He said if the market drops 150 points, we're getting "QE3 & 4."

But then moments later, Faber allowed that the S&P is capable of hitting 1,500 in the 3rd quarter, and he suggested that there are good companies, presumably in Europe, totally beaten down while U.S. stocks have persevered this summer, so you make the call.

Faber called the suggestion from Guy Adami that bond holders could transition to stocks as "wishful thinking."

Faber briefly got political, saying of Mitt, "I happen to think that he will not be elected." In fact, Faber said, "The increase in stock prices may actually signal an Obama victory."

Well, if you post your spouse’s picture on Facebook, people can probably learn that you’re married

Immunity CEO/tech-security expert Dave Aitel was such a good guest, it's too bad he didn't have anything in the way of stocks to talk about on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Aitel got to pitch his own product, Stalkers, which performs some kind of analysis of your mobile activity and "lets you know exactly what people know about you," which Aitel said is honest and therefore "a little bit embarrassing sometimes."

Aitel pointed to Anthony Weiner as someone who might not've realized how much people could learn about him via the Internet.

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, smartly wondering about the risks to a program such as Square. Aitel had no specifics, saying it would draw "a large variety of very interesting attacks" (translation: lot of potential clients in this field and no need to risk offending).

We're guessing that if unleashed here, Stalkers would deduce that the individual who orchestrates this page often sometimes needs to get a life (at least somewhere besides the 10th hole, where the round generally turns favorably), but quite honestly, we prefer the old-fashioned, intuitive way of evaluating communication, the truth that the manner in which a person expresses herself/himself in words says so much.

Good grief, enough FB lockup already

Dan Nathan said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that CSCO's call "seems like a fine, safe report," but he really wasn't impressed, saying they had "already guided down" and "guided forward in line," and so "I would expect people to take some profits here."

Mike Murphy was more enthusiastic, suggesting dividend buyers could propel the stock, and "I think Cisco could push up toward the $20 range."

Guy Adami said if he were playing it, he'd be "taking some profits into the strength tomorrow."

Mike Khouw reported that someone bought a January 22/30 1x2 call spread in FB, which is a bet that the shares get to 30 but not over.

In a downright stupefying continuation of a stupefying obsession of CNBC, the Fast gang took up the Facebook lockup again, this time pointing out that basically all IPOs have lockups (handy fact). Dan Nathan said that after the IPO, "it was in a lot of weak hands," the first time since Joe Terranova and GM (that was "strong") that we've heard the caliber of hands cited in an IPO performance for a while. Nathan warned that even if it goes up now, "there's a lot more stock coming due."

Mike Murphy, who said a couple weeks ago he thought JPM was an awesome buy but hadn't done it because he was busy with other things that morning, suggested "this could actually trade higher," but then had to admit to Mel Lee he isn't getting in it right now, "but I may."

S would stand for Superpick (of 2012), if only someone on Fast Money had ever been pounding the table for it

Guy Adami on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money lamented another rough day in coal; "these are still no-touch right here."

Dan Nathan noted of S, "It just goes up every day."

Mike Murphy said, "We're long Starbucks, and I think there's more upside," and hopefully Joe Terranova was cheered by that one.

Karen Finerman said, during the 4-minute long Pops & Drops, a feature that continues to get a bit of revival on Fast Money (translation: they want more stock "item count"), "I like Target right here."

Mike Khouw said BKS is in a "secular decline story."

Melissa Lee noted the "nomination of Paul Ryan" (um, he hasn't actually been nominated yet) and insisted to her colleagues she does actually have a political opinion or 2; "off air, I'm all over the place."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was September SPY puts. Dan Nathan said he liked that but had to suggest short YUM based on targeting multinationals with disproportionate revenue exposure to China (try saying that 5 times fast). Guy Adami said buy CAH, Karen Finerman said avoid SPLS and Mike Murphy said TWI.

China: ‘Mid-single digits at the most’

Guest Jurrien Timmer in his Fast Money debut told Wednesday's Halftime gang that "I think the stock market is sort of levitating here … my fear is the market has gotten a little bit ahead of itself here."

Timmer contended that "the Fed has basically run out of ammunition," and that the "Pavlovian response" by investors since 2009 to QE isn't what's really going on here, but there's a focus on China and Europe.

Timmer pointed to S&P vs. gold in the last couple months and said, "I would expect gold to rally more if it was truly a QE rally."

He said that there are the Chinese government numbers, but the "anecdotal data" indicates it's "mid-single digits at the most."

Soon, they’ll all cost about $49

CNBC's Jon Fortt reported on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Samsung is launching the Galaxy tablet at $499 as a "creative tool" for tapping into the "ecosystem," and amounts to "Samsung's iTunes play."

Judge Wapner sounded aghast that Samsung is offering this tablet at the same price as an iPad.

Bill Gurley said they'll probably move to a lower price, but "probably just didn't wanna start there." But Fortt pointed out that other Android tablets have actually been priced higher, so this is "kind of a big deal" that it's the price of an iPad.

Jon Najarian scoffed that "this will not make any inroads" into Apple's market.

First time in a while we’ve heard FB touted for its ‘very high-quality management team’

Judge opened Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report with about the 3rd day (or more) in a row of the tired Facebook-lockup theme in which panelists said the same stuff they've already been saying.

Jon Najarian said we "could see a little upside move here" in FB after the lockup. Pete Najarian revealed he "read somewhere" that some of the whales revealed in the 13F as having FB positions actually got them before the IPO.

Bill Gurley predicted, "I think that there's gonna be a lot of noise" in the stock, maybe through year-end, but eventually dollars are going to find their way to the stock, which boasts a "very high-quality management team."

Josh Brown questioned why people need to play social media stocks when they can try something like PANW with a better outlook. Gurley insisted names such as GRPN aren't the same as FB, and "I don't think it's an either/or proposition" as to what people invest in.

Gurley said there "unquestionably was a bubble in late-stage private markets" and that someone took a stake in ZNGA at $14.

Joe eager to unload SBUX

SPLS skeptic Herb Greenberg, who wasn't as appealing on Fast Money delivering the StockTwits report as the person who delivers it now, trumpeted Staples' struggles and said actually, "I got it wrong," that the key takeaway is gross margin being off 51 basis points, and Herb concludes they're "getting killed from the online guys."

Joe Terranova added, "They're also getting killed on paper consumption demand … this is a stock that's going under $10."

Jon Najarian though hinted that if it does fall to $10, he might well be interested, but probably not right now on the first day; "I'm not a buyer on the first dip of this one," Najarian said.

Josh Brown hailed the results of TGT. Joe Terranova sounded fatigued at the recovery in SBUX, saying, "Give me a 50 print in this one and I'll be out of it."

‘No respect’ from CSCO

Josh Brown said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that CSCO is "overdue" for a pop, but the company has shown in how it deals with its cash horde and option grants that it has "absolutely no respect for shareholders."

"That's just gotta stop," Brown said, and the stock won't really rally until it does.

Pete Najarian said there were 10 to 1 calls vs. puts in CSCO, and "that's a real number."

In yet another tiresome go-round on epayments, Jon Najarian reiterated that EBAY is "my favorite in the space." Bill Gurley said he wouldn't count out Amazon in that particular space.

Dennis Gartman not available to push back on gold-miner dis

Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report risked the wrath of gold bugs by declaring, "Gold is nothing more than a long-term investment tool," and that "being tactical" in short-term trades is the wrong way to play.

Josh Brown pointed to John Paulson's interest in the miners, saying it's not really a leveraged play and the catch-up notion "hasn't worked yet," it's "actually gold at a discount."

Brian Kelly dialed in late to tout INGR, which used to be CPO and which makes corn sweeteners, and has been "able to raise their prices in this environment."

Josh Brown said buying CAT and DE near the bottom of cycles is a great move, but, "I don't know if we're definitely there," and said Joe Terranova's suggestion of Agco might be a better move now.

Jackie DeAngelis, sent to Kentucky on CNBC Drought Day, reported favorably on AWK.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was CSCO. Josh Brown said CVX, Pete Najarian said MOS and Joe Terranova said JDSU.

[Tuesday, August 14, 2012]

So how come nobody on Fast Money asked about insurers that figure to take a hit?

Dennis Gartman reported on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Brent is in "very material backwardation," and all traders learn that "you don't sell short a backwardated market."

Gartman downplayed the impact of the corn debacle on Midwestern farmers, saying they wisely have insurance, and it's "not a long-term implication."

Pete Najarian said options in a lot of energy names have been hopping, most recently ROSE; "somebody's very, very bullish in the name."

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of the GLD September 155/158 call spread, "net debit of $1.35," who sees the GLD above 156.35 by September expiration. "I rather like the trade," Khouw said.

Karen Finerman said of John Paulson's portfolio, "The gold thing is curious."

Stephanie Link, without really identifying a catalyst except maybe the concept of being beaten down, said you can get VALE "on the cheap." Tim Seymour agreed and said VALE is "underowned."

Expert: Avoid the SPY

ETF watcher Matt Hougan, congratulated by Karen Finerman, who correctly said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Hougan always says something interesting when he's on the show, adamantly declared that the SPY "is the wrong place to be."

Rather, Hougan said the IVV will outperform over time, because the SPY is "structured as a grantor trust, which means it can't reinvest dividends."

Basically the SPY was first, and "you never wanna buy the first-generation product," Hougan explained.

Hougan said the JJA is better than the DBA, for being a more pure play on grains and not livestock, and a "tax loophole" about not getting hit until you sell. He also likes PZA over MUB, and VDC over XLP.

Finerman questioned the liquidity of PZA compared with MUB, suggesting investors might be more comfortable in the latter name. Hougan conceded that but said the spreads are equivalent.

Hougan called the VXX "an incinerator for investors' money ... forever and always lose money."

There are a lot of people out there who wish they had never heard of Facebook stock

Tim Seymour said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he knows many CIOs of "family offices" who were hearing from clients about buying FB, but told them to hold off for a bit, but then "felt like geniuses by buying the stock 3 weeks ago or 4 weeks ago."

Karen Finerman said that a shop like Stevie Cohen's might trade in and out of the shares a bunch of times, so learning about positions on June 29 "doesn't really tell us anything."

Pete Najarian grumbled that "out of the money put-buying just continues to accelerate in this name."

Mel Lee dismissed the BAC call on NFLX, saying, "It seemed like a lukewarm upgrade." Tim Seymour drew nods of approval in saying it "sounds like a trading call." Later the visuals of that conversation were enhanced during a Twitter chat.

Flash: CVX seen as dividend play

Guest Kate Warne talked about one of the typically most boring Fast Money subjects — dividend payors — on Tuesday's 5 p.m. show, expressing the theme that the "highest-yielding sectors are in fact overvalued," but stocks with dividend growth still look attractive.

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, wondering about concerns over dividend taxation. Warne said the taxes aren't a factor for many dividend investors.

According to the screen text, Warne's top picks are MSFT, CVX, JCI and DOV.

Pete: WDC could ‘explode’

Tim Seymour said he's troubled by the "lack of breadth here" in the market, though his colleagues on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money seemed fairly enthusiastic about the market's direction.

Stephanie Link, who might've been seated at the Nasdaq for the first time (#passedthehalftimereporttest), said, "Still like the housing cycle very much."

Mike Khouw said he wouldn't rush into beleaguered coal; "I don't think this is the time to try to catch the falling knife."

Karen Finerman said she likes everything about GOOG except the fact it's had a 100-point run over weeks (presumably when Larry Page got his voice back). Pete Najarian hailed WDC; "This is a name that really can continue and I think explode from these levels."

Tim Seymour downplayed Kate Warne's notion that stocks should be up because this is a presidential election year; he's not "comfortable with this concept," but at least that's not as goofy as the one from Ed Mills a day ago claiming Democrats might succeed in turning Paul Ryan into Sarah Palin.

Just what we need — Levi Johnston as a campaign issue

Stephanie Link on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money noted that KORS knocked one out of the park but said that given the selling recently, COH has become "kind of an interesting story."

Karen Finerman grumbled that she can't get into KORS at this valuation.

Colin McGranahan said WMT may be due for muted returns from here because the 2012 spike has been "roughly equivalent to what you saw from late 2007 to 2008" — and he hopes that doesn't mean we're going to revisit 2008.

Stephanie Link said of AIG, "I would buy it a little bit lower."

In a sign of teleprompter trouble, Mel Lee reported Robert Pattinson's appearance at the NYSE (which seems to get more movie/TV stars than actual traders these days) and said that Kristen Stewart "created on him" ... (ouch) then dismissed suggestions that she might be interested in Pattinson, saying, "Vampires are not my type."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was WMT puts. Tim Seymour said BAP, Stephanie Link said DIS, Karen Finerman said ARO and Pete Najarian said ROST.

Kass: High in for year

Doug Kass offered a double-chart trick on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report — that was after he introduced the panelist names and made a Duran Duran joke (and we thought he listened to nothing made after 1976) about John Taylor that only women age 35-45 should get — that led to a buried-lede type of provocative announcement.

"I think we've seen the high for the year," Kass said, predicting the S&P could fall to 1,330 or 1,300.

First Kass cited 3 reasons, in the top chart above, first being the "dreaded triple top that might be approaching," which he said would be as scary as Carrot Top approaching (seriously, that's what he said), except note that the CNBC chart gremlins marked tops 1, 2 and 2 instead of 1, 2 and 3.

Kass said he also considers the transport index and Russell index and VIX in this assessment.

But then he insisted he's a fundamental guy and not a technical guy, so Judge pushed him on that, and the result was "5 near-term market challenges," led by Paul Ryan, and we didn't feel like writing them down so it's easier just to post the chart.

Judge asked John Taylor if the market has peaked for the year. "It probably has," Taylor agreed.

But earlier in the show, Josh Brown contended, "I would not be shocked if we see a new high between now and the end of the year."

Taylor also did the can't-live-with-'em, can't-live-without-'em routine on HFT, saying in forex, "All of us have to do high-frequency trading in order to compete with everyone else, so it's like an arms race. And I don't like the arms race, but dammit, I'm in it." He then argued that HFT, because the trades are listed in such small amounts and then withdrawn, actually "takes liquidity out of the market."

Ron Johnson given 10% chance of succeeding over 5 years

Steve Kernkraut touted the consumers-are-back theme on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report while basically carving up JCP's previous market share into as many slices as possible.

That share, he said, is being "gobbled up" by names like Macy's, Chico's, American Eagle, TJX and Gap, and it sounded like he would've kept going if Judge hadn't asked another question.

Kernkraut said Ron Johnson's assignment of "radical" turnaround is enormous. "No one has ever been successful making that kind of change," he said, contending the jury is out on the long-term results, but "short term it's a, it's a basket case."

Kernkraut said department sores are finding that KORS is "the hottest brand that they could sell."

Kernkraut praised GPS, saying there's a "lot more room for it to run." Guy Adami singled out COST again.

KORS: The next LULU?

Stephen Weiss suggested on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the greatness of KORS isn't just selling stuff that people want, but playing the perception game. "The management knows how to manage investors," Weiss said, and they "set the bar so low."

Josh Brown acknowledged the high multiple but said, "If you're in this space and you're looking for growth, I almost feel like you have to pay up and own some of KORS here."

Weiss said, "I understand why he feels that way," but being a value investor, "I can't buy it at this multiple."

Brown was sympathetic. "Value players can't buy this, I agree," he said, but contending "this is like Lululemon," which spent years basically not going down.

Guy Adami said don't expect LOW to catch up with HD's success; "that's always the wrong trade." Weiss said, "Home Depot has much better management." Brian Kelly said he bought SWK.

Day 2 of CNBC panelists anointing VP choice of trailing ticket as already having dictatorial powers

John Taylor on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report wasn't just content to offer a market call, as some have done, on the Paul Ryan pick.

Instead, Taylor flat-out declared the election lost because of it.

"You're gonna lose all the old guys" based on Ryan's Medicare/Social Security platform, Taylor said. "They're scared, and you'll lose Florida," and as a result, the whole election, even though Taylor thinks Romney would've been good for the economy.

The problem is that Ryan is vocal about his philosophy, Taylor said. "I mean you do this, you know, sort of on the sly ... you don't wanna do it in public." (And all the open-government advocates cringe.)

Stephen Weiss opined that the election hinges on "who's going to be the better communicator during the campaign."

The every-couple-of-months-have-to-fear-Europe-again trade is back

Guest John Taylor said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "the best thing for Greece" would be to get out of the euro now. (And, if that actually happened, at least people could stop talking about it on CNBC.)

Brian Kelly insisted, "We have to get the Germans on board with printing money." But Taylor pushed back, "I don't think you can really get the Germans on board yet."

Taylor later made one of those known-unknown type of remarks, saying, "France is the one that's gonna trick everyone," because it's had "absolutely no growth" for 3 quarters in a row.

Paul Richards said he'd be "very very cautious of market fatigue" because when that happens, the euro starts to fail, and it looks like with all the summit hopes, etc., people are "pricing perfection into Europe again." His trade is to sell the euro at 1.2380.

Taylor insisted, "I don't think 120 and a half is the bottom."

Guy Adami later added, "The world is an extraordinarily scary place."

‘Potential capitulation’ in GRPN

Guy Adami, fresh off the Ironman thing, said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I just don't see any compelling reason to go pouring into Facebook right now," or really, any of the social media names with the lukewarm possible exception of LNKD.

Adami also dumped on GRPN, and why not, except he stipulated that for those looking for a "potential capitulation bottom, this might be it."

Josh Brown said he's willing to buy FB, but only after it gives him "evidence" of a "real business."

Guest Jeremy Levine was sort of lukewarm on FB, saying, "If the price drops much further, it might be a pretty attractive buy even on a value basis."

John Taylor asserted of the current FB price, "This is where it should've been IPO'd," and that the company still has "a lot of possibilities ... they'll figure it out."

Levine said the differences in the performance of social media names amounts to a "classic tale of execution."

Judge asked Levine if GRPN will still exist in 5 years. "That's a good question. I- I suspect it will exist," Levine said, pointing to its cash.

But Levine said the biggest trend is the "shift to mobile," and that it's representing "half or more" of all traffic.

Guy Adami said if you're troubled by Amazon's multiple, know that "their margins actually went up ... so I think you sell it here at your own peril."

[Monday, August 13, 2012]

If Mitt had given the spot to Ben Bernanke, would the Dow have jumped 500 points?

As starved-for-news networks continue to overthink the Paul Ryan selection, Brian Kelly on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money offered an interesting lose-lose scenario that might have Wall Street Republicans wishing Mitt had actually put Chuck Schumer on the ticket.

Kelly said that if the economy improves, that would heighten the likelihood of an Obama re-election and everything that comes with it.

But if the economy should worsen, Ryan "might be a marginal negative," because it would spotlight fiscal conservatism and make the White House more fiscally conservative, and now is not the time for U.S. austerity.

Kelly said he didn't do anything on this news. Tim Seymour said it didn't make the dollar any stronger, and that "this is not news you act on."

Karen Finerman disagreed with Kelly, suggesting that Ryan on the ticket provides "a lot more clarity" for business owners.

Jon Najarian complained that lost in the noise, "People keep skipping right over the fiscal cliff," and he hears people say, "Mitt Romney worked at Bain Capital, and I'm like, um, so what."

Guest Lewis Alexander offered that he thinks the Ryan selection would be "marginally negative" for the economy because it suggests slower growth in 2013.

Tim Seymour said he's considered about the stories being spun about the type of fiscal turnaround we're talking about; "this sounds a lot more like EU austerity" than ideas that are actually going to "stimulate."

Scott Nations said of the choice of Ryan, "I think it's interesting," and then actually said it shows that the differences between the parties are "extremely stark."

CNBC's "wealth editor" Robert Frank reported that under the Ryan tax plan, Mitt Romney would pay an effective tax rate of less than 1%.

"Wow," said Melissa Lee.

Karen doth turn to Shakespeare (or something like that) for the latest Ron Johnson critique

Guest Jon Gates told Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that KORS is outdoing COH in perception among retail buyers and is getting "ahead of the other brands."

Gates said he has identified retailers "reducing Coach floor space and giving it to Kors."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman to Gates, asking about the state of the big U.S. department stores. Gates never really answered, saying in some kind of update, "they were very upbeat."

Gates said TJX continues to do well with the JCP-type of customer, and that the JCP suppliers aren't so tied to Ron Johnson's plans, but "it's all about pricing that merchandise."

Finerman said later that the "short issue" is the only thing keeping a floor under JCP shares, that if they didn't have Bill Ackman and Ron Johnson, no one would care about this stock, and she's sick of them talking about their "rock-solid balance sheet," because "they doth protest too much."

A ‘trial balloon’ from eBay?

Jon Najarian pointed out on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that there was a "big surge of put-buying" in GRPN in the "last 5 or 6 minutes" of the trading day, which prompted skepticism from Mel Lee that it was totally luck.

Superfox Seema Mody reported that Twitterers were "surprisingly bullish on Groupon," but had to talk while the Fast Money panelists snickered.

Brian Kelly shrugged, "I don't think you should get into Groupon at all." Karen Finerman assured, "The stock is lower. That doesn't mean it's cheap."

Jon Najarian said there was heavy activity in the September 47 call strike of EBAY, even though he believes the news reported by Jon Fortt of no spinoff. "Perhaps this was some sort of trial balloon that they tossed out there," Najarian suggested.

Actually it’s an everyday buying — and selling — opportunity

Guest Jeff Rosenberg took a seat on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money set near Jon Najarian and suggested Treasurys could no longer be a safe haven because they've benefitted from a "fear trade" in Europe that is settling down.

Melissa Lee used the term "generational buying opportunity" in regard to Italian debt, and of course readers of this page know that whenever you hear that phrase on Fast Money, it's time to run. Rosenberg didn't seem as warm to that concept as the notion "we may see generational sell opportunities" from the safe havens.

Amelia Bourdeau, the currency guru who always looks good on television, recommended shorting euro at 123.50, with a target of 1.2150. Bourdeau suggested shorting the Aussie as well, at least until there's a QE3 sign.

Minimal prep time: Karen unable to figure out why her Pops & Drops stock went up

Tim Seymour cautioned on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that HD is "a very crowded trade .. I would not be long this into the numbers."

Scott Nations said someone bought 3,000 August 52.50 puts in HD, with a break-even of 51.75, so that buyer believes it will fall below that "convincingly."

Tim Seymour said of TSO, "I think this stock goes higher. Karen Finerman admitted when asked to opine on CFX, "I actually don't know why it was up."

Mel Lee hailed the "winners" of what apparently was a 2-week contest to goose NBC's Olympic sponsors (among other stock-picking exercises), despite the fact virtually none of the winners were on the set Monday, starting with Mike Murphy, who won the "Metals" category with BTU.

"I would still not get into this," Brian Kelly said of that stock.

Karen Finerman cheered her winner in EXPE but recommended taking a little off. Guy Adami apparently scored with GSK, and Mike Khouw won the region title with Brazil.

Karen Finerman's Final Trade was short PAY, because the Square news is "pretty terrible for Verifone ... they got a lot of morphing to do."

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was TSU. Brian Kelly said to short BIG, and Jon Najarian said long DAN.

Ed Mills is taking this VP thing way too seriously

Jon Najarian and Ed Mills conducted on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report certainly one of the most curious Paul Ryan debates to be heard this week.

Apparently the disagreement was about whether the Democrats, according to Mills, can succeed at making Paul Ryan come across as "another Sarah Palin pick."

Najarian bristled, "This is not a Sarah Palin pick at all sir. I mean, come on ... this was not a reach ... exactly a middle-of-the-road-type candidate."

Then the debate got murky at best, apparently over whether Ryan is a household name, and actually appeared to end in agreement as Mills contended, "This pick is far outside of the Portman or Tim Pawlenty pick."

Najarian pushed back, "But those are 2 guys nobody knows ... nobody's heard of those guys."

But Mills insisted of Ryan, "The average American does not know who he is yet."

You mean the average American doesn't watch CNBC?

The funny thing about Sarah Palin is that it really wasn't an off-the-wall pick. 1) John McCain had zero chance anyway once Lehman collapsed; 2) a 70-something white male had to pick a non-white male in that particular race; 3) Sarah Palin was the only feasible Republican woman at that time; Rice would've been an endorsement of Bush, and Olympia Snowe, Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Carly Fiorina (never held office) all wouldn't work for various reasons.

Meanwhile, Mills painted an absurd picture of the Washington/Wall Street reaction based on Ryan's interests as though Ryan weren't just a VP hopeful on a trailing ticket, but Dictator of America Right Now.

"This pick just upped the ante on the fiscal cliff," Mills said, seeing this selection as "adding to volatility in the 4th quarter, risk-on names are gonna be really hammered during this period."

Mills predicted that if the Romney ticket wins, "People are gonna have a sugar high," but it will fade, and particularly with a sector like health care stocks, instead of a more appealing environment, it "actually adds much more volatility."

Flash: Economist who just worked for Biden skeptical of Paul Ryan

Politics are in the air, so perhaps it wasn't a surprise that Judge Wapner turned the opening of Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report into Kudlow & Company Junior.

What was head-scratching was Judge inviting Jared Bernstein, a nice guy but policy wonk, to speak during a stock-picking show.

Jon Najarian, hearing enough of Bernstein and Steve Grasso sparring, said "Jared is a very smart man so this is not meant to slam him," but that stocks and the economy are "2 different things."

Jeremy Siegel praised the choice of Ryan, saying "it's real substance." (Translation: Don't have to deal with Levi Johnston reports this time.)

Stephen Weiss said of Barack Obama, "He's a master at taking headlines." Later, Weiss added, "The president's hair got a lot grayer since Ryan was named to the ticket."

And what direction is that?

Joe Terranova reported a bit of a Brag Trade on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, explaining he bought YHOO at $15.50 after the Marissa Mayer hire, but "got out of it luckily on Fri- on Thursday rather at 16.10," for reasons of "nothing more than a timed stop."

Jon Najarian, in a head-scratcher, claimed of Yahoo investors, "They're very happy about the direction that she wants to take the company."

Najarian revealed, "I'm in Facebook, uh, bought some shares and I have the 22/24 1x2 spread out in September," which sounds like a decent trade at this point actually (but remember, this site sucks at trading, so absorb at your own risk).

Joe Terranova said "I still have not" touched FB, and followed Jackie DeAngelis' report on GRPN as being "nothing more than short covering." (And apparently, based on afterhours — this review went up after the 4 p.m. close — they were uncovering again.)

Comparing 2 tech giants, Najarian said, "I'll take Apple, every day of the week, vs. Google from here." Stephen Weiss argued that GOOG isn't really about the tech space, but the "ad model," which doesn't look attractive to him now.

Jeremy Siegel sees possible ‘explosive increase’ in stocks

Jeremy Siegel told Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that stocks are getting a lift from "less anxiety" out of Europe, plus good earnings and the "undeniable" housing recovery.

Nevertheless, Siegel cautioned that stocks "still have that fiscal cliff ... closer and closer." But he argued that just an extension halfway into next year could bring "an explosive increase, uh, in stock prices."

Judge Wapner asked Siegel what sector would lead the market in that scenario. "Could be all of them," Siegel said.

Jon Najarian said the 10-year yield now vs. the S&P 500 yield is about even, much different than the 1980s, so "I agree with Professor Siegel 100%."

Michael Harris said long, medium and short-term trends are up in equities, and so in "some cases we're adding to our long positions." Harris said 1,404 is a key S&P level, and then we can look to the May high and then the 2012 high. (And then, why not 1,600?)

Joe Terranova shrugged that it's a "chase for performance." But Harris argued that the market is beginning to price in central bank action, pointing to 2010 trading between August and November. "We've begun that cycle," Harris said, adding "it's a fair case that the market believes that it's coming."

Terranova said at one point, "I think technology and the financials which have been winners throughout 2012 will continue to lead the market higher."

CNBC promotions of new prime-time effort reaching overkill status

Did you know CNBC is airing something about "20 Under 20," which looks like a bunch of kids speaking from a podium?

Stephanie Link said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, "We like financials, we're overweight financials," ("we" meaning Cramer). Also, Link said, "I like IP."

Link said that KO, "Down a couple bucks, I think uh, it's definitely a buy, for the long term."

Stephen Weiss cautioned that SHLD has always been pricy to short, and advised viewers to "take this opportunity to get out of it."

Weiss' Final Trade was CLNY. Joe Terranova said LPX, Jon Najarian said ABX and Stephanie Link said WFC.

Guy Adami completes triathlon

In the category of Things The Fast Money People Can Do That We Can't, this page is happy to report that Guy Adami, via his Twitter account and the race Web site, completed the Ironman U.S. triathlon over the weekend, and now has the all-clear to visit KFC and White Castle.

CNBC’s NYSE set is a bust

It's the most infamous curtain since Dennis Kozlowski's $6,000 shower fixture.

CNBC's Post 9 set on the NYSE floor has so far delivered for viewers nothing more than dead space and makeshift backgrounds that sometimes resemble fitting-room partitions at Ron Johnson's JCPenney.

No one would expect the network to set up shop in a "dark pool," but hitching a healthy amount of resources to the dwindling floor-trading activity at the NYSE — it's not like Gordon Gekko types are walking by Sue Herera during live Power Lunch programming to whisper about Wildman stepping into BST at 16 — seems to be a step in the wrong direction of financial trends, certainly when the new set after 6 months can't even produce a comfortable visual.

The rest of our review is right here.

[Friday, August 10, 2012]

Fast Money gives this page an opportunity for Seema Mody picture 2nd day in a row

It's the hair, the smile, the figure, the overall exoticness — in any order.

Friday, it was also the "best-dressed on CNBC" component of the equation with this dazzling lilac-or-light-blue button-top frock.

What more can we say. We're out of superlatives. She's off the charts.

Lest this page get off the rails, let's note who wasn't on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Steve Cortes, who notably has been an AAPL skeptic from time to time (which might be part of the problem here), is not going to make our or anyone else's knees buckle, but he will make some quality stock market observations — with humor — provided he gets a chance to do so.

The last time this page made that point, Cortes broke a program drought by appearing the next day. Let's hope that trend continues.

Meanwhile, Fast Money Fridays aren't the same without Patty Edwards, and it's not even hockey season.

Sean Gourley doesn’t get the fact Judge wants polarizing views on High-Frequency Trading

We're starting to get a chuckle out of Judge Wapner's machines-taking-over series, only because it's accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Basically the goal seems to be to provide Dr. J a soapbox to complain about order cancellations in milliseconds, while everyone else just shrugs.

Sean Gourley, evidently the Will Rogers of electronic trading, was the star guest on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report but proceeded to do nothing more than recite the various debates on the subject.

Judge turned to his own Mount Rushmore of glitches — Flash Crash, Facebook, BATS, Knight — and offered, "I'm sure there are thousands more incidents that just simply don't get reported because they're not that big."

Gourley agreed; "they're happening every day."

Jon Najarian then made the mistake of expecting Gourley to opine on 2 beefs of his, that the HFT crowd shouldn't be allowed to trade in fractions of a penny and shouldn't be able to cancel so many orders.

All Gourley said was to agree that order cancellations are "very very important as an algorithm."

Najarian insisted, "That's the b.s. that has to stop."

Given the last word by a skeptical Judge, who thought he was too easy, Gourley concluded "It's about machines vs. machines. ... The humans are already out of this game."

Steve Grasso reiterated that the way to avoid getting screwed in this environment is to "trade with limits."

Josh Brown actually overstates the impact of Ron Johnson on JCPenney’s share price

Nothing gets the Fast Money claws out like a Ron Johnson discussion, but Josh Brown on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report actually managed to go a little overboard, and it had nothing to do with Tim Seymour's closet full of plain-pocket jeans.

"They bid the stock up to $40 just on the announcement of Ron Johnson joining the company," Brown asserted, but in fact a check of the share price — and this article — indicates on the day Johnson's hiring was announced (June 14, 2011), JCP rose from $30.11 to $35.37.

It didn't see a 4 handle until early 2012, after Herb Greenberg hailed it as his stock of the year.

Like a linebacker flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike, Pete Najarian piled on, mocking analysts as saying "This is the greatest CEO ever." In fact ... uh oh ... the worst was Bill Ackman, who apparently claimed at the time, "Ron Johnson is the Steve Jobs of the retail industry."

Pete: JCP a ‘fade for sure’

Actually, maybe Ron Johnson is the Steve Jobs of retail, given the high praise from noted JCP short Stephen Weiss on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Weiss said he listened to Johnson's call and decided he's a "much better salesman than Ron Popeil."

Even so, Weiss was adamant that "the bleeding's continuing and is continuing in a big way."

Pete Najarian was skeptical of the stock's big day, calling it a "bad report though across the board ... I'm not buying it right now and I would think this would be a fade for sure" (and no, he wasn't talking about the shots — or the scores — at Friday's CNBCfix.com golf tournament).

Josh Brown argued again that nobody should expect a quick turnaround here. But Jon Najarian said, "This is a company that really is hemorrhaging money."

Nevertheless, guest Brian Nagel, trying to avoid criticism of his defense of JCP by arguing one's view of the stock depends on time horizon, claimed "I think the stock is cheap here" because of the company's potential over years.

Nagel also cited HD as a "great way to play" the housing recovery but called GME a "value trap for investors right now."

Dr. J: Facebook might climb after lockup

In a fortnight starved for actual useful trading advice, Jon Najarian we think was maybe onto something when arguing on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the Facebook lockup expiration might be an overrated overhang on the shares.

Pointing to the results of another company recently in the same boat, Najarian said, "After the lockup, Pandora was actually up I think mid-20% after the lockup."

The belief here (this writer has no position in FB, thankfully) is that the lockup has been mentioned so often on Fast Money, it would be impossible to believe it's not already in the stock.

Guest Brian Wieser said he's more optimistic about the stock because his view of the company has improved since the IPO, while the stock coincidentally has "cratered." Wieser said the lockup amounts to "3 major shareholders" starting to unload, but "the rest of the float that gets added should be pretty manageable."

Josh Brown said if the shares hold at $20 on the expiration, it "might be the all-clear." Pete Najarian though said he doubts it'll get near $30 "anytime soonn."

It was basically Dogs of Tech Day on Fast, as Josh Brown scoffed at the notion of RIMM selling only a part of the company; "they gotta go all in here." Jon Najarian said that in options land, there have been "not nearly enough speculative bets" that RIMM is going higher (despite the fact one of Doc's predictions for 2012 was that RIMM gets taken out at $22).

Josh Brown suggested that "maybe today's an overreaction" to the YHOO news.

The world’s most valuable company is ... a phone maker

One suggestion this page has made to the Fast Money honchos several times is to make sure the guests on the program can actually suggest a trade or 2.

Generally that means some specificity, although if someone just said (hypothetical) that "master limited partnerships are going to have a great/bad year," that would be fine.

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report made the mistake of trying to elicit a 12- and 24-month target on AAPL out of guest Matt Fruhan, and was met with, "I'm not gonna speak to any stocks specifically."

For those actually keeping score, Fruhan said, "I like the megacap diversified financials," because they're at their "highest capital ratios" and represent a "very underowned sector ... actually seeing loan growth pick up this year."

We're always curious as to whether market pros define this as a "bull" market or "bear" market. Fruhan called it an "underowned, underinvested up market."

Josh Brown suggests Steve Grasso’s ‘layup’ trade could’ve been a slam-dunk

Steve Grasso took a tiny victory lap (maybe to get "underweight" as Judge suggests) on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report over his recent call on TSN, saying it's the "fastest I've been as of late," buying and selling this week, but the trade was "just a layup" because the stock was hit on "no new news there."

Josh Brown said, "I think Tyson might still be a buy."

Pete Najarian described MOS as "very limited downside with far more upside."

Jon Najarian said FIO is starting to get back on radar screens with its big blowout day. Najarian reported "big buying blocs of September call options" in UPL. Steve Grasso chipped in, "People are definitely underweight energy," prompting Judge to ask Grasso if Grasso is underweight.

Josh Brown suggested Conoco instead of CHK.

Steve Grasso said if you get long EXPE, it's gotta hold $53.10.

Wonder if a machine could’ve traded MANU better than Mike Murphy did

Mike Murphy dialed in to Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report to explain why he chose to dabble in the MANU IPO.

No, it apparently wasn't about securing a chance to take part in the same segment as Seema Mody.

Murphy said he was intrigued by "how the IPO market was working post-Facebook," and "I think it can trade well because of the way it was priced."

Josh Brown complained that "it's 70 times earnings."

Pete Najarian, though, really digging into sports biz history, pointed out that Jerry Jones "was looked at as an idiot" for paying $200 million for the Dallas Cowboys. "This actually does have some potential to the upside," Najarian said.

Pete's Final Trade was COG. Josh Brown said RAX, Jon Najarian said RRC and Steve Grasso said SDS.

[Thursday, August 9, 2012]

Seema Mody sleeveless

The subject was purportedly the (yawn) IPO of some soccer team, but the exclamation point of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report was undoubtedly superfox Seema Mody's black dress.

Simon Baker said you'd only want to own Manchester United shares for the sake of "owning" part of the club and not for profits. Pete Najarian ("Michael") had a tough time coming up with that former Laker named Johnson ("Magic") and advised not to plunge into the IPO right away.

Judge is missing the big picture in his electronic-trading discussions

Judge Wapner welcomed back Irene Aldridge on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, presumably for no other reason than to fulfill the day's machines-taking-over obligation and apparently nobody else would show up.

Wapner and Aldridge noted Morgan Stanley firing traders and replacing them with computers, which Aldridge called a "fantastic thing."

Judge pretended to be taken aback; "Jesus why, why don't all of us then just get replaced by a computer," Wapner said.

Aldridge insisted "it's great for the 99%; those bonuses are gone."

Guy Adami, who works for the company that identifies trades based on Heat Seeker® but doesn't actually do short-term trading himself despite recommending it on TV, claimed dependence on machines makes us vulnerable to cyberterrorism and "catastrophic damage." Aldridge said that was "my No. 1 concern about 3 years ago," but the development of collated systems in which traders aren't on the basic Internet has eased her concerns.

Everything's computerized now and to worry about cyberterror, unless you're an employee of Symantec or the Defense Department, is a colossal waste of time.

What really matters to Fast Money is the issue raised by Jack Bogle and backed by HFT defender Manoj Narang — whether humans are actually any good at short-term trading.

Mike Murphy a couple days ago insisted they are. Bogle and Narang think they aren't.

Judge clearly isn't interested in going there, as some people might actually make good arguments against the premise of the program.

One thing we'll gladly claim about trading — it's fun.

Jimmy Cayne once set the world on fire. Maybe it's one of those things where you are until you're not.

Guy Adami sort of adds credence to the computer-model argument

Further illustrating the perception difference about the merits of trading, Guy Adami and Simon Baker on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report disagreed over whether it matters why the market moves, or only that it moves.

Adami said, "Does it really matter why the market's rallying. I mean that's just conversation," then plopped in a ridiculous analogy about how the Yankees could win 110 games but that would be "for naught" if they don't win the World Series, and that if the market can't overcome 1,425 we could be looking at a "massive double-top."

Couple of problems with that one: The S&P could lose 200 points in a week and gain it back the next week; if the Yankees lose the 2012 World Series they can never win it ... also winning excess regular season games not needed to clinch a playoff bid is essentially meaningless, but markets gaining excess points is not meaningless return ... also the Yankees are priced to perfection ... stop now ...

Simon Baker insisted, "It does matter why the market's going up," and suggested the reason why — whatever it really is — is a reason to be cautious; "it looks like the market's failing here."

Steve Liesman suggested, totally hypothetically, that if the market sees the headline " 'Spain to request EFSF funds,' I think that's good for 200 points on the Dow."

Adami said the market is safe as long as it's above 1,366.

Stephanie Link revealed the Cramer play on whatever trend exists now, mentioning VALE, EMR and LRCX.

Pete Najarian hailed CAT for longer-term and said if you want to play that theme shorter-term, try JOY. (And how does that make any sense ... if you believe in that trend, why would you bother with CAT now, just buy JOY and plan to shift to CAT in a couple months or so?)

What happened to those $1,001 price targets?

Darren Chervitz told Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that (sigh) mobile is the "key battleground" in the AAPL-GOOG dispute, and "Google is the one that has the most to lose here."

Pete Najarian questioned why Google doesn't seem hell-bent on trying to "monetize" its Android data.

Guy Adami said he'd "rather own Apple" than GOOG now. Simon Baker said his play would be NUAN.

Kilburg: Might be time to go the other way on 10-year

This page tends to take comments from Jeff Kilburg highly seriously, and so it bears noting that Kilburg recommends shorting the 10-year if it closes a couple days above his 1.67 pivot level.

Kilburg also suggested "booking profits" in CORN, which he has been playing, while pointing out the crop's gone and "you can't print more corn."

Guy Adami said today's not the day to chase EAT.

Stephanie Link, reporting Cramer's picks because he's not on CNBC often enough, said she likes DD. Simon Baker seconded that name. Pete Najarian said "I continue to like Mosaic" and also mentioned DD.

Adami: Room to run on COST

Stephanie Link, outlining the Cramer assessment of JCP, said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "Ron Johnson uh is better than what a lot of the bears are saying he is," and that the stock's risk/reward is favorable, "your floor is about 19" with an upside in the upper 20s.

Judge Wapner later in the day told Maria Bartiromo it's "too long for me to remember" the last time he was in a JCPenney.

Link said in the oil-services space that people could take a "flier" on WFT as a takeout candidate.

Guy Adami said the Costco "valuation is stretched" but he still thinks the shares can go higher.

Pete Najarian spoke about S mostly using past tense but said people have "even more expectations" about gains.

‘Austere’ consumer predicted

Guest Jim McCaughan was one person on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report who does think he knows why the market is going up: 2nd-quarter numbers were better than what the pessimists were expecting.

Judge Wapner asked McCaughan if the S&P can go higher. "I think it does," McCaughan said, while warning that the "fiscal cliff" won't be addressed until after the election.

McCaughan backed a name like CAT and the industrial space but said to "avoid the consumer discretionaries," because consumers will be "austere," a prediction we've heard countless times on CNBC that never materializes. McCaughan was also down on banks and not very high on railroads. But he did say that one positive of the Knight fiasco is that "the SEC declined to cancel trades."

Stephanie Link said the "risk/reward is interesting" with CSCO. Pete Najarian scoffed at the Goldman Sachs 24 target in CSCO, saying it "must be a 2-year target."

[Wednesday, August 8, 2012]

Something we’ve wondered about ... do grocery stores want people standing in line?

Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report summoned a professor, of all people, to opine on Starbucks' venture with Square.

(It was the same prof, Bill Maurer, quoted in the New York Times, in case you're wondering where they get their guest ideas.)

Maurer said this deal is "all about getting people through that line."

Sounds good. But is it true?

Maurer pointed out that SBUX has nowhere near the volume of products as a grocery store.

Yet Starbucks, like grocery stores, tends to put a LOT of stuff — from Rice Krispie treats to Paul McCartney CDs — near its cash registers that at best would be considered "impulse" purchases.

Certainly, no grocery store chain would ever admit that it wants its customers to wait in line for lengthy checkouts.

But the gut feeling here is that it's entirely possible that business lost from angry customers vowing to find a speedier location — who are just going to end up at another grocery with the same problem — is more than offset by the amount of customers who kill time in the checkout line by purchasing a York Peppermint Patty or a mentos or a magazine with Jennifer Aniston on the cover.

Call this page skeptical ... but the belief here is that a mobile payment is far more important to Starbucks (and others) in expanding the amount of money a previously cash-only customer might spend ... and far less about "gettting people through that line."

Joe actually claims PAY
‘continues to work’

This page pointed out a month ago or so that practically the entire Fast Money gang (even Karen Finerman) went bust in their ongoing spring recommendations of mighty Verifone.

Yes, the stock was a monster through April. The Fast Money gang seemed to think the stock's future was unlimited, talking about the "sea change" toward electronic payments that viewers have been hearing about since the show's 2006 inception, and how PAY is one of the winners.

Since May, we've got a cliff-fall (to be fair, a lot of other stocks have a similar post-May chart), yet on the Fast Money Halftime Report Wednesday, a day PAY shares shockingly fell 12%, Joe Terranova claimed the stock "continues as well to work in this environment."

Jon Najarian correctly said Wednesday that "PAY, this is a widowmaker, this stock," and also expressed skepticism toward Terranova's other pick in the space, NXPI. Najarian argued that "eBay I think is the best play for the space."

Superfox Seema Mody, seen from a distance, said the Twittersphere folks point to casinos and JCP among others as adopting mobile payments. Regarding casinos, Judge Wapner opined, "The thought of that scares me beyond belief."

Terranova said another element to this trend will be the software security names — but failed to mention any. Once again Najarian bailed him out, suggesting Symantec (SYMC) and also saying COST might work with this trend.

Terranova conceded, "I've made a huge mistake in staying in the stock of Starbucks," that it was a bet on not having a recession, and he hopes it gets back to the mid-$50s so he can exit with a break-even.

For the 3rd day in a row, Judge unable to explain whether they’re debating electronic trading or high-frequency trading

Continuing a curious theme obviously meant to build on the Knight non-outrage that most people really don't care about now, Judge Wapner brought in another expert of some form of electronic trading, Kyle Zasky, to opine about the "machines in control" theme on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Zasky several times assured he's not passing moral judgments on HFT or how long anyone should hold a particular stock and seemed to scoff at making arbitrary holding-time rules.

But, he said, electronic trading is "part of the environment that we have to operate in ... I don't think it's going to stop."

Nevertheless, Zasky sounded skeptical of the practice of making and canceling thousands of orders in micro-seconds and the argument that the market benefits from HFT liquidity. "I think it's liquidity that's generally provided in stocks that don't necessarily need all that liquidity," Zasky said, while basically concurring with Steve Grasso that if you're a long-term investor then this stuff is just noise.

Wapner pointed to the usual suspects ... lessee, Knight, BATS, Facebook IPO, Flash Crash ... and questioned when it all ends.

Zasky said basically never. "There's a technical problem that happens just about every day," Zasky said.

Toni Sacconaghi has come around on the 7-inch iPad without even seeing the product yet

Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report predicted the AAPL ride will see new heights. "I think 644, which is the, the all-time high for Apple, that will be breached in the next 6 to 8 weeks," Terranova said.

However, there didn't seem to be much of a trade in the anticipated 7-inch iPad, with Jon Najarian saying he's hearing it won't be out until 2013, and Steve Grasso flat-out declaring, "I think it bastardizes the other products," a point this page officially agrees with.

Toni Sacconaghi admitted "I was skeptical" about the prospect of a smaller iPad, thinking it "feels like a tweener device that doesn't quite work." But now Sacconaghi is convinced it's an "important strategic weapon" against Amazon and Google.

Sacconaghi said the company is listening to investors on the subject of a split, and that there's a "reasonable likelihood we will get it in the next 6 months."

Anthony Scaramucci said one thing about Apple is that "they believe in exceptionalism."

PANW: ‘Someone buys this company’

Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report defended LNKD as "something that you actually need," but then said the stock has been "kind of squishy" lately and so he suggests taking profits.

Instead, Terranova suggested PANW and to "buy it slowly," because eventually, "someone buys this company."

Jon Najarian said that if Zynga succeeds at team playing on slot machines or whatever the venture is, it could be a reason to buy the stock, but the real winners have been OPEN and YELP for delivering what people actually want.

Anthony Scaramucci shrugged off the whole sector as "another train wreck ... this is Netflix from last year."

Terranova: Look for EXPE below 55

Judge Wapner played a clip from Marc Chaikin advising viewers on Monday to be out of PCLN into earnings, but he didn't air the clip of Aaron Kessler just yesterday saying he still liked the stock at Tuesday's pre-earnings level. (#justfollowthepredictionsthatareactuallycorrect)

Wapner pointed to the PCLN plunge Wednesday and told his Halftime panel, "That is the definition of a cliff, right ... it's not every day that you see a stock move down $100 right."

Joe Terranova noted the sympathy selloff in EXPE and said, "I myself might even get long" below 55 in that name.

Steve Grasso was skeptical of the travel sector, calling it "extremely whippy."

Steve Grasso said MCD "ran out of gas ... I don't know if 85 is the right entry just yet." Joe Terranova said it could be bought "probably 80 to 85." Jon Najarian said that between 82 and 85, "I like the stock."

Najarian said the CSC "guidance was spectacular."

Dennis Gartman owns gold in yen terms

Dennis Gartman visited with the Fast Money Halftime Report gang on Wednesday for ... really no purpose at all, it turned out.

"Gold is boring at this point ... it's rather like the war efforts in World War I," Gartman said.

"I own gold in yen terms," he said once, and then said again later, explaining gold is trading like a currency.

Gartman assured Steve Grasso that for about 6 weeks or so, GDX has been a better play than the commodity gold itself, for the "first time in years," so "now I think you're actually on the right side."

Anthony Scaramucci said of ANR, "wouldn't own it here," and said he's been around Europe and Asia recently and "the economy is certainly weak."

Joe Terranova's Final "Trade" (use that term loosely) was that he's long mini S&Ps no more. Steve Grasso suggested ANF with a 29 stop. Jon Najarian said HOT, and Anthony Scaramucci said HOT.

[Tuesday, August 7, 2012]

Guest indicates the Fast Money panel — those who actually trade stocks — are wasting their time

Judge Wapner, off to a rocky week let's be honest, struggled mightily on Tuesday's Halftime Report to identify what exactly the Fast Money gang has been debating this week regarding electronic stock trading.

Guest Manoj Narang, purportedly on to defend HFT as Steve Grasso sort of did a day earlier, first referenced Jack Bogle's Monday comments on Knight. "I think he misunderstands the business that Knight was engaged in," Narang said, explaining Knight's business is/was "not pointless, nor was it speculative," and there was "no systemic issue introduced into the market, uh, as a result of this ... they had a glitch; they suffered for it."

Then Judge tried to spin that into what apparently was supposed to be the crux of the conversation, something about the machines taking over while human beings such as the Fast panel are trying to trade (and curiously, no Najarian was present, given that, last we checked, "Heat Seeker®" is a computer program and not an actual person).

Narang said it's a "rather vacuous assertion" that the machines are taking over and then said he and Bogle agree on one thing: "Human beings should not be involved in short-term trading."

Mike Murphy butted in, saying that's a "ridiculous statement to make. People have been trading for years, some very successfully ... I can't even fathom that."

Narang responded, "Algorithms are just much, much better at trading for the short term than humans are."

Everyone is allowed a mulligan when it comes to picking stocks

Guest Aaron Kessler — in a comment you know he'd love to have back — said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, "still like Priceline here" going into earnings. (This review was posted after the earnings release.)

Guy Adami didn't sound too enthusiastic, saying the trade had been missed so far, but advised people interested in the stock to "hope they miss," and then "close your eyes and take a shot," still a very viable strategy as of Tuesday evening.

Mike Murphy made a good call, saying the stock is "kind of priced to perfection here."

Kessler said the Zynga-like game endeavor "makes a lot of sense for Amazon," to enhance the "Kindle ecosystem" which is like a "razor blade model."

Stephen Weiss agreed, "It makes entirely good sense to me ... it brings traffic onto the site ... phenomenally good idea for Amazon." Guy Adami called AMZN "pretty interesting" and said the multiple concerns are tempered because "their EPS growth rate is astronomical."

Analyst decides PCs, printers in decline

Steve Milunovich is apparently just discovering that HPQ has "an identity crisis," telling Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he expects a "couple more points to the downside" as the PC/printer business (remember how Léo got raked over the coals and we don't mean WLT?) plateaus/declines.

But Milunovich hailed the possible breakup value — which he later admitted would be years away — as something to look to if Meg Whitman doesn't figure this out because there will be "increasing investor pressure to think about splitting the company up."

Stephen Weiss, always good at questioning analysts, asked Milunovich, "Why would you have a sell put on it" with a rather small downside and potentially big upside. Milunovich said, "We're looking at the fundamentals" and indicated that upside could be a long time comin'.

Brian Kelly halfheartedly endorsed PCs, saying he's got a "couple tablets" and "a laptop" at home, "but I'm looking to get a desktop," and the valuation of HPQ is starting to get appealing, "not a bad place to be in." Mike Murphy said people who buy desktops are going to tap into the AAPL ecosystem and recommended that stock instead.

Adami: CHK to 30 ... or 0

Stephen Weiss and Mike Murphy teamed up on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to state the obvious, that Aubrey McClendon will be less controversial the more CHK stock goes up, but things got much more provocative when Guy Adami called the stock's ultimate destination a "coin flip" event with "binary" outcome, "binary meaning 0 or 30."

There are a "tremendous amount of skeletons in the closet," Adami insisted.

Murphy said, "I think there is upside here," partly because of nat gas' prospects to get over $3 and partly because of the Icahn, et al investor base. "I think you have a floor under this stock."

Weiss called CHK the "most leveraged play to nat gas pricing."

Brian Kelly said why bother, "just buy UNG," which did gain approval. Adami suggested PSX or APA if you want to be in the space.

Jeff Kilburg, often not one to be doubted on oil or Treasurys, said there's WTI resistance at 96, and we "could see a slight pullback" in the USO, but still sees crude staying above 90 and possibly even reaching 100. Stephen Weiss said oil's move is "80% about the dollar."

Adami: Good till 1,422

The Fast Money Halftime Report gang was all thumbs-up on the stock market Tuesday (where was that a couple weeks ago when it really would've helped), with even gloomy Stephen Weiss saying "we've got a free pass" for now and he's got "added exposure to the market."

Guy Adami said "I think it lasts for a while longer," perhaps up to 1,422, and then the bulls will "have to prove it at that point."

But Adami cautioned, "The euphoria's starting to kick in ... enjoy the rest of the ride. I don't think it's gonna be that long-lived in terms of duration."

Brian Kelly agreed that "things are relatively bullish" (#thankyoufortellingmewhatialreadyknow).

Mike Murphy cited S&P August call-buying in asserting, "I think the market has more upside here."

Steve Liesman reported on Boston Fed chief Eric Rosengren's provocative QE remarks but said it's unclear how much support he's got.

Adami: Buy CHD Thursday

Guy Adami handled on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report one of his favorite stocks CHD, which took a pounding Tuesday. "I think it's an opportunity," said Adami, but he suggested waiting until Thursday to buy (it's that "there are no 1-day events" thing).

Brian Kelly suggested you could buy FOSL, but like Adami, said to wait a couple days. Mike Murphy similarly said of COH, "Wait for this to settle in a little bit."

Adami said the dollar stores still look good in this environment and called VLO "interesting."

Stephen Weiss said he actually bought steel, beause of the short interest that makes him think it's "spring-loaded," and he added to CAT and bought WLT (#formerlyoneoffastmoneysrushmore).

Stephen Weiss hailed QCOM in the chip/semiconductor discussion, pointing out "these are ultimately commodity companies." Guy Adami said "LSI is actually pretty interesting," while Mike Murphy contended that "NXP is one that's really interesting ... lot of upside there."

Guest predicts commodities will go up regardless of dollar’s direction

Renee Haugerud was Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime "slow money" featured guest ... so slow, she was predicting a commodities trade good for a couple decades (might as well bring in John Stephenson or Jim Rogers).

Haugerud, dressed far more impressively than the show requires, cited "massive regime change" not in Egypt, Libya or Syria but from stocks & bonds to commodities, and "food could be the new distressed asset" (stop if you heard this on the original 2006 Fast Money).

Haugerud predicted commodities would "decouple" from the dollar and "actually go up" when the dollar goes up and just go up more when the dollar goes down. She suggested $10 corn is within the realm of possibility, and that gold would hit $1,800 "probably later this year."

Stephen Weiss struggled with "sheepishly" but said of JPM, "I like it, I'd buy some more on the dip." Brian Kelly agreed with Weiss and Mike Murphy that the Standard Chartered Iran thing somehow represents a "buying opportunity for some of these banks."

Weiss' Final Trade was long AIG. Murphy said long JCI, Kelly said long XLB and Guy Adami has been drinking Marissa's Kool-aid, touting YHOO.

We were hoping that Patty Edwards would return to her Tuesday perch, perhaps in the "Jackie Brown" badass suit to show Judge who's boss, but that didn't happen.

[Monday, August 6, 2012]

Judge Wapner says it’s ‘risky’ to even think about a KCG trade

So much for "fast" money.

Judge Wapner presided over a Knight Capital slumber party at the top of Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, inviting Knight investors Curt Bradbury and Ron Kruszewski to opine snicker (not exactly objectively) on the quality of this rescue.

Bradbury, of Stephens, twice used the term "lightning strike" to describe Knight's mistake, which he said is "easily fixable." Kruszewski, of Stifel, said "what happened here was a black swan event" (but not the kind with Natalie Portman).

Stephanie Link, pretty in summer outfit, managed to slip in that KCG is "not a name that I would be buying" at Monday's level, an opinion promptly shut down by Judge Wapner: "I don't even frankly wanna have the discussion as to whether you know, Knight is a buy here or not. I just don't- I don't think it's relevant to the, to the story, and fra- I just think it's, it's a risky proposition to even consider that very question," Wapner said.

Apparently, the point of this 10-minute discussion then was to let investors talk up the product they just bought.

Steve Grasso was able to squeeze in, "A lot of these events are tradeable events," and that people should be thinking beyond buy and hold to using limits — "that's the new environment we're in."

Jack Bogle: Knight was just trying to be latest bailout recipient

Curt Bradbury ("this is a good day for American capital markets") and Ronald Kruszewski ("the right thing to do") both hailed the rescue of Knight as a great moment in American business during Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Jon Najarian even pointed out how great it was to get a rescue package done over the weekend without Henry Paulson in the middle of it.

Jack Bogle had a much different take, scoffing at the brand of "capitalism" practiced in this crisis, pointing out, "they asked the SEC to bail 'em out by canceling all those trades."

It's "capitalism," Bogle scoffed, but it's capitalism "redeemed by government action."

Joe Terranova said "this deal had to get done" for "competitive balance" reasons.

Bogle said, rather importantly we might add, that for any kind of "investor," this whole escapade was "meaningless ... it shouldn't disturb you at all."

Bogle reiterated his call for a "transaction tax" that would "change the whole environment" of fast-buck trading. Citing relevant volumes from the 1950s, Bogle brushed aside Steve Grasso's assertion that HFT is important for market liquidity, saying, "I don't think you need as much liquidity as is created here."

Bogle disagreed with recent Bill gross terminology, asserting "the cult of equities is never gonna be over."

Bogle shamelessly led off his visit by noting the "really great coincidence" that he's on the show Monday because "tomorrow is the publication date for my next book."

Borrowing money to buy BBY shares

In an episode heavily tilted toward the greatness of capitalism on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Judge Wapner hardly questioned at all the ridiculous concept of someone possibly borrowing money to take Best Buy private.

Michael Pachter said Richard Schulze would need to raise $5-$6 billion in debt for this nutty ego trip and doubts that private equity is interested because there isn't enough cash flow generation. "If you layer on debt, they, they essentially are gonna be insolvent in about 2 or 3 years," Pachter said.

Steve Grasso said that if you're considering BBY as a real-estate play, remember that Radio Shack was the last such idea.

Marc Chaikin, probably to the horror of Jack Bogle if Bogle were still listening by that point (there was probably another book interview to do), made some short-term stock predictions, saying DIS has the "probability of a positive earnings surprise," but PCLN "is a stock that you wanna be out of ahead of Tuesday's earnings."

CNBC superfox Seema Mody read some tweets (how does anyone with a desk in her department ever focus on work?) about Apple, prompting Jon Najarian to shrug off hints that the company will seek a social media acquisition because the iPhone 5 is "gonna be the mother of all upgrade cycles."

Joe Terranova said he thinks Facebook needs a phone to provide a platform. Stephanie Link said of GOOG, "I like that one."

Link called WMT "expensive" and sees a "lot better values elsewhere. Target is one."

Andrew Root said this is an environment for "defensives" and "quality growth names" such as QCOM or CBS. He told Link he likes MAS based on the recovering housing cycle.

Link's Final Trade was LRCX. Steve Grasso said TSN, Jon Najarian said AKS and Joe Terranova said N.

[Friday, August 3, 2012]

Mike Murphy’s FB assessment warms up the more he’s asked about it

Basically, it was pessimism about Facebook on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report … until Mike Murphy was asked to opine.

First Murphy merely asserted "there is value there," and that it figures to "monetize," and so, "I think there's upside in Facebook."

But after Judge peppered Murphy with a 3rd question about the stock, viewers finally got the good stuff, which was Murphy's prediction that the shares can gain "40, 50, 60, 80%" when the "Street stops focusing on the negatives."

Steve Grasso said he respects Murphy's opinions on the subject but the problem is, the shares can go up 80% from here and still just be at the IPO price.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't expect LNKD to revisit its high, but "It's a name I think you can own here."

Stephen Weiss said the LNKD model's OK but he doesn't like the valuation. Steve Grasso though said that doesn't matter now, "there is a business here of monetization," but then conceded to Weiss that at some point the multiple could be a big problem; "they don't care about valuation until they care."

If you managed to sell FB shares above $38, you belong to an elite club

Offering some free research for the general public, Mark Hulbert told viewers of Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that by doing some "back of the envelope" calculations on Facebook based on some "very generous" assumptions about matching IPO average revenue growth rates, "I come up with a price in the low teens," or specifically, $13.80.

Judge Wapner countered, if that's the right term, that it's a stock that seems to be based on "potential." Hulbert was starting to respond when Stephen Weiss cut in to say the problem with Hulbert's assessment is "it's not an average company" and comparing it to IPO averages is "meaningless."

Hulbert said those averages are relevant because "Facebook is already a huge company."

Mitt Romney refers to end of his 2nd term, while Barack Obama talks about jobs created

Judge Wapner, as he done several days this week, opened Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report with the most tepid programming of Europe/broad market assessments (it didn't help that he had to start with political speeches from both sides and a John Harwood explanation that they were stressing different elements of the jobs data), starting with Stephen Weiss pointing out that the market was rallying on a "reconsideration" of what Draghi said and indications that Spain will take a bailout.

Joe Terranova said he was "adding to my longs right here" but was a bit cautious in suggesting there's a "little bit of a chase for performance" going on.

Steve Liesman said whoever has been correlating stocks the Spanish 2-year has been right on.

Steve Grasso said just the notion of Europe being stable for "24, 48 hours" is a positive for markets, but "I don't think we're out of the woods yet."

Mike Murphy said, "We're long here and gonna continue adding."

Michael LaBranche, brought on to address the Knight situation, said that electronic trading is like a "fast car with no brakes." LaBranche though said that while people claim "buy and hold is dead, I don't believe that."

Kilburg: Buy TLT

Jeff Kilburg joined Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report to call 1.67 in the 10-year the "Killir Pivot" and maintain "there is no panic selling in the bond market today yet." He recommended buying TLT under 127.

Drew Matus said that the Fed in the wake of the jobs report is "glad they waited" but that stocks are in this "perpetual rollover" with each month's jobs report.

"Next year is still looking OK to us," Matus said, while advising bigwigs to stop worrying about or trying to predict the mythical fiscal cliff; "it's either gonna happen or it doesn't happen."

Mike Murphy said GE is in industrials and financials and both could be promising so the stock could reach "areas it hasn't seen in a long time."

Floyd Wilson, who once guested on Fast like it was the last thing he wanted to do that day while the whole panel sang his praises, on Friday just did a sleepy Fast Line and said he's building HK to be "multi-decade development asset" in the energy space. He also said of energy prices, "I think everything needs to reset," whatever that means.

Stephen Weiss assured that he's in HK because "I know I'll make a fortune here" just like the last fortune he made in Wilson's Petrohawk.

No Final Trades were issued.

[Thursday, August 2, 2012]

Doug Kass brings little more than tired headline material to HFT ‘debate’

Doug Kass ushered in the HFT debate on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that honestly left viewers even more confused than they probably already were.

"I say kill the quants and their technology before they kill us," Kass said, before running into probably more than he bargained for from Chester Spatt.

"The markets have benefitted tremendously from a dramatic reduction in trading costs over the last decade brought about by technological inno- inno- inno- innovation," said Spatt, who actually got our attention with his contention with the observation that people are still paying "outrageous spreads" in the corporate and muni bond market.

Kass claimed this was off-topic, "he's deflecting the whole argument" and that HFT and reduced commissions are different subjects. "It's no wonder everyone has derisked," Kass said.

"It's not about commissions. It's about the trading costs that are created by competition," Spatt persisted, and frankly, while we have no clue who won or should win this argument, Kass offered nothing useful.

When she wasn’t promoting her HFT class, Irene Aldridge proved a tough customer for Fast Money’s HFT critics

But if Chester Spatt put up an expectedly decent argument for electronic trading or whatever it was exactly he was defending, Irene Aldridge hopped in an Audi and accelerated the debate.

"Somebody fell asleep at the wheel for 45 minutes," Aldridge said, saying the Knight problem wasn't HFT but likening it to an Audi breaking down on the Long Island Expressway and nobody noticing for 45 minutes.

Judge Wapner argued, "At the end of the day, technology broke down." Actually, it was the beginning of the day.

Aldridge said that Doug Kass was off-base in suggesting the trading world do the equivalent of trading in the Mercedes and Audi for a "beat-up Honda" and go 35 mph, "but who cares if people fall asleep."

Kass said it's not just Knight, but BATS bungled its IPO.

That's a "completely different scenario," Aldridge said.

Finally given a word, Jon Najarian said the problem with the system is "it is going too damn fast," and taking a poke at Spatt, said, "You're not engendering competition at that thousandth of a second." Spatt said restricting the amount of order cancellations that Najarian cited would "dramatically" cut liquidity.

Kass tried to get the last word, "Speed kills Irene."

Aldridge rebutted, "You have no idea about high-frequency trading."

Guy Adami’s likening yesterday of KCG to JEF is instant contender for worst Fast Money call of the year

Rich Repetto admitted he "traded e-mails last night" with Thomas Joyce but obviously chose not to reveal anything from those on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

"Hopefully they're gonna make it through this," Repetto said, contending the company has a "reasonable amount of time" to look for more capital.

"We don't know how much business is still going to them right now," Repetto said, acknowledging a couple times the $440 million revelation was a big surprise. As for competitors, "Citadel probably stands to win the most," he said, and perhaps UBS.

Repetto told Brian Kelly he wouldn't recommend Knight stock or bonds right at this moment, "either way."

Guy Adami didn't mention Jefferies this time.

Say, did you know Draghi didn’t give the markets what they wanted?

Goodness only knows why, but Judge Wapner felt compelled to open Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report with 10 minutes of hand-wringing over Mario Draghi.

Steve Liesman made a Maxwell Smart reference, but Guy Adami said when he hears that, he just thinks about 99.

Stephanie Link said of the ECB, "They know that the size matters," and that she/Cramer was buying BMY, GE and DVN. Adami said as long as we stay north of 1,344, "we're fine."

Paul Richards said the market wanted a "bazooka" from Europe but got a "blunt knife."

"I really think he had an issue with the Germans," Richards said, adding that he thinks his euro target of 118.50 is "realistic."

Back to school not so bad

Mark Mahaney on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report tepidly endorsed LNKD, "we like the stock here," he said, while admitting "very little margin for error" on a miss.

Mahaney said some of these once-high-flying platform names have turned because "mobile has really turned winners from losers." He told Judge there's a "pretty high" chance that in the 15 or so IPOs of social media recently there's another Pets.com, but stressed that unlike the 1990s, these companies are profitable and don't need to keep raising cash to stay in business.

Mahaney said the key metrics for LinkedIn's report will be corporate solutions customers with a number that "should be north of 11,000," and reaching "170 million registered users."

Guy Adami shrugged and said if Facebook gets in to the resume space, that seems like a "death knell for a LinkedIn."

William Duff Gordon, like Doug Kass and Rich Repetto Thursday, told you nothing you hadn't already heard, saying GRPN has "record high" short interest and Zillow is "most shorted in this area" of Web companies. Duff Gordon said data shows "it pays to short the most-shorted shares."

Mary Thompson said Kellogg overachieved. Brian Kelly said K is "not a bad play here" if it can pass prices on to consumers.

Michael Binetti said that he's "heard a lot of optimism through the channels" regarding back to school retailing and his top pick is JWN.

Stephanie Link said she/Cramer took profits in TJX and is buying NKE.

Herb Greenberg complained that KCG didn't tell the public right away how bad it was. Judge Wapner protested that while it would've been nice for CNBC to get a call, the company's obligation was to its customers. Greenberg insisted "they are a publicly traded company" and so the world had a right to know earlier.

[Wednesday, August 1, 2012]

The Free Labor Trade

Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report was on the cusp of what should've been an interesting debate about LinkedIn that Judge Wapner never really let happen.

Joe Terranova, noting Facebook's troubles, pointed to LNKD as "your social media opportunity ... it's really become a tool that you need to use in terms of acquiring, or getting the edge in the job market itself."

Jon Najarian sort of echoed that, saying LinkedIn is a "real" business, and "Facebook, it's not."

Guy Adami was the lone voice of reason on LNKD, questioning, "What are the barriers of entry that makes LinkedIn deserving of a 75, 80 times forward multiple."

Nobody took that one up or was encouraged to do so. The "barrier," of course, is people's willingness to devote their free Internet labor to their LinkedIn profile (as well as their Facebook page and maybe an Amazon or Yelp review or Wikipedia write-up) as opposed to some other site they're inevitably bound to try when they tire of LinkedIn.

Stephen Weiss said, "Not too many people understand the Facebook business model at this point."

Facebook, meet Yahoo

Henry Blodget, a guy who gets paid to blog about business things, on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report drew a contrast between Facebook and Google, circa probably about 7 or 8 years ago.

"Google's earnings and revenue were growing much faster than Facebook at this period in its life," Blodget said.

Yet, Blodget maintained that "The lower Facebook goes, the more attractive the stock gets," and that the problem is the hype surrounding the IPO, which occurred while "Facebook's fundamentals are deterioriating."

But for now, "I don't know why the stock just goes up from here," Blodget said.

Judge Wapner said a couple times people are suggesting this might be the next AOL, YHOO, even NOK, and that "This is a train wreck that doesn't seem to want to end," and said people need to know "what the hell to do" with this name.

Joe Terranova said FB is actually "close to potentially having a trade in place."

Guy Adami said he doesn't see a point where you'd jump in right now.

Jon Najarian said, "I'd like to see that big flush ... I think it could slide all the way down towards 15."

Judge reported the official Wall Street assessments (without mentioning Michael Pachter's homework assignment that produced a $44 price target): "18 buys, only 1 sell and 15 holds."

Henry Blodget calls trading problem a ‘scandal’

Bob Pisani got some airtime on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report thanks to the Knight Flash Crash (or whatever the heck it's supposed to be called) and opened with a bit of an eye-opener.

"Nobody would want to try to move the market, or create that kind of confusion in the market deliberately," Pisani said with a straight face, so the bizarre moves early are likely the result of "erroneous" trades.

After a commercial break, Pisani said it was actually a "software problem."

Much later, Pisani said the problem was being identified as a "technology issue" that was "related to the routing of shares."

Joe Terranova offered his own eye-opener — in fact, let's just call it a howler — in declaring he'd like to see the exchanges "move a little bit away from the electronic platforms" and "repopulate" the floors.

Stephen Weiss insisted, "The system did work, because it stopped for a major panic."

Jon Najarian said once the problems were detected, people started jumping on the KCG August 10 puts "big time."

Henry Blodget was already using the "s" word. "I actually missed this whole scandal this morning," Blodget told Judge Wapner, saying he was watching Fast Money to learn what happened. Nevertheless, Blodget pointed to the market's dependence on technology and pronounced it a "warning to people."

For those who think the SEC is lax, know that they watch Dennis Gartman on TV

Dennis Gartman told Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he likes coal "'cause nobody, anywhere, likes coal even slightly." (#soundslikefallingdagger)

Gartman suggested the KOL because "it allows me to get by without the SEC getting on me for bringing up a specific stock."

Joe Terranova wasn't really convinced but suggested maybe Consol because of its nat gas component.

Jeff Kilburg said he expects the UNG to "come back down."

Guy Adami said to look at APA in its 80-100 range. Stephen Weiss said he'd stay away from the nat gas sector. Joe Terranova said you don't want to be as long gas now as 6-8 weeks ago. Jon Najarian said he'd wait for gas to drop below $3.

Gartman said, "The gold market thinks the Fed's gonna do nothing."

Kilburg said he likes the TLT and "wait for Draghi tomorrow."

Steve Liesman pinned the odds of the Fed not moving at "4/5." Guy Adami asked a great question, what does the Fed want people to do. Liesman said it's "bedeviling" to them that more people capable of refinancing apparently aren't doing so.

Ed Yardeni said he'd be "hard-pressed" to see the Fed do any kind of "shock & awe" but will merely send the message that they're "there for us if we need it."

Meanwhile, Yardeni said, "I think the market's going higher," with a 1,450 year-end target.

Kate Kelly reported that Louis Bacon's redemption of $2 billion isn't a surprise to those close to him who say he's been thinking of converting his fund "into a family office."

Stephen Weiss blamed the "regulatory requirements ... they just don't want the scrutiny."

Kelly said Bacon called Dodd-Frank "Kafka-esque" (#soprofound).

Guy Adami's Final Trade was KCG, suggesting Knight is having one of those Jefferies'-type days (although, to be honest, when he said that, the stock was a lot higher than where it closed the day). Joe Terranova said long GS, Stephen Weiss said neither long nor short LNKD, but if they miss it'll be down 30%. Jon Najarian said GLD, based on lots of call-buying.

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