[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — August 2013]
[Friday, August 30, 2013]

Adding Joe Biden to the ticket was supposed to boost our foreign policy

Col. Jack Jacobs headlined Friday's Fast Money by explaining why this head-scratching action is going to take place in the Middle East (ding them enough to make it harder for them to win, but let them stay in the game which they probably will win): Some remark by the administration months ago.

"That's why we're in this pickle in the first place, because he said he was gonna do this and now we're gonna do it," Jacobs said.

Understanding his flair for Fast Money, Jacobs questioned, "at the end of the day" what really will be the impact of any strike.

Steve Grasso opined stocks will get past this by Tuesday. "I think the smart money bought today, and I'm looking for a rally next week," Grasso said.

Guy Adami agreed, suggesting the "knee-jerk" reaction will be higher stocks Tuesday. But he said don't buy RTN over the missiles it makes.

Jeff Saut, married to his S&P 1,530 thesis, conceded a "relief rally" is possible but still thinks we're in a correction and it won't be until mid-September that the market finds a "decent tradeable low."

Saut said this despite actually predicting no tapering in 2013.

Steve Grasso said to wait "2 or 3 days" with CRM. Guy Adami, who bungled GRPN many times in the past, said he'd avoid it now. Erin Gibbs indicated you don't need to start a position in WFC here.

Grasso again highlighted the crude-Tesla correlation.

Grasso's Final Trade was long SPY. Erin Gibbs said SWY, Brian Kelly said JJG and Guy Adami said PSUN.

$30 crude upside possible

Andy Lipow told Friday's out-to-lunch Halftime Report that it's within the realm of possibility that "you could see up to a $30-a-barrel upside" in crude in the wake of a Syria strike.

Given not just Syria, but Iraq and Nigeria and other problems, "the risk premium is probably appropriate" in crude, Lipow said.

He told Judge Wapner his year-end Facebook WTI target is $93.

Stephen Weiss said "I'd fade oil," citing the temporary nature of these events.

Weiss said the U.K. Parliament vote "takes the response down a little bit" in Syria.

Addison Armstrong said he wouldn't be surprised if oil rallied even after John Kerry's remarks.

Citing VIX, Jon Najarian said there's a "2% chance" of a big surprise panic over Syria.

Josh Brown said he likes energy names with North American exposure; "I'd just buy the basket," which is IEO.

Jon Najarian said he doesn't disagree with Brown, but likes NOV and BHI. Stephen Weiss agreed and mentioned HAL, RIG and NOV.

But then at another point, Weiss said he's not bullish on energy, but if he was, he'd buy APA.

Simon Baker promised more first-class airfare to California backed IEO.

It seemed like the crew was getting its signals crossed over subject matter, with Stephen Weiss asked to opine about gold and indicating there appears to be "apathy" in the market over Syria.

But Dr. J seemed to think they were talking about the market in general, saying the retail investors may be apathetic now but pros aren't. Weiss then said he thinks gold is in a range and will move to the lower end, around $1,300.

Somebody cracked up his fellow panelists into a giggle-fest while Judge and John Harwood were trying to present a serious discussion of the administration's options with Syria.

Guest greets Judge with ‘Hey.’

Evidently producers of Friday's Halftime Report hoped/expected John Kerry would wipe out most of the program, as the hottest topic they could come up with to begin the show was whether FB and AAPL will continue the momentum.

Jon Najarian was the luckless first recipient of this dubious question and said those names figure to continue but would be hit if there's a "surprise" to the markets.

Najarian even mentioned "Sequester II," evoking memories of December, when he went to all-cash for the first time in 31 years over the fiscal cliff discussions.

Josh Brown said "I think Facebook is fascinating" and predicted 50 would be a "magnet" or "tractor beam" for the stock; he has "seen this movie before so many times" with this type of price action.

But Brown said it's notable that commodities are up in August.

Stephen Weiss curiously said he wouldn't sell NFLX, TSLA or FB, and "might even be buying 'em. But, they're in bubble territory."

Simon Baker said he'd have both FB and AAPL in his portfolio and said he likes the cloud names.

Eric Jackson, in a rather flip greeting to Judge ("Hey." (note period)), predicted 50 by year-end in FB but cautioned there will be "jittery moments" for 3 weeks before it continues to "rocket" ahead.

Jackson complained that everyone still loves to hate GRPN, but he thinks it "could see $20 by early next year."

Jackson predicted Alibaba would be the biggest IPO since FB, and he said he's long Youku, "sort of a Chinese Hulu."

Josh Brown called LNKD "the most defensible" of social-media plays.

GOOG is mentioned, but once again no one mentions founder’s situation/distraction

Bob Doll predicted on Friday's Halftime Report that "the market will be sloppy in September" and suggested the S&P 500 will choppily move within his range of 1,550 to 1,700 "for several months more."

Doll advised continuing to slowly move away from defensives, and said some names such as GOOG are worth having to "pay up" for growth but that he also likes CSCO and MSFT.

Simon Baker said "stay way away from" KKD.

Stephen Weiss advised people "get out" of PHM and the builders.

Josh Brown said if you're not aware of SPLK, you better study up, it's "the Google of machine-generated data."

Jon Najarian said of PSUN, "Now it's a broken dream."

Najarian, slightly at odds with Guy Adami yesterday, suggested you can hang on to CRM, but it's OK to take profits, but "you can't be short the name."

Josh Brown said there's a "really easy trade" in NUAN, with 18 as support.

[Thursday, August 29, 2013]

Did Guy Adami actually expect a specialty-retail CEO to admit he’s lost the ‘cool factor’?

PSUN chief Gary Schoenfeld gave a "first on CNBC" (score one for Mel) interview on Thursday's Fast Money, and holders of the stock should be impressed that Schoenfeld refused to take the bait dangled twice by Melissa Lee and Guy Adami of opining on why his stock was down 8% afterhours while the interview was occurring (#amongthelastthingceosshouldbedoing).

Nevertheless, Schoenfeld's commentary rang a bit saccharine, as he indicated everything was great and that the only negative might be the "53rd week last year" that people might be comparing current results to.

Guy Adami then indirectly quoted original Fast Money great Jeff Macke without naming him and without using Macke's signature line, which is that all specialty-retail stocks are eventually going to zero.

Instead, Adami credulously asked Schoenfeld if PSUN has lost the "cool factor ... and if the answer is yes, can you get that back."

Schoenfeld responded that he thinks it's "quite the opposite, candidly," and we're really not sure how sincere that "candidly" was.

Mel Lee actually asked Schoenfeld literally, what keeps you up at night (at least she didn't say, "at the end of the day, what keeps you up at night"). Adami said there could be a "bit of a sandbag" in the guidance and so on Friday the stock may be interesting. Adami conceded his recent AEO bull call "was a bad call."

Mike Khouw likely didn’t realize how passionate Doc is about the homebuilders until it was too late

Something was said at the top of Thursday's Fast Money about Melissa Lee in Hawaii, but rather than show possible swimsuit pictures of Mel relaxing on the beaches, Fast Money opted for a discussion of the XHB.

Guy Adami started it by saying (again) he thinks rates are going down, and the XHB is going up.

Jon Najarian, who tried to be too clever in calling "biforcation" an HBO show, said, "I like the housing stocks," and asserted that "historically this is still way too cheap" for mortgage rates and people who have been renting will realize they're "throwing good money after bad."

Mike Khouw had the audacity to say, "I'm not really constructive on the home builders," and ignited Najarian's fuse in pointing out how low rates have been for the run that already occurred.

"Rates are simply not at historic lows anymore!" Najarian bellowed, before demanding to know if Khouw would rather buy HD than the builders.

Khouw protested that he never said that, and actually, "I would actually avoid all of them."

Ed Yardeni contribution to the conversation (aside from deciding he wasn't clear enough for Brian Kelly) was to predict a "sideways" market. "A lot of stocks have had great runs ... I think this bull market needs to rest a little bit," Yardeni said, adding that it's not just mortgage rates that have stifled homebuilders, but "a lot of the homebuilders are being very cautious here."

"I am happy to be back," Melissa Lee said.

150 oil ‘just not gonna happen’

Guest John Woods, who resembles Jon Gruden, delivered articulate commentary on the Syrian situation on Thursday's Fast Money; the only problem is that it wasn't much different than the rest of the Syrian-related commentary this week.

"The U.S. is gonna do something," Woods said, suggesting this'll be over in 10 days and in fact figures to resemble Egypt, which "morphed itself into a solution."

Woods said he heard someone talking about 150 for crude (we can't remember if that was John Kilduff, but we don't think it was Addison Armstrong), and "that's just not gonna happen."

Woods' favorite in the oil space is controversial. "I love BP," he said.

Meanwhile, Kate Kelly, who said she'd love to be in Hawaii, said some hedge fund managers are telling her they're dabbling in emerging markets such as India, Mexico and South Korea, and one finds the rupee "impossibly cheap."

Brian Kelly warned that if you're playing emerging markets now, this is "absolutely the deep end of the pool." Jon Najarian repeated what he said in a previous show, that there was a big buyer of the EPI who sold puts and made a "synthetic call."

Whew — Melissa airs a clip of Jeff Gundlach, and somehow he isn’t heard saying ‘fear and loathing’

After years of spouting IBM's 2015 EPS of $20 as gospel and "you put a 12 multiple on it, you've a $240 stock," Guy Adami evidently has caved.

Adami, as the bear, told Jon Najarian in a bull-bear debate on Thursday's Fast Money that "the organic growth hasn't been there," and if the market gets rough, "a 181 number could be a 165 number."

Doc's primary argument was that IBM is "going into the cloud hard now," but he didn't bring up what he brought up with Judge this week, that he'd buy it if drops a whole $2.

Mike Khouw and the rest of the panel backed Adami, with Khouw saying the October 180 puts were hopping.

Adami didn't crow really about his CRM call, which was excellent, but told viewers, "Tomorrow's the day you take profits; you don't initiate a long."

Dan Nathan gave Jeff Gundlach, who is apparently going to talk up a CMG short and never do it, too much credit, saying "he's waiting for a fundamental break." (So why doesn't he wait for the fundamental break that hasn't happened and may not happen and then start talking about it?)

Jon Najarian said VZ is the beneficiary of Fed policy; "this is all about cheap money," and the "time is right" for the VOD deal.

Najarian said of SPLK, "I like 'em going forward."

Guy Adami said you can't buy GES on this move.

Dan Nathan said CPB is an example of how we've seen "consumer names really extended."

Jon Najarian said the cloud hurt STX.

Brian Kelly said LCC got a boost from a judge's assessment, but unless you know the "minutiae," then "stay away from these names."

Asked to give Warren Buffett plays, Jon Najarian said NOV, Brian Kelly said SU, Dan Nathan said WMT and Guy Adami was spared having to make a choice.

We continue to find it curious that Fast Money feels like it must fill part of its hour replaying clips from earlier in the day, but good thing they did Thursday or we wouldn't have known that, in a feature that usually only happens around storm season, Jackie DeAngelis joined the healthy ranks of CNBC Women Who Look Cute In Baseball Caps.

Mike Khouw said TFM's results show the risk of disappointment in a high-P.E. name. He made it his Final Trade, selling call spreads. Jon Najarian's Final Trade was long MYGN. Brian Kelly said APA and Guy Adami said XHB; Dan Nathan actually declared TSLA a sell.

From Bond King to Cliché King:
Gundlach says ‘fear and loathing’ at least 6 times, botches his own yield/volatility slogan on 2nd reference

If you were dying to hear someone on TV say "fear and loathing" Thursday, then Jeff Gundlach on Thursday's Halftime Report was surely your guy.

Gundlach, in an appearance certainly watched closely by one Bill Gross, told Judge Wapner's crew that the 10-year could hit "3.10 or so," but told Josh Brown that if it should hit 3.50, there would be such "serious downward movements in risk assets" that the rate hike would stop cold.

He conceded Brown's fear of stocks and bonds falling together, that there's a "real risk of that happening in the short term," but not in the intermediate term.

However, Gundlach asserted that there is appealing yield in the bond market, in the form of closed-end bond funds and mortgage REITs. He cited NLY and suggested the space could be up 15% in 12 months.

But maybe the most provocative comment from Gundlach was one we haven't heard on Fast Money, that gold and housing stocks have been highly negatively correlated, and right now new home prices are "not really going up." (Keep in mind that Gundlach once scoffed at home-owning on The Strategy Session with a hilarious anecdote about his place having a gas leak that almost blew up.)

Gundlach pointed to relative strength in emerging markets in the form of Russia vs. the pack, and suggested Shanghai is bound to move, saying he's interested in playing a breakout either way.

He endorsed EMB, saying "I think you're supposed to be buying" at points like this.

He continued to backpedal from his previous suggestion (not an actual trade he has put on) on shorting CMG, likening it to AAPL about a year ago; "I actually am waiting for it to break down," he said, anticipating a drop of 30% on a "basic valuation argument."

Gundlach said he's short other emerging markets vs. Russia and has pairs trades going, but, possibly having heard Carl on Halftime, told Judge Wapner that "announcing your shorts isn't the greatest idea."

He said if he had to pick a direction right now on HLF, "I'd probably short it." He called AAPL a "dead-money stock" that he'll soon say goodbye to, the easy money's been made and "I think it has problems around 530 though" (uh oh, expect to hear from Doc's Twitter followers who also wouldn't like it if he backed Tesla, which Gundlach also sort of did).

Jon Najarian said he saw a "very bullish trade" in EPI, someone getting long and selling puts. Stephen Weiss pointed out that Brazil tightened again. Josh Brown said Gundlach made a valuable point that all emerging markets are not the same.

Gundlach a couple times insisted that the markets recently didn't care about volatility and just wanted yield. But when he repeated the reference, he botched it by leaving out the last "don't" (see, repeating clichés isn't easy) in the form of, "People used to say, I don't care about volatility; I want income. Now they're saying, I don't care about income, I want volatility."

Gundlach: ‘All’ of his large investors would ‘sell heavily’ if 10-year hits 2.0%

Jeff Gundlach, who since his Barron's coronation started appearing (at least semi-regularly) on CNBC on The Strategy Session and has continued to occasionally speak with the Halftime crew as one of CNBC's best guests (and, evidently, newfound cliché prodigies), was hit immediately on Thursday with an impressively direct question from Judge Wapner about underestimating the climb in rates back on June 27.

Gundlach said he doubted in the low 2.0s that the 10-year would exceed 2.35, but when it did, he pivoted, and "we've captured the bearish part of it by about 70%."

He said he's looking for signs that rates are toppy, but "I don't really see those signals right now," and he is hearing that if the 10-year dipped to 2%, then "all" of his large investors would "sell heavily."

Gundlach predicted that after tapering, "We might get a flush higher in interest rates."

No mention of fear and loathing

Jon Najarian, referring to Jeff "Grundlach" (sic), argued a bull case for homebuilders on Thursday's Halftime Report on the strength of housing affordability.

Stephen Weiss countered that WFC laid off 2,300 people (he said that number 2 or 3 times).

Najarian rebutted that the 2,300 layoff number is true, but that no one talks about the amount of people they hired in this sector and have "more working now."

Stephanie Link waffled like leggo my egg'o, first saying Najarian made a better case only to say she'd buy HD and SWK and not the builders. Josh Brown said that in housing, "The uptrend is over."

Weiss keeps buying M

Milton Ezrati, making what we think is his first Fast Money/Halftime appearance, said on Thursday's Halftime he's bullish, though "valuations aren't as drop-dead gorgeous" as in recent years or even months, but there's "a lot more upside" in stocks over 12 months, perhaps 20%.

Ezrati downplayed a sustained crude spike; "oil prices should probably start moving down again," he said.

Josh Brown said housing is actually his top concern right at the moment; "I would put Syria a little bit lower on the list."

Stephen Weiss claimed that "it's extreme bearishness right now," but he keeps adding to M (Drink) and C (borderline Drink not quite like JPM).

Jon Najarian observed that at least on Thursday, builders are "the strongest sector out there." But Josh Brown pointed to new home sales and said, "I gotta tell you." Najarian insisted that he thinks they finally "broke the back of that selloff."

Weiss: Defense stocks’ joyride over

Mike Santoli told Thursday's Halftime Report that he thinks munis, REITs and high-yield debt are oversold and due for a relief rally, though he didn't sound terribly enthusiastic about the MUB.

Josh Brown said the connotation of "relief rally" scares him, because that implies a fleeting gain and those instruments Santoli mentioned are generally things people hold for 4 quarters.

Santoli said he thinks yields may move "down before up."

Stephen Weiss said "Verizon I think is OK here" but that he would look at VOD (probably because Tepper is). Josh Brown said LCC was up partly in reaction to the big selloff early in the week and that airlines can work from here.

Steph Link said she "certainly wouldn't chase" GES; apparently Fast Money trader Dominic Chu's opinion (see below) that people don't buy Levi's but everyone buys Guess jeans instead for "maybe 10 times" the price but it's only 1 data point didn't sway her.

Anthony Grisanti said that if the action in Syria turns out "relatively easy," then gasoline might go only 10% higher. Jeff Kilburg agreed that the severity of the action is what counts. (#can'twaittowelcomeanotherinterimgovernmenttothatpartoftheworld)

Dominic Chu said RTN is the maker of Tomahawk cruise missiles. Stephen Weiss opined, "We've seen the best from the defense stocks for the year."

Weiss admitted that in CHK, "I was dead wrong," but he still thinks the "whole sector's overvalued."

Jon Najarian was given the lone Final Trade, and he said DAL.

[Wednesday, August 28, 2013]

CNBC actually installs
a ‘markets reporter’
on the Fast Money desk

This page has been stating for the last couple of weeks that fresh CNBC hire Dominic Chu is doing a great job and is off to a great start.

So great, apparently, that the network deems him qualified to opine on stocks.

Chu was curiously tapped on Wednesday to take a seat at the Fast Money table, but noticeably avoided specific stock calls and was not asked for a Final Trade.

Don't worry, we're not about to go Columbia Journalism Review-hysterical here. Through the course of, what is it (gak), 7 years now, Fast Money/Halftime occasionally has impaneled a non-professional trader/investor for the entire hour. Herb did it recently, but know that his title was "senior stocks commentator." (Joe Theismann didn't quite get the seating treatment, but close.) (No, Gene Simmons didn't sit on the desk, he did the Skype thing, and Guy Adami asked "Can I call you Gene" before recommending EMC instead of Gene's preferred IBM.)

However, this is the first time a CNBC reporter has posed as a trader, as far as we can recall. (Seriously, would you want Gasparino sitting there declaring a support level for LNKD?)

One of 2 things occurred here: Either CNBC brass 1) is eager to show off Chu as much as possible, or 2) Brian Kelly and Anthony Scaramucci and Josh Brown somehow couldn't make it in. (Dr. New World has declared himself on vacation.)

Honestly — and this is no disrespect to Chu whatsoever — this is another watering-down of whatever's left of the Fast Money brand (see post below), as the show first shockingly spurned respected money managers and voices Zach Karabell, Steve Cortes and Bellevue's No. 1 seed, who are missed, and now seems more likely to return to its "On The Money" segment roots than reassert its purported goal as a premium traders' show.

What's more, if they can put Chu on the Fast Money desk, what in the world is stopping them from giving Seema Mody this assignment??

Again, no knock on Chu. Just a sign that "Fast Money" is becoming "Late Power Lunch."

Dominic Chu’s maiden Fast Money commentary makes no sense

He's a savvy TV pro, but not a seasoned professional stock trader.

And it showed. At least when Dominic Chu opined as a Fast Money panelist on Wednesday about GES results, and proceeded to present a non-fact (that's a fancy word for "bogus") that had no relevance to anything.

"You don't buy Levi's jeans, right; you, you go out there and you buy Guess ones that cost maybe 10 times more," Chu told his colleagues, saying Guess' results are "just one data point" in the discretionary-consumer sphere (that part was at least safe and accurate).

Tim Seymour said he likes "Wrangler" and "Garanimals." (Chu better get used to it, or maybe like Mr. New Land, accuse Seymour of carrying a wallet in his back pocket.)

Uh-oh: No one’s reading this page

Given widely publicized viewer trends, it's not really a surprise, but Zero Hedge reported via Business Insider (that's one of those Internet content deals) that Fast Money posted an all-time low in viewers in August.


However, don't blame the Fast gang, as Mad Money and Larry Kudlow experienced the same debacle.

It's undoubtedly bad news for those seeking page views for CNBC-related sites.

Here's an alternate take: If people are not watching CNBC as much as they previously were, then stocks are not in a bubble; we're a long ways from December 1999.

Does that feel any better?

Guest says that if there was no U.S. fracking, Saudis would pump up the difference (a/k/a so much for Larry Kudlow’s ‘drill, baby, drill’ to lower the gasoline price)

Guy Adami, who correctly called a bounce in Wednesday's market (even if it bounced less by the end of the day), asserted on Fast Money that "I think we got another 20 handles in the S&P."

However, the discussion quickly shifted to oil, of which guest Michael Wittner sees a possible 125 price (that's if they go to a 5-inch screen, get the deal with China Mobile and introduce the TV and wristwatch) because, "it's not Syria itself," but based on fears of an "outage elsewhere."

Most interestingly — and guest host Brian Sullivan jacked one out of the park here like Mantle's 650-foot shot out of Briggs Stadium by posing this question — Wittner contended that if there was no shale boom in the U.S., the world would be getting a "lot more output out of Saudi Arabia."

Which means all of those 2008 discussions/debate about how to rein in the price of oil amounted to: The fix is in.

Tim Seymour suggested 120 is a "real number" but, as he typically does, talked so much that it wasn't clear what his point was, except that he insisted "this is a buying opportunity" for airlines and transports. (This writer is long DAL (again) #simon'sgift)

Later, much more effectively, Seymour contended that an attack on Syria has been priced in, and so once it happens, that's when you buy.

Guy Adami said EMN "looks really interesting" at 75. Dan Nathan, citing the VIX, said "people are on edge," and Mike Khouw said the VIX is only as low as it is because of a holiday weekend. Tim Seymour said "policy failure is gonna be the biggest driver of the VIX," and that one is too open-ended to let go, but we're running out of time and space, so we have to.)

A re-introduction of Trade School,
courtesy of the newest panelist

Guy Adami told Wednesday's Fast Money that his NEM debate with Dan Nathan was like Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson, and Adami was Buster.

Making an argument that is probably 2,000 years old (think slow catalyst), Adami claimed that all fiat currencies have bit the dust, and meanwhile, "I think gold rallies," which makes NEM a buy.

Mike Khouw, who quite frankly delivers some of the best, most straightforward market commentary that isn't heard enough, was the bear, saying we "need real signs of inflation" before gold's rally is sustainable.

Dan Nathan agreed with Khouw; "I think you have to wait." But Tim Seymour argued the miners still have some bounce due; "don't sell 'em here."

Dominic Chu, with more flourish than he probably wanted, then tried to make a sweeping declaration on the subject, that "gold miners are a levered play on the metal itself ... so if you believe in the gold story, that's when you go long the gold miners."

Gotta tell ya, Josh Brown wasn’t around to argue with Jonathan Krinsky on Europe

Brian Sullivan on the shale-oil-price impact delivered like Mike Tyson's one shot that caught Buster Douglas napping, but Sullivan was in no-man's land on Wednesday's Fast Money while guest Jonathan Krinsky happened to be on the receiving end of a producer's bungling.

Krinsky first contended that Europe is a concern relative to the U.S., and then, after Sullivan figured out what the topic was supposed to be, Krinsky opined that "we like Burger King over McDonalds."

Guy Adami was not impressed by the MCD chart and warned, "breaks 95 it's gone."

Dominic Chu once again overextended himself, claiming the burger giants are trying to find new customers who aren't already dining there (#isthereanyoneinamericawhohasn'teatenatmcdonald'salready?)

Tim Seymour said "I like Germany here" but not so much the banks; he would fade the Commerzbank move. Guy Adami said to short DB below 40.

Seymour said he would own MSFT here, after it's given back the Ballmer Bounce.

Mel’s on a long vacation

The Fast Money gang was asked on Wednesday (possibly by a Twitterer disguising himself as Steve Cortes) what it means to invest like a contrarian.

Dan Nathan said you have to use risk management, and Guy Adami basically scoffed at the concept, saying if you're a contrarian you'll be "dogmatic," which doesn't work.

Tim Seymour offered that (unlike Dennis Gartman) he doesn't like to buy stocks that move from the lower left to the upper right.

It was Mike Khouw who articulated the best point, saying that anyone who has an opinion that a stock is overvalued or undervalued is basically being a contrarian, but Khouw warned against fighting trends, "you can really get hurt."

We're not really sure where that puts Tim Seymour's X opinion, which was, "Buy it when it dips lower."

Khouw said September 20 calls in GT were hot. Guy Adami predicted the stock could see 22.50 or 23, the "momentum still favors" it.

Daniel Lubetzky, who is taking on a monumental task, suggested his company PeaceWorks can help bring people of the Middle East together. He said his KIND snack company is "primarily U.S.-centric."

Tim Seymour said he likes MDLZ for global snacks, though it doesn't necessarily make people healthier. Dan Nathan indicated he has an options short on in WFM; "I just don't get it."

Nathan said if you're in TSLA to "put a defined risk short on" because the stock could see a 10% pullback, an opinion we don't disagree with (but if he thinks it's not seeing $200 this year, he's loopy). (This writer has no position in TSLA.) Guy Adami said of XHB, "stay long around 28 bucks." Adami predicted that CRM "will rally significantly" if the quarter is anywhere in line. Tim Seymour said "I don't know if I need to own" GLNG at this level.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was GLD call spreads. Tim Seymour said XOM at 88, Guy Adami said CRM, and Dan Nathan issued a classy shout-out to his dad.

Doc and Stephen Roach require a couple takes to establish the question of whether markets have already priced it in

Anthony Grisanti proved to be one of probably dozens of personalities on CNBC on Wednesday explaining why crude is up even though Syria hardly has any oil; see there are "pipelines that do go through Syria," Grisanti said, and oh yeah, there's always the geopolitical-spillover-into-a-regional-conflict thing.

Rich Ilczyszyn said that if the situation explodes, his crude target is 116. Basically don't try shorting, Ilczyszyn said; "you're either long, or you're outta the market."

Pete Najarian said he likes MUR in the energy space. Dan Nathan said XOM, and Jon Najarian said COG.

Stephen Roach defended to Judge Wapner his analysis that plunging emerging markets currencies led by the rupee could become a "crisis" soon, because "it's not just India" suffering from large current account deficits.

Roach allowed that China won't be "ensnared" in this problem, but after taking a couple variations from Jon Najarian on the same question about the markets having already taken the hit for these problems, Roach suggested it's probably not over because of "policy gridlock" in India.

Fed has a ‘plan’

Steve Grasso told Wednesday's hesitant Halftime Report crew that 1,638 is a key 100-day level in the S&P 500, but that was only a tease, as Grasso quickly added that "the real key level is 1620."

Pete Najarian said he's "not yet" comfortable buying stocks, but he did buy some C weekly calls that expire Friday.

Dan Nathan predicted that if Syria erupts, we "may see a little bit of panic in the next month or so."

Jon Najarian suggested that people are watching Syria to see, among other things, if it's the catalyst for gold topping, and he later said he'll take the rest of his late-June gold positions off "when those missiles fly."

Steve Liesman told the crew that his sense is that Federal Reserve members want the tapering to happen in September, that's "the plan," and the burden would be on the data to force them to do otherwise. Jon Najarian reiterated that he thinks there won't be tapering until October because of his dubious thesis about the Affordable Care Act.

Stephanie Pomboy, who has a neat retro-'60s mod look, said tapering is a question of "when not if," and affirmed to Judge Wapner she likes emerging markets, though "not in this instant."

Doc should tweet more about Miley Cyrus and less about electric cars and 5-inch screens

Pete Najarian argued on Wednesday's Halftime Report that GRPN "could see 15," because its balance sheet, cash, etc., are "phenomenal," "incredible," you know the drill, etc.

Curmudgeon Dan Nathan argued that Groupon's mobile potential isn't as bright as Facebook's; "mobile to me doesn't mean the same thing," and with the company delving into "very low-margin products," it would be "maddening" to buy around $10 instead of waiting for $8.

Jon Najarian admitted he's totally biased and hailed his own Brag Trade (which we called the day it happened) that he bested Joe Terranova with months ago on Andrew Mason's departure.

Dr. J also said, "I like TiVo." (This writer is long TIVO.)

Nathan said BBRY was experiencing "heavy call volume."

Jon Najarian complained that when you say something good about TSLA on Twitter it's like saying something bad about AAPL; people come at you with "fangs and claws and everything else" (so just tell them to shine shoes in the trailer park like Charlie does).

Dan Nathan observed that the news flow regarding TSLA has been "so one-sided" that a bad report could send the stock reeling. (Yes, sigh, we've heard that one before, many times.)

Pete: BFB an ‘awesome buy’

Perhaps trying to sound just a wee bit important, Judge Wapner declared on Wednesday's Halftime Report that for those who have heard rumblings about Carl Icahn maybe getting into JCP to hopefully embarrass Ackman, "We can put that rumor to rest."

That doesn't mean Carl didn't start buying after the show aired, or even minutes after Judge's comment.

Jon Najarian said Keefe Bruyette sees too much discount in JPM right now (that means "undervalued"). Najarian said you don't have to buy the banks right now but he likes WFC and BAC to snap out of the slump. Pete Najarian said he still likes BX and would hold on for a while, not flip it as a trade. But Dan Nathan argued that banks now are "fairly valued."

Nathan said it "maybe as good as it gets" right now for TIF, but that he's long October calls in T and made it his Final Trade under the theory that if tapering is delayed, yield stocks might regain favor.

Pete Najarian said to avoid JOY for "at least a quarter." Pete called BFB an "awesome buy" and said he thinks "it's a good opportunity" in CHS.

Pete said of RAD, "I still like this to the upside," but cautioned that it might take a while. His Final Trade was INTC.

Jon Najarian said EXPR "deserves this pop," and thinks F "trades higher." His Final Trade was GPS.

[Tuesday, August 27, 2013]

Adami: ‘I think we bounce’

The most provocative comment of Tuesday's Fast Money came at the top.

Predicting the Federal Reserve would "backtrack on the taper talk," Guy Adami predicted a "knee-jerk reaction back higher; "I think we bounce from here."

Adami said 1,630 marks a 50% correction of the June low, but that if the S&P 500 did sink through 1,625, it would put 1,550 in play.

Steve Grasso thinks it's "impossible" for the Fed at this point to do anything besides a "kiss" of taper.

Tim Seymour wasn't fully on board, saying nothing had changed Tuesday in regards to whatever tapering is going to happen. Josh Brown said the Fed needs to really look at emerging markets. (But how does the Fed force China to purchase more iron ore?)

David Bianco visited the Nasdaq and told the crew that "1,600's really good support," and he's positive on stocks because he sees an "upturn in business spending."

"Stick with financials and technology," Bianco advises.

Send in the drones

John Kilduff had the 2nd-most-provocative comment on Tuesday's Fast Money, suggesting 125 crude is in the cards; "I think it's heading there."

Expressing a tiresome, decades-old CNBC cliche flair for the dramatic, Kilduff mentioned Iran, Israel, Jordan as all possibilities to be engulfed in this emerging conflagration.

Tim Seymour was too kind, saying he wasn't sure about 125 because he thinks the Saudis will keep pumping. Josh Brown said 125 might happen on a blip, but it's not sustainable.

Steve Grasso drew a link to a hot stock; "if you think crude's going higher, you buy Tesla."

Seymour, however, tried to paint the Syria problem as a Cold War standoff, which curiously led him into a debate with Josh Brown as to whether the Russian RTS or whatever it is is a real exchange.

"It's government-sponsored entities," Brown said.

"Saying it's not a real market is kinda absurd," Seymour said.

Brown said he likes CVX in part for a goofy reason, the "huge warchest of cash." Guy Adami said he also likes CVX, against 115, but likes COP more. Tim Seymour said, "Exxon with an RSI of 10 is the one to buy."

Fast Money crew gets to show off their ’60s pop-culture knowledge (cont’d)

Doug Duncan told Tuesday's Fast Money crew that it's unlikely we'll see home prices decline; "housing is on a firm footing."

Guy Adami said XHB is "very tradeable here," around the 28 level or perhaps the 27 level of the spring. But Josh Brown scoffed; "I think it's a head and shoulders, all over that chart" with a "lot more to go" on the downside.

Steve Grasso again trumpeted homebuilders, seeing "good entry points on a lot of these names."

Guest host Brian Sullivan played a clip from Robert Shiller that prompted a "Bewitched" discussion in which Sullivan claimed the 2nd Darren was "Rovell."

Guy Adami predicted an opportunity to short WSM on Wednesday.

Been there, done that

Apparently taking too seriously Jack Lew's comments to CNBC about not negotiating, Chris Krueger told Tuesday's Fast Money that we can expect a "really nasty 4th quarter from a Washington policy-risk perspective," which is about the way Dr. J felt last December when during the fiscal cliff he got completely out of the market for the first time in 31 years.

Brian Sullivan claimed we're in a "fiscal fjord."

Bob Pisani reported that NYSE officials were "virtually apoplectic" upon hearing the Nasdaq's claim of shared fault.

Guy Adami said if you believe rates are falling to 2% or 2.25%, then CME is a short, but if you think rates are going higher, "at 70½, CME is a raging buy here."

Financials got annihilated Tuesday, but nobody on Fast Money said a word about it.

Josh Brown did say of TIVO, "I would not be long the stock." (This writer is long TIVO.)

Tim Seymour tried to make a bull case for TIF but started off arguing the bear side on light revenue, only to eventually come around to his own point of view and trumpet the margins.

Josh Brown said, "I think it's a double-top in the stock price." Mike Khouw was also bearish, saying the stock "might have more downside than upside."

Steve Grasso said, "I'm still long GDX." Josh Brown said there was nothing unusual about AAPL on Tuesday except it's a "big fat target" on days like this. Guy Adami said the opportunity in FDX will come around 103.50 or 104.

Dominic Chu reported that the New York Times suffered a "hacking-related incident."

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was to short DB. Steve Grasso said long POT, and Guy Adami said long DE.

Doc now says he has been telling everyone not to sell TSLA

Here we are, a day after this page suggested that TSLA (or a few other names) could have a 40-point up day in the near future and questioned why Steve Grasso ever sold TSLA in the first place, and we've suddenly got a new narrative on the Halftime Report.

That being, Jon Najarian telling Judge Wapner on Tuesday that TSLA is a name that "I always have to hold people's hands with, to tell 'em not to sell it."

The funny thing about that revelation is that on Aug. 7, Doc said that if he had to choose between FB, NFLX and TSLA, he said he couldn't take the latter 2 because it would be like picking the Miami Dolphins in 1973 to redo their 1972 season.

That's not completely contradictory with Tuesday's remark, but still a bit goofy.

Perhaps he has now realized that the 1973 Dolphins were even better than the '72 team.

Doc appears to confuse
TSO with VLO

Jeff Kilburg said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that tapering/lack of tapering isn't driving gold; "I think this is all about Syria," and Kilburg predicted that if Russia gets nasty, we'll see 1,525 "pretty soon."

Jim Iuorio had a different view, saying "we've walked back taper" and that he'd be "surprised" if gold tops 1,428.

Mike Murphy actually claimed that gold was experiencing a "flight to quality" over Syria.

Jon Najarian said early in the show that "I think we see gold continue to move up."

Josh Brown sounded really uncertain about gold's direction, downplaying the Middle East situation, "I don't see this developing into a full-blown conflict" and asserting for gold, "I think that old uptrend is over."

Mike Murphy had to admit twice he bungled the NEM bounce, with Judge insisting "let's address it again," because it's the "gift that keeps on giving" even though it's a boring subject; Murphy said, "Today, I would go to the long side."

Addison Armstrong said there had been a lot of money on the sidelines in the crude market, and he thinks $109.32 can be "taken out pretty easily," and then the next level is $110.50.

Jon Najarian said he likes GPOR but mistakenly gave the ticker as "GPRO" and wasn't corrected by Judge, and COG.

Najarian said TSO has had a lot of "distribution ... around the 36 line," and that it had broken Tuesday to around "35."

Funny thing is, the screen showed TSO as trading around 46, and our quick checkup shows it hasn't seen a 36 "distribution" since November.

Najarian said that if you like it as Mike Murphy does, you have to hope against further Syrian upheaval.

Murphy apparently clarified things later in saying, "I like the refiners here; I like Valero."

‘Syria is more of an excuse’

Josh Brown likes to spend the top of most Halftime Report programs explaining when the S&P decline started; "this correction began on August 2nd," Brown said on Tuesday's Halftime.

Brown said the decliners/advancers are in a "disturbing trend," but otherwise pronounced this selloff as "perfectly healthy."

Guest John Apruzzese concurred that "it's healthy for the market to back off here" and even asserted, "I think Syria is more an excuse than anything else."

Apruzzese said he likes AN for consolidation/cyclical reasons, and Judge Wapner pointed out that Apruzzese also likes AMT and BX.

Mike Murphy did the old "if you liked it at 54 how can you not like it at 48" thing on C and indicated he's still bullish on financials. Stephanie Link said people have been taking profits in WFC but she'd be interested below 40.

Mike Murphy offers free trading skills to Richard Schulze

Mike Murphy was feeling so generous on Tuesday's Halftime Report that he made an unconditional offer to Best Buy founder Richard Schulze; "if he wasn't selling the stock here, I'd sell it for him."

Stephanie Link wrongly claimed a Fast Money refrain that this page has long debunked about insiders, "They buy for 1 reason, they sell for many reasons."

Josh Brown said he wouldn't be long JCP, but "you can't be short it."

Stephanie Link said she likes MCD because "this is really a valuation call." Mike Murphy said, "I don't think the pullback's enough."

Murphy predicted TIF could soon be "back up to new highs." Josh Brown said "I would be a buyer" of SBUX.

Murphy said he thinks you "can't chase" BID, but Josh Brown said Sotheby's is getting into "secondary cities" and "there could be a lot more to this story."

Murphy said of DSW, "I don't think you chase it." Steph Link said normally a stock down as much as ARO would be enticing, but this one will take a "long time to come back."

Doc waiting for IBM to plunge all the way down to 180 because you don’t want to get long it before the Labor Day holiday

Judge Wapner used to have a habit of questioning whether a couple of dollars in a stock really makes a difference, a highly dubious point on a trading show, but on Tuesday's Halftime Report he was correct in questioning Jon Najarian's loopy implication that Najarian would buy IBM, which "can't get out of its own way," if it falls all the way from 183 to 180; "I like it down here."

Josh Brown said on the surface it might look like SAFM "laid an egg," but it actually had a good quarter and the stock response was to grain-price fears, which could be a "unique opportunity" to get into the name.

Brown said XONE and the other "3-D printers" actually call their business "additive manufacturing, or rapid prototyping."

"These are not toys," Brown said, arguing it "could be a gigantic industry." He made XONE his Final Trade.

Jon Najarian said, "I like XONE."

Brown said the notion that sequestration would nail LMT was a "very very flawed thesis," but "I prefer Boeing."

Mike Murphy said of MO, "Buy it, hold it."

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was T. Jon Najarian said ECA, and Mike Murphy said XOM.

[Monday, August 26, 2013]

Accelerating past 200 — how the
Fast Money gang doesn’t get it

Gordon Gekko put it in his own elegant way, something about "Not bright enough Sherlock; let's roll the dice and play a little Monopoly, what square does Larry Wildman land on in Erie, Pennsylvania?"

If we played a little real-life Monopoly with the stock market, and asked ourselves, realistically, what level TSLA will reach before 2014, quite frankly anyone who suggests a number south of $200 isn't even qualified to run the New York Jets' offense.

The Fast Money/Halftime gang has utterly no sense of the historic implications of this market.

No one suggests, as seems likely, that TSLA or LNKD or NFLX is capable of a 40-point day — up.

Or that the S&P 500 could post a 40-handle return (that's correct, four-oh) by Dec. 31.

Instead they ridiculously dicker each day over tapering, just like what they worried about 9 months ago in the fiscal cliff when Jon Najarian went to the biggest cash position he's had in 31 years on the eve/continuation of a raging bull market, and 6 months before that regarding the end of QE2, etc., as if months from now anyone is gonna care in the slightest if the Fed is buying $85 billion or $65 billion when they're here to prop up any market shortfall, permanently. (See, that's what they call "precedent.")

And then what's the next scare. Geopolitical Iran???? Get real.

This might as well be 1997-'99. Stocks featuring a Web site and/or 4-letter ticker are — for whatever reason — being snapped up by tidal waves of demand.

If you think that type of action was unique to the late '90s, just look at coal/fertilizer/Macau/drybulk/gadget/gold stocks from 2005 to 2007 and, as evidence of how long these fads actually linger in people's minds, know that Guy Adami and Pete Najarian were regularly calling WLT a buy on pullbacks during its long descent from 130s until they gave it up around the 60s.

We're just the mopey amateurs here and couldn't begin to explain why certain sectors or markets catch fire.

Neither can the Fast Money crew, which continues to bicker wearily over valuations as though they're scrutinizing Wal-Mart.

Really, there is no explanation, except enormous demand for these stocks.

Somehow, and this incredibly doesn't get mentioned on Fast Money, we're in late August past the typical sell-in-May issues, and the Nasdaq is still up 21% on the year.

Yes, it does get annoying hearing from people who own them, given that no stocks should surge this much in such a short time on fundamentals.

NFLX and LNKD and AMZN (this is what got Henry Blodget in trouble) could easily be $400 in October. We're not saying they WILL be, but could be; that's the market we're in. GMCR could say hello to 150. FB might crush 50. PCLN could be 1,200 in a blink. WFM and SBUX are probably due for another leg higher. Same for the movie studios/"content producers." Solar got white hot. Even GOOG and YHOO did too. Anything with "subscribers" seems a foolish short. (This writer has no current position in any stock in this posting.)

If any of that sounds "overheated" to you, keep in mind, much of the so-incredibly-vaunted-in-2007 global growth story is dead. Look at Steve Weiss' favorite sectors, coal, steel, what has FCX or PBR or RIO or POT or the energy services done since December 2010?

Financials, certain industrials, certain tech will remain the bedrock of the stock market, but we're talking the "marginal" money here, the kind traders and hedge funds "play with."

Anyway, Monday's Fast Money delivered the same almost-entirely-useless canned commentary on this subject that it generally does, with Josh Brown warning that TSLA could suddenly drop off the cliff like Wile E. Coyote, saying, "Be my guest if you want in at this price," and Dan Nathan warning that support is at 93.

Guy Adami at least conceded, "Things can stay overvalued for a long time."

Steve Grasso, whose buy in the upper 120s and then re-up the next day in the low 100s is the Call of the Year front-runner, revealed, "I actually bought the stock again today," and made it his Final Trade.

Before everyone congratulates Grasso, they should at least question why he got out of his original purchase, which guest host Judge Wapner embarrassingly failed to pursue.

Here's what they SHOULD have said: (Bull) "There is relentless momentum behind this stock, and it's hard to believe it wouldn't see $200 this year, so buy it whenever you can." (Bear) "It's had an enormous 2 weeks, so put in an order in the $140s and wait for the skeptical analyst note."

Insight you can find daily,
in the 52-week-low section

Instead of spending much time on the things that ARE working, Monday's Fast Money inexplicably decided to harp on the things that aren't.

In a bizarre dig at the Jets, the panel took turns identifying which stocks are equally clueless, starting with Jon Najarian and the gold miners for their "horrific" decision not to hedge.

Josh Brown suggested SHLD, because of internal management squabbling.

Dan Nathan had the only provocative thought, INTC, even asserting, "I think this company has to merge with a company like Qualcomm."

Another conditional-future trade,
courtesy of Fast Money

One stock that, admittedly, really does deserve a debate is the August 2013 version of HPQ, which is kinda indicating it might be chugging out of gas.

Steve Grasso argued the bull case on Monday's Fast Money, saying that if you're concerned about Meg Whitman's no-growth-in-2014 forecast you should know the "stock already took the hit," and now what matters are the "data centers."

Dan Nathan argued that Meg has already "kind of wrung out all the cost savings that she could," and (ding-ding-ding) thinks the stock could be bought at some point below $20.

Guy Adami said he agreed with Nathan; "this could trade 19, 19½." Scott Nations said someone bought 1,600 HPQ October 26 calls for 23 cents.

Dennis Gartman really wanted people to know he wasn’t impressed by John Kerry

Dennis Gartman told us something we didn't know on Monday.

"It is a bull market in gold," Gartman said on Fast Money, pointing out it has been "even strong in dollar terms."

Gartman, who said he bought Nikkei, found himself spending much of his interview time swatting away Judge Wapner's pesky questions about why Gartman sees no choice but to be bullish, with Judge even suggesting there are people out there who see enough signs to be (snicker) nothing but bearish. Dennis said there's a difference between having his interest piqued and being all-in.

It seems that Gartman's top priority for being on the show was to express displeasure over our administrations's CYA-make-sure-the-critics-know-we're-on-top-of-it-while-letting-the-SoS-say-it-so-no-one-actually-believes-the-president-is-going-to-send-troops-in position on Syrian chemical weapons; "I thought it was a very weak statement," Gartman said, several times.

Brown: TRIP ‘ludicrous’

Josh Brown claimed at the top of Monday's Fast Money that, for the first time in a month, he found one of those "noticeable divergences" between stocks and bonds.

Steve Grasso cautioned that geopolitical risk is something that can't really be quantified.

Dan Nathan noted the market didn't crash Monday, and the VIX is still fairly low.

Guy Adami predicted the TLT could go from 105 to 110.

Guest Michael Hanson predicted the "pace is gonna slow a bit" in housing; Dan Nathan seemed to agree in regard to HD; "it's got nothing left," and later, in curious 2-part commentary, asserted, "you buy it below 75."

JJ Kinahan reported a lot of call-buyers in TIF, and "constant buyers" of the September 25 put in GES.

Kinahan said CRM players are "looking for a big move one way or the other."

Guy Adami said "I'd be extraordinarily cautious" on BBY, and he has a "weird feeling" that the trade (in whatever direction) in JCP isn't over.

Adami predicted DE could pop to 90, and chided everyone who was holding MSFT for a leadership change and then didn't sell after getting the leadership change and predicted 31-ish again for that stock.

Josh Brown said TSN had a "buyable dip; I like the name." But Brown called TRIP "one of the most ludicrous stocks" (see our post above) and argued "$70 is really reasonable support."

Dan Nathan said "I'm out" of his FDX bear call, and said if you believe in e-cigarettes, then buy LO and RAI (that's helpful advice). Nathan's Final Trade was to sell MSFT.

Steve Grasso said 85 is key for XOM and it "should get a near-term pop."

Guy Adami's Final Trade was NEM. Josh Brown said DDD.

Stephen Weiss explains the difference between ‘momentum market’ and ‘bubble territory’

Stephen Weiss said on Monday's Halftime Report, "I did buy some Facebook," because "this is a momentum market ... you can own it carte blanche into the next quarter."

Moments later, he warned against buying TSLA, because "This is complete bubble territory."

(See, sometimes we make up semantics to justify what's nothing more than our gut feeling.)

Mike Murphy said, as if this was news, that the TSLA momentum continues, but Murphy contended the valuation is just beginning to be realized, "finally the sales are out there."

Mark Mahaney, whose name was spelled "MAHNEY" (sic) by the CNBC graphics gremlins, admitted he was wrong on P going into the print, but "we like this stock," it's the "poster child for mobile monetization." He conceded AAPL is a "real issue for Pandora." (Yes, and Amazon and Hulu are real issues for NFLX too.)

Jon Najarian said he likes P, in part because he figures it should've traded down to 16 but is already back around 19, and then found dead air when Mahaney thought Najarian was just making a statement and not posing a question.

Najarian said of LNKD, "I do like the way that this stock has continued to perform ... I did miss it."

One guy has 46 in August

Jack Ablin, a respected CNBC market-watcher, does not really seem like a Fast Money-type of personality (note the 1,570 price target he defended), but perhaps we've underestimated Ablin's capacity for fireworks given his curious 2-pronged assessment of big-league baseball.

First Ablin claimed that Major League Baseball has done a "great job" of eliminating steroids, but "the problem is we have a thousand less home runs now hit and no one cares about baseball anymore."

This, Ablin said, is equivalent to Fed stimulus removal, which is why he's sticking with the 1,570 target, he sees "another, uh, down, uh, uh, you know, 4 or 5% from here" and advises, "sit tight, wait for September."

Ablin contended that the "dangerous market here is U.S. small-caps."

Diana Olick experiences a history-making amount of sentiment

Jon Najarian suggested on Monday's Halftime Report that there perhaps won't be tapering until October at the earliest, which could give markets a "pretty significant boost in September."

Mike Murphy said rising rates are "not a major negative" for stocks. Stephen Weiss called the return of Judge Wapner "catnip for this market," and thinks the data "bought some time in terms of the taper."

Stephanie Link asserted, "It's a stock-picker's market."

Diana Olick said that rising rates and rising prices seem like a "toxic cocktail for housing," and that she "never heard more bears out than I have today."

Mike Murphy argued that rising rates are in the past. Stephanie Link said she likes HD in the low 70s.

Stephen Weiss renewed his tiresome gripe about iron ore, saying every steel CEO says it's "terrible in China." Weiss said CLF may be up but it's "kind of a mixed bag" in the sector. Later he tried to impress Judge with some Belarus reference and now says he's "not so sure" the Potash cartel comes back to the table.

Doc says prof was saying
‘complete b.s.’

Gautam Mukunda didn't really have a whole lot of answers for MSFT on Monday's Halftime Report, asserting, "The question Microsoft has to ask itself is, who does it wanna be?"

Perhaps unsatisfied, Mukunda didn't bother to say goodbye to Judge Wapner at the end of the interview.

Jon Najarian, in a Brag Trade, thanked Judge for helping him stick with MSFT in the 31 range, and said, "I think Microsoft is just fine," and then tried to say "once the baby is born."

"Spare us from that one again," said Judge, his lone good line of the day.

Najarian took Mukunda's half-hearted MSFT analysis a lot further, asserting that an "insider is the solution" to replace Steven Ballmer, and as to Mukunda's notion that Ballmer elbowed out many capable people, Najarian said that's "complete b.s., those people have not all left."

Najarian said BIG got an upgrade based on the notion that a miss and low guidance is priced in. "I agree, but I don't shop at Big Lots and I don't own this stock," Najarian said.

Stephen Weiss said of GILD, "This stock could double from here."

Mike Murphy argued TIF has held the 100-day all year. Stephanie Link was bearish on the stock, saying "their execution is spotty at best." Stephen Weiss agreed with Link; "I can't pay this valuation for Tiffany up here."

Mike Murphy said ADM is "kind of rolling over here," and he wouldn't jump in. Jon Najarian said DDD had a "beautiful pop today." Stephanie Link said V "has to come down a little bit" for Cramer to buy; she likes DFS.

Mike Murphy called BBRY "uninvestable." Jon Najarian advised not buying LCC now, but waiting for the expedited trial that may happen.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was PCP. Stephen Weiss said DAL, Mike Murphy said IP and Jon Najarian said SYK.

[Friday, August 23, 2013]

September taper? ‘No way’

It wasn't till the end of Friday's Fast Money that we discovered our headline, which was Brian Kelly proclaiming there's "no way" the Fed tapers in September.

Steve Grasso complained that in all of these Fed officials' soundbites, "they say absolutely nothing." (#that'sthepoint)

Guy Adami said if you've been holding MSFT on the anticipation of a management shake-up, "today was your day" to get out, because the company has "some serious structural issues."

Tim Seymour said he liked the stock before and still does, curiously because of its potential to "divest core assets."

Brian Kelly strongly implied the opposite, that Ballmer has underperformed given the company's assets, which Kelly claimed could be a powerhouse "if you had the right CEO."

Steve Grasso said, "If you're in the name, 34 has to hold."

Charlie Bobrinskoy admitted he agrees with the notion that Ballmer has "been a bad allocator of capital." But he thinks the cloud is more than a commoditized space, actually a "modest growth business."

Tim Seymour said to "stay with" INTC, but as for HPQ, there's "no reason to jump into this one."

Grasso said TSLA "has to hold 160" to remain a buy; it was his Final Trade, but only if it holds that level for a couple days.

Guy Adami said it's time to look again at being long TGT, vs. 60.

Tim Seymour said FB has the "momentum factor," but Guy Adami said LNKD is tops in the space.

Adami suggested interest rates may be "topping out," in which case it would be time for XHB. Adami's Final Trade was ASH.

Steve Grasso said if there's no taper, you wanna buy GDX.

Tim Seymour reverted to an old cliche, VIP, for his Final Trade. Brian Kelly said long SPY on dips.

Obviously, if you want to shut down HFT, just unplug the exchanges’ surge suppressors and have everyone transact stocks on Craigslist

It's always flattering when folks borrow your lines.

Joe Saluzzi, a respected exchange watcher, told guest host Brian Sullivan on Friday's Halftime Report that everyone should be shocked by Bob Greifeld's comments about shutting the system down Thursday because the "traditional long" investor didn't have the same access to individual data feeds as the pro investor, because if Greifeld deems that criteria as a reason to shut down, "they should halt the market all the time."

Great point; the only problem was, this page said basically the same thing a day ago after Dr. New World curiously implied that HFT folks (but somehow not others) were "shut down" by the glitch, why not just conduct trading for 1 minute a day.

While it's certainly possible that Greifeld proposes random 3-hour blackouts just to stick it to the HFT crowd, we doubt that it's permissible under Dodd-Frank.

It seems the real losers of Thursday's Flash Freeze are those with the standing order to buy AAPL at $199, under the theory that one can't possibly underestimate the potential of a Nasdaq bungle, and figured upon hearing the news that "this is it," only to actually see the market inexplicably tread higher.

Saluzzi said there needs to be more than 1 exchange, but not 13.

Almost makes you wonder if Carl put in a market order for MSFT

Jon Najarian started off on Friday's Halftime Report saying he likes the MSFT story, but before you knew it, he was explaining that he exited some of those hot September 33 calls.

"Knock on wood, we had some," Najarian explained.

That was better than quiet-as-a-mouse Erin Gibbs, who revealed that she actually cut her MSFT position in half a week ago.

Mike Murphy concurred with Najarian on profit-taking, saying "we sold the stock today on this news."

Henry Blodget contends that "something happened at the board level" to nudge Steven Ballmer out, and there could even be an impetus for "splitting it up" into consumer and enterprise divisions.

Jeff Sonnenfeld, who has a great gig, declared that Ballmer deserves a B+, because "he's actually tripled revenues," and in terms of dividends and buybacks this century, "nobody else has given the shareholders that much back."

Which are fair arguments, but let's be honest and concede that no one is characterizing this gentleman as a visionary.

Sonnenfeld suggested John Legere would be a great choice as successor.

DAL finishes week up 4% from Simon’s ‘game over’ call

Sarat Sethi told Brian Sullivan on Friday's Halftime Report that "we think you're still gonna get a drop" of anywhere from 5-10% ... but the rest of his commentary was anything but bearish.

In fact, Sethi was practically giddy about the airlines, specifically DAL and UAL, because Simon Baker claims it's "game over" they've got a lock on many appealing international routes, which means it's not clear if he's anticipating the American-LCC merger happening or not.

Sethi also said he likes F, GM and JCI.

Vince Reinhart said there's a "pretty high" chance of September tapering (oh, for another Flash Freeze) and said we'd need a jobs report of under-120,000 to get the Fed off this course.

Mike Murphy credited Jon Najarian for his end-of-June gold call, which was a dynamite call though Doc was venturing into tiresome Brag Trade territory Friday, but Murphy downplayed the potential and said it looks to him like just an "oversold rally" that can't be sustained.

Murphy said "I'd be very careful here" in ADSK and called P, which has plunged to the terrifying level it was at a whole 2 weeks ago, interesting around 18.

Stephanie Link said she'd buy FL at 30, and said she likes other retailers but not ARO.

Link argued a bull case for GPS on the grounds it is "completely outshining the rest of the group." Murphy countered that it's priced to perfection and has one less week to match a comp (as if the Street doesn't know that already). Jon Najarian, who claims to know about these things, said Gap still tries to court an older buyer such as himself or Brian Sullivan and leaves the "garbage, throwaway stuff" to the youngsters at Old Navy.

Najarian said PBR (boy does one of those sound good) has another $1 or $1.50 to the upside, and he said Deutsche Bank reiterated an outperform and 66 target in EXPE. Najarian's Final Trade was CERN.

Mike Murphy's Final Trade, coincidentally, was PBR. Stephanie Link said SYMC.

Erin Gibbs advised taking profits in VMW and made PETM her Final Trade.

[Thursday, August 22, 2013]

Savvy traders enjoy afternoon off

Right when it was happening, we were anticipating producing a lot of material on this page about the reaction to the Flash Freeze.

In fact, the shutdown was so long and boring, it actually sopped up most of CNBC's programming and gave us a welcome break from people recommending Macy's and guessing about the taper timeline on the Halftime Report/Fast Money.

Jon Najarian stuck to the script on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, pointing out, "These are not things that engender investor confidence." (But how much confidence is required to boost the S&P 17% in 8 months?)

Karen Finerman, who looked stunning in another majestic side camera view we were able to catch this time, correctly wrote this off as practically a non-event, except for one ticker, NDAQ, "that to me is really more of the story."

In fact, Finerman said that if you're going to have a glitch, then during a positive market in August is "probably one of the very best days to do it."

Josh Brown did an end-around on himself, first warning of a possible glitch impact on the market multiple, "The multiple is a direct descendant of what our confidence is," and moments later pointing to the market close and saying that "speaks volumes about current investor confidence." (So let's get this straight, Thursday while it was happening, no one cared, but weeks from now people will care and perhaps might start to compress multiples. Gotta tell ya ... Favorite stock is Macy's ... Cue up the weekly highlight clip that will air Friday afternoon ... )

Cyber expert Paul Tiao told guest host Brian Sullivan that, "from a cyber-security standpoint, this is a good day for the market."

Later, Bertha Coombs speculated that if the Nasdaq had really been hacked, they "would say so."

Jon Najarian scoffed that "this is 5 hours of complete crap."

"I don't think they're covering something up," Coombs insisted.

Jon Najarian said he wouldn't buy an NDAQ pullback now, until it gets into the "high 20s." Karen Finerman agreed and said, "No need to jump in tomorrow." Josh Brown's helpful Final Trade was to avoid NDAQ.

In (very limited, and we don't mean the lingerie shop) other news, Josh Brown suggested P might not be at the mercy of AAPL as so many think; "Apple has not exactly been executing," and as for P, whose CEO gave an interview a couple years ago that Steve Cortes found one of the most disconcerting he's ever heard, Brown said, "I think it's a home run long-term."

Mike Khouw said P is "still pretty rich" and he'd be surprised if it doesn't trade lower.

Karen Finerman said to "wait, wait, wait" on ARO to "maybe 6 bucks." Finerman also said she would "definitely not" buy ANF right now. Josh Brown took a moment to explain what teenagers want and don't want in their shopping selections and said "not yet" to AEO.

Finerman's Final Trade was buy C. Brian Kelly's said FCX, and Jon Najarian said SLCA.

Joe: ‘Many folks
will come after me’

There's a script for situations like this:

Explain how a market disruption erodes confidence of the small investor, chide the exchanges for their rush to embrace electronic programs while being susceptible to problems, call for more timely information.

But Dr. New World on Thursday's Halftime Report went rogue, taking instant target practice at HFT, cheering a curious implication that the "algo" folks were the only ones "shut down."

Seeking an expected ally in Jon Najarian, Terranova proclaimed, "Futures are gonna slow. Who does that shut down Jon? The people we wanna shut down — the HFTs, the algos ... I disagree that this is awful for the retail investor."

Ah, a solution for wiping out the HFT crowd — limit trading to 1 minute per day.

Terranova had it half-right: It's no big deal for the retail investor (despite what his colleagues occasionally said), but it's also really no big deal for the HFT crowd.

Having time to ponder the situation as the Halftime crew hung around for Power Lunch, Joe seemed to anticipate an editorial hit, predicting "many folks will come after me in Twitter and the business media" but that this glitch demands a look at the "introduction of rapid-fire trading."

Terranova said that over his career, unexecuted orders due to glitches have happened "dozens upon dozens of times" and are part of the job, but then, grasping for beefier commentary despite having, like everyone else, virtually no information about this extremely boring incident, also claimed it was "mystifying" and made "no sense" that the Nasdaq wasn't offering a more timely statement, then found himself called out by a fellow panelist in a day-of-the-week quagmire when asserting the exchange had to restart Thursday afternoon because if they wait overnight somehow next morning would disappear and "you're up against Friday afternoon."

Rich Repetto said "it's not good for retail at all," and while we don't claim it is good, we also wonder, if the Flash Crash supposedly scared everyone out of the stock market, how the Nasdaq Composite is up 19% this year.

Mike Murphy made a wonderful point that should be made more often on the show but never is — even though it actually didn't really matter Thursday — which was to use limit orders all the time.

We found that CNBC launched the "Nasdaq Halt" clock (above) around 1:08 p.m. Eastern time, or, as you can see, about 48 minutes into the meltdown; producers probably a little bit slow on that concept.

In an apparently unintentional dis, Jon Najarian referred to the Nasdaq boss as "Mr. Greenfield."

Doc buys HPQ at 21.96

Jon Najarian, in perhaps the last concrete trade subject we're going to hear about for days, said pre-Nasdaq-meltdown on Thursday's Halftime Report that he jumped into the HPQ selloff and "bought a little Hewlett" around 21.96.

Najarian said the stock was overbought this month heading into earnings, but the selloff was overdone; "this is gettin' a little silly."

Joe Terranova stressed that this is a trade and nothing else, and struggled to clarify the direction he sees for the stock. Josh Brown cut in and said people who were long it at the beginning of the year got "bailed out," and no matter how it's sliced, "this company essentially makes beige copy machines."

Mike Murphy said, "I actually kinda like Doc's trade here."

Murphy said at the top of the show that a name like F is getting appealing, and it's getting close to the time of buying stocks in general; "have your list ready."

Mr. New World declared that on Aug. 2, he said "continue to buy," and then kept asking himself questions as to whether he's comfortable with that and where's his point of reference; overall he insisted "I believe the market's going higher," and predicted a carrot with the tapering, such as an unemployment target adjusted to 6.0% (we'll take the other side of that particular notion).

Josh Brown said that, "At the end of the day" (Drink), the 10-year is now a competitive alternative to stocks.

Michael Strauss advised viewers to stay calm here, and said the retail slaughter is not everyone but specifically teen retailers, prompting Brian Sullivan to overwhelm the conversation and even talk over Strauss to make his own ridiculous point that no one should ever invest in teen retailers because the fashion is so fickle (yes, they should seek shelter in coal, iron ore, gold, the stuff that when you drop it on your foot it hurts, social media, Web sites, PCs and printers...) and that Capri cars are better than Capri slacks, a timely reference for those watching, say, the Dick Van Dyke show.

Strauss said he prefers developed markets to emerging markets.

Dr. New Land suggested materials might be working, though "I would not look at steel; I would not look at coal." Josh Brown pounded the table for chemicals.

Greg Ip said he'll play for the "ceramic leopard" in making his taper guess, predicting a small September taper and suggesting the Fed plan is to be "done by the 2nd half of 2014."

Mike Murphy said SHLD is trying to become a membership-type retailer. Joe Terranova said if you're in HAIN, "stay in the stock," it's a buyout candidate. Jon Najarian stressed that CLF is a trade and not an investment, and Josh Brown said CBS went up on a deal breakthrough.

Jon Najarian said he "thought that was b.s." when he heard about Carl buying DWA.

Been a long time since
we’ve had a good glitch

Just a day ago, we pointed out that someone on Fast Money mentioned the "machines taking over" for the first time in months.

Thursday afternoon, the machines surrendered, wiping out a chunk of the Halftime Report.

But who better to have at the ready for commentary on an options/Nasdaq glitch than the Fast Money Halftime Report gang?

Much more on the meltdown later.

[Wednesday, August 21, 2013]

If everyone just started
every show saying ‘Buy
Fast Money would be a lot more successful

The 2013 market is pretty simple — pretend it's 1999 and buy any Web-site/social media stock hand over fist — but evidently, a lot of folks on Fast Money haven't figured that out.

Jon Najarian actually called NFLX "too fully valued for my taste at this point." (Tip: Valuation means absolutely nothing with these names, it's just a matter of how many times you can say "monetization.")

Najarian actually sort of got on board this concept in discussing P, saying its stock is robust because of the possibility it "could be bought."

And, Najarian called the NFL's talks with Google "a game-changer," although "I doubt that they'd ever go completely away from free TV."

To say the least. That's when you get Congress involved; the notion of the NFL charging for every game including local games on television — which would certainly be profitable — is about as likely as O.J. lining up in the Bills' backfield on opening day.


Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Fast Money offered an alternate take on the HPQ report, opining, "This call was surprisingly good."

Tim Seymour argued, "This stock has run full," and Mike Khouw said if he were playing it, he'd be inclined to make bearish bets.

Karen Finerman said she likes Meg, and the stock is cheap, but "it should be cheap."

And, Karen is someone who "knows her cheap," according to guest host Mandy Drury.

‘Good probability’ that
the airline merger happens

Donald Carty tackled a vast array of subjects on Wednesday's Fast Money, not the least of which was airlines.

"I think Justice clearly got it wrong," Carty said. "There is a good probability that this, uh, merger will move forward."

Moments later, just to be clear, Carty said he does "genuinely believe" that the Justice Department got it wrong.

Carty said he thinks American will be fine if the merger doesn't happen, but that the "bigger challenge" is for US Air. (This writer is long LCC.)

Tim Seymour said, "I'm long a lot of global airlines ... I think Delta is the place to play here." (This writer is long DAL.)

Jon Najarian said, "I like the airlines as well," but Mike Khouw cautioned about fuel costs and sees only a "little bit of upside" in airline stocks.

Carty acknowledged that PCs are a tough market but nevertheless is "quite encouraged about the future of Dell." Even though he calls Carl a "great investor," he said "Carl never of course made a real offer" and claimed the DELL board is "thrilled" (snicker) to take Michael Dell's offer.

Alert Judge: It’s the first ‘machines are taking over’ comment in months

Summer reruns are in full force at CNBC, where Wednesday's Fast Money crew opined about tapering.

"This is what they wanted," said Tim Seymour, who thinks the Dow will continue to sink; "we've got some selling to do."

Karen Finerman said of tapering, "It's going to happen at some point," and what matters is "the magnitude of the change."

Jon Najarian said "the minutes didn't change anything at all for me" and while he doesn't see really good economic data happening until the first week of October, he thinks the current Dow doldrums are "hardly a big deal."

Mike Khouw, trying to say "basically" as often as possible, said there seems to be consensus that QE is ending, and right now he'd consider selling options premium.

Savita Subramanian made the most curious assessment, affirming her S&P target of 1,750 and claiming, "If anything this should be used as a buying opportunity," while at the same time asserting that the consumer is toppy now and there are "better places to get your cyclical exposure," such as tech, energy and industrials, given we're in the "beginnings of that early stage tightening cycle."

Pressed on the consumer subject, Subramanian actually claimed the economy might be given another leg up by corporate spending.

Tim Seymour said the Goldman Sachs glitch doesn't hurt its bottom line, but, "When machines are running the business ... we should all be concerned."

Congratulations, Tim Seymour

Jon Najarian's bull case for TGT on Wednesday's Fast Money went in with a whimper — "predictable dividend growth."

Tim Seymour didn't have much evidence to back up his own notion that the stock's "going lower, you don't need to buy it," other than Canadian "dilution" of earnings which Najarian shrugged off as no big deal.

Karen Finerman said she sold some TGT because it seems like it's been falling on the same news for 6 days, and bought (ding-ding-ding) (money quote coming) M; "I like Macy's better" (Drink).

Mike Khouw said options buyers were active in weekly 65 TGT puts. He agreed with Karen that (Drink) M is better and that TGT right now looks like "fair money, dead money."

Brian Kelly suggested buying LOW, but only after evaluating it for another "2 or 3 days," which can basically be said about all 7,000 stocks.

Josh Lipton reported that LTD's guidance was light. (Ding-ding-ding).

Karen Finerman said if GPS sells off, she'd buy some.

Finerman said she likes North Atlantic Drilling in the drilling space, which apparently trades under the ADR NATDF. Jon Najarian offered UNL as a Europe play. Tim Seymour said this looks like a "major opportunity" in EEM, and Mike Khouw extremely lukewarmly backed COST.

We've been way remiss — somehow, it didn't make it into the report the day it happened and was announced on the show — in not congratulating Tim Seymour on the new addition to his family. Here's wishing the best. #lotofthingsfarmoreimportantthanstocks

Karen Finerman's Final Trade was C. Tim Seymour said XOM, Brian Kelly said FXC and Jon Najarian said TWO.

Byron Wien: ‘Market has
further to go on the downside’

Byron Wien told Wednesday's Halftime Report, "I've been too cautious probably all year," but indicated he thinks now that position is correct.

"There's no economic reason for tapering," Wien said, adding, "I think the market has further to go on the downside."

Stephen Weiss postulated that Ben S. Bernanke will start the taper spigot before leaving office, because "He doesn't want to leave the market like Greenspan left the market."

Weiss gloated again that he went mostly to cash about 3 or 4 weeks ago.

Jim Iuorio said "at the end of the day" and suggested that Fed clarity really isn't that important and said he sees the 10-year getting to "3.10, 3.12ish." Rich Ilczyszyn said the spread between the 5-year and 10-year is the widest in a couple years, and there's upside if the Fed statements are dovish.

Pete Najarian said volume in options activity has experienced a "significant pullback," and that he's at "probably" his biggest cash position in the last 10 years.

Brian Sozzi, who spent much of the program talking too fast and trying to cram 10-second soundbites into 3 seconds, said, "I'm waiting for the tapernado to hit."

Jon Najarian, interrupted by news that the United States is concerned about what's happening in Syria, said the bond market might be repricing more aggressively than the Fed is actually going to taper, and if that's the case, the market will be good to go soon.

Steve Grasso’s HPQ-double-off-the-bottom call from last year (which he credited to a buddy) was a great one

Steve Milunovich told Wednesday's Halftime Report that AAPL figures to get "a bit of a boost" from CHL, and explained he raised his $500 price target to $560.

Stephen Weiss scoffed at the price target hike as being inconsequentially low; "it's just a way of staying involved." Milunovich agreed, "It is a bit incremental."

Mandy Drury gave herself a hard time for not really pronouncing Milunovich's name too badly (it's not like Jeff "Bayzoos") and assured Milunovich that to make up for it, "You can call me Mindy or Maundy" however often he likes. (How come these guys keep lucking into these make-up offers on names from Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Amanda Drury, who can call us any. Thing. They. Want., and what happens if Seema Mody mispronounces someone?)

Pete Najarian, opining by the seat of his pants without any knowledge of any details, said if Google does get involved with the NFL Sunday Ticket, "I think this could be huge." Brian Sozzi said he thinks DIS will eventually buy EA.

Stephen Weiss said that Meg Whitman's personnel decision probably isn't a sign that things are outperforming, and "at some point you run out of runway" for a turnaround, but he called the stock "too cheap to short."

Jon Najarian said Whitman's move is bullish; "I think the Street will give her credit for that."

Wait on MSG, NEM

Steve Weiss opened his bull case for HD on Wednesday's Halftime Report in bizarre fashion, stating, "This is never a company Carl Icahn's gonna go after" because it effectively deploys cash.

Brian Sozzi argued that HD is "susceptible to a lot of headline risk" regarding tapering, and is facing headwinds in housing affordability.

Pete Najarian weakly stated, "I think I go with Steve," because Pete thinks there's a little more left in the housing surge.

Pete said "I think you can wait a little longer" to get into NEM. Jon Najarian said "I think you wait" to buy MSG.

Brian Sozzi said WMT is taking share from PETM. Stephen Weiss dodged EQR, which he called "hardly a drop," and offered (his favorite subject) an iron ore "write-in drop" thanks to BHP.

Sozzi said the "women's division is doing very very bad" at AEO. Pete Najarian said "I think you can wait" to buy SPLS if it holds its 200-day, but Sozzi contended "I almost think they could be out of business in 5 years."

Jon Najarian said 2.82% is "dangerous" for TOL, and noted that they use models to sell AEO clothing.

Guest David Herro called the slaughter in emerging markets "not necessarily overdone," but it's not time to go in "whole hog." When it is time, he said to look at Mexico after it comes down, and Indonesia, and that Brazil is starting to get very interesting (expect to see Will Landers on the show soon). He likes European banks, particularly CS, and is now underweight Japan.

Kate Kelly said a lot of big shots are piling into anti-Ackman or perhaps pro-Ackman trades.

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was FB. Jon Najarian said FTNT, Steve Weiss said TGT and Brian Sozzi said ESRX.

[Tuesday, August 20, 2013]

Brian Kelly answers his own JCP question without realizing it

Perpetually cute Dana Telsey said on Tuesday's Fast Money that JCP is more like "the next Best Buy" than the next Circuit City.

"At least the wheels are in motion," Telsey said, unlike at Circuit City, and if nothing else, the "comps are less negative."

Steve Grasso wasn't convinced. "I'm afraid of JCPenney still," Grasso said, adding it's "not for the faint of heart."

Brian Kelly asked viewers, if you're long JCP, "Why are you in JCPenney" with so many stocks out there, then admitted that it might be "potentially" good for a trade.

Karen Finerman, short JCP and long puts, was asked if she's concerned about Kyle (Japan is imploding) Bass' long position. "Not so much really actually," Finerman said.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked Karen Finerman a good question, should Bill Ackman apologize to Mike Ullman. "I don't know," Finerman said.

Karen assures Bill Nygren
that the show wants him

Sexy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reported on Tuesday's Fast Money that the correlation between sector performance and the overall market is down from 89% to 70%, meaning this is, as Simon Baker now contends, a "stock-picker's market."

Caruso-Cabrera celebrated this notion by bringing in Bill Nygren, who bluntly told the panel at the outset (as he always does) that his strategy is actually "as opposite from Fast Money as you can get."

"We like the big share repurchases," Nygren said.

Karen Finerman, who had a new hairstyle and looked dynamite Tuesday (sorry this picture isn't so great; she was talking the whole time she had a split screen with Nygren and it was hard to get a good screen grab), praised Nygren's strategy and asked him what he's expecting out of the financials. Nygren said he likes the "really low P.E.s" in the space.

But his top picks are APA, DTV and HAL. Steve Grasso questioned the impact of Egypt on APA, but Michelle Caruso-Cabrera jumped in and insisted Egypt needs the money regardless of who's running the country.

Caruso-Cabrera apparently just realized that Brian Kelly refers to himself in 3rd person, but then she called Paul Hickey "John Hickey," and if that's what it takes to get a pat on the shoulder from MCC, then she can call us any. Thing. She. Wants.

Ticker symbols that should
exist (cont’d): BRA

It barely took a moment or two on Tuesday's Fast Money for Karen Finerman to declare, "I like Macy's" (Drink) as well as, "I like Foot Locker," but teen retailers not so much.

That sounded good to Dana Telsey, who asserted, "There's more to go on Macy's," and also likes URBN and (ding-ding-ding) spoke positively about LTD.

Paul Hickey said this is the time of year to play a retail rebound; "the calendar's working in your favor," and PVH is a promising name.

Steve Grasso said in general that's true, but this year we have the specter of tapering. Hickey contended that is "more and more priced in."

Meanwhile, Hickey made a bull case that there's more gas in the tank for BBY; "the ship has finally stopped sinking." He added that "Amazon has finally relented on collecting sales tax." But Brian Kelly scoffed that "this was all low-hanging fruit."

Kelly actually said he sees "Radio Shack as a buy."

Steve Grasso said "I still think you're OK" being long LULU.

Karen Finerman said the outlook is bleak for BKS; "everything was bad here."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera admitted she's never read the 50 Shades of Grey (neither have we), explaining, "I have my own imagination."

Mike Khouw agreed with Hickey that right now, retailers are selling at a "mild discount," and so this is a good time to buy.

Guest fails to note that airlines are a buy because Simon declared ‘game over’

Adam Guren made a formal case on Tuesday's Fast Money for buy-the-dips-sell-the-rips, saying that after BBRY's spike, he'd "short the stock through buying puts," and in CIE, "We think this was overdone ...we'd be buying here at around $25."

In not exactly a new idea, Guren said he's long DAL, because he thinks the airlines got overly pounded last week and that regardless of what happens for American-US Air, "it doesn't necessarily matter for Delta."

Guren conceded he looked at United, and that might work just as well. (This writer is long DAL and LCC.)

Steve Grasso, making an excellent point actually, contended that "people are gearing up for a skittish September," but he implied it would be too difficult to time and gauge the extent of any selloff. "I don't think you're going to be able to thread this needle," Grasso said. (But Nick Colas says to go to cash for a month and then go back.)

Paul Hickey said there are "2 pluses, 1 minus" in the data right now.

NFLX en route to 300

Mike Khouw said on Tuesday's Fast Money that even though TSLA's had a great run, "I remain skeptical," and in fact puts are outpacing calls, specifically the weekly 145 puts.

But, it's "almost impossible to short it," Khouw said.

Steve Grasso said of TSLA, "It's range-bound right now." Karen Finerman had a great line; "to me the car seems a lot safer than the stock."

In another good line, Finerman said she wasn't familiar with LITB before Tuesday but that they might want to change their acronym to "Light in the Revenue."

Steve Grasso cautioned Elon Musk not to get sidetracked by other projects such as Hyperloop; "focus on Tesla."

Paul Hickey said "we're negative on IBM" and said he would "avoid here."

Hickey said NFLX's big day "paves the way for 300." His Final Trade was PVH.

Mike Khouw said this doesn't seem like a good time for TSO.

Steve Grasso said he doubts we're getting a tapering soon in part on emerging market reasons. Karen Finerman said that as far as the timing goes, "I don't think it really matters."

Grasso said DE has an "inverse relationship" to potash prices and "might be a little volatile." His Final Trade was CREE.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was TLT.

Karen Finerman made a case for NM, explaining, "We don't want oil tankers," but she does want product tankers and dry bulk tankers, and just as she predicted a couple years ago around this time (and that was a debacle unfortunately until this year), pointed out that if rates climb, there's a "lot of upside."

Finerman's Final Trade was HRB.

‘At best a 50/50 chance’

John Brynjolfsson, dubbed "Mr. Armored Wolf" by sexy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, told Tuesday's Halftime Report crew that there's "at best a 50/50 chance" of September tapering; "the key is the macro economy."

But he got the attention of Stephen Weiss and others by saying, "Those are bargain levels for 10-year bonds." However, he said he'd wait until after the minutes to buy.

Josh Brown said that over time, who cares about the rates-to-stocks correlation; just because rates are rising doesn't mean stocks are toast. Brown said this concept is on every trader's screen and we're even seeing (with no evidence presented) questions from "mom and pop, what's the 10-year doing," so he sees this sentiment fad as peaking.

Mr. New World predicted the 10-year will reach "3%, 3.25," but that's fine, beause it traditionally reflects growth, and "I'm incredibly bullish on the market ... to me this is a summer doldrums pullback."

Stephanie Link said what she always says; "we're buying a whole bunch of different names." Steve Weiss reaffirmed that he's in more cash than he's been in about a year.

Jack Bogle said rates are "close to a turning point" and offered that "bonds are a much better value than they were." As for an investment mix, "I think the 60/40 still holds pretty well," Bogle said.

Pressed to explain how emerging markets got so bad, Bogle really could only say it's "hard to believe," but at least they're cheaper now.

Aggressive hosting: Michelle cuts off Joe on ‘decouple,’ then says his IBM argument didn’t do it for her

Jim Iuorio said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that he still thinks gold has a decent outlook and that he's not concerned about a dip in demand for gold coins; "I don't think this is a big deal."

But Anthony Grisanti argued that shorts were actually increasing as gold burst through 1,350, and he would sell at 1,380.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera told guest stock picker Mark Freeman that many CNBCers "unfortunately" remain exposed to GE, but Freeman blessed the stock as having "improving fundamentals," and even tossed in an "at the end of the day" regarding GE's favorable multiple.

Freeman also likes KMI.

Stephanie Link said of GE, "We actually trimmed some yesterday."

Joe Terranova said the top foreign markets to play are Mexico and South Korea, because of their ties to the U.S. But when Joe brought up "decouple," MCC said she didn't want to hear it, and cut him off.

Dr. New World had no better argument for buying IBM than bottom-of-range, saying "I think this is a buying opportunity" around 180 or 185 because it's experiencing "repricing."

Stephanie Link could only say that IBM is "fairly valued for what you're getting" and is in the "8th or 9th inning" of expansion/deal-making.

Josh Brown tepidly said he agrees with Link, that the stock is fairly valued.

Stephanie tries to turn AAPL bust into a Cramer Brag Trade

Stephanie Link got Fast Fired on Tuesday's Halftime Report for being bearish on AAPL on June 24 (note that's a key day, when Jon Najarian started plunging into all the panic selling in gold and gold miners), and then insisted to guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that Cramer was "right in the beginning" for selling at 430, but after it fell to 390, "We weren't good enough to get back in at that level."

"I'm glad to be Fast-Fired because we still own some," Link claimed.

Dominic Chu, getting instantly impressive amounts of airtime, listed BBY, URBN and JCP as "Walking Dead" stocks. Stephen Weiss demanded to tackle each one individually, calling BBY a "zero-sum game" of cutting costs though it "probably still goes higher ... at the end of the day."

Weiss added that he thought "the quarter was terrible" in JCP, and barely said anything about URBN.

Dr. New Land said "I got shaken out last week" of URBN, but it's got momentum.

Link said that JPM, "down 8½%, stock starts to get very interesting" (Drink).

Stephen Weiss said Ackman could still be bailed out on HLF if there's an investigation (see likelihood of that on this page below), but "we've not seen that happening." #yesfedseagertohaverichhedgefundguydirectwhattheyprobe

Josh Brown called TSLA a stock for "momentum players only."

Hearing that Kyle Bass has become a JCP long, Josh Brown said, "I wouldn't want to be short here." Steve Weiss said he's no longer short, and Joe Terranova said not to get long the equity, but buy upside calls.

Weiss' Final Trade was M (Drink). Mr. New Land said PXD, Link said IDXX and Brown said BK.

[Monday, August 19, 2013]

How to quickly find a Business Insider reader-comments page

The most curious comment on Monday's Fast Money came during a Google discussion.

Henry Blodget pointed out that Google has a resilient 1-trick pony, unlike Apple, which requires hot new products on a regular basis.

"It's highly unlikely that somebody comes in and disrupts search," Blodget said (and here's the money quote), contending Google is "improving it incrementally."

Interesting. How exactly does Blodget rate the accuracy/effectiveness/relevance (the fact we don't even know which term is best tells you what an elusive subject this is) of a Google search, now compared with years ago?

Furthermore, what kind of proof does Blodget have that Google provides a more accurate/relevant/effective search than Yahoo! or bing?

For years, Fast Money folks have recommended or not recommended GOOG shares, yet no one on the show — ever — has evaluated its chief product against competitors.

The guess here, and it's only a guess, is that it's all about a branding miracle; people started using it because it's simple, and a cute word. They preferred it over the clutter of a Yahoo or Alta Vista or AOL page and for whatever reason, it caught on.

That's not to diminish the achievement of Google's presence. It's almost unfathomable success. (Oh, if we could only accomplish about 1/1 millionth of that ...) However they did it, they did it.

The question here is about the usefulness of the product.

As a case in point, consider the screen image above.

That's what you get when you type in "Henry Blodget" (Yes, we're aware that there's a regional component to Google searching, but that doesn't appear to be a factor here.)

The first hit is Blodget's Wikipedia page. Fair enough; Wikipedia is undoubtedly popular. But remember that anyone's Wikipedia page is supposedly fair game to any anonymous writer (including the subject), and the level of oversight on any given page varies tremendously across the board. Blodget's Wikipedia page might be well-written, well-researched, well-sourced and reasonably objective. Or it might be none of the above. Google undoubtedly makes no distinction. Blodget's own most recent company bio at Business Insider would likely be regarded as the best hit here because viewers would at least understand that page to be Blodget's "official" background.

Notice that Google has seized on the Wikipedia phenomenon by including a mini-bio of Blodget to the right. Who has verified this information, such as Blodget's birth year? Notice there is a tiny credit to Wikipedia. So isn't this a co-opting of Wikipedia's own page?

The 2nd hit is to a Business Insider page. That makes perfect sense. Except when you click on it, you find it's not the "main" Blodget page at Business Insider, with his bio and a list of Blodget's articles. Instead, it's a list of articles that Blodget has "commented" on — in other words, BI articles in which he has entered a reader comment. (He apparently does this on most of his own articles, but not all.) This may be worth a search to some readers looking for, say, "Henry Blodget reader comments," but is certainly a strange page to serve as the No. 2 Google hit.

Finally, the bust. Notice the 3rd hit is to one particular article Blodget wrote, 2 weeks ago, about Jeff Bezos' motivation for buying the Washington Post.

That would make perfect sense if someone searched for "Henry Blodget Bezos Post." (And that's exactly what Google, bing and Yahoo! all deliver with those terms.)

How in the world has Google deduced that someone typing "Henry Blodget" wants this particular article ahead of, say, Blodget's Business Insider Index page or Twitter page?

Below are 2 pages from a bing search of "Henry Blodget":

Why do we show 2 of these pages? Because they were done on the same computer, on different browsers, and the results are different. (The same happens with Yahoo, by the way.)

One of them, like Google, chooses the curious BI Reader Comments page as the 2nd hit.

The other one, even more curiously, picks a 2004 Motley Fool article about Blodget.

At least at bing, we're given a sexy net worth estimate (from 2011, attributed to Klout), and a "Location."

For very specific search terms, these search engines are essentially the same. For much broader terms, none of them have a clue. That's true on the home page of search engines, at YouTube, or Amazon.com. In fact, the results (especially at YouTube and Amazon) are partly a self-fulfilling prophecy because once a person begins typing in words like "Henry Blodget," the search engines attempt to supply the remaining words and compel users to add words they might otherwise not have added.

Figuring out what someone really wants when he types in "Henry Blodget" is next to impossible. We get that. No one's saying it's easy, or even possible.

So here's the point: Google, like the others, is guessing. That's not why you buy the stock, because it somehow guesses better, as Blodget implied. You buy it for the same reason smokers buy Marlboro, because of the branding; somehow, it's hipper, cooler and/or more fun than the competition.

Whether that type of moat is easily assailable is something the Fast crew should discuss.

Whatever happened to that
Microsoft browser spinoff?

Despite contending that Google search has seen improvements, Henry Blodget refused to go out on a limb on Monday's Fast Money, saying Google has tried a lot of ventures and gotten deep into mobile and fiber, but "the question is, what kicks in after search," which is basically the question guest host Brian Sullivan was asking.

Sullivan asserted, "They really are a 1-product company," but Steve Grasso pointed to YouTube as having potential for a "real explosion," without mentioning that a lot of stuff posted there is bootleg music and clips.

Blodget agreed that YouTube is "unbelievably dominant."

However, another guest, Dennis Berman, speculated that within a decade, Google could find itself "in a Microsoft situation" regarding antitrust inquiries, and "perhaps splinters up into a few different companies."

Pete Najarian said the only problem with Google mobile is how much growth can there be left with that penetration rate.

Josh Brown said, as he always does, "I gotta tell you," the market has been weighing GOOG vs. AAPL for the last year, and he predicted the stock would get to 1,000.

Steve Grasso said of GOOG, "I'm actually still long the name," and called it one of his favorite all-time trades. Jim Lebenthal countered that AAPL right now looks like GOOG a couple years ago when it was out of favor and said the "buyback story is still there."

Pete’s making a list

Guest host Brian Sullivan didn't exactly bring the most potent topic to kick off Monday's Fast Money, asking the crew what rising rates will do to stocks.

Pete Najarian said "no doubt" rates will impact the rally, but he sees a good opportunity to get into MOS.

Sudden new panelist Jim Lebenthal suggested rising rates will be a good thing for equities.

Steve Grasso said rising rates will give a name like Schwab a chance to collect some fees, but would be "negative for utilities."

Then Grasso admitted, "I actually played around in DHI."

Pete Najarian acknowledged, "We're all talking about a list," including homebuilders and airlines, but Pete stressed that those are just "trades" and not investments.

But Josh Brown argued that there's a "substantial case" for a head-and-shoulders pattern in XHB, prompting Pete to bellow that the XHB isn't really the homebuilders.

Brown shrugged and said, "Pulte technically looks even worse than the index."

Lebenthal concluded, "You wanna buy the things that have been beaten down the most."

Brian Sullivan implies he’s not making enough money to refinance his home

China expert Stephen Roach visited the Nasdaq for Monday's Fast Money and decreed "fears of crash, Brian, are overblown," and that Beijing has "plenty of ammo" to support its economy and the fact it's not using it all is a sign of confidence.

Roach said that while China isn't going to dump Treasurys, down the road, "They're gonna rebalance away from the Treasury play."

Brian Sullivan, who offers a healthy point of view to the conversations but sometimes is a little too me-first, crossed that line when tediously relaying a pointless anecdote about getting his own 30-year fixed in 2005 and then telling Roach, "Have you seen TV pay scales lately?"

Jim Lebenthal argued the bull case for CAT essentially with the assertion that the shorts are a year late. Josh Brown predicted the stock "continues to get cheaper ... at the end of the day, this stock is going to be a proxy for China."

Pete Najarian, more succinctly than Lebenthal, said he agrees with the bull case because the stock's at the bottom of a 2-year range, a "great opportunity now to buy."

‘Rounding top’ in BBY

It's been, what, a day or two since we've heard about JCPenney; Brian Stutland on Monday's Fast Money said someone was buying the JCP 11/12.5 August put spread; "there's a lot of fear in this stock here."

Stutland said normally the expected movement isn't so great, but "options players are playing for an 18% move."

Josh Brown said of INTC, there's "nothing here that I'm excited about, other than the dividend."

Pete Najarian said of DG, "I like this entire industry." Likewise, Steve Grasso said of SSYS/DDD, "I love 3-D printing."

Grasso said HD is tricky now and to allocate maybe 20% of what you'd invest. Josh Brown said BBY has "kind of got this rounding top."

Kate Kelly reported that Phil Falcone presumably will be taking a far lower profile.

Grasso said his nat gas play now is to buy XCO. Josh Brown said he prefers BK, his Final Trade, over C, which he said was "the only megabank that didn't take out the May highs."

Pete Najarian said that playing QCOM January 2015 calls is too far in the future. Najarian's Final Trade was SE.

Grasso said he'd pick LGF over DIS. His Final Trade was P. Jim Lebenthal said that if you're questioning when to play TBT, "The short answer is never." His Final Trade was MPC.

Murphy predicts possible
AAPL double

CNBC up-and-comer Dominic Chu reported on Monday's Halftime Report that since Google went public, it's actually Priceline that's the No. 1 performer, and actually MNST is No. 2 in the S&P 500.

The GOOG discussion brought a curious assessment from Mike Murphy, who said people are wondering about the $1,000 level and suggested people just wait until either AAPL, GOOG or PCLN "splits their stock and actually tears right through the $500 level ... I think that's coming."

The latter 2 surely wouldn't be a surprise, but AAPL at $1,000/$500x2 surely would be.

Murphy engaged Steve Weiss in a dozer of a GOOG debate, with Weiss the bull starting off with the "relatively inexpensive" argument (now that's some catalyst) and Murphy countering that GOOG money has been going to AAPL and FB and he thinks the stock could test the $790 range.

Pete Najarian said of AAPL, "The stock's going to 520 before you can blink," and also predicted $45 for Facebook "in the next couple of months."

Airlines turn south in Simon’s favor, gains ground on DAL in that first-class-to-California offer, but show doesn’t mention it

Probably the most exciting part of Monday's Halftime Report was Brian Sullivan pointing out that Aubrey McClendon is Kate Upton's uncle (though they didn't show any pictures); it really wasn't Stephen Weiss saying that the Jackson Hole meeting is like having 4 community colleges in the Final Four and Sullivan suggesting one of them could be the next Duke. ("These kids just played a really great game; I'm just so happy for these kids.")

Jens Nordvig said that in the Fed sweepstakes, "Yellen has a slight lead," but Summers seems to be getting the buzz. Nordvig predicted a "major strengthening leg" in the dollar over the next 3-4 months.

Mike Murphy said he likes C under 50, but Pete Najarian contended that there's not "enough of a pullback yet" in banks.

Mike Ryan said stocks didn't get ahead of earnings, so the Fed wasn't the primary catalyst of the gains. Ryan said he'd avoid "long-duration Treasurys."

Brian Stutland said you can have good-looking horses in the starting gate, but the ponies "could all break their legs," then assured, "I love horses by the way PETA."

Meanwhile, speaking of Aubrey, Kate Kelly reported that Carl Icahn "sees something he likes" in CHK, but it's "hard to say" just what. Sullivan questioned how Icahn could take stakes in so many companies of varying industries with a degree of expertise; "they're all so different."

Guest host actually asks Stephen Weiss if he’s buying the dip in JCP

For the 2nd day in a row, the Halftime Report on Monday took up a provocative gold discussion, this time with John Bridges predicting "at least a technical bounce here" and suggesting that traditionally gold finds a "near-term peak" at the end of September.

Bridges mentioned EGO and NGD as miner names he likes, and cautioned, "Gold is not an investment. Gold is a wealth-protection device."

Mike Murphy shrugged, "I would be selling gold, not buying it." Steve Weiss said to never buy a miner. Pete Najarian thundered that silver is the real play.

Meanwhile, Murphy said "this is an opportunity" for PHM and that the builders trade together.

Stephanie Link said she/Cramer would buy JPM a couple dollars lower. Link said "guidance is going to be key" with BBY (and when is it not). She said she's "looking to buy" URBN, and made LRCX her Final Trade.

Guest host Brian Sullivan asked Steve Weiss if he'd buy the dip in JCP; Weiss said 1) Sullivan doesn't know him well enough (i.e., doesn't watch this show enough) and 2) "no chance."

Mike Murphy touted Z; "it should ecover today's pullback quickly." But he said of ANR, "You don't wanna buy this stock down here." His Final Trade was DD.

Weiss said of INTC, "I think you wanna sell it here," and he said to "fade the strength" in CLF. His Final Trade was C.

Pete Najarian called TSLA "too difficult to buy" at least without options. His Final Trade was AAPL.

[Friday, August 16, 2013]

This time Marc Faber
doesn’t try to define ‘crash’

Just a week after sharing his thoughts with Fast Money, Marc Faber apparently wasn't satisfied and decided an encore was in order.

So, on Friday's Fast Money, Faber once again dialed in to defend gold and predict more trouble in stocks.

Except this week, there was nothing about the loopy 20%-but-it's-not-a-crash call that Faber made the previous Friday.

Instead, he gave this week's Fast Money crew a different reason to chuckle, saying his preferred way of owning gold is to stash the physical commodity in a safe deposit box outside the United States, preferably in Asia.

Also, Faber said gold has had a good rally since 1999, "so I don't think it's all that bad," which is like saying, based on those career stats, that Alex Rodriguez is an up-and-comer.

As many bears like to do, Faber claims the equity market is worse than the actual indices, reporting a "serious worsening of stocks within the S&P" specifically in retail and homebuilders, and the "airlines have collapsed."

He said the few strong stocks carrying the Nasdaq are in "bubble territory."

Faber was asked by guest host Mandy Drury to name names in the gold space. He named too many of them, starting with NEM, FCX and ABX, and we quickly had trouble following him.

Steve Grasso shrugged, "I don't have a safety deposit box in Asia, so what I do is I buy GDX."

DAL up 2.6% since touching 19.32 Wednesday while Simon made first-class-tickets-to-California offer

Dan Nathan, who admittedly was forced to do double-duty Friday on Fast Money and Options Action, borrowed Josh Brown's Halftime Report line that we're "already in a correction" to kick off Friday's Fast.

That notion "makes a lot of sense here," Nathan said, then refreshingly admitted that he's not one of those people who has been buying the dips all year, and "that's been a big, big mistake."

Nathan thinks the S&P can fall to 1,600. (If so, count us in.)

Nobody this week has come up with something to top Dr. New World's "30 days of frustration" for June.

Sexy guest host Amanda Drury, who looked dynamite and beamed the whole program with the "blokes," asked Josh Brown if the rise in interest rates would be "orderly" or "disorderly."

"No," said Brown, distracted by something on his computer.

Then Brown played the Fast Money Drinking Game, saying what matters is "the speed at which the rate is shooting up" (Drink) and that it must "ameliorate."

And here we thought, based on what Judge said yesterday, that Ben Bernanke owed the "Wall Street community" a private meeting without journalists to explain taper so that stocks won't ever go down again.

Steve Grasso opined, "I think today was about Summers vs. Yellen."

Russ Koesterich told the crew that U.S. valuations "are a bit stretched" and so he likes Europe, which he said "is not yet Japan," while conceding, "the European banks are still the Achilles heel" and he would "much rather own German industrial companies."

Steve Grasso joked that for Jeremy Siegel, on the Halftime Report (see below), a "choppy" market is equivalent to a bear call.

But Josh Brown defended Siegel, saying Siegel's outlook is "pretty realistic."

And, Brown defended the permabull community. "Actually if you're a permabull, you're gonna get it right most of the time," Brown said, correctly (although it sure sucks during years like 2008).

Dan Nathan said TRIP pulled back on CEO comments after a big run. Steve Grasso said the homebuilders "have become oversold," and "I think you're OK to nibble."

Josh Brown said Carl didn't game AAPL; "I actually think it was gonna go up anyway," and Brown sees 500 as a "pretty decent amount of support."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was CREE. Dan Nathan said sell Z, Brian Kelly said sell TBT, and Josh Brown said to stay in cash.

Blogger claims Friday’s Halftime crew ‘missed the substance’ of the gold discussion

That didn't take long.

The gold community took keen interest in Friday's Halftime Report, which included commentary from John Hathaway of The Tocqueville Gold Fund.

Hathaway told Judge Wapner that "there's a big short squeeze taking place" because the "paper" version of futures traders, etc., is leveraged at 100 to 1, a point we sort of get and sort of don't get.

Hathaway said that gold "was ridiculously oversold," and contended that tapering really isn't anything, and that the Fed can't really exit QE "without substantial collateral damage."

All of which caught the attention of the blogosphere, some of whom weren't exactly impressed by Judge's Halftime ensemble.

"Of course the CNBC 'analysts' who commented following Hathaway's remarks completely missed the substance of what he said. Real financial journalism has not descended upon the West quite yet," said one writer, who nevertheless praised CNBC for giving airtime to a voice such as Hathaway's.

While not taking a position on this opinion, this page will point out that Friday's show was lukewarm at best, and that Bellevue's crème de la crème, a onetime Friday regular, inexplicably hasn't been tapped to spice things up for a long time.

Herb Greenberg gloated about buying IAU and GDX a month ago.

Herb timing the market brilliantly

"The correction's already started," Josh Brown declared on Friday's Halftime Report, so if you were hoping to trade as great as Herb Greenberg, you're out of luck.

Because Herb, given a farewell tour with a seat at the Halftime Report table as he embarks on contributor status, pointed out that even though he's not a trader, he's got an IRA, with a mutual fund, and yesterday he "sold the whole thing ... I didn't want to be there," the first of his 2 Brag Trades on the day.

Mike Murphy said we could be in a deeper selloff, but only to 6%; "I don't think it gets worse than that."

Paul Richards contended that "the bond market's trying to push Bernanke" but said that if tapering is pushed back from September, "I think you're gonna get a huge rally."

Jeremy Siegel asserted that this is the "seasonally worst part of the year" and, echoing Nick Colas of a day ago, said the market figures to be "a challenge over the next 5 or 6 weeks," but that there won't be a September tapering if stocks plunge, and Dow 16,000-17,000 is still in the cards for year-end.

Someone tell Karen: Mike Murphy would rather buy M than JWN

Friday's Halftime Report tried to conduct a little go-round on AAPL, but honestly they had almost nothing to say.

Judge Wapner pointed out that Carl Icahn wouldn't have plowed into the stock if he thought the upcoming iPhone was "crap." But Josh Brown argued there's no way Carl can know; "he's not a technologist."

Brown found AMAT perplexing; "I'm not really sure why it's up ... I would avoid it."

But Brown was highly enthusiastic about P. "I love this stock; I think it's going higher ... probably gets to 25," Brown said.

Herb Greenberg said JOSB has been a story of "new stores" and seems to be stalling. Herb said GIS was on the receiving end of a Jefferies downgrade.

Enis Taner said "I'd be a seller" of CLF.

Mike Murphy said, "I like JetBlue here." And then, referencing the JWN selloff, said "I would look at a Macy's," the Greatest All-Time Mall Retailer Since Sliced Bread According To CNBC Panelists.

Murphy again assumed his designated role, homebuilder defender: "We added to our Lennar position this morning," he said, pointing to the selloff in the sector.

Enis Taner wasn't impressed, saying the positive "on the recovery side is all existing home sales." Josh Brown downright scoffed that the XHB is "the sloppiest sector chart" with an obvious "head and shoulders" pattern.

Herb: Impressively diligent,
not quite glib enough

Friday's Halftime Report gave a small platform to already-impressive CNBC newcomer/ex-Bloombergite Dominic Chu, who reported on the Beacon Spin-Off Index, which has shown that spinoff companies on average outperform parents by 22% in the first year.

Chu said there's an ETF for this, CSD.

The guess here is that companies that get spun off tend to be popular companies, otherwise there wouldn't be much market for the shares, so that probably accounts more for the performance than for parent companies suddenly "right-sizing" the corporation and "unlocking" value.

Mike Murphy pointed to ADT/Tyco as an example of success. Josh Brown pointed to COP and PSX.

Murphy made a bull case for GMCR starting with the notion it's being "added to the Nasdaq 100 ... I think it gets through 80 here."

Herb Greenberg, enlisted to play the bear, said the same thing he's been saying for 3-4 years about this company pointed to "declining sales" and "peaking, uh, penetration with brewers."

In the understatement of the day, Josh Brown said he'd have to side with Murphy, because the bear points made by Herb are already well-known.

Josh Brown defended FSLR, his Final Trade, even amid Judge's good zinger about being as blue as Brown's shirt, telling viewers, "We'll continue to buy it in the 30s."

Brown said he prefers "almost any other tech stock" to IBM.

Enis Taner, denied a Final Trade, said he's not a huge fan of BX's link to overall markets but he does like it more than a majority of stocks.

Mike Murphy said he would buy FB in the low 30s; "I would continue to wait for a pullback." His Final Trade was PBR.

Herb Greenberg said of VXX, "This thing has fooled a lot of people."

Herb is leaving Englewood Cliffs to return to San Diego (as you saw on this site's home page), where he will remain a CNBC contributor, and we wish him well.

The honest assessment is that Herb's niche is print media, where he can detail the eyebrow-raising company statements, and where he flourished prior to joining CNBC. On TV, he stammers and pauses too much, and he quickly slipped into a tiresome niche he never dug himself out of (#warningtoAckman), which is Curmudgeon Saying The Same Old Things About The Same Old Controversial High-P.E. Stocks That Continue To Surge Regardless.

Given a Final Trade, Herb said to look out for the "red flags" over BDBD.

[Thursday, August 15, 2013]

One Fed statement,
and it’s 1,750

Nick Colas, brought back coincidentally on a day the S&P falls 24 points, seemed on Thursday's Fast Money to be getting a little overly profound in asserting his thesis is being realized with multiple/earnings-speak, etc., when Thursday was just a ridiculous, no-reason selloff that'll be erased with a Fed statement.

But Colas said he "absolutely" recommends being in cash right now, for at least a few weeks.

Steve Grasso had it right. "You're thinking about rolling into cash for basically a month. So the average investor, if you wanna trim, trim, but you're talking about a month here. I think it's a little silly."

The only problem with Grasso's outlook was that he actually said on the show that the earnings show that people have been buying cars and houses and not apparel.

Karen Finerman said, "That actually doesn't quite make sense," pointing out that (most) people have a "finite amount of money" and don't buy a car and house every year, and by the way, at the beginning of Q2, housing and retail were both strong. (At least she didn't say she's shorting a stock based on the expectation of fewer inmates.)

Later, newcomer Paul Hickey (let's see, who has left the rotation recently ... Keith McCullough ... maybe someone else we haven't realized ... we've been trying for years to engineer more air time for JJ Kinahan ...) argued that homebuilders are a win-win trade.

Brian Kelly debated that with an even loopier comment than Steve Grasso made, saying you don't want to hear sellers trumpeting how great a home buy is because in selling their home, they've decided "the cash is more valuable than the house."

Kelly thinks the homebuilding sector is "still overdone" to the upside.

But Grasso said, "I did buy D.R. Horton today," and made it his Final Trade. Scott Nations said somebody plowed into 3,000 November 21 calls in DHI.

OMG ... Karen wants to buy M!!!!

We've had it.

Thursday's Fast Money crew was sort of discussing JWN when Karen Finerman felt obliged to say, "If Macy's trades down on this tomorrow, I'd rather own Macy's."

Why doesn't she tell the whole truth — if M trades DOWN or UP for ANY reason on Friday, she wants to buy some. (Even though she likely hasn't been in one of the stores in a decade.)

Retail renter (or something like that) Dan Hurwitz paid a visit to the Nasdaq and said the conclusion he was able to "glean" from the retail reports is that "it's tough out there," and (this is a good one) "some retailers will be right ... and some will be wrong."

But rather than try the tricky world of specialty teen apparel, Hurwitz said he'd "much rather be broadline."

Hurwitz was making a point about how big-box retailers such as Best Buy are focusing more on the niche of people shopping online and picking up in the store, and so they need the space just to have the inventory available.

But Steve Grasso made an awesome counterpoint to that, noting that these stores are not paying warehouse rent in a big-box retail location.

Hurwitz's response? "They can afford it." (If you needed assurance that BBY's 2013 gain is real.)

Hurwitz said he thinks retailers that are "off-price with value" (you know, TJX, etc.) will do well. Grasso said "I would stay away from apparel" but reaffirmed that he likes DECK. Paul Hickey, in his maiden voyage, impressed Melissa Lee by pointing out JWN has lowered guidance in 5 of the last 8 quarters.

Karen Finerman said EL "always performs, great stock" (hopefully that means Simon won't accuse it of trying to be a lifestyle brand), and grumbled that maybe pressure will force the JOSB executive team to initiate a Street dialogue that "they do not have at all."

But what was John Chambers’ tone?

CSCO has long been one of the most boring subjects on Fast Money, to the point they've graciously mostly stopped talking about it.

But they were talking about it on Thursday's Fast Money, and not in the most glowing terms.

Paul Hickey said not to extrapolate it to the broader market; he "wouldn't worry too much about Cisco here."

Ryan Jacob dialed in to discuss the name but told Mel Lee "we haven't yet" added to his stake.

Steve Grasso utterly dismissed the notion of Dan Nathan purportedly buying the stock Thursday or, if he did, keeping it overnight; "it's that first day rule," Grasso said.

Jacob indicated FB was his top pick, "one of the biggest runways right now."

Grasso said you want to be long MU if you think, as he does, that DRAM prices are going higher.

Paul Hickey said he thinks BRK "can play a little bit of catchup."

If this picture wasn’t the most glorious sight you saw all day, you don’t have a pulse

Brian Kelly said on Thursday's Fast Money that somebody put on a big gold trade at the end of the day.

But he said he didn't know who or why, so make your decisions accordingly.

Steve Grasso pointed out that GDX was thumping the GLD.

Guest Mebane Faber said he actually likes Greece, or the GREK, noting the "U.S. is out of 40 countries the 2nd-most expensive country we track."

Faber offered a curious argument for buying regions that have been shellacked into tiny P.E. ratios, saying when you do that, "you're getting a margin of safety."

Brian Kelly said the GREK will work for 10 years, but it's "slow money."

Steve Grasso carped that AAPL needs innovative new products, not buybacks, to sustain a rising share price. Karen Finerman quibbled with that, saying they've got plenty of cash to both innovate and reward shareholders; "we don't know what they're doing with it."

Karen had perhaps the show's funniest line, apparently caught off by being on the receiving end of a BBRY tweet. "What's my take on it?" Finerman asked, noting it's apparently for sale, and "I thought they were before," so maybe that was just the "open house."

Steve Grasso said he prefers SCTY to FSLR. Paul Hickey conceded "down dollar is good for CAT" but argued, "avoid CAT here." Karen Finerman reiterated her CAT short, suggesting the accounting for sales might be dubious, even though "I'm not saying there's anything fraudulent here."

Gorjus Seema Mody was called upon to deliver a report on the appeal of Europe and utterly owned the camera in a new orange dress. (One of our favorite realizations about these appearances is the notion that Karen and Melissa at some point will quietly say to each other, "Well, she DOES look very good" ... (Stop that now; BIG trouble if this paragraph posts).)

Paul Hickey's Final Trade was GNRC. Karen Finerman said she sold MDY puts. Brian Kelly said to sell FCX.

Talk about greed: Judge suggests Bernanke needs to comfort Wall Street in private meeting apparently because stocks haven’t gone up enough

As of the close of Thursday's trading, the S&P 500 is up 16.42% for the year.

That's apparently not enough for Judge Wapner, who suggests there's a Fed problem.

Steve Liesman mentioned on Thursday's Halftime Report, which came against a backdrop of another summer day of head-scratching, goofy selling just weeks after an all-time high, that the Fed is still trying to convince the market that tapering is not tightening, evidenced by recent comments from James Bullard.

Shockingly, Judge Wapner, presumably a member of the news media, suggested that Ben Bernanke should be more focused on enriching the 1% rather than disseminating important information to the general public; "maybe he needs to get a big Wall Street community in the room instead of a bunch of reporters and tell 'em, look, there's a difference."

Or, maybe certain knuckleheads who get paid 6 digits or more (pre-decimal point) for packaging and selling mortgage bonds and credit default swaps should be able to figure it out on their own. #yeesh

Jim Russell told the crew Thursday, "We would guess for September" as a tapering starting point. "We do like the financials," Russell said, but you "have to be selective."

Sanchez 10-13, 125 yards

It was Stephen Weiss who actually assessed Thursday's market meltdown for what it was, telling Judge Wapner's Thursday Halftime Report, "Nothing goes up in a straight line," and that he's "only looking for another maybe 3% down" before returning to buying in a big way.

Josh Brown cooked up a goofy analogy about the stock market being like Wile E. Coyote heading off the cliff, which was fine until "once we looked down."

Brown claimed, "I think this is healthy," and then said it's been an "overheated market."

Summer tends to be preseason for stocks just as much as NFL football; the notion that Thursday's action matters in the slightest (Dennis Gartman claims it does, on Maria Bartiromo's Closing Bell) is like the notion that the score of the Jets-Lions game last week should imperil Rex Ryan's job.

We think that was a "healthy" outcome for the Jets, actually.

Mike Murphy opined that the market would like it if tapering did not start in September.

Stephen Weiss implies cable/broadcast stocks are the real Wile-E.-Coyote-with-an-anvil scenario

Stephanie Link and Mike Murphy conducted an impromptu debate on Thursday's Halftime Report over DIS, with Link claiming FOXA is the stronger buy. (But this time she didn't explain to people that they should take the broadcast division and not newspaper division.)

Murphy though said DIS has theme parks, and that one bomb isn't going to hurt DIS over the next 12 months, remember "John something or other."

Stephen Weiss curiously issued a stark warning about broadcast stocks. "The world's changing very quickly. We could've made the same argument about the newspapers" before the Internet, Weiss said.

Debbie Weinswig, who hasn't been on the show for a while, was asked by Judge Wapner if she's wavering on her WMT bullishness.

"No not at all," Weinswig said, conceding while Stephanie Link could be heard chuckling in the background that the company has a lot of work to do internationally.

Weinswig predicted the JCP leadership would remain intact until after the holidays, now that the company can take a "long-term approach."

The shocker though was when Weinswig described JCPenney as an "amazing company with a great reputation."

Stephen Weiss calls INTC ‘too big to win,’ unless you're buying at the bottom and selling at the top

Rich Ilczyszyn indicated on Thursday's Halftime Report that 3.0% seems to be in the cards for the 10-year; "sure looks like it."

Anthony Grisanti said it's not that rates are rising that is the concern, but (Drink) "it's the spike in yields."

Things could be worse, though; Josh Brown said that in Russia, "if you're a shareholder, and you open your mouth, they gun you down."

Mike Murphy argued a bull case for INTC, saying Thursday's downgrade is "too late." Josh Brown said the stock only has this much strength for its yield, and, "I gotta tell you something," the bulls are "overstating the possibility" of the company finding new markets.

Stephen Weiss, offering curious analogies all day, said INTC represents the "Too big to win" problem, and that you should (this is really helpful) sell it at the peaks and buy it at the bottoms, but he told Murphy the present selloff isn't enough.

Weiss claimed, "Without Ackman and Icahn, we'd have a 45-minute show," and he could've added that it should only be 30 minutes to begin with.

Amazon's art chieftain, Peter Faricy, said the company sells works from under $100 to the millions that will appeal to "people who wanna decorate their house," and shrugged off Judge's rightful concerns that people might not want to buy art online without being able to see it or handle it first by asserting that Amazon has partnered with "some of the most respected, reputable, prestigious galleries in the world."

Stephanie Link said to buy F at 15, then saw Josh Brown and Mike Murphy both make the stock their Final Trade. Murphy said he still likes LEN. Link's Final Trade was SLB, and Stephen Weiss said to sell German bunds.

[Wednesday, August 14, 2013]

How many $38,000 handbags have sold since Oprah indicated she likes them?

Surprise, surprise.

Karen Finerman said at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money that, even though she probably hasn't been in one in decades, "we bought Macy's" (Drink).

But Finerman said she trimmed TGT and bought some KSS puts.

Liz Dunn, most famous for backing the Ron Johnson turnaround for a very long time (and also calling for selloffs in LULU during its hypergrowth phase), said we've seen "pretty ugly numbers" from M and other retailers.

Dunn wasn't exactly the most provocative pundit (we would've preferred Stacey Widlitz, but we don't want to get into trouble for being misunderstood), telling the panel, "I think the moderate department store sector is one I've been particularly negative on," and while pointing out that handbags have been a bright spot in retail, stressed that "really the back half is not looking great."

Dunn added that she's "incrementally more cautious on um, on Fossil."

Steve Grasso, noting Cisco's results, questioned, "is retail the canary in the coal mine." (Because John Chambers isn't buying enough handbags?)

Dan Nathan declared of CSCO, "It is by all means a bellwether," but thinks after Wednesday night's selloff the stock is a buy, at a "pretty decent level."

But Grasso said, "This is a sign that things are getting a little bit sloppy around the edges," then warned viewers, "You don't go in on the first day," even though folks representing probably 150 million shares are about to do just that on Thursday.

Grasso, whose fine haircut was probably judged overly harshly on this site this week as a "bowl" cut, later told a tweeter, "I would be staying away from retail" and WMT.

Howard Lindzon seems to think everyone is arguing with him when they’re only asking him good questions

Howard Lindzon, after uncorking a strange greeting to Melissa Lee, announced his mother was watching Wednesday's Fast Money, and then proceeded to explain that he's apparently really tired of discussing the subjects he was apparently summoned to the show to discuss.

The interview was presented as though Lindzon would defend the use of Twitter, by Carl Icahn and others, to declare stock calls.

Lindzon did defend this, fairly well, saying "Carl" probably a dozen times and conceding "it's a little bit of theater" but "seems quite legal to me."

However, Lindzon sounded more like he was defending StockTwits vs. general Twitter, which he indicated is a haven for spammers and pump-and-dumpers and people with dubious motives.

Unfortunately, both Melissa Lee (is Twitter like Yahoo finance message boards of a decade ago) and Brian Kelly (does Tim Cook need to disclose Icahn conversations) asked excellent questions that Lindzon seemed too weary to tackle, and so he didn't tackle them really, telling Lee, "We could debate this endlessly," and telling Kelly, "We could argue this all day Brian," even though he agreed with Kelly's suggestion that there's a "gray area" and Kelly was arguing nothing with him.

Lindzon indicated with a Twitterpic that CNBC provided him a limo for Wednesday's appearance.

And if CNBC is suddenly so concerned about pumping-and-dumping in Twitter, why do they devote 10 minutes of every show to Twitter minutiae?

Does that mean Janet Yellen is going to replace Larry Page?

Steven Wieting seemed to be having it both ways (or every which way but loose) on Wednesday's Fast Money, first indicating that the robust gains of 2013 were just so good that they likely can't continue, and that there are "signs of complacency," but maintaining that we're "pretty close to record highs," and he'd still be buying equities for the next 12 months.

Dan Nathan said there's "nothing to do here" in LVB. Steve Grasso said that money managers who have lagged might grasp for the dogs like FCX and the steel/coal space, that's the "only way they can make up ground." Karen Finerman said MCO appears to be hit by slower offerings of bonds.

Guest Angela Deering, who looked very good, said the "bond market has calmed down" about JCP because Bill Ackman's board exit likely means they can get things done.

But Deering said the bond market was going crazy over LCC debt in what is a "behemoth story" for bond investors.

Scott Nations said January 30 calls in UAL were hot.

Brian Kelly curiously argued in favor of GOOG because it's "down 5%" and "they are the Federal Reserve of the stock market."

Dan Nathan countered that Google still gets a "disproportionate amount" of sales from ads.

Melissa Lee actually with a straight face asked Karen Finerman to declare a winner, almost like asking Karen to judge a Macy's debate.

"I like Google," Finerman said.

Steve Grasso though warned, "It could trade down to 825."

Grasso's Final Trade was MCD. Dan Nathan said to sell WFM. Karen Finerman didn't really issue a trade but said she trimmed some AAPL. Brian Kelly said to sell HYG.

Oddly enough, not a word about screen size or China Mobile

His body language didn't exactly convey it.

Still, Joe Terranova asserted on Wednesday's Halftime Report that "I'm incredibly bullish."

"I think Cisco's gonna beat," Terranova said.

Pete Najarian, spreading stock names like backyard fertilizer, said he likes MSFT, CSCO, AAPL and FB and even, into the future, INTC.

Stephen Weiss predicted the "market's gonna pause" and he's not plunging in now because he wants to keep "dry powder," but he gloated that he bought AAPL calls on Carl's announcement and has already sold them at "about a 35% gain."

Pete Najarian reasserted that AAPL has become a "2nd-half story" and said to look at its performance before Carl Icahn was declared aboard.

Simon Baker, in a head-scratcher, claimed that surpassing 500 is important; once through there, the stock figures to go "significantly higher than that," Baker said.

Pete Najarian didn't define "significantly" but sort of agreed, predicting the stock would be at "520 before you can blink."

Judge Wapner said Lee Cooperman is getting in because of anticipation over the new iPhone.

We found ourselves wondering why in the world this stock is suddenly worth 25% more in barely a month, and quite frankly, the Halftime crew just shrugged aside that nagging question like Larry Csonka vs. the Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

Kevin Landis told the group, "We're not in any rush to, uh, take profits here," and claimed Apple is actually a leader in introducing lower-cost competition because the iPad wiped out the netbook category.

But when pressed as to whether the stock can maintain these levels after the buzz of a product launch, Landis admitted, "Who knows," before explaining the fingerprint sensor may or may not go over well, and by the way, he once bought MSFT before the Vista launch.

Mr. New World argued that whatever Apple is doing now "reintroduces the iTV concept."

Ticker symbols that should
exist (cont’d): BRA

Giddy like schoolboys for some reason, Wednesday's Halftime crew spent much of the session talking over each other, whether the subject was AAPL … or retailers.

Of course, these discussions always tend to hinge on JCPenney, which prompted Simon Baker to rightly question why M doesn't seem to be benefitting from JCP's struggles, and "what if" JCP actually makes a comeback.

That's a "huge if," groused Pete Najarian, and Stephen Weiss, sounding like a CEO, blamed an "unseasonably cool spring that hurt sales" at Macy's.

Simon Baker, who scoffed at the yearly return in LCC, said "our best play in retail is Amazon."

Dr. New World said he is "still long Limited (sic) Brands, I'm long Starbucks," and he's "taking a look at Saks."

At another point Joe got downright carried away, suggesting TGT, TJX, KSS and maybe KORS.

Pete Najarian also mentioned TJX and got carried away himself, saying, "don't forget Bed, Bath & Beyond" as a play on housing.

Baker warned that if a name such as KORS takes "one miss" it can get "absolutely slaughtered." Baker also said he's short COH.

The ’70s (cont’d):
University of Okoboji

Michael Santoli, who hasn't been on for a little while, told Wednesday's Halftime Report crew he is watching financials "as a tell," (imagine that), and in not the most ringing endorsement, said, "I still think they look OK."

Santoli said "regional banks got too crowded on the long side" but that GS seems like a "decent play" right now.

Not exactly BUY-BUY-BUY.

Stephen Weiss revealed, "I shaved a little B of A … I sold my Citi, and I sold all of my KEY."

Pete Najarian though said he loves C, suggested BAC and also GS. Joe Terranova added, "I'm staying with Morgan Stanley" and later tossed in AXP.

In a speculative suggestion that we think is probably on target, Najarian said to watch the "euro crisis crap banks … those are gonna go higher."

Stephen Weiss explained, "I covered my short in Pulte," but it's not time to buy builders just yet, "I just think it's too early," even though, "I think most of the carnage is done here."

Pete Najarian predicted BIDU "gets stronger."

Joe Terranova said "I don't want Deere," but CNH, and he also likes Agco.

Pandora CFO Mike Herring told Judge Wapner the company has "turned the corner on mobile monetization," and, in a press-release type of interview, Judge actually was reduced to asking about Spotify and Apple and are "they keepin' you up at night."

Stephen Weiss said he's a "huge fan of the service" of P.

Jim Keenan discussed high-yield with the gang and told Judge, "The curve is moving for good reasons" (Drink) and that he likes "derivatives of the housing play."

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was FB. Simon Baker said NTAP, Steve Weiss said M (Drink), and Mr. New Land said NFLX.

Jeff Kilburg said he talked to elite farmers in Iowa and found, "They are really focused on potential early frost," and so they see the corn price as stabilizing around 4.25 to 5.

Unfortunately Kilburg mentioned "an (sic) historic" move in corn, but far more importantly, Kilburg said he was at "Lake Okoboji, Iowa."

The place really does exist, although we think it's actually a series of lakes.

More significantly, at some point in the 1970s, someone started producing T-shirts and merchandise labeled "University of Okoboji," which for a brief time became a hot-selling gag. The "Today" show had something on it (and we're talking Barbara Walters-Tom Brokaw edition), maybe Peter Jennings or Frank Reynolds, etc., you know, those TV "Finally tonight" segments that air 27 minutes after the hour.

Yet, reaching way back into the CNBCfix files, we can recall a moment, either in elementary or middle school (the timeline is unfortunately fuzzy), in which a pupil was heard to claim that the "University of Okoboji" was a real school.

"No, they've had TV reports on it, it's fake," this individual was told.

"No it isn't!!! No it isn't!!!!" insisted this person, who hopefully has received comeuppance on this matter by now.

Jim Iuorio asked Wednesday, "Is there really a Lake Okoboji, Iowa?"

DAL-DAL-DAL — When Simon is saying ‘game over,’ you know it’s time to get long

Pete Najarian made kind of a humdrum argument for airline stocks on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

The "capacity restraints" in the industry still exist, Najarian said.

Simon Baker was the bear, in the most stark terms: "Right now they're a death trap," Baker said, adding that "these are early cyclical stocks."

First, that seemed a little overstated, but the "buy" signal didn't happen until moments later, when Baker demanded of Najarian, "Don't you agree that the game is over … why would you buy a stock that's up 220%?"

Stephen Weiss butted in, "You're the man that keeps touting LinkedIn."

Baker rebutted, "But LinkedIn's game is still intact."

Weiss said airlines have "new management" that is "rationalizing their routes."

Pete Najarian said UAL and DAL are his top picks, and said DAL is prepared for the fuel element with its refinery. Joe Terranova pointed out that Goldman Sachs just minutes earlier was "reiterating the buy on Delta."

Weiss added, "I still think the deal goes through."

Baker issued a challenge to the panel: "If Delta is higher than this price today by the end of the year, I'll give you a first-class ticket to California and back."

Done. Sold. Remember, he said "first class." (This writer is not long DAL but has an order pending as of this writing.)

Baker backpedaled when asked why he wouldn't short the space. Rather, he'd do a "pair trade and short the airlines" vs. long rails.

While we actually root for Baker and everyone else on the show to succeed, 1) obviously both sides can't really be right here at the same time, and 2) Simon's point sounds as knuckleheaded as his LULU/TSLA shorts of the spring, so the airlines at this point can't be viewed as anything but screaming buys.

More from Wednesday's Halftime later.

[Tuesday, August 13, 2013]


Incredibly, no one on the panel questioned if there’s really a future in men’s suits

Ed Bosek calmly and impressively articulated a good argument against JOSB on Tuesday's Fast Money, although there wasn't much beyond that one argument.

Bosek said there's a lot of cash sitting around doing nothing, and the $3 EPS is "very low" and should be "much closer to 4," which he thinks will catapult the stock.

Mel Lee was impressed, pointing out how she just learned that the company has 32% of its "market cash" (sic, twice), make that "market cap," in cash, and "that's staggering."

Karen Finerman added a quality argument to Bosek's case, that recently JOSB management not only has little skin in the game, but has been "totally unavailable to the Street."

The problem with this discussion was that, yet again (see DELL, HLF and a host of others), Fast Money folks in a 2-inch-deep discussion about financial engineering missed the big picture here and neglected to discuss whether this company actually can continue to grow selling suits, given that the commercials airing on CNBC seem to be headed toward 5-for-1 promotions.

Guest tries to play Cost Basis Game with Karen on CAT short, but he doesn’t ask about the nation’s inmate population

Jim Lebenthal tried to explain on Tuesday's Fast Money why other people aren't as excited about CLF as he is.

"A lot of people don't wanna buy stocks when they're down, they think there's something wrong with them," Lebenthal said.

Yeah ... and isn't that generally the case?

Lebenthal said he basically thinks global growth is better than people expect, so long CLF is a "great trade to be in."

Karen Finerman reiterated her CAT short and then balked at Lebenthal's request for the basis despite admitting it's around 84, explaining, "Wherever it closed, that's where I'm short." Lebenthal claimed, "In the long term I think management knows what it's doing." Melissa Lee impressively got Lebenthal to clarify that he likes the stock for past company decisions on inventory and present dividend and cash flow.

Lebenthal said JCP is appealing in that, as long as it doesn't capsize, it'll be in the 20s in a year, but there's those CIT rumblings, so "I'm waiting to pull the trigger."

He scoffed at the airline decision as "absolutely a political issue."

Tim Seymour indicates there’s an exception to his ‘absolute’ support for free capitalism

In general, when it comes to economics, the folks on CNBC tend to be a rather conservative bunch.

So it was something of a surprise on Tuesday's Fast Money when Tim Seymour declared, "I am absolutely for free capitalism, except for the fact that ..."

Seymour went on to explain that the airline industry has high barriers to entry and is highly directed by governments.

So the American-USAir block apparently constitutes one of those free-market exceptions.

"I think this is actually good news for the consumer here," Seymour said.

Gordone Bethune didn't see it that way, telling Melissa Lee that the government's move is a head-scratcher. "You know, it's almost like dealing with a bipolar individual ... it's just absolutely absurd," Bethune said.

Lee said Bethune used "colorful metaphors," but actually the correct word was "analogies," not metaphors.

Offering an actual trade, Brian Kelly pointed to UAL and said to buy vs. 30. "This is overdone," Kelly said.

Dan Nathan though questioned, "What's the rush," but said when it's time to buy, he likes DAL. Mike Khouw said at the end of the day (sic), option buying in airlines had turned to calls.

Things Steve Jobs never had to do — listen to Carl

Tuesday's Fast Money gang spent a lot of time talking about Carl Icahn's AAPL investment without ever issuing an opinion on AAPL shares.

Karen Finerman said that with a company the size of AAPL, the prospects of Carl successfully agitating for change "is not likely."

But Brian Marshall claimed that unlike the recent past, "The company is certainly open to large investors."

Melissa Lee found it "ironic" that Carl could have "coexisting" investments in AAPL and DELL. Marshall said he thinks DELL investors should've taken Michael Dell's $13.75 offer and gotten the heck out of Dodge.

Marshall also said "at the end of the day," one of his favorite phrases.

Lee noted that IEP popped on the AAPL news.

Meanwhile, guest Ken Squire said that if Icahn succeeds in somehow unlocking value from the world's largest or nearly largest market cap, it'll be "more of an amicable thing."

Squire assured Karen Finerman that Bill Ackman in JCP, if he wants to, "He can switch to a G," and we'll let that go without comment.

Tim Seymour asked Squire how he chooses which activists to follow, "at the end of the day."

Squire said he likes Jana's presence in OIS, it's a "very exciting situation."

Seymour: Buy XOM

Karen Finerman said on Tuesday's Fast Money that she likes M (Drink).

Dan Nathan, in an unusually quiet show, indicated he's not that high on BBRY, but "there's probably something here."

Nathan also warned about RIO, "I think you wanna be careful here," and said for his Final Trade to take profits in GOOG.

Mike Khouw said there was a seller of December 52.50 calls in C. Khouw indicated he finds DE attractive at the right level; "it's pricing in a lot of bad news ... I rather like the stock below 80 bucks."

Khouw's Final Trade was risk reversals in the SPY, perhaps with put spreads.

Tim Seymour said the BIDU multiple is "not crazy high." He also said GT is "not terribly cheap."

Seymour said EEP might be attractive at a 7.5% yield, by the MLP space is being pressured by higher yields overall.

Seymour's Final Trade was long XOM at 88.

Karen Finerman told a viewer interested in MSFT, "I don't think you have to own it." Finerman's Final Trade was MW. Brian Kelly's Final Trade was TBT.

Bad news, Bill: Feds are tougher on struggling airlines than they are on the Herbalife ‘pyramid’

Phil LeBeau delivered the bad news about airlines that Stephen Weiss already long knew about.

LeBeau said the feds were indicating that no concessions were going to be enough to satisfy the American-US Air deal; unfortunately LeBeau also referred to "attorney generals" (sic).

Weiss, long AAMRQ for months it seems, admitted, "Ouch, this is painful," and explained that he bought some more shares before the dropoff, and then in "less than a few hours" had unloaded the new shares.

Grasping for a boost, Weiss claimed that the sector selloff is all wrong, even crediting Stephanie Link's pick, LUV, as being the beneficiary of slots that American-USAir might have to yield.

But, Weiss said, the feds are adopting a "harsh negotiating stance."

Judge stresses that FDA and FTC are two totally different things

Tough crowd.

Tuesday's Halftime Report gang didn't think much of Andrew Ross Sorkin's report that, according to a whistleblower bankrolled by Bill Ackman, there was once traces of metal in some Herbalife product in the Herbalife factory.

"I'd put this in the 'interesting but who cares' category," said Stephen Weiss.

"This is noise," Weiss concluded.

Stephanie Link chimed in that the stock is still "only $3 off its high."

Sorkin stressed that there's "no evidence" that any contaminated drinks were shipped.

Kate Kelly briefly dropped by the set to talk about the reputation of activist investors and speculating openly as to whether the criticism of Bill Ackman from some folks is based on his results, or is strictly personal. (Let's not forget Carl tried to have dinner with him at Carl's favorite Italian restaurant and each accused the other of trying to be friends.)

Mike Murphy explained that he always tells his kids that you "catch more bees with honey than vinegar." Steve Weiss predicted that Herbalife proves a defeat for Ackman; he "exits the position at a loss."

How the pros slip an exciting high-P.E. stock into a stodgy portfolio

Josh Brown, borrowing a good one from "Sanford & Son," told Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "it feels like maybe this is the correction," and for now investors should "mark time."

Stephen Weiss insisted that "correction's too strong a word," but that the market is "tired" and taking a "much-needed pause."

Mohamed El-Erian said the market is "basically treading water" and that whether the date of tapering is good or bad depends on the reason it is deemed to be done at whatever point it's done (Drink). El-Erian also likes the Jets over the Giants.

The day's designated Gabelli guest, Jeff Jonas, said health care stocks have done well because there's "growing comfort with health-care reform."

Steve Weiss tried to get Jonas to give THC a boost, but Jonas said the stock has been dogged by "really slow admissions this year."

Jonas said MRK would be a play for next year, and a PFE breakup is "more like 3 years away" if it happens.

But the most curious thing Jonas talked about was the inclusion of WFM in some kind of health-care/wellness portfolio, based on a "broader view" of the benefits of diet and exercise.

Stephen Weiss quetioned that notion; "How do you own Whole Foods?" he asked. Jonas said there's still plenty of room to grow, many more stores in 5 years.

Jonas called ESRX his favorite in that pharmacy-whatever space.

Rich Ilczyszyn addressed the subject of copper leading stocks back and said he could see a fall of 2-5%. Jim Iuorio said, "I think copper's OK play (sic)."

Mike Harris was bearish on gold. "Our models continue to remain short," he said, so he must've been talking about Miranda Kerr something different than what Dennis Gartman sees. "We're not alone," Harris insisted, adding it "all comes down to the taper … we're certainly short Treasury bond futures as well."

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was SWK. Josh Brown said VGK, Mike Murphy said HTZ and Stephen Weiss said to short JCP.

[Monday, August 12, 2013]

Tim Seymour requests definition
of what Wal-Mart actually is*

We'd never accuse anyone on Fast Money of being born yesterday, but Tim Seymour came about as close as it gets on Monday's Fast Money.

With guest Brian Sozzi putting on a crisp retail roundup, Seymour seemed confused about a certain retailer whose ticker symbol is WMT.

"What is this," Seymour said, actually suggesting Wal-Mart might be classified "high (sic) end."

Sozzi explained to Seymour, "Wal-Mart is a giant blob in the retail sector ... they've essentially become a grocery store."

Ah. Whole Foods, look out.

Scott Nations said September 48 calls were hot in M (Drink). (Steve Weiss probably bought some more.)

Karen Finerman said of the JCP developments, "the possible trade is to the short side." Sozzi said he'd continue to short with his $12 target, and would buy M (Drink) before earnings partly because of JCP's troubles.

(*Then again, he has likely never been in one.)

Karen actually thinks U.S. prison population will ‘turn negative’

When you listen to people talk about the stock market, you tend to hear a lot of wishful thinking.

But one has to wonder what kind of uppers they were serving in the green room before Monday's Fast Money, in which Karen Finerman said her analysis has found that the United States might have seen "the end of the growth in prison population," and in fact that the overall inmate total is actually going to "turn negative" (except, presumably, in the insider-trading wing).

Look at the bright side: Our standards for criminality are apparently rising.

Finerman's play on this notion is a short of CXW, also because "it's a REIT now."

In fact, her thesis, if actually true, probably has deeper components; fewer inmates means fewer cases which means fewer cops and prosecutors and parole officers, and probably more "retail-oriented" police departments (i.e., ticket-writers).

As Karen's vision unfolds, it will certainly be a happy day when they take the wrecking ball to Rikers, where inmates in 1957 responded to a plane crash.

Gotta admit, Pete absolutely
nailed the ‘2nd-half story’ (so far)

If this holds up, it's the call of the year.

Pete Najarian said on Monday's Fast Money he remains bullish on AAPL, rolling up from 460 August calls to September 500s.

If you doubt the 2nd-half story notion that Pete trumpeted all year, check out the stock's price at the end of June.

Steve Grasso though said the trade is "a little long in the tooth now" and that he would prefer to buy around 442 or 435.

Tim Seymour agreed with Grasso, indicating he doesn't see it past 505 and "it looks tired."

Karen Finerman tepidly said there's "a little bit more momentum" to the apparent new product launches.

Colin Gillis said he has a 500 target, and "I don't think it's ever gonna go back to the levels it was at before."

Gillis also said, "I always thought RIMM would be a take-under." But Steve Grasso said "I'm long right from this level," even though he had to admit it's gone up and down and that it's his average that's at this level. Pete Najarian disagreed with Gillis, saying the "take-under" means under $20; "I think it is a $15 number."

Steve Grasso’s TSLA score was much hotter than his bowl haircut

If it's not Pete Najarian with AAPL, it might be Steve Grasso with TSLA.

Grasso told Monday's Fast Money that he got out of Tesla with a gain, because "the stock should come back in another $15."

Meanwhile, "No way would I short Tesla," Grasso said.

Dennis Gartman, who seems to say this every 3 months, told Melissa Lee that a while back, he definitely would've said to play GLD over GDX (Drink), but right now miners seem to be as good as or a better option than the metal itself.

Pete Najarian advised playing GDX or the SLV.

Najarian pointed to "euro crisis bank stocks," specifically NBG and Bank of Ireland, as huge winners recently, and made C his Final Trade.

Tim Seymour offered no advice about YUM but did offer a Brag Trade, saying he got out a couple weeks ago and this avian stuff takes time.

Najarian said FFIV has "plenty more upside." Karen Finerman affirmed, "We are short Caterpillar." Steve Grasso said of SYY, "I'd rather be short the stock" given it has support at 30. Tim Seymour said of BEAM, "I don't think you need to own it."

Grasso said of SEAS, "It can't get through the 39 level," so why buy.

Najarian defended his negative CVC call; "at 19, I don't see the upside."

Karen Finerman said GE will go higher. Tim Seymour said he likes DE at 80 or 81. Steve Grasso said "I would wait" to buy UTX because he thinks the market will be "challenged" for a couple weeks.

Donald Hodges likewise contended that "I think the market will go higher" down the road but for now is "a little bit tired." Hodges called FCX an "oversold" name and suggested it could double within a couple years.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was EEM. Steve Grasso said POT with a 29 stop. Karen Finerman said ATVI.

Steve Liesman trips up guest who was making an utterly daffy argument for a 1,600 price target

We don't say it enough on this page, but Steve Liesman is one of the savviest and most articulate voices on CNBC. (Note: We don't have an ax to grind in the Fed fight, which is what makes people tend to bicker with him, not because he necessarily espouses what the Fed is doing (sometimes he does) but because his explanations tend to be more convincing than what the central bank itself says).

On Monday's Halftime Report, that paid off in spades, as Liesman nailed the runaway train wreck that was Barry Knapp's mind-numbing 1,600 S&P target explanation.

Knapp said at the beginning that a price target is an "exercise in futility" (um, so why again are we doing it?) and then proceeded to base his call on a sample size of 3 over 35 years, namely how the Fed and markets acted in 1983, 1994 and 2004.

It's about "the pace of policy accommodation removal," and in those years, Knapp said, stocks "always sold off 7½ to 9½%."

The problem was that Knapp, evidenced by his comments as this conversation continued, apparently wasn't really sure whether the Fed's mythical presumed moves later this year are actually getting it right or not, as Stephen Weiss suggested in his 2-part question about this Fed being more transparent than those of previous decades, and the German elections.

Knapp gave a 2-part answer to the first of Weiss' questions, pointing out the Fed in 2004 began releasing statements.

Then Knapp made reference to "the Fed's taking away the punch bowl too soon."

And Liesman pounced, demanding Knapp explain if he thinks the Fed is wrong.

"Not at all," Knapp insisted, but "that's the market narrative."

Which isn't how he put it when he brought up "too soon," but whatever.

Liesman, a class act, didn't gloat. He did tell the panelists that the deficit is more important than people think and explained how the shrinking of it affects Fed moves, and also said he doesn't have a problem with cutting the deficit now, though some critics call it "anorexic being on a diet," rather, he just thinks a blanket sequester is wrong.

Joe buys CAT

Monday's Halftime Report sort of failed from the outset to make the case for its own existence, as Stephen Weiss explained to viewers that "nobody's around" in the stock market right now, so "overall just wait."

Josh Brown offered, "It's very clear that the market's tenor has changed a bit," and "that's just fine."

Stephanie Link did her usual Jeff Tomasulo (how's that for a Fast Money historical reference) routine, but Dr. New World affirmed he remains "very bullish" and even risked the wrath of Jim Chanos in admitting he "took a small position in Caterpillar," around $84.25.

Joe also said he was "watching this crop report that just came out," particularly soybeans.

Stephen Weiss first says ‘Just wait,’ concludes by telling everyone to buy BBRY

We've seen gold's obituary mentioned countless times on CNBC this year, but Anthony Grisanti on Monday's Halftime Report suggested the longs are catching up: "A lot of shorts have bailed in gold right now."

Jim Iuorio concurred that things are actually looking up: "I think we're close to breakin' out of the range."

Mr. New Land, who on 2 or 3 occasions in the last few weeks has asserted that gold would peak for the year in August and then tumble 20% through year-end, now suddenly says, observing "the technicals and the fundamentals, I wanna walk that back."

Well, guess there's nothing illegal about changing one's mind. (After all, Guy Adami does it about every day on the S&P 500.)

Josh Brown said maybe gold and the miners are just experiencing a "bounce from deeply oversold." Steph Link said if you're buying this trend, buy FCX.

BlackBerry/Research in Motion is a stock once as exciting as Pete Najarian on the Minnesota Vikings but for years now has been about as exciting as Jon Najarian on the Gustavus Adolphus Golden Gusties, but that didn't stop Judge Wapner from conducting yet another discussion on it, as Josh Brown shrugged that a tech company seeking alternatives is bad news not good; "this is usually when there's nothing left to do."

But Stephen Weiss, who made the stock his Final Trade, said "I bought some more today," citing those "70 million subs."

Max Wolff even-handedly said "there are some potential suitors" but that a buyout price would probably be less than the sum-of-the-parts evaluation; a "rescue with probably a discount." Wolff suggested ORCL and maybe even CRM or IBM might be interested.

Josh Brown thinks a lot of CEOs would love the risk/reward of the JCP job

Stephen Weiss' humdrum bull case for PCLN on Monday's Halftime Report was based "on a valuation basis."

Josh Brown flat-out declared, "You can't buy this stock here ... I gotta tell you something, it's trading at 20 times earnings."

But Brown never fully made the case that he made quite well a couple weeks ago about EXPE, that it's impossible to believe that all of these Web sites can be fast-growing in this space.

Weiss said "I'm still short" JCP, and wondered if Bill Ackman is setting up his exit plan. "This company may be terminal."

Josh Brown argued with Weiss over something, then said all he cared about was the point Weiss made about how no CEO would want this job, when in fact it's "very hard to lose here."

Judge Wapner said Carl Icahn might tweet a new trade within days. (Hold your breath.) Joe Terranova endorsed IEP; "I like the stock" (but let's hope he doesn't cut and run on that one like he did his plunging-gold call).

Stephen Weiss said he's long POT and likes it and thinks corn forecasts are "overly pessimistic." Josh Brown called DD his "secret agriculture name," and "I gotta tell you," DD has a better chart than MOS or POT.

Weiss said he was "embracing ugly" on Monday's show. (And also embracing the "Just wait" mentality — or sort of embracing it.)

Herb Greenberg said that for TSLA to keep going up, everything has to be "just right." Weiss said, "I think the stock's a bubble."

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was NFLX. (This writer is long NFLX.) Josh Brown said VAW, and Stephanie Link said EMR.

[Friday, August 9, 2013]

Marc Faber’s interview
not a ‘first on CNBC’

"Train wreck" is a neat term for describing a lot of things that go wrong and keep going wrong, and such was the case with the Marc Faber interview on Friday's woeful Fast Money.

Tim Seymour impressively challenged Faber's rambling thesis that stocks are going to fall an October-1987-esque 20%, which is not a "crash," Faber says (he claims a "crash" is 90%), because of Fed policy, "the money-printing distorts everything," and as such, "commodities may bottom out soon."

We have generally tuned this individual out but are aware that most people with pronouncements to make choose CNBC first, so it was notable that Josh Brown revealed, "I just saw him in every single media outlet in existence in the last 2 days, and every single headline was crash, and now he just walked that back."

Apparently, Faber likes the long end of the Treasury market.

The lone highlight was Mel’s retro-’70s turtleneck-hair combination

When not rehashing days-old gags, Friday's Fast Money struggled to produce a usable stock pick the way Rocky Balboa struggled to land a worthwhile punch in the first fight against Clubber Lang.

Guy Adami's best try was IRM; "I think it's worth a look here," but if the government brings down the hammer, "then you're screwed."

Nevertheless, it was his Final Trade.

Adami also grudgingly admitted X has momentum, and while AEO had a "beyond disastrous" week, he thinks it's possible to get long with a "very tight stop."

Adami said he'd only play XRX as a short squeeze. #helpful

Tim Seymour was at least enthusiastic about CLF; "it's broken a downtrend." That too was his Final Trade, and he also asserted POT is "going higher" (but not with the $35.10 confidence this time). Yet, he couldn't say much more about CSCO than it's one to watch.

Josh Brown said to look at VAW as a play on "2nd-derivative rotation." And, he said he bought FSLR at 41.50; "I think it works out," which is what you'd hope he'd say.

Brown said he likes PCLN, but equivocating to the max, said he likes GOOG better and is surprised that PCLN would beat GOOG to $1,000 and that people who think $900 is expensive don't realize that back in the '90s a name like these would split.

Brown said VGK has gotten trendy, so he likes it less than he did, but it was still his Final Trade.

Brian Kelly said to sell MET for his Final Trade. Melissa Lee howled for some reason at Guy Adami's Kardashian-bottoms joke. Pete Najarian could've left at the top of the show, and possibly made it home before it was over.

Tim Seymour declared, "First of all, Snowden is a traitor, not, you know, a patriot."

Jeff Sonnenfeld accuses Judge of sounding like Ackman’s PR agent

Jeff Sonnenfeld, who has carved an impressive if slightly dubious niche in business-television punditry, curiously told Friday's Halftime Report that Bill Ackman's letter to the JCP board is "looking like a fraternity house temper-tantrum."

Then in a jaw-dropper, Sonnenfeld said of JCP, "You have a spectacular board."

At some point Judge cut Sonnenfeld off to question the "spectacular" assessment and pointed out the gripes in Ackman's letter.

Sonnenfeld wasn't impressed. "Scott I know you are an unbiased, neutral journalist, but if you were to be his P.R., uh, attorney, uh, advocate, you couldn't do a better job for your client," Sonnenfeld said, insisting that the basis of Ackman's complaints are "the problems that he created."

Sonnenfeld said Allen Questrom, who he claimed is a friend and good guy, isn't the right guy for this operation, because, in part, he's got his hands full trying to "straighten out Men's Wearhouse" (and if you think JCP is dysfunctional, try that one).

Stephen Weiss, citing certain people at business meetings who everyone in the meetings knows are "so destructive," said he's short JCP, and "I'll probably short more;" in fact it was his Final Trade.

Simon Baker, citing Lord something or other, said you want to buy when there's blood in the streets, and "there couldn't be more blood in the Street with JCPenney right now," suggesting it's an "ideal candidate" for private equity.

Pete Najarian said he agrees with Weiss because of (you guessed it), the options market.

Stephen Weiss, wondering about "Lord whatever his name is," said that real estate doesn't figure to be JCP's savior because Ackman is a real estate expert, and "he hasn't mentioned real estate once in this."

David Faber reported that Perry Capital is going to publicly call for Mike Ullman to get the boot.

Stephanie balks at notion of being married to Steve Weiss

Stephen Weiss' advice for stock-pickers on Friday's Halftime Report is actually to do nothing.

"Just go to the beach the rest of the month," said Weiss, indicating he sold BAC the other day.

Pete Najarian basically backed that up. "I don't see this as an opportunity at all yet," said Najarian, pointing out how traffic is so light now that he can make the commute in under an hour; "people are not trading."

And just think, we've been hearing on this show that this is a stock-picker's market ... and now we're told there are no stocks to pick. #curious

Guest Mike O'Rourke delivered a far more stark assessment, predicting the S&P 500 by year-end will "probably go 1,500 or below" because there are "so many uncertainties out there."

Simon Baker, champion of the stock-picker's market notion, insisted, "The absolutely wrong thing to do is not be long the market." (And here we thought it was all about stock-picking.)

Stephanie Link said Cramer bought VGK and owns DXJ. When Judge nearly called her "Stephanie Weiss," Link declared, "No way."

Ticker symbols that should
exist (cont’d): BRA

Pete Najarian, despite having extra time from his suddenly less-than-1-hour commute, came prepared for Friday's Halftime Report with more waffles than L'eggo my egg'o, refusing to take positions on PCLN ("it is not overvalued" but wouldn't short) and DDD ("monster short interest," wouldn't short, might make a 52-week high) and DNDN (someone gave it a $0 target).

Stephanie Link curiously said Cramer owns YUM, but they expect it to be weak Monday and hope to buy more then.

Stephen Weiss insisted that in POT, "I think there's still a trade." But he said he "wouldn't be an owner" of WLT or anything in the space.

Weiss scoffed at NDLS. "It's a short, I would not own this stock," he said.

Weiss said BBRY is appealing and still at that fix-it-or-takeout point, "I bought it today," he said, later suggesting a 15-16 end game while insisting he hasn't really rendered a formal opinion yet.

Simon Baker actually agreed and said you can get long BBRY.

Simon Baker said RAX had a "really nice quarter." Baker said he's happy to be long LNKD, and made NTAP his Final Trade.

Stephanie Link called FL "a buy down here," and "I don't really get this downgrade." Link noted GPS raised guidance, that Cramer bought some and will buy some more if it weakens, and she also positively mentioned "The L Group."

Pete Najarian said September 49 calls in M were hot. His Final Trade was VALE.

[Thursday, August 8, 2013]

Bill Ackman finds a way to keep HLF headlines off CNBC afternoon programming

After the better part of a couple of shows from the "Fast Money" franchise Thursday, we're still not sure we really have a clue about what's going on at JCP.

Bill Ackman wrote a letter to his fellow board members. But gave it to the rest of the world at the same time. He says they really need a new CEO now. (Translation: If it goes under, it's not my fault.)

Interestingly, neither Judge Wapner nor Melissa Lee was able to get Carl on the line to say "That isn't the right way to do it." (#maybethat'sFriday'sshow)

Karen Finerman had the most to say on Fast Money, calling it a "rift at the board level," and obviously, "this is a very odd situation."

Finerman eventually explained that she was shorting the stock again Thursday because she doubted the jump in the shares was sustainable, just as when Ron Johnson exited.

Finerman said after a commercial break that she had just read the JCP board response and observed, "It might just be Ackman against the rest of the board." But she conceded that while short, there could be a lot of variables to keep the stock afloat for a while. "I'm not expecting a zero here," Finerman said.

Guy Adami admitted he called the stock a buy last week and was wrong.

Whew — somehow we dodged
15 recommendations to buy M

We're already tired of retail-stock mumbo jumbo, you know, "you have to be selective and can't just buy everything," the same refrain of Jeff Macke in the opening days of Fast Money, but Guy Adami offered a valuable opinion on Thursday's Fast Money on the space, suggesting viewers just "be long Mastercard and/or Visa."

Dan Nathan grumbled that the XLY is still hovering near its highs. Mike Khouw said there was put-buying in EXPR and call-buying actually in ARO.

Dana Telsey was first asked to opine about JCP, and then offered scattered thoughts as everyone else does. "I think Aero continues to be weak," Telsey said, but "I like Urban going into the quarter," and end of year.

There was a fleeting mention of Victoria's Secret, but just barely.

Karen Finerman said FNP was moving on the strength of Kate Spade, and she called Tiger Woods "irrelevant" to NKE stock analysis, but she likes the stock because she sees Europe getting good.

Carter Worth claims defense stocks’ great year seems no longer ‘sustainable’

Grasping for whatever evidence he can find these days to signal a stock-market meltdown, Carter Worth, convinced the S&P 500 is simply too high, pointed to defense stocks as nearing the point of running out of gas.

"It's asymmetrical," Worth said, while declaring "it's a yield trade." But he stressed that among top defense names, "you're reaching the outer limits of what is sustainable."

Guy Adami pointed out that Lockheed's business has been great, so the gains are no fluke. Adami also suggested that CAT can bounce, a "good chance that if the tape cooperates, CAT's gonna trade up to 85 here."

Adami further said he thinks it's too early to short GRPN "as long as the tape stays OK," and he thinks you can actually go long NEM if you're careful. But he said unless "you know this space" and can tell when DRAM pricing will fall (that surely encompasses a large percentage of viewers), "ya gotta stay long Micron here."

Adami said not to chase LGF, but "you will get a pullback."

Joan Solotar said Blackstone is increasingly looking at European real estate, particularly Spain.

Karen actually likes ZNGA

Dan Nathan on Thursday's Fast Money made a bullish call for ZNGA at 2.85, the potential for "asymmetric return," and found an unlikely ally in Karen Finerman, who said, "I actually agree with him ... they seem to not be losing money."

But Finerman found herself on the other side of Guy Adami's IBM bearishness.

Finerman contended that Big Blue was "cheap to itself," which is basically her COH argument, that there's a permanency to the business and brand so you might as well buy whenever the P.E. is low.

Adami said the stock's hovering around 52-week lows, and "maybe they don't have the clarity they used to have" (translation: I'm close to getting hung out to dry on that 12-multiple-on-$20-EPS-in-2015 thing) and the stock might trade to the mid-170s.

Dan Nathan said he'd buy AAPL instead of IBM, which Karen Finerman scoffed at, because she said the question wasn't whether to buy AAPL instead.

Dan Nathan said TSLA's story has gotten better along with the stock, and "you gotta buy this thing on a pullback."

But Nathan said of PCLN, "I would not be initiating new positions here."

Mike Khouw reported that it's the "2nd day of very heavy call-buying in Microsoft," in particular September 35s.

Karen Finerman advised selling upside calls in C because she doesn't see an August catalyst.

Dan Nathan said X is merely the "China trade." He said the GLD could break out and if so figures to go to 135.

Melissa Lee has a dynamite toned bod that she showed off in the segment with Carter Worth but couldn't resist invoking one of the most dreadful cliches (usually by people a couple decades older than Lee), about Brian Kelly's late arrival, "Look what the cat dragged in."

Dan Nathan's Final Trade was ZNGA. Brian Kelly said sell EWW. Karen Finerman said long IBM, and Guy Adami said FSLR.

Ticker symbols that
should exist (cont’d): BRA

In a Halftime Report dominated by JCP, the only thing that rocketed us to attention was foxy Courtney Reagan's reference to, "You think about Victoria's Secret..."

Joe Terranova revealed he owns "Limited Brands" (sic); we can't figure out why they don't change their ticker to something that would grab everyone's attention when rolling across the screen. Joe added, "I think you buy the dip in Ralph Lauren."

Meanwhile, Mr. New World argued that the issue with JCP is that it's burning more cash than the Street expected. "I think it's going lower," Joe said, even a "sub-$10 print."

Jon Najarian seemed to agree with Joe, questioning the impact of Allen Questrom at this stage. "I don't know what this guy can possibly do," Najarian said.

But Josh Brown and Mike Murphy suggested that the cash burn doesn't matter right at this moment, Brown arguing, "When Questrom comes back, credibility is restored."

Liz Dunn, who bought into the Ron Johnson miracle whole hog but according to Judge now has just a neutral rating ("it's not like you're a huge believer here"), said Questrom's re-emergence is "good news for the company," but that she's just absorbing the news as CNBC reports it.

Moments later, Judge snared an interview with Questrom, who said he's not aboard just yet. "I said I would consider it under the right conditions," he said, but that a new CEO "shouldn't take more than 30 to 45 days."

Questrom called it a "great brand" and a "great history." Honestly, that's where he's wrong, it is assuredly not a "great brand" now and hasn't been for decades, though overall it does have a "great history."

Change the name, watch the thing turn around.

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian was forced to correct Judge, who said Doc used to be bearish on GRPN; "I was the bull case on this one," and the fact they're getting repeat customers is huge, he likes it here.

This is one we recall well, as this page pronounced Doc the winner of this debate months ago with the stock in the $5s, happening right after the Andrew Mason exit; Dr. New Land impressively conceded to Judge that he was the bear and "Doc crushed me on that one."

Andres Garcia-Amaya told the group "the trade continues with cyclical stocks," and he's warming up to Europe.

Luciano Siracusano said we've been seeing a "pickup" into small-caps since May.

Jon Najarian argued TSLA is still a buy because right now Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are the closest thing to Steve Jobs. Mike Murphy countered that much of its profit is from "carbon credits" and he sees a "blowoff top here" and has bought puts.

Najarian's Final Trade was MSFT. Josh Brown said FSLR, as the show actually ran over. Mr. New Land said KMX, and Mike Murphy said FCX, which was a monster call from Pete Najarian this week.

[Wednesday, August 7, 2013]

CNBC actually has prime-time material besides American Greed* and reality TV**

Wednesday's Fast Money served as an hourlong infomercial for Carl Quintanilla's Twitter documentary that premiered in the evening; fair enough, we're sure the Carlmeister (who delivered big-time with Costco and McD's) will knock another one out of the park.

But it turned much of Wednesday's show into an uneasy cheerleading/takedown of Twitter itself, led by Tim Seymour, who near the end of the opening session with Howard Lindzon (who articulated a lot of good points including "our pictures eventually are gonna be sold back to us" except he did say "inherent" once and also weakly claimed that Twitter serves as his "calendar" for alerting him to when companies are making earnings announcements) told Lindzon that it all "doesn't sound real to me."

Lindzon said it takes 2 to make a market.

Doug Kass then dialed in to explain why he has apparently dropped Twitter, saying it "has some value to the day-trader" but "little or no value to the real long-term investor."

Kass mostly complained about abusive messages and told Melissa Lee basically that it's unfilterable; "haters are capable of unblocking themselves."

(Which means, Kass should've adopted Charlie's approach and start asking his hecklers to drop off his tuna sandwich, shine his shoes, and finish cleaning pools before heading home to their trailer park and tweeting him.)

Dan Primack told Lee that the private valuation of Twitter is "a hair under $10 billion," and unlike some who think there could actually be a 2013 IPO, he doesn't see anything before Q2 2014.

(*American Greed is a great show. Just a little overdone. Like the old "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?")

(**The rest of CNBC's prime-time reality offerings seem largely useless.)

Steve Grasso’s buy-TSLA-in-upper-120s is surging contender for Call of the Year

Guy Adami, wishy-washy as it gets, said on Wednesday's Fast Money that this might be a good time to take profits in stocks, and on the other hand, the S&P might get to 1,725.

Dan Nathan scoffed that long U.S. stocks has been "the most crowded trade on the planet."

Doug Kass said "I'm net short" of the market.

Mark Mahaney basically punted on GRPN, saying the report had a "lot of good news," but as for price targets and projections, he told Melissa Lee, "we'll have to figure it out tonight."

More interestingly, Mahaney said there are 2 portals on the Web yet to be monetized, which are Google Maps and Instagram. Mahaney said FB has a tailwind of sorts with mobile because it actually never did a good job monetizing desktop. (Which honestly doesn't make a whole lot of logical sense, but whatever.)

Brian Stutland said FB September 38 calls were hot, pricing at $2.38, but he thinks that's a little steep and would like to see a pullback.

Ben Kallo told the gang that TSLA's been going straight up, so he'll have to tinker with his target, but the company is showing great improvement in gross margins.

Guy Adami said if he had had to call GMCR on Tuesday and Wednesday, he would've been wrong.

Doug Kass was asked in a tweet about ASPS but never opined, only giving the stock's recent history and noting it was a "spinoff of Ocwen."

Guy Adami suggested buying JACK around 37 or 38.

Dan Nathan said to "be careful" with ONXX because that $130 offer may be it. Guy Adami said it feels like CBI wants to fall $1. Josh Brown said LULU's a good long-term investment (as opposed to Simon a few months ago calling it "game over" in the low 60s) if you can stomach the volatility. Dan Nathan advised, "Do not establish new positions right here" in PCLN.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was POT (this time we didn't hear the "sell it at 35.10" boast). Dan Nathan said to short IWM, Josh Brown said FSLR and Guy Adami said ORCL.

Does Doc realize the 1973 Dolphins were better than the ’72 team, blew out all the good opponents?

Desperate for a fresh hook, Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report enlisted Herb Greenberg and the panel to mull which of FB, NFLX or TSLA is most likely to deliver a home run from here.

Pete Najarian thundered that of course it's FB, and that Morgan Stanley's 45 target is low.

Enis Taner reluctantly said it would have to be Facebook because it's the only one that's profitable.

Jon Najarian then uncorked the biggest reach, likening a pick of NFLX or TSLA to picking the Miami Dolphins to go undefeated in 1973 after doing it in 1972.

Later, Dan Galves (not to be confused with George Goncalves) affirmed his 160 target for TSLA, saying it's based on earnings projected by the end of the decade.

Enis Taner questioned, "Why not just buy GM today?" Galves assured, "We're bullish on GM as well."

Pete Najarian later argued a bull case for GMCR, based on its "partnership deals." Jon Najarian said he wouldn't "obfuscate" anything but will just say that "sales of the Keurig are down."

Stephen Weiss first allowed that "the stock still has momentum behind it," but said with patents expired, "I'm gonna go with the bear on this one," and as always would rather buy SODA.

"I am so sick of short-squeeze stories," said Herb Greenberg.

‘I expect a lot of sideways action’

Wednesday's tired Halftime Report crew simply ran out of tricks.

Pete Najarian said the market suddenly seems a little leery of upcoming taper talk.

Stephen Weiss shrugged that, "I think the market's got another, I don't know, 3 to 5% down."

Enis Taner said that what concerns him is the performance of housing stocks.

Jon Najarian concluded, "I expect a lot of sideways action."

Kate Moore, a striking redhead, said she has "high conviction" in equities outperforming over 12 months, and further contended that "China is screamingly cheap," something Stephen Weiss objected to.

Pete: Something brewing in FCX

Jeff Kilburg didn't call gasoline (or gold) a flight to quality this time, but he did say on Wednesday's Halftime Report that production has ramped up, sending prices lower, but that's fleeting, and expect "pain at the pump through Labor Day."

Rich Ilczyszyn, making a rare Futures Now appearance, agreed gasoline will rebound towards $3.

Jon Najarian said buyers of JCP 10 puts were "betting aggressively in September."

Stephen Weiss said not to be aggressive with FNSR. Enis Taner likes TWX, and Pete Najarian sees "opportunity" in MRO. Jon Najarian said Z initially soared Tuesday night but got slammed Wednesday.

Pete Najarian called DIS a buy. Stephen Weiss was almost there on RL; "I think you can buy it ... but I'd wait for it come down a little bit more." Enis Taner said he likes FSLR but would wait.

Jon Najarian said he's not playing ONXX now because "the easy money was there" and now gone.

Najarian said DDD was worth playing in the first quarter but not 2nd; it's "dead money for a while."

Pete Najarian said FCX weekly August 30 calls were hot; the stock was his Final Trade. But he said he'd trim P.

Stephen Weiss said RIG always seems cheap, and its risk/reward is attractive, but he's not sure what the catalyst would be. Weiss' Final Trade was long M.

Enis Taner said "I'd be a seller here" of ORCL and made long T his Final Trade.

Jon Najarian said of CELG, "This is not a takeover play." His Final Trade was CIE.

[Tuesday, August 6, 2013]

David Rosenberg twice tells Karen Finerman to ‘do the math’ (a/k/a parsing the difference between ‘experience’ and ‘real-world experience’)

First, David Rosenberg was a little flip toward Karen Finerman's perfectly legitimate question about how much of a dip the stock market might see.

But that's apparently because he was just warming up to slam Finerman's choice for the Fed.

"There's a lot of good news priced into the market," Rosenberg asserted, but "my sense is that the economy is weak."

Melissa Lee then asked about whether he's bullish or bearish now. "I'm probably more agnostic," Rosenberg said, allowing that weakening data would keep the Fed involved longer, and that a correction would be "perfectly normal, and I would say healthy."

So Karen Finerman asked about the depth of the pullback. Rosenberg first said it would be like the one in late May-June, and then told Finerman "do the math yourself," if he finds that these circumstances would merit a market up 11-12% and it's actually up 18%, then do the math yourself.

Um, we're not very good subtractors ... but if, as Rosenberg indicated he might contend, the stock market should only be up about 12%, that would put the S&P around 1,597 ... or about 6% lower than present time.

So that's the math. (Apparently because people who spout it won't do it for you.)

Then Rosenberg stumbled into his own semantical pickle, addressing Finerman's previous declaration in favor of Larry Summers getting Ben S. Bernanke's job. "I don't know why real-world experience matters for this particular job," Rosenberg started, before declaring, "it comes down to experience," which is why he backs Yellen; also, "she's got the forecasting record," Rosenberg claimed.

Afterwards, Finerman rebutted that Summers has plenty of experience too, he wasn't just in an "ivory tower" dispensing wisdom.

Guy Adami, pointing to Rosenberg's stock market outlook, noted that Jeff Kleintop has been and continues to be bullish, but Jeff Saut has recently turned a little neutral, and Carter Worth (snicker) made a short-term bear case on Fast Money recently. (But did they do the math, or are viewers supposed to?)

Oh joy — just wait till gold crumbles again and we have to listen to Dr. J for 2 weeks scream ‘This is capitulation selling!!!!’

It didn't take any math homework thankfully to learn what Louise Yamada was thinking on Tuesday's Fast Money as Yamada, gracefully as always, depicted a "new structural bull market" in stocks.

Yamada said stocks figure to push up to 10% past the 1,560 breakout but nevertheless she thinks "August is probably a quiet month."

Yamada also tackled bonds and said, "We're looking for higher rates, further out," but said "it's gonna take some time" to get to 3.0% on the 10-year, and she told Guy Adami she couldn't answer whether rates will rise because of economic growth or the "genie" being out of the bottle.

Meanwhile, "gold is still in a bear market," Yamada said, predicting it would test its 2013 low of of 1,200 or 1,180 intraday.

A way for Mel to defeat Guy

We know that for some reason, Simon Baker has made it popular for the Fast Money/Halftime crews to talk their book and profess how this already-up-18%-for-the-year market is suddenly a "stock-picker's market," but we didn't expect even Tim Seymour to jump aboard the semantical bandwagon, declaring on Tuesday's Fast Money that "It's time to pick stocks."

Nick Colas, on the other hand, seems to think it's a stock-avoider's market, pointing out how S&P earnings estimates are coming down, so this is not the environment to pay up for perceived multiple expansion, and "I think we're near that inflection point," which apparently means multiples either stop expanding or start contracting.

Tim Seymour followed that up by insisting "I'm not that bearish" but that he does like Colas' suggestion of looking to emerging markets instead (and if we had a dollar for every time this year a Fast Money/Halftime guest has recommended emerging markets...)

Stephanie Link said when she looked up recent performance of KR it "shocked me," and that she agrees with Goldman Sachs on that one, but not with Comerica.

Tim Seymour scoffed at SPLS (a previous Karen Finerman bull call during the Office Depot merger that Karen abandoned way too early) and declared, "they're not Amazon ... this is a stock that is overdone."

Finerman said GRMN has strengths, but "the fear is the business model."

Stephanie Link said DIS' drop is not enough for her to buy. Tim Seymour though cautioned, "Do not sell Disney on this disappointment." But Guy Adami sided with Link, saying he wasn't recommending a short, but "you might get that selloff."

Julia Boorstin said Disney has now quantified the "Lone Ranger" as being a $160-$190 million writedown in the next quarter.

Guy Adami made a bull case for GMCR on the strength of how it's "done unbelievably well" after losing patents last year, and that there's "monster short interest" to the tune of 37%.

Tim Seymour said that RSI shows a sell signal for the stock.

Steph Link said of course, she can't back the stock on valuation.

Link delivered a Brag Trade on Cramer's behalf on IBM, saying they "sold this actually back in May," but around 175 or 180 gets interesting. Guy Adami said he thinks 180 is possible (but didn't bring up the $20 EPS in 2015 this time).

Guy Adami suggested getting long FSLR around 41.50.

Tim Seymour said of TAP, "I like this stock," but that 53 is trouble for it. (And given that it closed at $53.26, that is a real conundrum Tim offered to viewers.)

Melissa Lee borrowed a page from Sonny Steele's playbook, pointing out, "Breakfast is the No. 1 meal of the day."

Guy Adami gave Mel a hard time over parallel parking and foul shots. But here's an alternate challenge: dancing. We'll take Melissa, and Guy can choose anyone else besides Finerman (so that would be Stephanie Link), and Mel will win this one.

The market doesn’t seem to be punishing KORS for that not-running-its-own-Web-site thing that Dr. J likes to talk about

Guy Adami pretended on Tuesday's Fast Money that he was uncorking a big word regarding COH, saying, "Maybe the cachet surrounding this stock might be gone," and even after the earnings selloff it "might be an interesting short."

Stephanie Link lukewarmly defended COH, saying "expectations are very low here."

Someone questioned if COH might make a good short against KORS. Karen Finerman questioned that notion, explaining, "I don't love pairs trades," because it's "actually adding a different level of risk." Finerman added, "I think Coach actually is interesting here" as an "enduring brand" (translation: enough of the aspirational-lifestyle failure stuff that Simon keeps bringing up).

Finerman, in what's become her daily cliche, said she'd avoid JCP, that M is better, and also said she wouldn't short JCP either; "it is possible things bottom out."

Karen admitted that AEO "set an awful tone for today" but that she bought more FL, which was her Final Trade (Melissa and/or the producers botched the timing of the last 10 minutes, so we had to find the Final Trades online). Guy Adami's Final Trade was to sell FOSL, Stephanie Link said buy EMR and Tim Seymour said sell YNDX.

Jeff Kilburg claims gold
could be a ‘flight to quality’

Previous gold bull Jeff Kilburg was the epitome of wishful thinking on Tuesday's Halftime Report, saying "technically above 1300 there's still a lot of room on the chart" before dropping a whopper like you won't see this side of Burger King.

Kilburg said gold could be a "flight to quality" if the S&P 500 stumbles.

Moments later, Josh Brown had the same reaction we did. "Did that gentleman just say 'flight to quality into gold' ... that was remarkable," Brown said.

Anthony Grisanti, much more cautious, said "1,273 is the big number on my radar," and if it falls below 1,260, it's in big trouble.

Simon Baker said if you want to play the space, "I think silver looks better."

Brown: Solar space
‘wildly profitable’

Nothing wrong with people getting excited about stocks, but Josh Brown seemed to be taking a page from Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn and going a little overboard on the solar space on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

Brown claimed there is "widespread misperception" about what these companies, specifically FSLR, do.

"They are wildly profitable global construction companies," Brown asserted.

Bear Mike Murphy said there is "massive overproduction in the space" but he wouldn't take a position in FSLR before earnings (some help this exercise was).

Jon Najarian cited the Chinese tariffs as reason to back Brown's case. Simon Baker, who made the bull case himself for FSLR not long ago, made it again rather aggressively, saying "I think you have to be long the stock going in."

If Guy Adami had been on, we would’ve heard about that $20 EPS for 2015 that is assuredly going to happen

It seems as though Mike Murphy has caught the "stock-picker's market" bug.

Murphy on Tuesday's Halftime Report jumped aboard the show's newest slogan without quite saying as much, telling Judge Wapner, "You can start to add to tech, but you have to pick the names you're gonna add to," and not just "jump in blindly."

Which sounds like Murphy is really saying the QQQ's aren't going anywhere.

But of course, he wouldn't actually take a stand and say that.

Murphy said he wouldn't be in FB or IBM, but he likes ORCL and MSFT.

Josh Brown seized on that last name, saying the PC erosion is real. "It's starting to matter ... the vapor has worn away," Brown said, likening PC names to "melting icebergs" and saying he prefers GOOG.

Jon Najarian balked at the MSFT dis and told Brown, "I like the stock ... I don't see vapor when I look at Microsoft ... this is not vaporware."

Brown clarified, "No, the vapor has cleared; I don't think it's vaporware ... I gotta tell you ..."

Najarian persisted. "So Google gives away Google Docs, and somehow that's competitive to Microsoft, who sells their product ..."

Simon Baker, who's really into this "clear winners and losers" theme he's been spouting for weeks in a broad market already up 20% (that's correct, 20%) in 7 months, said he would "definitely" be overweight certain tech names and added, "Cisco's made a lot of good moves," and later said he likes the social media space (which trades like it's 1999).

Kulbinder Garcha proved an excellent guest in discussing his IBM takedown, calling the company "organically in decline" with "very high mainframe and Unix exposure." Garcha said he likes the trade of long EMC vs. short IBM, which he thinks could deliver 25-30% more.

Simon Baker said Garcha's IBM report made a "really strong case" but that Baker prefers NTAP as an alternative.

Josh Brown said that given IBM's high nominal price, a smackdown would hurt the Dow. Jon Najarian was the lone dissenter, saying, "I like IBM ... I would be a buyer on that weakness."

Garcha was more enthusiastic about AAPL, calling the expected lower-end iPhone a "major disruptive product" that will push the stock "much closer to 500," he thinks it "continues to work from here."

Mike Murphy, in an understatement, said AAPL "to me looks a lot better than it did a few weeks ago." Josh Brown said AAPL could go "either way very quickly."

Can we still blame Ron Johnson?

Kimberly Greenberger really didn't mess around with specifics on Tuesday's Halftime Report in touting KORS.

"The brand has a ton of momentum ... really robust brand," Greenberger said.

Judge was more interested in Greenberger's contention that JCP might be out of money in 4-5 quarters. Pressed by Wapner as to whether that means the company would be out of business, Greenberger softened a bit, saying it's "burning through cash at a very alarming pace."

Jon Najarian said someone was hemorrhaging JCP shares and that options were seeing "9 times normal activity," particularly in the January 10 puts.

Mike Murphy said the stock is actually near a point where it's buyable, but "I'm not ready to jump in just yet."

Simon Baker said earlier, referring to AEO, that retailers are in a "very tough environment" and to stay away, but Greenberger said "we would absolutely buy more Urban Outfitters today."

Murphy: CLF ‘potentially oversold’

Judge Wapner enlisted Tuesday's Halftime Report crew to opine on the Goldman Sachs most-overcooked stocks list, and frankly didn't get much interesting debate as most said they just wouldn't short anything.

Mike Murphy had the most provocative comments, saying he agrees with Goldman on HPQ but that he thinks CLF "could be potentially oversold."

Murphy also said of X, "I would rather be long than short it." But Simon Baker countered, "I think it's dead money," and Josh Brown deemed it "not investable at any price."

Baker reached into his bag of cliches for a dis of COH, which he said he continues to short, because it's too hard to become an "aspirational life brand."

Josh Brown said that 2 weeks ago he wouldn't have thought MOS overvalued, but after the Russian cartel thing that Stephen Weiss and Tim Seymour think resulted in such a foolish selloff that they're gonna make easy money and sell POT for $35.10 right away, he agrees with Goldman, because even though the stocks have been hit, the estimates don't reflect the cartel issues yet.

Jon Najarian said of HPQ, you "can't justify the stock up here," and said he just hasn't found reason to jump into CELG; "I've been staying away."

Simon Baker noted a lot of old tech has thrived on dividend demand. Mike Murphy said he wouldn't short INTC. Josh Brown said INTC can again become an elite company but thatt's "years and years away."

Doc: MGM to 20 by January

Mike Murphy contended on Tuesday's Halftime Report that viewers should avoid CBS and TWC because "I think both of them are gonna be losers after this agreement," but neither Murphy nor anyone else could answer the provocative question of Anthony Scaramucci a day earlier about what the settlement terms will actually be.

Jon Najarian said of SNE, "I think you hold the stock."

But Najarian said of THC, "I'd stay away from this one."

Mike Murphy said to jump into DIS on "some sort of selloff." Simon Baker indicated he doesn't like that stock, but suggested shorting SAM vs. long TAP.

Josh Brown said removing the print paper from WPO "could unlock value."

Brown said "I like Ford," but said APC is "not a cheap stock." (But Stephanie Link cites it as a good play in this "stock-picker's market.")

Mike Murphy said his negative NFLX call recently was bad but he still wouldn't buy the stock here. However, he said, "Within the next year somebody I, I believe will buy Netflix" for about $20 billion, and "I love the product."

Josh Brown said Murphy's don't-buy position in NFLX is a "reasonable call." (This writer is long NFLX.)

Jon Najarian said, "On that dip, you buy EBAY," saying 51 "was a steal."

Mike Murphy said AIG is still a buy. Jon Najarian gushed about MGM; "I think by January it's through 20." Simon Baker said if you want one name in the energy patch, it would be SLB.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was UNH. Simon Baker said short GMCR, Josh Brown said sell XHB and Mike Murphy said long PFE.

Jeff Kleintop told the gang that the public doesn't realize this is the "most powerful bull market since World War II," and while it may not be fueled by a great rotation from bonds, it has more legs. He likes KBE and PKW.

[Monday, August 5, 2013]

Jeff Bezos, the individual
(a/k/a apparently federal government reporters won’t have to start posting uncompensated product reviews)

Before Monday, we wouldn't have been surprised to hear that Monday's Fast Money would be spending a great amount of time on Jeff Bezos.

We would've been surprised, however, to learn that it was the Washington Post they were discussing.

Josh Brown and, later, Bradley Safalow, made the same joke, about Bezos being comfortable running businesses that lose money.

Brown said it's possible that Bezos turns the WaPost into "one of the top digital publishers."

Safalow said the cost was higher than he would've valued those particular properties, so WPO "certainly got a full price for the newspaper business."

Anthony Scaramucci, after praising the Allen Conference (we still think SALT is better, but that's OK), made the most curious remark, suggesting "Mr. Bezos may be interested in journalism and what it means in the Washington, D.C., area."

Honestly, we think it means the same thing it means in every newspaper market, a print product that advertisers inexplicably fled before readers did (and most still haven't), only this one must have much higher staff and operating costs than the titles Warren Buffett buys but also a more elite (we mean that in a good way) crew, which offers Bezos room to downsize that could end up getting rough.

However, Scaramucci then added that Buffett has long been an adviser to the Grahams, and Buffett rarely sells businesses, so "my guess is this is not gonna make money for a while."

Guy Adami suggested the afterhours move seems "a little excessive," but he's not ready to go out and short WPO just yet.

Anthony Scaramucci said he'd like to buy LMCA if it underperforms, and perhaps even if it doesn't.

Josh Brown sort of scoffed at Z's spree. "I don't think you can buy this with a straight face," Brown said.

In a shocker, Dave Barger announced a new product (premium seating with lay-down capacity) on CNBC, but said the financial benefits and margin expansion of this offering will start happening in the "latter half of 2014."

Karen Finerman said she's the type of flier this would appeal to and asked how much this would cost. Barger said he wasn't going to discuss pricing (which won't stop them from inviting him back next month) but that in other airlines it's been $3,800 or $4,000.

Guy Adami called JBLU the "best airline out there to fly," but said the stock can't get momentum, unlike SAVE.

Anthony Scaramucci proves far more prepared for a CBS-TWC discussion than Josh Brown

In a program that likely, if not for Jeff Bezos, would've been headlined by retail-stock suggestions, Karen Finerman said on Monday's Fast Money that "there's a lot of names that I like," specifically the ones she mentions all the time, FL, M and TGT, but she said she doesn't like JCP.

Finerman said Europe can now be a tailwind for FL.

Guy Adami said "I've liked Gap stores for a long time," and he also likes KORS.

Adami told Mel Lee that higher gas won't sink the consumer, unless it's in the high $5 or low $6 range. (And all Larry Kudlow kept saying in the early part of this century was how we would bring gasoline prices down if we would just "drill, baby, drill.")

Anthony Scaramucci admitted "I was wrong" on GPS in May, and blamed the overall market for carrying it, but he said "I am negative on Gap on a relative basis."

Paul Hickey visited the Nasdaq and told the group that Bespoke likes TWIN and MOD because they have a pattern of bouncing off the 50-day. He said they also like NFLX and P as streaming plays, and CIEN. (This writer is long NFLX.)

Guy Adami was wishy-washy on FB, saying the next quarter is the most important in company history (isn't that always true?) but that right now he's "hard-pressed" to say buy it here.

Karen Finerman said it's no surprise that the IWM is rockin' given that stocks in general are rockin', and the IWM is U.S.-centric.

Rich Koesterich predicted volatility in September, because of Fed issues, "headline risk in Europe" tied to German elections and budget battles. (Yawn, yawn and yawn.) He favors energy, tech and manufacturing.

Josh Brown suggested the CBS-Time Warner dispute could be wrapped up this week and said not to sell these stocks based on this dispute. The problem for Brown came when an impressively prepared Anthony Scaramucci asked him what the settlement price would be, and Brown admitted he had no idea. (But he knows enough to be expecting a settlement this week.)

Brian Stutland said BBRY August 10 calls were hot.

Guy Adami said that Jeff Saut has been "spot-on the entire way up" in the stock market, so apparently we have to believe everything Saut says from now on, including that he's not so bullish right now.

Adami praised the analyst who downgraded FOSL, "good for him."

Dennis Gartman told Melissa Lee, "We're gonna have a very large corn crop ... food prices are gonna stay under pressure for a long period of time." But Lee pressed him on stocks, and Gartman revealed he's still bullish, but "less than I was last week." (So what does that mean, it's not a "stock-picker's market?")

Anthony Scaramucci's Final Trade was FB. Josh Brown said GOOG, Karen Finerman said S&P puts, and Guy Adami said IRM.

Stephanie Link endorses Simon’s bogus refrain: ‘I think this is a stock-picker’s market’

The big winner on Monday's Halftime Report wasn't FB or TSLA — but plain old semantics.

This time, it was Stephanie Link who claimed, of a market up about 20% through 7 months, that "I think this is a stock-picker's market."

So what exactly is "new" to this current "stock-picker's market" that wasn't part of her agenda in the old market 3-4 months ago?

Link said Cramer likes APC, TKR, OXY, ETN and AIG.

In fact, Link mentioned at least 3 of those 5 names in January and February.

But now, it's a "stock-picker's market," different than whatever market it was in January and February.

In fact, Joe Terranova was bullish early in the year on OXY and APC, Josh Brown was bullish on APC, and Karen Finerman has been bullish on TKR and AIG, so basically all Cramer's doing is trumpeting Fast Money panelists' old positions in this newfound "stock-picker's market."

Judge Wapner, with not nearly enough emphasis, asked Link, "Why do you have to be so stock-selective though" if the broad market has been on fire all year and seems as though that will continue the data is getting better.

Link didn't even answer, yielding to Josh Brown, who admitted most investors don't need to be "quite as stock selective," and he would advocate being "sector selective, or geographically selective."

Given that the hook of the show is picking individual stocks, you'd expect them to talk their book; the problem is when they suggest that any given time is suddenly a "stock-picker's market" without explaining what the only rationale for that would be: that they think it will be a flat S&P for a while, in which case the only way to actually make money is to outperform.

But notice you've heard no panelist predict a flat market from here to year-end.

Even Guy Adami thinks it will keep rising before it tumbles.

If anything, what they SHOULD be talking is also the purported specialty of the show: TIMING the market. As we've discovered from years (sigh) of chronicling this program, you'd be far better off just knowing when the August 2011 S&P downgrades and May 2011 Greece riots are going to happen than you would be trying to pick outperforming stocks during that time.

Meanwhile, their notion of "stock-picker's market" is a joke. It's really fairly obvious: raging bull market, you scoop up all those 4-letter tickers like TSLA/LNKD/AMZN/NFLX/YELP/TRIP/PCLN/GOOG. (This writer is long NFLX.) Crappy market, you're buying utilities, Exxon and the "suds." But Link and basically all other panelists are generally hung up on "valuation" and make the most conservative calls that are really no different than a SPYder-only portfolio.

So, Simon and Stephanie have it backwards. First tell us where the S&P is going, then we'll know whether it's a stock-picker's market.

And toss in to this dubious club Stephen Weiss, who claimed, "It's always a stock-picker's market," because if you're just doing the averages, "by definition, you're mediocre." (Sure, a lot of people aside from Steven Cohen (check out the status of that place right now) consider 20% year to date a "mediocre" return, ask Bill Ackman (see below); probably the same people that consider down 5% in a year the market's down 8% to be a great year.)

Meanwhile, Joe Terranova asserted that "further appreciation in the market is going to happen," and he's adding to consumer discretionary.

Mr. New World predicted again that gold would fall 20-25% from current levels.

But while Joe deftly dodged the semantical mumbo jumbo of his colleagues, Dr. New Land got tripped up by telling Josh Brown small-caps should be owned, curiously citing FB bulls in May who never got a pullback.

"What does that have to do with small-caps," Brown rightly asked.

Brown said he's "always in" stocks, the question is to what degree, and this could be a "new dawning" but it depends on your point of view.

Stephen Weiss claimed "the market should pull back" about 5-6% and then it's off to the races, which would mean it doesn't make any sense to be picking stocks right now as Weiss indicated he did Friday with ETN, but in fact if he were following his own advice, Weiss would be long the SDS until his 5-6% pullback occurs, then getting long SPY.

JJ Kinahan, representing TD Ameritrade, spoke about our favorite Fast Money statistic, the TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index (or whatever it's called), which nobody knows or will say what it really measures or means or represents or predicts, and disclosed, "The index is at a 4.87 ... off from last month."

Kinahan claimed that the retail investor is getting smarter because he/she is taking profits like the pros (except if we shoot up to 1,725 this week, that looks pretty silly) and that in particular they've gotten out of CSCO, HPQ and TWC (and if those are up 10% in a month, that will look pretty silly too).

Craig Johnson predicted 1,850 S&P in 2013 because "the money is starting to rotate out of fixed income." He mentioned BWA and JCI as strong names.

Mike Ryan indicated the easy money's been made in stocks and that the Fed will taper in December.

Ask people in 2000 who would own the smartphone market in 2013, you’d hear NOK, MOT, maybe RIMM, not AAPL and GOOG

Judge Wapner, perhaps taking pains to make sure he's not viewed as Carl's sidekick, stressed on Monday's Halftime Report that, despite the fact Bill Ackman himself chose to make extraordinarily grand statements and commitments to a pair of astoundingly horrible moves (short HLF and long JCP), Judge finds it "interesting" that "few people bring up the the home run swings that he's taken." (Yes, it's shocking that right now nobody is talking about what Alex Rodriguez did in the 2009 World Series.)

Wapner reported that Pershing Square was down 2.2% in July but up 4% year to date.

Joe Terranova, referring to Ackman's Herbalife stake, said "I think he's in trouble."

Who knows, perhaps Jim Chanos will be Ackman or Icahn when it comes to CAT, which Mr. New World described as a "battleground type of a stock."

Katrina Dudley visited the set and told the panel, "We think that Europe is still a very cheap market." Dudley explained why you might want to be long CNH but really touted ACRFY, which she said could "easily double on a 3- to 5-year basis."

Josh Brown said the issue with QCOM is whether its headwinds are "temporary or secular," and he's betting on the former. Stephanie Link said the "smartphone market is really challenged" and she expects pressure on margins.

Brown said, "I gotta tell you" (Drink), if the stock breaks through its 2012 highs this week, you don't want to be short.

Stephen Weiss said he backs the long story though he's not in it now, because it's cheap ex-cash. Mr. New Land called QCOM a buy.

Joe Terraanova said KRFT is stealing coffee share, and "I would just own some puts." Josh Brown admitted of TSN, "I gotta tell you (Drink), I hadn't been watching this thing," but it's one of the best charts he has seen; "I think she's going into the 30s."

Stephanie Link said Cramer "did trim a little bit today" in FB. Josh Brown declared of FB, "I think they have business momentum now."

Eamon Javers said, with all the sequestration and tax hikes, etc., the nation's "deficit picture" has actually improved. (And you hear people mention that at cocktail parties all the time #whyaretheytaperingagain?)

Stephen Weiss said of HPQ, "I was wrong on it," but if you've had gains, "I would sell into it."

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was NXPI, "going to 40." Josh Brown said VAW, Stephanie Link said SYMC and Stephen Weiss said American Airlines (whatever the goofy symbol is).

[Friday, August 2, 2013]

Steve Grasso is lone Fast Money panelist playing TSLA long, and is kicking butt

In the most aggressive, and basically just about the only useful, call on Friday's Fast Money, Steve Grasso said he bought more TSLA on Friday and that he thinks "it's gonna surprise the Street again."

Guy Adami reitereated that if you were fortunate to get the LNKD surge, "today's the day to take profits," except trading was essentially over by the time the show aired (unless you want to fiddle with dicey afterhours bids).

Dan Nathan said "I think you wanna be careful" with PCLN given what EXPE did and, in a shocker for a guy who's a linchpin of Options Action, suggested playing PCLN with options.

Guy Adami, who curiously erroneously attributed the opening tune to a crew in Patty Edwards' iCloud, the Bay City Rollers, said he'd be "shocked" if the Fed goes ahead with a September tapering, and he thinks the noise from late May was just a trial balloon.

Dan Nathan said that right now it's "more of a 50/50 chance" of a September taper.

Tim Seymour contended, "We got closer to taper today," then said he's not concerned about the economy, but is concerned about "policy risk." And the other day he said he's concerned that the SAC case represents a change to rules about how hedge funds operate. So if you're keeping a scorecard at home, know that 1) Tim Seymour is concerned about regulators changing the rules on hedge funds, 2) Tim Seymour is concerned about "policy risk," but 3) Tim Seymour is not concerned about the economy.

Steve Grasso gracefully and succinctly said "you have to stay long the market."

Mark Kiesel, not from Gabelli but actually from Pimco, told the crew he sees the 10-year reverting to "2 and a quarter to 2 and a half." He rattled off 4 names in the housing sector, WHR, MAS, USG and WY, because "the remodel cycle is just starting," and we've been hearing for about 4 years how every phase of housing is just beginning, the rental phase, the fixer-upper phase, the foreclosure phase, the new-home phase, the multi-family phase, etc.

Steve Grasso said he likes HD and that the builders are the only element of the housing sector he really doesn't like.

Guy Adami said there are better financials to buy than BRK.

Guy Adami said LGF keeps winning.

Steve Grasso chuckled over WTW and said "probably stay away from it."

Dan Nathan called JCP "an avoid altogether."

Guy Adami called BWLD "too rich."

Tim Seymour, tripped up like Stephen Weiss (see below) on what each made out to be like it was the easiest money of all time this week, POT, insisted, "I'm staying in this trade."

Dan Nathan said the news in DELL is "probably the knockout here" for this stupid deal to come to fruition.

Tim Seymour thought he would be accommodated for making his tired speech about AIG, "I love to bring this up every time," but he whiffed like Joe Theismann's 1-yard punt in 1985 in failing to explain whether AIG for viewers is worth buying.

Seymour said DIS is facing some "short-term noise" but looks good long term. Guy Adami said P could spike in the short term but has trouble with 20.5.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was CLF. Steve Grasso said TSLA. Dan Nathan said to sell FDX, and Guy Adami said PHM.

Seems like Melissa and Judge have been doing each other’s show quite a bit lately

Alec Young, one of 2 guests on Friday's Halftime Report not from the Gabelli franchise, told guest host Melissa Lee that he has a 1,780 S&P 500 target apparently pegged to mid-2014.

But suggesting we could have a 16 multiple on $115 earnings, Young allowed that "our target could be conservative."

Stephen Weiss questioned why we'd get multiple expansion if earnings come in below the Street's $120. Young said he thinks multiple expansion's definitely possible.

Jon Najarian said the jobs number was "about what I expected."

Joe LaVorgna said the conclusions from the jobs report is that "it's not all terrible, and I still believe the Fed at this point tapers in September." But Steve Liesman said that in his mind, the chances of September tapering are "back down to 50/50."

This page is proof, even knuckleheads can run their own Web site

Simon Baker handled perhaps the week's hottest or 2nd-hottest stock, LNKD, on Friday's Halftime Report.

"Own the stock," Baker said.

But Baker wasn't high on DELL. "Completely stay away from this name," Baker said.

Baker said V looks good; "I think you buy it here."

Enis Taner, responding to a Fast Fire, said "I still don't like Micron," but he does think AMAT might be interesting.

Steve Weiss agrees with Taner on MU but said he likes QCOM in the chip space.

Jon Najarian said he thinks KORS has "some headwinds," pointing out that curious thing about not running its own Web site again.

Flash: Gabelli supplies a guest

Chris Marangi, providing the day's obligatory Gabelli showing on Friday's Halftime Report, indicated that consolidation in the cable-TV industry is inevitable.

"It's logical that Charter would look at Cox," Marangi said, but that wouldn't be quite a big enough deal, so "John Malone wouldn't be finished there."

Simon Baker, a bit skeptical, twice said "at the end of the day" in asking, Marangi, "Is it really good for consumers." Marangi said the cable operators would argue yes because they can put a greater squeeze on the content providers.

(So, would that mean Comcast can squeeze itself? Dunno.)

Marangi suggested he likes CVC and thinks it could get to the mid-20s; "they seem more open than I've sensed in a while to a deal," and also indicated TWC and CMCSA are his favorites in the sector.

Enis Taner said, "I like Time Warner cable as well." Stephen Weiss said, "I'd also play Cablevision."

Whew! No Superman references this time during DIS debate

Jon Najarian told Friday's Halftime Report he's bullish on DIS because there's a "whole bunch of people who like this stock," and also in part because of "Pirates of Caribbean (sic) 5."

But it always comes back to ESPN, and Simon Baker, the curmudgeon here, said there are "massive headwinds" from the new Fox Sports channel (wonder if they'll make as many inroads as Fox Business.

Stephen Weiss said he backs Najarian's call because there will be no impact on ESPN for a while, if at all.

Najarian said WTW produces a "skinny report" and while it looks bad, "I would be willing to buy it down around this level."

Stephen Weiss said of AIG, "I would buy the stock this level."

Enis Taner said "I would stay away" from RSH.

Chuck Bath, another non-Gabelli guest, said one name he likes is BSX, because its "cardiac rhythm management business has stabilized." And he continues to like financials, though he said some have reached their price targets, so he's trimmed.

Bath said he likes CEX in energy because it has the "volume growth" the biggies lack.

Simon Baker called NKE a hold. Jon Najarian said the same of LMT, and Enis Taner endorsed MS.

But Stephen Weiss said he's no fan of CHK, and "that's not gonna change" despite its move to 25, so that's a fold.

Weiss admitted he got tripped up by the weakness in POT, after (like Tim Seymour) earlier this week practically trumpeting this trade like it was the easiest money of all time. He still contended Friday that it's a "free option on the cartel in Russia getting back together right now."

Enis Taner curiously said he doesn't like JOY, but notes that it is cheaper than CAT.

Taner's Final Trade was MET. Jon Najarian said FL, Simon Baker said CSCO and Stephen Weiss said ETN, "bought more this morning."

[Thursday, August 1, 2013]

Housing watcher: ‘I think we have another bubble in the making’

We're just the amateurs around here, but one thing we haven't been counting on is another housing crash.

Perhaps we should, given that Dani Babb told Thursday's Fast Money that "I think we have another bubble in the making," evidenced by price wars in some of the previously overheated markets such as Miami and Boston, fueled in part by rates/affordability.

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, wondering if the affordability index isn't still low compared to 2006. But Babb said that if the returns of the last few years continue, "we could see prices back where they were again."

Speaking of Bubbles 2.0, Jon Najarian thundered a ringing endorsement for TRLA, one of many names that seem to be fueling another tech-stock craze.

‘Chronicle of CNBC’s Fast Money — July 2008-present: Write about stock-market predictions made daily on cable television ...’

About the worst thing you could've done in stocks in 2013 (besides shorting HLF) is shorting anything with 4 letters in the ticker symbol.

Notice it's the same jingle with every name, "TSLA/AMZN/LNKD/PLCN/NFLX/KORS/GOOG/YHOO doesn't trade on valuation, it trades on ..."

(This writer is long NFLX.)

On Thursday's Fast Money, Jon Najarian pointed out how LNKD somehow actually traded below $200 (who allowed this outrage?) and then had a "boom to the upside."

But Guy Adami said to chase it at 225, "that's the wrong trade."

Jon Najarian noted OPEN plunging but pointed out on Friday, "people are gonna be covering."

He also said he'd only sell YELP, even after the surge, if he learned that Roger McNamee and Bono were selling.

Jon Fortt showed off two utterly uninteresting-looking Motorola Moto X phones and said the issue is whether GOOG will spend marketing dollars to promote them, lack of which sank HTC's great product. If nothing else, "This keeps Samsung honest," Fortt said, and we have no idea what any of this means for GOOG.

Guy Adami argued that KORS will soar because it will "continue to see margin improvement." Jon Najarian countered that it's flat in Europe, and, in a curiosity for sure, "They don't even run their own Web site."

3 other stocks that might as well have 4-letter symbols but don't, FB, MA and V, also are en route to the moon. Karen Finerman said MA outperformed V because there's more concern about debit cards, but she likes Mastercard, which Eric Bolling famously told people to dump at 85 in the first year of Fast Money.

We were wondering how those with the CNBCfix gig would present it on their LinkedIn résumés, which is the ticket to the job market now according to Joe Terranova, and came up with the headline for this item.

Pretty ridiculous.

DELL actually ended
last year at $10.02

If you doubt the power of a 4-letter ticker symbol this year, note that even sad-sack DELL Computer is still up enormously for 2013.

David Faber, issuing a rare report on Fast Money, told guest host Judge Wapner's crew that the DELL board might be negotiating a higher bid with Michael Dell and Silverlake that would alter the voting rules enough to ensure it succeeds.

Karen Finerman said, "I wouldn't play it here at this price."

But Jon Najarian made an interesting call, stressing, "A deal will get done," and keep an eye on it if it plunges, because "if you can buy this thing at 11 bucks," you'll want to do so.

Carter Worth’s selloff prediction looks bone-headed, as does the notion of ‘stock-picker’s market’

Evidently with too much time to fill, Judge Wapner summoned Guy Adami at the top of Thursday's Fast Money to declare that markets don't give you this much time to sell at the peak (Drink), so it's going higher.

Adami late in the show — keep in mind this is barely a month after saying the high was in for not only this year but early next year — predicted a 2013 high of 1,730-1,750 but said the S&P 500 will close the year at 1,635, and we'll take the other side of that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Karen Finerman said the market can continue to be fueled by people seeing the returns and saying to themselves, "How can I not be in this market."

Jon Najarian flat-out predicted the September jobs report would be "well north of 300,000."

Thomas Lee told the crew, "I think it's great that we, we did close above a round-number milestone," which honestly to us doesn't mean a hill of beans, but Lee articulated an interesting point about what the multiples could be for cyclicals, which is, "what they are paying for staple stocks right now, which is 18 to 20 times." He suggested a long play on Europe but rather than picking European stocks, choosing U.S. blue chips with European exposure.

Good grief — we just realized Keith McCullough hasn’t been on Fast Money in ages

Karen Finerman was so impressed by AIG on Thursday's Fast Money, she not only told viewers, "I wouldn't begin to sell it here," but even, "I'd actually think about buying it."

Jon Najarian called AIG "cheap," but Brian Kelly, using typical criteria that hasn't really worked this year, questioned buying the stock at it's "3-year high," which means the peak is probably in ... forever.

Angela Deering, who is cute, visited the Nasdaq to point out that these are exciting times in high-yield debt, and that JCP has an issuance that specifically jumped from 9.5% to 10.75% after the N.Y. Post news, and that level according to Deering is "not uncharted territory for a turnaround story."

Karen Finerman said to avoid JCP equity, but she said she covered the bonds, and deferred to Deering.

Jon Najarian, in a stark assessment of the company, said "the only way this thing even survives is ultimately they sell off half of what they are." But Guy Adami countered that JCP traded "tremendous volume" this week (which seems to happen about once a month), and "you can trade it from the long side."

Mike Khouw said option buyers were scooping up GPS 46.50 weekly calls.

Karen Finerman said WTW is having a bad year, but if it falls another dollar or 2 below 40, it's worth a shot.

Jon Najariand said "I like Blackstone a lot," but it was Guy Adami who made it his Final Trade. Najarian said MYL, Brian Kelly said TBT and Karen Finerman said SPY puts.

One of these days we're going to check the archives and figure out when Keith McCullough made his last appearance on Fast Money. (He's probably explained the whole thing on Twitter at some point, but we sure as heck aren't paging through 40 tweets a day back to January.)

Steve Liesman seems to indicate the easy money’s been made (while endorsing Simon’s ‘stock-picker’s market’ without mentioning Simon)

People were feeling giddy about the stock market on Thursday, to the point Josh Brown went double-barrel on his favorite cliche on the Halftime Report.

"I gotta tell you, if you choose to blow out of your holdings because we print 220,000 jobs tomorrow, that's your prerogative; I gotta tell you, I don't think that that's the way the market's behaving any longer," Brown said.

However, that wasn't the view of Paul Richards, who contended, "If this number is 225, I think we'll get some cracks in the market," calling 1,735 "toppish" and wondering why people wouldn't just take their gains and go home; "how much do you wanna make in a year."

Stephen Weiss said he wouldn't be surprised to see the market "moderate" into the close.

But Weiss once again got plowed into by newfound rival Joe Terranova, who asserted, "The S&P's gonna continue to go higher," and rattled off a host of stocks he likes, including URBN, LTD, SBUX, PXD, CHK, and also defiantly told Weiss twice he bought CXO after it was up 6%.

Judge Wapner mentioned the word "froth," and Weiss seemed to acknowledge that, so Joe directed his fury at Weiss; "you're determining that it's froth, that's your 1 opinion." (Actually he's got more than 1, but whatever.)

Dr. New World, who made a great chase-for-performance call this week, re-insisted it's still on, citing hedge fund returns. But that was rebutted by Weiss, who said the averages don't reflect true hedge fund returns, and "the chase for performance to me is very overstated."

Paul Richards said to "buy the dollar against the yen, against the Australian dollar," and also against the euro.

Steve Liesman, not exactly a trader though he sometimes tries to advise them, said, "I think there was a time to buy stocks. When buying stocks broadly was a no-brainer ... it's now a time to buy stock (sic, emphasis on singularity), where you look at each company individually."

Ah. No more robust S&P 500 gains in 2013.

Liesman said that Ben Bernanke after May 22 was only saying "exactly what he said" on May 22.

Funny how no one’s raising those $40 FB targets

Bob Peck told Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that while LNKD is a great company, "the big 'but' is valuation" (who woulda thunk). "I think it's time for a pause," Peck said.

Josh Brown gushed, "I would welcome a pullback."

Mr. New Land actually claimed, "It's changed the way seeking (sic) employment," and that sounds a little too easy; we gotta wonder about that one (do people get jobs at Virtus simply by clicking on Joe's profile instead of making some calls and pounding the pavement?).

Anyway, Peck waffled like L'eggo my egg'o on FB, first being interrupted by Stephanie Link and redirected from answering Judge's question, then finally answering it by saying "we're at $40 target," and then assuring, "We'll monitor how the progress is on the new products going forward."

Josh Brown said that what Facebook has going for it now is that "guys can't not have this name on their books."

Joe Terranoa said of MA, "I think it's gonna reach 700."

Steve Weiss said of CBS, "I think you stick with it."

Josh Brown called YELP's rise "yet another example" of a short squeeze.

Golden Jackie DeAngelis was sooooooo good-looking on Futures Now that we had to interrupt the afternoon to grab a picture; Anthony Grisanti suggested fracking rigs switching to crude could provide a longer-term boost to nat gas, but Jeff Kilburg said 3.30s is appealing, "looks like we're here at the floor."

Kate Kelly reported that "Dan Loeb's Third Point does not have a position in Apollo."

Herb: If Steve Eisman had laid out Ackman’s HLF case, Carl might’ve gone short

Herb Greenberg explained to Thursday's Halftime Report crew that regarding the battle of HLF, "I've never seen anything like this in 40 years," and he finds it curious that these noted activist investors are piling into a name that really has no activism potential, apparently for nothing more than vendetta reasons.

In fact, Herb curiously said, if Steve Eisman had made an anti-HLF presentation, "I guarantee you a lot of these guys would be following Steve Eisman instead ... they enjoy going after Bill Ackman."

Which is a bit like saying, if LeBron James played for the Spurs, a lot more people would've been picking San Antonio to win the NBA title.

Josh Brown said of K, "I don't see a reason to buy this name just yet."

Stephanie Link said "the quarter is irrelevant" at TKR but to buy the weakness.

Stephen Weiss said he prefers M to JCP and of the latter, "I still think the stock goes lower."

Stephanie Link said PG might be (yawn) interesting on a pullback (Drink).

And, she said the same for AIG.

Mr. New World took on Stephanie in one of the least enthusiastic debates ever, XOM. "I wanna stay with it ... because of the production growth," Joe asserted, while issuing the years-old refrain that XOM "way overpaid for XTO" (Drink).

Link said "the quarter was a complete mess" and argued that "the production growth was disappointing" and the stock's trading above its long-term averages.

Josh Brown, who always says he prefers CVX, said "I like Stephanie's argument frankly."

Paul Sankey said he'd be on the sidelines regarding XOM, and "clearly Chevron" is more preferred, but "we love the U.S. growth theme," specifically any names that are freeing up value such as HES and OXY.

Sankey explained that he'd "be at risk of compliance, uh, issues if I start to give out names I don't cover."

Stephen Weiss, who had a quiet show, said he's "bearish view on crude right now."

Mr. New Land, who spread ticker symbols like backyard fertilizer (not the fertilizer stocks), mentioned CNQ, SU and CVE (gosh is that a homonym with Synovus? check out that chart) as names that might benefit from "a little bit of a mean reversion."

Josh Brown's Final Trade was VGK. Joe Terranova said HOS, Steph Link said HOT and Steve Weiss said POT, explaining he sold it (presumably at a profit) and bought it back.

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