[CNBCfix Fast Money Review archive — August 2015]
[Monday, August 31, 2015]

‘What have you’ — Sara demands to know what happened to ‘imminent’ TWTR announcement

It was heaven on earth for viewers of Monday's Halftime Report as unanimous CNBC superfox Sara Eisen took the reins as guest host.

And she picked up where Judge generally leaves off, inviting Bob Peck for another chat about the "triumvirate."

Peck said TWTR sentiment is "completely washed out," then he predicted a series of catalysts including the "rumored board meeting" this week, CEO announcement next week, then Project Lightning and Google integration.

Sara pointed out that Peck was calling the CEO announcement "imminent" a couple weeks ago and asked, "who are you talking to."

Peck said he talks to industry people, investors "and what have you," and the company is just making sure that when the announcement is made "that they've really done their homework."

Yes, let's hope they've done their homework and aren't anointing a CEO on the willy nilly.

Peck, consuming serious Kool-aid on this topic, called Jack Dorsey the "inspirational" (snicker) leader of Twitter while Adam Bain "is very much the monetization (snicker) leader."

Peck hailed the Google deal and how, if you're searching for Video Music Awards, you'll get tweets popping up and if you click on them, "you're brought straight to Twitter."

But there's a safety net if that doesn't work. "Ultimately if the products don't work, it's an M&A target," Peck said.

Pete Najarian expressed concern over the logged-out users. Peck pointed to Project Lightning and the "curated content by top pundits in the space ... creating an easier-to-use experience for the mass market."

Peck predicted a "modest positive" on the CEO announcement. Joe Terranova told Sara, "I tried to buy it; I got myself stopped out."

Jeff Kilburg dominated oil prediction of 38-to-46 last week

Tony Dwyer, maintaining his 2,340 (snicker) year-end S&P target, told guest host CNBC superfox Sara Eisen on Monday's Halftime Report that it's time to go "all in" on stocks (he said he made that call a week ago Monday) while conceding, "It's very possible that the market may retest that low" of last week.

Josh Brown questioned what happens to psychology if the S&P can't break the old high. Dwyer acknowledged that's a good point; "you really need to break through it," which would seem mathematically necessary to reach 2,340.

Brown said energy is recovering from a "very, very deeply oversold" situation.

Joe Terranova said oil's rebound is "part of the equation" that will enable a "token" hike by the Fed in September.

Joe also said Berkshire's stake in PSX is a sign "Warren" understands the "state of domestic oil." Josh Brown backed buying the name.

Pete Najarian clarified for viewers, "This is not Warren Buffett saying Tony Dwyer's 2,340 is right on 'This is the bottom in oil."

Joe said he doesn't like the word "defensive" for September, preferring "opportunistic" and stating that what's really important is the "window for buybacks is now beginning to close."

Josh Brown said, "I do not fear the talking Fed," claiming this is a "mildly overvalued market" relative to history.

Steve Weiss said he'd add seasonality to indicators he doesn't care about.

Pete hangs an 18 on BAC, doesn’t call it the Kevin Durant of banks

Pete Najarian on Monday's CNBC superfox Sara Eisen-led Halftime Report called DIS an "absolute buy" under 100, stating the ESPN issue was "overplayed."

Joe Terranova said DIS will be "completely fine."

Josh Brown said he needs 3½% on the WMT dividend to get interested in the stock.

Stephen Weiss and Josh Brown cautioned against buying stocks for dividend purposes, suggesting capital losses can wipe out the returns.

Weiss said the Epix deal was not advantageous for Netflix. "Not a big deal" for the stock, he said.

Weiss said he still likes airlines.

Pete Najarian hung an 18 on BAC.

Joe Terranova said JCP is "running into upside resistance," and he'd sell the gains.

Josh Brown said the stock action in FIT is "terrible," and he'd avoid the name.

Doc said he ditched ASNA (that's the Dress Barn folks) in favor of BBY for his Halftime Portfolio, saying BBY is "refinancing debt at just a phenomenal rate." But the important thing is that "they were buying September 36 calls in big numbers."

Pete Najarian said BBY has been able to "recapture" customers lost to AMZN. (Yeah right.)

But Josh Brown said BBY tends to fail at 40 and that "a lot of the easy money (Drink) from a tactical standpoint may have already been made."

Stephen Weiss likes M and DKS.

Stephen Weiss revealed "I actually traded out of JD because it did bounce," Weiss said, adding that JD.com is more like Amazon.com than BABA is. (This writer is long BABA.)

Josh Brown asserted PYPL "could be a home run" and said it "sits in the middle of almost every Uber transaction."

[Friday, August 28, 2015]

Stocks incredibly flat for most of the year; Guy Adami blames 2 weeks of volatility on Federal Reserve

Steve Grasso, fighting a currently losing battle against entering face-ripped-off land with his 10-15%-more-prognosis this week, used the telestrator or whatever it's called on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to say we're in "no-man's land" and that you want to sell the market from 1,985 "basically all the way up to 2,032."

"It's not safe to be a buyer, unfortunately, until we break through that level," Grasso said. (Except if you sell it right now, and it goes through 2,032, you'll feel like a knucklehead.)

Guy Adami, who has a bizarre bias against typical Federal Reserve policy, complained to host Melissa Lee about Stanley Fischer.

"He said that the committee doesn't like to move in times of heightened market volatility — the volatility that they helped create. I mean that's a soapbox thing. We can talk about that on a 1-hour show, when I got some real estate. But that- that's preposterous to me. Thank you," Adami said.

No. 386 chimed in that "it's a lot of doubletalk, tripletalk, quadrupletalk," and if the Fed does raise, "it's a huge mistake."

David Seaburg said there's "real pent-up demand" (Drink) that will drive TOL on a rate move, but to buy BMY if the Fed doesn't raise. Guy Adami said to buy CME with a hike. Steve Grasso said buy ETFC if they raise and SO if they don't.

MCC doesn’t get it — Fischer is saying they won’t hike if the market is cratering

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Friday's Halftime Report aired clips of Grateful Dead broadcaster Steve Liesman interviewing Stanley Fischer.

Caruso-Cabrera praised Liesman for questioning if a decision on rates should be affected by data in the next 2 weeks, as Fischer had indicated.

MCC and Jim Lebenthal said the market on Friday seemed to be ruling out 2016 for the rate hike.

Lebenthal volunteered, "I can't say that September is on or off," pointing to next Friday's jobs report.

Tom Lee opined, "I think markets are really confused."

But Lee offered hope for crude watchers, stating that "100% of the time," oil after falling 60% year-over-year has rallied in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months.

"Oil stabilizing would be universally popular," Lee said.

MCC admitted again she's "obsessed" with Chevron's dividend.

If JPM is the LeBron James, perhaps C is the Russell Westbrook

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Friday's Halftime Report told Eric Wasserstrom that C has "so much exposure overseas, particularly to China."

Wasserstrom said that's "a big misconception; it actually doesn't have that much exposure to China."

So there you go.

Furthermore, Wasserstrom said that valuation seems to account for emerging-market setbacks; "we'd say the market has already priced it in."

Wasserstrom said he's not so much focused on the uncertain Fed hike, but banks that can "control their own destinay (sic), uh, destiny in terms of driving asset growth."

Josh Brown said that while earnings may not take a global hit, that could keep a "lid" on bank multiples.

Wasserstrom said "that's really a Citi-directed comment," and the stock is trading below tangible book, so "that to me seems like a reasonable downside."

Jim Lebenthal said, "Let's put 2 and 2 together here" and noted that Citigroup has been allowed to start buying back shares and opined that if it does begin buybacks below tangible book, "that's just a home run."

Brown concluded that JPM's pedigree makes it a more appealing stock than C.

Sarat Sethi, like virtually every panelist and guest in the history of Fast Money and the Halftime Report, likes the regionals (Drink).

Wonder if there’s a Chasing-Ukraine Motif for all those folks without ‘true’ wealth

In an understatement, Hardeep Walia on Friday's Halftime Report said his Motif of the Month is "kind of boring."

It's property and casualty insurance.

Walia said there have been "no major disasters" since Katrina and Sandy, so balance sheets have strengthened.

He asserted the industry has seen increasing profits despite price decreases. Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said "that doesn't make any sense to me."

Walia said "it has to do with the balance sheet; when you're not paying out operating expenses, uh, you know, in payouts, you're able to go in and actually, uh, compete on pricing and still make money."

Jim Lebenthal said he almost always agrees with Walia, but this time he doesn't; he said the reason this sector has been so profitable is because "there haven't been major disasters recently."

Lebenthal said the time to buy the P&C insurers is "after a major disaster."

Walia conceded there's "definitely a risk" of disasters and weather but that the prospect of rising rates, the need for low-volatility plays and the underwriting cycle are reasons to like the Motif, which he insisted is filled with high-quality names.

Sarat Sethi robustly agreed with Lebenthal.

Nothing more on that 12½ bps theory

Rick Ferri joined the Halftime Report desk on Friday to offer 3 reasons to embrace rising rates.

MCC seemed skeptical of Ferri's No. 1 reason, reducing investor "anxiety."

Ferri insisted there's been a "great weight" hanging over the market that is actually "holding the economy back."

In what feels like a strangely circular argument, Ferri said that raising rates actually gives the Fed the "hammer" to deal with a recession (without conceding that if we're on the borderline of a recession, raising them would presumably push us over the top).

Ferri said Stan Fischer's implication of a possible rate hike was a "positive."

Ferri endorsed BND and LQD.

Still waiting for those updates on the CAM call-buying inquiries

Continuing one of the strangest storylines in the history of Fast Money/Halftime Report, Jon Najarian — who appears to make a living piling into unusual options activity and then flags people who bought options just before major announcements — on Friday's Halftime reported that on Wednesday and Thursday, January 10 calls in FCX were being "aggressively" bought.

Doc said it's "probably not Carl himself," but "this is very likely the people that supplied Carl the ammunition."

Nobody on the panel expressed interest in getting back into the materials space. Josh Brown said the sector is plagued by "plunging demand, plunging prices, way too much excess capacity," and not only that but "geopolitical problems in places like Indonesia."

Meanwhile, Doc bought SDRL for his mythical Halftime Portfolio. (Maybe SDRL options buyers think Carl Icahn's gonna do a deal.)

Josh Brown exited ESRX in his portfolio over a "broken" trend line.

Jim Lebenthal advised viewers to "pick a little bit away next week."

Sarat Sethi said we might get "even more" of an opportunity to buy next week.

Josh Brown told MCC, "I had an egg sandwich the size of your head."

"And I got a big head, honey," MCC replied.

Sue Herera uncorked her signature line, telling MCC, "It's always about the hair" (Drink)

MCC said she'd love to be a "Hair Ambassador."

[Thursday, August 27, 2015]

Karen in new red-striped top; Mel smoldering in black leather

"I don't think the worst is over," said Guy Adami during Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but he still was heard to mention the possibility of a "benign tape" and even suggested a possible climb to 2,050

Karen Finerman said she finds it "really difficult" to buy stocks on a day they're up, and so she finds a day like Thursday "very challenging."

Brian Kelly said this looks like "some kind of a bull trap."

Karen Finerman brought up the 12½-basis-point (snicker) Fed hike to Steve Liesman and asked him if it's possible. Liesman said, "It just feels a little wimpy to me."

Oops — Doc thinks Rob Sechan is trashing MLPs with 7% yields, but Sechan actually was recommending them

It's the business-television equivalent of putting one's foot in one's mouth.

Rob Sechan, special guest of Thursday's Halftime Report, touted MLPs that are yielding 7%.

That got the attention of guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who said that when she hears of 7% dividend yields in energy, those seem "very risky."

Jon Najarian agreed with MCC, which was fine, except he went on to say that a guy like Sechan is not putting "true wealth" into "crazy things" like that and asserted, "I think people that don't have wealth are the ones chasing into things like the Ukraine, quite frankly."

This despite the fact that moments earlier, Sechan had called energy stocks an "interesting story," not because of fundamentals, but valuations. "It's a time to be shopping in that sector," Sechan said, a comment that obviously didn't sink in with Najarian.

After Najarian's asssessment, Sechan explained, "Yeah, but MLPs are a different story. It's a build-out of the entire energy infrastructure theme here in the U.S. ... like turnpike munis."

Stephen Weiss backed up Sechan's bullishness on those "crazy things."

Now we’re hearing ‘blip’ selloff

Forced to explain the market's sudden recovery just after he spent Tuesday forecasting another 10-15% down, Steve Grasso on Thursday's Halftime Report called the gains a "relief rally or a relief bounce-back."

Grasso said 2,000-2,032 is the "sell zone" of the S&P cash, and if we get above that, "all bets are off" and it proves the last week was just a "blip" selloff.

No. 386 even said China was "due for that shock," but "I think until the smoke clears you have plenty of time to be a buyer on momentum moving higher again."

Rob Sechan characterized the selloff as a "growth scare married with policy confidence being shaken."

But, "The degree of upside we have from here is certainly more limited," Sechan said.

Stephen Weiss boasted again, "I'm not dealing with the market; I'm dealing with individual stocks."

Weiss patted himself on the back for his AMBA move that was "just a great trade" and said he's out of it.

Weiss also said he bought M and THC and HEDJ; he doesn't deal with the market, just stocks.

Weiss claimed, "I think you drive yourself nuts and drive yourself broke by trying to figure out what the market's gonna do." (So why does he decide the market wasn't going to crater another 500 points, in which case not even a knucklehead would be buying M and THC ahead of time.)

China has done "nothing," Weiss asserted.

Grasso credited GS for pointing out risk of China exposure and noting M doesn't have any; he said owning M against 55 is "extremely compelling."

Jon Najarian pointed out that the Dax is up 5% for the year after all of this selloff but it was up 26% earlier in the year. (But only people without "true wealth" are buying Ukraine.)

Joe Terranova said it's "very interesting" that we're hearing calls for $20 crude. "If shorts don't cover today, that means there's more upside to come," Joe said.

Grasso recommended utilities "just in case" there's a recession.

Still waiting to hear updates on those CAM call-buyers being busted

Ben Silverman dialed in to Thursday's Halftime Report to tell guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that 3 insiders are buying CVX, MCC's favorite stock (to discuss).

He also said AMAT's CEO and a director were buying shares this month and also drew some buying from Greenlight and Glenview Capital.

Silverman said 5 insiders were buying BEAV.

Stephen Weiss called BEAV "interesting" and a "really good story," but he doesn't like the "concerted effort" of 5 insiders buying the stock, which MCC found to be a quality theory.

Joe Terranova shrugged that if oil does "aggressively" bounce back, investors won't look so much for CVX's yield, but the shale plays for high beta.

Doc reminded folks he bought XOM on Monday and insisted it's superior to CVX.

Just get it over with

Tom Porcelli joined Thursday's Halftime Report to say there's "no question" that September odds for the Fed "took a shot" from Dudley's comments this week.

But, Porcelli said if it's not September, then people will just start guessing about October, and if not October then December, etc., and "we're just gonna go meeting by meeting."

Please, no.

Whatever happened to the fiscal cliff and sequestration by the way.

Porcelli made a quality point that energy is simply part of the overall consumer spending pie, and if gasoline prices go down, that means other sectors are simply getting money that used to go to energy; it's not a case of the whole pie growing larger, and "this point should not be lost on anyone," so basically Old Navy clerks prevail over Freeport McMoRan foremen.

Steve Weiss butted in that "there are different owners of pieces of that pie."

Dear CNBC producers: We’ve put a 34 on BAC and called it the Jordan Spieth of banks, can we get an interview?

Jim Iuorio told Jackie DeAngelis on Thursday's Halftime that the "short answer" to the question of whether crude's rally is for real is "no."

Brian Stutland said 42 is "right near a very critical level" in crude.

Jim Lebenthal said "there is no comparison" between TIF and SIG, which would've been a fine point had he stopped there, except Lebenthal even seriously endorsed Jon Najarian's loopy recent observation of TIF as an Ashley Madison trade.

Joe Terranova questioned why Lebenthal couldn't get on the computer on Thursday and buy it down 3% rather than wait until he's not on vacation. Lebenthal said these selloffs tend to be more than 1-day things.

AMZN watcher Aaron Kessler proved the latest analyst to snag TV time with an eye-catching note, telling Michelle Caruso-Cabrera he's got a 640 target on AMZN because it's "showing some leverage on the operating margins."

Kessler said Amazon Web Services (Drink) is due for 40% growth next year, and the company also has nice gross profit growth in 3rd-party sales.

Stephen Weiss, who must be referring to that New York Times article, curiously said AMZN now has "more transparency."

Joe Terranova predicted Amazon outperforms the market and accused MCC of not paying attention to him.

Doc said "lower for longer" on rates and reported "a lot of unusual activity" in IYR.

Stephen Weiss said he bought JD on Thursday.

[Wednesday, August 27, 2015]

Doc implies another curious options trade could lead to legal trouble even though like most of them, we’ll probably never hear about it again

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Jon Najarian said that on Friday, there was "suspicious" January 50 call-buying in CAM.

Doc and Jim Lebenthal agreed that for regulators, it's "easy to identify" who bought those calls.

Regarding SLB, Lebenthal said "this is one of the few times this year" that an acquirer's stock price has fallen upon news of an acquisition.

Jim Lebenthal said he hates to say it, but there needs to be more "pain" and "bankruptcies" in the energy sector before the "true savvy buyers" will start piling in.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera admitted she's had an "obsession" with CVX's dividend all week. Josh Brown said the company has "serious problems" that are reflected in the stock price.

Doc said he got OptionMonster Wealth Management clients into XOM, claiming "Rex Tillerson was a big buyer" the last time the stock was in the 60s. (Rex was also a "big buyer" of XTO in the $40 billions.)

Jim Lebenthal called BP "most likely" of the group to have a dividend cut.

Greatest trading environment of the year; panelists sitting on their hands

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was back guest-hosting the Halftime Report, but after an impressively spirited start to the week, Wednesday's offering was flat as a Denny's pancake.

Jim Lebenthal made an analogy to a person (the economy) walking a dog (the stock market) down a park path, the person going nice and steady down the middle while the dog goes from one side to the other.

"We'll survive what's going on in China," Lebenthal said.

Jon Najarian said "there's a lot of resets that go on for a whole bunch of reasons," specifically with leveraged ETFs.

Jim Lebenthal said Dudley's remarks gave him no comfort because he's in the camp (Drink) that believes "the Fed needs to raise rates soon."

Josh Brown asserted, "The only data that matters is where the S&P is. That's- that's what the S- that's what the Fed is following day to day."

Brown pointed out, "The only way a correction can ever be healthy is when you're looking at it (in) the rear-view mirror."

Scott Nations grumbled that gold should be up a "ton" more this month if it's really any kind of safe haven; he predicted a sub-$1,100 price.

Brown pointed out how the HEDJ fell 12% in the last week because of the "massive spike" in the euro, a deeper dive than what a non-currency-hedged Europe fund returned.

Brown and Doc clued in viewers on how people are getting ahead of other people's margin calls.

Brown also pointed to flagging momentum in CMG even while the stock price stayed flat and noted that a "positive divergence" in RSI for any stock is "one of many clues" that sellers are exhausted. Doc said he agrees that RSI is a "great" short-term indicator. So, take that and run with it.

Jim Lebenthal said that to play emerging markets, "you have to have an active manager who knows what they're doing."

Still waiting for confirmation of Bob Peck’s TWTR ‘triumvirate structure’

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report contended that a rate hike could spur people to start buying housing, a point Michelle Caruso-Cabrera called "super interesting" and "counter-intuitive."

Jim Lebenthal said "there's a lot of cash buyers out there" in the housing market, which he said is a "very good sign."

Doc trumpeted his annual buy-retailers-on-Labor-Day-sell-on-Black-Friday trade. MCC was impressed that BBY, COST and WMT were all up double digits during this span in 2014 while the S&P was only up 2%.

Jim Lebenthal said railcar loadings will "confirm or deny" Doc's trade.

Meanwhile, Doc said he cashed in his winning EXPR trade. Doc and MCC agreed that if you can make 17% in a day, who needs to work (which means Doc doesn't actually make 17% every day even though options go up in value so much higher than stocks).

Jim Lebenthal said it's "perfectly fine" for Goldman Sachs to add GOOGL to its conviction-buy list.

Josh Brown said AMZN is just going to trade with the broader Nasdaq.

Jim Lebenthal touted AAPL, BA and C, the latter being "the Rodney Dangerfield (Drink) of, of the markets."

Doc said he likes TIF as an "Ashley Madison play."

Doc also cited big weekly call-buying in AAL.

Eric Chemi joined the desk late in the program and said traders don't care how much higher the S&P is, they want to see it break the trend line, around 1,925.

MCC said the panel was only offering "call the close" predictions under "deep protest." Jim Lebenthal predicted a close "in the red." Doc said, "I think we go positive." Josh Brown didn't make a call, admitting "I don't know."

[Tuesday, August 25, 2015]

Steve Grasso thinks stocks are going down another 10%; Tim Seymour wants 12 bps from the Fed

Let us know when it's over.

Apparently as bored with the meltdown as most people, Karen Finerman said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I gotta step back from this market."

No. 386 though was once again on his nightly warpath, declaring, "I think the market probably corrects another 10 or 15%," without conceding that quite possibly much of that 10-15% will probably occur in the span of 1 morning before it's face-ripped-off land to the upside in the afternoon.

Grasso seemed to think we're long overdue for some reason. "We haven't seen a real selloff in years now," he said.

As usually happens in these moments, Grasso's commentary was accompanied by the refrain that "it feels different this time" when in fact it's no different than anything.

Is it any different than October 2014 ... August 2011 ... whenver the taper tantrums were ... or the fiscal cliff ... or Greece ... or how about that China-related cratering on Feb. 27, 2007, sending Dylan Ratigan onto "The McLaughlin Group," where he asserted it'll take 6 months to undo the damage when in fact it took about 2 whole weeks.

Tom Lee, sometimes accused of being too bullish, had it right in saying Tuesday, "90% of bottoms, once you bottom, are V-shaped."

Mel demanded clarification for when the big rebound gains are made. Tom Lee said it's taken 35 days since the high, and it generally takes about 1.4 times as many days to regain the prior high as it took to bottom.

In other words, by the time Bill Fleckenstein gets his purported short fund off the ground (snicker), he'll have already missed a golden opportunity to score a 200-point S&P drop in a week and (assuming this fund ever happens) will be spending most of his time covering.

Karen Finerman on Tuesday suggested the Fed might even cut by 12 basis points (snicker) but that whatever the move is, "I wouldn't know whether the market would go up or down on that."

Tim Seymour actually said "10 bps or 12 bps would be the right thing to do," (double snicker) because it would send a message that we're gonna move slower."

Banks aren’t regulated like utilities, but the more they get a ‘utility-like outcome,’ the more multiple expansion they get

It started out as an utterly loopy dialogue pegged to an analyst gimmick of putting clever titles on his reports in order to score business television airtime.

But thanks to guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's considerable value added, Mike Mayo's visit to Tuesday's Halftime became a productive bank conversation.

Mayo started out likening JPM to LeBron James, stating the company is "very good for defense" as well as offense.

"JPMorgan is the LeBron James of the global universal banks," Mayo said, suggesting taking your money out of your JPM bank account and putting it into JPM stock.

Additionally, "This disruption in Asia might be the ideal opportunity for JPMorgan to expand and gain additional share," Mayo said.

Mayo said the "best restructuring story" among big banks is C, but JPM is No. 2.

MCC then started dishing, pinning down Mayo as to whether banks will ever be a growth sector or just something that's "hopefully like a utility."

Mayo then curiously said he makes a distinction between banks run as utilities and those with "utility-like outcomes."

MCC said they're regulated like utilities. Mayo said, "Well, that's a little extreme," prompting groans from MCC.

Mayo said if banks can produce utility-like outcomes, there should be multiple expansion, which sounded a bit circular especially when he actually hung a 107 in 4 years on Citigroup.

"What is your downside risk with banks when you have yields of like close to 3% at JPMorgan," Mayo said while asserting, "We're in the 9th inning for the legal issues" despite MCC pointing out there are fines every quarter.

Mayo said MS is "still up there" among his favorites but said JPM's yield prompted him to tout the latter on Tuesday.

"I'm still a bear on the banks," said Mike Block, stating he's not chasing BAC.

Prior to getting started, MCC made a joke to Mayo about Sue Herera's report that some kind of "mayo" can't call itself "mayo" because it doesn't have eggs, asking Mayo if he has eggs. CNBC also did its usual promotion of the next John Madden football game (oh joy).

CNBC senses the gravity of these times, cuts back on Halftime Report commercials

Mike Block on Tuesday's Halftime Report said he wouldn't call Tuesday's advance a "real rally" or a "head fake" but said he'd call it "part of this healing process after the damage that was done; it's necessary."

Block said he looked up the "similar selloff" in October of last year though it's not apples-to-apples. He said "it took about 2 weeks" to recover from the start of that month's problems.

Jon Najarian said China's move was designed to "trap the shorts" and predicted an 11% gain in China's market tonight.

Stephen Weiss said China has done nothing but put "lipstick on a pig;" Weiss said we're in sell-the-rip mode.

Joe Terranova said the correction is actually in its 67th day, since May 21, and this is "more of a time correction" than a "price correction."

Joe said it's "comforting" that Monday's activity didn't breach last October's low. Joe also said fixed income traded very well on Monday.

Can’t believe this chart makes an ounce of sense

Ari Wald visited with Tuesday's Halftime and diligently said he thinks we've bottomed, but "it's gonna take more than a day to correct from an 8-month top."

Wald also presented a long-term chart of seasonal headwinds that we couldn't figure out in the slightest. (Apparently, stocks tend to go down in August.) (But what about years ending in 5 or 7th year of presidential cycle.)

Joe Terranova claimed it sounds as though Wald was "outlining" exactly what Joe was talking about, that this is more like a "time correction" than a "price correction."

Steve Weiss scoffed that technicals are "backward-looking."

Aflac just ducky

Eddie Perkin sounded a bullish tone on Tuesday's Halftime Report, saying in the last couple days he's been selling defensive names "to buy more cyclical stocks."

Sort of like Bill Nygren a day ago, Perkin said the rally has "staying power," and it's a good time to "put money to work."

Perkin likes AFL, KR, WFC, though "I don't like the banks overall." He seemed reluctant to acknowledge to MCC that he likes OXY as well, cautioning there could be a 12-18-month down cycle for oil prices. He predicted OXY's 4.4% yield will hold.

Mike Block asked if further Japan easing would be bad for AFL. Perkin said Japanese policymakers don't want to see the yen much weaker than 120 and that AFL "has a lot more going for it than just the currency."

MCC is on safe-dividend prowl

Anthony Grisanti on Tuesday's Halftime Report said the fundamentals in crude "haven't changed at all," and rallies are to be sold.

Jeff Kilburg sort of boasted that he/Futures Now predicted a $38 crude bottom and even hung a 44-46 target.

Mike Block said he started liking crude in the low 40s, it's a "repair process," and said the big oil-services stocks are in his "crosshairs" as at some point they'll stop being ATMs.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera questioned why not buy CVX with a 6% yield. Stephen Weiss said he's not sure those yields are sustainable, and "buying a stock solely for yield is a bad reason to buy a stock." Mike Block said CVX is a "negative gamma stock," which means, if there is a rally, it won't rally as much as others.

Steve Weiss said Andy Hall got "decimated" trying to pick the bottom in crude. Weiss said he's watching CNX.

Joe Terranova said that to make money in energy now, you should buy the distressed debt in the high-yield market.

Mike Block agreed and suggested looking at asset managers who look at distressed energy.

What happened to Bob Peck’s imminent announcement of the ‘triumvirate’?

Bob Pisani, who a day ago was talking about "panicked buyers," reported on Tuesday's Halftime that the SDY and other ETFs took crazy drops not in synch with the underlying stocks.

"The concern is that some market makers may be quoting excessively wide prices during volatile times," Pisani said.

Pisani said there's a suggestion of creating "specific rules for ETF market makers," which sounds like more regulation of the financial markets (kinda at odds with what Mike Mayo was just protesting).

Mike Block said he thinks "this only gets worse" with the ETFs.

Joe Terranova indicated AAPL, down only 19%, is a better chase than some of these Dow names down 30-40%.

Stephen Weiss endorsed FEYE and praised himself for buying GILD a day ago.

Jon Najarian said OptionMonster put out a list to subscribers on Friday touting AAPL, DIS, FB and XOM and said "we bought all 4 for clients yesterday."

Mike Block said the bottom-pickers haven't discovered INTC yet but it "won't take much to get that going to the upside."

Steve Weiss said biotech started selling off before the crash of the last several days; he likes big-cap biotech.

Weiss said NFLX "looks like a buy," but he won't chase Tuesday's rally.

Doc said TWTR brass "most probably are not" in buyout talks. Doc predicted a CEO announcement "shortly."

Doc said there was aggressive buying in EXPR options.

Doc said FBR upgraded AEO because it fell a lot. #informative

[Monday, August 24, 2015]

Bob Pisani says he detected
‘panicked buyers’ on Monday; Steve Liesman only answers the half of Guy Adami’s question that he likes

Guy Adami on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money asserted that the historic day in stocks seems like the beginning of a bear market because he doesn't see catalysts that will change sentiment "as quickly as we need it to."

Adami said 1,820 is "absolutely in the crosshairs."

Steve Grasso concurred. "It feels like the market wants to go down and retest much lower levels," said Grasso, whose months-long forecast of a correction has finally hit paydirt.

Grasso said to watch 1,930 and 1,970 (as if anyone's taking those levels seriously right at the moment).

Tim Seymour went out on a limb, asserting this is a "growth scare."

David Seaburg, who on Friday suggested buying Monday, stuck to that opinion Monday, contending we've seen "mostly the worst" and, if you have a longer-term horizon, "you should be stepping in and buying stocks."

Tim Seymour waffled like l'eggo my egg'o on buying DIS; "you have to look at the valuations; they are changing with the market."

Mark Cuban said that when people rush to sell, "that's an HFT algorithmic trader's dream."

Bob Pisani offered the most curious observations of the program, telling Melissa Lee, "I didn't see a lot of panicked machines. I saw a lot of panicked buyers and sellers."

Guy Adami in a question that was basically a backdoor slam at the Fed asked Steve Liesman whether the rest of the world has been "emboldened" to mimic the central bank but doesn't have the wherewithal to adequately do so.

Liesman, careful to limit what he was answering to the first part, whether Bernanke has emboldened other nations, said, "Yes, you're absolutely right, that has changed the playbook, probably forever, for how central banks respond at zero."

Bill Nygren: Wish I had more ‘ammunition’ to buy this dip

"I've gotta be careful about disclosing anything that we've done," said Bill Nygren on Monday's stock-shock Halftime Report, adding, "Unfortunately we're pretty much fully invested, so unless our shareholders give us more money to invest, uh, we don't have a lot of ammunition to, to put into the market."

Nygren said he likes BAC, "a cheap stock." He also likes GOOG, with "tremendous tailwinds" and a "really long runway" for high growth.

Nygren trumpeted GE, largely for the 4% yield. Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked if that yield might be at risk. Nygren indicated no; "they make about twice what they're paying out."

As MCC repeatedly cheered for a possible recovery and green finish, Stephen Weiss scoffed, asserting, "Capitulation is set by volume, not by price."

Joe Terranova said "flat is the new up" (Drink) twice.

However, Josh Brown said that the RSI on a weekly basis for the S&P 500 hit such "extreme" levels Monday that it's a buy sign; "it's never a sell."

Seeking a silver lining, Terranova reached into the archives again for a PANW call. He also said he'd rather pick up NFLX than go bottom-fishing "in some of the oil or coal (snicker) names."

Weiss said he doesn't want to buy RRC down 80% 70% "when I could buy Gilead down 20 or 30%."

Wonder if this will make the Laszlo Birinyi headline scrapbook dating to 1962

Bob Pisani on Monday's action-packed Halftime Report said there were "a lot of amazing prints" on the ticker on Monday's open, including JPM at 50.

Josh Brown said he bought NFLX and FB "within the first 5 minutes of trading" but he's too "embarrassed" to tell guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera how little he paid. (Congrats.)

Jon Najarian said many of the early trades constituted "self-inflicted pain" from folks who just wanted out and that margin selling took the market down another leg.

Joe Terranova said they weren't talking enough about the volatility spike, saying it's "more about quantitative funds being liquidated."

Jim Lebenthal stressed that the morning's gift was over and done with, and now "we're actually probably near to the end of a correction" and that you'll still make a lot of money with AAPL at 107.

But Stephen Weiss disagreed with Lebenthal that the problem is "localized" to China, which Weiss said needs a "major spending project."

Weiss credited Tepper for figuring this out in advance; "he saw this coming ... phenomenal."

Well into the program, with stocks posting a startling recovery, MCC even wondered if we might be "green by the end of the day." (This review was posted after the market close.)

Judge takes vacation on historic day for stock market, tweets taunts about injured Steelers player

Nothing more reassuring on a day like Monday than Jeremy Siegel (sort of) talking about Dow 20,000.

Siegel told MCC on the Halftime Report that he'd been saying that Dow 20,000 this year is a "possibility," but regardless of what happens short-term, "the 4th quarter could be very good" and 19,000 is "not at all impossible."

Siegel said there are "more momentum traders in here than ever before."

Ben Willis credited Tim Cook's comment to Jim Cramer on China for spurring a stock-market comeback.

Josh Brown asserted that "you have to think about this as a Flash Crash" and said this isn't like 2008 or 1987 but that 2011 is the year to compare this to. (Or, August 2007, nearly to the week, when the Fast Money crew correctly called a short-term bottom on that Aug. 16 outside reversal.)

Doug King told Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that the oil market has been oversupplied for a while and that crude's price is "going to hit the 2008 lows."

Kate Kelly asked King why there's so much pessimism in the base metals market. King said there are worries about "what's really happening" in China.

Helima Croft said 2008 oil lows are "certainly" possible but that in the event of "dark days," the Saudis could do a December cut.

Stephen Weiss said commodities have been a "terrible asset class" for 5 years, and "Why even play there if you don't have to."

Weiss said he bought PFE and GILD.

Jim Lebenthal said a lot of other shops are going to follow Barclays' 2016 Fed call.

More from Monday's Halftime and Fast Money later.

[Friday, August 21, 2015]

CNBC schedules special broadcast on Sunday night, often a buy signal

Guy Adami said on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that there's a potential to trade around 1,850 "early next week."

Brian Kelly said, "Today's not the day to panic." Then he said it again.

David Seaburg took it further, saying, "The worst thing in the world you can do on Monday morning is wake up, call your broker and sell stocks."

Steve Grasso said the technical damage is "vicious" and pointed out that Seaburg's advice wouldn't have been good on Friday.

Grasso said 1,970 must hold on Monday, if not, look out for 1,920.

Mel said what stood out to her this week was the refiner weakness.

Grasso said he took a "dabble" in DIS on Friday.

FB starting to look interesting

Jim Chanos said on Friday's Halftime Report he has "no idea" when the Fed is going to move or whether it should move.

Doc said the VIX was actually in backwardation, a possible sign of capitulation.

Chanos thanked Judge for bringing up HPQ on a day it's up; Chanos reiterated he just thinks it's in declining businesses. "At some point, you run out of costs to cut," Chanos said.

Stephanie Link though predicted HPQ cash-flow guidance is going to go higher.

Paul Meeks said he agrees with Chanos and disagrees with Link on HPQ, which he called a "dinosaur" of a company.

Meeks said he's starting to get interested in FB, AKAM and DATA.

Josh Brown asked Meeks if FB isn't a "tough name" to get on board the valuation because longs are willing to bet that FB gets 5, 6, 7% of total TV industry advertising by 2020.

Meeks said that in mobile, FB is taking share even from Google and at its present price, it's not a "screaming buy" but a "reasonable" one.

Meeks admitted to Stephanie Link that HAR has been a "dog with fleas," but he still believes in the stock.

Chanos reaffirmed his CAT short, stating, "We're gonna be working off backlogs of construction, mining, oil and gas for years."

It’s Jim Chanos, not Tony Dwyer — guess which way the market’s going

It would seem that having Jim Chanos on the Halftime Report on a day such as Friday is perfect timing.

Chanos told Judge that some of his long-convinced shorts "finally seem to be working," but on the other hand, "I have no idea" how much correction is left, or if there's even a correction.

Josh Brown somehow claimed these troubling stock-market averages "are arbitrary numbers" and played the I-told-you-so game, stating he's been "harping relentlessly on the internals breaking down."

All that said, "It does not necessarily portend the next 2008," Brown said.

And, there's a bright spot: "The economy is outperforming the stock market for the first year since the recovery began," Brown added.

Chanos said that whatever you think about China, "it's worse than you think," asserting Xi Jinping is anti-Western.

Jon Najarian spoke of how great BEE December calls are noted that a lot of things in the market are going south and credited Chanos for being right about the LNG space, even mentioned it twice.

Elon who?

Jim Chanos, in a Halftime Report "exclusive" on Friday (despite the fact he's on TV semi-regularly), revealed a short in SCTY.

Judge noted that SCTY is Elon Musk's company, prompting Chanos to draw chuckles in saying "Who?"

Chanos claimed SCTY "is really a subprime financing company in effect."

"In effect (Drink), if you put on the panels, you have a 2nd mortgage on your home," Chanos said.

He said SCTY is "burning, uh, an awful lot of cash," and "has a lot of debt" and negative EBITDA.

Meanwhile, Judge heard from John Kilduff, who said he has lowered his crude forecast from 32 to "mid-20s."

Chanos offered a little equation about how frackers won't be able to earn their cost of capital over 10 years even with oil at 80 or 90. "We're betting against a number of the big guys" in the space, he said.

Chanos called the LNG space "one of the great white elephants of the next 5 years ... everybody's building capacity ... with maybe no increase in demand."

Stephanie Link didn't protest Chanos' negativity on Royal Dutch Shell but called CVX "completely mismanaged" and said she's not sure its dividend is safe.

Link also said MDLZ has been "totally mismanaged (Drink) for years on end."

Bob Pisani said Toni Sacconaghi took a grand couple of dollars off of AAPL's price with his CNBC comments.

More from Friday's Halftime and Fast Money later.

[Thursday, August 20, 2015]

Rich Greenfield: Bob Iger is
‘not being honest with investors’

It seems to be the stock market question of the summer: How fast is everyone ditching cable?

Rich Greenfield on Thursday's Halftime Report asserted that the last couple of weeks have shown that DIS is not "immune" from consumers' move away from "live, linear" TV and bundling.

Judge claimed Bob Iger's ESPN comments were like a "bomb" being dropped on media stocks last week, but Greenfield said he would "dispute" that and pointed to names such as DISCA and VIAB and SNI and their 1-year decline and said DIS is just an example that no one's safe.

Josh Brown told Greenfield that Iger said Disney can sell ESPN a la carte and questioned if we'll care this fall about some people dropping ESPN.

That's when Greenfield dropped a true bomb, stating Iger is "not being honest with investors" because Greenfield doesn't believe ESPN "is prepared to go direct to consumer."

The gut feeling here — remember, never take investment advice from this page unless you like losing money — is that the TV model is glacially becoming the newspaper model.

Premium pricing for bundled packages is bound to fall as the amount of options for a la carte and Web delivery explodes. There's simply too much good television (whoever thought that would be the case). At some point, the NFL will have no need to distribute games to others; the Super Bowl can just air on the NFL Network. You'll be able to subscribe to NFL Network over the Internet, without Comcast, etc. Same for NBA, baseball, etc. You might order ESPN for 1 or 2 events a month and skip the College World Series, etc.

But while some on Fast Money were pronouncing Disney's recent setback as an affirmation of Netflix, we'd say just the opposite, that Netflix has no hope of premium pricing either. Netflix (and now Amazon) is like fracking; its presence merely means that programming will get cheaper for consumers across the board.

Josh Brown has pointed out that the traditional delivery-vs.-content pendulum regarding cable and media stocks tends to go back and forth. But Greenfield noted Thursday that for Disney and other cable giants, "The entire model is built around subscribing to these very expensive channels for the entire year."

Of course, DIS worth 18% less in 2 weeks is ludicrous. ESPN's not going away overnight and may still have some robust years ahead. But we've seen this movie before.

Karen Finerman: ‘No way’
would I short this selloff

Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said Thursday's market felt more "panicky" than Wednesday's, and for a lot of stocks, the selloff just doesn't add up.

"No way would I think about shorting here," Finerman said.

Joe Terranova on the Halftime Report said "weeks ago" was the time to be worried and said now the market seems "death by a thousand cuts."

Josh Brown said people suddenly feel like "there's no place to hide."

Rich Saperstein faulted "the global unwind of the carry trade."

Jim Lebenthal contended that the Fed has its eye on a strengthening dollar.

Jon Najarian said "lower for longer has extended," while Anthony Grisanti said he's surprised "bonds haven't gotten a better bid" given the stock market's slam.

Meanwhile, Doc called the VRX deal "an odd one" because it's buying "not a terribly effective drug" with "questionable side-effects."

Jim Lebenthal called LLY "a great play."

Josh Brown said maybe GPRO longs will "get lucky again."

Joe suggsted showing L Brands footage (but what about converting the ticker symbol to BRA).

Stephanie Link told Judge she dumped MS from her Halftime Portfolio in favor of V, even though "it's not necessarily my style" to buy a high-flying stock. Joe called the move "a good one."

Dom Chu said there's some kind of "Final Four" of high-flying stocks that might be overextended. Joe said he'd pick NKE as a sell over JPM because of ... yes ... almighty Under Armour and God's gift to business, Kevin Plank.

Josh Brown said he rejects the "whole premise of the segment," questioning why people are looking for reasons to sell those names and suggested selling FCX instead.

Sam Hocking told Judge he hopes a lot of hedge funds using his matchmaking system "are short the market today." He said his company provides "new and different ways" to look at data to find the funds that fit the best.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Guy Adami hailed Bill Fleckenstein's chip-stock short.

[Wednesday, August 19, 2015]

Judge doesn’t even pay attention to what his panelists are saying

Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Halftime Report gave viewers another update (Zzzzz) of his Halftime Portfolio trades.

Judge referred to Joe dumping IBKR after just mentioning it a day ago. "Yesterday, I think it was, you said you might be out of it by the time you finished talking," Judge said.

Except it was CNX that Joe said he might exit by the time he was done talking, not IBKR.

John Kilduff said oil's slide was just more of the "unrelenting story" of increased supply, suggesting a "3 handle" possible on Thursday.

Kilduff said OPEC "absolutely" needs to cut, which he said could be triggered if U.S. production falls under 9 million barrels a day next year.

Kilduff also said "there's been a ton of activity" in the 35 and 30 puts. Pete Najarian said "absolutely nobody" is coming in the options market and saying the oil crash is over.

Joe Terranova, who had mike trouble early (that's often the fault of the gaffers, not the people on-air), said it's not the time "to be increasing investments in energy-related names."

Joe also said Wednesday he's only in VXX as a hedge. (Zzzzzz.)

No sign of that shoppers’ uproar against AMZN over that NYT article

Seems like they covered this yesterday.

Judge decided to enlist Wednesday's Halftime crew for another go-round on TGT and WMT.

Viewers learned that TGT has broader appeal "across segments of the population" than WMT does, according to Stephen Weiss, who likes TGT.

Joe Terranova praised Brian Cornell and said online investment is what's needed and curiously added, "cut back on the brick-and-mortar strategy."

Terranova said he sees no reason to move from TGT to WMT. (Zzzzzz.)

Jon Najarian opened a Pandora's box of nothing in stating Wal-Mart isn't going to see margin expansion given what the dollar/yuan are doing.

Judge protested that WMT is "investing heavily" in wages and ecommerce, and that's an "anvil" around the neck of the company.

Doc responded, "On $120 billion a quarter, that's not a big anvil."

Doc also cracked a joke about "those aspirational shoppers at Wal-Mart."

Smell of napalm in the markets

CNBC's Steve Liesman, chillin' out since the Grateful Dead weekend around July 4 and now gearing up for the next chapter of 3 members minus Lesh at MSG, offered on Wednesday's Halftime Report a stark movie description of today's economic worrywarts.

"I think there's a bit of an 'Apocalypse Now' con- con, you know, um, sense here," Liesman said, shrugging off China, Greece and oil concerns.

Liesman encouraged the panel to close 1 eye and look at job gains and GDP. Then he said to look with the other eye at headline inflation.

Given all that, Liesman said, the Fed will decide it's "OK" to raise rates.

Jon Najarian said "there's a whole bunch of things" occurring before the Fed has to make a decision, so if you're gonna trade it, better be quick.

Stephen Weiss said it's time for "risk off" in this "very apathetic market."

Heidi Richardson said the defensives "have gotten pretty rich," so she prefers cyclicals.

Richardson said she likes Japan and said the U.S. market could see a single-digit advance this year.

Liesman said it's a "possibility" that China could cut rates.

Another Richard Branson reference, but this time it’s not about calling in to trumpet his son’s great rescue

Humin CEO Ankur Jain, who we learned on the Internet is the son of a billionaire, visited Wednesday's Halftime Report to say his app Knock Knock allows strangers to knock on the phone twice, then it "instantly remembers the names, photos, where you met and when you met."

Judge said it sounds like this is something geared for professionals.

But Jain said "it's funny," he's thinking it's useful for "the first week of college."

Jain said his valuation is "somewhere up there."

Doc said he tried to give Jain a business card, but it fell on the floor, and Jain said he didn't need it anyway.

Steve Stevens’ show is available

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the Google restructuring is a "precursor" to a possible breakup of parts and thus reason to be long.

Pete Najarian said there's "plenty of room to the upside" in GOOG.

Stephen Weiss said transparency should lead to a higher GOOG multiple, and he doesn't think it's expensive.

Pete Najarian started to say INTC is going into the "variety," er, reality TV business, which he doesn't think is a big market mover for the company.

How did those December
BEE calls do Wednesday.

Really going out on a limb on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Doc said he doesn't have a WTW position but that Morgan Stanley "likes the upside."

Joe Terranova advised viewers to "scale down" YUM positions.

Stephen Weiss said you can own the "group" of HD, LOW, etc. and "do OK."

Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis that gold is "a little bit of a safe haven." Brian Stutland suggested sellers will re-emerge around 1,150 or so.

Doc said MET October 55 calls were popular. Pete said somebody bought September 29 puts in ITB and sold the 27 puts. "Really smart trade," Pete said.

Pete Najarian said he still likes airlines. Steve Weiss called the industry "very, very strong." Joe Terranova said JBLU has been a winner, and he thinks Virgin America is "finally seeing some positive traction."

Steve Weiss said he's short Volkswagen and Tata for their China sensitivities.

Sue Herera mentioned the Steelers in a news recap.

Like Judge, Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money also put together a couple consecutive days on opining between TGT and WMT.

[Tuesday, August 18, 2015]

What if it’s HD for 8 months and WMT for 21 months?

Joe Terranova brought up an apparent physical impossibility on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

Terranova said that while customers are coming into Wal-Mart, "They're probably looking at the products, and then they're saying to themselves, on their tablets or smartphones, 'I could get it cheaper or better or quicker at Amazon itself' (sic last word redundant)."

How would you possibly get it "quicker" than standing in front of it at the store and taking it up to the checkout line?

Josh Brown said the important thing for Wal-Mart is that customer approval of the shopping experience is "doing nothing but going up."

But Stephanie Link sounded the alarm about WMT's margins.

"Right now, I think the stock stays where it is," said Dana Telsey, stating WMT will take a couple of quarters for some "incremental investor- investments" to pay off.

Telsey didn't endorse DKS as enthusiastically as Pete Najarian did; she pointed to "encouraging" slightly better comps in core stores.

Telsey also moved EL to outperform, saying she loves the cosmetics category.

Joe Terranova said consumers are spending on their homes, "vs. going into a Wal-Mart and making that discretionary purchase" (that they can probably get even faster from Amazon despite standing in front of it in the store).

Judge asked the panel whether WMT or HD is the better play for the next "let's say 1 to 2 years."

Joe and Stephanie Link said HD.

Josh Brown said WMT, and because Judge didn't say "6 months," Brown didn't fault the time horizon (see below).

Pete Najarian indicated he was leaning WMT, but only over the longer time frame.

Doing double-duty on the Halftime Report and 5 p.m. Fast Money (while still seeking a university athletic director post), Pete Najarian managed to mention TJX (Drink) in each program.

Also on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, CNBC superfox Karen Finerman, in pale blue top, admitted, "I bought more KORS today."

Pete thinks guest isn’t as ‘frazzled’ about China as he should be

The screen text kept billing this segment as a contrarian call on oil.

But Dan Suzuki of Bank of America Merrill Lynch spent his visit on Tuesday's Halftime defending his 2,200 S&P call, stating "everybody's very bearishly positioned" and suggesting it's possible to get "violent moves up."

"If anything, in the near-term, the risks are to the downside for this market," Suzuki said, but "the upside moves can be quite violent."

Which, if we're using our magic-decoder ring properly, seems to suggest it's early to buy the S&P, but it'll be OK into year-end.

Judge did say crude could have a 3 handle "by the end of the hour," then called that a "joke of course."

Judge also said it was Suzuki's first time on the network.

Pete said Dan Suzuki wasn't as "frazzled" about China as Pete is. But Josh Brown concurred with Joe Terranova that a lot of the "carnage" is priced in to stocks with China sensitivities.

Judge doesn’t mention this time what he’s reading about analysts on social media

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Halftime Report said he doesn't get Wells Fargo's DIS downgrade after the stock's already taken a $15 drop.

"I don't understand it at all," said Brown, adding he'd be a buyer.

Judge suggested the annihilation of media/cable stocks was occurring at a greater rate than the subscriber slippage.

But Stephanie Link seemed startled and indicated that Disney's pullback makes sense given how much the stock's climbed this year and 5 years and how reliant it is on ESPN.

But Pete Najarian invoked a Patty Edwards-ism, contending DIS has been a "complete overread and an oversell at this point in time (sic last 2 words redundant)."

Meanwhile, Joe "Palo Alto" Terranova said AMZN was "regathering" momentum for a move to 575 and 600.

Joe said he added PANW to his Halftime Portfolio, plus IBKR, plus CNX, adding he might be out of the latter by "the time I finish speaking."

Joe says bank needs to ‘unlock’ ‘absent’ growth

Stephanie Link on Tuesday's Halftime Report said to buy homebuilders on weakness; the trend's in their favor.

Joe Terranova agreed that "the positive momentum is there."

Steve Grasso and Tim Seymour on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said there's "pent-up" (Double Drink) demand in housing.

Joe "Easy Money" Terranova said CHK was up "4% right now" when the screen showed it less than 2% and said he wouldn't do anything with the stock right now.

Pete Najarian said SNDK will be an "incredible buy" in the low 50s.

Josh Brown said to wait for S to hit 5.50.

Stephanie Link said she still likes STI a lot but she'd rather buy it under 40. Judge for some reason indicated confusion over STI and STT.

Joe said BBT needs to "unlock some of the growth that's been absent" but that regional-banking executives since 2008 are "tepid" about doing deals over "regulatary" (sic) concerns.

Jim Iuorio said copper is more of a "China thing than everything else."

The fellow named "Bill" who now appears on Futures Now attributed Tuesday's drop to China and said gold took a hit too.

Pete Najarian said August 118 GILD calls were popular.

Josh Brown said F appears to be breaking out.

CNBC superfox Meg Tirrell talked about "female Viagra" on the 5 p.m. Fast Money and smiled often.

[Monday, August 17, 2015]

Judge says ‘people on social media,’ not himself, are lampooning Adam Jonas

Judge reported on Monday's Halftime that Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas has hiked his TSLA target to 465 and that Judge sees "on social media and otherwise" jokes that this call came from the "Jonas Brothers."

Jim Lebenthal said it's a "tough call" and acknowledged Jonas is "stickin' his neck out" but that he's "doing it on a lot of vapor."

"It's really based on hope," Lebenthal said.

Judge suggested the TSLA story has always been about hope.

"If it is, it's not a good strategy," Lebenthal said.

Judge went on to clarify, "He is the top-rated analyst ... I'm not ridiculing, uh, Adam Jonas at all, I'm just telling you what people on social media are saying."

Josh Brown chuckled that Tesla just did a "pretty sizable equity offering."

Stephen Weiss grumbled that Tesla has missed a bunch of forecasts, "and you always get another opportunity to buy this stock."

Judge allowed Divya Narendra to have an extended soundbite defending TSLA's valuation; Narendra asserted "everyone should be driving electric cars."

AMZN interviewees called ‘crybabies’

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime Report called the subjects in the New York Times AMZN profile "crybabies."

"I think the reporter rounded up 5 or 6 people that had an extreme situation. ... That's probably not indicative of every Amazon employee's life cycle working at the firm," Brown said, assuring he's talked to some employees.

Judge brought in Peter Cappelli from the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the article, but frankly, Judge made enough quality observations on his own that Cappelli's fine responses were a bit superfluous.

Judge suggested the profile might make AMZN investors happy but most other readers outraged. Cappelli agreed and added that if it's more about "individual contributors" in a Wall Street-type culture, Amazon's approach sounds fine, but if it's more about teamwork, "probably not so great."

"This sounds like an individual contributor model," Cappelli concluded.

Judge suggested such a story would prove a backlash for a typical brick-and-mortar store and wondered if Amazon would experience a shopper's "uproar" against this type of management style.

Cappelli said there is "some concern" about a backlash for Amazon's blue-collar warehouse workers, but, "Nobody's very concerned I think in the U.S. about how executives are treated," he chuckled, before asserting that some people thinking about working for Amazon are having "2nd doubts (sic) now."

Pete Najarian said "I hate to say it," but he thinks AMZN investors "probably" don't care about this story.

Steve Grasso said on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "It's Amazon Web Services, that's the reason why you buy this, there's growth all over the place there ... but at this point maybe you do take a little bit off the table."

Killir on crude: $38, then $50

Dubravko Lakos of JPMorgan told Judge on Monday's Halftime he is standing by his 2,250 year-end target and thinks financials "will have some juice" into year-end; he also likes health care and housing.

"A short-term correction might be needed," Lakos said, while pronouncing longer-term strength in this market.

Josh Brown questioned if health care already reflects high expectations. Lakos said "certain parts of health care," such as biotech, are concerning, but health care as a whole, "if you will" (Drink), continues to print "positive, organic growth."

Pete Najarian said oil "looks like it wants to really spike." Then he added, "In terms of volatility."

Stephen Weiss said a guy from RBC who was nonchalant about oil "beat my butt" in golf, but Weiss is sure "it's still uninvestable."

Someone named Bill told Jackie DeAngelis that bids could be coming in for oil through Thursday's futures expiration.

Jeff Kilburg said oil will make a "short visit" to $38, then climbs to 50.

Weiss not worried about China

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime Report said there is "mass indecision" ahead of what the Fed appears to be doing.

But Brown pointed to "historic breakouts" in ITB and XHB.

"There's no reason to come back from the beach to put money in the market," said Stephen Weiss. But, "I still like the market."

Jim Lebenthal said "there's a lot of indications" that the Chinese growth rate is more like 5%.

"I'm not really worried about China," said Steve Weiss.

Lebenthal insisted China's effect goes "beyond just the cyclicals."

Pete Najarian said "I think we're stuck in this range," as the typical opening conversation on the state of the 2015 market again went nowhere.

How much should backup guards earn for playing college football in the Mountain West?

Sue Herera on Monday's Halftime Report said "an (sic) historic" while reporting on the NLRB ruling on college jocks.

Pete Najarian said the ruling "makes some sense to me" because if "competitive balance" is affected, "it's gonna have to be something more universal." (Sure. Whatever)

Josh Brown revealed that for some reason, he bought BABA. (This writer is sadly long BABA.)

Brown assured, "I'm not calling the Alibaba bottom" but said he has noticed buyers have come in at the end of the day recently and thinks that "when this thing turns, it's gonna be a nasty reversal that no one's ready for."

Stephen Weiss said one of the problems with IPO stocks that fizzle is that some of them shouldn't have gone public.

Josh Brown said he could tell from the "mood" of the crowd at his early screening of "Straight Outta Compton" that it was going to be a hit, though he cautioned, "Don't take your children."

Judge a couple of times gushed that "our own, um, Universal Pictures is on a roll. There's no other way to say it."

Stephen Weiss said forward guidance was sinking EL.

Pete Najarian said he likes JPM, but "there could be a bit of a breakdown."

Jim Lebenthal said the recent DIS shellacking was "a bit overdone."

Divya Narendra announced another SumZero contest.

Pete Najarian said he has already trimmed some of his December 15 BEE calls. (Let's see, could the University of Minnesota Athletic Department open an OptionMonster account and make far more money than they otherwise would in stocks?)

Steve Liesman delivered breaking news — about the Dallas Fed, not about 3 of the 4 Grateful Dead members reuniting at Madison Square Garden.

Pete wants to be A.D.
at University of Minnesota

Asleep at the switch, out to lunch, etc.

It's always painful to get scooped by Judge (no biggie, happened to Gasparino last week with Peltz-Sysco) — but that's precisely what happened to this page when Judge revealed on Monday's Halftime that Pete Najarian is angling for "an open athletic director job in Division I college football."

That would be the University of Minnesota, Pete's alma mater.

(Hey there's a lot of chaff on the Internet, and last week when this stuff started circulating in Minneapolis media, we barely had time to sift through the wheat.)

(So, we'll consider it a "teachable moment.")

Presumably if such a hire is made, U. of M. will be lining up sponsorship deals with Kevin Plank.

Judge on Monday botched a golden opportunity for an absolutely phenomenal conversation. How, exactly, does one measure the performance of a university athletic director?

Everyone wants to hire the next Mike Krzyzewski or Tom Osborne. Almost none of them will.

Athletic departments, in terms of participants, are far bigger than football and men's basketball. In terms of money, those are the only 2 things that count; when it comes to women's swimming at U. of M., Pete would be nothing more than scheduler.

Much of the job involves schmoozing alumni into sending cash.

Minnesota, among big schools, is like many in a "tweener" situation. There is some public demand for good football and basketball.

But it's not Ohio State or Duke.

So basically, the job comes down to hiring good coaches who haven't been discovered yet ... and hoping they don't take bigger dollars at Michigan, USC, Tennessee, Miami, etc.

Even if that happens, overachieving most likely is contingent on loosening the recruiting strings. Minnesota is an average Big Ten team with few if any high draft picks in football and men's basketball.

In the 1990s, the basketball team suddenly got good and even made the Final Four. Afterwards, the coach was forced out "due to one of the worst academic fraud scandals in the history of NCAA sports," according to the coach's Wikipedia page.

Minnesota's football team is decent; its coach was just named Big Ten Coach of the Year. But he is in his 50s and has had a series of health issues.

A lot of these posts end up being filled by search committees. Someone identifies likable alumni and gauges interest, etc.

Like most sectors, there's an insider nature, which would presumably work against Najarian's hiring.

The gut here is that Pete Najarian, an overachiever at everything, would succeed as an administrator. Those doing the hiring should note something important — Pete is one of the most measured voices on CNBC, this is the Iceman in "Top Gun," he thinks about absolutely everything he says and does not make off-the-cuff mistakes.

Recently though Najarian's biggest sales pitch has not been about higher education but pushing regular Joes to invest in the options market. Whether that plays well at a Big Ten university remains to be seen.

Judge could've taken care of the interview process in one soundbite Monday. All he had to do was ask Najarian, "How big should Minnesota football and basketball be?" That's all the search committee needs to know.

More from Monday's Halftime later.

[Friday, August 14, 2015]

Remember: Peltz measures stock moves from the time he buys the shares while Jeff Sonnenfeld measures from the time Peltz gets board seats

Judge handed viewers of Friday's Halftime Report a scoop.

Judge reported that Trian is taking a 7% stake in SYSCO, "the food-service company Sysco, again, not the technology company."

Stressing the importance of the timing of Peltz's filing, Judge laboriously if meticulously laid out the timetable for board negotiations, etc., but said it's unclear if Peltz will try to get on the board.

Jim Lebenthal said Peltz "smells blood in the water," thinking SYY management "took their eye off the ball."

Josh Brown said, "I can't see how the outcome could be negative this early in the game."

Doc said that as soon as Judge mentioned the SYY story, "the options did pop pretty dramatically" in just minutes.

Sarat Sethi said, "it could be a good long-term investment." But curiously, Sethi also claimed that "more than 5 years ago," SYY was a "go-go momentum stock," then "at some point they hit a wall," and the Street has seen the stock "underperform for 5 years."

But we looked at a chart (uh oh) and noticed it seems to follow the S&P and has done OK since February 2009.

Being CEO of 2 companies at the same time and needing a triumvirate is a ‘good 2nd-choice solution’

Bob Peck on Friday's Halftime Report told Judge that, sensing the need to "keep the product cadence on track," TWTR's board is leaning toward imminently adopting a "triumvirate structure" of leadership involving Jack Dorsey as CEO, Adam Bain as president and Evan Williams as chairman.

Or, basically the same people they've already had, minus Dick.

The CEO also happens to have a side job as CEO of another company.

Peck said the "ideal" situation would be for Dorsey to not also be CEO at Square, but having the triumvirate at Twitter "is probably a good 2nd-choice solution."

Judge said he thought the board made it "pretty clear" it wanted a CEO "solely focused" on TWTR. Peck said the triumvirate presented its "cohesive plan" to the board and that may "trump" (sic not Donald) the "solely focused" sentiment.

This is a "good secondary choice," Peck reaffirmed, stating his price target is 38, which was probably about the level when Dick got forced out.

Josh Brown said with a straight face, "I think the announcement will be treated positively, provided it's not some kind of wacky, out-of-left-field thing."

Owning CMCSA called ‘controversial’

Peter Dixon from Fidelity told Judge on Friday's Halftime Report that this is "a great time for active management," and "you just have to be selective."

Dixon touted HLT and LB (sic should change the ticker to "BRA") and suggested auto-parts manufacturers, lodging and even homebuilders.

Josh Brown asked Dixon if it's OK for those who have missed the LB run to buy now on the dip.

Given that Dixon already told Judge he likes the stock, it wasn't a surprise to hear Dixon answer that it's "very early in their international expansion," which he said is about "as fat of a pitch" as he could imagine (careful talking about "fat pitch" in a lingerie discussion).

Dixon defended DIS and even conceded being bullish Comcast is a "controversial" call given media uncertainties.

APC ‘best of the worst’

Jim Lebenthal told Judge on Friday's Halftime that oil's decline is "gonna end in tears," asserting "the only way it really ends is when companies get taken out through bankruptcy."

Fadel Gheit, via phone, told Judge that oil with a 3-handle is "possible" but not "sustainable."

Gheit actually said APA, APC and HES are buyable because they're the "best of the worst."

Gheit didn't answer Judge's question as to whether oil dividends are at risk, merely noting that some companies have cut dividends and others have frozen them.

Sethi said he owns refiners and cautioned that oil dividends of 5-7% aren't sustainable.

Jim Lebenthal said the pipeline argument is that it's not contingent on the price of oil but cautioned that some producers will simply stop transporting oil because prices are so low.

They should allow the president to make a choice, pass a resolution against it, then have the president veto the resolution like they’re doing with the Iranian nuclear pact

On Friday's Halftime Report, Carlos Gutierrez told Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that it was "surreal," "joyful" and "happy" to wake up in Havana.

MCC on the other hand said that when her mother returned to Cuba for the first time, "she was devastated."

Gutierrez said you can see the "grandeur" of the city and what it can still be.

Gutierrez told MCC he was never approached about being ambassador to Cuba. "That was never on the table," Gutierrez said.

Curiously, he downplayed interest in the job with this rationale: "Getting through the Senate is almost impossible."

No follow-up on the purported 15-basis-point hike by the Fed

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report said there aren't many catalysts in the market besides buybacks.

Sarat Sethi suggested good stocks will be buyable as the market stumbles.

Josh Brown cited an "utter loss of risk appetite" and warned of a "very obvious head-and-shoulders top" in the IBB.

Sethi called WFM "the Starbucks of healthy food" and said long term it's in the right place.

Doc admitted the SHAK options activity was "not as robust" as AAPL and said the put side is "skewed" because a lot of people want to short it, "almost triple the price of the calls."

Doc answered a viewer's tweet and said UA is "pausing." Sarat Sethi wonders if UA won't "consolidate" and pull back a bit. Jim Lebenthal said it's "mostly a pause" and reiterated he's a value investor, not a momentum trader.

Sethi said he thinks there's "still a lot of hair" on DD.

[Thursday, August 13, 2015]

We’re gonna call this one the Daniel Kaffee Trade®

In a curious conversation on Thursday's Halftime Report, Judge asked panelists to answer a viewer's Twitter question (remember when they used to do those all the time? Funny how no one mentions that when Bob Peck talks about the stock) as to which ETF is the best to own for the next 6 months.

Josh Brown was the only one to question the premise, stating, "I guess maybe I'm reading too much into this, but, the next- for 6 months? Meaning, you need the money in 6 months? I'm gonna tell you IEI ... if that's what the question is."

Judge carped, "I think the question is, what ETF is gonna perform well over the next 6 months."

"I've never heard somebody phrase it that way, a specific time frame to try to make money in with an ETF," Brown said.

Indeed. The only thing we can think of is that it's coming from Daniel Kaffee, who tried to persuade beleaguered Marine Harold in "A Few Good Men" to take his deal of 6 months in jail.

Harold told him to shove it.

Pete Najarian and Joe Terranova both backed the XLF.

Doc said the XLY.

Yeeessssss! 7,000 heads successfully cut!

Brad Reback of Stifel made a fine case for MSFT's management on Thursday's Halftime Report, but he needed Jon Najarian to do the consoling.

Reback said he upgraded MSFT because "the Windows business is bottoming."

Then Judge asked if the jury isn't still out on Nadella's leadership. That's when Reback said the team has proved themselves, especially "cutting 7,000 heads" in Nokia.

Doc opined that "Satya's done almost everything right" and assured he's not trying to "gloss" over the Nokia job cuts but that things were "a little bloated."

As for the stock, "55 does not seem ridiculous to me," said Pete Najarian. But Joe Terranova said he was "surprised" it didn't break through 50 after earnings and thinks it might be returning to growth-stock land. Josh Brown cut Joe off and said the time to buy is after a break through 50.

Josh shrugged off the Bernstein upgrade of YHOO. "You have to tell me what's gonna be the catalyst," Brown said.

Joe said CSCO "looks good" and pegged it to top 30.

15 basis points, yeah, right

Joe "Easy Money" Terranova hung a "sub-$40" on oil on Thursday's Halftime Report and asserted, "If you're focusing on the S&P, it's a fool's game."

Joe suggested buybacks drove the AAPL turnaround a day earlier, a good point.

"Certainly that had to be part of it," agreed Jon Najarian, with everyone failing to acknowledge the panel was asleep at the switch while this was actually occurring during the live show.

Pete Najarian sort of began to admit as much, lamenting he couldn't pick the bottom at "109.60something ... I didn't get an opportunity yesterday. I looked at Apple, I never got it, because we were sitting here on the air as that stock started to turn."

Josh Brown said of the market, "There are no buyers. It's only corporate activity. The only thing happening in this market this summer heading into September is corporate buybacks on down days. There is absolutely no bullishness whatsoever."

John Stoltzfus said he's sticking with 2,311 but that we've gotta work out the "kinks" in the system. He said he's "market-cap agnostic."

"The problem is the rotational nature of this market," Stoltzfus said.

Uncorking a bizarre angle on the Federal Reserve that we hadn't heard for months since Doc claimed folks in Vegas or California were talking about it, Stoltzfus said, "I'm looking for at least 10 basis points to 15 basis points as the first hike in September."

Jim Iuorio told Jackie DeAngelis that "the dollar actually should be doing the other thing" to crude and said he'd buy with "a little bit of strength." Jeff Kilburg predicted a "plethora" of stops activated if crude sinks below 40 and suggested watching 38. Joe said "yes," it goes under 40.

Joe said that maybe lower oil is finally going to "trickle down" to the consumer.

Smokin’ Morgan Brennan
has burning lips

Morgan Brennan, live at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines during Thursday's Halftime Report but not realizing Judge was already asking her a question, told the world, "My lips are burning."

Judge impressively kept a straight face through the ensuing ag discussion. Joe suggested looking at AGU and "Monsonto" (sic pronunciation) and hung a 70 on CF but said to avoid the Potash names. Josh Brown endorsed MON.

Brennan finally got hooked up and reported rising egg prices.

Dress Barn sighting

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime Report said he doesn't buy stocks down 20-40%, it's "not what I do;" it works for others but "it just hasn't worked historically (sic redundant) for me in the past (sic double redundancy last 3 words)."

But he'd still suggest the debt side of CNX, which he thinks will be a "significant winner" after the coal meltdown, and JOY if you use an "options strategy."

Doc suggested SNDK, JOY, CHK and RL might be appealing for bottom-fishers.

Pete Najarian suggested KORS but said he hasn't pulled the trigger because he hasn't seen the options activity yet.

Josh Brown said SHAK's choosing of $60 for a secondary is "more a function of what they think they can get away with," stating this is about "clearing out some insiders."

After Judge felt the need to quote Cramer again, Jon Najarian said "Jim nailed it" in praising Elon Musk's handling of TSLA, then Doc carped about how TWTR guys are handling theirs.

Doc reported "unusual call activity" in Ascena (ASNA), which longtime viewers know as the parent of mighty Dress Barn. Doc said there's 18% short interest, so he added to his Halftime Portfolio. Joe said that trade "sounds strong."

Doc predicted the 4% correction in gold "abates pretty quickly."

Pete Najarian said GPRO has the "content element" to keep the stock going.

Doc said no one wants to be short MNST. Pete said he likes the "growth model" of KO.

Josh Brown said the KSS slide "really looks bad." Jon Najarian reported unusual activity to the downside in JCP. Pete Najarian trumpeted TJX.

Pete said September 75 calls in VLO were hot. Josh Brown touted CINF. Doc reported "very strong activity" in HIG and pointed out that the company said they "cannot comment" on the activity rather than "we do not comment."

[Wednesday, August 12, 2015]

Uber drivers apparently can sense when their passengers are CNBC guests

Judge initiating an AAPL discussion on Wednesday's Halftime was no surprise, but finding a semi-convincing AAPL bear sort of was.

Ian Winer asserted "there's real issues" with the stock and thinks it could fall another 10%, stating things are "getting worse" in China, that the company isn't that "cheap" because it's past peak earnings growth and "most importantly, this cannot be a buyback story."

Winer added that "the tell here" was the launch of the Watch without "500 people dressed as Chewbacca" waiting outside the Apple Store.

Ives rebutted, "The watches weren't sold in retail stores, so that's why no one was waiting."

Ives said China is only "7% penetrated," and by the way his Uber driver Wednesday was grumbling about the stock. (Let's analyze this for a moment. Presumably Ives summoned a driver to take him to whatever studio he used for this appearance. Either the driver asked, or Ives volunteered that he was going to a TV studio to discuss Apple stock. The driver goes, "Oh, I've got some of that; you think it's ever gonna go back up?")

Ives conceded it's a "white knuckle period" but advised hitting from the "black tees" on this name.

He also predicted 70% of the customer base will upgrade to a 6 and said "there's a lot of bears out there saying Nokia 2.0 ... I think those are ridiculous."

Stephen Weiss scoffed, "There's no way 70%."

Jon Najarian said that he's "about to get back into AAPL," if it "breaks 110."

We’re still trying to translate Terry Duffy’s ‘I just never believed that gold got to the levels it should’ve gotten to’

Hany Nada on Wednesday's Halftime Report called himself "a long-term believer" in BABA but said the mobile monetization, Chinese economy and "cleanup" of the company's merchants have proved headwinds on the stock. (This writer is sadly long BABA.)

In a strange bit of hyperbole, Josh Brown said BABA has had an "unbelievable 180 in sentiment" and asked Nada if he's ever seen this before. (Umm, what about TSLA, AMZN, NFLX, etc. in recent years.)

Nada said Brown is right but that Jack Ma is "patient" and will "correctly" enter promising international markets.

Nada said BABA is playing a "pretty good game" of toeing the line with the government.

Pete Najarian said BABA is talking about "2-hour delivery" but hasn't conveyed that message well enough to the American public.

Doc said the stock has "incredible potential" but said it's too hard to dismiss the problems in China. But, "I think this is the time to buy that stock," though he conceded that a 110 sell would've been great.

Tony Dwyer transferred home-equity cash to his bank account in 2008

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report claimed the "mainstream media" (i.e., "USA Today and all these other publications") is beginning to "pick up on what's happening on Wall Street."

Brown retraced the market to last autumn, pointing to a 9½% correction in October and said if we get the same thing now, we're talking about 1,920, but a 15% correction would put us at 1,820.

Jon Najarian, like Frank Shorter stretching, was already warming up for his victory lap, stating he's got 80% cash in his Halftime Portfolio because "my perception is that we needed something like this ... doesn't mean I'm right. So far I've been right for a couple days here." (Yes. But hardly even right by the end of the program, and not right at all by the end of the day.)

He predicted "lower interest rates well into the rest of this year."

Stephen Weiss called China a "house of cards" and asserted, "I've been saying it for years."

Pete Najarian said volatility traders started selling straddles after the spike on Wednesday.

Tony Dwyer, who sometimes delivers effective headlines and sometimes doesn't (Wednesday was more of the latter), praised Josh Brown and others for "talking about what the average stock is doing" and said he thinks that's the "greatest service" the panel can give viewers.

Dwyer contended that the "core fundamental framework" is in place for an S&P climb to 2,340.

Dwyer said it's about credit. "If credit shuts down in a levered economy, you wanna be all out short," he said, before uncorking a head-scratcher.

"You know, I- I took money out of my home-equity line of credit and put it in my bank account in '08 because I thought I was gonna lose everything," Dwyer said.

Stephen Weiss said, "I think it's too early to get in."

Apparently Terry Lundgren wasn’t informative enough

Jane Wells' crop report on Wednesday's Halftime Report seemed to go on forever (nothing wrong with that); Josh Brown mentioned MOO and predicted DE will ultimately prove a "winner" in the space.

Stephen Weiss said, "You gotta be out of your mind to trade on any government data because the numbers are always revised."

Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis the oil market is still oversupplied. Brian Stutland though said, "I'm not sure we go lower."

MCC interviewed Julian Adams of Adelante Asset Management; he said he has bought unpaid Cuban debt for 8-10 cents on the dollar and hopes to get 15, 25 or even 49 cents on the dollar.

Josh Brown said there are plenty of other places besides Cuba to find distressed debt, such as Illinois or Puerto Rico.

Stephen Weiss pronounced TOL and DHI "minimal risk."

Josh Brown said FOGO "looks fine."

Pete called T an "opportunity" on the selloff.

Steve Weiss said he's got to "quantify" the strong-dollar's risk to the Macy's Herald Square store before taking "a run" at the stock. Judge said Terry Lundgren has already disseminated that information. Weiss said he needs to know "how much worse that can get."

Pete Najarian said the FCX shorts are "trying to pile on" but mistakenly said they were rolling down into the "July 8 calls" (sic 1st and 3rd words both wrong).

Doc said somebody bought a February put in HEDJ. Stephen Weiss said he'd love for Europe to fall more so he can buy more.

[Tuesday, August 11, 2015]

Actually from what we calculated, it shouldn’t be worth any more than $2,000, and only about $675 if you adjust since 1977

Paul Richards said on Tuesday's Halftime Report he's "sure" we'll get a Fed move in September or October, and maybe another in December.

Richards said the euro, close to 111, is a "screaming sale" and predicted 107.50. Richards said he's highly convinced that Europe will outperform the U.S. in the 2nd half of the year.

Terrence A. Duffy, sitting in with the program, said of the Fed, "I think they've already made a policy error" in not raising earlier, and "I think this thing has gotten politicized."

Joe Terranova said it's important to understand that "the world right now is dealing with massive deflation."

In the head-scratcher/is he bullish or is he bearish quote of the day, Duffy claimed that, "I've had a thought on gold for many years, and, um, I just never believed that gold got to the levels it should've gotten to."


But then it got murkier.

Duffy continued, "When you look at the adjusted rate of inflation from the price of gold going back to 1981 or '82, gold should be at about $5,000 an ounce today. It's not, and there's a reason. The market's telling you, it's worth something less, it's worth a thousand dollars or less an ounce. Otherwise it should be trading around 5,000 already."

Or, could unwell go to zero

It's getting to be a daily occurrence.

Oil watcher Paul Sankey on Tuesday was the latest on the Halftime Report to include the word "zero" in a stock discussion, telling Joe Terranova, "Anything that we think could well go to zero, we're simply not interested in."

Sankey said he likes refiners and some "selective picks" in E&P.

He called EOG "the best house in a bad neighborhood."

Then Joe asked Sankey if the "easy money" has already been made in energy based on the price of crude for names of energy equities in which "potentially there's artificially a selloff."

But Sankey said he won't touch "anything that's weak."

"Don't underestimate the scale of the bloodbath here," Sankey said.

Stephanie Link said she agrees with Sankey on EOG but carped at the size of EOG's dividend.

Later, Terry Duffy contended that the Middle Eastern cartel was going to take the oil price and "run it down" and predicted a further decline.

Pete Najarian said the energy space was getting smacked Tuesday "for all the right reasons," but he wasn't sure that Monday's move was based on the right reasons.

In computing and making money, they’re off the charts, but in writing a blog, it’s amateur hour

Under the guise of a question about analysts possibly too giddy on Google's reorganization, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report challenged Scott Devitt on his January note that maybe the shares' best days are behind them.

Devitt paused and asserted that the investment community has been waiting a long time for greater transparency; he says the "disciplined approach" of Google's founders and having 2 "brilliant minds" at the top and owning Dairy Queen and Burlington Northern are similarities with Berkshire Hathaway.

Judge questioned if greater transparency equals greater earnings power.

Devitt said "you get more of a sum-of-the-parts approach to the business," which Mel defined a day ago as SOTP, admitting, "It has nothing to do with the earnings power."

Joe Terranova asked Devitt if the Google tinkering is about a "larger acquisition that could be coming down the line."

Devitt said this move does provide "more flexibility" for M&A.

Terrence A. Duffy revealed, "The only thing I can think of is the question that Joe raised," that they're trying to "think outside of the box" on M&A.

Steph Link said Google's margins "have been so depressed" and that analysts couldn't "come to graps (sic pronunciation)" with how these projects get monetized.

Pete cited Mark Mahaney as saying what thousands of other people have said, that now analysts can see "exactly" what the non-core numbers look like.

Joe contended that this "other separate business" is going to be the vehicle for M&A, but his sarcastic reference to "organic growth" confused Stephanie Link into thinking he was serious.

What does this mean as far as Bill Fleckenstein’s short fund meeting its Oct. 1 target?

Joe Terranova opened Tuesday's Halftime Report saying the Chinese are reflating in a game of "hot potato" geared toward exporting deflation "away from the mainland."

Paul Richards said China moved its currency the most in 20 years, and if that's not action, he doesn't know what is.

Judge tried to push his maybe-we're-underestimating-China thesis to Jim Lacamp. Lacamp said the U.S. has been "relatively impervious" to China.

Lacamp said the stock market seems "intact" but stressed that this is the time of year for volatility.

Lacamp said growth, not value, will be the place to be into year-end.

Stephanie Link said there's stuff you can buy, you just have to be "selective."

Terry Duffy said the volatility is making markets "a little dicey."

Joe credited David Kostin for "Flat is the new up."

Judge was heard to say, "I think bulls would take flat over, you know, a massive pullback, obviously."


From side profile, Judge in decent shape, could possibly drop a pound or two (and how about the shoes)

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report suggested KORS is "on the upturn." (Translation: It's had a few good momentum days.)

Pete said of SHAK, "You cannot jump on it," it's a "no-touch."

Joe Terranova called the GPS price reaction "pretty good," though he still wouldn't buy and cracked that you should wait for the REIT conversation.

Stephanie Link said to pick auto-parts makers over the automakers.

Terrence Duffy said the AXP business model "could be flawed," and "they gotta change."

Joe said he's looking for names that are "down the least" and singled out MON.

Pete thundered, "Why would you put yourself in the 'down the least'?!?!???"

Joe said that when he sees a company down 30%, he's "not gonna take that risk that it goes down 40, 50%."

Stephanie Link suggested MAT might be due for a turnaround, an intriguing possibility.

Pete Najarian admitted he liked BABA for a "really long time" and said the options market is expecting a "pretty monsterous (sic pronunciation) move" on earnings but with no consensus on the direction. (This writer is long BABA.)

Terrence Duffy said not chasing BABA was the "right thing to do" and that the stock is a "very long-term play."

Joe Terranova said you can buy AMZN instead of BABA. "Does the same thing, with more transparency and less risk," Joe said (Translation: It's not down 30% and heading down to 50%.)

We don't really pay close attention to Judge's Halftime Portfolio contest but it looked like Jim Lebenthal has perhaps gone from first to worst (but that's only because Simon Baker no longer plays).

[Monday, August 10, 2015]

As opposed to incompletely
going to zero

Warning to slumping companies: It's entirely possible you'll be mentioned on Scott Wapner's Halftime Report in the most stark terminology (see Friday's report below).

Stephanie Link on Monday said of Buffett and PCP, "he obviously sees some value there; he doesn't see that it's going to completely go to zero."

Quite a relief for those paying $230 a share on Monday.

(That all reminds us that we haven't heard for a long time the Jeff Macke cliche, "Specialty retail in the long run is going to zero," or even Pete Najarian's "they had an unannounced 2-for-1 stock split.")

(Or, Dylan Ratigan telling guests, "Talk to ya sooner rather than later.")

Pete Najarian sheepishly indicated Monday he's not as bullish on IBM as Warren Buffett is.

Didn’t Anthony Weiner
prefer Twitter?

Before we get into Monday's Halftime Report, it's worth noting something that was said on Friday that somehow escaped our full attention.

Referring to the "Republican" presidential debate, Josh Brown was suggesting to Bob Peck that the smart folks call TWTR home.

"If you wanted to hear what your drunk uncle had to say, you were on Facebook. But if you wanted to hear what the smartest, best and brightest people that are following the election had to say, you were on Twitter," Brown said.

"Yeah I couldn't say it better myself," said Peck.

Seriously? Have these guys checked out the crew that corresponds with Gasparino??

Who exactly are the "best and brightest" opinions on this subject? The ones who said Carly Fiorina did the best, or the ones who said Marco Rubio did the best?

Regardless, Joe Terranova indicated Monday he's hooked on the stock, stating he wants to add TWTR to his Halftime Portfolio because "the stock has washed itself" (sic said that twice).

Pete Najarian said the question is whether TWTR is a trade or investment, and if it's a trade, be careful.

Joe predicted the NFL's partnership will be "huge, huge" for Twitter. But, he allowed, "If it goes to 25, I'm out."

Brown on Monday said "there's a little bit of a power struggle" at Twitter between folks who see a media platform and others who see a technology communications company.

If AAPL is so great and unstoppable ... how come Safari absolutely sucks?

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime scoffed that people seem to think Apple had a "huge miss" in iPhone sales.

Joe Terranova claimed that AAPL's recent selloff was caused by Chinese concerns, but he doesn't find it "justified."

AAPL watcher Andrew Uerkwitz of Oppenheimer stated, "I'm not worried yet about the Chinese economy."

Uerkwitz added, "Fundamentally this thing looks very sound."

Uerkwitz gave a lukewarm rationale for rating GPRO a hold, stating it's probably an "item that will eventually find the bottom of everybody's drawer."

Josh Brown suggested BABA was merely overdue for a bounce. Pete Najarian said nothing about 150 this time. (This writer is long BABA unfortunately.)

‘Screaming’ for a hike

Stephanie Link opined on Monday's Halftime Report that Monday's trading was about Buffett, and "M&A in general."

Kenny Polcari said the market is "feeling OK."

But Josh Brown said the market looks like a "dead-cat bounce."

Pete Najarian observed that "We are stuck in this range, Scott."

Joe Terranova said there's "reason to believe" that the buyback window will work again right now.

Polcari contended investors would be "disappointed" if the Fed doesn't hike and suggested they're "almost screaming" for it to happen.

Easy-money-in-oil sighting

John Kilduff, the latest individual given an opportunity in the crude guessing game, picked "30" before 50 on Monday's Halftime Report.

Kilduff said it's "just too early" for him to recommend XOM or other big majors.

Joe Terranova touted VLO, but with a stop, then said (again) "the easy money (Drink) as it relates to the spot price of oil in the energy equities has been made (Double Drink)."

Later, Tom Wagner sat in on the program with Kate Kelly and said, "It's a tale (Drink) of a couple of different worlds" in the energy credit space.

Judge helpfully pointed out that people have varying views on how many entities in high yield will "blow up."

Wagner said he's still "very constructive" on U.S. airlines and thinks AAL is not "appropriately valued."

Kelly pointed out that Wagner is a holder of the Puerto Rican electric utility. Wagner said he's "confident" of reaching a deal on restructuring debt and investing in infrastructure, suggesting a "real quid pro quo" between bond-holders, rate-payers and workers.

Count Mel among those not quite certain of the value of Alphabet

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime suggested the short-squeeze potential in SHAK is mostly over; it may still have some legs but he cautioned it could drop 20% with a bad earnings report. (This report was posted after the market closed Monday.)

Stephanie Link suggested EXP as an "under the radar, if you will" non-residential-construction story.

Pete Najarian said the December 15 calls in BEE were hot.

Pete said UA is "goin' through a hundred" (Drink).

Joe Terranova said he wants to hear more about the HTZ spinoff and restructuring.

Something unbelievably funny was going on off-camera just before returning from the 27th-minute commercial.

Judge promised Terrence A. Duffy on Tuesday's show (which means you'll hear something about how there are good things about computer trading but also some other things to watch out for).

Mel defined "SOTP" on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and questioned why Alphabet couldn't just report its results by division instead of revamping the whole corporate structure. Mel also told Karen, much to Karen's delight/chagrin, that if LYV were to go public now, people would consider it a "technology company," but it doesn't get a technology multiple.

[Friday, August 7, 2015]

Halftime Report gang predicts ZNGA, GRPN going to ‘zero’

Well, give 'em credit for candor.

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime Report hung a "zero" on ZNGA, despite the fact Stephanie Link called the stock "interesting" and said it has 5 new products coming out.

Things got even spicier moments later when Jim Lebenthal called GRPN "a falling knife that I think is probably gonna hit zero."

Judge, probably hearing something in his earpiece by that point, gave Lebenthal a chance to "walk back" that prediction.

Lebenthal chuckled and suggested 50 cents and said he's not trying to be "glib," but ...

"OK, I just don't know that we wanna sort of go as far as to say we think the stock is gonna go to zero (sic grammar). But anyway," Judge said.

Judge’s way of covering a debate — have Bob Peck talk about the TWTR CEO

Bob Peck, who basically gets paid by CNBC to utter "Adam Bain" every couple of days, dialed into Friday's Halftime Report to tell Judge that it was "really amazing" that behind each candidate at the Republican debate, they had a Facebook logo and a logo in the corner of the screen.

Even more "really amazing" was that Judge tried to sell this hit as some kind of discussion about the actual debate (because no one on Wall Street cares about that subject).

Peck said it's "imperative" for TWTR to get a permanent CEO soon (Zzzzzzzzzzzzz) and suggested a "triumvirate idea" to lead the company. But gosh it's so important that they got rid of Dick.

Peck said Evan Williams has been selling about 300,000 shares "every 2 weeks or so religiously," and he'd like to see that turn around.

Whatever happened to the years-ending-in-5 theory?

Larry McDonald sat in with Friday's Halftime crew with a new twist on the 25%-chance-of-bear-market theory.

McDonald said he looked back to the Eisenhower administration and found that in the 7th and 8th years of a 2-term presidency, there's always been a recession.

McDonald, who pointed to government spending as a rising portion of GDP, said successive administrations don't always come in as accommodative as the previous administration.

Judge demanded to know if McDonald is calling for a recession or whether the bear market just comes out of thin air. McDonald claimed "there's a very high likelihood" of a recession, pegging it at 25%.

Josh Brown said to invert the number, and you come up with a 75% chance of no recession, and stocks go up 3 of every 4 years, so McDonald's call is actually "pretty consensus."

McDonald insisted that slumping high yield is a "classic, classic warning sign."

Moments later, Judge said Ron Insana, who remembers the Eisenhower administration well, dialed in purportedly to debate McDonald.

Insana basically conceded several ways in which McDonald's prediction is possible but asserted that they've been debating this for 6 years, and "you can't make the call every year and change the reason, uh, for your outlook."

Insana even brought up Marc Faber whom Mel brings on whenever possible.

McDonald shrugged that "6 years ago I wasn't even on the network" (sic really just a "channel" unless you count the overseas versions which are basically bureaus).

Then McDonald impressively played offense, telling Insana, "I wish we had Twitter back in 2007-08 to see your tweet stream and how raging bullish it must've been."

That brought Bob Peck back in to point to past TWTR missteps Insana insisted "they absolutely were not" and pointed to an argument with Larry Kudlow in the summer of 2007 that quite frankly we don't remember or care about remembering in the slightest.

The Insana-McDonald debate was so riveting, Stephanie Link looked half-asleep. (We'd provide a picture, but we don't want to embarrass Steph.)

None of the Republican candidates were asked about reappointing Yellen

Josh Brown opened Friday's Halftime shrugging that if there's a correction or "fit" going into a September Fed hike, then "so be it."

Jim Lebenthal said the only thing bothering him is the "fear itself aspect."

Steph Link said it's not a "foregone conclusion" that we'll get a September hike.

Paul Richards contended that 2 hikes this year is "still in play."

Richards said, "At the end of the day, they don't like it at zero."

Jon Najarian predicted it's "one and pause," and he's still "not convinced" it'll be in September (but we didn't hear "lower for longer" this time).

Judge posed a good question, about when have financials led and the overall market gone down. Jim Lebenthal answered that "there's a counterexample going on" to every such premise, whatever that means.

Everyone sounded the alarm on China; Jim Lebenthal warned that it might be so bad over there that stimulus won't be enough. Nobody questioned whether that would play into Donald Trump's strategy.

Judge got Paul Richards to suggest that Chinese stimulus could give U.S. stocks a boost, but Josh Brown said he doesn't know where that "narrative" is coming from.

Wondering if anyone else recalls Ron Insana’s famous 2007 argument with Larry Kudlow

Jon Najarian, who had a quiet show on Friday's Halftime Report, hemmed and hawed about the KORS dueling calls, ultimately saying he likes the BB&T bull call.

Stephanie Link said negative comps and higher expenses are going to dog the stock, and so if you're in the space, you want to be in the name that's "ahead of the game" in restructuring, which would be Coach.

But Judge countered that Link already made a "leap of faith" in COH. Link responded that "this is different" at KORS.

Josh Brown said he can't believe how quickly they were able to "rip all of the cachet out of Michael Kors."

Doc said INTC wasn't really getting hit much on the downgrade but NVDA was doing great.

Doc exited TLT from his fictional Halftime Portfolio. Josh Brown added HCA.

Josh Brown called SIRO "on the verge of breaking out."

[Thursday, August 6, 2015]

Republican debate: a quiet
endorsement for the status quo

In Washington, there is nothing to do.

That's why we have occasional fiscal cliffs and shutdowns and other diversions.

Thursday's Republican debate provided no argument whatsoever that the country needs change.

9 of the 10 "contenders" proved themselves affable gentlemen. Even Trump had his moments, endorsing Jeb Bush's character.

Absolutely none made a case against the incumbent or presumed heir.

No mention at all of tax rates. Or Janet Yellen or ZIRP or TARP or September-vs.-December-vs.-2016 or inversions or repatriation "tax holidays."

No one spoke of mobilizing U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria. (Lindsey Graham did so in the earlier debate.) (This page is not advocating such an argument.)

In the worst, or most telling, moment/endorsement, one high-ranking candidate even bluntly declared that if it's about résumé, Hillary Clinton wins easily.

That is not even true.

The Republican Party has won. It's a center-right country. Presidential Democrats govern like Republicans. Fox News is far more popular than MSNBC. When was the last time you heard Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton talk about jacking up the highest tax brackets?

They no longer even advocate "national health care."

The Republican Party has had no galvanizing presidential candidate since 1984. That's a long time. Since then, Democrats have had 2.

The last 2 presidential elections were particularly miserable, with all due respect to the Republican fields in those races. The primaries looked incredibly low-budget.

That kind of frustration explains not only Donald Trump but Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot.

They are not mad about immigration or the Patriot Act or the national debt.

They're mad because they haven't had a Reagan since 1984.

One of the most important lines in this debate came from Donald Trump, who pointed to Jeb Bush and said, after a courtesy, "The last number of months of his brother's administration were a catastrophe, and unfortunately those few months gave us President Obama."

The first part of that is true. W. was flat-footed (that's putting it kindly) on Bear Stearns. That was fair warning, we've got a Wall Street problem. This bloke had checked out. By the time Lehman fell, he was ceding leadership to Barack Obama.

But the Obama train was rolling long before that.

Here's the problem for the Democratic Party. This presumed front-runner likely cannot win. She doesn't have the votes. She was 3rd place (that's correct, a "3") in the 2008 Iowa caucuses. She couldn't beat John Edwards. She was the fallback choice among those who weren't ready for Barack Obama. She seems, as politicians go, a nice woman. Probably no one has been better prepared for this job. But not enough people in this nation want to elect her.

This Republican field is loaded with B+ candidates. Can they get to A. All are intelligent enough. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul demonstrated elevated smarts. Ben Carson would've, except he was unfairly hit with the 2nd question of the debate with more or less a statement (that was news to us) that he actually thought Alan Greenspan was Treasury secretary. (Honestly, if you do not know the position Alan Greenspan held for 17 years, you are not informed enough to be president.) They may or may not be your cup of tea.

Scott Walker, backed by some on Wall Street, has an intriguing storyline and reputation as someone who wins elections in battleground territory.

But he failed to articulate an argument for anything Thursday night, other than a good zinger about hackers and Hillary's emails.

Walker unfortunately has an odd hairline. Totally unfair to criticize, but unfortunately, such cosmetic issues matter greatly. Does anyone think Barack Obama would be elected in 2008 with a bald spot?

John Kasich boasted of balancing budgets. #mikedukakis. Jeb Bush actually referred to himself as "Veto Corleone."

Ted Cruz impressively overachieved but has already dug such a huge mainstream hole.

Candidates trashed the Iran deal. There really was no alternative for the "world powers." They decided years ago they weren't going to bomb. If you're not going to bomb, you have little leverage. So we lift the sanctions, and we can inspect from time to time. Iran's going to have some nukes. Pakistan's already got them. These machinations are largely irrelevant, except for the stirring speech delivered to Congress by Benjamin Netanyahu. These are people who have stared down the worst of human nature, and they are still standing. Iran is not going to touch them.

There was only token opposition to Obamacare at this debate.

Nobody really wants a 3rd Bush presidency. Nobody also sees Marco Rubio as a commander in chief. These fellows are smart. They have time. Barack Obama was lackluster 8 years ago at this time. It all came together for him in the fall, around the Des Moines "Jefferson-Jackson Dinner" or whatever it's called.

Bush is not smooth. His remarks at times are awkward. He is not good at soundbites.

Rubio simply doesn't have the gravitas. Telling people that Amazon has no stores is not a platform.

A great goal for these candidates actually comes from Jimmy Carter — what can Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or Scott Walker do to elevate America's stature in the world?

The significance of this debate is the reality that Trump may run as an independent. That would be an enormous problem for Republicans.

If Bush, Rubio or Walker overachieves, that won't happen. These things have a way of taking care of themselves.

It seems nothing will make Karen call KORS a sell

Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money looked sensational in zippered dress said there was a "ton" of pessimism about KORS, when things were "actually OK" in the report.

"At this price, it is 60% cheaper than Coach," Finerman said.

Riding the stock down from who knows what level, Finerman said, "I'd rather own Kors today after the move than yesterday before the earnings and wondering if there was gonna be a big miss."

Karen took comfort, even borderline glee, noting SUNE volume and stating, "If Guy were here, he would say, huge inside-outside day, whatever he calls it. 78 million shares, on a stock normally trades 10 million."

Karen said at the end of the day, she decided she could either "throw up" or buy some more SUNE, and she bought some more but could still throw up.

Steve Grasso said the IBB will be the "last one" to crack among the market's stalwarts.

Overpromised: Judge says guest has a 2008 comparison but guest says it’s really a 1998 comparison

Judge on Thursday's Halftime introduced Michael Contopoulos as someone who sees a possible blowup in high yield similar to the 2008 financial crisis, but Contopoulos said "it's not quite 2008 scenario."

Contopoulos said there has been a "tremendous amount of crowded trades develop," and that's the case in high-yield, but it's less about 2008 than about 1998.

"When does it become a real problem," Judge asked.

Contopoulos said 26% of U.S. high yield is owned by retail, and "10% of that is owned by ETFs," likening that to the late 1990s. "Liquidity is an issue on the Street," Contopoulos said.

Josh Brown asked Judge's question a 2nd time, when does this all fall apart. Contopoulos rounded out this sleepy segment saying that the credit cycle is in the beginning of the end, but the business cycle has a couple years to go, and that's when the big defaults start.

Josh indicates Grasso’s point is ‘irrelevant,’ then says ‘we’re saying the same thing’

Steve Grasso on Thursday's Halftime Report cautioned that the 200-day in the S&P is 2,072 and wondered, "who's left to buy these dips?" (snicker)

But Josh Brown claimed he talks to "all the major technicians" and that they say the 200-day moving average crossovers are all "irrelevant because there is no trend."

Grasso insisted on the chance to respond because he wasn't going to be around for the whole program. "Once we cross over that and stay below it longer than 6 days, it's pretty relevant. There's not a technician in the world who thinks it's not relevant," Grasso said.

"Grasso, we're saying the same thing," Brown protested. "It's crossed above and below multiple times. Do you know why? Because it's flat. It's not declining, it's not ascending. ... What's more important is breadth."

Grasso bickered again over the importance of the 200-day but seemed to agree about breadth.

Jon Najarian predicted "lower for longer" on interest rates.

Joe Terranova said Thursday was a "rejiggering" of assets and predicted a "one and done" in September.

Jim Lebenthal said the market has "legitimate fundamental worries."

Judge corrected Lebenthal on Fed president/governor titles.

Judge doesn’t even listen to what his colleagues are saying

Jim Lebenthal on Thursday's Halftime said he's still "scratching my head" about MPC's rocky quarter, adding they're in the "penalty box" (Drink) but he still likes the stock.

Jim Iuorio said oil is heading "towards $40." Scott Nations said oil looks "screaming" oversold short term, but longer term, "it is look out below."

Judge mistakenly accused Jim Iuorio of talking about skating where the puck's going, when it was Jackie DeAngelis, who even mentioned that Judge had just said it.

PLNT not working out

In an interesting, albeit brief, assessment of the health-club business model, Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime Report said the "overall fitness trend and Wall Street, they just don't blend together."

Joe reiterated that you can accomplish what FIT does with a "mirror and a blood test" and then asserted, using the term "gym" about 15 times, "Most gyms (Drink), the business model of a gym (Drink) is met with failure, not with success."

Doc said PLNT, which we thought might be a Led Zeppelin tracking stock, had a "terrible IPO ... nobody wants to hold this thing."

Josh Brown agreed the gym "business model is pretty terrible" and said the stocks end up bankrupt or getting a private equity rescue.

Nobody brought up the fact that Marcus Lemonis on his CNBC show tried to turn Michael Sena's small Indiana Pro-Fit gym into a national brand.

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

Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report told Kate Kelly that the "irony" in Ackman's MDLZ stake is that he was "building this position" while sitting next to Peltz at a Delivering Alpha panel.

Doc said a bunch of calls have been turning over in MDLZ.

Josh Brown said the fundamentals in MBLY are "almost irrelevant" as it's a "sentiment" play.

Joe pointed to PANW and said "momentum names, for the first time, are cracking."

Jim Lebenthal put LB in "no-man's land."

Joe Terranova said that between "hypermarket" names TGT, COST and WMT, WMT is most intriguing, but he wouldn't buy any of them just yet.

Doc outlined the struggles of GNRC and predicted it goes "lower still."

"What is MTV anymore," Joe asked, calling Viacom's numbers "really, really putrid."

Josh Brown said 75 could provide a "healthy bounce" to PG.

Doc said FOXA calls were popular. Josh Brown said he's "probably" buying DIS before the weekend.

Joe warned of the possibility of a "very ugly opening" Friday based on Asian markets.

[Wednesday, August 5, 2015]

Guy suggests Fleck’s comments carry more weight than Fast Money panelists’

For the 2nd day in a row, Guy Adami on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money revisited Bill Fleckenstein's visit Monday and Fleck's "synthetic Apple short."

"Before you go killing me, Bill's a very thoughtful guy. I mean, he doesn't come on TV every day and make comments like that," Adami said.

As opposed to those people ... such as Guy and his panel, who do come on TV every day and make comments like that?

Hopefully, Fleck will put the "logistical problems ... and stuff" behind him and finally get the short fund relaunched by Oct. 1.

Doc shorts FSLR, says he doesn’t expect to see a lot of solar-powered cars

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he shorted FSLR because he thinks the gain "is just a short squeeze" and that solar is too linked to oil prices.

But Josh Brown, who said he's long First Solar, asserted, "There's no connection whatsoever between crude oil prices and what's happening in the solar market."

Doc gloated that while he shorted at 52, it went up to 53 but then was trading under 52.

Brown insisted that it's not a short squeeze; "they tripled the earnings expectation."

Doc asked how long it takes to get a solar field up and running.

Brown didn't answer but asked if Najarian knows of "a lot of solar-powered cars." Najarian said no, and "I'm not gonna see a lot of 'em either."

In discussion about AAPL, someone actually makes the cash-repatriation argument (Drink)

On a day with DIS dominating headlines, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime opted for yesterday's news.

Jon Najarian opened Wednesday's Halftime saying "a lot of people overstayed their welcome" in AAPL, but "I bought it this morning" as it flirted with 112.

Josh Brown, apparently on board with this one, shrugged that this kind of selloff happens "every 15 months' in Apple.

Pete Najarian tore a page from Laszlo Birinyi's I-told-you-so routine dating back to 1962, telling Judge, "I remember when this stock before it split, and it actually pulled back towards 400 and I was not on the desk that day but you asked the entire desk, would you buy here at $400, and everybody said 'Absolutely not," Pete said.

But Pete said there was "very aggressive buying" of the weekly AAPL calls Wednesday.

Stephen Weiss said AAPL fundamental investors are coming to grips with the fact "there won't be a big uptake in the 6S."

Also, the company "missed the whole Fitbit craze," Weiss said.

Colin Gillis agreed there's "not a lot of excitement" in the 6S upgrade cycle.

Gillis actually called for a "tax holiday" (snicker) to repatriate the "zombie money" overseas. (Wonder if that will come up in the Republican debate because there's not likely to be a "grand bargain" between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.)

Chris Marangi called it "a little ironic" that the most-loved and most-scrutinized stock has everyone scratching their heads, but "this is a bargain" in his opinion.

Josh Brown chided BAC for being "all aboard" AAPL at 130 and now recommending sell at 115.

Pete Najarian questioned why AAPL hasn't done a "meaningful" acquisition.

Later, Stephen Weiss said he wouldn't be in FIT and that sometime it will be a short because it's "ridiculously expensive."

Josh Brown likened FIT to Lance Armstrong's old yellow bracelets but claimed people stopped wearing them before Lance's downfall.

Usually the no-World-Cup excuse is reserved for Twitter monthly active users

After Judge finally got to the day's pressing subject on Wednesday's Halftime, Chris Marangi said Wednesday was "probably" an overreaction in DIS.

Judge noticed that Marangi used the term "probably" and wondered if Marangi thinks the bloom's off the rose. "Long term, no," Marangi said.

Doc called PCLN a "phenomenal business" and called the stock a "great one" but said retail people aren't in it because the price is like a "mini-Berkshire Hathaway."

Stephen Weiss said he's taking a "wait-and-see approach" to Z.

Josh Brown said new highs are "in sight" for FB.

Brown said GMCR is in "one of the most relentless downtrends I've ever seen" and recommended not owning the name.

A ‘delusion,’ or ‘dilution’

He was kinda obnoxious about the way he talked about it months ago.

But Whitney Tilson's suggestion to Judge about shorting more of LL in the upper 20s is still looking good, as Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime called it a "don't touch."

Stephen Weiss said to "stay away" from CHK on "balance sheet issues," "energy issues" and "end-market issues."

Weiss also said CMI/ETN/EME generally run in 5-year cycles, and the cycle is now nearing its 7th year, so he'd avoid the stocks.

Doc cautioned about hospitals sinking fast.

Josh Brown called ETSY a "niche of a niche" and said the IPO was a "delusion of a delusion," prompting Doc to question if Brown really meant "dilution." Brown put a $10 handle on the stock.

3% a ‘stretch’

Scott Nations on Wednesday's Halftime Report told Jackie DeAngelis that "bonds are getting a 2-day head start" on assessing the jobs data's effect on Fed expectations.

Anthony Grisanti said it would be a "stretch" to see a 3% yield on the 10-year this year.

On other matters, Joe Girardi told Judge he sees the 10-year topping out at 2.75 in 2015 he's got calls in to Bill Fleckenstein about investing in the short fund that will relaunch Oct. 1 how he has come up with a "sci-fi augmented reality game," a "free app" for iPhone and Android.

Rather than ask about phone apps, Judge asked Girardi about the Yankees. Girardi went out of his way to talk about how great a onetime PED user has been.

Josh Brown for some reason asked Girardi about the Mets.

Pete Najarian said KATE has more upside. He said RL looks inexpensive but that they have to speed up the turnaround.

Doc said someone was buying February 50 calls in AAL. Pete Najarian said somebody bought BHP September 37.50 calls and just rolled up into September 42.50 calls.

For some strange reason, Judge invited viewers to go look up online his Delivering Alpha interview with Carl and Larry Fink.

[Tuesday, August 4, 2015]

Judge helps viewers understand what Laszlo Birinyi is saying with a visual aid

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report brought in Laszlo Birinyi for a purported exclusive on Birinyi's S&P 3,200 forecast by 2017.

But Birinyi was far more interested in taking a victory lap or two.

He told Stephanie Link, "We're having a very good year, because we don't own energy, we don't own industrials, we're very light on, uh, consumer durables."

He said he has tried to get his clients to "gift" APPL "because we have stock in single digits." Judge even joined the celebration, adding, "I think 7."

Birinyi said he likes BRKa, then explained how his clients call wondering why they're in 20% cash, and he tells them, "You're asking the wrong question, you should be asking, why am I doing so well."

Defending his 3,200 call, Birinyi cited as support the fact that critics in the past have been wrong.

He reiterated that his shop keeps notebooks of headlines going back to 1962 and even pointed to a WSJ story on May 11, 2009, suggesting stocks were no longer cheap.

"There's no reason why we can't keep on going," Birinyi said.

Birinyi also faulted a "well-known strategist" who in the first week of 1991 said on "Wall Street Week" (the Rukeyser, not Scaramucci, version) that the market was overvalued, then 5 years later claimed "we've been bullish for 5 years."

At that point, Judge said "the blogs" are "probably already in overdrive."

Laszlo Birinyi is still settling 24-year-old business media scores

Dismissing the noise around the markets, Laszlo Birinyi contended on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "what's important are earnings, revenue, guidance and sales," even though 2 of those categories sound the same and he didn't include "CFO departures" and "Bill Ackman presentations."

Joe Terranova asked if sluggish GDP will make it hard for stocks to keep rolling. Birinyi told a story from 1982 and then contended, "That's been an issue for 6 years."

Birinyi did express concern about BMW and Porsche based on what Greece could do to the euro.

But he even indicated that flat-market punishment is about as bad as it gets in this environment. "We're having a correction. We're having a correction in time," Birinyi said.

Birinyi said he doesn't know when the Fed is going to move but he's annoyed by people who make predictions but don't tell him what to do.

He said he'd buy more V at 70 but won't buy it at 77.

Joe Terranova said AAPL might be an "opportunity" around 105 or 106.

Analyst realizes way to get on the Halftime Report is to issue the highest NFLX target

It's just like "The Price is Right" — bid one dollar more than the person in front of you.

Michael Morris of Guggenheim landed on Tuesday's Halftime Report by virtue of his 160 NFLX target, which he said is not about being "the most bullish per se" but because he expects it to be the "global leader in television, uh, content and distribution over the next decade."

Judge said, "I feel I could be talking to Rich Greenfield," because Morris is hardly the only bull in the name, apparently asking himself out loud why he put viewers through another one of these hits.

Morris said the company has done good things and bad things in the past with pricing but suggested that, "as they establish additional services, you'll see them start using pricing levers."

Joe Terranova said there's a "different dynamic going on" with NFLX because previously, money managers were reluctant to include it and now they "need and want to own Netflix."

Judge fails to get a straight answer from Dana Telsey as to whether KORS is dead

Dana Telsey sat in with Judge's crew on Tuesday's Halftime to ask about investing in Bill Fleckenstein's short fund that's relaunching Oct. 1 to opine on the fashion/lifestyle space and concluded it's a "crummy handbag market."

But, she said COH is getting some traction with small improvements.

However, Telsey didn't answer Judge's question as to whether KORS can come back. Rather, her clever couching of the company's obstacles ("Typically it takes 3 or 4 quarters to stabilize") while sort of implying that it will eventually bounce back against negative comps from some possibly lower level is a good primer for any of those fellows taking the stage at the Republican gala on Thursday night (the important debate, not the earlier one for the also-rans).

Telsey said KATE could have the most growth in the category.

Stephanie Link argued that COH will outperform its rivals "because they've got the restructuring in place."

Telsey hung a 76 on LULU "over the next year or so," stating, "Typically for every pair of bottoms that people buy, they buy 3 to 4 tops."

Stephanie Link said denim is coming back. Telsey agreed. "Denim, activewear and cosmetics, that's what you wanna be in," Telsey said.

Mike Block said "there's a lot of negative sentiment" in the handbag names.

Guy Adami says Dan Nathan thinks Fleck was actually arguing a ‘synthetic’ AAPL short

Jim Iuorio told Jackie DeAngelis on Tuesday's Halftime Report that the Chinese stock market reaction is a "flimsy" excuse for the crude bounce. Brian Stutland, in curious attire, said he's selling any rally and sees 43 in WTI's future.

Mike Block, who said "inherently" (Drink) and perhaps took a cue from Laszlo Birinyi, said he stayed away from energy stocks ("I avoided them when everybody loved them") but is now getting ready to jump in when oil hits 43, specifically "blue-chip services names" such as HAL or SLB.

Pete Najarian said he thinks there's still some pain in crude.

Joe Terranova said the "easy money in oil has been made already" (Drink) and advised viewers to focus on refiners and "mitigating your loss potential."

Joe said, "Overall, things are good for Toyota Motors (sic) (Drink)," and he views the pullback as an opportunity but said you have to be concerned about the Chinese auto market.

Pete Najarian grumbled again that TWTR's problem is the folks who have logged off and never come back (Drink).

Mike Block said Mike Evans is a "great guy," but that's not the BABA story; rather it's China cracking down on "any kind of financing" for online payments that don't go through banks. (This writer has been long BABA since Pete Najarian pounded the table for 150 all the time.)

Pete Najarian wondered if BXLT would "push back" and look for a higher bid.

Mike Block called REITs "overlooked" amid Fed expectations.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said AAPL seems poised to reach "effectively 105" in part on "far-reaching ramifications" from China.

Guy even went so far as to note that Dan Nathan made a comment, "I don't know if it was on-air or not and I apologize," that "effectively" (Drink) what Bill Fleckenstein was saying Monday night was a "synthetic short of Apple, if you think about it."

Actually, all we're thinking about is whether Fleck can get the "logistical problems" resolved in time for the Oct. 1 launch.

Karen Finerman said she was looking to reload on AAPL at 115, "till it got here," now she needs to "rethink."

[Monday, August 3, 2015]

Fleck claims he’s restarting the short fund on Oct. 1, cites presence of HFT, ‘a lot of momentum investors’

He's a legendary Fast Money guest, and we hope this venture works out for him.

But count us among the skeptics after Bill Fleckenstein announced on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he's "shooting for October 1st" to relaunch his legendary short fund that hasn't seen the light of day in 6 years.

"If it wasn't for the logistical problems of getting it relaunched and stuff, you know, I could snap my fingers, I'd be ready to go tomorrow, but things just don't work like that," Fleck complained.

The only problem with that assertion is that back in October 2013, Fleck vowed the restart was just around the corner.

"You have to plan to do it," he said then, and then be "moving parts forward," with the goal to "restart my fund, early next year."

If he's been planning this for at least nearly 2 years ... why is he having "logistical problems" at this time?

Mel also sounded a bit skeptical on Monday, pointing out that Fleckenstein is already shorting or planning to short beaten-down semiconductor names.

"Completely beaten down is a relative term," said Fleck, asserting the names are in an "inventory correction at a minimum."

He claimed a significant change from 2009. "Now, the market and the Fed are trapped," Fleck said, adding, "Expectations are very high, and I don't think they can be met, and I have a lot of targets that I can pick on."

Fleck pronounced the market "very brittle" (here's where actual strategy sounds a lot like guessing) because of "HFT," "ETFs" and "a lot of momentum investors."

We'll take the other side, but we're not sure of what — whether the market is a short starting on Oct. 1, or whether this fund actually exists at year-end.

Joe: TWTR may have
another $4-5 to go

Judge claimed on Monday's Halftime Report that TWTR's selloff was "exacerbated" by Bob Peck's appearance on Squawk Alley.

Joe Terranova said not to buy TWTR, predicting "another 4, 5 dollars potential downside."

But Josh Brown said it's a "really interesting setup," then made mush of a point in which it wasn't clear at all whether he was bullish or bearish on the name.

Joe said when SBUX stumbled, insiders bought the stock, but he questioned why TWTR insiders are actually selling.

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian said AAPL represents "great opportunity" but he'd play it with options, not stock.

Joe called AAPL "a source of funds" for those looking to raise cash in the market.

Joe retraced AAPL's 119 touch on Nov. 26 and 4 months of trying to break through and then breaking through and never looking back until this week; he called today's activity "technically significant."

Steve Weiss doesn’t get the Karen Finerman Principle; if you own a stock at the end of the day it’s like buying it that day

Ben Mogil of Stifel dialed into Monday's Halftime Report and said there is a "good momentum" at DIS across the business lines and not just from "Star Wars."

Mogil said forex and China are wild cards for DIS but regarding the latter, the company figures to get quality release dates.

Steve Weiss curiously said of DIS, "if I owned it, I'd stay with it. If I didn't own it, I'd wait for a dip in it because it's definitely not cheap."

Surprised Judge didn’t ask everyone if Chuck Grom was really recommending a ‘sell’ on WFM

Joe Terranova said near the top of Monday's Halftime Report that he has learned a lesson the hard way, that you shouldn't be trading the "macro."

Keith Banks said there's a lot of "underlying strength" in the markets and predicted a better 2nd half than 1st half.

Josh Brown said consumers are doing fine, "not great, not gangbusters."

Pete Najarian said, "Last week, it was all about technicals."

Stephen Weiss said the market's in the "churning" stage but "can" and "will" go higher, then he got cut off by Judge when he suggested the Fed is "likely" to hike in September.

Weiss said value players in the energy space are "like the Civil War movies."

Tom Kloza did actually speak, unless CNBC’s gaffer accomplished some really good lip-synching

Crude watcher Tom Kloza joined the Halftime Report set on Monday and described himself as "the Milli Vanilli of analysts."

Kloza predicted "another 10% pullback or so" but suggested oil would be a "great buy" with a 3-handle, which kind of sounds like what Josh Brown was saying about TWTR with a 2-handle (at least until Monday).

Instead of a Futures Now hit, Jackie DeAngelis did a CNBC Market Flash on the coal industry, steel, solar and natural gas. Joe Terranova said to take coal names off your screen.

Joe wants to hear LBO scuttlebutt for all the elite fashion brands

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime said GS has broken through some support levels, but "I like Goldman," but he's not in it now because of the technicals.

Stephen Weiss said the Macau stocks can go lower.

Josh Brown said a lot of things are working against TSN but said it's "probably a better buy than a sell."

Phil LeBeau, who used to say he bought his first car for "400 bucks and a case of beer," said auto sales in July got a boost from larger vehicles that are thriving on lower gas prices. Josh Brown said ORLY is the best long in the space. Joe reaffirmed his support for TM (without saying Toyota "Motors (sic)" this time).

Joe said it's fine to suggest KORS as an LBO candidate but wondered "Why not some of the others" in the space such as COH, RL and KATE.

Josh Brown said of KORS, "You're just catching a falling knife."

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Fast Money cliches

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Movie of the week

♦ Bonnie and Clyde
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♦ The Paper Chase
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♦ She's Out of My League
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Gordon Gekko:
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CNBC/cable TV
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♦ Jim Cramer
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♦ Lawrence Kudlow
♦ Karen Finerman
♦ Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
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♦ Martha MacCallum
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♦ Joe Scarborough
♦ Terry Keenan
♦ Chrystia Freeland
♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

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