[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — August 2017]
[Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017]

Weiss in 50% cash, Pete 30% as everyone fears the Marks/Gundlach/last-2-weeks-of-August correction

Steve Liesman on Thursday's Halftime recapped the Steve Mnuchin interview.

Josh Brown said "The best news is that they are adamant about, um, the debt ceiling's not gonna be an issue," which shows a "level of maturity that we haven't seen in other arenas."

Jim Lebenthal said the S&P 500 has been "in a 3% range this month."

Leslie Picker was in Brokaw, Wis., to discuss local outrage against activist investors, specifically the shuttering of a paper mill blamed on Starboard, which had a stake in Wausau Paper. But Picker said a Duke U. study showed hedge fund activists had "essentially no role" in the closure of the Brokaw mill.

Josh Brown said you have to be in the "gray area" on this topic. Kari Firestone finds it "curious" that this legislation doesn't target private equity as well. Guest host Mel noted that Jeff Smith will be at Delivering Alpha, which will be a "great conference."

The 5 p.m. Fast Money crew basically said in unison, when it comes to tax cuts, "they will get something done … it almost doesn't matter what it is." (That was from Karen Finerman.) Nobody cut to the chase, which is, there's nothing to do, other than a simple vote to allocate some cash to Houston.

Looks like Pete outdueled Weiss on whether GILD made a good deal

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report gushed about GILD, pointing out it's up $10 since last Friday and that the company has gained $13 billion in market cap for a purchase of $12 billion.

"I'd say that's a good trade," Doc said. Hard to argue with that.

Kari Firestone said she looked at JNJ "very seriously" a year ago and didn't buy, though it's a "great defensive story."

Josh Brown said he's long BMY, which is having "as legitimate of a breakout" as you get. He's also in AMGN but called JNJ a "really expensive stock primarily because of its steady dividend."

Jim Lebenthal noted health insurers and biotech are both in uptrends. He said he's long ALXN and PFE.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Guy Adami questioned if Donald Trump, after pushing through tax reform, would "circle back" to nail Ken Frazier on drug prices, affecting MRK.

Jim botches CNBC Silicon Valley technology correspondent’s name

Josh Lipton on Thursday's Halftime Report mentioned invitations going out for AAPL's Sept. 12 event.

Jim Lebenthal said "this is not news" but said he's not trying to take anything from "Josh Upton (sic)."

Kari Firestone noted AAPL has a "low P.E. relative to the market" (effect not a cause). Jon Najarian said he will "guarantee" that the iPhone will go on sale "2 days before the end of the quarter."

CIEN: From hero to goat

Kari Firestone on Thursday's Halftime said she's cut back her FB position simply because it's gotten too large. But she's "still a big owner."

Josh Brown said CPB needs to "reinvent itself" and that it needs "something fresher"; he'd "completely avoid" the stock.

Jim Lebenthal said the problem with DG is that brick and mortar is a "very, very treacherous sector."

Jon Najarian said people who bought CIEN 23.50 weekly puts "nailed it." (He didn't say that while Stephanie Link last week called CIEN "very volatile," she said it could go from 23 to 29 in a day, rather than the other way around.)

Kari Firestone wishes she owned WDAY. But it's a "volatile stock" and "not without risk" (as opposed to all of the risk-free stocks out there).

Doc said bulls were buying HDS 32.50 September calls.

Kari Firestone's final trade was V. Doc said VZ because of call-buying; he didn't say what the strike or time was. Josh Brown said the Dax slipped below its 200-day, but it's because of the currency, not fundamentals. "You should not be panicking," Brown said. Jim Lebenthal suggested GM amid prospects for scrapping all those cars in Texas.

The best Tug trade since the Phils got McGraw

Scott Cohn, not often on the Halftime Report, pointed out the water levels still afflicting Texas cities on Thursday.

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report said the RBOB September and October contracts were pulling back after a "big squeeze this morning," even though the numbers shown on the screen didn't show any pullback.

Doc said traders "were on tugboats" in the Gulf and trading with backup Marine band radios in case their cell connections went down; they made "a nice chunk of money" trading refinery activity (or lack thereof) and were rescuing people in their boats later and even giving out money "because they felt very generous after this, uh, windfall for them."

Jim Lebenthal said, "That's awesome."

Jim said he sold MPC about a month ago "at exactly the price it's at right now."

Joe Terranova dialed in and said, "You cannot get overly excited about what's going on right now and rush into the refiners."

"This is a front-month dynamic," Joe explained, lukewarmly stating HFC, Delek and CVI benefit from not being in the storm region. But Joe said those refiners were giving back gains because of the WTI rally. "It's a very treacherous trade," Joe said.

Joe said the "real opportunity" is possibly nat gas, mentioning another hurricane in the Atlantic. But then he told Mel, "Natural gas equity plays are, are, difficult uh to really get your hands around," and mentioned RRC and EOG and COG but said those are names "that have been struggling all year."

So, it's a real opportunity, but … (a/k/a let's buy these names instead of NVDA).

Tom Kloza said for drivers, the "worst-case scenario is probably about to develop," which is a gasoline spike of 40 to 60 cents. He cited Kipling and predicted "panic behavior in places like Dallas, in places like Tennessee and in places sort of along the Carolinas."

However, "It should largely be a non-event for crude oil," Kloza said, asserting Thursday's rally "makes no sense."

Jim Lebenthal said typically there's a "surge export" that goes mainly to Europe, but "those exports can be redirected" to the U.S.

"I think a month from now, this is gonna all have blown over," Jim said.

Kari Firestone said she owns PSX and thinks it's the type of name that should go up in this environment. Josh Brown said he doesn't see holiday weekend drivers changing their plans over gasoline price hikes.

For some reason, Futures Now was pushed back in the program; when it aired, Scott Nations said WTI is up because of a fear that crude will be "trapped" in the Gulf for a while. He said the government has released 500,000 barrels from the SPR, "first time we've done that in (sic meant 'since') 2012." Jim Iuorio doesn't think crude can cross 50.

More from Thursday's Halftime later.

[Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017]

70, 400, 572, whatever

Nick Setyan on Wednesday's Halftime Report said JACK has about 70 company-owned stores in the Harvey-area market; they are losing "about 5K" every day.

But, he said, "I actually like Jack in the Box here," because the trend with the Smoky Jack had "a chance to accelerate" before the hurricane."

"He had me at Smoky Jack," guest host Mel said.

Kari Firestone said she just bought MIDD.

We found it a little hard to believe that the CNBC graphic said JACK has 400 locations in the "Houston area," but then again, the map of the U.S. showed a circle in East Texas with "572" in it, so looks like we've got the problem of several different forms of measurement of info within the same story, and it's anyone's guess which number is most relevant.

Jon Najarian's final trade was JACK; he said he bought during the show.

Pete mistakes effect for cause, claims people are buying tech for P.E. ratio

In a curious GDP assessment, Kari Firestone on Wednesday's Halftime Report stressed that all the years of low growth might be "a base that now we can build from."

Steve Liesman said the market has been sniffing out a GDP "upward shift towards the 2½ range."

Liesman stressed that "the Fed is talking about a terminal rate … closer to 2 than to 3. It is a dramatic change."

Gorjus Ylan Mui said Donald Trump's remarks on tax reform later Wednesday would be "short on specifics."

Kari Firestone revealed, "Today I published a piece on CNBC.com about surviving in the age of unpredictability." That's fine, except we wonder how "unpredictable" this "age" is when volatility's at all-time lows.

Kari explained that "every day when we wake up, we don't know where the market's going," so tax reform if it happens is just an "added increment."

Guest host Melissa Lee summarized Kari's point as "it can only be upside."

Pete Najarian said GDP numbers were "in line" and "fairly strong."

Rob Sechan said, "It's taken a long time to reach cruising altitude," but it's a "pretty good environment" now.

Weighing sectors, Pete claimed, "The reason that technology has performed so well is, what's the P.E. of Apple. What's the P.E. of Oracle? What's the P.E. of all of these companies?"

"And ex-cash," Mel chimed in.

Jon Najarian said you might get a chance to buy AAPL "several dollars" below 160. He noted Tim Cook cashing in his new shares "immediately."

Kari Firestone said "investors are saying to themselves" to put money in AAPL with its low P.E., perhaps validating Pete's non-point.

If Warren Buffett had bought AMZN instead of BAC and WFC, he’d be a lot wealthier

Becky Quick on Wednesday's Halftime Report recapped the Warren Buffett interview.

Rob Sechan said he doesn't like insurers because of pervasive "competitive pricing pressures."

Jim Lebenthal said insurers are appealing only after some short-term "earnings hits" and when a few smaller companies "go out of business," but "not now."

In a decent little debate, Pete Najarian stressed that management is the key to picking banks. Jim Lebenthal though said, "I'm not sure there's that big of a difference in the management of any of the big money-center banks."

Jim's right. Especially when the companies are all still in a straitjacket-type of environment.

Anyway, Pete was practically taken aback by Jim's management point. "I start there. That's where I start," Pete said.

Jim mentioned the banks having "more than a hundred thousand employees," which are too many for one person to supervise.

Mel asked Jim if banks are a "monolithic" trade to him. "That's a good word for it," Jim said.

Jon Najarian said BAC is the only bank he's long.

Pete scoffs at XLE dividend

Brian Stutland on Wednesday's Halftime Report said RBOB moving above 1.80 is a signal of longer-term supply problems. Jim Iuorio suggested 2.15 is "fairly reasonable" within a couple weeks.

Jon Najarian said there was "huge activity" in PBF options; he said the company just has 1 refinery in New Orleans, and it's been spared.

Guest host Melissa Lee suggested the XLE. Kari Firestone said "you can be comfortable right now in that trade." Rob Sechan also seemed to endorse it, but Jim Lebenthal said, "The shale oil production is such a fast response time that we may not get the spikes we've seen in the past" in crude.

Eventually, Pete Najarian shrugged at the XLE, "I wouldn't be comfortable there. How great has that dividend been with those stocks for the most part down 20% if you get a 4% dividend" (sic grammar).

5 p.m. Fast Money panelists largely fail to name Lightfoot songs during usual 4-minute commercial break

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said November 13 calls in AMD were popular.

Pete Najarian said SUM October 30 calls were getting bought for $1.

Doc said ADI has 70.5% gross margins.

Pete said being long CHRW has "been pretty painful," but maybe it's turning.

Jim Lebenthal said HRB is a stock "that's very hard to make money in." He said full employment doesn't given him any reason to be in this name.

Rob Sechan said there are homebuilders who "benefit greatly" from Harvey rebuilding, but he didn't name any. Jim Lebenthal said material companies such as MLM are finally starting to perform when he thought that would've happened before Harvey hit.

Rob Sechan's final trade was XLF. Kari Firestone said AGN. Jim Lebenthal said KMI. Pete said GILD has been going up since the acquisition, and there is call-buying.

[Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017]

Weiss in 50% cash, actually claims CEOs will see consumer confidence ‘erode’ and factor that into guidance

Steve Weiss dialed in to Tuesday's Halftime to say he's been 50% cash "for a while."

He said after the North Korea news, he bought the SH, a short S&P 500 instrument, but "covered on the open."

"I'm not expecting a big decline," Weiss said, just a "normal correction."

Weiss pointed out to guest host Missy Lee that he mentioned the 50% cash last week, which he did. He said he's at that 50% level because he's watching "essentially a game of laser tag" between "two 5-year-olds," those being president of the United States and leader of North Korea.

In a curious prediction that could happen but seems a reach (we'll even call it loopy given the variables involved), Weiss predicted CEOs will downplay upcoming quarters "as they see consumer confidence start to erode."

Weiss said he added Tuesday to the XBI.

All business: Mel prods Jeff Kilburg to get to the point on gold

Guest host Melissa Lee, running a crisp (if slightly pressed with lots of stuff going on) edition of Tuesday's Halftime Report, grew impatient with Jeff Kilburg's gold speech.

"So you think it's gonna go higher," Mel finally cut in. "I do," Kilburg said, stating 1,400 is a "tick away."

Anthony Grisanti said hedge funds are "all in" on gold with the highest long/short ratio he's seen, so he thinks it's going higher.

Mel asked Chip Dillon of Vertical Research Partners how Harvey is affecting paper mills. Dillon said past experience shows mills down anywhere from a half day to 3-4 days. He said supply of cardboard boxes could be affected because mills are already running at "close to 98% of capacity" throughout the country.

Mel asked who could fill in the gap for the storm-damaged areas. Dillon said that's a "great question" and mentioned WRK, PKG and KS; he has a buy on all 3 names.

Dillon told Lee that IP estimates are at risk for 3rd and maybe 4th quarter. Doc said he might be interested in WRK.

Haven’t heard about Chanos’ CAT short for a while

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report said there was "very strong activity" in weekly AAPL 160 calls.

Guest host Missy Lee noticed that the graphic said "September 160" calls and wondered if that covered Sept. 12. Doc insisted it's "just this week." Mel pointed out, "We had up September," a fair point, assuming it's the regular September option (whenever that is).

Sarat Sethi said AAPL tends to run up ahead of products, and then "once the product comes out," it pulls back.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't see opportunity in JILL. Doc said "the good news" for FINL is that it rallied from its 6.90 open. Doc said you could take a shot at Tuesday's price but admitted, "The sector has just been death." (Yeah, even after Karen Finerman cheered that the sector was trading down in "integers" a couple months ago.)

Pete Najarian said it was "eerie" how close the BBY numbers were to HD. As for the day's BBY selloff, "It doesn't scare me at all," Pete said, even though Mel said Hubert Joly said "it's not the norm." Pete thinks BBY is a "great opportunity."

But Sarat Sethi later said of BBY, "I would wait for the stock to come back a little bit more" because momentum investors are getting out. Joe Terranova said he agrees but that the "very, very conservative outlook" bodes well for gains down the road.

Erin Browne said she likes Europe but advised not hedging the currency; "you want that euro exposure," so she likes EZU.

Erin Browne's final trade was FXI. Sarat Sethi said HFC, which he said doesn't have much exposure to the Gulf Coast. Doc said BAC calls for a week from Friday were being bought. Joe said he likes CAT at 116.

Eamon Javers said this is Donald Trump's first experience as "healer (snicker) in chief" or "consoler in chief."

Karen Finerman finally returned to the 5 p.m. Fast Money, in smashing new hairstyle, but was subdued.

Erin Browne: U.S. stock portfolios ‘fairly well insulated’ from an Asian war

Offering a rather copacetic view of the world stage, Erin Browne on Tuesday's Halftime Report conceded there are "irrational actors" on the world stage but contended that if war "were to break out," it would be "highly localized to the Asian region" and the Korean peninsula.

So "U.S. investors probably are fairly well insulated in their portfolios," Browne said.

Sarat Sethi said that despite the missile launch, "Nothing has really happened," and so the market trades on earnings.

Jon Najarian pointed out how the S&P crawled back after the overnight futures drop.

Joe Terranova said he was "surprised" by the day's price action, and he almost wished that there had been "further downside pressure" in the morning to draw in people on the sidelines.

Pete Najarian said he's sitting on "30% cash" before admitting, "I think that's too much quite honestly" while pointing to option buying in the metals.

Erin Browne said to buy construction stocks in the wake of Harvey.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Monday, Aug. 28, 2017]

Weiss’ timely point: Sen. Ted Cruz explains vote against Sandy relief

Nearly all of Monday's Halftime Report was rightly devoted to Hurricane Harvey; little did we know that the show would ultimately get political.

John Spallanzani questioned if Democrats and Republicans will come together for "bipartisan" (snicker) infrastructure spending.

Guest host Melissa Lee even said this could be a "crystallizing moment."

With timing that would soon prove amazing, Stephen Weiss said no, "it was Texas that voted against hurricane relief for Sandy."

Moments later, Mel turned to Contessa Brewer, who conducted an impressive interview with Sen. Ted Cruz at a Houston convention center.

Cruz said he's not going to worry about "political sniping" over Texas' response to Sandy. "The silliness of Washington we can worry about another time," Cruz said — before launching into a point about Washington.

Brewer asked Cruz if he'd rethink his Sandy vote in the wake of Houston's tragedy. Cruz said, "I didn't think it was appropriate to engage in pork-barrel spending where 2/3 of that bill was unrelated spending that had nothing to do with Sandy and was simply politicians wasting money. That shouldn't happen. The focus of emergency relief shouldn't be cynical politicians trying to fund their pet projects. It should be providing relief to people who are in crisis."

Weiss apparently doesn’t know Jeff Kilburg’s name

Brian Sullivan, one of 3 CNBCers (Contessa Brewer and Jackie DeAngelis) in the trenches in Texas, noted on Monday's Halftime Report, "The rain just will not stop."

Sully said the Galveston Ship Channel is "completely shut down."

Jackie DeAngelis said of 3 of 5 refineries in Corpus Christi were shut down.

Contessa Brewer said Texas' attorney general is going to investigate complaints of price gouging regarding bottled water for $8.50 or gas prices "jacked up" 30%. Guest host Missy Lee said it's "against the law and morally reprehensible."

Back in Englewood Cliffs, Joe Terranova said the important thing for the oil space is that the Colonial Pipeline will be OK; he called this a "very bearish event for crude oil, which is already in a bear trend."

Joe reiterated that this is an opportunity to get out of refiners.

Stephen Weiss suggested not overreacting on the hourly news. "These things typically overshoot," Weiss said, predicting price increases for insurers and stating it used to be they would sell off big on disasters and only later climb back on price hikes; now it happens "pretty quickly."

Jeff Kilburg said the Brent-WTI spread is about $5, the widest in almost 2 years. He also said cotton was popping up on flooding fears. Kilburg noted Weiss said something about people overreacting, but maybe we don't know all the data yet.

Weiss said, "Jim (sic), just to clarify, I'm not saying we're overreacting, I'm saying that you typically overreact in the middle of these things. I don't know."

Kilburg's point was fair, but Weiss is also correct, there does tend to be a lot of overreacting. But nobody knows if tomorrow will be better or worse than people think.

Josh Brown said "I agree actually with everything" Weiss said. Brown said it would take $100 billion in losses (not the $30 billion worst-case estimates) "to really have a monster impact" on property and casualty insurers.

Brown said TRV would be the insurer he buys.

Brown said Houston homes are covered by national flood insurance, and that private insurers sell flood insurers to businesses and will raise those prices next year.

John Spallanzani said the biggest fear is that Harvey will revert to the Gulf and then hit Louisiana.

CNBC manages to cross-promote ‘The Profit’ during Harvey coverage

Phil LeBeau on Monday's Halftime showed pictures of car dealer lots with vehicles "completely underwater" and said "perhaps more than a million vehicles" could be completely salvaged. He said to look at AN, GPI and KSU.

Marcus Lemonis dialed in to say Camping World is helping out.

Revisiting his point from the top of the show, Stephen Weiss said car dealers and "other stores" are getting hurt in Texas now, but "the replacement cycle is gonna be so much stronger."

Josh Brown said it's "really tough" to know which stocks are going up or down today because of the storm and not a game for amateurs.

CNBC superfox Ylan Mui, gorjus in green (below), said she didn't want to "diminish" the storm's economic impact on Texas but said that for the country, "economic shocks of this nature tend not to have a lasting impact."

Capt. Richard Russell of AET crude operation started to say they prepare for storms, but the phone connection went out and Mel deftly shifted to analyst Kevin McCarthy, asking about the impact on chemical plants. He said the plants are designed to handle high winds "but not high water." McCarthy's top pick regarding the hurricane is WLK. No one on the panel was interested in the chemical space. Joe Terranova said rail concerns are "probably" an opportunity.

Pete takes issue with Weiss scoffing at GILD’s 2.5% gain

In a tiny bit of non-Texas news on Monday's Halftime, Pete Najarian (via satellite) said Kite is the "perfect buy" for Gilead.

Stephen Weiss though said we won't know "for a long time" whether this is a good deal, but KITE was "a $17 stock about a year ago when it came public" (none of that appears to be remotely correct based on the charts we looked at), "so they took way too long," and he called GILD's 2.5% gain Monday "relief."

Pete acknowledged KITE "might be a little bit behind" rival companies, but "immutherapy" (sic pronunciation) is in the "sweet spot."

Pete said he "totally" disagrees with Weiss' comment about the 2.5% GILD gain, stating "usually" there's a little bit of a pullback.

Weiss said he doesn't think there'd be a pullback if you're buying something "tremendously accretive." But GILD wasn't pulling back, so we're not sure of the point.

John Spallanzani's final trade was the weaker dollar but gave too long of an explanation. Josh Brown suggested BRK-B even though he previously indicated people shouldn't try to trade the storm effects (though whether BRK-B has much storm exposure is a matter of opinion probably). Weiss said WDC. Joe Terranova said health care is the sector in which to "hang out."

[Friday, Aug. 25, 2017]

Rob Sechan unable to convince panel MLPs are a good idea

Jackie DeAngelis, live from Texas, said on Friday's Halftime Report that some Texans actually were planning to hunker down and wait out Harvey.

Ex-FEMA boss Michael Brown told guest host Sully, "If you listen to that last report, we apparently haven't learned anything from Hurricane Katrina."

Jeff Kilburg said it looks like the "longevity" of the storm will be worse than anticipated. Kilburg said there's "a lot of emotion" in the oil trade now and that it's an "opportunity" to get names such as VLO and SLB at a "deep discount."

Jim Lebenthal recited the history of U.S. "swing" oil production during storms that now is distributed across shale plays, suggesting a hurricane in Texas is a "non-event for the oil sector." Kilburg said he won't call it a "non-event" but conceded fracking has "changed the game."

Rob Sechan once again touted MLPs. Jim though wanted to "push back," pointing to Enbridge Energy Partners and stating the space got "hammered" in 2015 and hasn't fully recovered.

Steve Weiss said "first of all, they did have a big recovery, then it sold off." Weiss suggested those who got burned with the K-1 have "got long memories."

Jim said he's still in the space. "I'm in, but I'm not all in," Lebenthal said.

Sechan demanded to know of another sector that has an "implied return" of 16%. But Josh Brown asserted "there's been no recovery at all," citing the Alerian MLP Index. Sechan said it was up 100% last year.

Brown insisted you'd have to be "pretty delusional" to view MLPs as bonds; "essentially they're equities with high coupons."

"Nobody called them bonds," Lebenthal and Weiss said. "Take that off the table," Jim said.

Brown said you can get the same performance "with regular energy stocks without the K-1 lunacy."

Weiss tried to explain how he did research to determine which MLPs aren't highly tethered to the economy, but Brown hardly let him speak and Sully didn't break it up.

SNAP is actually better than something (but remember, Zuck is determined to obliterate it)

Brent Thill on Friday's Halftime said he launched his "Internet playbook" on Friday; it's 200 pages long.

(Um, just some unsolicited advice, but a playbook that's 200 pages long probably isn't going to be read by anyone.)

Thill, who downgraded TWTR, said Twitter has a "huge" user base, but "users do not equal revenue."

Thill even said, "Snap has actually seen better engagement than Twitter … Snap's just a better platform for video."

Thill said Josh Brown made a great point, that advertising on Twitter is kind of like putting up billboards along a highway and hoping people look. But, "They have the chance to pull this off," Thill said, before touting Instagram while explaining he went fly fishing and started following fly fishing ads or pictures on Instagram and started getting merchandise marketed to him on Instagram.

Steve Weiss revealed he's "90% out" of his "great trade" being long SNAP. He said there's still potentially some upside, "but I'll be quick to pull the trigger" with the remaining 10%.

Still waiting for Karen Finerman to explain why it was a good idea to be long FL

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime beamed in from Minnesota to report unusual activity in materials, specifically BHP December 45 calls.

But much more interesting, Pete said Jeffrey Gundlach is high on the materials trade and "doesn't feel like- that we're covering it enough." But Pete thinks "we are (covering it enough) on Halftime," even though we haven't heard BHP on this program in ages.

Jim Lebenthal said Janet Yellen gave a "fairly innocuous speech" with a "tepid shot across the bow" at regulation.

Jim explained, "There is talk out there of will Trump serve out his 4 years," and suggested that if the president "decides not to continue on," Mike Pence would say "I'm not messing with anything that doesn't need to be messed with."

Josh Brown asserted, "REITs are on the verge of a major breakout."

Rob Sechan said UBS surveyed 2,800 high-net-worth individuals, and somehow 80% of them declared, "This is the most uncertain time in history."

Josh Brown scoffed at that sentiment as "the availability bias" and wondered, "How certain was Sept. 10, 2001?"

Brown is still not a buyer of SBUX, calling it "trendless."

Stephen Weiss said he'd wait for a pullback on ADSK.

Jim Lebenthal said to buy AVGO and hold it into the iPhone hype.

Rob Sechan is bearish longer term on the dollar.

Jim's final trade was that gasoline won't spike. Josh Brown said to stay long GOOGL over 920. Weiss said airlines. Sechan said to buy MLPs "right now."

[Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017]

Judge adds Josh’s credentials when introducing him to ask a simple question of Nicole Miller Regan

Judge on Thursday's Halftime brought in Nicole Miller Regan to explain her purported 65% upside in CMG.

"It comes down to the unit-level economic model, which means high volumes," Regan said. "There's really nothing to apologize for for a 2 million AUV today. Albeit it used to be 2.5 million a couple years ago. … They're still better than most of their direct competitors."

Regan, who said "at the end of the day" (which thankfully has been receding in CNBC nomenclature these days), has a $510 target and says "when, not if," the recovery plays out, there's "a lot of earnings power and leverage."

Judge then allowed Josh Brown to ask a question of Regan, with such a lengthy intro that it was clear who Judge was siding with here. "You could've made the case that you're making from much higher levels all the way down," so how do we know 300 and not 200 is the turnaround point, Brown asked Regan.

Regan called that a "really fair" question but claimed "the valuation is more or less trading in line with its peer group." Brown questioned whether 27 times forward earnings is in line with peers; Regan said she's "looking at, like around 13 times EBITDA."

Regan didn't respond when Judge said "We'll see you again soon," creating an awkward moment of dead air.

Steve Weiss crowed that he "made a lot of money" shorting CMG but got "stopped out" on his short Wednesday morning. He said Regan's multiple is "lunacy."

Brown said the only bullish sign for the stock is the short interest. Joe Terranova said he's surprised the short interest isn't higher.

Jim Lebenthal said CMG's bull case reminds him of when GMCR got bought out.

Sounds like a short-term dip is consensus

Stephen Weiss on Thursday's Halftime was nonplussed by indications of yet another frozen government.

"I'd argue that the government's been shut down going into our 9th year. And it really hasn't mattered, right," Weiss contended.

Exactly. Because there's really nothing to do.

Weiss said he's in "about 50% cash" (probably because of Howard Marks) and lamented that airlines are in a bear market. "It's crazy; I don't know the reason," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal observed, "We're in a really dull territory right now."

Jim said we need to get past Labor Day and see if there's "real traction" on tax reform (snicker).

Weiss bickered with that, stating the base metals are showing global growth. Jim countered that copper's "been a fact for a month if not more."

"I'm not saying that value's taking over," Jim said, but "value is really hangin' in here."

Dubravko Lakos told Josh Brown the EM trade is "highly contingent" on the dollar.

Eamon Javers said Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump had a "profanity-laced conference call" on Aug. 9.

Lakos told Weiss that he doesn't see political risk as a "big shock" to the market.

Josh Brown corrected Lakos (2013, 2½% selloff, U.S. downgrade) as to when the 2011 U.S. government downgrade and stock selloff occurred and the extent of that selloff.

Lakos said in "coming weeks" there could be a "mid-single-digit" correction.

Might’ve gone an entire program without AAPL

Dubravko Lakos opened Thursday's Halftime stating he's "cautiously optimistic" on the stock market.

And when have we ever heard that before?

(Surprised he didn't say "what a difference a day makes" or "what's in a name.")

However, he thinks the market could see weakness short term. (That's the Howard Marks-Jeffrey Gundlach Effect.)

Joe Terranova shrugged at gold but said the "real story" is the FANG technicals, explaining they indicate a market "on the defensive."

Judge reported John Spallanzani also is noting the lower highs in FANGS. Josh Brown said that's "backwards," that when market leaders stumble and the rest of the market holds up, that's actually a sign of strength.

Judge said the market looks to be "spinning its wheels."

Joe insisted that if you're in the FANGs, "you have to pay attention" to what's going on. Brown said, "Joe is right." (Whew.) Brown pointed out the trade for August is long XRT and short AMZN, but he said not to allow it to "completely divert" what you've been doing. (And to think there once was a time when a company that bills itself as a one-stop venue for online shopping plunging into the grocery market would've been mocked.)

"The market's much bigger than FANG stocks," said Stephen Weiss.

Hey Edna, let’s buy Transocean instead of Nvidia

Jackie DeAngelis, stunning in black on Thursday's Halftime, brought in Jeff Kilburg and Jim Iuorio to discuss the refinery situation ahead of the storm/hurricane.

Jim Iuorio said if RBOB can settle over 1.54 in October, that's a move that's "real" and could have upside.

Dubravko Lakos defended being overweight energy, largely citing sentiment, suggesting the possibility of a squeeze.

Josh Brown insisted "the selling is just not over yet." Joe Terranova said, "This might be an opportunity, if you're stuck in the refiners, to actually bail yourself out of them."

Stephen Weiss said investing in energy is like "pushing on a string": he just sees "unending" supply.

Jon Najarian though said there was bullish buying in the MPC 52.50 September calls. Judge called that an "obvious Harvey play." Doc also said October 12 calls in CZR were popular, and that MRK September 63 calls were getting bought.

If there are ‘misunderstandings,’ why doesn’t Bill take up Judge’s offer to make his ADP case to anyone who’s interested?

Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime said Ackman is complaining about "misunderstandings" about his approach to ADP.

Joe Terranova revisited SJM, suggesting it's close to a "cathartic moment" that could be a buy.

Jim Lebenthal said that to get long a name like WSM, "you have to have an opinion on the back-to-school selling season," otherwise it's a "dead-cat bounce." Actually, one's opinion on back-to-school sales has no bearing on whether WSM is going up or down.

Josh Brown said HRL has been an "atrocious stock" over the last year; he doesn't see any reason to buy.

Steve Weiss said TEVA is a "fallen angel" and that people don't want to be in generics.

Dubravko Lakos affirmed health care is an overweight for him.

Joe's final trade was to note that AMZN is down 12% and that "not one analyst has lowered their price target." Jim Lebenthal said CSCO is bouncing back. Weiss said WDC and Josh Brown said to stay long GOOGL.

[Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017]

Seema & Sara — pair
of CNBC superfoxes

Josh Brown opened Wednesday's Halftime stating WMT and GOOGL "kinda need each other."

Judge eventually cut in, wondering why WMT is flat. Brown said it's because it's just an "initiative" now.

Stephanie Link said WMT and Google Express is a "strategic move" that is really "much ado about nothing."

Brown disagrees with the "much ado about nothing premise," pointing to WMT's gains this year. But Link protested, "The stock is not up because of this news" or because of Jet.com; she said TGT and COH also have great online comps.

Brown indicated the country can't be unanimously Prime. "There is not going to be a single ecommerce giant that serves every customer in the country, and no one else gets to play against them," Brown said, adding the fact that Doug McMillan has "blood in his eyes" and is doing deals with Google "sends a signal to investors."

Link told Judge she doesn't see "a lot of value" in WMT at Wednesday's price.

Brown produced a photo of a Jet.com package in his garage on Long Island.

Jon Najarian said WMT is taking a "good step" toward challenging AMZN.

Pete Najarian dialed in later and said, "Don't forget Best Buy is beating Wal-Mart (sic meant "Amazon" but uncorrected) at their own game."

Sara Eisen (guest host) and Seema Mody (Samsung report), devastating CNBC superfoxes, lit up Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, though Sara introduced the Robert Lee announcer flap as "What's in a name," almost as bad as Judge's "what a difference" (below).

If SNAP actually doesn’t reach single digits, Pete’s gonna look kinda silly

Steve Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime actually dialed in from Denver to reveal he bought SNAP (after trumpeting the puts for weeks).

"I think it's a trade," Weiss said, even putting an 18 or 20 target on the name though saying he won't be in that long.

Josh Brown said SNAP is up 33% since its low just 7 days earlier. "This is an obvious area for the rally to stop," Brown said, so if it breaks 15, it might have some real life (snicker).

No question, the stock's had a nice bounce off the lows, a time when huge short-term gains can be made.

We'd be shocked if this ever sees 20 again. But then again, we were shocked this stock could actually have an 11 handle by August.

Weiss said he's up 6% in SNAP. He also said he shorted CMG in the morning.

Where’s Bill? Doesn’t he know Judge said he’s welcome to come on the show at any time and make his case to anyone who’s interested

Dialing in, Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said "the clock is obviously ticking" on Ginni Rometty.

Pete said Katy Huberty has been the "go-to" analyst for AAPL, but with IBM, "she's been like everybody else. She's taken the head fake."

OK. So what's the reason to follow her on AAPL. (Hint: That stock always goes up anyway regardless of what the analysts say.)

Judge said, "With all due respect," will investors follow Katy Huberty on IBM, or the exiting Warren Buffett.

Doc opined, "I certainly don't think that the cloud can get any worse for IBM than it's been over the last 6 months."

Jim Lebenthal said he can wait for an IBM "turn" before getting long the name and that its lack of revenue growth is "painful and embarrassing."

Stephanie Link said there won't be IBM momentum till next year. But Judge demanded Jim explain why you wouldn't want to start buying it now with the prospect of a back-end-loaded year. Jim's explanation was way too long, stating that controlling gross margins would lead to cutting R&D and head count.

Pete Najarian decided, "There's no reason to jump in to this thing."

Nobody addresses whether there’s really a ‘dislocation’ in trading of TRNC (after Judge sounded like he barely realized that Ross is running 1 of 8 newspapers (sorry for using that term) and not the whole company)

Coming up with a fresh idea, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime introduced his segment on the day's Dow/S&P performance with "What a difference a day makes." (Why not the old CNBC earnings staple; The good, the bad and the ugly.)

Eamon Javers actually mentioned the possibility of a government shutdown over "wall spending."

Jim Lebenthal shrugged that the market is responding to "noise" from D.C. rather than an "actual signal."

Josh Brown pointed out that KSU was down on Tuesday night's "off-the-cuff remarks."

Steph Link said the Atlanta Fed is actually thinking about 3.8% (snicker) GDP.

Jon Najarian stressed that inflation is "considerably lower" now than in 1999.

Josh Brown grumbled about building a wall "with no money to pay for it." Doc cut in that "It's a billion dollars … Cities do that all the time."

Jim actually is heeding Howard Marks’ advice (despite the fact he was apparently the ‘sell point’ panelist called out by Marks at Post 9)

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said CIEN September 23 calls were being scooped up.

Stephanie Link said CIEN is a "very large position for me. … It's a very volatile stock; I mean this stock could go from 23 to 29 in 1 day."

Jim Lebenthal said, "I feel like Cisco is ceding the optical-router market to Ciena." Link said "it's also been speculated" that Cisco might look to buy Ciena.

Link touted ORCL, CMI and UNP.

Doc said Sept. 1 weekly BABA 175 calls were being bought.

Jim Lebenthal said he trimmed his WGO position only because it has become an outsized gain. He said he's not "recycling" the proceeds back into the market because of (yep) Howard Marks and Jeffrey Gundlach.

Stephanie Link said LOW missed despite good demand; "I'd avoid."

Josh Brown said if you're long CMG, "Don't say that you do any kind of risk management if you're long this name." He called it a falling knife but insisted he's not taking a dig at Ackman.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't see any catalysts for FL in the near-term.

Doc said he's "movin' on" after the AEO pop.

Jeff Kilburg said right now, "The market's not buyin'" a December rate hike. Anthony Grisanti said if the dollar breaks 92.30, we're looking to 91.

Doc said someone was buying NRG 30 calls. Jim Lebenthal said he thinks MMM continues to fall. Josh Brown said he'd fade any Mexican wall rhetoric. Stephanie Link trumpeted AVGO.

[Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017]

Sell some ads, Ross

Oh, the questions Judge could've asked Ross Levinsohn — but didn't.

The newly appointed publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who's apparently chatting up anyone who will ask (see our home page), joined Tuesday's Halftime Report to discuss his new gig and in the process failed to mention absolutely anything that he's actually going to do.

Judge asked Levinsohn, "Why'd you take this job." Levinsohn said those who know him know he has "an incredible passion for news and information."

Levinsohn claimed he took the job for "emotional and personal" reasons as well as a "value perspective."

He said he discovered that TRNC was "trading at 2 times EBITDA. Makes no sense to me." So this is apparently a Keith Meister/Mick McGuire type of move, not somebody who just wants to run a newspaper.

"What I saw was a dislocation in the market," Levinsohn said. (This should've set bells ringing in Judge's ear, as in, What in the world does he mean, but Judge passed.)

Levinsohn said Vox and Buzzfeed "do great work" and have high valuations but don't have the "journalism chops."

He said his hope is that "2 times EBITDA turns into 6 or 10 times EBITDA."

At this point, Judge should've launched into the economics of the newspaper space and demanded to know how this isn't going to turn out like coal.

Instead, Judge barely gently asked, "I'm wondering what your strategy is going to be to try and turn things around," suggesting Levinsohn is painting a vision of a "digital-first, uh, hub."

Levinsohn said his mother reads the print version of the paper and his daughter reads it on his iPad. (Still not much of a strategy.) He said the Times has to "really focus" on continuing the great "core" of reporting, perhaps in video or "shorts" (whatever that is) and then when you think about California, "you have to think about culture at its core."

Judge sounded clearly oblivious to the fact the L.A. Times itself is not a public company but part of a newspaper conglomerate actually run out of Chicago; obvious questions he didn't ask include whether there really are any synergies between the "culture" of the L.A. Times and the Hartford Courant.

Judge did say the LAT article mentioned "flagging morale." Levinsohn said he told the staff a day ago that "change is never easy." (Still not much of a strategy.)

Attributing the number to a Steve Case tweet, Levinsohn pointed to the "average life span (sic meant 'tenure')" of an employee at top tech firms and said Google was No. 1 at 1.9 years. Levinsohn said he asked how many LATers have been there more than 5 years, and more than half the hands went up, so he knows this is a "very passionate, in some cases altruistic group of people."

Is altruism why the stock is trading at 2 times EBITDA?

Judge asked Levinsohn if the L.A. Times needs to get on Donald Trump's radar like the NYT has done. "You're making my argument for me," Levinsohn said. But he made no argument. (And no strategy.)

Levinsohn concluded with a woulda-coulda-shoulda, stating of the LAT, "In the entertainment world, it should be the bible," adding, "I actually think we have to get away from the term 'newspaper.'"

This company presumably collects revenue in only 3 ways; selling newspaper subscriptions, selling ads, and printing other companies' publications.

Levinsohn never said a word about any of those 3 things.

Judge failed to note that the same article about "flagging morale" mentioned that Levinsohn is the Times' 5th publisher in a decade.

And that he's never worked for a newspaper before.

We want Levinsohn to succeed. But …

Josh Brown noted TRNC shares were up Tuesday on news of Ross' hire.

How come we didn’t hear anything about Howard Marks?

Tuesday's Halftime Report was in Happy Land because the Dow was up a hundred points.

Josh Brown said he's "howling" about people who a day earlier were scared about a correction and on Tuesday morning were declaring it over.

Brown trumpeted the "ton of money" being made in emerging markets.

Jon Najarian said AAPL was making a "huge" move again.

Chris Hyzy said, "I just try to keep things as simple as possible," adding that all the dips are being bought.

Judge actually asked with a straight face, "Are there enough buyers who are, who are still willing to, to buy the dips."

Pete Najarian trumpeted the cash flows of Boeing, a "beast" of a stock.

Josh Brown used the term "concomitant."

Gorjus Ylan Mui explained she was with Mitch McConnell and Steve Mnuchin for their "kumbayah moment" a day ago, but she's not convinced there's agreement on the "framework" for tax reform.

"It is clear that this is gonna be a really messy progress," Mui said.

Josh Brown declared that "all of the research confirms" that a 1-time bonus or dividend from a tax overhaul plan doesn't change anyone's spending habits.

Pete Najarian quibbled with Josh Brown's comparison of being a "momentum" investor or a "value" investor. Pete said the term "momentum" implies the stocks are going up without the fundamentals, but the names Josh is referring to are all about growth.

Brown said they're not disagreeing; "momentum is not a matter of opinion. It's a technical term."

Wonder if Kevin O’Leary has been hired yet to help Evan Spiegel improve his conference call presentation

Somehow, it might've been the show's only mention of Amazon. (Then again, Ross Levinsohn brought up Jeff Bezos.)

And it wasn't a great one.

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Halftime said, "Do not fade VMWare." Pete Najarian said VMW is perhaps signaling "a few chinks in the armor quite frankly" of Amazon Web Services.

Jon Najarian said NWL January 50 calls were being bought, though "they sold the next higher strike up." Pete said October 42 calls in AA were bought in one "huge block."

Pete said he likes TOL's numbers even though the stock sold off; he thinks it has upside. Judge said Doug Yearley would be on Closing Bell; we learned once from Barron's that Yearley is a huge Neil Young fan.

Josh Brown said if you're long QSR, you stay long.

Doc said M was trading on the new approach to try to launch better private brands. Josh Brown declared, "This is going lower … this is one of the ugliest stocks you can find."

Actually, Brown's probably right, but the thing is, these stocks are capable of short-term bear market rallies that aren't often possible in more stable sectors, for example, it wouldn't totally surprise us if M reached 25 at some point. Which you'd think a trading show would care about. (This writer has no position in M.)

Scott Nations said copper technically is overbought, but there are stories about China buying all the copper it can get. Brian Stutland said he thinks copper is "a little overextended," but after a possible pullback, "I'm a buyer."

Josh Brown trumpeted KSU. Doc said AEO, based on "a lot of aggressive call-buying." Pete said AAPL.

[Monday, Aug. 21, 2017]

Judge seems to think there’s no reason to do anything ‘dramatic’ to your portfolio

Judge spent the early portions of Monday's Halftime Report asking folks if the market stalled — and then attempting on multiple occasions to provide the answer himself.

"I don't think we're out of the woods just yet," said Joe Terranova.

Steve Weiss contended, "The bias short term is, is, is a little toward the downside."

Weiss added that with this administration, "Nothing's gonna get done."

Joe tried to ask Doc a question about the market slump, but Judge cut him off. Joe continued, asking if D.C. dysfunction raises the risk of a shutdown. Weiss said there's a "50/50" shutdown possibility.

Jon Najarian noted this is vacation time for Wall Street. "People are not staffing the trading desks at full force right now," Doc said.

Jonathan Krinsky said "there's just less (sic meant "fewer") participating stocks in uptrends" but proceeded to waffle about how much of a pullback we'll get.

Judge, now a stock expert apparently, stated, "The danger though is doing something too dramatic to your portfolio because you think some sort of larger event or correction-style event is, is going to happen" while the fundamentals "are still strong."

Krinsky agreed and said he wouldn't recommend "major changes." Judge demanded to know if Krinsky is predicting a correction. Krinsky shrugged and said "no," then asserted, "We've already seen a lot of it." Judge cut him off to tell him we've had a "rolling correction" involving "hundreds and hundreds of stocks." Which is basically what Krinsky was saying.

Judge explains ‘schmuck insurance’

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Halftime contended LULU has a moat and isn't as saturated as NKE. But he said "the issue" is valuation.

Jon Najarian, who twice tried to claim market sectors are a "pyramid" in which names at the top such as adidas are great but there's a broader bunch of losers below. Doc touted LULU as one of the names at the "top of the pyramid." Judge though cut in, questioning whether "the athleisure trend is either over, ending, or about to die." Doc insisted it's none of the above. So did Weiss.

Doc referred to the Nike "swish" (sic meant "Swoosh").

Joe Terranova said SBUX optimism for a 20% 12-month gain is "all on mobile orders."

Doc said FCX was trading with heavy volume but offered no opinion on the stock.

Weiss said the auto cycle has "plateaued" and is heading down.

Leslie Picker said the ADP move against Ackman's directors "looks like it will eventually lead to some sort of a proxy fight."

Picker said Herbalife's "best defense" against Bill would be going private. Picker said the company has said in a press release it's decided to buy $600 million worth of shares and then offer a CVR. Judge said "in Wall Street parlance," that's called "schmuck insurance." Picker said Pershing Square is "not commenting" on the subject of HLF.

Doc said GLD September (2018) 144 calls were being bought. Pete Najarian said September 10.50 calls in VALE were being aggressively bought.

Pete's final trade was HD. Doc actually suggested TWTR because of call-buying. Weiss said AAPL. Joe's final trade was PKI. Joe said the 10-year yield is "about the deflationary effects of technology on the entire economy."

Shopping tips from Doc

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report mentioned that Second Skin athletic gear is kinda eating the lunch of Kevin Plank's (not sure too many CEOs are having a worse year) Under Armour.

Intrigued, we figured, why not give it a shot.

Second Skin apparently is sold exclusively by Dick's.

The bloke at the cash register had never heard of the product and was unaware Dick's was selling it.

(This despite the fact there's a huge sign for it right inside the entrance.)

Anyway, even though he didn't officially endorse it, Doc's onto something. Second Skin's shirts — they appear to be called Training Tops, short sleeve and long — are an excellent product. Fit like a glove, feel great. Instantly atop the leaderboard in the CNBCfix locker room.

The price point — apparently $35-$40 — might be higher than a lot of similar Under Armour and Nike products. Some of those products (we've got a few) are very good; others not so great.

It seems Under Armour and Nike might be experimenting with too many varieties of shirts. Under Armour in particular offers a lot of T-shirts with slogans.

A search on Dick's website for "Second Skin" (all products) turned up just 67 hits.

By contrast, a search for "Under Armour shirts" (not the whole range of products) produced 1,700 hits.

Surely Under Armour doesn't think the world needs 1,700 of its T-shirts?

Called shot: This page said Icahn might not be long for advisor-hood hours before he steps down

Judge dialed in to Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to comment on the breaking news of Carl Icahn stiff-arming Donald Trump.

Judge explained how Elizabeth Warren and others were critical of Icahn's informal role as Trump advisor "almost from the get-go" and that the criticism was "mostly centered around, you know, some of his energy-related things."

But what Judge didn't explain is that this page, overnight Thursday/Friday, barely more than 12 hours earlier, speculated in a headline (just PgDn to Thursday) that, as Trump's CEO friends take a hike … it's probably not unreasonable to suggest Carl might do the same.

This despite the fact that Icahn's name — save for an unrelated mention Thursday regarding Bill Ackman — hasn't come up on the Halftime Report all week.

Judge on Friday's Halftime chose not to follow our lead; fair enough. We're happy to provide material as often as possible. (Especially the good one-liners that we occasionally hear later on the shows.) For free. And unlike Nathan Jessup, they don't even gotta show us any respect. About all we ever suggested is a trip to Denny's for a Grand Slam.

[Friday, Aug. 18, 2017]

Judge should’ve just posted the New York Times Bannon story on the screen rather than share it with reporter on-air

Judge late into Friday's Halftime read off the Steve Bannon news and claimed it was "clearly having a, guys, a dramatic impact, uh, on the stock market," even though it didn't seem like the S&P had moved any more than a couple points higher.

Judge summoned Eamon Javers, an excellent reporter who this time had little more to say than that the New York Times and Drudge Report were reporting that Steve Bannon is out.

Judge told Javers that the bottom of the screen was showing that Bannon submitted his resignation Aug. 7, according to the New York Times. "That is new to me as well," Javers said, refreshingly candid about the nature of this scoop.

Judge suggested Trump maybe decided someone needed to go in the White House, and because the market fell a day earlier on fears it would be Cohn, that made Bannon the choice because Trump likes to brag about the stock market's performance.

Jon Najarian started to say Steve Bannon actually was a "much better leader of uh a push towards repatriation and some sort of uh, right-size of the tax" than Mitch McConnell; panelists pointed out that he meant Cohn and not Bannon. Doc said the Bannon exit seems "a further endorsement of Cohn."

Josh Brown actually said, "We don't know if they're gonna pull another psychopath."

Attending Yankee games
with Gary Cohn, Day 2

Oh boy.

Apparently irked by Thursday's exchange with Joe Terranova (see below), Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime Report doubled down on Joe's Gary Cohn narrative.

Brown on Friday said that if Cohn does exit the administration and stocks fall, don't be shocked if big money comes in buying the dip.

"Truthfully, mechanical money doesn't care about, 'Oh, Gary Cohn, I went to a Yankee game with him.' No one cares," Brown said. "The money that's coming into this market on negative headlines is index money and algorithmically driven money, and I just don't think it matters."

Well, if panelists are going to evaluate each other's commentary a day later, this program's gonna get really interesting fast.

Jon Najarian said he wants Gary Cohn to stay, but if Cohn leaves, the markets probably would only have a "very quick eruption."

Stephanie Link said "I've been pickin' away," but "it's hard to time" this market, "especially the macro."

Pete Najarian rattled off a bunch of tech names that are working. Judge warned that transports haven't been taking part in the rally and twice said "in and of itself."

Brown: NKE to 40s

Judge on Friday's Halftime unfortunately brought up the Disaster of the Day/Week/AnytimeSinceSNAP, the Foot Locker not-even-safe-for-hazmat-suit earnings report and forecast. (This writer had been long FL.) (Because Karen Finerman said to do it a couple months ago.)

Josh Brown happened to make the best point, stating, "I don't understand where management is this whole quarter; how do you have a stock go down 25% in one day. … How is this even real life?"

Honestly, gotta agree with that. How in the world is somebody not fired over this?

Stephanie Link mistakenly said of athletic apparel, "I still think you wanna go with the vendors" before clarifying to say she wants to own NKE, not FL.

Josh Brown said he sold NKE, doesn't hate it, but because it's going lower. "I think it's gonna head into the 40s," Brown said.

Pete Najarian said "the pressure and competition level" of adidas is a problem for NKE, but then backhanded UA which he said "I don't look at as, the same kind of competitive level to Nike as probably Kevin Plank thinks that they can be."

Judge brought up GPS and ROST. Josh Brown said, "Sell 'em both." Stephanie Link though defended the "outstanding" results of ROST and TJX and said "the takeaway is that off-price is not getting Amazoned."

Jon Najarian said BC is getting tarred by being in the "fitness" space; he said the December 55 calls were being bought, which sounds like a play on the next quarter.

Pete Najarian mentioned CTL September 20 calls were popular and that he's in them; "Obviously Meister sees something here." (This writer is long CTL and notes that Meister trumpeted the name on the Halftime Report during Ira Sohn when shares were around 24.)

Sarat Sethi called KSU "still one of the cheaper ones" in the rail space. Josh Brown gloated about KSU falling after the election on fears of the president's approach to Mexico, "so cartoonish," and said he's "shocked" there wasn't big hedge fund involvement in the name.

Josh Brown said he's "fine" with DE's fall because "I have a double in this." (which is something viewers might not care about along with Gary Cohn ballgames). He said DE had a "decent quarter."

[Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017]

News flash: Gary Cohn chose to serve under this particular individual

This page believes Gary Cohn is a great businessman and, by all accounts, a great guy.

We'd be honored to attend a Yankee game with him (see below).

But Thursday's Halftime Report panel practically spoke as if Cohn is a victim for having to work for a fellow who just elevated "both sides" into the national consciousness.

Anyone choosing to work for this president — or any president — knows exactly what he or she is getting.

There is no more scrutinized individual on the planet than the 2 parties' nominees every 4 years.

Here's a fair counterpoint: that presidencies often last 8 years, they often alternate parties, and so many quality human beings on the short list for high-level government service only have a limited window of time in life for such an appointment.

And so someone such as Cohn, who is 56, possibly might not see another Republican administration until age 70.

So perhaps it's Trump or bust for Cohn as far as this line of work.

And this doesn't appear to be the greatest White House of all time.

So Gary got thrown a curveball.

That's politics.

That's life.

Kayla Tausche on Thursday's Halftime said Cohn, according to colleagues, is "sort of torn" about remaining in the Trump administration.

Tausche indicated that concerns are not as much with Cohn but other aides, revealing "Wall Street executives" say that resignation of "one of the 3 generals" would create a risk of a "black swan event."

Josh Brown correctly said Donald Trump "is at his best" when surrounded by the business community, and that this is a "matter of conscience" for Gary Cohn that only Cohn can answer.

Judge asked Joe Terranova if the market would respond differently to D.C. noise this time. Joe started to answer about Gary Cohn; Judge interrupted to bring up the CEO exodus "in and of itself" (sic redundant). Joe said that's "absolutely a game-changer."

Jim Lebenthal claimed there's a "growing feeling" that Republicans could lose the House next year.

Josh Brown suggested Steve Bannon's resistance to the Goldman Sachs agenda within the White House makes it unclear what the real White House agenda is.

Josh Brown wondered if anyone on the panel could identify a single "measure" or "concrete thing" that's been spearheaded by Gary Cohn in the White House. Judge said Jim Cramer talks about Cohn as Fed chief being worth 5% on the S&P "in and of itself" (sic redundant again).

Joe has been to Yankee games with Gary Cohn, staying until last pitch

Basically, when someone tries to mess with Joe, we say, not on our watch.

But frankly, we weren't really sure what he was disagreeing with on Thursday's Halftime.

Josh Brown said Wall Street "really likes" Gary Cohn, and that the Fed would be a "great fit" and that GS shares would like that move, but "we're just making things up because anything can happen in this White House."

All of that seems fair; we don't disagree with any of it.

But Joe Terranova said, "I disagree with that," stating he's been to Yankee games with Cohn "for 9 innings" and that "in stressful times," people would be "very confident" that Cohn is in the White House as an advisor.

Joe said he doubts that Cohn is even concerned about what's happening with GS shares and added that "having Gary there" in the administration is "incredibly important to the market."

We don't disagree with any of that either … except we're not sure what Joe's disagreeing with.

Neither was Brown, who brought that up, unfortunately in a rather snarky way.

"So what are you arguing with? We're all saying that," Brown said.

"I'm not arguing," Joe said.

"OK. You said, 'I disagree,'" Brown said.

"I'm sharing an experience-" Joe said.

"I don't think the market wants to see him out of the picture. We all agree on that. We all agree," Brown said.

"Josh, this isn't about an argument between you and I. I'm sharing the experience of knowing the man, OK," Joe said. "What I disagree with is the premise that Goldman Sachs stock- it's worth 5% to Goldman Sachs' stock."

That came from Cramer via Judge. And if that's what Joe was disagreeing with, why didn't he just say something like, "I don't think Gary taking the Fed post would boost GS that much."

Joe said he does agree with Brown that "this administration needs some form of an adult in the room because there isn't one."

Brown oversnarked, making it worse. "So what about the general. The general's not the adult in the room?" Brown said.

"I don't know the general," Joe said.

Jeff Gundlach’s going to be disappointed if he doesn’t make 400% on his 3% S&P puts (cont’d)

Brian Belski on Thursday's Halftime Report didn't even let Judge ask a question during his intro, launching into his assessment of the previous commentary and stating "nobody" thinks anything's happening in D.C.

Belski said the last couple weeks of August is "typically" a time of higher volatility, predicting such over the next 2-5 weeks.

Demonstrating a comfort level with the program, Belski even called Scott Wapner "Judge" when stressing the "optics" of government are important. But, "Stop with the black swan talk," Belski asserted, suggesting no one knows in advance what a black swan will be.

Doc said someone bought a 1x5 VIX spread of September 23 calls. Doc said that could come up huge, but Judge cautioned that some of these VIX plays are "sucker's trades."

Day of Reckoning: Nobody mentioned whether Carl’s having the same advisor doubts as Gary Cohn

Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime noted Wall Street heard Bill Ackman's ADP plan and "didn't seem to buy into it."

Robert Chapman, who hasn't been on the program in a long time, dialed in to report an ADP short, stating his average price is around 119½.

Judge asked how Ackman's wrong, pointing out 3 hours, 168 slides, 6 months of work, 85 consultations. Chapman said those numbers suggest a focus on "quantity over quality of research."

Chapman claimed that Pershing first started buying into ADP in 2009, at the "deep, deep bottom of a horrific employment cycle. … It's a very different dynamic now."

Judge said Chapman knows the question is coming, how much of this trade is simply to be on the other side of Ackman. Chapman admitted, "Making a dollar being short an Ackman stock feels as good as making $10 on one that he's not long."

Judge asserted, "Surely their level of deep dive is greater than, than yours on this particular company."

"No question," Chapman said, but he pointed to Carl Icahn's notion of "no-brainers" and simple, obvious trades.

Judge played Ackman defender to the max, mentioning CP and Air Products and lamenting, "This guy seems to get no credit ever."

Chapman said the ADP space is fiercely competitive, predicting "the margins at ADP are screwed" and said Ackman missed that the VRX business model was "price gouging," that such a model was a "gigantic huge sycamore tree in the middle of his yard, and he just didn't see it."

V hasn’t even been publicly traded for 10 years

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said MA September 137 calls were popular.

Joe Terranova said he has stayed long V "since the mid-'80s." Judge asked if that's the 1980s or mid-80s price. "I could qualify for both," Joe said, even though V didn't go public until this century.

Patrick McKeever of MKM said TGT had a "really encouraging quarter" and contended good things are happening with merchandising lines. "They're becoming a more viable competitor, uh, to Amazon," he actually said.

"I think it will be Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and everyone else," McKeever said.

Doc said he prefers WMT.

Scott Nations contrasted gold with bitcoin. Jim Iuorio said only if gold can get above 1,310 would he think maybe it's "shootin' through the moon," but until that happens, he'd rather look to places to short it.

Joe Terranova's final trade was DPZ, "a great low-risk trade" at 190 vs. 180. Jim Lebenthal said short IBB. Doc said DLTR.

[Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017]

Steve Weiss says Donald Trump
should step down

Talk about burying the lede.

At the end of Wednesday's Halftime Report filled mostly with humdrum stock assessments, Steve Weiss called for President Donald Trump to step down.

"He should resign," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal agreed, stating, "That's exactly right. You said it; I'm gonna agree with you ... We need new leadership."

Judge asked Weiss about the "broader implications" of Trump's CEO exodus. Weiss said he was watching the ticker during the reports, and "there's nothing in the market for any of Trump's initiatives or policies."

Jon Najarian though said tax or repatriation issues might still be popular in Congress.

But Weiss countered, "Nobody's gonna give this guy a win at all."

Josh Brown bluntly stated Wall Street's reaction to a Pence presidency would be "jubilant."

The conversation extended into Power Lunch, with Jim Lebenthal telling Brian Sullivan, "I just don't see the downside to resigning."

Jon Najarian told Sully about the "deep end of the pool" VIX trade but declared, "This doesn't impact the market."

As the story broke, Sue Herera mentioned Trump's strategic policy committee being on the "verge" of dissolving (and then that it had dissolved) and mentioned a name almost never heard on the Halftime Report: Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Eamon Javers said Steve Schwarzman was "full of optimism at the beginning of the year" (snicker).

Richard Fisher refuses to take a stand, could’ve used a little backbone, actually says ‘greatest responsibility of a board member is discretion’

Shortly after reports of another CEO (MMM) exiting one of Donald Trump's panels, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime brought in Richard Fisher … who apparently was actually expecting to discuss monetary policy (snicker).

Judge said Fisher is on the board of PEP and T and asked if he believes that either Randall Stephenson or Indra Nooyi should bolt Donald Trump's advisory panels.

"You know, I never comment on the boards that I sit on, or on the CEOs that I have the privilege of working with," Fisher said. "So, I'm not gonna comment on that. How's that? But I will say that I thought that the statement by the CEO of 3M was appropriately directed purely to economics, purely to tax policy."


In a borderline breathtaking moment … possibly his finest hour (or minute) on the program … Judge said part of being on a board, "other than collecting a handsome fee," is to discuss difficult issues with the "steward" of the company. Fisher actually said with a straight face, "I think the greatest responsibility of a board member is discretion, and focusing on the company's business, and that's what I do as a board member … Sorry to disappoint you," Fisher said, adding he was happy to talk about monetary policy or national economics, but "this is just not my forte."

Judge said that if Fisher doesn't want to talk about Stephenson or Nooyi, "I get it, unfortunately."

"This is the first combative interview I've ever had on CNBC," Fisher decided.

Judge insisted on asking if other CEOs should step down from presidential panels. "I think it's up to them," Fisher said.

Fisher told Stephen Weiss that at the Fed, "You check your politics at the door." Weiss kept protesting that he wasn't asking for a political view but whether the Fed would be "handicapping" whether tax reform or infrastructure programs would be passed. Fisher said those things would be evaluated for economic effect and don't fall under "raw politics."

Fisher said he views Dudley's comments as, "We're gonna start moving in September."

Judge had to correct late that Randall Stephenson does not serve on a presidential committee.

Jim: Hype will ‘suck up’ AAPL to $1 trillion market cap

In the remainder of Wednesday's Halftime Report, panelists took up the notion of AAPL $1 trillion.

Josh Brown said "I don't think I'd fall out of my chair" if Apple became the first $1 trillion market cap.

Jim Lebenthal said he finds $200 AAPL inevitable, stating the next 10% is based on a supercycle upgrade. Then, "I think there's gonna be an enormous amount of hype" that will "suck it up" to the $1 trillion valuation.

Stephen Weiss said AAPL is "arguably the cheapest of the FANGS," but we're not even sure it's in the FANGS, unless you call it the FAANGS.

Toni Sacconaghi said AAPL historically does well in advance of iPhone announcements.

Toni said that applying the peak multiple to his $11 earnings, you could get $182.

Jon Najarian said 175 may be the year's top, because people are "aggressively selling calls" of November 175s in AAPL.

Jim Lebenthal wanted to talk about INTC, CSCO and QCOM.

Judge is right; dumping XLE means you think crude’s going nowhere

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he exited XLE despite the "decent dividend."

Brown said he bought the INVH REIT, "an incredible story," and also bought STOR, stating it shouldn't trade with mall REITs.

Stephen Weiss chipped in ADC, citing a "major transition."

Judge told Brown, "You basically threw in the towel on energy."

Brown said he's not making a call on oil. Judge questioned how one could exit XLE without making a call on oil. Brown insisted he has no idea what crude is going to do.

Weiss questioned if Andrew Hall's investors have made as much as his management fees.

Brown: TGT trying ‘Hail Mary’

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime said TGT is in the "Hail Mary phase of retailing."

However, Jim Lebenthal said the price action is "just the algorithms piling it on."

"There's nothing exciting happening at Target," Brown insisted, pointing to the WMT chart instead.

Brown called Tencent "one of the biggest winners you'll ever see" and suggested the KWEB.

Jim Lebenthal said HD is in the "sweet spot" of … something or other. Steve Weiss said the 21 multiple would normally be high for a retailer, but not the way this company is executing.

Jon Najarian said September 33 calls in MU were popular. Weiss said he's back in WDC and MU; no surprise, because Tepper likes them.

Weiss said David Tepper is not just looking at the current market, but "2 years and 3 years."

[Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017]

Wonder if Joe has to pay the Najarian Family Office for telling him to buy AAPL calls

Viewers often wonder how Fast Money/Halftime Report panelists trade in real life.

Apparently, they sometimes just turn to each other.

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime revealed that last week at the NYSE, Pete Najarian "completely bailed me out" of Joe's QQQ put position because he "walked me into the August 25 calls in Apple," and somehow, "that literally saved the entire position."

Honestly, we don't have a clue how buying weekly AAPL calls "literally" saved Joe's QQQ puts.

But if it worked for him, great.

Psst … This is the North Korea endgame, boasting and testing a military device and showing the world its technological limits while doing absolutely nothing of significance

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime Report trumpeting his "exclusive" chat with David Tepper, who apparently called this "nowhere near an overheated market" and dubbed comparisons to 1999 "ridiculous."

Well, can't argue with that.

As for rate moves, "50 basis points is not going to make a difference," Tepper is said to have told Judge.

Judge said Tepper likes MU and WDC as well as BABA, FB and GOOGL.

Tepper apparently told Judge that the North Korea situation "might not go away." (Ah. Yes. So real bombs might really start falling then?)

Steve Weiss basically said Tepper is the greatest investor since sliced bread.

But Weiss, naturally, felt obliged to tangle with Kevin O'Leary when O'Leary declared, "Tepper is a credit guy."

"That's wrong, Kevin," Weiss blurted.

O'Leary tried to insist that Tepper does something about evaluating credits.

"He goes where the puck's gonna go," Weiss explained.

O'Leary insisted that shorting bonds is making a call on credits.

Whatever. Stiff-arming some recent guests, Joe Terranova said "no disrespect" to Howard Marks or Jeffrey Gundlach or Lee Cooperman, but Tepper's comments are the most "relevant" he's heard about the market.

Joe praised Tepper for removing himself from a narrative or "predetermined bias" toward the market.

Jon Najarian called Tepper "a very wise investor." As for the possibility of rising rates, "Maybe we get to 2.60 this year" in the 10-year, Doc shrugged.

Pete Najarian insisted today's market is "nothing" like 1999, pointing to CSCO, which of course makes Howard Marks' point, that nobody's saying the market's toppy.

Joe pointed to AAPL and NVDA and said we're "resurrecting that momentum once again."

Judge said Tepper's message is, "Don't get out too early."

Kevin Plank quit manufacturing panel before Steph Curry could make a comment about it

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime called HD the "opportunity" in retail names.

Judge said it's done "nothing recently." Stephen Weiss said the "marginal buyers" in HD have "dissipated," but he thinks it's surprising that the stock's down on the numbers.

Jon Najarian said COH November 45 calls were popular; "I jumped in." He said he likes spending 95 cents for the calls better than buying the stock.

Pete said October 65 calls in LULU were popular.

Doc said the Second Skin line is sort of eating the lunch of Kevin Plank's product.

Steve Weiss said he bought more BABA last week and said the biggest fear is that you wake up some day and, "Where's Jack Ma?"

Weiss said of the hedge fund world, "So many big names are there" in BABA.

Judge said that "some hedge fund hotels do well."

Movie theaters need to adopt airline-like pricing; for some reason, they can’t

Julia Boorstin on Tuesday's Halftime had a heap of trouble sputtering out the "$9.95" Moviepass fee.

Jon Najarian noted that concession sales, not tickets, are where theater chains actually make money.

Joe Terranova said the industry's in "secular decline" and said he's surprised there hasn't been "significant activism" in the space.

Stephen Weiss said he's not sure it's a good activist target.

How come Judge didn’t ask Tepper if Ackman was seeking 1 week or 45 days?

Explaining that presidential viewpoints don't really affect stock markets, Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said Barack Obama was "oppressive to business," but the Obama markets were better than Reagan's and Clinton's.

Still grasping for the last week's Most Incredible Trade of All-Time, a meager puff of the VIX, Kevin O'Leary asserted there's a "pent-up concern about volatility" that won't go back to old lows, insisting the "noise in the universe" of equities will rise.

Jon Najarian rattled off GLW downgrade details without opining on the stock.

Stephen Weiss said of SNAP, "The company's going the wrong direction," and he's staying with the puts.

Pete Najarian agrees with the WYNN upgrade and doesn't see 150 as "anywhere close" to out of reach.

Joe Terranova said that, talking about P, he's reminded of how much money he has lost in the name. (Too bad Pete didn't walk him into any calls.)

Doc said he likes STZ among the staples and, as far as its products, he said he thinks the panel "enjoy it regularly."

Steve Weiss said the top line on consumer staples isn't growing that much.

Joe suggested DEO and Nestle.

Jeff Kilburg said Dudley's comments were 1 of 2 reasons the dollar was climbing. Anthony Grisanti said there's a "really nice base" at 92.60, and it looks like the dollar "has turned around a bit."

Pete Najarian claimed BBY is "winning against Amazon."

Weiss said FL is getting more inexpensive; Joe called it a "value trap." (Karen Finerman, in stunning new hairstyle, on Monday's Fast Money said she's hoping for a big quarter, but, (sigh), we'll just say that even if the company reports $25 billion in quarterly earnings, the market will sell the pop within a day or two.) (This writer is long FL.)

Joe's final trade was FB. Weiss said AAPL. Pete bellowed that Weiss used to "hate" AAPL. Doc's final trade was MOS. Pete said 50,000 JCP February 3 puts were being bought.

[Monday, Aug. 14, 2017]

AAPL can’t buy SNAP because the name ‘Snapple’ is already taken

Monday's Halftime Report, a most turgid (and seemingly endless) exercise, was nothing more than filler before expected remarks from President Donald Trump.

But it was certainly noteworthy that, a couple business days after Howard Marks mocked someone on the panel (hit PgDn a few times), Jim Cramer (who has his own program(s), but whatever) right off the bat took a crack at Marks' "Memo."

"I just Googled 'Howard Marks bearish' and picked the year 2010. And up comes his May letter," Cramer said.

Cramer said that time was the "ultimate" time to buy JPM.

But, "I'm not picking on him," Cramer insisted.

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian said of the VIX, "You don't make money trading anything else that fast," but he clarified a couple times that it's the "deep end of the pool."

Doc clarified that he's not saying that Stephanie Link was responsible for the "exaggerated" VIX spike last week.

Doc said TGT's Grand Junction deal "could be a game-changer."

Doc also said November 125 calls in VMC were popular. Pete Najarian said TER October 36 calls were popular.

Judge said he looked twice at the Barron's article on NFLX to make sure it wasn't written by Pachter.

Doc claimed his SNAP (snicker) calls were "workin' out so far today."

Stephanie Link's final trade was DXC. Doc said DLTR as MCC got some makeup touch-up, Pete said NVDA and Jim Cramer said ATVI.

Judge asked Meg Tirrell for thoughts on Ken Frazier's exit from Trump's council, given that Tirrell has "looked him square in the face."

Tirrell pointed out that Frazier "exonerated" (sic verb; lawyers don't exonerate) a man 2 decades ago "along with a team of volunteer attorneys from death row (sic misplaced modifier)."

Jim Cramer suggested Donald Trump had a "great opportunity" to admit he was "a bit intemperate" (snicker).

[Friday, Aug. 11, 2017]

Pete’s SNAP-to-single-digits prediction might be Call of the Year

Folks who have invested in shares of SNAP hopefully have gotten beyond it emotionally if not financially (that was the case here, except we wish the latter had happened before the former). (This writer has no position in SNAP.)

Anyone holding these shares no doubt has had enough of the typical CNBC refrains about OMG THAT Q1 WAS BAD!!!!! or THE GROWTH WAS ALREADY DECELERATING!!!! while hoping there's something to Mark Mahaney's 31 (multiple snicker) price target or Dave Tepper's declared interest around 18.

But nothing stands out for accuracy like Pete Najarian's assertion starting in mid-June that SNAP is going to see single digits.

Over the course of time, that's not a hugely shocking prediction. Even GE was $6 a while back.

But Pete's call was more immediate. You could quibble a bit with the lack of a time frame (he said "at some point" as well as "after the lockup"), but hanging this kind of target on a very recent IPO … and seeing it on the verge of validation barely into August … is some big-time stock picking.

It'll be tough to beat.

Judge says Zuck and Sheryl have ‘a lot more bullets’ in their hands to take down the Vito Corleone of social media, Snapchat

Ross Levinsohn told Judge on Friday's Halftime that SNAP had a miss "on every key metric."

But, "On the flip side, I'm actually encouraged."

"The user engagement numbers were really good. People under 25 are spending 40 minutes a day," Levinsohn asserted.

He's also encouraged that "RPU more than doubled over a year ago."

Levinsohn invoked cinema legends to explain how SNAP has supposedly fended off FB. "I'm a fan of 'The Godfather,'" Levinsohn revealed, noting that Don Corleone was shot a half-dozen times, "and he didn't die."

Judge said Zuck and the people at Facebook "have a lot more bullets, um, in the chamber, um, and in their hands to use, do they not?" Levinsohn said, "Well, they do for sure." Levinsohn said Facebook's relentless attack on SNAP "means to me that they're worried."

Kevin O'Leary said there are "2 things" that make SNAP intriguing (snicker), one of them being, "they've added 7 new geographies," although the app doesn't actually work in some of those countries, and he never explained what the 2nd thing is, except it apparently is the potential to improve the company's conference calls.

O'Leary said Evan Spiegel's call was "horrific" and that "he really needs adult supervision."

"The reason the stock is getting slaughtered, 50% of it is he just pissed a whole lot of people off yesterday," O'Leary said. "I think it's gonna go single digits. And half the problem is him on the conference call."

Levinsohn said that's "super fixable." (Sure. When this bucket of garbage is $4.)

Steve Weiss said he owns SNAP puts and is holding onto them. "The fact that Facebook didn't kill them doesn't matter," Weiss said. "OK. They're not gonna die in a quarter or 2 quarters. I've got a management now that I can't trust."

Weiss mentioned "corporate governance issues." Judge said, "The problem is, is that their user metrics were going down into the IPO." Weiss said, "I don't think they would've been able to come public if they didn't do it then."

Of course, Judge skipped over that last comment, even though this whole debacle suggests the worst Wall Street tech scheme since 2000.

Jim Lebenthal said, "Unfortunately you're just not gonna see the growth ever from this."

Weiss said SNAP is not even in the "top 10" of things that worry Zuck and Sheryl Sandberg.

Value investing back in vogue (cont’d) (a/k/a What happened to the argument about JCP debt yield not nearly as high as that of SHLD (and the great cash flows))

Judge announced on Friday's Halftime that JCP just hit a 45-year low.

"I'm very disappointed in this result," said Jim Lebenthal. "Clearly I've gotten it wrong … This stock for the immediate term is not gonna go anywhere."

Jim said JCP needs "very strong" back to school results (Judge interrupted to say JCP says it's off to a "strong start") and that the new CFO "has got to come out of the shed and start communicating about things that are going right." (Funny, that's the same argument Ross Levinsohn made a couple weeks ago (not Friday) about SNAP … see where we're going here?)

Judge said of JCP, "Their guidance is as, you know, wide as the Atlantic Ocean."

Howard Marks actually doesn’t think anyone should get out (apparently)

Doing the 1-man good cop/bad cop routine again, Judge on Friday's Halftime claimed the volatility move is "sort of stunning."

But minutes later, he basically admitted that "if the situation with North Korea (snicker) doesn't get any worse," it's hard to make a case to get out of the market.

Jon Najarian said he'd stay the course and said people putting on "ratio spreads" on the VIX had been getting more aggressive and thus were "throwing gasoline on the fire."

Doc tried the latest round of paraphrasing elite guests, explaining that "Mr. Marks" was saying, "I'm not saying get out." (Even though Judge spent an entire week trumpeting that Marks was saying better to get out early than late.)

(But now, he's not actually saying get out.)

Gearing up for a pullback, Jim Lebenthal declared, "I've got dry powder. I sold some stocks earlier (sic redundant) this week."

Stephen Weiss said, "I got rid of some lower-conviction stocks."

Kevin O'Leary refused to bite on Judge's suggestion that many names are steeply down from recent highs, many of them in one sector. "There's all kinds of this overhang in retail," said O'Leary, calling Lee Cooperman "non-committal."

"I'm a bull going into the back end of the year," said O'Leary.

O'Leary said he likes JNJ, AAPL and even XOM and even took a stake in GE; "I think activists are gonna tear it to pieces."

Kate Moore, who looked great in white, said she would "absolutely agree" with Howard Marks that things are pricey across the board.

Shocker: Avoid APRN

Kevin O'Leary on Friday's Halftime said he owns WMT because it's the "anti-Amazon name."

Jon Najarian said the border tax (snicker) if it had happened could've stuck it to WMT, but, "I think this thing continues to work."

Doc said September 57.50 NCLH calls were popular.

Asked to recall some recent trades, Doc said he bought WYN September calls for about a buck-45, buck-50, but sold for "I think a dollar 30, dollar 35." But he said he bought MAR calls around $1.55 or $1.60 and got almost $3.

Doc said defense stocks' gains are obvious.

Steve Weiss said GS and others need rates to go up but he called it a "great story."

Jim Lebenthal said to avoid APRN and called it "very dangerous."

Doc said that in Europe, "A lot of folks over there are nervous."

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was FEYE. Doc said RDUS based on buying of 40 calls. Weiss likes BABA. Kate Moore said EEMA.

[Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017]

Howard Marks calls out Halftime panelist who mentioned ‘sell point’

Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report turned up at Post 9 with none other than Howard Marks, who critiqued the coverage of his Memo on the Halftime Report a couple weeks ago.

Marks said he was watching from Bogota, Colombia. "There was one guy — he's not here today — and one guy said a couple of things … I still haven't gotten my head around," Marks said.

"One guy said, 'The market is expensive, but I'm holding, until there are a couple bad days.' I haven't figured out what that means yet," Marks said. "And he also said, 'I have some- I have stocks that have exceeded my sell point, but I'm not selling.' And I haven't figured out what that means. What is it. What is a 'sell point.'"

We don't have the original quotes in our log (hit PgDn until you get to July 27), but given that it's a panelist who was not on the show Thursday, we're 99.9% sure Marks is referring to Jim Lebenthal.

We're not sure about the "bad days" comment. But "sell point" doesn't sound loopy.

It's always possible that someone hears something on one program and thinks it was on a different program, etc. But we're pretty sure Marks' recall is solid here because he added, "There was one guy, (Grandpa) John Fichthorn, I loved what he said. He said he wanted to copy the memo and send it out to his clients. He has my permission."

This time the term ‘pyramid scheme’ doesn’t come up

Howard Marks on Thursday's Halftime Report affirmed, "I don't understand what's behind bitcoin."

Josh Brown told Marks he "should sit with Marc Andreessen for, for an hour" and that it's too early to be "doctrinaire" on bitcoin.

"This is not a spending currency. This is a trading currency," Marks said. Josh Brown and Pete Najarian agreed it's "not a currency." Joe Terranova asserted it's a "commodity."

"I can't see any intrinsic value," Marks said, adding he also thinks gold has no intrinsic value.

But Josh Brown asked a good question: "Is there intrinsic value in the dollar," or is it valuable simply because of the utility. Marks said it's clearly the latter; "there is nothing behind the dollar anymore other than the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, whatever that means."

‘I wanna see the VIX rise’

Howard Marks on Thursday's Halftime said he was compelled to issue The Memo because, "I just accumulate things over time," and, "eventually they, uh, accrue until there's enough to, to, to make a, to have meaning."

The walkback didn't take long, after Judge said Marks has a "gravitas" ensuring that such a memo would "set people off."

Marks first protested that he's being misquoted.

"Somebody even said on TV, 'Howard Marks says it's time to get out,'" Marks complained. "First of all, there's 2 things I don't say: Get out, and it's time. Other than that, the guy was right. Uh, because, uh, nowhere does it say get out, and I certainly don't claim to, to say that this is time. All I'm saying is that prices are elevated, prospective returns are low, risks are high, people are engaging in risky behavior. Now, nobody agrees with any of the 4 of those. And if not, then it seems to me that this is a time for increased caution."

But what about that whole better-early-before-it's-too-late thing?

Marks said his approach is, "It's maybe in, but maybe a little less than you used to be in. Or maybe in as much as you used to be in but with less risky securities. That's all I'm saying."

OK. So just carry "a little less" risk than before. (Because we're timing a major pullback here, and you want to be early rather than late.)

Judge asked, which cracks first, bonds or stocks.

"Probably bonds first," Marks said. "But I have very little faith in that opinion."

"There's nothing that's cheap today," Marks said, explaining, "I didn't hear anybody say it's underpriced."

Marks said P.E. ratios are in the "high part of history."

He said we're in a bond bubble but not a high-yield bubble.

Marks told Judge, "I think the biggest risk is that, is the, is the fact that the prices are high, and investors are euphoric. Not euphoric. But optimistic."

Joe Terranova told Marks, "Over the last couple of years, investors have shunned equities and replaced it with high yield."

Marks said, "I think credit is expensive," before going on to say that bonds are a "contract," and there's no such contract with stocks or dividends.

Addressing a dubious subject out of the blue, Pete Najarian stressed that Jeffrey Gundlach this week was "talking about 3% — or more. It wasn't 3%. It was 3% or more of a pullback."

Marks is on board this bizarre VIX bandwagon. "I wanna see the VIX rise," Marks said. "I wanna see not a string of, of unmitigated advances."

So we're back to the Vietnam Market, want to see it go down so that it goes up.

But Marks said he agrees with Lee Cooperman and Jeff Gundlach that there's no recession "anytime soon."

Marks credited Judge for inspiring him to appear on the program. "I came because you did a good job post-Memo, and I'm glad to be here," Marks said.

"This was the talk of Wall Street," Judge decided at the top of the show.

There’s at least one person ‘extremely happy’ to work for Wells Fargo

In the non-Howard Marks portion of Thursday's Halftime, Judge congratulated Mike Mayo on joining Wells Fargo.

Mayo said he's "extremely happy in Week 6 at my new firm, and we are positive on the banks long term."

Mayo apparently thinks C can double in 4-5 years. Judge haggled with Mayo over making a call of a double while claiming the restructuring isn't done. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Mayo's presence bumped Joe Terranova off the desk.

Judge asked Mayo why he doesn't agree with Dick Bove's assessment of GS. "We've seen this movie before," Mayo said, pointing to Morgan Stanley, July 2012.

Jon Najarian said he's "tempted" to do "a little bullish stuff" in NVDA because he doesn't think the options market is pricing in enough move. Josh Brown noted he's been in the name since 50 last summer.

Doc said he's getting back in to SNAP calls for earnings; he's expecting a good report. (How'd that work out when he trumpeted SNAP call-buying in April and May?) Josh Brown said, "I'm not expecting a good report."

Jeff Kilburg suggested 1,400 gold is possible "if we see some type of missile actually launch." Otherwise, gold is range-bound. Jim Iuorio said settling above 1,310 would indicate a new breakout.

Pete Najarian's final trade was C. Joe Terranova, who again got limited time (we want Joe to opine on Weiss' no-long-lines-for-ideal-retail-experience comment), said AAPL.

[Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017]

Weiss suggests some more channel-check opportunities
for Jim

Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime jabbed Jim Lebenthal about doing a "store check of women's (sic redundant) lingerie again."

Jim said he talks to "checkout clerks" who say things are getting a lot better and that "there are lines at the checkout stores (sic terminology)."

Weiss offered maybe the most intriguing comment of the day, stating, "That means to me they're understaffed. And a good retail experience never has a line at a cash register."

Interesting point. It's true, a consumer would certainly prefer to shop at a place without a line at the register.

On the other hand, 1) virtually no semi-popular retail location offers such a situation, and 2) knowing that, retailers are savvy about loading up the counter with potential impulse items that are probably more likely to be bought the longer the customers stand in line.

Weiss expresses an admirable goal. But it's fantasyland.

Panel not terribly impressed with Jeffrey’s surefire December S&P puts

Jeff Gundlach is a brilliant guy who has made many great calls, but honestly, we were laughing off his highly unconvincing or even loopy I'll-be-disappointed-if-I-don't-make-400%-in-puts-that-score-huge-if-the-S&P-just-falls-3%-by-December call on Tuesday's Halftime that sounds like it came straight from How We Trade Options.

On Wednesday's Halftime, Pete Najarian translated Jeffrey's comments (without touching the whole Death Valley thing), stating, "He's just saying in general, when you have volatility this low, sooner or later, that's gonna percolate into something, and I agree with him a hundred percent."

We gotta think Death Valley doesn't care much about the VIX in summer 2017, but whatever.

Josh Brown said that for the panel to debate whether stocks can fall 3% "probably is not a good use of time." (As opposed to all the other things they talk about that supposedly are a good use of time.)

Erin Browne said she would "question the math" of Gundlach in which just a 3% drop would send the VIX soaring to 20; "it's probably gonna pop up to 15 or so."

Judge played host defender, stating, "3% was the number he threw out, but he did say 'Or greater.'"

Steve Weiss stated, "I heard him say that he can't lose money on 'em. Of course you can. That's, that's ridiculous, and I'm surprised Jeff would say that No. 1, 'cause he's a brilliant investor. And those are Black Swan puts."

"Well I think he's making a point Weiss that, that he sees it as a sort of a can't-miss trade," Judge felt compelled to say.

Weiss made another quality point, stating, "Why is everybody so concerned about volatility. Volatility in my mind does not equate with risk. Volatility equates with opportunity."

Josh Brown said investors shouldn't be "playing Mad Libs."

Jim Lebenthal explained why he's glad he got out of stocks that kept rising (usually it's BA), such as TIF and MPC.

Judge said, "You could make a clear case that today is a (sic grammar) extraordinarily positive and resilient day for the stock market when you have the highest level of saber-rattling from a rhetorical standpoint (sic last 4 words redundant) in a generation."

Pete said Gundlach is trading e-minis because they trade for 22 hours a day, then Pete mentioned Carl buying the election night dip (but how did that "Day of Reckoning" turn out?).

Pete also said a bunch of GLD calls were bought.

How come there was nothing about, ‘Oh, there’s another “Star Wars” movie that the Street hasn’t priced in’

Todd Juenger spent most of his time on Wednesday's Halftime shrugging and chuckling as to whether DIS is any good.

Juenger said he wouldn't call DIS' move a "Hail Mary" but proceeded to parse even more than Bill Clinton in his finest hour.

"Is this desperation or not?" Judge demanded.

"Listen, I think the situation is desperate. Uh, I'm not gonna take the bait and call Disney desperate," Juenger said. "They need to proactively (sic redundant) try and take their destiny in their own hands."

Ah. That's the strategy.

Juenger described himself as "aggressively neutral" on DIS shares.

As for ESPN, Juenger said, "We believe there are still 10, 20, 30 million U.S. households paying for that service who don't really want it."

That was his most significant comment by far, evoking memories on this page of Jeff Macke pointing out that unused gift cards are gold; "it's like selling air."

Judge demanded, rightly, whether DIS is "investable" right now. "I think you probably wait," Juenger finally said after talking about people running into him on the street and recognizing him.

Stephen Weiss said none of these names are investable and said "I'm sorta glad I sold Netflix."

Josh Brown rightly questioned if the consumer wants "30 different apps" to get all of their favorite TV shows and movies. Karen Finerman, in phenomenal new straight hairstyle on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, indicated people won't have 40 apps for TV programming.

Expect Howard Marks to do the Robert Shiller routine, ‘I didn’t say this is GOING to happen; I said it’s possible …’

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report laughed off SBUX's problem as a "mosh pit" that turns into a "complete mess."

Judge said, "It seems to be a bigger issue though Pete than efficiency of mobile ordering."

Pete said, "I think that's a big portion of it."

Stephen Weiss questioned why SBUX isn't regarded as just another restaurant/coffee shop. "I don't think the brand in coffee matters all that much," Weiss said.

Jim Lebenthal said he agrees and said he likes DNKN better because it's got the "whole western half of the United States," a line we've probably heard a couple dozen times on this program.

Pete said PSX September 82.50 puts were being bought. "It could be" protection, Pete said (and when is that ever not the case), but this time, God forbid, it might be a bearish bet.

Pete said there was "absolutely nothing positive" from the ODP report.

Josh Brown said WEN is doing great for 3 years and outperforming MCD.

Weiss said he wouldn't buy MYL.

Jim Lebenthal said TRIP is in a tough space in which the names are "cannibalizing" each other.

Erin Browne still likes EEM on a weaker dollar.

Scott Nations said gold is still in a "sideways channel," and it's not interesting until 1,292. Anthony Grisanti said the "North Korea stuff" is "not gonna end overnight," and he'd be long gold.

Pete's final trade was AAPL. He predicted it will "explode to the upside." (But oh by the way you should buy gobs of protection on the VIX because that's so low that it's probably going to skyrocket once German bonds start going up.)

Weiss' final trade was MU.

Erin Browne said that "if you're concerned about North Korea, short Japan, EWJ," but not Korea or the S&P 500. (But the EWJ is not going up or down based on how Joe Viewer feels about Jong Un.)

Josh Brown said to buy the dip in ALB. (We were wondering why Judge was avoiding that one.)

Jim Lebenthal suggested JCP.

Judge promised Howard Marks on Thursday's Halftime.

[Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017]

Jeffrey Gundlach does not opine on Bill’s board battle at ADP

It got better the longer it went.

But it wasn't exactly rip-roaring television.

Jeffrey Gundlach on Tuesday's Halftime Report said Donald Trump deserves "very little" credit for the year's stock market performance.

"The previous president did very little in recent years but was quiet about it. The current president is getting virtually nothing done; he's very noisy about it," Gundlach explained.

Gundlach hilariously referred to Jim Cramer's "they know nothing!" rant by pointing out it involved "Erin with the giraffe dress."

Much of Gundlach's commentary centered on the VIX. He called the shorting of the VIX one of the "manias" out there, and given that, there could be a "really big kind of shock higher." (He also drew an analogy between high vol/low vol and Mount Whitney being next to Death Valley.)

He said he's predicting volatility because "the markets have been coiling so much."

He said the copper/gold ratio is at a 12-month high, for whatever that's worth. (And to think he didn't mention that Robert Shiller's CAPE or whatever it is ratio has only been this high twice in history, in 1929 and 2000.)

Gundlach contended, "The German 10-year has no business being at 50 basis points with U.S. 10-year up at around 2.3%."

Judge correctly and impressively summarized Gundlach's apparent point as "a bond yield-initiated stock correction."

Gundlach conceded there's "no evidence of a recession in the United States or globally."

Was it 5 directors or 4; 45 days or 1 week; he knows he’s welcome to appear on the show and make the case to anyone who’s interested ...

In a clumsy, obviously pegged to whenever Jeffrey Gundlach could go on the air opening, Judge asked Tuesday's Halftime panelists to kill time gushing about how great Jamie Dimon is.

Josh Brown made his usual JPM-to-100 refrain.

Joe Terranova said he's staying with MS, BAC and V.

Stephanie Link said "everybody" owns Morgan Stanley.

Jim Lebenthal said KORS and RL had a great bounce but are still "well off of where they were 1 year ago," however, he said it bodes well for retail.

Josh Brown said he's long BMY for reasons other than takeout.

Stephanie Link called FL risk/reward "pretty good" but noted "they're still tied to the malls" and said she'd "rather own Nike." (This writer is long FL.)

Joe said the VRX CEO is sounding more confident, but he seemed skeptical that the stock is going to 25.

Bob Iaccino said oil's in a "classic downchannel."

[Monday, Aug. 7, 2017]

Trump suggests Lee got railroaded for criticizing Barack Obama

Monday's Halftime Report featured Lee Cooperman, relaxed and seemingly relieved to talk about something besides the SEC.

Sort of.

Lee said Judge's first question, Why is he speaking out about Ackman's ADP interest, is a "good question."

Lee said he's no longer in ADP — then reverted to his typical refrain.

"I made a mistake. I gave all my stock to charity," Lee said. "Should've given cash because the stock has almost tripled in the 5 years that I'm off the board."

Here's the deal:

Giving money to charity is wonderful. No argument here.

But Coop brings up this endeavor during every appearance.

We have no idea as to the seriousness of the recent SEC allegation/settlement or what really happened.

But when Lee constantly mentions charitable donations and commitments — even pointing out how, if not for the case, he could've paid for college for a lot more kids — it sounds like he's trying to buy leeway, whether in legal matters or the court of public opinion.

Later in the program, it was clear Lee's not done analyzing the SEC case.

Cooperman said he was invited to a White House dinner with Donald Trump (hopefully nobody leaked that around the Moochmeister), who told him 3 times, "'You have an outstanding reputation' … and he asked me if my problem with the SEC was occasioned by my open letter to President Obama 5 years ago. I said I had no idea if it was or wasn't." (This should've set off alarm bells for Judge and prompted a question as to whether Lee is alleging First Amendment persecution, but Judge took a called strike 3 and asked nothing of the sort.)

Lee said that however the case came together, "They were abusive and wantonly destructive in what they did."

Lee admitted to Judge that aside from market/economic issues, "You worry a little bit about the White House," even though he found Trump accommodating. "He could not have been a more gracious host," Lee said, explaining that after dinner, guests got a personal tour of the Lincoln Bedroom.

Lee said he told Trump the best thing Trump could do is "unify the public" (snicker).

Lee claimed that if Hillary Clinton were elected, "The odds favor the fact we would've been in a recession today."

Lee said if Trump walked across the Potomac River, "The press would probably say, 'Donald Trump can't swim.'"

Did Ackman want 5 directors or 4, 45 days or 1 week, why didn’t Judge know the breakdown of the derivatives stake, etc. (Bill is ‘welcome’ to appear on the show) (it would be kind of funny if Bill came on to opine about the SEC)

Lee Cooperman dove head-first into the ADP showdown on Monday's Halftime, stating, "I know and respect Bill Ackman … Notwithstanding, I consider his behavior to be in this instance somewhere between foolish, inappropriate and irresponsible."

Lee said he was "somewhat incredulous" when he heard about Bill's move.

Lee was given more than ample time to rattle off all the stats showing ADP a "phenomenal" long-term enterprise and question who'd defend Bill here.

"I'll be very disappointed in the money management profession if he got support," Lee said.

In a dig that now Judge even says people shouldn't focus on, Lee said one thing he could tell Ackman with a sense of humor, "This won't be another Valeant."

How did Lee and Bill's communication go down? "I don't wanna dis-, you know, disclose any confidences, but he called me first," Lee said, stating Bill wanted the delay in the nomination window. (How long, we have no clue; Judge couldn't shed any light on that Monday.)

"He's gonna lose the proxy fight; can't imagine any, you know, serious shareholder supporting him," Lee predicted. "It's all part of this new wave of activism where hedge funds are trying to make their own luck."

Judge said Ackman says this is a "similar thing" to Air Products and Canadian Pacific. "It's not a similar thing. It's not, please, it's not," Lee insisted.

"This is a mistake," Lee asserted, before knocking Bill's request for the as-yet-unsettled amount of deadline pushback.

"Either finish your work in time … or be a gentleman and wait for the next year's nominating committee to be open," Lee said. "They were right in not delaying."

Kevin O'Leary, on the panel this day, called ADP an "amazing story." But he told Lee, "I think your criticism goes beyond Ackman." O'Leary said that Ackman has a point to make, and, "I want to hear it."

O'Leary added, "I made a lot of money with this guy on CP."

"How'd you do in the other … names," Lee cracked.

"I understand that," O'Leary said.

Lee claimed with a straight face, "The company's happy to hear" Ackman's point of view, but the issue is, do you ask the company at the "last minute" to delay something in the bylaws.

Stephen Weiss said the reason Ackman is doing it is, "Here's a guy who needs a win," and in this particular fight, the "downside is extremely limited."

"It's beyond me why anybody would follow him into a stock at this point," Weiss added.

Weiss claimed at least one confab with Bill, mentioning JCP; "Bill and I have talked about that."

Josh Brown said Bill wants a nomination delay because his position's in derivatives (Judge still hasn't straightened that out), and "the clock is ticking." But Weiss pointed out Ackman made a long-term play in HLF with derivatives.

O'Leary insisted that Ackman has told shareholders there's 40-50% more in the gross margins, and that's why, "I need to hear his thesis."

Later, O'Leary speculated that Ackman will come out and say "that he can use AI and machines to cut 50% of the employees."

"I'm hopeful that he will come sit with us," Judge said, without a whole lot of conviction, adding that "Bill knows this, that he is welcome here to make his case, um, directly, uh, to you all watching, to us and to Lee himself and anybody else who frankly, um, is interested in all this." (Which basically covers the whole world.)

Lee said that unlike Carl's approach to Bill, "I happen to like him."

Regarding ADP, Lee said if he had to make an investment decision, "I probably would short the stock rather than go long."

Weiss likened Ackman's initiative to Weiss' view of AAPL. "I think Tim Cook could do a lot better job," Weiss said. "It's the same thing."

Lee points out Doug Kass is ‘not on the show anymore’

Judge on Monday's Halftime mentioned Howard Marks' "much-talked about Memo." (1) He's the only one talking about it; 2) This usually lasts about 4 trading days, then you never hear about it again.)

Lee Cooperman said, "I think the market is fully valued on a fundamental basis," suggesting 4% nominal growth.

"I don't see euphoria," Lee said.

Revisiting a CNBC bureaucratic wound (that viewers don't know about), Cooperman told Judge that Doug Kass "used to be a, a compatriot of yours, not on the show anymore."


"There's no signs of recession," Lee said.

Judge made Marks' argument about being early than late. (In other words, it's best to sell as high as possible and buy as low as possible.)

Jim Lebenthal, given a chance finally at the 30-minute mark, suggested a "whiff of fear" could actually topple the "animal spirits" of this market. Lee Cooperman said he "totally" disagrees with Tom Lee suggesting FAANG will lead the market … to a lower S&P target than what it's at now.

Lee touted GOOGL but admitted it's "owned by everybody." He also likes FDC. Lee said he's got NBR and HES and WPX.

Josh Brown asked Cooperman about retailers. Lee said it's "Very situationally oriented … there's no question that retailing is challenged."

Lee said that Warren Buffett would likely say that if interest rates stay here, stocks are not expensive.

Kevin O'Leary tried to get Coop to trash regional banks; Lee said, "Are we talking banks or are we talking energy because you're confusing me."

Lee said, "You've seen the low in energy prices."

Lee predicted a 50-60 price on crude by year-end.

Josh Brown trumpeted NVDA's all-time high. He also trumpeted ALB.

Judge mentioned Paul Singer and his "devouring capitalism" fear of passive investing. Lee Cooperman called that an "extreme statement."

Lee questioned why banks and others got blamed in 2008 and not the people who decided to "overlever themselves."

Judge said Jeffrey Gundlach will be on the show Tuesday.

[Friday, Aug. 4, 2017]

Judge says if you remove VRX and HLF, Ackman’s had a great 12 months (and that Ackman would like a ‘big winner’)

Judge on Friday's Halftime said he just got off the phone with Ackman, and that Ackman was buying ADP as recently as Friday morning and was planning to introduce a board slate of 4 or fewer and that he's seeking only a 1-week filing extension.

Judge said Ackman claims to know ADP's CEO Carlos Rodriguez "quite well" because they went to Harvard Business School together. (But they must not have been on the rowing team together.)

The interview was recent. "I literally hung up with, with, um, Mr. Ackman 2 minutes before the show started," Judge said.

Stunning and gorgeous, Leslie Picker evaluated Judge's comments about Ackman and stated, "It sounds like based on your conversation with Mr. Ackman that the company's, uh, perspective is a bit different than Mr. Ackman's perspective."

Picker said that according to the company, Ackman asked for a 30-45-day extension so he could nominate 5 directors.

Judge said it was "kind of a smackdown sort of press release that, that they put out." Picker said you often don't see companies "superseding" activists by issuing the first press release.

Picker said it sounds from Judge's reporting that Ackman and Carlos Rodriguez have a "long-standing relationship."

Josh Brown questioned how Ackman could gain 4 board seats "through mostly derivatives." Judge admitted, "Frankly I don't know the breakdown of the stake."

Judge said Lee Cooperman, who sat on ADP's board "for 20 years, nearly that," sent an email to Ackman questioning this move and stating ADP has done a good job for shareholders.

Doc rambled into a clumsy explanation of a question nobody was asking; might we see footprints of Ackman's move in the options market.

Leslie Picker opined on Ackman's move. "As a long-only play, there's very little downside here," Leslie said.

Picker mistakenly said that "if you're gonna put money into something, you're gonna want it to have very little (sic) downside protection," adding that it's "clear" that this is "a pretty safe investment, um, relative to others that he's been pushing for."

Judge said, "If you sort of remove Herbalife and you remove Valeant from the picture, the other stocks that he has in his book have helped him do well over the last 12, you know, calendar (sic redundant) months."

Taking up Bill's PR cause, Judge said there are "haters who always focus on Herbalife and Valeant." (He didn't even mention JCP.)

Judge added that "of course he would like a big winner. Not just a winner, but a big winner." Really. You don't say.

Picker said companies are "building up their war chests" to push back against activists in 2017 as opposed to 2016, when more settlements were reached.

Doc: Competitors post negative reviews of rival restaurants on YELP (By the way, Pete informed viewers a day ago of ‘huge put-buying’ in that stock)

Friday's Halftime Report pronouncement that the stock market's all clear came from Jim Lebenthal, who stated, "I'm all in right now. I'm fully invested as a U.S. equity portfolio manager" (sic last 6 words redundant).

Jim said when August "goes off the rails," as Art Cashin and others have suggested this week, it's typically been in the 2nd half of the month.

Erin Browne said U.S. rates will remain "abnormally low unless we get a real inflation spike."

Judge asked Josh Brown to "tackle" the Paul Singer comments on passive investing. Josh said there are "2 pieces of irony" in Singer's statement and concluded, "Capitalism is alive and well." Judge impressively noted that Jeffrey Gundlach was talking at Sohn about the S&P 500 being actively managed.

Jim Lebenthal said Singer (he said "Elliott Singer," but Judge corrected it) is talking about a "distinct subset" of active management, namely the activist space, and that it's hard to be an activist when the top holder on so many companies is Vanguard.

Jon Najarian said he uses YELP a lot, "even despite the, uh, some of the bad reviews that you see on there that appear to be placed uh by the competitors of other restaurants and things like that."

Jim Lebenthal wondered if he's the only one who notices that YELP trades at 200 times next year's earnings. Josh Brown said this sector "trades on revenue growth and, and user metrics." Jim wasn't allowed to push back.

Doc said there was "huge … massive" buying of SNAP August 15.50 calls and then 15 calls. (Remember how well those tips worked before the May earnings when the stock was 23.) Doc actually was sort of gushing about this stock, stating, "I think this is all kinda behind these guys now and the stock's ready for that big upside move."

"They're not gonna miss twice," said Josh Brown, who later said he thinks the stock goes lower, and then he'll want to buy it. We wouldn't be surprised by a bounce, maybe up to the IPO price, but Mark Mahaney's 31 (he says that on CNBC with a straight face) is fantasy island.

Jon Najarian said someone bought September 250 calls in GS.

Josh Brown said it's "outrageous" that APRN, shortly after going public, is laying off about a quarter of its staff.

Jim's final trade was Royal Dutch Shell. Erin Browne said the XLI, and Doc said LITE.

Mel revealed on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I do check Rotten Tomatoes."

[Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017]

Who’s funnier: Sully or Judge?

Thursday's Halftime, which somehow survived a clunker of an opening on whether the U.S. market will play "catch-up" to others (Why they couldn't talk about Anthony Scaramucci or O.J., we have no clue), produced a consensus thumbs down on buying UAA.

Pete Najarian said "the big issue" to him for UAA is its commitment to footwear; "that's where they got hammered," and the valuation is still extremely high.

Josh Brown and Sarat Sethi said there's no rush to pick the bottom of UAA; wait for it to start breaking out. Jon Najarian said we haven't seen people selling UAA with both hands yet.

Leslie Picker said Andrew Hall is closing his main Astenbeck hedge fund. (That's the guy who had the bonus controversy in the early days of Fast Money, and Guy Adami declared, "PAY THE MAN HIS MONEY!!!") Picker said Hall is "just the latest victim among, you know, wrong-way bets in the energy market."

"He's blaming algorithms," Josh Brown said.

Jon Najarian took a victory lap on TSLA August 320-325 calls.

Doc stressed that PVH is just brands, not brick-and-mortar stores, the 6th or 7th time he's made that point.

Doc said people were buying September 105 WYN calls. Pete said November 34 YNDX calls were popular.

Josh Brown said SQ "bigger picture" looks very strong; he wouldn't give up on the name.

Jon Najarian said to stay away from TEVA for a while.

Sarat Sethi said he's going to buy LB. (We think Dana Telsey was touting it in the 60s or 70s a while back on the show.)

Pete said AAPL is making things very difficult for FIT.

In the Zzzzzz portion of the program, Josh Brown said "1st-level thinking" was assuming you had to be in the U.S. because of Trump, while "2nd-level thinking" was taking advantage of markets such as Mexico.

Tony Dwyer has an Aug. 2 note stating "signs the correction has already begun," citing the Russell 2000 breaking its 50-day on Wednesday while the Dow made an all-time high.

Pete Najarian said names such as PEP are absolutely beating Europe.

Dwyer said 5 of the last 7 years, we've had a negative August. Judge said, "So what?"

Scott Nations said gold "is all about the dollar." He said the dollar is "way oversold," so gold's at a short-term top. Anthony Grisanti said 1,280 is the next resistance.

Doc said he likes VIAB.

Sarat's interested in AL.

Josh Brown said he doesn't know why he doesn't own ATVI. "It's certainly not late" in this trade, Brown said.

Judge caught Sully mugging for the cameras at the end of the show while practicing for the Power Lunch opening. Judge could benefit from picking up some of Sully's 1-liners, on the other hand, Judge isn't as preoccupied with dispensing wisdom, but both could stand a bit more curiosity.

Josh Brown's final trade was BRKb. Sarat Sethi suggested IAC. Doc said SM.

[Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017]

Va-va-voom: Karen in
white shorts, sneakers

Wednesday's Halftime Report produced some interesting commentary from a CNBC legend (no, not Mohamed El-Erian).

Art Cashin said, "Markets tend to top out in the first 3 weeks of August in years that end in the numeral 7."

Well, the last thing we want to do is go against the Artmeister, but the gut feeling around here is that if you base your portfolio this month on such a small sample size, you're a chucklehead.

Jon Najarian said volatility remains low. Jim Lebenthal claimed "there's good breadth to this market."

"It is a stock-picker's market," Jim said.

Stephen Weiss said the bond market's been in a bubble "for a while."

Meanwhile, Doc said the options market was pricing only half the move that AAPL made.

Toni Sacconaghi said "unequivocally," AAPL's quarter and guidance were "much better than expectations." Judge asked if $200 a share is "outrageous." Sacconaghi said no, but "I would caution that the market does look forward."

Judge said Weiss is "arguably the biggest critic" on the show about Tim Cook's capacity for innovation. "Apple TV, where is it," Weiss demanded.

Jon Najarian actually said of WMT/Jet, "This is where I shop for a lot of stuff now. It's not just Amazon anymore."

Weiss said, "I've even bought stuff online from Walmart instead of Amazon."

"I bet most of us on the desk are Prime members," Doc said.

Weiss, Judge and Doc slung the b.s. on adult diapers.

Doc said MAR upside calls expiring next week (unclear what strike price) were popular; he got into the name.

Pete Najarian said AVGO August 270 calls were being aggressively bought. "I think 300's in the cards," Pete said.

Pete said PXD offered "poor" guidance; he said to "stay away" from energy stocks.

Jim Lebenthal downplayed the monthly auto sales report but admitted sales have peaked, though he said they're "plateauing."

Brian Stutland said traders were chasing yields elsewhere in the world. Jim Iuorio said "there's a little more downside" in the dollar.

Weiss' final trade was MU. Jim said GM, Doc said TSLA and Pete said SYMC.

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, in chic blue top and … oh my … white shorts that took off 15 years that don't even remotely need to be taken off … said she doesn't know why TSLA won't just "fill the coffers" by raising money at cheap prices.

Karen said she finds GE "kinda compelling. … There's value to be unlocked here."

Karen said AMC's report is movie theaters' "retail moment" and said it's probably not over for mall REITs; "I think there is more bad news to come," Karen said.

Mel brought up the tweet reax to her report from the Sprint CEO and said, "To be clear, I have no personal opinion on this one way or the other. I don't have any opinion on any of these stories that we cover." (Except the other day on Power Lunch, when she suggested the Moochmeister used "bad judgment.")

Karen said that a company such as S can be both desperate and looking for a great deal, but when things like this go on, "things leak," so "stocks become efficiently priced."

[Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017]

Doc tries to make excuses for Howard Marks’ bogus day-of-reckoning-esque warning

Grasping for material, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime actually brought up "The Memo" by Howard Marks early in the program.

Jon Najarian said it's been "6 years since we've seen earnings like this," then later he said that Marks and other giants have to be cautious early because they can't be as nimble as most investors; "It takes a long time for them to get out of the market."

Josh Brown said technicians think August has been the worst month over the last 30 years, though it doesn't always turn out that way.

For flavor, Judge brought in Bob Doll and David Rosenberg. The latter of course said he wouldn't buy stocks here, saying prices have "far surpassed" earnings.

But Doll said, "The drivers are fundamental and pushing us higher."

"Who exactly is doing the buying right now," asked Rosenberg, suggesting maybe emerging Asia is the place to be (if that's true, the U.S. market will do just fine).

Josh Brown told Rosenberg that having 2 instances of a previously higher CAPE ratio isn't enough of a sample size to know that this market will crash. Rosenberg said he's just looking at "classic" P.E. ratios and insisted he's not talking about a "doomsday scenario."

Judge said it was "completely different pictures painted" from Doll and Rosenberg.

Stephanie Link said she doesn't want to "chase technology."

Josh Brown said that if you're just thinking of the general market as "Ooh, it's the Trump trade," then "you're probably losing money."

Joe Terranova said oil is suddenly out of favor again, but the overall market rotation is "favorable."

Joe acknowledged transports are having an "awful" quarter and said transports traditionally have been a warning signal, but he's not necessarily sure they're going to take the market down.

Joe saved his best for last, predicting serious action that no one else seems to foresee in the very near future. "I think the next 6 weeks, this market's gonna shake," Joe said.

Whitney Tilson hasn’t been on recently to crow about shorting LL all the way to zero

Judge delved into semiconductors on Tuesday's Halftime.

Jon Najarian said MU has had real issues "in the last week or so," but he thinks the Street is only looking for a "pause."

Josh Brown said the Wells Fargo chip call seems to be more about advocating the cheaper names. Joe Terranova said, "I think the semis are still fine." Joe mentioned LRCX and TXN. Stephanie Link though said she took profits in LRCX and is only in AVGO.

Pete Najarian said he's going to stay in MU, though he doesn't expect the August 34 calls to "necessarily kick in." He said somebody's selling a bunch of September 42 AMAT puts. Pete suggested being in both NVDA and INTC to get the "barbell" effect.

Jon Najarian said there's a lot of put-buying in KSS.

Joe Terranova said MOS is struggling and suggested BG or DAR instead.

Josh Brown thinks there's no reason to get out of PFE.

Jon Najarian said LL had a "fantastic" gain; "this is just a blowout quarter for them … everybody seems to be sounding the all-clear."

Stephanie Link said "people wanted more operating leverage" in CMI, but the story isn't broken.

Jeff Kilburg said crude is pausing. Jim Iuorio said "it's time we pivot" in oil; he's got 40 on the downside but doesn't think it goes immediately there.

Stephanie Link said she sold SBUX. Josh Brown said "the chart's a mess."

Joe's final trade was V. Josh Brown matched that with MA. Steph Link said APD. Doc said TMUS.

Judge promised live coverage of AAPL earnings when they happen.

On Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said she doesn't own AAPL because, "I don't know what the right device multiple is."

"I actually sold some upside calls in Bank of America," said Karen.

We'll be catching up with more Halftime/Fast this week.

In a likely first, Kevin Plank’s leadership (gently) called into question

Jay Sole on Tuesday's Halftime stated that "Under Armour continues to be in a state of transition."

Sole said the bear case is that it's a "dying brand," but he disagrees with that.

Judge, who likes to hold up sheets of paper of analyst opinions (most people just read them online now), asked what UA price would prompt Sole to do a "50-pager" recommendation.

Sole said UA needs to get the inventory and receivables under control. Jon Najarian had to pronounce "adidas" 2 ways like they always do on the show for some reason; as for Under Armour, "you see an awful lot of it in discount stores," Doc said.

Josh Brown questioned whether if Kevin Plank wasn't such a star, perhaps people would talk about replacing UA management.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later (it's a busy week).

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