[CNBC Fast Money Review Archive — December 2015]
[Thursday, December 31, 2015]

Jackie gets new cut!

There was gigantic breaking news on Thursday's Halftime Report — and it didn't have anything to do with year-end markets.

Rather, it was all about Jackie DeAngelis' gorjus new hairstyle.

Josh Brown pointed out that oil was the story of 2014, and it's "very rare" that the same subject is the story of the year a year later.

Brown stressed (again) that the rails were more hurt by oil and coal than the airlines were helped by oil.

Mike Block contended that oil's weakness will remain an "impediment" to the market going higher, and that the volatility of energy is "not healthy."

Jim Lebenthal said volatility in oil will decline in 2016 and suggested Wall Street on Thursday was "looking through" the Iran comments and recognizing them as "internal politics."

Tom Kloza told Mandy Drury he predicts a retest of the December lows in WTI but doesn't see the "20s" and "teens" predictions of others.

"I still think we hold at 32 or higher," and maybe 55 by year-end, Kloza said.

Kloza told Mike Block that the best hope for upside in oil demand is that it matches the demand of this year.

In a curious category, Josh Brown pronounced INTC and GE the 2 "best-looking" Dow stocks, plus HD, though he thinks most of that move has been made.

Mike Block noted MCD, HD and NKE are "consensus longs," which makes him "nervous." He also noted that WMT is up 4 days in a row.

Jim Lebenthal said he likes INTC and GM.

Jackie DeAngelis initially delivered a summary of futures markets in 2015, then brought in the cast for a gold conversation. Jim Iuorio said if he had a gun to the head, he'd predict gold higher in 2016, though he doesn't want to be the first guy to buy it. Jeff Kilburg said 1,050 is critical and that gold sellers are "tired."

Herb explains he once confused Walter Robb with John Mackey at CNBC, and it was ‘so embarrassing’

It was a rather strange transition.

Guest host Mandy Drury on Thursday's Halftime Report showed Herb Greenberg's "worst CEOs" list, led by Brian Kelley, Alexander Smith and Kevin Modany (which appeared to be misspelled on the screen) and asked the Halftime panel to comment.

Jim Lebenthal suggested the list needs Martin Shkreli.

Josh Brown said "Marissa" should probably be No. 1, and also the "GoPro guy."

Herb said he is "sorry" he didn't think of Nick Woodman. Herb said Marissa is "obviously" on everyone's list, and he was trying to capture the "unexpected."

Mandy said Nick Woodman is/was "rich" and "good looking" and "had it all."

Then, Mandy actually brought in Herb from his home — not to talk about the worst CEOs, but the most "challenged" CEOs.

OK, whatever.

At the top of Herb's most "challenged" list is Tim Cook, whose company has "matured so rapidly."

Mandy suggested AAPL could buy something. "It's gonna have to be the right acquisition," Herb said. Right. Nobody wants them to make the wrong acquisition. Got it.

Herb pointed to Tim Cook's appearance on "60 Minutes" as evidence, "They've become very mainstream."

Herb also listed John Mackey and Walter Robb of WFM (and apparently thought a critical component of his commentary on this topic was relaying how he ran into those fellows at Englewood Cliffs) and Mark Trudeau of Mallinckrodt. Mandy noticed that he didn't include Eddie Lampert. Herb wished Mandy a warm Happy New Year.

Mandy doesn’t force Jim to qualify his ‘agnostic’ energy picks for 3rd day in a row

Josh Brown said he entered this year's Halftime Portfolio challenge with a plan, which was to find "market-leading stocks that were in the midst of a breakout."

It paid off, as Brown's performance was excellent and led the pack with results still pending Thursday.

It was an "almost all technical" approach, Brown said.

Mandy Drury noted that Disney has "not done well at all" since about Nov. 20. Brown said he got out of DIS after a 20% gain, "I got out almost near the top," but he said he wasn't calling a top at the time, it was just the way his strategy worked out.

Jim Lebenthal said "mistakes occur" in investing and pointed to SPLS in his portfolio and also said it wasn't a great year for value investors. He got stung by JCP and noted that BP settled with the government but was hurt by oil's slide.

Bob Pisani said the IPO ETF reflected the "disappointment" in a lot of issues in 2015.

Mike Block predicted "a lot of separation of the wheat from the chaff" in the IPO market.

Shaping up for 2016

Josh Brown began the wrapup of Thursday's Halftime saying he thinks the flat S&P this year is a "great thing" because earnings were flat too.

Brown called the IBB his top trade for 2016. Jim Lebenthal said QCOM, and Mike Block said to fade the financials.

Block said there have been "violent moves" in what's been a flat year. "A lot of damage has been done; a lot of dysfunction remains," Block said.

Block said that financials are a "very popular sector" among strategists, who might be wrong.

"I don't think the Fed's gonna move much at all next year, if at all," Block said, so he's not bullish on financials. Jim Lebenthal nevertheless endorsed C as a "top pick," which has been the case on the program for the last 6-7 years.

Block said on the way over to Englewood Cliffs, he joined a gym.

Mandy Drury suggested AAPL was having its "first negative year" since 2008. We initially doubted that, but it's true, it was actually up in 2012 despite the big stumble from September.

Mandy touted the new Worldwide Exchange featuring Sara Eisen starting Monday. In a potential year-end treat, this site learned that Patty Edwards apparently will be on Monday night's CNBC Nightly Business Report on PBS.

[Thursday, December 30, 2015]

Prof. Damodaran says Twitter doesn’t need a diversity chief yet

Guest host Mandy Drury on Wednesday didn't know how to pronounce the last name of Aswath Damodaran, everyone's favorite prof who is one of the Halftime Report's best guests.

Damodaran raised eyebrows calling yield cos "almost a corporate scam" without any value creation.

But he spent much of his time assessing the state of certain lofty tech stocks.

Damodaran said he doesn't like MSFT as a company but loves the investment, while he loves Amazon as a company but not as an investment.

The latter's multiple is apparently too high. "I've kind of given up on trying to even explain why it trades at the price that it does," he said.

Damodaran lamented that he has never owned GOOG but said it doesn't "fit" into his philosophy.

He said at 108, AAPL is a "good value stock."

Mandy pressed Damodaran as to whether he still believes in Twitter. Damodaran said, "I don't believe in the way the company is being managed, but I believe in, in the resource the company has.

"They haven't had focus," Damodaran asserted, "I mean any company that goes out and hires a diversity head before it starts thinking about a way- I'm not saying diversity doesn't matter, but you gotta make money for all of the rest of the stuff to matter. It's got its priorities mixed up."

Elsewhere, Damodaran said LUKOY has taken a beating for multiple reasons, and he sees upside potential.

Stephen Weiss asked Damodaran what it means if stocks and bonds both end up down for the first time since 1969. "I've given up trying to forecast markets," Damodaran said, stating he wants to avoid "more gray hair."

Damodaran suggested IBM as a value trap.

Jim Lebenthal claimed he agrees with Damodaran on IBM and said he's out of it but kept trying to make a future bull case (and also said "chomping (sic) at the bit.")

Steve Weiss thinks rednecks
go to Cracker Barrel

In an extremely softee opening to Wednesday's Judge-less Halftime, Jon Najarian predicted "it will be a better year for stocks next year."

But Pete Najarian predicted "another one of these kind of grinding years."

Stephen Weiss said we'll have the theme of "the next hike" but indicated he thinks stocks can do better than consensus 6-8% upside. He said he wants to be in mid-caps in the U.S. and Europe.

Jim Lebenthal said he agrees with "much" of what Weiss said and suggested a strengthening economy will move earnings and stocks higher.

Pete Najarian pounded the table for the cloud space and trumpeted AMZN, CRM and MSFT.

Doc said a JPMorgan study of 25 million people and their credit card habits in the wake of gasoline's decline found that in the Midwest and South, "about 80% of the savings were indeed spent."

As a play on that, Doc suggested CBRL and BOBE and BWLD.

"That's the redneck buy list, right there," said Stephen Weiss.

Dear Santa, wish for 2016: Finding Seema in need of rescue

Jeff Kilburg on Wednesday's Halftime Report predicted crude in the low 30s in early 2016, "then we rebound back to 50."

Bill Baruch contended "the bottoming process is in" and suggested more ECB stimulus could be a catalyst for crude.

Mandy noted that Jim Lebenthal said a day earlier he was interested in energy names, which was true. Jim nevertheless was compelled to add an "important qualification," that he wants the names that are "agnostic" to the price of oil, which is just what he said a day earlier.

Mandy suggested "impervious" instead.

Jon Najarian said he likes SUNE for a trade but thinks there are better names in the space, such as SCTY, after he already got out of it after making a big $5-a-share gain.

Stephen Weiss said there's still "a flood of supply coming on" in the iron ore market.

Jim Lebenthal said he "hates saying" it, but miners won't turn around until you start seeing bankruptcies.

Mandy and Seema explained how Russia's stock market performance depends on whether you're dealing in dollars or rubles.

Stephen Weiss scoffed, "The last place I'm investing in is uh, is Russia or China."

Sara holding down the fort all week on Closing Bell

Sort of like Nena talking about "99 Luft Balloons," Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report spoke again about buying DIS under 99 when it was "overplayed" to the downside.

Stephen Weiss said he likes VIAB, suggesting Paramount could be sold for $5 billion.

Weiss called Amazon an "even better viewing experience than Netflix."

Weiss said FDX has "positive upside" but they missed some deliveries, and Amazon's suggestion it might get into that business should evoke "caution" for both names.

Jon Najarian predicted "a lot" of newfound Prime subscribers will stick with AMZN and called it a "valuable stock."

Jim Lebenthal called the Facebook suits "old news" and "meaningless" for the stock.

There is no ARCH ticker

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said holders of AAL February 50 calls are rolling into May at the same strike.

Jon Najarian said June calls in "Archillon" (sic pronunciation), or "ARCH," were popular, while the screen said it was Achillion, or ACHN.

Doc added the SDS to his Halftime Portfolio in hopes of capturing some gains for 24-48 hours before the year ends.

Pete Najarian said he likes PBY's deal with Carl Icahn.

Stephen Weiss called WTW "ridiculously expensive."

Jim Lebenthal recommended GM and F before Monday.

[Tuesday, December 29, 2015]

Not sure how decreasing ETF short percentage makes them more confident about longs

Well, here's a shocker.

Stephen Weiss revealed on Tuesday's Halftime, "I looked at Morningstar's numbers" and found "virtually every strategy" except growth has underperformed the average hedge fund manager.

Weiss contended that hedge funds are decreasing the ETF portion of their shorts because they're "feeling really good about the companies that are overvalued that they can short," which somehow makes them more confident about their longs.

Guest host Mandy Drury, despite looking dynamite in that ensemble that is possibly the best outfit on CNBC, likely doesn't know Weiss' routine well enough to ask about golfing with Tepper.

Anyway, Mike Santoli noted that while dealmaking is strong, dealmaker stocks are anything but.

Sue Herera reported on DD planning 1,700 layoffs. Weiss called it "just the tip of the iceberg ... definitely more heads to fall."

Jim Lebenthal said, "Believe me, I'm not making light of this, I feel for those people, but that is a small number for these 2 companies and their size. So you should expect more."

Saut: ‘New all-time highs’

Jonathan Krinsky on Tuesday's Halftime Report contended the Santa Claus rally occurs on the last 5 days of the year and the first 2 days of next year and thinks upside is "probably capped" in the 2,080 range.

On the other hand, "I think we're back in rally mode," said Jeff Saut, suggesting the market will trade "to new all-time highs."

Krinsky pointed out that the number of stocks partipicating in gains has sharply dropped from a year ago and shrugged off the constant notion that the laggards are about to catch up. But Saut predicted some kind of "rotation" in the new year that will bring the laggards up.

Saut allowed he has "concerns" about high yield and fixed income. But he said IRDM has "legs to the upside" and also endorsed ORBC.

Pete Najarian said the S&P has been range-bound and that the head fakes have been a bit of a "trap."

Streak of Mike Farr’s 80-year-old neighbor being mentioned ends at 1

Jim Lebenthal on Tuesday's Halftime Report said the stock market seems to be going up and down with the price of oil and predicted 2016's stock market will rise but be "a little bit more tepid than the averages," and we're not exactly sure what that means.

Jon Najarian said Iran's entry into the oil market doesn't mean crude is heading to the 20s; rather it might be "just the opposite."

Stephen Weiss touted online retailers and suggested that if stocks are trading based on oil algorithms, then plenty of stocks are "undervalued."

Pete Najarian warned against chasing dividend yields in energy stocks. Jim Lebenthal said he thinks Iran might flood the oil market and if so, he wants energy-related names such as refiners and pipelines that are "agnostic" to the price of oil.

Weiss said he's not going to base his investment on what the "irrational" Saudis are claiming about making it up on volume.

Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis there's short covering in nat gas but that it needs "a little bit more weather" to go higher. Jim Iuorio said one ice storm in the middle of the country isn't going to break a 7-year downtrend.

Doc said Carl should drop LNG because "earnings are down huge." Pete said Carl should dump FCX because of its "very leveraged position." Stephen Weiss agreed with both calls, stating Cheniere was one of the most crowded trades he'd ever seen before oil's decline.

How about all-day salads?

Jim Lebenthal on Tuesday's Halftime Report said "hats off" to MCD management for pulling off a turnaround a lot faster than people thought.

Lebenthal though said the company needs a new catalyst after all-day breakfast.

Pete Najarian suggested that might be, "too many different items on the menu (Drink); they've got to reduce that down."

"Forget healthy," Pete said of MCD.

Stephen Weiss said "the easy lifting's been done so far with the all-day breakfast," and as for the stock, "I don't think it's cheap."

Still haven’t gotten an update on Fleck’s short-fund restart since September

Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said he's getting back into biotech, suggesting a lot of "casual investors" are washed out and it's now a "very attractive space, provided you're investing with a knowledgeable manager."

Pete Najarian said (Drink alert) that if you're going to dabble in biotech, get a basket and pick "those that actually have a, a profit and earnings" (Drink).

Jim Lebenthal acknowledged QCOM has had a "terrible year" but still thinks it's undervalued, which sounds like what he probably said last year. Doc agreed with the call.

Lebenthal questioned the gains of DNKN's arrangement with Madison Square Garden when it could be paying down debt.

Pete Najarian said RCL and CCL are hitting 52-week highs and have experienced heavy option activity.

Pete said you can't really call any name "defensive" and suggested if you like the WMT space, try TGT instead.

Stephen Weiss said he likes shopping at WFM but cautioned the stock has been a "value trap" whenever it gets cheap.

Watching Mandy was great, which makes it kinda hard to believe that we actually sorta miss Judge. Missy Lee twice declared on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I am not that short!"

[Monday, December 28, 2015]

Flash: Weiss endorses hedge funds

In an absolutely humdrum Halftime Report on Monday, Pete Najarian predicted "more of the same for next year."

Jon Najarian suggested there won't be as much volatility in currencies or the same kind of oil "disconnect" that we've had in 2015.

Sarat Sethi said oil stabilizing would be a positive for markets.

Stephen Weiss said he'd rather be in stocks than bonds, but "where I really wanna be is with hedge funds."

Ian Bremmer said the "big story" around China was the "overreaction" by the Chinese government to its mid-year hit, and the rest of the world's reaction to it.

But Bremmer went on to argue that the Chinese government has greater capacity to intervene than "any other major economy in the world."

Stephen Weiss suggested China's easing might have hurt it. Bremmer said the Chinese government has shown itself to be "extremely comfortable" with growth and market consumption and that the comfort level is "pretty high."

Regarding India, Sarat Sethi argued that Modi is benefitting hugely from lower energy prices, "not from what he's done," which is taking "way longer" than anyone wants.

Real biotech is awesome; NOT those ones trading at 900 P.E. ratios ...

Mandy Drury on Monday's Halftime Report introduced CNBC superfox Meg Tirrell as only joining the channel 18 months ago.

Tirrell said she's hearing that biotech investors are "kind of exhausted."

Meanwhile, guest Sam Isaly said to take the Pearson pneumonia news at "face value."

Isaly called AGN-PFE "the mother of all conversions."

Stephen Weiss suggested to Isaly that we're back to a normal health care stock market, where not everything surges and where you have to do your homework; Isaly agreed.

Isaly said he likes HCA, HNT, REGN and PTLA.

Later in the program, Stephen Weiss said he was prepared to tout HCA even before Sam Isaly came on the show.

Mike Farr mentions neighbor’s name on national television

Monday's Judge-less Halftime Report (which also makes it Carl-less) left viewers in the hands of CNBC superfox Mandy Drury, who reached deep down the CNBC guest roster for Mike Farr.

Farr pronounced the stock market in "decent shape."

Farr mentioned his 80-year-old neighbor, Ralph Cusick (presumed spelling), who orders paper towels from Amazon.com.

Farr recommended GS, which he said is trading at "1.1 times tangible book." He also likes VMI, which is "cheap," though you might have to be "patient," and PDCO.

Stephen Weiss said he doesn't think VMI is as cheap as Farr suggests. Weiss said he does like PDCO and Henry Schein.

Wonder if Weiss gets recognized at Best Buy; ‘Say, aren’t you the guy who recommends OCN on TV?’

Jon Najarian lamented on Monday's Halftime Report that he missed FIT for his Halftime Portfolio by 6 cents, "but I did get it Mandy as far as trading it online myself."

Stephen Weiss said FitBit at Best Buy was "the most crowded counter." However, he said the insiders are "massive sellers."

Doc also said he added NFLX for the Halftime Portfolio and his personal account.

Weiss said he regretted unloading NFLX too early.

Sarat Sethi said the Barron's article highlighted how important YouTube is and claimed Internet companies are "very early" into Web monetization.

Pete Najarian said you "definitely" have to buy DIS if it slides under $100.

Sarat Sethi said he likes QCOM with so much negativity in the stock.

Pete Najarian pounded the table for LULU.

Sara will be on Closing Bell for the whole week

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime Report said there has been "huge, and I mean monstrous, active put-buying" in FCX for a while.

Stephen Weiss said it's "very, very meaningful" that Jim Moffett is out at FCX and said he's "still worried about" CHK.

Scott Nations told Jackie DeAngelis that crude is taking hits on both supply and demand. Brian Stutland said WTI could rally back to $40, but he expects "one last plunge down in oil here" to maybe $30 a barrel.

Steve Weiss called airlines "absolutely fine" and said now is "typically" when you want to buy.

Doc actually regurgitated his own SIG-as-Ashley-Madison-play theory.

Doc suggested Viacom as a "screaming buy" for its mass of global viewers. Weiss said, "I almost picked that one."

Doc lamented taking a loss on DDD in 2015.

Pete Najarian complained about keeping AXP (Zzzzzzz) in his portfolio.

[Wednesday, December 23, 2015]

Dana Telsey touches upon a great theme: Even the cheap stuff is pretty good

Dana Telsey joined Wednesday's Halftime crew and told Judge "it'll be a tough 4th quarter" for retailers.

Telsey pronounced LB, SIG and FL winners this season.

For brick-and-mortar, "The spend is there," Telsey said.

"There's better quality cheap goods today than we've ever had before," Telsey said.

Telsey likes RL, LULU, TIF and VFC as 2016 turnaround plays.

Telsey also said she likes the "KORS story" for 2016 because of a "very cheap multiple" and the fact they're not expanding stores at previous rates. (So basically, KORS and M generally are attractive according to Karen Finerman and others (see below), no matter where the shares are trading at.)

Jon Najarian revealed how he bought NKE, FL and UA yesterday and said he let go of "half of all of 'em" on the afterhours pop and then was "shocked" to see NKE go south on Wednesday morning.

Josh Brown pointed out NKE keeps getting rejected at 135.

Doc said NKE is a hold and that if AAPL was putting up those kinds of numbers, AAPL would be 140 or 150.

John Kernan told Judge NKE rose Tuesday until management gave Q3 guidance "significantly below the Street."

Josh Brown said BBBY has been a "massive underperformer" and there's no reason to be in it.

It’s not enough for Cramer to have his own show

Judge tried to unleash another Cramerism on the Halftime gang on Wednesday, but Josh Brown was having none of it.

Cramer on the previous day's Mad Money suggested Apple buy Harman, Pandora, Fitbit and Verifone.

Seeing the clip Wednesday, Brown disagreed, stating it's a "really bad idea" for Tim Cook to "crowdsource" acquisition ideas from Wall Streeters.

Brown carped at Judge's point that other tech darlings have had big years while AAPL has stumbled, questioning if Tim Cook cares that NFLX outperformed AAPL in a calendar year.

"Investors care," Judge insisted.

"I don't think Tim Cook cares," Brown retorted.

Cramer tweeted during the show, "My ideas are all about extending brands."

Brown said Box is a "loser" and Pandora is a "loser" and that ADBE is the only name that occurs to him as making sense for AAPL.

The only problem with Brown's point is that he and Cramer and all the others on these programs are paid to opine on AAPL's stock and what might make it go up or down. If Brown doesn't think he's qualified to do so, then why take a chair?

Melissa ventures into football

Meanwhile on Wednesday's Halftime, guest Dan Ives actually suggested GPRO, and even NFLX, as possible AAPL acquisition targets.

Ives explained he dropped his target from 175 to 150; "the data points you can't ignore."

Ives, who views the iPhone 7 as a "make or break" product, said he's still in the "bullish camp" and predicted the company will navigate these "choppy waters."

He said AAPL will be more "offensive than defensive" into 2016.

Jon Najarian, when not recapping his story of buying NKE and related names overnight for 1) personal accounts and 2) Halftime Portfolio and 3) selling some Tuesday night and 4) maybe selling more on Wednesday, answered Judge's favorite question, stating Apple's best days are not behind it.

Joe Terranova said AAPL buying Harman would make sense but that the company is facing a couple difficult quarters of comps.

The 5 p.m. Fast Money welcomed Warren Moon to discuss how more money should be available to former NFL players. Melissa Lee said, "This is a real issue." Tim Seymour said it's a "massive issue."

Guy Adami claimed, "Fewer and fewer parents are allowing their kids to play the game," and nobody challenged him for statistics backing this up.

Missy Lee (this was cute) called Moon a "Hall of Fame quarterbacker (sic)."

Jan-Feb ‘very robust’ for stocks

Julian Emanuel of UBS, who has a 2,275 S&P target, told Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report that the gains will be "front-loaded" next year.

Emanuel sees a "very very robust" setup for stocks in the first month or two of 2016.

"You're gonna get the January Effect in January," Emanuel said.

Emanuel said what concerns him most is the "narrowness of the leadership."

Joe Terranova said the market clearly "borrrowed" in October the gains that usually happen in December.

Tyler Vernon said stocks were undergoing a "technical rally" that should last into 2016.

Surely Judge plans to invoke the gavel whenever someone says, ‘It’s not about a 25-basis-point hike; it’s about the PACE of the hikes’

Bill Baruch on Wednesday's Halftime Report said crude is experiencing a "relief rally" and that if it can't break through 39, it will retest the lows.

Jim Iuorio said he's "still relatively negative" until crude breaks 40.

Joe Terranova credited Vinnie Viola for adding "tremendous value" talking about $32 oil and said the indices won't come out buying oil futures like in previous years.

Joe said miners were rallying after the crude contract expiration.

Doc said his MU calls are out-of-the-money. "The guidance is just terrible," Najarian said.

Tyler Vernon said he likes MU long term. But Josh Brown said it's "one of the worst stocks I've ever seen this year."

Vernon said he'd use CELG's gain as an opportunity to sell.

Judge aired a clip of Doc purchasing Halftime Christmas gifts at the Mall of America that included a gavel for Judge. Very nicely done, but it did seem like Weiss and Pete got the priciest gifts and a better deal than Stephanie Link.

[Tuesday, December 22, 2015]

Karen taken aback
by SUNE bull case

As Karen Finerman and Missy Lee showcased new outfits on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, David Seaburg uncorked a table-pounding bull case for SUNE.

Calling Tuesday's hit to the stock "probably unjustified," Seaburg said, "I'd be a buyer of SunEdison, looking for a, a pretty significant rally."

Minutes later, Karen Finerman offered a different assessment.

"I gotta tell you, whether- where there's smoke, there's- there's an unbelievable amount of smoke here," Finerman said. "If I were the CEO and CFO of SunEdison, I actually would be worried. Does- from the outside, appear, that, to save SunEdison, they were stuffing properties into Terraform that was not the- the original intention of Terraform, not their- not their mandate, and not the structure that they thought they had entered into."

Seaburg said he looks at it as, "Tepper just wants to break this deal up ... I'd bet my last dollar that he bought SUNE when the stock broke down to 3 and a half bucks."

Seaburg also claimed that if the deal is broken off, "it's a $34 million breach."

"I'll have to check that," Finerman vowed.

Seaburg stood by the call as his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman contended there's not a lot of "hope" built into the share price of M.

Doc: CMG a buy under $500

CNBC superfox Jane Wells on Tuesday's Halftime Report provided an update on the Chipotle situation and even, in an impressive bit of Fast Money recall, mentioned how Guy Adami likes Jack in the Box (except Guy's never on the Halftime Report).

Jon Najarian had the most provocative call on the subject, stating the CMG selling "crescendo" is hitting right now, and under $500 is an opportunity to "get 100 bucks out of this one" within 90 days.

Doc said he would buy a call spread but that the stock will be fine.

Josh Brown joked he's "really concerned" and is eating Chipotle only once a day. Brown said you can't really own it here, but "it's probably too late to sell."

Moments later, Brown said "there's a lot more people that want out of this than want in, and I think you wait."

Brown called Panera "astronaut food."

Stephanie Link said she just thinks "it's gonna take some time" for Chipotle to sort out its problems.

Joe Terranova said CMG is "classified" as the "proxy of momentum trading" and asserted someday it will return as a momentum stock.

Still not sure of that open-presidential-year theory

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report said some folks are buying laggards now which may not be sustainable; "it's all about 2016," Joe said, stating the market is "wanting high revenue growth."

Guest Dubravko Lakos predicted low- or mid-single digits return next year and suggested the opportunity may come in determining who will have market leadership next year. He pointed out consumer discretionary has outperformed energy for 7 straight years and suggested rotating into "anti-momentum, value plays."

Josh Brown though contended that history suggests "momentum does tend to lead at the end of a bull market." Lakos agreed but said "this cycle is very unique."

Lakos said GDP as low as 1.5% could still support stocks, in part because there aren't many appealing alternatives.

Lakos predicted energy becomes a "relative outperformer" by the end of 2016.

Jon Najarian pointed out that OKE is surging again and somehow suggested people are "getting in early to follow Dubravko's call."

Joe asked Lakos about the impact of "the upcoming (sic redundant) presidential election" on markets. Lakos downplayed a significant impact but said it could increase volatility.

Apparently there’s no FANG Motif

Hardeep Walia on Tuesday's Halftime Report said the top Motif of 2015 was Online Gaming, up 47.3%. Couch Commerce (basically Amazon) not surprisingly was up 32%, and Death Motif was up 19%.

For 2016, Walia suggested the Natural Gas Glut Motif and then a bunch of themes connected with the government doing or spending something, plus bullet-proof balance sheets, connected cars, digital dollars, China's open market and rising interest rates.

Walia said Shale Gas Motif was the worst of 2015.

Anthony Grisanti said weakness in European economies and Middle East production have put Brent and WTI at parity. Brian Stutland said he'd be buying at 35½ with upside at 40.

Joe Terranova said the Brent-WTI issue demonstrates that oil's slide is more about a "global" problem than just one of U.S. production.

This wasn’t as bad as the time Josh said some product was toxic

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Halftime Report said not to get excited about McDonald's' mac-and-cheese test in Cleveland because people in Cleveland will eat anything.

Judge said he was "just in Cleveland" and found it a "great town, good people, good restaurant (sic), good restaurants."

Closing the program, Brown was compelled to say of Cleveland, "I love that city."

Joe Terranova observed that based on Brown's suit, "I think he's doing more Capital Grille than McDonald's, and Panera, Chipulte (sic pronunciation)."

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian said CAG was trading "modestly higher" despite a revenue miss.

Stephanie Link suggested declining coffee prices could be a tailwind for SBUX.

Joe suggested CAT has found its bottom, and he wouldn't sell it.

Joe lamented that he dissed NXPI on Oct. 29 at the "absolute, exact low" of its share price. Joe said "the story has not changed just yet" but said you can buy it in the 2nd quarter.

However, Joe said he's "highly confident" PANW will see $200 in the next "3 to 6 months."

Judge clueless about
Pete’s birthday

So much for the tip.

Even though Pete Najarian's birthday was plastered in a headline Tuesday on this page, Judge didn't have the foggiest idea about it on Tuesday's Halftime.

Well, now he knows.

Stephanie Link said she added URI in favor of ZION in her Halftime Portfolio.

Joe Terranova halfheartedly said URI has "positive momentum," and "I like it."

Judge said the stock is down 31% this year and wondered, "We talkin' about the same name?"

Link said yes and seemed unfazed and suggested a "nice pop into the end of the year."

Josh Brown said he likes FL better than FINL. Stephanie Link called FL "much more interesting" than FINL.

Doc said he's adding NKE and FL to his Halftime Portfolio to try to get a Hail Mary pop on NKE earnings. (He did; this review was posted after market close.) Joe said NKE and FL both have pricing power, "the key to both of these names."

Doc said SCSS calls started surging. Steph Link said she's buying more ESRX.

[Monday, December 21, 2015]

Doc lowers the boombox on Josh

Credit Jon Najarian for firing up what has been a static series of Halftime Report episodes lately during the Monday go-round on AAPL.

Doc challenged Josh Brown over a curious description by Brown of the company's success rate.

"They have yet to have a misstep," Josh Brown said.

"Oh, no no no no, they've had a lot of missteps, c'mon on Josh," Najarian said, citing the Watch and the boombox (we either didn't know or had forgotten about that one).

"The battery is a complete goat. The battery is terrible," Najarian said.

Brown protested whether the "missteps" are actually major. Najarian pointed to Ted Williams being cheered for only having 4 out of 10 hits and suggested, "Apple's hitting a lot better than .400 ... more like 8 or 900."

Joe Terranova said "the most important thing" about why to own AAPL is "because Apple is in the transition mode" of "monetizing the user base," which "comes back at a 90% repeatable rate to purchase Apple products."

Jim Lebenthal and Judge tangled over AAPL sentiment. "It's getting a lot of negative press, but overall, the sentiment is actually quite positive," Lebenthal concluded.

Brown pointed to 2013 as an indication of what happens when Apple is in the back end of a cycle.

Guest Tim Long, who sees 40% AAPL upside in a year, told Judge he still took his AAPL March numbers down "a little."

Long said he doesn't agree with Katy Huberty about negative iPhone sales comps in 2016, projecting Apple will grow iPhone subscribers from 420 million this year to 480 million next year.

Doc said to look for 99-103 as a range to buy AAPL. "You don't have to rush into this one right here," Najarian said.

Karen senses ‘corporate espionage’ involved in CMG situation

In the 5 p.m. Fast Money, rattling off 2016 stock picks, Tim Seymour backed WMT, and Karen Finerman declared, "I certainly wouldn't short this thing." Guy Adami touted LMT, Dan Nathan argued for QCOM and Karen Finerman suggested ANTM. "Things are going well there," Finerman said.

Karen Finerman curiously said regarding the CMG controversy, "I've actually been wondering for a while whether there's some corporate con- you know, espionage going on here, somebody who has a vested interest in the company not doing well."

At the moment, it’s unclear if Twitter can do anything with its user base

Jon Najarian on Monday's Halftime said price action suggests investors got a little "frothy" about "Star Wars" before the weekend.

Judge said Rich Greenfield "most vociferously" of everyone is talking about ESPN's headwinds. "Just from a logic standpoint, I disagree with the, the note," said Joe Terranova, tossing in a double negative: "I don't think it's a reason not to own Disney."

Josh Brown said it's a "mistake" to make too much of "short-term" ESPN issues.

Doc said he likes MSFT as the play in the cloud space though it's "fine" if you like AMZN instead.

Jim Lebenthal said he finds CSCO and INTC "a lot more compelling" than MSFT.

Joe Terranova said of MSFT, "Yes, it could go to 60, and ultimately it could go to 70."

Joe said of TWTR, "I still don't think you buy it." Judge quibbled with Joe as to whether TWTR is trying to "monetize" its user base or "grow" its user base.

Judge asked Josh Brown what would happen if TWTR were to get a new CEO who didn't have a side job.

"Wow ... It's pretty imaginative ... I don't know," Brown said.

Judge said he doesn't think investors believe Jack Dorsey can run 2 companies at the same time.

Joe Terranova identified what he sees as Twitter's value. "They're excellent at one thing, and that's distributing real-time news and sports information," Joe said.

"And facilitating anonymous nastiness," said Josh Brown. "They crush Facebook in that regard."

How to make money off of 2016 political ads

John Rogers on Monday's Halftime Report called the Fed move a "modest increase" that "really doesn't mean much," but things will be fine if they "stay within this reasonable range."

Rogers said that as a contrarian, he's looking for companies that will benefit from the "inevitable" increase in oil prices. He likes BRS, which helicopters (that's a verb in this case) workers to oil rigs. He also likes SLCA.

Rogers also likes KKR and NTRS and indicated sentiment is plaguing financials. "There's still a lot of bearishness out there," he said.

Rogers said he recently added Media General (MEG), a broadcasting play he expects to benefit from political advertising.

Judge tried to squeeze in a question to Rogers, who's on the MCD board, about McDonald's' Japan interest. Rogers said he can't discuss things like that, but he did add, "All-day breakfast is very, very popular."

Pete’s birthday: Tuesday

In a curious Futures Now portion of Monday's Halftime Report, Scott Nations said RBOB is "the best way" to analyze the gasoline sector.

Anthony Grisanti suggested 10 to 20 cents lower.

Doc trumpeted TSO and VLO. Jim Lebenthal said bargain retailers "are the beneficiaries here."

Doc said Pete Najarian covered his short in FCX on Friday, which of course was good timing because FCX and OKE were both finding buyers on Monday.

Joe Terranova said JOY got a "heckuvan upgrade" from FBR and advised viewers to "avoid the stock."

Jim Lebenthal said TIF is trading at 16-17 times next year's earnings and then zipped through some potential multiples.

Doc said he likes ROST.

Jim Lebenthal said that owning airlines is "such a painful trade" even when making money because everyone hates you. Joe said "the next leg" of the airline story is what they give "the affluent flier."

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money suggested airlines "seem to have topped out" and won't get any more tailwinds from lower oil.

Josh Brown's mimickry of Carl Icahn's voice was lousy, but Judge called it "pretty good."

Judge pointed out that we'll find out the winner of the Halftime Portfolio contest in "a couple weeks."

Jim Lebenthal & family put together a wonderful clip of life on the farm and received some nice acclaim from the desk.

[Friday, December 18, 2015]

How do you spell ‘BAGEL’
with 3 ‘A’s?

Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime Report said he likes BABA and LNKD but otherwise wasn't too excited about Mark Mahaney's "BAGEL" trade.

"It's a little bit corny," said Brown.

The acronym apparently stands for Alibaba, Amazon, Alphabet, Expedia and LinkedIn.

We couldn't figure out how to make an acronym out of that, even substituting "Google" for "Alphabet."

Jon Najarian said his favorite BAGEL name is LNKD.

Stephen Weiss said he likes LNKD too but, unfortunately cut off while trying to make a serious point, called Google the "safest" play of the bunch.

Jim Lebenthal at one point said he's never practiced an "acronym" investing style and isn't about to start. (But this isn't about following an acronym.)

7th movie in a series, always known for being a masterpiece

Stephen Weiss on Friday's Halftime said some funds own DIS and some funds are short DIS and that the longs think DIS can "stem" the cord-cutting "so to speak."

Weiss said, "Right now, it's gonna be a market stock," but he's avoiding it because of "too many issues."

Josh Brown pointed out that Disney is actually planning one of these about every 18 months for the next decade.

Weiss switched gears and said "they're putting up metal detectors at theme parks," and if "God forbid" you have an incident at a park, then ...

Jim Lebenthal said the DIS valuation is great and that ESPN "can only get better" at this point.

Jon Najarian gloated about how he bought DIS last week below 108 and then "banged out a ton of calls" that are expiring worthless.

Weiss: Lot of people done

No one seemed to be worrying about the stock market on Friday's Halftime Report.

Josh Brown noted "bonds are up" and TLT is up and banks are slipping since the Fed's decision.

Stephen Weiss said it's "just a couple of days" since the Fed's decision and suggested a lot of folks have already packed it in for the year.

Weiss said that people will get obsessed with the when and size of the next hike when they should just ignore it and invest in cheap stocks.

Mike Santoli said the S&P 500 is yielding almost the same as the 10-year right now, which in "recent history" has been a good time to bet on equities.

Jim Lebenthal said it was a "mistake" for everyone to focus on the word "gradual" in the Fed commentary.

Jon Najarian brought up quad-witching and said it can have a "very magnetic effect" on the stock market.

Andres Garcia-Amaya said emerging markets still don't look appealing yet and are in "no-man's land" because there's "potentially more upside to the dollar."

Garcia-Amaya pointed out Russia has outperformed the S&P this year and noted the low P.E. But Stephen Weiss said Russia's P.E. has been low for a while.

Santoli said Tony Dwyer's theory of a weakening dollar isn't "odd" at the beginning of a hiking cycle.

Meg Tirrell and Judge said ‘Skreli,’ but NYT says ‘SHKRELL-ee’

Rich Saperstein visited with Friday's Halftime Report and noted the S&P 500, with 10 names cruising and 490 slumping, is a "very lopsided market," and also that high yield and emerging markets are struggling.

Saperstein said he's raising exposure to hedge funds to be "defensive."

He likes the banks and the homebuilders. "31% of all 18- to 34-year-olds are still living at home," Saperstein asserted.

Saperstein told Steve Weiss that investing in Europe, "we have to be right twice," specifically currency and equity. Weiss questioned why Saperstein can't just hedge out the currency; Saperstein indicated that's what he's doing.

Happy birthday, Guy Adami

Jim Iuorio told Jackie DeAngelis on Friday's Halftime Report he is suddenly "more neutral" on gold.

Jeff Kilburg said he won't get excited about gold until it hits 1,100.

Jim Lebenthal said if BA gets any cheaper, he'll buy more.

Lebenthal said LEN is "not a bad name to be in" for 2016.

Josh Brown said he wouldn't throw out KMX just on 1 bad report.

Brown clumsily indicated that coal was worse for the rails than cheap oil was good for the airlines.

Doc was handed UA and, not too enthusiastically, said he thinks "you do wanna own this stock" around 80 or 81. (This writer is long UA.) He said he'd also like to be in NKE in 2016. He called UA a better stock than NKE right at this moment.

Stephen Weiss said he likes NKE but it's too expensive for him right now.

Weiss said he's still "suspicious" of DRI's class of stocks including SHAK.

There was a time when this page regularly covered the Fast Money birthdays, but that started to slide with our attention span toward the 5 p.m. show. On Friday, Guy Adami told Bill Griffeth on Closing Bell he just turned 52; Mel brought it up on Fast Money.

[Thursday, December 17, 2015]

Is it ‘Sha-kreli,’ ‘Shrelli,’
or ‘Skorelli’?

One of those baffling mysteries of the Halftime Report is why Judge will give a half hour to a speech (often with several minutes of showing the empty podium beforehand) while cutting off breaking news in progress.

The latter was the case Thursday, when Judge was handed a gift of a live announcement of the charges against Martin Shkreli, only to relegate the story to (fast) soundbites by CNBC's Dan Mangan, who said Shkreli has "been under investigation for months now" and then mentioned "kitchen sink" (Drink) about 3 times.

"They threw the kitchen sink at him today," Mangan said. "It's gonna be a very difficult case to beat I think."

Meg Tirrell got only a bit of airtime and, in a departure from the prosecutors, pronounced the name "Skreli."

Meanwhile, another baffling mystery of the Halftime Report is why Judge stocks the program with panelists on days there's enough breaking news to limit them to about 1 soundbite apiece.

Doc said the "dots" on the chart indicate that anticipation for Fed hikes next year isn't so "gradual," which is a problem for markets. Judge explained to viewers what the dots mean so that "we're all on the same page."

Joe Terranova said we're set up for an "incredibly uncertain year."

Jim Lebenthal dismissed Thursday's selloff. "This is 2 steps forward, 1 step back. It doesn't feel like any panic," Lebenthal said.

At the end of the program, Lebenthal said there's a "good chance" that buyers could show up at the end of the day Thursday.

Anastasia Amoroso, who is very pretty, said she predicted that the markets would feel a little "unease" in the wake of the Fed decision and that they didn't feel it yesterday but did on Thursday.

"I don't have high expectations for the market next year," she said, even though her projected S&P range sounded rather generous.

Amoroso said she likes the energy sector because Martin Shkreli has nothing to do with it it's a "call option on oil prices," and "there's nothing expensive about it."

Joe Terranova said he got a FedEx delivery yesterday in a U-Haul truck.

Jim Lebenthal said ORCL "might be dead money for a while" and even sorta likened it to IBM.

Doc said P initially got "slammed" on the ruling and then rallied to $16.70; he decided to get out. (Probably at an enormous gain that you can only get by playing options; if you'd bought the common stock, you'd only make 5%, but if you bought the options, you'd make 125%.)

Sarat Sethi said ACN was getting hit on currency issues, but he is long and would buy the dip.

Scott Nations said higher rates and stronger dollar were punishing gold. Jim Iuorio said gold could get a bounce in part because of the stock market's reaction Thursday to the Fed hike.

[Wednesday, December 16, 2015]

Gundlach: Markets worse now than they were in September

Usually the episodes of the Halftime Report airing an hour or two before Fed moves are impossibly irrelevant by about 2:07 p.m. Eastern time, but at least on Wednesday, Judge brought in a couple of stalwarts in the form of Jeffrey Gundlach and Lee Cooperman.

While predicting a hike Wednesday, Gundlach argued against one. (This review was posted after the Fed hike.)

"What's the purpose of raising rates today with all of these indicators weaker than they were 3 months ago," he said, asserting the central bank is doing it only because it "promised" the hike in 2015.

Pointing out the JNK price is lower today than 3 weeks after the Lehman bankruptcy, Gundland asserted, "Global market conditions are worse in most places than they were in the middle of September."

He said nominal GDP is "far too weak" to justify a hike. "Only twice have they raised rates with nominal GDP below 4½%," he said, adding that such a hike in 1982 was almost immediately rolled back.

Gundlach insisted he's not predicting a 2008-like crisis in junk bonds, "not at all," but, "Junk bonds are really in trouble because oil is probably not going higher."

He told Judge he'd start buying "when they stop going down every single day."

Gundlach said the biggest no-brainer trades out there are "exiting S&P type of risk and owning credit risk particularly in closed-end bond funds and in other vehicles like REITs;" he mentioned NLY.

Hate to sound dovish, but this page has gotta agree. A hike is wishful thinking. There's no inflation and little growth. If that's the environment for raising interest rates, we missed something actually a lot of things in Econ 101.

Not complaining or explaining: Henry Ford’s driving misadventures; who knew?

Meanwhile on Wednesday's Halftime, Judge introduced Lee Cooperman as "Leon Cooperman" and "Mr. Cooperman" despite the fact Mr. Cooperman has asked him previously to call him a less formal version of the name; Judge was told again Wednesday to "call me Lee, Scott."

Cooperman, unlike Jeffrey Gundlach, asserted a hike is overdue. "They've been screwing the savers; the time has come to normalize policy," Cooperman said.

Coop suggested the breadth of the market will catch up in 2016. "I think you make 5 or 6% in stocks, you make a couple percent in dividend, you make 7-8% total return in stocks," he said, predicting a "mildly negative return in fixed income."

Josh Brown asked Cooperman when it will be safe to own value or anything besides the 10 super-elites of the stock market. Cooperman called that a "very good question" and said bears would expect the FANG to fall back while bulls would expect value to catch up. (Translation: didn't exactly answer the very good question.)

Lee took the opportunity to note NAVI's buybacks at 18 to 20, and also trumpeted CIM.

Judge and Cooperman quibbled over whether stocks follow oil (yes recently; not so much over 3 years). Lee said "by and large," he thinks lower oil is "unequivocally a positive" for the consumer and the economy. (But Sully has been saying for 6 months that all the money from gasoline savings is being spent on convenience store cigarettes.)

Coop predicted "a year from today" that the price of crude will be "materially higher" than now.

He halfheartedly endorsed GPOR and APC and RIGP and its 12-13% yield.

Cooperman said he's "concerned" about high yield in the sense that the yields have spiked and it presents an intriguing alternative to stocks, stating "5 folks at Omega" are working hard at identifying the buys in high yield.

Cooperman said 2015 hasn't been good for him, but it's "far away not my worst year ever."

Lee harkened back to 1972 when JPMorgan and US Trust were buying great stocks at any price, including Avon and Xerox (snicker), some at 60 multipes, and they took a hit when OPEC put on the squeeze.

Lee relayed an anecdote about Henry Ford being stopped for speeding with arm candy in the car that didn't seem totally relevant to the conversation.

More winning Najarian trades

In the scraps of Wednesday's Halftime, Doc said he bought a bunch of solar stocks on unusual activity but is already out of it.

Doc also spoke of unloading FB and DIS on pops so he doesn't have to give it back.

Pete Najarian spoke of taking off half his BAC stake.

[Tuesday, December 15, 2015]

Call Carl.

In a Halftime Report on Tuesday that couldn't have been any sleepier, Steve Liesman told Judge that only 5% in a survey think the Fed won't hike.

Liesman said the survey also shows that the "median" call for hikes next year is 3.

Joe Terranova declared the market is "for sure" ready for a hike and that "universally" the dollar will rise "substantially."

Liesman said nobody can "manage expectations for the dollar."

Doug Cifu, part of the Vinnie Viola Virtu team, told Judge, "we'll be ready for all contingencies." (Whew.)

Cifu a couple times mentioned the process of "transfer risk from buyers to sellers" (Drink).

Judge also gave Cifu a platform to declare Virtu won't make a market in high yield ETFs. Steve Liesman pointed out that the reason Cifu cited is that the corporate bond market hasn't adapted to the digital age like other securities have.

Josh Brown said he welcomed any "knee-jerk" selloff on a rate hike.

Stephanie Link said the stock market will "probably" keep trading off of the oil market.

"I'm not even sure the dollar is gonna surge," Link said.

Vinnie Viola said the market hasn't quite been able to "consider" the impact of "new supply sources" of oil, pointing to Iran, and he suggested crude could "maybe test $29."

Viola called $32 a "realistic price."

"I see natural gas not recovering for a bit," Viola told Joe Terranova, adding the crude market now is "so efficient" at pricing that not to expect the surge from $10 in the late '90s to $147 in 2008.

We got lost when Viola responded to Judge's question about avoiding Flash Crashes. "I don't know if that was too long of an answer," Viola said.

Cifu said the Michael Lewis book brought "borderline hysteria" to the concept of HFT.

Pete Najarian said in the short term, he likes AMZN over AAPL, but over 12 months, he likes AAPL as another "2nd half story" (Drink). Josh Brown agreed with Najarian. Stephanie Link said "I don't know" but suggested AMZN keeps working. Joe said AMZN, "until the story changes."

Pete Najarian added BAC, NKE and DAL to his Halftime Portfolio and ditched C, JBLU and UA, chiding UA's "absolute underperformance." (This writer is long UA.)

[Monday, December 14, 2015]

Pete seems to find as many good things as bad things in Katy Huberty’s call

In a subdued and shortened Halftime Report Monday, Mike Harris told Judge that crude's fall is hardly over.

"We continue to stay short," said Harris, suggesting a 2-handle is "entirely possible."

Harris called the late 2008 low of $32.40 "the next big level" to breach.

Joe Terranova pointed out that "natural gas is down more than oil this year" and that "both look horrible."

Redefining equivocating, Pete Najarian said "this is a big call" by Katy Huberty on iPhone sales, but then he noted that she thinks margins will continue to be "very strong." But then he noted she did lower her target from 152 to 143.

Stephen Weiss called AAPL "a market stock at best, because the competition's getting there."

Joe Terranova said that if you own AAPL, "you hold onto it."

Weiss said he's staying away from SQ because he doesn't think there's enough upside.

Joe said you almost wonder who would want the LNG CEO job. Judge said Carl is "probably smiling today" over Souki's exit, because every program revolves around Carl Icahn.

Josh Brown said said the NWL-JAH combination "looks like a good deal."

Pete Najarian took a long time to say basically nothing what Judge had already suggested, that Loeb doesn't want Andrew Liveris to run the recombined Dow Chemical.

Prompted to fill time by discussing the hedge fund industry, Stephen Weiss had no trouble, stating performance is finally regaining some of its lost luster because there's money on the short side and "the market is trading more rationally."

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said he's not sure the high yield market is saying anything at all about the stock market because the transports didn't mean anything to the broader market after their stumble a year ago. But Steve Grasso said he thinks high yield means "the equity market should go lower," and David Seaburg said there's a "liquidity fear" sending "shockwaves" through the stock market.

Josh warns of ‘cheating’ advisors who might have put you into more high yield than you should be in

It was a decent start, but when everyone says the same thing for 17 minutes commercial-free, it gets a little redundant.

Judge on Monday's Halftime Report tackled high yield and proceeded to get some parsing from Stephen Weiss.

Weiss said, "I think 'crisis' is probably too strong" to describe the situation, and that it "depends what Yellen says" as to whether the market gets a bounce.

Later, Weiss said Carl "is right," though he doesn't think "it's gonna explode" but rather is a "great unwind" of yield trades.

OK. So pretty bad, just not a "crisis."

Josh Brown said that if you're in any kind of standard investment portfolio, the odds of having more than 5% exposure to high yield are "very low," unless you've got an advisor "who's been cheating over the last couple of years," in which case, you have a "bigger issue."

Regardless, "It's probably too late to panic," Brown said.

Pete Najarian noted the suddenly high volume in the HYG. "We've been talking about the illiquidity for a very long time in the bond market," Pete said, but what he didn't say is that some people have argued on the program that there's a lack of liquidity, and others have argued there isn't.

Weiss nitpicked with Pete's observation, stressing, "Most volume's there when things are going the worst, so it's not a question of trading volume; it's a question of liquidity."

Joe Terranova said he doesn't think high yield should be in an ETF. "There's no bid in the marketplace right now," Joe grumbled.

Judge said the Third Avenue fund has "the riskiest of the risky" while HYG has much higher quality paper. Judge read a BlackRock statement about the liquidity of high yield ETFs and even said that Doug Kass thinks Carl is wrong.

Sandy Rufenacht told Judge that what Carl is talking about is "nothing new" and that "I don't believe it's a keg of dynamite."

Rufenacht then credited "a guest of yours" for highlighting that Third Avenue is a "far more aggressive" fund than a typical high yield ETF when in fact it was Judge who did the highlighting.

Rufenacht said he has a "laundry list" of names he would buy and that the entry points are getting very attractive.

Finally, for even more on this hot topic, Judge welcomed Mohamed El-Erian, who agreed that Third Avenue "ventured very deep down the credit spectrum" (Drink). However, El-Erian said markets subject to central bank liquidity are subject to "policy mistakes and market accidents."

El-Erian predicted greater redemptions that will lead to greater opportunities down the road (Double Drink), "price overshoots and contagion."

El-Erian asserted, "We're gonna get a hike," but it will be "packaged" in one of the most dovish statements we'll ever see for a hike.

Josh Brown told El-Erian that research shows high yield is more correlated to stocks than Treasurys and that the general public doesn't realize that. El-Erian agreed that "a lot of people" don't realize all the risks they're undertaking in high yield.

More from Monday's Pentagon-remarks-shortened Halftime later.

[Friday, December 11, 2015]

Jack Bouroudjian suggests
20-30% market plunge in 2016

It was just by chance that we happened to catch a portion of Brian Sullivan's Power Lunch on Friday in which longtime CNBC voice Jack Bouroudjian was overthinking 1) Friday's action and 2) presidential politics.

"This market could get hit anywhere from 20 to 30% next year," Bouroudjian said, suggesting 2000 and 2008 also carried leadership uncertainty.

Sully seemed to think that kind of drop would be extreme, but he didn't mention how he's been saying for months that gasoline savings merely get spent on convenience store cigarettes.

Update: We discovered Bouroudjian already made these points in an essay at CNBC.com on Nov. 23.

Don’t botch Delivering Alpha (a/k/a Judge finally corrects something somebody says on television)

Friday's Halftime crew dabbled in a scattershot way at possible causes for Friday's meltdown but, as is often the case on the program, all roads led to Carl.

Judge first might've been trying to hoodwink viewers into thinking Carl was clamoring to be on the show, telling Icahn, "I appreciate you, uh, you calling in on- on such short notice here."

But, "In fact you called me to come on; I'm not looking to uh, throw fuel on the fire," Icahn said, referring to the "Seeking (sic) Alpha conference."

Later, Carl further clarified, "Obviously I like your program, and I just said 'OK, sure'."

So basically, Judge wanted viewers to think Carl was dying to tell them something about Friday's action, when in fact, they pushed him to talk when he really had nothing to say.

Nothing wrong with that; it's fine journalism hustle.

Carl said high yield is "self evident" as a "keg of dynamite."

Icahn several times said he has nothing against BlackRock (Drink), but everyone thinks these ETFs are safe when "it's sort of dangerous" because of lack of liquidity.

Judge asked Icahn if "the crice (sic) of pru- (sic) of crude" gets worse before it gets better and suggested Carl would have an opinion because of his stake in LNG. Carl stressed that LNG and oil are "not necessarily the same thing."

Carl didn't want to reveal his strategy with Pep Boys.

Jim Lebenthal giving GPRO too much credit

On a show fixated with high yield and "danger," the most interesting chat on Friday's Halftime Report was the presumed obituary of GoPro.

Judge and Josh Brown started off with an implied mocking of the Citi downgrade of GPRO to neutral now that the stock's in the teens, and then the crew yakked about whether it's good that the analyst just finally admitted the mistake.

But the details were more interesting, as Judge said Citi apparently noticed Nick Woodman on QVC on Saturday suggesting softening demand. (Has there been any demand for this device that has not been softening in the past year?)

Jim Lebenthal said GoPro's problem is that most people don't want or need one of these having very little moat to competition, which doesn't make any sense, because the problem isn't competing devices, it's that nobody's buying this thing anymore.

"Unfortunately, I don't see recovery here," Lebenthal said.

Josh Brown correctly noted it's a "niche market" and said someone who buys a GoPro in 2014 doesn't need to buy another one in 2015 or 2016. Then he made the standard GPRO comment: "It's gonna sit in a drawer" (Drink).

Brown knocked CLSA's initiating of Twitter at underperform.

Tepper: Just the greatest

Bill Baruch on Friday's Halftime Report suggested 34-35 as a "long-term support area" for crude.

Brian Stutland said he's targeting 34 as a bottom and that oil volatility agrees with that.

Steve Weiss said he doesn't think crude's fall signifies weakness, but the high correlation between oil and stocks right now is "undeniable."

Josh Brown pointed to "widespread problems in the junk bond market."

Brown even pointed to "eerie similarities" between Bear's subprime hedge funds and what we're seeing now.

Mike Block, who had a quiet show, pointed to the "1-day head fake" of oil equities outperforming crude's slide.

Judge brought in Sara Eisen to assess the weakening yuan and noted the plan to stop pegging directly to the dollar. "Currently it is being managed more aggressively and more quickly lower, and that is the source of concern," Eisen said.

Assessing Third Avenue Management's blocking people from withdrawing cash from the high-yield mutual fund, Stephen Weiss said it's "Trade School 101" to see what the "underlying liquidity is" in any asset before investing in it.

"We've got to get out of this low-rate environment," grumbled Jim Lebenthal, who suggested that if the current turmoil continues, the Fed might whiff again on a rate hike.

Weiss said David Tepper is the best distressed investor "in the history of the world" and told him a few months ago that we're 3 years from high-yield becoming attractive again.

Just occurred to us: Does the ‘A’ in ‘FANG’ stand for Apple, Amazon or Alphabet?

Not everyone on CNBC on Friday was knocking high yield.

The designated Halftime Report bull was Carl Eichstaedt, who called high yield "tremendously mispriced" and suggested that compared to Treasurys, high yield over 5 years could "withstand" 40% defaults (which he doesn't expect) and still be a favorable investment.

"We are a buyer," Eichstaedt said. (And Judge didn't say anything this time about the consensus being "typically wrong.")

Josh Brown told Eichstaedt that he can get a similar return with far less risk in preferred stocks. Eichstaedt agreed that U.S. financials are his "favorite sector."

Eichstaedt also sees opportunities in emerging markets, suggesting they're all getting lumped together as toxic while Mexico looks appealing.

He also thinks China is "nowhere near the disaster that the market is assuming."

Tim Seymour tries the ‘Grease’ look on Fast Money

Judge on Friday's Halftime noted Andrew Liveris said there was "universal agreement" on the DD-DOW deal.

Judge said some are saying it's not a coincidence that this deal was announced before the Third Point standstill agreement expires Monday.

Given Liveris' comments, "Dan's sort of boxed in," said Stephen Weiss.

Jim Lebenthal predicted DD-DOW will have to do some divestitures to get antitrust approval.

[Thursday, December 10, 2015]

#LOVEIT: Sara, Karen
ignite Times Square

Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money delivered a knee-buckling treat to viewers with mesmerizing CNBC superfoxes Sara Eisen and Karen Finerman in new outfits.

At one point, superfox Meg Tirrell aired clips of her own genome mapping. ("Mine turned out pretty well," Tirrell said, but "my blood clots a little bit faster than other people's.")

Seema Mody had a new outfit of her own.

But the most provocative comment of the program actually was Steve Grasso saying if you think the market is going at all higher, you have to be long AMZN.

Karen Finerman, without making the obvious "Greater Fool" point, asked Grasso if there's possibly a price that would be too expensive to buy AMZN. Grasso responded that Jeff Bezos has "figured out how to turn that switch" to muster enough profitability to scare the bears.

So it's never going down.

Then No. 386 turned the tables on Karen, asking what price would she have ever bought the stock. Karen conceded she never would've bought, and thus would've missed the stock's enormous ride, but that other such stocks have returned to traditional valuation levels.

Both were right, but Karen had the better argument; she just didn't push it far enough.

Grasso claimed he cornered Jack Dorsey in a stairwell at the NYSE during the Square IPO; "it was me, him and a couple of girls," and Grasso found Dorsey to be "really hopeful."

Judge actually claims ‘the consensus is, is typically wrong’

One thing we learned from Thursday's Halftime Report is that Jonathan Hirtle sure likes to talk.

Hirtle said he likes integrateds on weakness; he also likes COP and EOG as "commodity proxies."

Joe Terranova said, "It seems to make sense" but asked Hirtle if he first looks to the debt side for the most beta. Hirtle called that a "good idea" but said you have to be careful and not buy indexes but use an active manager who knows what he/she is doing.

Jon Najarian said the energy space is dogged by fears of dividend elimination and pointed to Kinder Morgan as not doing so. But Judge carped that Kinder cut it more than people expected. Hirtle called XOM a "growth bond."

Josh Brown asked about the refiners (hard to believe they might not've been mentioned otherwise), but Hirtle didn't answer the question and said he would turn to his "specialist managers."

Also, "We are adding MLPs, midstream," Hirtle said.

For 2016, Hirtle likes V, MA, SBUX, NKE and CVS. Josh Brown pointed out all of those are 25 times earnings and up. Hirtle suggested that "speculative pricing" can lift those stocks and others higher.

Joe’s getting warmer but sets his sights too low; AAPL should try pro football, not the Winnipeg Jets

Judge had Thursday's Halftime crew take a crack at the notion of AAPL buying something.

Jon Najarian half-heartedly suggested AAPL should maybe buy GPRO.

Josh Brown suggested AAPL doesn't have to buy anything.

Joe Terranova said he likes the "synergies" that Box could provide AAPL. But he thinks if AAPL does anything, it would be in entertainment and/or sports and even suggested the NHL.

The same conversation was repeated on Sara Eisen's 5 p.m. hour.

Judge should get Jeff Kilburg on the regular panel, has more to add than just a futures soundbite

Jamie Baker of JPMorgan said on Thursday's Halftime Report that if we all knew at the beginning of the year that we'd see $40 oil and airline profits would be "going through the roof," everyone would've expected airline stocks to be higher.

Baker said managements must act in a "mature" way and not "squander" the profits they're making.

He expects airlines to enjoy "another year of record profit output."

Pete Najarian endorsed DAL and said he would've loved to have asked Baker why Baker is leaving out HA and ALK.

Josh Brown hung a $100 on ALK.

Doc said he and Pete and Killir in the morning were rebalancing a portfolio for the UIT and added JBLU after already having DAL in it.

Joe Terranova trumpeted VA and said he flew it this week down to Fort Lauderdale.

In the Futures Now clip, Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis that other central banks easing should push the dollar higher. Jeff Kilburg said he thinks the dollar index stays under 100.

Judge should bring up ‘The Big Short,’ ask panelists for reviews

We haven't paid much attention to the Halftime Portfolio contest for several reasons, 1) the panelists don't seem that concerned about it; 2) even though more trades have been allowed, it's not a realistic way of investing; 3) Life (and a bank account) doesn't end Dec. 31 nor did it start Jan. 1.

That said, Joe Terranova and Josh Brown both riding 10% gains into mid-December is impressive.

Doc on Thursday's Halftime said he added TSN, for those keeping a day-to-day tally.

Joe said he ran into a Halftime Report fan in the Four Seasons in Miami, and the fan "loves" Judge and everyone else, but the fan wondered how Pete was buying volatility for the portfolio. Pete said he was on a plane trying to buy the VIX but was told he had to buy an ETF instead.

Josh Brown said NFLX has "zeitgeist."

Kevin Dreyer, who proved a good guest with reasonable soundbites, told Judge he's not going to speculate on macro shopping trends such as online, etc., but will just focus on some good consumer companies. His top pick was EPC, the old Energizer; he called it a takeout candidate.

Dreyer also likes CAG as a play on certain divestitures, and he likes MDLZ.

Josh Brown asked Dreyer why DPS is still a stand-alone company. Dreyer called that a "great question" and said the company is focusing on blocking and tackling.

Joe Terranova said tax-loss selling "tends to dissipate" in the first 2 weeks of December and suggested "laggards might lead" into year-end.

Doc said sales at Jos. A. Bank are "disastrous." Josh Brown suggested a 50-for-1 suit promotion.

Josh Brown said FSLR had only a "minor revenue guidance disappointment" but the price action was terrible; he likes SunPower.

Pete Najarian said he's "not so sure" anyone should chase CMG, but he praised the CEO's handling of the incident Thursday.

Joe Terranova said the market has priced in a "slam dunk" rate hike.

[Wednesday, December 9, 2015]

Doc’s right: Marissa put on
‘horrendous’ presentation


Marissa Mayer and Maynard Webb looked like they each missed a couple of wake-up calls before Wednesday's laughable performance with the Squawk on the Street gang, which didn't go unnoticed by Jon Najarian on the Halftime Report.

But Doc offered an excuse, suggesting Marissa's pregnancy is "why she looked so tired I believe on TV today."

He nevertheless called the interview "horrendous. That was a terrible presentation."

The notion that these folks are shepherding this company's future should scare the heck out of anyone with a stake in it.

The enthusiasm exhibited during this performance was approximately zero.

Mayer and Webb, who perhaps could've used some java at URL's, sounded far more like they were defending Lumber Liquidators than cheerleading viewers to try Yahoo's products.

Mayer seemed most concerned about outdueling Carol Bartz, making a couple references to 3 years ago.

Webb clearly didn't want to be there.

There was absolutely no reason to buy this stock based on this presentation.

Meanwhile, Josh Brown said YHOO's stock is "kind of a mess" and that trading it is "kind of like playing roulette."

Brown did call the board's reverse spin decision "a plus."

Doc gloated about trimming 60% 50% of OptionMonster clients' YHOO stake a week ago. He said to wait for a good headline, then sell whatever YHOO you've got left.

You can see the whole Yahoo! presentation here at CNBC.com.

Judge provides free advertising but drops the ‘the,’ and Josh doesn’t notice

Viewers on Wednesday's Halftime Report finally heard what got Josh Brown so up in arms about Monday's MLP discussion.

(Judge never clarified on Monday whose side of this issue Brown appeared to be taking.)

Wednesday, Brown said that MLP hucksters would pitch the product as companies "not susceptible to the prices of energy, they are tollbooths, they are pass-through businesses ... they're like bonds."

In fact, "They're not like bonds ... they're highly susceptible to the price of oil," Brown said, adding they also have a "ton of debt" and are subject to business conditions that aren't exactly favorable right now.

However, Stephen Weiss said he's never looked at MLPs before but now sees "bargains" in the space, though he didn't mention what they are.

Jon Najarian said he's looking at MMP and EPD; "I like both of those."

Pete Najarian said you don't buy MLPs until they all do what Kinder Morgan did.

Judge pointed out Brown's MLP views are at "reformedbroker.com" (sic), and Brown actually agreed.

But actually, it's thereformedbroker.com.

Regardless, Brown does a good blog, so we're happy to link.

How come there’s no talk of boosting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime said it's "unfortunate" that the materials/commodities trade seems to be affecting the stock market.

Brown said the drop in commodity prices is "a big reason" for the rest of the world having zero growth (actually it's a symptom of it, not a big reason).

Stephen Weiss defended dividend cuts for companies that need to do it and argued stocks can go up with energy going down.

Judge brought in Kevin O'Leary, who suggested $30 oil is much better for the stock market than $100 oil is. O'Leary suggested that if you're paying attention, you'd really know which dividends are going to get chopped.

Pete Najarian asserted, "Dividend is the last thing you're looking for" when making a stock call and asked O'Leary if he analyzes stocks the same way. O'Leary said that's "absolutely right."

Doc pointed out that a lot of the big dividend yields have occurred because "the equity has fallen so steeply."

At what level would Rex Tillerson start buying LULU?

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report took a Fast Fire on LULU and pointed to guidance and said he was "surprised" about the inventory.

"I got in around the 49 level," Pete revealed.

Jon Najarian said Dana Telsey calls his channel checks "among the BEST (sic emphasis) on the Street."

Josh Brown said "there's no signal to get in" to LULU.

Stephen Weiss said he has owned LULU a couple times, "made money in one; lost more money in the 2nd." But "this is not the growth story that it was. So that valuation is much, much too high."

"To me, there's no reason why this can't go the way of Coach or some of the other retailers that we've seen," Weiss said.

Guest: Obamacare is underachiever

Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime said it's too early to gauge antitrust issues with DD and DOW until we know what the 3-company split is going to look like.

Pete Najarian and Judge agreed that without the split into 3, there's "no chance" that this goes through.

"I'd stay away from the group still," Weiss said.

Scott Nations said "so many speculators" were betting against the euro that the recovery persists. Brian Stutland said he's looking for 1.11/1.12 for the euro.

Meanwhile, John Schroer said health-care fundamentals continue to be strong into 2016. But he singled out the "rhetoric" from politics as a headwind.

Schroer said PFE's deal has "definite benefits," and he hung a $42 price target on the name.

Schroer said the Affordable Care Act has "underperformed almost all expectations" and that the penalties haven't been enough to bring the "healthies" into the pools. So he wants less exposure to those names and prefers UNH.

Judge brought in Clayton Kershaw to promote ICAP and the Kershaw's Challenge.

Judge somehow asked Kershaw if it's possible for a payroll to be "too big." Kershaw indicated no.

Steve Liesman reported that in a survey, somehow a bunch of people would rather get WMT stock than AAPL stock.

Josh Brown said XBI is trading at enough of a discount to buy it.

Doc said he bought ALLY based on unusual activity.

[Tuesday, December 8, 2015]

Maybe DELL can buy YHOO

It's one of the Great Topics on CNBC of 2015.

But it didn't get a whole lot of airplay on Tuesday's Halftime.

Lowell McAdam, speaking with Julia Boorstin, was the latest expert to weigh in on the future of how we receive television and defended the notion of the skinny bundle.

McAdam said the "average bundle is 189 channels; people typically view 17 of 'em. ... you're paying for a lot of things you don't use."


But the problem, as we see it, is that there is tons of watchable programming out there ... and once people purchase everything they want a la carte, they've ended up spending more than a bundle.

If you want CNBC, you have to get basic; if you want NFL Network or Turner Classic Movies, you have to get the next tier; if you want Netflix programs, you have to pay $8; if you want what HBO's got, that's another $15 a month, etc.

Fascinating topic; no great answers.

Meanwhile, Boorstin told McAdam that it seems he's "sort of interested" in Yahoo.

McAdam didn't really deny that but said, "Their board hasn't decided what they're gonna do ... once they make a decision, there might be assets that would fit together with AOL ... but nothing going on at this point."

As far as T-Mobile and Sprint and AT&T, McAdam said 2 of the 4 wireless carriers are "more involved in video; more involved in the Internet of things" while 2 are really just competing on price. We sorta figured out which 2 and 2 he meant.

Pete Najarian said it sounds like McAdam is interested in YHOO "in a big way."

David Faber reported on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that Yahoo isn't going to spin off its BABA stake.

Judge not available to confirm that AAPL’s best days are behind it

Toni Sacconaghi, a fine regular guest, really didn't have anything exciting for his Halftime Report appearance Tuesday as one of the many making 2016 predictions.

Sacconaghi became the latest Halftime Report guest to state that growth beat value in 2015 (Drink).

Entering 2016, "The premium for growth stocks is high relative to history," Sacconaghi said.

Sacconaghi's top picks are AAPL and HPQ. For the latter, he even suggested a 5% dividend in 2016.

Stephanie Link wondered why the "growthier" names won't continue to lead. Sacconaghi said his research of "over 40 years of history" shows that buying the 20% least expensive tech stocks and the 20% most expensive tech stocks "has been value creating."

Doc wondered if the larger-format "iWatch (sic)" and the battery are "desperation" or likable moves. Sacconaghi said we need to see the Watch "decouple from the iPhone" and refused to say whether he's excited about it now.

"It's not a watch; it'll be a health-monitoring device," Sacconaghi said.

Nobody else seems to agree with Tony Dwyer about a weakening dollar

Savita Subramanian, another Halftime Report guest making 2016 predictions Tuesday, uncorked this humdinger:

"If oil prices don't fall another 50 bucks, next year is gonna be better than this year."

That's quite a guarantee.

Subramanian, who has a 2,200 S&P target (that's below Tony Dwyer), asserted, "The S&P 500 is going to outperform a lot of other asset classes."

Contending, "It's a bull market led by a very different subset of stocks than we're used to leading in a bull market," Subramanian said you should "sell everything that's worked over the last kind of credit cycle and buy cash-rich, high-quality, big companies."

Doc actually thinks Rex Tillerson is a good trader, but it’s entirely possible Rex’s supposed $68 pickup will be in the red

It's one of the strangest recent tangents on the Halftime Report.

Jon Najarian on Tuesday revisited his claim that Rex Tillerson purportedly around the late August crash scooped up XOM shares around 68 or 66, "something like that," and since then has seen "such a massive move."

If any of that helps you trade XOM right now, more power to you.

So perhaps Rex unloaded around 80 and used the gains to help fund the XTO purchase.

Doc said there were "a lot of liquidations" Tuesday morning.

Stephanie Link said "it's not surprising to see the volatility continue" in the energy space and said portfolio managers are doing a "derisk" into year-end.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't see a bottom for commodities in December.

John Kilduff, who has "more than 15 years of experience trading energy," said the oil slide "is not at its end" and that "the Saudis are going for the jugular."

"It's a throwdown for the ages," Kilduff said.

Jim Lebenthal asked Kilduff if $40 iron ore has to be a level where you see bankruptcies. "Absolutely," Kilduff said, though adding there's "light at the end of the tunnel."

Pete Najarian questioned, "Why get in front of this train right now?"

Doc said he likes VLO because of margins at "record levels."

Sara Eisen said Doc is long LUV and asked if he's concerned. "Well, I'm always concerned when Rex Tillerson didn't buy at the bottom something I'm long is down," Najarian said, but he's going to hang onto it.

Pete Najarian on the 5 p.m. show said FCX is "dead" if crude is $20. Karen Finerman said RIG survives in such a scenario, and No. 386 said EOG survives also, to the bickering of Tim Seymour.

In a late Futures Now, Jim Iuorio said he spends more time watching the euro-to-crude correlation than most people, and "if euro trades 109.50, then I'll probably be- try to be a buyer again in crude."

Anthony Grisanti said, "I'm looking to buy this market right now."

Doc makes another winning trade

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said he "took a little nibble" in CMG around 520 and got out of it "an hour later."

Sara Eisen called Doc a "brave man."

Doc said AZO had a "pretty nice report."

Pete Najarian said not to "overread" the TOL miss because it's the luxury name.

SPLS long Jim Lebenthal insisted the stock "trades very much at fair value" but conceded it's probably "dead money for a while."

Stephanie Link still likes HD.

Link said she was selling WFT for LRCX in her Halftime Portfolio and repeated all the good stuff she heard at the semiconductor conference (Drink).

Pete Najarian said there's unusual bearish activity in WFT; the February 9 puts were popular.

Stephanie Link pointed to chatter about NWL and JAH.

Guest host Sara Eisen lit up the screen as usual, but Judge is doing a bang-up job; his absence is noted.

[Monday, December 7, 2015]

Apparently the dollar tends to weaken in years of Bush victories

Judge apparently didn't take Monday's Halftime gang out to Burger King, but Tony Dwyer was sure serving up Whoppers.

Dwyer said "history shows" the dollar weakens with the first "rate cut" (sic clarified to say "rate hike"), and suggested shorting the dollar and going long commodities for 3-6 months after the Fed moves.

It's "the most counterintuitive trade," Dwyer conceded.

Judge said he's "not heard a single person" on CNBC suggest a weakening dollar. But Dwyer affirmed that's what he's predicting, pointing specifically to 1994 and 2004. (Then later he said 1984 too.)

Dwyer predicted that next year, the Fed will hike "more than the 3 or 4 that the market's expecting" (snicker).

Dwyer asserted the business cycle is hardly spent; "the cycle is determined by Fed policy ... They will invert the curve."

Rob Sechan told Dwyer that to have a bullish "backdrop" for 2016, the Fed will have to convince the market the hikes won't be very steep.

Judge added, "Just because it happened in 1994 Tony doesn't mean it's gonna happen in 2016."

Joe Terranova contended that Draghi is "out of bullets" and credited Peter Oppenheimer of Goldman Sachs for a "great note this morning" suggesting the euro's downside isn't as great as people think.

Rob Sechan said he doesn't think Draghi's out of bullets but that the positioning on dollar/euro is "so lopsided" as to keep it range-bound.

Sechan later said there's a "100%" chance of a Fed move in December and predicted 4 moves next year "if it's properly telegraphed" (snicker).

The backdrop in the Dwyer discussion was that Tony is maintaining his 2,360 target for next year, which is (Drink) the highest on the Street (Drink).

This time Doc isn’t around to misunderstand and then mock Rob Sechan’s MLP play

Rob Thummel of Tortoise Capital joined Monday's Halftime Report to contend that in crude oil, the "supply/demand fundamentals are getting a lot better."

Thummel singled out refiners (specifically VLO) and MLP plays and suggested a "really strong bounce-back."

The latter subject proved polarizing, as Judge stated he was getting email before the segment saying "MLPs are done."

Rob Sechan said "that is just crazy," calling the energy infrastructure "essential."

Thummel made the "paid while you wait" argument for MLP space.

But Jim Lebenthal said we "have to remember" that MLPs are dominated by "yield-oriented retail investors" who have "very low tolerance for losses."

But Rob Sechan shrugged that off as "classic year-end selling."

Meanwhile, Thummel also touted PXD and apparently likes EQT and SE as well.

Pete Najarian said he's surprised that we haven't seen the "flush" of smaller energy companies. Thummel tried to argue that he only cares about the higher-end names, prompting Pete to point out that the higher-end names would be buying the lesser names, and that really hasn't happened.

Judge said Josh Brown reported from home that he would've "lit y'all up" on the MLP segment.

Joe Terranova said the one way to invest in energy that's "riskless" is the EWC.

Rob Sechan pronounced the high-yield space "OK."

Despite his MLP concerns, Jim Lebenthal backed MPC, VLO, TSO or PSX as "excellent" ways to be in energy.

Lebenthal called PBY an "awfully expensive stock."

Pete Najarian said oil is driving airline stocks.

Was this bought by JAB,
or Rex Tillerson?

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime Report decided to be as nice as possible about the GMCR deal rather than say what he was really thinking.

Najarian said he would've expected KO to have a higher pop on the deal with its "astounding" 76% premium; "I don't know that they had to go that high, quite honestly."

Jim Lebenthal also questioned the "heckuva premium."

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian had to backpedal on his buy-CMG-at-610 call because now there's "more, and more, and more" that reminds you of the automakers and their "storyline after storyline."

Joe Terranova cited "multiple quarters of uncertainty" in CMG and called it the "same situation as YUM Brands ... This takes 36 months for the smoke to clear."

Jim Lebenthal said the best CMG analogy is to Target a couple years ago.

Nobody had a convincing answer for Judge's question about what to buy in the CMG space if not CMG.

Uber’s private

Judge gave airtime on Monday's Halftime Report to the Barron's stock picks of 2016 and got a head-scratcher from Pete Najarian.

Pete said the Avago earnings report makes you "start to scratch your head" about Apple and, apparently (it was hard to determine what he was driving at), determine that the iPhone (it's been around a few years) can "continue to actually give them the fuel to be a much more incredible company going forward ... but they've gotta have something in the pipeline."

OK. Sure.

Jim Lebenthal said he likes GM, "but I gotta tell ya," he thinks it's a 1st-half-only trade.

Joe Terranova said he would "take issue" with the Barron's list, asking "where's the technology in this list" that is heavily consumer-oriented.

Rob Sechan called it a "mo-mo" list and said it lacks value.

Jim Lebenthal said he's not taking issue with Sechan but AAPL, GM and FL are all value names, "it's a little bit of the eye of the beholder."

Stephanie Link buzzed in to tell Judge "I attended a conference last week" (Drink) and managed to hear "encouraging" things about the semiconductor space. Link likes INTC, NXPI and LRCX.

Julia Boorstin said, "With a company like Uber, they're just gonna try to stay public (sic like Tony Dwyer's rate cut) as lonnnnng (sic) as possible."

Pete Najarian said he got into LULU "about a week and a half ago or so" and sees "upside from here."

[Friday, December 4, 2015]

Kara Swisher not exactly blown away by Marissa’s tenure

Josh Brown said on Friday's Halftime Report that the message of the day is not to "extrapolate" 1 day's action, because this is the market we've got.

Sarat Sethi said the market's ready for the first rate hike.

Jim Lebenthal said it looks like the Fed is committed to a "shallow liftoff trajectory."

Tobias Levkovich predicted a "better earnings trajectory" but thinks the market will start to "crack" around midyear next year.

Pairing up a couple of CNBC superfoxes, guest host Sara Eisen welcomed Deirdre Bosa, who stated, "Historically, small-caps have been a very good bet at the end of the year."

Sarat Sethi suggested Digital Globe. Josh Brown lamented that small-cap value has just been "absolutely hammered," so he'd rather own the basket.

Stephanie Link called GPS "kind of interesting."

Sarat Sethi called DLTR a "good pick," especially if you think the consumer is resilient.

Jim Lebenthal said FL will never have the multiple of NKE but may have the growth rate, which is why you buy it.

Josh Brown said "you can't own" GPRO right now, though he doesn't hate the product. Sara Eisen suggested at current prices, GPRO could be a more attractive acquisition target.

Tobias Levkovich said of Sen. Ted Cruz, "I actually met him once. I told him it's always a pleasure to meet a fellow Canadian."

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, who almost never is on the Friday show, reproduced her signature line: "If you put yesterday and today together (not that part), not that much really happened (that's the signature part) (Drink)."

Things were clumsy when Missy asked Kara Swisher "what's the latest" on Yahoo when Swisher was expecting more of a question.

Swisher briefly rolled her eyes before saying Marissa Mayer has done a "lackluster" job.

Currency is important, but honestly, it’s a boring subject

Anthony Grisanti on Friday's Halftime Report contended that "oil prices are definitely going lower."

But Jeff Kilburg said he doesn't feel like oil has downward momentum.

CNBC Europe's Steve Sedgwick was rather stoked about the OPEC meeting.

Stephanie Link said to stick with "best in breed" in the oil space. Josh Brown joked about trusting the commentary of OPEC ministers.

Jim Lebenthal predicted a crude bounce back into the "40s range."

Tobias Levkovich said that in the oil space, he likes integrateds and oil-field services, but not as much the E&P and driller names and refiners.

Meanwhile, Kathy Lien said the recent surge in euro/dollar "really gives us an opportunity to lay on fresh euro/dollar short positions; I mean we went short around 109 again."

Guest host Sara Eisen, a currency expert, wondered why U.S. stocks and the dollar were trading in lockstep. Lien didn't have a good answer but suggested the dollar strength in 2016 will "start to abate."

Steve Liesman reported that Draghi said there's "no limit" on deploying ECB tools, then the end of the program was turned over to a choppy Draghi Q&A in New York.

[Thursday, December 3, 2015]

URL’s the pearl: If ‘noise’ in the marketplace is completely unfair to Marissa, why is he on television suggesting what Yahoo should be doing?

Midway through Thursday's abbreviated Halftime Report, Judge brought in the star guest, Ross Levinsohn, and asked Levinsohn if he's had any talks about becoming Yahoo CEO.

No, said Levinsohn, insisting "it's a hypothetical" and "completely unfair to Marissa," who is "trying her hardest" to solve complex problems.

Obviously because of his appearance, Levinsohn would be interested in the gig and is happy just to have his presence out there for anyone who might be interested.

He said he still believes YHOO is an "incredible asset."

Levinsohn explained that when he was interim chief, "I thought we needed incredibly strong, business, uh, focus" with a "pinpoint strategy for who we are, where we were going. Um, if you optimize the operations, you create shareholder value. Period. End of discussion."

Straight from the management-consultant playbook.

But doesn't mean a damn thing.

Things got even more curious when Levinsohn notably suggested in the past tense that Yahoo's many alliances worked; "all those partners loved us."

Then a sobering assessment: "It's a mature business," Levinsohn said, adding mature businesses "do not innovate their way to growth."

Finally, though it's all "completely unfair" to Marissa, Levinsohn said the company should be "not having a product road map of 400 things. Do 4 things really well."

Judge asked if Levinsohn is annoyed by Bob Peck's CEO concerns. (As if Levinsohn would be irked by that.) Levinsohn called it a "distraction for the team, um, I hate to see what- the there're real people who work there. There really are."

Levinsohn said "the most fun I used to have" in Sunnyvale was walking into the cafeteria called "URLs" (we would think it's pronounced "U.R.Ls.," but Levinsohn pronounced it "Earl's") and lamented the "lives" that are being "sort of cast around day in and day out by all this noise." (Photo of URLs below per Yahoo.)

Maybe Levinsohn could've noted that foosball is so '70s?

Meanwhile, "We don't know what the tax implications are yet on Alibaba," Levinsohn said, as he and Judge bickered over the value.

As for the future of the BABA stake, Levinsohn said, "If they figure out a solution on the tax, uh, piece for that asset, uh, my guess is they spin."

If so, "Now you can really focus on what are we doin' with the core business?" he added.

Levinsohn hailed the "vibrant" core business, asserting it has "maybe a billion users."

"Do you think it's easy to support a billion users coming in every day?" Levinsohn asked, and again, we have to ask if there are really a billion human beings looking up something on Yahoo every day.

No question Levinsohn is likable and quite possibly an approachable CEO type. If we could pick CEOs to have a sit-down over a Grand Slam at 1 a.m., Levinsohn would be on the short list.

Right now he's walking a narrow line of getting his name out there without sounding like he wants someone to lose her job. So he can't be too specific about any ideas he might have.

But we highly doubt he's got any big ideas, because 1) he was already there and 2) Marissa Mayer, Jerry Yang and a whole bunch of other smart executives have been there and have not been able to rejuvenate Yahoo as a growth company.

The next Yahoo CEO will be doing the equivalent of panning for gold where a bunch of '49ers have already been.

Google is intentionally mediocre in certain platforms and could wipe out Yahoo in a few days if necessary, but it doesn't do it to avoid any antitrust concerns and share the privacy dilemma.

As for Mayer, she and Levinsohn haven't exactly been comparing notes. "I haven't seen her in years," he said.

Not sure how all this relates to the Open Presidential Year Theory

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said what Draghi said "was a little disappointing" but added that despite Thursday's noise, "Nothing's really that different to me."

Guy Adami has said about 4 or 5 times on CNBC in the last couple days that he thinks the Fed moves in December but that it's "one and done" for a year.

On the Halftime Report, Steve Liesman said Yellen's remarks provided a "window into her thinking."

Josh Brown wondered how "coordinated" Yellen and Draghi are.

Judge said some are saying Draghi did a "de facto tightening." Liesman called the market's reaction to Draghi's move "crazy" and "insane."

Joe Terranova said that "what really matters now" is not the 25 bps hike in December (Drink) but the pace of the upcoming hikes (Drink) expectation of 100 bps "over the coming year" (he hasn't compared notes with Guy Adami) and wondered if that can happen if the dollar spikes 8-9% over the year. Liesman said that Joe was agreeing with him that the euro move Thursday was overdone.

"Draghi managed this very badly," Liesman said.

Pete Najarian lamented not buying the VIX yesterday.

Paul Richards said he was surprised Thursday and that the market was surprised and chalked it up to 3 factors. Richards said the euro would either hit 1.10 or 1.0750 depending on the jobs number.

Richards said illiquidity and volatility could shake markets for the next 3-4 weeks.

Jon Najarian asserted "I would double down" on the next Draghi meeting, but Liesman warned, "I'd be a little careful with that."

Joe Terranova credited Steve Weiss for a "great question" the other day about the possibility of both stocks and bonds falling in 2016.

[Wednesday, December 2, 2015]

YHOO is the AMD of the Internet, allowed to exist so that Google avoids antitrust and privacy crackdowns

In another installment of the Halftime Report's 2nd-Favorite Parlor Game (replacing Internet CEOs, ranking ahead of whether the first rate hike or the pace of the rate hikes is what matters most), Judge on Wednesday brought in Bob Peck for an update on the machinations at YHOO.

Somehow, Peck did not suggest Sheryl is a realistic candidate for CEO. (Why not recruit Jamie Dimon?)

Instead, Peck told Judge "there's a bunch of alternatives" for Yahoo as far as maximizing (tax-free or low-tax) shareholder value.

Peck said most likely, they could "flat out sell the core," picking up $6-$8 billion with only $1-$2 billion in taxes.

The "core" of Yahoo is worth $8 billion?

You could easily buy some nice pro football franchises with that and be the No. 1-rated program on television.

Peck suggested Comcast, News Corp, CBS, AT&T, DirecTV, Softbank and Alibaba are all potential buyers who would be interested simply because somebody thought AOL was a good purchase.

Should Marissa Mayer exit, Peck named Ross Levinsohn and Dan Rosenzweig as the top 2 candidates for their "very intimate knowledge of Yahoo." Levinsohn told the program a while back that he thinks Twitter should buy Yahoo, but no one seems to think that agenda is important now for either company. (Translation: Halftime Report commentary, in one ear, out another.)

Joe Terranova asked Peck if Yahoo could actually fetch a "healthy premium value."

Peck said "there is no value" presently attributed to the core but a buyer would have "an instant way to get a billion uniques, you get the ad tech stack that you need, you get the over-the-top stuff that you need, um, there's some IP there as well."

A "billion uniques"? Over how many years? All real human beings looking up statistics and articles?

"Ad tech stack"? What is that?

The "over-the-top stuff" that they need? Businesses should be spending over the top?

Pete Najarian asked Peck for the "best" buyer. Peck suggested AT&T or Comcast.

Jon Najarian said he sold half the YHOO stake in the OptionMonster wealth-management wing and was "very, very tempted" to sell all of it because if the board doesn't do anything, "this thing goes right back down."

"Marissa has not made it happen over there," Doc said.

Stephanie Link called $6-$8 billion an "awful generous number" and suggested "maybe" $4 billion.

Greece (remember that?): No. 1

It was a quickie, but not bad.

Steve Liesman on Wednesday's Yellen-abbreviated Halftime reported Janet's favorite song from "Anthem of the Sun" admitted wishful thinking on cart-before-the-horse let's raise rates because we want it to be justified. Apparently if we understood Liesman correctly, one of Yellen's risks to waiting is that the Fed might have to suddenly tighten abruptly (snicker) (#runawayinflation), which would then cause a recession.

Yes, that's something everyone worries about, the economy suddenly scorching so far ahead that it will prompt the Fed to hike rates so quickly that we suddenly go from breakneck speed to recession.

Rick Santelli said "obviously the pace has to be almost more important" than the hike itself (Drink). Santelli said the Fed has "finally come to the conclusion" that ZIRP's effectiveness has run its course.

Liesman agreed that support for ZIRP has "eroded" at the Fed and even mentioned an increasing belief of being "out over their skis." (#billfleckensteinmoment)

Mark Haefele told Judge that if the Fed doesn't hike in December, "There are gonna be real questions about the Fed's credibility in messaging," but the "real story" is the ECB.

Haefele said he'd prefer investing where central-bank stimulus is higher, such as Europe and Japan.

Liesman said that in terms of overseas economy importance, Europe is a 10, Britain's an 8, China's a 7 and Brazil is "like a 3 or a 4."

Stephanie Link questioned if U.S. GDP can accelerate past 3% with a "manufacturing recession." Haefele said it can. "The consumer side of it is picking up," Haefele said.

Tepper’s endeavors (cont’d)

Judge on Wednesday's shortened Halftime said he went back to the July press release detailing the SUNE-TERP transaction and discovered Kirkland & Ellis "acted as M&A counsel for both companies" and that Skadden was finance counsel to each also.

Ed Morse of Citigroup said "nothing's likely to happen" at OPEC.

Judge noted Morse predicts $55 WTI by the end of 2016.

Joe said 38.24 is the key level for crude, the Aug. 24 low.

The 5 p.m. Fast Money was preempted by the latest senseless incident; Jane Wells delivered awesome reporting.

[Tuesday, December 1, 2015]

Weiss doesn’t bottom-pick except when he bottom-picks

Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime Report asserted that he's not a bottom-picker, deriding the "infatuation" with doing so, while "all that's done is let you pick the bottom again because they keep going lower."

Moments later he revealed, "I added Akamai today ... this is when you have to buy it."

Later in the program, Weiss indicated he bought DLTR after it got crushed in the 1st quarter and rode it to gains.

Joe Terranova said to stay with "what has worked, year to date," then unleashed a notion he didn't seem very sold on.

Joe said that since 2006, "there is this theory" that from Dec. 1 through the end of February, the bottom third of stocks tend to outperform the top third.

Atul Lele stressed he likes equities over bonds and has a "very strong preference" for developed markets, predicting "a lot more downside" to emerging markets.

Jon Najarian praised Lele's pick of the homebuilders. Lele said it's based on rare robust income growth.

Stephen Weiss thinks banks are "still cheap stocks," and he's sticking with C (snicker).

Pete said he's out of the ACAS option trade but is in FITB calls for "at least 2 weeks," a trade he repeated on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Weiss: Apple Watch tables
are ghost towns

Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime Report said, "I've been in the Apple Store so many times because of just having to cycle (sic) the products," and there's nobody at the "ghost town" watch tables.

Weiss said "there's something wrong" with the multiple comparison between AAPL and IBM.

Atul Lele said he likes EBAY as a "cheaper play" than AMZN on online spending.

Judge cross-promoted Cramer's suggestion of stocks that are "Un-Amazon-able."

Doc said Parisians wouldn't have to go out to Costco to fill up their tiny refrigerators.

Doc said he bought SCTY stock and options with his own real money and also in the Halftime Portfolio, citing 48% short interest.

Judge and Joe Terranova agreed that Joe doesn't have any more Halftime Portfolio trades left.

If the shoe fits ...

Corinna Freedman, who spent much of Tuesday's Halftime Report either smiling or smirking at Judge's questions, said that because of its presence in footwear and athleisure, NKE is "best positioned for this market right now" in an era of "markdown pressures" at the mall.

Freedman apparently doesn't think much of UA, stating that name is more into the apparel end than shoes and "there's a lot of inventory in the channel;" also it's more North American than global. (This writer is long UA.)

That of course prompted outrage from Pete Najarian, who asked Freedman when she'll "flip back" to bullish UA.

Freedman said it would take "valuation," or a "balanced" level of risk/reward.

Freedman allowed that "macro" and softness in basketball are risks to Nike. Doc actually suggested that Kobe's retirement will not be bad but good for basketball attire in that it "focuses folks back in on it."

Joe Terranova asked Freedman how she gets to 58 on KORS. Freedman said she upgraded after the last quarter believing negative sentiment was fully priced in, but that was before the weather issues, but she still thinks the negative sentiment is baked in.

But she conceded it's "a little bit more of a longer-term play."

Doc: Automakers should
charge more

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report bemoaned "how deeply they're discounting" cars, suggesting it's "nuts" to give $6,500 off a $40,000 car; "that's their whole margin right there."

Stephen Weiss said he'd sell VW "right away" but the long plays are the suppliers.

Judge asked Joe Terranova for an auto play if we're at peak sales. Joe suggested GM, which has "gotten past the recall."

Joe noted the rebound of a lot of energy names including the large integrateds, but he said he "would not touch" a lot of the weaker shale players.

Scott Nations said OPEC is pumping as much as it can and exceeding quotas. Jim Iuorio called 40-41 "huge support in the January contract" for WTI.

Doc agreed with Cowen on YUM's potential. Joe said he can't make the case that YUM will outperform its peers, asserting "the recovery has happened in Yum."

But Pete said YUM has "not been able to recover."

Steve Weiss, who said "day and age" (sic redundant), said Tepper never criticizes companies publicly, "so there has gotta be a major, major wrong" to take on Terraform.

Doc noted NUAN was hitting 52-week highs.

Joe said he's troubled by talk of rates being 100 bps higher a year from now (snicker), cautioning viewers, "Don't play that game."

Steve Liesman reported that Charles Evans is resigned to the likelihood of a rate hike and just wants to see a "gradual" path of increases (Drink).

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