[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, February 2012]
[Wednesday, February 29, 2012]

William Shatner tells Charlie Rose he unloaded PCLN at the bottom

If you're ever one of those people who occasionally looks at your long-term stock accounts and realized, "Gee whiz, I'm the worst trader of all time" (lotta hands going up around here), know that you've got company on the USS Enterprise.

William Shatner paid his first visit to Charlie Rose's show Wednesday, and Charlie (how does he do the interview show plus CBS mornings?) told Shatner, "Some people believe that Priceline.com has made you a very rich man."

Shatner explained "I'm a business major," and so, "I know a little bit about being locked up" with stock in an "original" company. He said, "I did indeed negotiate, uh, getting stock ... when it first started," and the shares of course skyrocketed, and then after a year, year and a half when the lockup ended, "the moment you could sell it, it was worth pennies."

Charlie wanted to make sure Shatner didn't dump it all at that time. "I sort of did," Shatner admitted, though he said he doesn't remember for sure.

By ‘I’m not sure,’ he really means, ‘I sure as hell don’t think’

Doug Kass reiterated/outlined his short thesis in detail on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, and once again Ron Insana was on hand to stand in the way like Patrick Roy circa 1986.

"I shorted American Express today," Kass said, citing high gasoline, and said another name to look at is Regal Cinema, not because that's where Steve Cortes once reported making out for the first time, but because of the "absurdly high concession and admission costs" (gosh, when did that become a new thesis?), then RTH, then the fact he's an "anti-dentite" and suggests shorting Henry Schein, and finally China, "you can short the FXI," and maybe even MS and GS too.

"Dougie it's Karen let me ask you something," chirped Karen Finerman, wondering if his long oil platform coupled with a slowdown in emerging markets could be "at odds with one another." Kass insisted there could be moderation in emerging markets and an "exogenous event" in the Middle East.

Ron Insana pointed out that there's a number of angles Kass is suggesting that, if true, would produce a market collapse, and that bonds haven't fallen apart. "I'm not sure the premise is right," Insana said.

Once again, being long gold in non-U.S.-dollar terms pays off for Dennis Gartman

A day earlier, Dennis Gartman recommended long gold on Fast Money.

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. edition, Gartman said, "I gotta admit, this was really quite a day" in gold, and if you own it, "you have no choice" but to sell.

(And, Fast Money viewers probably have no choice but to expect a series of Guy Adami theoretical updates on whether this is anything more than a pinching of John Paulson.)

Anyway, Gartman reported a silver lining thanks to one of his patented cliches. "I lost a whole lot less being long gold in euro terms, and long gold in yen terms, than by being long of gold outright," Gartman said, while taking the opportunity to ask a lot of questions of himself. "Sometimes you play defense," he said.

Pete Najarian said all hope should not be lost in the GLD, that some "very large folks" are shifting from March to May in buying calls.

Karen predicts endurance of Fast Money franchise

In television, sometimes just airing a program for a single season can be a monster accomplishment.

And so it speaks well of Karen Finerman's optimism for Fast Money when, discussing SPLS on Wednesday's 5 p.m. episode, she said the stock should be a long-term performer, something to hold for maybe 2 years, when "we'll still be here."

(Critic's note: And that will be great, provided something is done about this 2-hour split format.)

Finerman said the company has a "valuation that's incredibly attractive," and the biggest complaint of shorts, AMZN, needs to be weighed against the fact SPLS is the No. 2 Internet retailer.

"I did buy a little more today. I probably will buy some tomorrow," Finerman said.

Ron Insana confirms Melissa’s conclusions about panel’s interest in video games

Almost every day, you can learn something new on Fast Money.

Glue Mobile chief Niccolo De Masi (we'd never heard of the company before) revealed on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show, "My firm GLUU is actually the only listed company in North America that's solely focused on making games in the free-to-play business model for specifically Apple and Google's platforms."

But ultimately, it sounded more like De Masi was speaking more to the tech giants than Fast Money viewers, assuring Mel Lee his company is shareholder-friendly, and it's "always willing to enter those conversations with uh, with any suitor."

"Uh, it's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman at one point, wondering about the company's percentage of players who actually buy something. De Masi said it's "very similar" to Zynga, something like 2%.

Lee concluded afterwards that the Fast Money panel probably doesn't fully appreciate this business because "We're probably a different generation" than the audience for this stuff.

Ron Insana said, "I hate to say this; they're all fad stocks."

Karen Finerman sort of rebuffed and confirmed that at the same time, saying, "Actually do own some at the firm. It is not my position."

Karen wonders if Greater Fools aren’t finding a home in AAPL weekly options

One of Karen Finerman's strengths as a money manager is maintaining an emotional detachment from her holdings, never more evidenced than her recent skepticism of the daily moves in AAPL.

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Finerman flat-out asked Pete Najarian if the weekly 570 calls in AAPL could possibly represent fundamental changes in the company rather than just the "Greater Fool Theory." Pete sort of argued that they can, after a brief interruption from Mel Lee, that once something like a new iPad is unveiled, they sell in a hurry.

Finerman shrugged that the stock could be up $11 because people suddenly figured out there's going to be a new iPad, but Ron Insana tried to claim they're envisioning a dividend also.

Finerman said a big reason why big-cap tech has been pushing the Nasdaq to 3,000 is that "valuations were just absurd."

Ron Insana said not to fear a rising Nasdaq; "we're nowhere close to the valuations" of 1999.

Pete Najarian thundered that the "law of large numbers" argument about AAPL "just doesn't stand up." Joe Terranova said he wonders if Steve Jobs would've been interested in owning all of DIS.

Once again, another program in which RIMM is a no-show

David Pogue visited the Fast Money set for Wednesday's 5 p.m. show and delivered an appealing visual of what Microsoft plans to do to tablets.

Pogue said it's going to be about a "Start screen" rather than the Start menu button, and that it can work with 2 monitors, "the old Windows is still hiding just under the surface."

He said it gives Microsoft "a fighting chance at tablets and phones," and that the touch portion of Windows 8 is more appealing than the desktop PC version. "The people who try it will love it," he said.

Karen Finerman said there's nothing wrong with a good product, but Microsoft is already so far behind in the tablet space that it's not a big incentive to buy the stock.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to hedge NE; Joe Terranova said NXPI. Ron Insana advised paring down AAPL. Karen Finerman said to buy SPLS at $14.50 or lower. Pete Najarian touted INTC; "I bought more today."

Haven’t heard much about
Research in Motion and Yahoo for a while

Somebody at CNBC makes the big bucks for making tough calls such as whether to show Ben Bernanke's Capitol Hill testimony or Judge Wapner's Fast Money Halftime Report on Wednesday, and to be honest, this one is sort of a push, and we might even lean more toward Judge.

Some Bernanke hearings are more intriguing than others. Wednesday's was an utter dud.

On the other hand, having Colin Gillis talk about AAPL's market cap isn't exactly Evel Knievel hopping over 14 Greyhounds (that's buses, not racing dogs) at King's Island either.

Gillis, whose camera ultimately ran amok, said that as the No. 1-ranked market cap, AAPL, "you know, it's only got, you know, it's only got room to fall," and said MSFT is more promising at this point, partly because 47% of machines out there are still running Windows XP.

Josh Brown said one thing for MSFT and INTC is that the "shareholder base has changed" over the years and thus the stocks are "getting more interesting," but he wouldn't be buying based on Windows 8.

Ben Bernanke, but not the Fast Money Halftime gang, talked about gas prices.

Yesterday Dennis Gartman
recommended long gold

Stephen Weiss maximized the most of his meager minutes on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to say he likes TBF, the "risk/reward in bond market is terrible," and he evidently maximized his down time off-camera to buy SODA.

Brian Kelly said the Fed chairman has "taken away that Bernanke put." But Kelly said viewers can stay in stocks, but "I think you need to wait on gold right now."

Steve Cortes, whose official position on gold in Against the Herd was to avoid it in either direction, said stocks weren't doing much Wednesday but it's a day of precious metals. "I think gold and silver remain very dangerous," and "I wish I were short both of them," he said.

Josh Brown said he doesn't understand the negative reaction to possibly reduced prospects for QE3. "Why would we want QE3," Brown asked.

Guest Andrew Burkly predicted the S&P would hit 1,300 before 1,400, which is a bit at odds with Guy Adami's recent expectations. Burkly said the 2% monthly hike since the bull market began tends to slow by the 3rd year and that he expects a "soft patch" maybe over 6-8 weeks, in part because short interest is now at the lower end of the range.

"I think he makes excellent points," said Steve Cortes.

Mitch Pinheiro, with a $60 target, said SodaStream's selloff is sort of predictable and not catastrophic and that the stock is "still an early stage trend."

Josh Brown wasn't impressed. "I'm not a buyer, I, I think it's a little bit faddy," Brown said. Stephen Weiss for his Final Trade said he picked up some shares during the break (apparently taking a pass on DMND).

Weiss said "it would've been a mistake" for VVUS not to do an offering now and strike while the iron's hot.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was short yen using FXY. Steve Cortes said to sell solar, and Josh Brown said if you're in cash, try the SPY and at least "do something." Tyler Mathisen seemed locked in a permanent grimace during a technical glitch during the Power Lunch promo.

[Tuesday, February 28, 2012]

Keith McCullough matches
Dennis Gartman desk attire standards, sticks it to Dennis’ overcooked ‘been doin’ this 35 years’ cliche

Yale 1, Akron 0.

Most of Dennis Gartman's standard cliches, good or bad, go unchecked by the Fast Money crew.

But that was before the Commodities King ran into Keith McCullough.

McCullough on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money dissected his own portfolio, explaining his month-end positions (interesting no one else on the show does that) and said the goal is to "be careful of what's being marked up."

McCullough said he's "long inflation ... and we wanna be short growth." So he said that calls for TIPs, and to be long gold, and that he swapped out of the XLF into utilities, where he would "own the dog for its dividend yield."

Mel Lee, in a sexy blue turtleneck, said she noticed that McCullough had gone from 91% cash at the end of January to 52% and wondered where it went. McCullough seemed to misinterpret the question as meaning, either way, it's a lot of cash, so why, and said there's a big difference between managing your own money and other peoples' money (certainly correct), and that the Fed is putting too much inflation in the system.

That's where Dennis Gartman jumped in, with a look of skepticism, saying that he's only been doing this 35 years, and the Fed chairman is telling you he wants you to be in, and so, "Why would you fade him ... why would you fade the Fed?"

McCullough said it doesn't matter whether one's been doing it for 35 years, or 13 years, or even a couple days, but "at the end of the day" (he said that a couple times) it's an issue of the Fed not being able to fully control what it's inflating.

Scott Minerd evidently does not believe what he would read in Against the Herd

After butting heads on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money with Dennis Gartman, Keith McCullough evidently was feelin' it when Scott Minerd moments later made the case for risk-on for years to come.

Minerd, ushering in the inaugural Fast Money Portfolio feature, said "The world is just being flooded with liquidity," that it's risk-on time and time to be long high-beta, while at the same time expect a "pretty ugly correction in Treasurys" for 2-3 years.

"It's Karen I agree with you" about the macro level, Karen Finerman said to Minerd, without seeking clearance to ask her question.

When it got around to McCullough, though, Minerd got a direct challenge as McCullough summarized Minerd's argument as meaning inflation doesn't slow growth. "How did that work for you last year?"

Minerd said last year's commodity-price-induced slowdown actually marked a "great buying opportunity for risk assets" in what was merely "temporary bursts of price activity ... transient."

Karen Finerman said she likes oil services in Minerd's scenario but cautioned that inflation could hurt financials. Guy Adami pointed to gold, which he said has seen an "unabated rally" since the Paulson-led selloff.

And if FSLR was SHLD, it would be up 12% on this news

The Fast Money open mike (you can hear it quite clearly on the Web as opposed to TV) sometimes provide interesting perspective, as on Tuesday's 5 p.m. show when preeminent FSLR critic Gordon Johnson said "their stuff is not working in the field," and fairly quiet peals of laughter were heard ... from somewhere.

Johnson said the FSLR earnings print was "much worse than meets the eye," and in a series of mortifying (for any longs) pronouncements, called this new news, "huge red flag ... this is a game-changer" and potentially a "game-ender."

Johnson said First Solar does have a contract with the Department of Energy, but notably said while it could be a "black eye" for the administration, the White House wouldn't have known something like this was coming. Dennis Gartman cracked, "It's not a DOE loan, it's a DOA."

Why put down 30% if you can get a 3% mortgage?

Doug Yearley, CEO of TOL, said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the company is feeling the best it's felt in 5 years (and we're probably going to be hearing that phrase increased by 1 year every year for years) and that they're keeping their "fingers crossed," but the homebuying market is getting stronger because "people are sick and tired of waiting."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," chirped Karen Finerman, wondering if buyers are having trouble getting loans. "Not for us," Yearley said, saying TOL buyers put down 30% and "they're not even maxing out."

Yearley said TOL's toughest competition is the small regional builders, many of whom were "destroyed" in the housing collapse, and that TOL's hottest markets are New York, Hoboken and Brooklyn.

Keith McCullough scoffed at the TOL gains since October, pointing to its longer-term chart and asserting, "To me it's like comparing it to tulips." Not only that, "demand doesn't look like it's a layup from a long-term perspective."

Guy Adami said the trade in the space continues to be Home Depot.

Gartman: Oil/nat gas to narrow

Guy Adami said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money he thinks the stock market has maybe 50 more S&P 500 points in it, while conceding the transports are "trying to warn you" that it's not all blue clear skies.

Dennis Gartman said he too is "very leery of what's going on" in that the transports are not "co-extensive." Keith McCullough opined that "A top is a process, not a point."

Gartman said "I think crude oil prices are about to come down," then later explained, "I sold some crude today," which didn't feel good right away, then the "bottom fell out."

Gartman told Melissa Lee he expects a narrowing of the crude/natural gas spread and drew comparisons to what they were at 6 months ago. Guy Adami said a TSO short could be your play, which could go to $22.50 or $23.

Fast gang sets record Tuesday for most references to talking about stuff off-camera

In a fairly interesting feature (far more interesting than all the references to conversations viewers never actually heard) on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, panelists took up a smattering of stocks that have actually outperformed AAPL for 3 years.

One of them, BWA, suffered a "hiccup" (terminology that Mel Lee liked) last year, according to Guy Adami, and "it's not all that sexy, but it's a tremendous stock."

Keith McCullough said it's all about "performance chasing." Karen Finerman said what she wants to know about those big winners is, "What kind of leverage do they have," but then she conceded Whole Foods has none despite monster gains.

Dennis Gartman said some, such as IP, are doing it with job cuts. "They laid an entire city off frankly" in Virginia, Gartman said, and how exactly does a company lay off an entire city?

Somewhere in the conversation, Karen Finerman said AAPL "feels a little frothy." McCullough pointed out it's up "18% for the month." Melissa Lee said the Goldman Sachs survey finds just 4% of AAPL is owned by hedge funds.

Adami: ‘Step on the gas’
in silver

A Twitterer on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money asked about SLW, and Guy Adami declared, "Now's the time to step on the gas."

Guest Gerard Cassidy spent his time gushing about JP The Great, calling JPM "one of our top picks ... great opportunities for this company."

Larry McDonald also guested, with little to no dramatics, purportedly to talk about Greece default but saying systemic risk has stopped commodity rallies since 2008, prompting Mel Lee to ask for a prediction like the reporter in "Rocky III" talking to Clubber Lang. "I think there's going to be a default of some kind," McDonald said.

Keith McCullough revealed he and McDonald tweet about this stuff early in the a.m. every day, and that "they're all gaming the game." McDonald said the LTRO above 700 is bad for euro but probably good for gold.

Keith McCullough's Final Trade was to short XLY. Guy Adami said PAAS. Karen Finerman said TGT, and Dennis Gartman said to buy gold, sell crude.

Sleepy Gina Sanchez accuses Brian Kelly of not reading the ‘whole’ RGE Monitor report

We were hoping to find Patty Edwards — who sort of mocked, via Twitter, skipping the Oscars for a hockey game only to sort of sound like she wished she really was watching the Oscars — on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, didn't happen; instead we did get Gina Sanchez, who unfortunately looked to be in dire need of a couple more hours of sleep while leaning first awkwardly into the camera and then to her left in a discussion that was a little off-kilter in more ways than one.

Sanchez said RGE isn't unloading but is cautious now; "we're thinking about it ... eyeing the exits," though she said she still likes consumer staples and consumer discretionary.

Brian Kelly asserted, "It was the beginning of February that, uh, your firm turned bullish," and demanded to know what had changed. Sanchez fired back, "If you actually read the whole report of what I said, we were still cautious then as well." (Good thing she summarized, because hopefully not too many people want/need to read the entire RGE Monitor report.)

Judge felt compelled to jump in and second Kelly's question; what's different now than the beginning of February. Sanchez said the good things they thought would happen have happened.

Brian Kelly insists it’ll only take 3 big things to make investment banks ‘fly’

Brian Kelly said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that investment banks are getting money at 2%, which is "essentially free money" given 2% inflation.

And for the stocks to go up, "all you have to do is get some kind of regulatory relief, have the Volcker Rule not be as bad as everybody's expecting, and get any kind of uptick on the housing market, and these names are really set to fly (bought XLF morning and KRE) Paul Miller said JPM's a decent choice but "right now the environment's still tough," and it's a "tight trading range."

Zach Karabell continued to douse enthusiasm for banks. "It's not an interesting trading and/or market call for me," Karabell said.

Judge says ‘sucks’

In another sign Susan Krakower should take seriously this site's idea of an AAPL show, Dan Ernst guested on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to rattle off the last decade of Apple Computer/Inc. and said of his $700 target; "Apple is absolutely cheap."

Steve Cortes offered a note of caution on PCLN, pointing out airlines haven't rallied this month.

Herb Greenberg complained that ODP's same-store sales were actually down 5%. Judge Wapner argued that the stock is up big in 2012. Herb groaned that "year to date is a ridiculous metric." Judge then scoffed that he's sure the people who bought ODP at the beginning of the year think their 63% gain "sucks."

It was the first time we've seen the "Herb's blood pressure" graphic.

George Davis offered what might be a timely currency trade, short euro/Aussie, although his interview was anything but timely, as viewers had time to put in an order at Schwab.com by the time Davis heard Judge's question.

Joe Terranova got the lone Final Trade, OXY.

Joe exits AAPL short;
Cortes seeks ‘dry powder’

Apparently taking only minimal loss, Joe Terranova revealed on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I'm out of Apple, I got out of Apple yesterday. I gotta tell you Scott, it feels good to be out of Apple because it subsequently has rallied."

Judge chuckled about being happy about being out of the short. Terranova said the key is keeping the losses small.

It was an interesting try; there was a chance, had the market tanked at all in the last week, it could've been one of the biggest calls of the year, but honestly it did sound a bit at the time like picking up pennies in front of the train, or however Tim Seymour's analogy goes.

Terranova said the market keeps drifting higher, because "everyone's getting too cute trying to pick the top."

Steve Cortes, meanwhile, crowed about taking profits in bonds, not because he no longer likes the asset, but because he wants "dry powder to try to go after shares from the short side."

Zach Karabell said the bond environment actually helps make things "quite bullish for equities" because there are "very very few places to go" for a return. Brian Stutland said the "market's actually begging you" to sell upside calls.

All it took was a few comments from Mr. Folksy and suddenly housing is like AAPL

Doug Kass paid a visit to Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report via the Fast Line, but his wait-for-the-inevitable-pullback claim ultimately ran into a tough hombre in the form of Zach Karabell.

Kass started off claiming "the weaker regions are masking the developing recovery in housing" and said there could be a housing boom cycle through the end of the decade.

But then he stressed a couple of conditions that figure to be an overhang on the market, including the likelihood of Barack Obama's re-election ("I'm a Democrat, but most investors feel that a Republican administration would be more business- and market-friendly, and I agree with that").

Kass also flagged the surge in gasoline prices (though he didn't say people are going out of their way to Costco to pump gas and then buy more stuff inside), saying, "historically it has not paid uh, to own equities during this period."

When Steve Cortes, who got a hiatus apparently from the book/speaking tour but apparently hits Georgetown this week, challenged Kass on housing, Kass first told him to "get out of that bond market man." Cortes insisted, "I took profits on my bond longs this morning," but he still likes it in general."

Anyway, Cortes said if we're gonna be talking about bottoms, it should be "J. Lo or perhaps Ice-T's girlfriend," and that "we're not seeing an appreciable uptick in new home-loan demand" and thus there's a "systemic problem here."

Kass told Judge Wapner that he's got a "shopping list," for "if the market comes in, say, 4 or 5 or 6%," which includes HD, LOW, ETFC, and also BAC, C and XLF. Zach Karabell pointed out that Kass called at the beginning of the year for a new high in stocks, and "how long do you wait for the pullback to happen" if the market continues to rise. Kass called it a "great question" and then mumbled about his "ambitious 1,550 target" and how it's "less of an outlier" now and then invoked Rocco in a difficult-not-impossible opinion and concluded with a "wait and see" tangent that utterly dodged the question and either referred to his call for the high or the pullback, we're not sure.

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

Gary Kaminsky says notion of Moynihan inheriting a bad situation is ‘b.s.’

Gary Kaminsky addressed with Carl Quintanilla on Tuesday's Squawk on the Street a couple subjects recently covered on Fast Money, namely the notion of Ken Lewis' mess being dumped on Brian Moynihan (which was referenced by Stephen Weiss the other day in saying Moynihan's done a "great job").

"That's just b.s.," Kaminsky said. "Moynihan was part of that team."

Kaminsky also said he heard Mr. Tortoise-shell glasses say yesterday that he owned JPM but only in his personal account, and that Kaminsky in his money-managing days would've taken heat for something like that, and for Berkshire's "closed end" investors, there's "no added value there."

Only in technical analysis is a stock/ETF a buy and a sell at the same time

On a quiet 5 p.m. Fast Money on Monday, Carter Worth unleashed the biggest head-scratcher.

Worth pointed out the chart of XHB and said the short-term pop means "sell" for intermediate-term holders, but the longer-term chart shows the beginning of an uptrend. So, it's a "buy and a sale the exact same time depending on who you are in the market."

It's kind of hard to go wrong with that kind of thinking. After all AAPL on Monday was down, and then it was up, so on Friday you were sort of right no matter which direction you had it.

Worth resorted to his most popular cliche, all those old buyers at higher prices looking to get made whole, and said this is why a pause in small caps is to be expected, but should be "benign" (which we haven't heard from Guy Adami for a while) and "complacent" even in other indexes.

Worth said GNK threw a monkey wrench in his previous buy call with its secondary, but "stick with the trade." Scott Nations said options players have decided the opposite, to "collect a lot of premium at these levels" because they think the move is over.

Karen Finerman said of housing, "I think the bottom's in for the stocks," but she went to great lengths to make clear that's different than the industry itself. Anthony Scaramucci said he thinks the bottom's in housing, but he thinks the stocks have gotten overvalued.

Karen: ‘I don’t know what’s continuing to make the market go up’

It wasn't too long ago when Mark Fisher chastised the Fast Money gang for sort of feeling they've got a have an opinion on everything, and maybe there are some things you just don't know.

Karen Finerman on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money would've made Fisher smile, admitting, "I don't know what's continuing to make the market go up. I don't."

Guy Adami painted something of a win-win scenario, asserting the market doesn't give you this much opportunity to sell at the top if it's going lower, but that a blowoff top could be coming that will ultimately give the shorts a chance, perhaps at the May 2008 highs of 1425.

Scott Nations said there are still nonbelievers sitting on the sidelines who will be good for stocks in the long run.

Anthony Scaramucci said in 2012, "it's very hard for these hedge fund guys" (and we know tons of people will sympathize with that), because most of them are less net-long exposure than the general market. He said what's winning are "reflation trades."

Perhaps tempting fate again, Scaramucci returned again to his AAPL size theory, saying it didn't hold last year, but "they are at some point gonna get up against those big, big behemoth numbers." Dan Nathan basically agreed, saying, "Everybody owns it, you know at some point, I think something's gotta give here."

The Moochmeister said AAPL is one of the longest positions in hedge funds and so he agreed with Nathan. But even though he's a hip guy, Scaramucci still called it "Apple Computer" (they changed the name to Apple Inc. a few years ago).

How come EXPE never hired Leonard Nimoy?

Guy Adami on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money took up PCLN during Monday's impressive afterhours action and said he's actually not going to recommend pulling the ripcord, but in fact the stock unlike, say, CRM, does make sense at its post-earnings valuation.

Adami asked guest Aaron Kessler the profound question of how high can the stock go. "It can definitely go higher than 700," Kessler said.

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, reliably, wondering who is taking the hit from Priceline's success. Kessler, who has a $685 price target, suggested it's travel package tour operators.

Guy Adami and Melissa Lee did that William Shatner banter again. "I'll arm-wrestle him right now, I mean, winner takes The Negotiator label," Adami said. Anthony Scaramucci said he had a "Star Trek" communicator in 1974.

Karen is trading a stock none of her TV colleagues knows anything about

In the category of Stocks Discussed on Fast Money That Fast Money Viewers Will Almost Certainly Never Buy, we're gonna have to start including Australia's own surfwear maker Billabong.

Karen Finerman predicted on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that TPG's last bid is not the end of this story. "I don't think it's over yet ... there's still value there," Finerman said. "We're long Billabong."

Mel Lee asked a question about a TPG's interest and said "at the end of the day."

The conversation ended on a flat little space of dead air, as no one else had anything to offer on this trade, and the transition proved a bit choppy.

Evonne Goolagong was not someone who played tennis against Bobby Riggs, but he did defeat Margaret Court.

Tim Seymour wasn’t on to say BAC stole Merrill

For the longest time, you could've said JPM was the most popular stock on Fast Money, everyone from Stephen Weiss to Karen Finerman scooping up bucketloads of the always-too-cheap stock.

Until, apparently, people finally got sick of it last year.

Jamie Cox guested on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to say that Jamie Dimon doesn't have a grand announcement up his sleeve, but would "expound upon his comments on housing."

Now, that sounds even more exciting than "The Artist."

Cox said the stock should probably grind higher, but something like a $10 move in 2 months is "just not in the cards."

Karen Finerman delivered her old reliable intro, "It's Karen, let me ask you something," and returned to her most desperate refrain, when will the "normalized earnings" return. Cox said he expects a "gravitation back to the banks," and he also said he's against a breakup of JPM.

Dan Nathan said, "I think a lot of the easy money's been made."

Our favorite bank trade — not like it's a popular category — is Steve Cortes' BAC short, and it's important to note it's not because we're rooting against BAC longs, but rather just because this is one of the more competitive trading challenges you'll see, big moves happening almost every day. (But then again, he's busy not only managing trades these days but a book tour, so he might've thrown in the towel at some point.)

Carter Worth pointed to BAC's chart as making a bearish to bullish reversal, same for GS; "all financials look this way."

What the heck — nothing about rising gas prices hurting the economy, pumping gas at COST, Brian Kelly’s 4%-to-8% savings-rate spike ...

Money in Motion brains & beauty Rebecca Patterson is turning her attention to Sverige, calling it on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money part of "broader Europe." She wants to be long U.S. dollar and short the krona and says you can jump in right now.

Karen Finerman pointed to the Fast Money stock of the year for 2011 (our call), GLNG, as way better than Cheniere in gas exporting.

Anthony Scaramucci said JNJ maybe is more expensive than Pfizer, but "I like it a great deal."

Guy Adami hailed DIS, saying it's "definitely going to 45," and that it's all about "media content ... they're crushing it."

This page is "media content" too.

But we're not exactly "crushing it."

For his Final Trade, Scott Nations said he was buying put spreads in SPY. Anthony Scaramucci mentioned MSFT, Guy Adami mentioned WLK, Karen Finerman said "Hi it's Karen let me ask you about a Final Trade" (no, that was only a joke, she didn't say that) ... and spelled out COV for viewers. Dan Nathan recommended viewers "consider stock replacement in the banks."

Analyst actually says he’d buy BRK on naming of successor only if that person were himself

Meyer Shields took part in the best Fast Money Halftime Report segment Monday that somehow was left to the end of the program.

After explaining to Judge Wapner that the only difference between BRK-A and BRK-B is a "mathematical equation between the 2," Shields asserted, unlike Whitney Tilson, the shares are trading in the normal relative range to the S&P and so "there's no particularly attractive opportunity in Berkshire now."

Judge harped on Shields' contention in a note that Buffett's succession is a reason to be wary of the stock and asked if that's legit. Shields said that according to actuarial tables, no one lives forever, so yes it's an issue. Stephen Weiss asked Shields if the disclosure of the successor's name would give him "comfort" toward buying the stock. "Um, the honest answer is no, other than myself," Shields said, explaining that Berkshire gets opportunities that only happen to someone of Buffett's reputation.

And most of the CNBC viewers on treadmills can point to that and say, ‘Not for me’

Vivus chief Leland Wilson said the FDA advisory panel's recommendation for Qnexa sends a "very powerful signal" that approval will happen, apparently April 16-17, according to Wilson.

He told Judge Wapner Vivus will launch the drug alone in the U.S., explaining it's got $145 million in the bank.

Judge actually said later that Vivus has 145 "billion" dollars in the bank, which would surely prompt some outrage from Karen Finerman about cash deployment if true.

Wilson and Judge tangled a bit over how many patients will be prescribed the drug and whether it's just for the morbidly obese. Wilson indicated not everyone will get it, but it's not just for the morbidly obese.

Pete Najarian asked what this drug might do to lap bands. Wilson said the drug targets that gap between people trying to lose more than the diet/exercise 3-5% and people needing 20% who might pick the lap band.

Stephen Weiss: Brian Moynihan has done a ‘great job’

Stephen Weiss said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he bought JPM after Mr. toroise-shell glasses said he likes WFC.

Fair enough. But then Weiss went on to praise the BAC chief. "I actually think Moynihan's done a great job."

"Great job? He's done a great job?" challenged Judge Wapner.

Weiss said Moynihan was dealt a terrible situation but conceded he's maybe not the "best personality out there."

Tim Allen launched career in home improvement, yet to get Oscar nomination

Peter Keith said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that LOW had a "good, but not a great quarter."

Keith said, we think, that Home Depot has more urban advantages with store locations. He added that a "very large majority" of pro investors prefer HD to LOW, calling that a "little bit worrisome." Steve Grasso said "this market has rewarded those consensus longs."

Pete Najarian said Keith made the case, but not for LOW. "I think you have to go to Home Depot."

Mark Mahaney said PCLN, contrary to what some may think, isn't really a William Shatner story, but the market-share aggregator that gives hotels the best cut. However, there are "a lot of headwinds this quarter related to fx," but "we like the stock."

Jeff Kilburg’s ‘prop’ trade

Jeff Kilburg, who donned his Fightin' Irish helmet on air (just in case any bigwigs didn't know he played football there and might be impressed), told Judge and the Monday Fast Money Halftime Report gang that oil is experiencing "a little bit of a breather," but it's time to "buckle the chin strap" and watch oil continue while stocks go lower.

Steve Grasso asked if oil has reached the point where it's stifling GDP. "I think we're there," Kilburg said, arguing at one point that the gas-price increase has wiped out QEWhatever.

Steve Grasso said RIG has "probably another 10 to 15% upside possible" and made it his Final Trade. He said for right now, 1,350 and 1,343 are key S&P support levels, but 1,370 is most important; a breakout there and it's north of 1,400.

Pete Najarian said he likes adding to rails such as NSC, and that it's clearly a "risk-on" market. Pete said he continues to add to AAPL, mocked those who speak of the law of large numbers, and insisted, "this is not a valuation situation." Stephen Weiss said markets are in a "consolidating phase."

Best guess is that Englewood Cliffs will be shorting RIMM

Herb Greenberg claimed on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report he's been ahead of the curve on ESRX and MHS. "I certainly have been somebody who's been out there raising some red flags over the entire PBM world," Greenberg said.

Stephen Weiss opined the sector's a buy assuming this goes through, because of the "pretty good shot at increasing pricing."

"Think of what you just said! Increasing pricing!" Greenberg bellowed. (Update: There was a typo in this passage earlier.)

Weiss revealed that CNBC staffers can now choose between iPhones and BlackBerrys (wonder when the early results of that will be taken up on Fast Money).

Jon Najarian said for his Final Trade he likes the FSLR puts. Stephen Weiss said he's going to short ANR later Monday. Pete Najarian trumpeted WLK and HUN.

Mike Murphy’s WHR short
getting manhandled Monday

We couldn't figure out why Mike Murphy did a U-turn on Whirlpool, and maybe we were onto something.

Murphy rode a tremendous gain in the stock into January, then suddenly changed course for no obvious, first saying he was getting short in the $60s, and then defending it around $70 (see below).

Murphy told Judge Wapner on Monday's Halftime he's feeling "pain" but is still in the short and even added to it.

Just another entry in the category of Pros Continuing to Outguess Themselves Instead of Just Buying AAPL (cont'd).

Speaking of which, Joe Terranova's AAPL short, which had a decent opening Monday, quickly found buyers (hardly a surprise).

And, let's not forget Dan Dicker advised people to lighten up on RIG on Jan. 27, with the stock in the upper $40s.

Whitney Tilson ups BRK-A
‘intrinsic value’ to $180,000

In the category of Pros Continuing to Outguess Themselves Instead of Just Buying AAPL (cont'd) …

Whitney Tilson, billed as an A-lister to help debut CNBC's NYSE set on Monday, took a chair with Mel Lee and Carl Quintanilla and said he's buying more BRK-A because he's "blown away" by the performance reflected in the letter to shareholders.

Basically, describing Tilson's adoration of the stock as "unconditional" would be an understatement.

CRM didn't come up this time.

The 5 worst Oscar-winning
films of the last 40 years

We shouldn't dwell on the negative. Unfortunately, when one looks up and down the recent list of best-picture winners at the Oscars, and one sees the odds on "The Artist" claiming the prize on Sunday, one has to conclude, "it's a weak era."

How weak, and for how long? We took a crack at the 5 least-impressive Oscar-winning films since 1970 (basically ensuring we're including nothing before the time Steve Cortes started going to the Regal theater). None, by the way, involved Wendy Finerman. Note these, in descending order, are not necessarily the least-deserving; that depends on what you think of the competition. But we can say with a high degree of confidence, you've never seen any of these more than once...

5. "Gandhi" (1982), beat "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," "Missing," "The Verdict," "Tootsie" — Bluntly put, careful what you wish for. The problem isn't the subject, but, at 191 minutes, the grandiosity. What could and probably should be a profile of nonviolent change floods itself with (accurate) geopolitical theory issues of the time. Movies are emotional endeavors; showing the triumph of wisdom over emotion (as opposed to, say, "Rocky") is a tough assignment. Overly ambitious script requires an understanding of the greater Indian subcontinent that most CNBC viewers probably possess but most moviegoers don't. Opening with the assassination conveys the troubling Hollywood notion that enemies, more than deeds, cement greatness. Like most biopics, too much re-creation and mimickry, more tribute than drama in a year of many excellent entries.

4. "Chariots of Fire" (1981), beat "Atlantic City," "On Golden Pond," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Reds" — News flash: Running is an uninteresting spectator sport. "Chariots" makes this list with regret, because the messages are first-rate: principle, tolerance, respect for others' beliefs, the value of sports in bringing people together, skepticism of fame and fortune. And, there is the unforgettable score. But the music — so superior to the film, it quickly became parodied — too easily laps the astonishingly low-stakes drama in a made-to-look-like-an-Oscar-winner production, a plan that worked, preventing "On Golden Pond" from its rightful stature.

3. "Out of Africa" (1985), beat "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Prizzi’s Honor," "The Color Purple," "Witness" — Sydney Pollack directed a stunning amount of excellent films; unfortunately this was not one of them. Glorious visuals aside, staying awake is a considerable chore here. Another episode of wealthy gringos seeking adventure and dispensing wisdom in a land of people of color while finding their greatest challenges to be extramarital affairs. It's probably not insensitive, but belongs on the cliche pile that in return brought us "Babel."

2. "The English Patient" (1996), beat "Fargo," "Jerry Maguire," "Secrets & Lies," "Shine" — Actors Without Borders; Patton never would've stood for such a notion. World War II unfortunately gets in the way of the affairs, scheming, spying and insecurities of a UN of characters. Proof that visuals and A-listers alone could seduce an Academy not quite ready for the Coen brothers. Flashback films can be high risk/reward; this remarkably dull picture ODs on more than just the morphine.

1. "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), beat "Gosford Park," "In the Bedroom," "Moulin Rouge," "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" — A man cures himself of schizophrenia by ignoring it in perhaps cinema's most lopsided victory of nature over medication. Visually impotent, struggles more than most genius movies ("Rain Man" is possibly the best) at depicting actual brilliance. Artistic license succumbs to rewritten history, a ghastly "Sixth Sense" bastardization of an uninteresting individual whose life produced little drama, real or otherwise.

[Friday, February 24, 2012]

Hopefully KSS isn’t planning to get high on Ron Johnson-mania, or redirect its shoppers to his store

Too many times Judge Wapner practically ignores Patty Edwards on Friday's Halftime Report, but guest host Brian Sullivan refreshingly went right to Trutina-land to open this week's edition, except that the conversation ran into a logical buzz saw and then an outright quagmire of Ron Johnson-ness.

Edwards wasn't gung-ho on JCP, in one way sort of offering a defense about the numbers and expectations, but saying, with her favorite redundancy at the end, "I'm still a little bit, um, hesitant I guess to go in ... it's a financial engineering story at this point in time."

She said she'd rather be in KSS, and we were all well and good up to that point.

Jon Najarian, though, said he's impressed that JCP has held onto its gains from the Johnson investor-day spike, and that, he would "bet" that Patty would agree that like Meg Whitman is experiencing at HPQ, this is something that can't be turned around in 2 quarters, but takes "significantly longer than that."

So you have Patty sort of negative, and Najarian sort of positive, yet Sullivan somehow chose to push Patty on the subject of the JCP Q4 being bad.

Which prompted this utter head-scratcher from Edwards: "If you're gonna put this one in your back pocket, not look at it for 5 years, absolutely be buying it. In the short run I think there's more room for disappointment than there is for excitement." (But if one thinks the stock is more likely to go lower in the short run than higher, why would anyone planning to hold it for 5 years or any length of time "absolutely" buy it now rather than wait for the short-run dip??)

Brian Kelly tried to argue that JCP is in the "sweet spot" right now of having rock-bottom prices with rising gasoline. Edwards acknowledged that but insisted JCP is "trying to remake who they are," while Kohl's already knows what it is and told Wall Street it is going to "unleash the crack" and "let their buyers go for the low price," which we think — we hope — doesn't mean Kohl's is going to start selling drugs, or send customers to other retailers, but to be honest, we're not really sure what they were talking about.

‘Can’t do anything but go up’ — especially if Israel opts to unleash the crack

Dan Dicker indicated on Friday's feisty Fast Money Halftime Report that he takes news reports about military plans from government sources at face value.

Because stories from Jerusalem, from the Joint Chiefs, from Leon Panetta talking to a Washington Post columnist are all just great reporting about military strategizing, and wouldn't have anything to do with, say, certain nations wanting to float the idea of an attack merely to 1) gauge reaction to the idea from Russia, France, Germany and China (and who knows, maybe even Greece, to distract from that whole "maybe we should try the drachma again" discussion and "we need another messy parliament vote to get CNBC to spend money to get Michelle Caruso-Cabrera to come back to the Parthenon"); or 2) they are trying to prompt some kind of activity within Iran, either an internal showdown among leaders who might be split over negotiations, or simply a physical fortifying of important sites that would be detectable by satellites and spies and reveal to Western powers where the important sites are; or 3) forecast what would happen to oil in such an event, in which Dicker and Jeff Kilburg are more than willing commentators.

Anyway, Dicker said Israel's menacing posture toward Iran is like "Holyfield over Marvis Frazier," and then uttered the type of comment that should set off alarm bells, that there's a "gas situation here that can't do anything but go up."

He said "most everybody is long," and that pump prices will hit at least $4 and maybe $5 this summer, perhaps even $7 if Israel strikes.

The screen said Dicker likes APA, BP, for some ability to pick up the Iranian dropoff.

Jon Najarian asked Dicker if the SPR will be tapped this year. Dicker said it would likely happen in the late summer or fall, because the president doesn't have many tools here. Najarian said if it happens that late, it would be like "pulling the Band-aid really slowly."

Brian Sullivan mocked the panel by saying that with high oil, "every retailer's gonna go out of business," but then claimed we had $100 a barrel in November, and stocks are up since then. But Najarian said the difference isn't the price of a barrel of oil, compared with last year this time about the same, but that gasoline was $3.29 last year vs. $3.79 this year, and we can expect a "ramp of about 70 cents" even without Israeli action.

Sullivan noted — and this was helpful, because it's the type of stat we've surely heard before on CNBC but didn't recall — "the average american uses 50 gallons of gas a month." Najarian agreed with that, saying "600 gallons a year."

Brian Kelly claims $108 WTI causes savings rate spike from 4% to 8%

Brian Kelly came so prepared for Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, guest host Brian Sullivan didn't even believe his stats.

Kelly insisted the price of a barrel of oil will have more impact now than in 2008, because when WTI hits $108 and Brent hits $120, the savings rate skyrockets from 4% to 8%.

"People start hoarding cash just because gas goes up 50 cents a gallon??" Sullivan demanded. "I don't believe it."

"You don't have to believe it, it's the data. I mean, you don't have to believe anything you want, you can stay under the desk in the fetal position but that's the real deal," Kelly said.

Brian Kelly unleashes his own version of a Meredith Whitney Trade

Brian Kelly's savings-rate data wasn't his only controversy on Friday's cracklin' Fast Money Halftime Report.

Stephen Weiss said the risk/reward in Treasurys is no longer good, and so, "I bought HYG."

Kelly, who called himself "BK" at one point (and if Brian Sullivan does that, does he say, "This is B.S."?), claimed that high yield is "gonna default more" during an era of "sustained" high gas prices, citing Stockton, Calif.

"That's a municipality, that is not a corporation," Patty Edwards correctly interrupted, pointing out the money these days is in corporations, not municipalities.

Weiss insisted to Kelly that high-yield is at historically low levels. Kelly insisted, "they're high-yield for a reason." Weiss insisted that the HYG represents "relatively safe high-yield paper."

Edwards sort of chided the 2 for making it an either-or, saying she added some high-yield herself as "spice in the stew."

Is it ‘Lions Gate’ or ‘Lionsgate’?

Patty Edwards said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I think the Hun- ger (sic) Games is actually going to be phenomenal for Lions Gate," in part because it's a trilogy and people including herself "cannot stop reading them."

The problem, Edwards indicated, is that "Lions Gate has gone parabolic on this," and so she likes IMAX instead.

Brian Kelly agreed with LGF stock skepticism; "I'd even start taking profits here."

Brian Sullivan said what many of us were thinking, "I've never even heard of it."

Jon Najarian said he too would "take profits on this one," but then took on Edwards' IMAX call, gently, assuring he knows Patty would never just automatically rotate out of one name into another, but "I don't think this thing moves the needle over at IMAX however, this movie."

Patty rebutted that IMAX has "great trends," growth in China, and could get a "little bit of a bump."

We always like to stay on top of grammar things to keep the little ol' ladies (who read business Web sites) off our backs, but quite frankly, few entities/terms have stumped us like LGF, which, depending on where you look, is either spelled "Lions Gate" or "Lionsgate," or sometimes even "LionsGate." This site had recently settled on "Lions Gate" until noticing some John Lennon movie on cable the other night with one word in all-caps in bold block letters. A lot of corporations, especially banks, have multiple spellings for various units, etc., and so any version is probably correct on some level (the movie "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" is registered for some purposes with hyphens between the age and for other purposes with no hyphens), so we'll try not to spend much more time on it.

Brian Sullivan evidently doesn’t see any hidden meaning in those people pumping gas at Costco

Just when we figured Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report was wrapping up into CNBC promo-land, guest host Brian Sullivan tried cramming some more actual analysis — which had already been addressed at the top of the show — into the gas-price and JCP stories.

Goodness only knows why Liz Dunn was brought back to say the same thing she said a week ago about JCP. "I don't care about the 4th quarter," Dunn said. "Everything is going very much according to plan."

Stephen Weiss complained about the largesse of the EPS numbers Dunn was throwing about and argued the stock is already "fully discounted." Dunn countered, using her 2013 forecast that has come in handy for this type of multiple and arguing it doesn't anticipate a sales spike, only cost cuts, "I don't think that it's, that it's reflecting all the upside," but then again, she probably hasn't considered the impact of Kohl's unleashing the crack.

Dan Binder, meanwhile, said gasoline prices "clearly have an impact on the consumer," especially those "living paycheck-to-paycheck," the "Wal-Mart-type customer." Actually he likes TGT in part on its surge in grocery, upping his Target target (sic) from $49 to $63.

Patty Edwards said she got out of TGT in early January because it seemed "management had kind of lost the sparkle."

Brian Sullivan said at one point, "I don't think the gas prices are gonna have any impact on retail sales but that's a different story."

CRM way — way — outperforming (really worth $170,000) BRK-A in 2012

Analyst Mark Moerdler joined the Fast Money Halftime Report Friday to do what Whitney Tilson has been unable to do, throw a little cold water on the CRM story.

Moerdler asserted that the core business is slowing, and "Frankly I think they're looking for the next great thing."

Moerdler said he can't speak for how others reach their conclusions, but "I spent 30 years in the software space," while other analysts "seem to be listening to the company; they see big deals, they don't ask the questions that need to be asked, about, what's the contract term."

Jon Najarian, in what seemed sincere and not a dig, praised Moerdler for coming on the show on a day the stock was soaring, and said he actually agrees with Moerdler on the competition from MSFT and ORCL and asked if there's a "migration" to MSFT for example. Moerdler said "Microsoft is growing," and that ORCL's unit is growing faster than CRM too. He also told Brian Sullivan not to expect a CRM buyout at least from MSFT; "there's no way Microsoft's gonna buy it."

Stephen Weiss is fed up
with euro short

It didn't get much time, and normally we don't care much about currency, but an intriguing little disagreement was occurring on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report over the euro.

Stephen Weiss, famously short for a long time, said, "I'm taking most of it off, 2/3," even though the optimism right now far outstrips the reality. Basically, the "trade's just a pain in the neck ... I will be coming back to it, when the momentum breaks."

But then Money in Motion personality Camilla Sutton argued that Weiss' sentiment and that of other shorts is exactly why you should be waiting to pounce. "They're tired, but they're underwater," so there's been dramatic short-covering Friday.

However, in the end, Sutton sort of agreed with Weiss, saying she would short but only around the 1.37s, which could be the "perfect opportunity." She thinks it could close the year at 1.25.

Commentary from both Weiss and Sutton indirectly clashed with Patty Edwards' 5-year take on JCP; in other words, if Weiss and Sutton are convinced the euro will be much lower than today's level by year-end, why not just "absolutely" buy now instead of trying to play a short-term move?

Still very early, not jumping to conclusions, but Joe’s AAPL short hasn’t had a big week

Herb Greenberg used his time on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report concocting a little dead air with guest host Brian Sullivan in a lame showdown over the upcoming Street Signs, then reported that SodaStream is rising, even though "there is no news."

Sullivan somehow argued both sides, saying "they don't have the buzz" like Uggs, but admitted they "crushed" in a CNBC taste test.

Patty Edwards stood up for SODA, saying, "SodaStream is exactly like Green Mountain Coffee- Coffee. It's a replenishment system. ... This is something that is a long term trend."

Bill Chappell said the only problem with Monster Beverage is "there's so much good news factored into it." Stephen Weiss said Chappell sounds like "Herb Jr."

Chris Ceraso said diesel might be higher for rail, but no matter, "the rails pass that through to the customers." He said the problem is "they're not shipping as much coal," but he still likes the Eastern rails, NSC and CSX, with a "pretty compelling" risk/reward that could be maybe 5-10% down but 20-30% up.

Brian Kelly got about as tight as one could get in a long call, with CAT, saying "stay in it," but with a $115 trailing stop. Jon Najarian said MA "looks like it wants to go higher still," and Brian Sullivan mentioned yet another gas-price angle we somehow left off of our analysis of CNBC gas-price-hike coverage yesterday, that the epayment leaders such as V and MA get a boost from higher purchases being put on the cards. Patty Edwards said she will "continue to be long" of PM both personally and professionally.

Stephen Weiss recommended WLP (again) (this writer is (sigh) long WLP, a stock that apparently never will see $68 again) as his Final Trade. Patty Edwards said CBI (again), Jon Najarian said UTX (must not be any hot institutional call-buying in the biotech or E&P space), and Brian Kelly said B-U-Y G-L-D, prompting Brian Sullivan to say "TU for watching."

[Thursday, February 23, 2012]

Seeking Alpha blogger claims
Fast Money’s option traders give bad advice

This page is more about stocks than options, so we don't pay a whole lot of attention to the "Options Actions" hits on Fast Money.

But evidently, some viewers do.

One blogger at Seeking Alpha faults a recent suggestion by Mike Khouw to buy the WMB March 30 call for 40 cents. "First of all, cheap is a relative term. The option is cheap because the stock is cheap. What is cheaper: a $0.40 option on WMB or $4.00 option on Apple (AAPL)?," the writer says.

The writer also complains, "Before the last JPMorgan (JPM) earnings, the 'Fast Money' experts recommended the 36/37.5 bull call spread (buy 36 call/sell 37.5 call) at 0.40 debit." However, only Scott Nations to our knowledge offered such a trade on Fast Money, on Jan. 30, and the numbers and trade weren't quite the same; Nations was selling the February 37/38 call spread, so perhaps the writer was referring to a trade that was actually on "Options Action" and not what Nations spoke of on Fast Money.

Guy Adami recommends people don’t buy stock that is ‘probably’ going up

Guy Adami tried to bring a little life to a mostly lifeless 5 p.m. Fast Money Thursday by channeling Dirty Harry.

"You have to ask yourself, do you chase CRM tomorrow. My answer would be no. It's gonna obviously go higher, probably gonna go higher than where it is now," Adami said.

To tell the truth, we've kinda lost track ourselves. (But we doubt Whitney Tilson has.)

Clint's quite possibly the greatest film actor of all time. He's never regarded that way. We might try a post on that over the weekend, given the Oscars and all.

Wonder if the buyer of
‘The Scream’ will fill up his/her tank at Costco and then buy some stuff inside?

Mel Lee welcomed 3D Systems chief Abe Reichental to Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money by calling him "Al," then claiming she thought it was actually Abe, honest.

Guy Adami complained to Reichtental that his HPQ printer costs him a lot of money to operate and suggested DDD products must cost more; "What kind of outlay are you talkin' about?" Reichtental said his "price points" range from $1,300 to half a million, and fit into 3 segments in what he calls a "personal manufacturing revolution."

Honestly, this company and its products are way beyond the scope of our brainpower, we hardly had any clue what Reichental was talking about although he's an articulate speaker, and so gotta leave it there.

Karen Finerman said she's excited about the duopoly in the high-end art market in which only one player (Sotheby's) is a publicly traded stock (BID) and that it has competitive advantages because someone buying something in Beijing can't ship it out of the country. Tim Seymour questioned why the barriers to entry seem to be so high. Finerman apparently isn't planning to let Metropolitan Capital's AUM ride on Edvard Munch's famous painting up for sale at a suggested $80 million, but "I wouldn't be surprised if it went for more than that."

Mike Khouw suggested HPQ long for his Final Trade. Tim Seymour said FCX, Karen Finerman said PACD, Brian Kelly said TLT, and Guy Adami said to buy JCP on a selloff just like you could've done with TJX.

Kelly: AAPL ‘vulnerable’

Bill Lefkowitz guested on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to basically say the VIX can't go a whole lot lower.

"We don't know the event," he said. "There might be an unusual event ... go back to Europe, something can happen over there."

Mike Khouw, though, pointed out that longer-term VIX levels haven't changed recently, and only the front end has really come in.

Brian Kelly said a lot of johnny-come-latelys have bought AAPL for dividend news, and, "I really think Apple's vulnerable here ... I would be very careful."

Shaw Wu said HPQ is maybe a little like DELL a year ago. Karen Finerman said, "It's Karen, let me ask you," and then proceeded to not really ask but just declare that Meg Whitman did a "fantastic job of lowering the bar."

5 p.m. Fast Money gang takes up where Karabell-Najarian left off on Costco gasoline

Man, when we get some free time today, we're heading to the Costco gas pumps, where apparently (according to the Fast Money gang) all the smart people are congregating these days.

You know it's a slow day when Mel Lee opens a 5 p.m. program with a discussion on the encroaching negative of higher gasoline, and Brian Kelly had a less-than-earth-shattering opinion, saying it might be taking a toll but it "might take a month or 2 to get into that."

Soon-to-be-another-age Karen Finerman said that for WMT, "it is a little bit disconcerting."

Guy Adami then hailed, as Jon Najarian and Patty Edwards have done this week, the potential of COST in this environment, only Adami said COST shares may have gotten ahead of themselves. "Obviously some of these retailers are gonna take it on the chin," Adami claimed, but then said a name you might try is NBR, which "seems to be breaking out."

Brian Kelly predicted the sales balance at Casey's General Store will tilt more toward the gasoline side of the equation and maybe less toward the Slim Jims.

Guest Paul Sankey, celebrating a birthday the same day as son Max, said the "next phase unfortunately is the oil market's gonna go after emerging market GDP growth." Sankey told Guy Adami he "definitely" thinks the SPR will be tapped this year.

Things That (Quietly) Make Melissa Go ‘Wow’

Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money called AAPL's (you knew it wouldn't happen) lack of a dividend "absurd." Connor Browne on the Fast Line claimed that if the company initiated a 50% payout ratio, and the yield went to 3%, the stock would have almost a $900 price, which made Melissa Lee utter a very quiet "Wow."

Finerman questioned how much AAPL money is on the sidelines over this subject. Browne said the stock is "underowned" by value and yield managers.

More from Thursday's (ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz-able) 5 p.m. Fast Money later.

A recent theme of Patty Edwards gets the brush-off from Zach Karabell

Zach Karabell was asked to field a Twitter question about the gasoline price effect on COST on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

"We talk about this all the time as if it's a certain correlation. I don't think so," Karabell said. "I'd be really careful about making any assumptions about how these things relate to each other."

Jon Najarian said he agrees with Karabell 99 times out of 100 (although on Thursday's Fast Money, it was more like zero for 2), but not this time, because gasoline is "such a strong magnet to draw people in" to Costco, where they "save 20 or 30 cents a gallon."

Then the 2 got tangled up over half-gallon interpretations (while we don't want to speak for Karabell we think he was trying to say people aren't necessarily going to drive a long ways to save the equivalent of the price of a half-gallon, while Najarian seemed to think Karabell was saying they wouldn't drive all that way merely to put a half-gallon in their tank when in fact they put in more like 22 gallons) before Karabell opted against further debate by saying "Yeah."

Patty Edwards made a COST gasoline call on Tuesday's Halftime. While we don't know enough about COST or this subject to issue an authoritative opinion, the problems with the more-people-seeking-relatively-cheaper-gas argument are that 1) why hasn't this trend already been happening for months and years and already priced in; 2) no one ever defines where the inflection point is, other than the fact gas prices are being talked about on Fast Money; when pressed it's usually "Oh once gasoline tops $3 people start changing decisions" and then "at $3.50, that's when consumers really notice," and "$4 a gallon is really the psychologically important area," and "It doesn't matter so much if it goes up slowly but when you get these sudden spikes, look out" and finally, "Oh maybe there wasn't as much change as people thought around $4, but just wait till it gets to $5" ... and 3) if the COST consumer is the JWN shopper as Edwards frequently says, it would seem many of that demographic would consider their time more important than racing across town to save a couple bucks on filling up the tank.

So, Karabell is basically right.

Brian Stutland said the names to look at are TGT and COST, saying for those 2 it "is definitely gonna be a beneficial (sic) in minor- my opinion."

Or at least 2 out of 100

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report mocked the "big doubting Thomases and Thomasinas" who dared question the potential of Sears Holdings stock a couple months ago, and then praised Karen Finerman for announcing a day ago she was using weekly options to make a negative bet on the stock, which Najarian said allows use of "leverage" and defines risk.

Zach Karabell, on the other hand, said, "I am actually gonna short more of this now," calling SHLD a "flawed, really broken retail model."

Brian Stutland summarized the difficulty in guessing SHLD direction this way: "Fundamentally Sears looks horrible," but there's a "short stock rebate" that forces steep covering.

For 2 shows in a row,
Pete Najarian disses the HPQ calls by the Wednesday Halftime crew

Pete Najarian complained on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, like he did on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show, about the enthusiasm for HPQ he heard on Wednesday's Halftime regarding valuation, dividend, saying others have much better dividend.

(One of those people was Mike Murphy, whose WHR short — assuming he's still got it — is stubbornly clinging to $70, and his short JCP/long M was a bust Thursday.)

"It's been an absolute value trap," Najarian said of HPQ, adding that Meg Whitman is turning around the R&D, but it'll take time.

Judge questioned that. "You can make the argument that she's no closer to actually turning things around today than she was the day she sat in the chair for the first time," Wapner said.

If CRM goes to $150 the same time NFLX goes to $100, what does that do for Whitney Tilson’s account?

Guest Ed Maguire spoke on Thursday's Halftime Report with Judge Wapner and took up the controversial subject of CRM.

Unlike some noted Fast Money guests, Maguire said, "We do think that there's, there's room for it to go higher," saying "bookings" will be one of the key metrics.

Zach Karabell asked Maguire about the controversy over CRM "revenue recognition" while acknowledging it's a leader in a hot space. Maguire said the company is "a lot more opaque" than some people are comfortable with, but it comes down to "track record" of management, and he gives the company the "benefit of the doubt."

Yes, and the 37 million shares that changed hands Thursday, Friday and Tuesday also scored a gain

Judge Wapner opened Thursday's Halftime with an extended monologue on Vivus and the CEO's Qnexa comments.

Part of the presentation was Jon Najarian — and yes, this is shocking in the biotech space, that someone bought calls before an FDA-related announcement — explaining that "some people profited mightily from this move" with some options trades Wednesday that skyrocketed 6-fold (and all those people who bought $180,000 in other small biotech options Wednesday probably have made zero money on them so far).

Pete Najarian cautioned it's not a 100% done deal; "certainly there are 2 dissenters at this point in time." But guest Michael King, who said Qnexa could rake in $3 billion in the U.S. by 2020, said, "in my mind, uh, the FDA's already decided."

Colin Gillis does the math for those unable to divide by 10

Colin Gillis got back to the "basics" on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report in telling Judge Wapner he doubts Thursday will be the AAPL dividend day (sparing Joe Terranova some orneriness). "Basically the company's voting on 7 basic boiler-plate issues," Gillis said. "I don't think we're gonna see a dividend today," arguing in part that so much of the cash is offshore.

Pete Najarian asked about a split and if it were to happen, what the breakdown might be. Gillis said he "wouldn't even rule out a 10-for-1, you know, knock it back down to 50 bucks."

Gillis also downplayed the impact of a dividend on the stock if/when it does happen, saying it didn't "move the needle" for MSFT (and we thought that was the type of move that opens it up to a "new class of investors").

"Come on, Colin ... that seems to me to be a stretch," scoffed Judge.

Gillis argued that those $670 price targets are iffy because there's "no precedent at all" for a company hitting a $630 billion market cap (so in other words, no company apparently will ever again be worth what MSFT was in 2000).

The Ilchmeister was probably the last person on Fast Money to predict a crude pullback, and that was a short-term technical thing months ago

Jeff Kilburg predicted on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that crude is going to $110.82 "shortly," because traders are seeking an "air pocket," and he credited Dr. J for pointed to the USO.

Kilburg also predicted a gold retest of the September high and cited "the strong hand of the central bank."

But then he made the mistake of saying Dr. J had been long GLD since the 150s, forcing Najarian to admit he got out a week ago (and obviously indicating Kilburg didn't see recent episodes with Dennis Gartman in which Najarian talked about flipping out of his gold position).

But, Najarian said, he's now in the SLV because of (you guessed it) option activity.

Kilburg said something has to break between stocks and bonds and admitted that he's been fighting the S&P 500 tape since 1,330, but bonds should prevail. Zach Karabell said he'd take the "opposite argument ... because yields are so low," that people have "gotta start looking at equities."

Pete would probably agree with one of our top supermarket complaints: Cashiers who throw around the Pringles cans and smash the chips

Pete Najarian said he's not that interested in the Pringles/DMND/PG/K business story, but he's "definitely an eater, huge Pringles guy."

Instead, Najarian was interested in the options activity in PG.

He also said he still likes X.

Zach Karabell said FSLR is becoming "Last Solar," and this is a "really really troubled space" to avoid.

But Karabell said of CMCSA, "I am long this name, it's actually one of my largest positions."

Herb Greenberg said the issue with KSS is that "margins really got compressed here." Judge opted to jaw with that, clamining "They can't raise prices!"

"The question is, why can't they," Greenberg said, adding he's hearing "crosscurrents" about whether JCP is really stealing share or merely dumping everything so cheap, people are going to JCPenney instead of Kohl's.

Wapner concluded, "There's just not room for everybody anymore right." Greenberg responded, "Yeah I get it ... I hear what you're saying," but KSS' slump is notable because it's been a "darling."

Macneil Curry said to sell the euro against the Norwegian krone, and today Judge didn't indicate any reticence about dispensing currency trades to retail investors who find stocks difficult enough. Zach Karabell said he's looking to short LXK for his Final Trade, Brian Stutland touted WDC, Jon Najarian said IPG and Pete Najarian said SCCO.

[Wednesday, February 22, 2012]

Karen’s birthday is Saturday

No, the picture above is not from Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

But it's so good — look at that physique, that smashing understated dress, that air of confidence — that we just had to post it again as we give the Fast Money sphere a heads-up that Saturday is a special day for Karen Finerman.

Of course there's no 5 p.m. Fast Money on Fridays, and Karen doesn't do the Halftime Report, so hopefully Karen will be on Thursday's 5 p.m. show, and hopefully her colleagues will be able to pour it on, unlike when Joe Terranova got the cold shoulder in November for having the audacity to sneak in a "Happy Birthday" to Mel at the end of the broadcast.

Karen Finerman’s question is so good, it’s almost embarrassing that Mel didn’t ask it

Larry Kellogg is the lawyer representing Hugh Culverhouse in his suit against John Paulson, and Melissa Lee got the chance to ask Kellogg a few questions on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, starting with, what is he "hoping to accomplish," given that "$460 million seems like a drop in the bucket."

And only on Fast Money is $460 million a drop in the bucket.

Kellogg said, "This is serious money that he lost for investors by not doing his job," and that Culverhouse may be hoping to recoup a "couple hundred thousand dollars perhaps."

Karen Finerman chirped, "It's Karen Finerman, letmeaskyousomething" (she said it that fast, as though it were 1 word), wondering what kind of negligence by Paulson would have to be shown. Kellogg said he has to show gross negligence, but "He did not analyze a Chinese timber company. This is not Bank of America or Citibank ... he has, uh, some heightened duties here."

Ron Insana in fact did wonder how it's different than losing money in Bank of America (which probably should get more scrutiny than a Chinese timber company, to be honest). Kellogg's answer wasn't particularly satisfying, essentially saying that with such a foreign security, you've really got to know what you're doing.

But then, unfortunately, the best question came after Kellogg was signed off, from K-Fine: "I wonder if they had any settlement discussions."

"That's a good question," Lee conceded.

Ron Insana asserted, "I don't think they'd do that up front, because the, that would set a horrible precedent for the future" (sic last 3 words redundancy).

"This isn't delightful either," said Finerman.

Guy Adami compared this suit to the demise of Solyndra. "That's exactly the same thing," he said, suggesting that if Kellogg is successful, "Maybe I should lawyer up."

Only when a male brings up LTD does Fast Money show gratuitous footage

Guy Adami on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money assessed the Victoria’s Secret report this way:

"This is a complete sandbag though on the guidance I believe."

At that point, the lingerie-runway-show footage appeared, and Mel Lee even said the word "bras," explaining, "We play the footage of the bras."

Adami, though, smoothly turned his attention to Karen Finerman, saying, "She's got the gun show going. She look (sic) great tonight," and you can see for yourself in the photo above, featuring new dress and hairstyle.

"She always looks great, Guy. She's Finerman," said Lee, rather cute this episode in fact in long-sleeved white top.

For Ron Insana, generational opportunities happen every 2 years

Pete Najarian said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that BAC is a buy under $8, because of the "huge volume" in options in which people are selling the 8 puts and buying upside calls.

Mel Lee asked Karen Finerman how she's managing her BAC position. "Crying, sad, that kind of thing," Finerman joked, saying she hopes it gets to "normalized earnings eventually," but is still "ridiculously cheap."

Ron Insana insisted there have been "2 generational opportunities Melissa to buy financials," those being 2009, and October 2011. "In October I was saying leg into the financials for a long-therm- long-term, 3- to 5-year play," Insana said.

As you can see from the chart above, the great "once-in-a-generation" buying opportunity for BAC lasted about 6 whole months in 2009, from which point you would've lost about 2/3 of that 4-fold gain, whereas had you just made AAPL your once-in-a-generation call in March 2009, you'd be sitting 4-fold up right now.

It's a little bit disappointing that such a renowned TV journalist as Insana resorts to the types of sloganeering employed by some of his most insufferable guests.

Ron Insana sticks it to Doug Kass by raising a subject Kass clearly wasn’t ready to talk about

Doug Kass was trying to call a market pullback on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money but really didn't get anywhere with either Pete Najarian or Ron Insana, despite Guy Adami's best efforts to non-defend him.

"It rarely pays to buy stocks," Kass said, when "85% of the S&P trades above its 50-day moving average."

He mentioned volume and claimed, "There are good advances; there are bad advances, and I see this one as bad."

Najarian thundered, "I see volume in the options markets that just continues to increase every single day." Creating dead air, Kass had nothing to say except that he doesn't think volume's unimportant.

But things really got going when Ron Insana, in his feistiest Fast Money performance to date, referred to Kass' recent mention of 3 peaks and the dome house and wondered "how reliable" is that as an indicator of the top, that it seems a "little sketchy."

"I don't believe in that technical voodoo," Kass insisted.

"You've brought it up like 4 times in the last week," Insana countered.

"I believe in fundamentals and we haven't talked yet about the fundamentals," sniffed Kass, who should only blame himself because he spent an ocean of time on technicals earlier.

After Kass signed off, Insana struck again, saying Kass is calling for a 3-5% correction based on economic "imbalances" that aren't going to move the markets only 3-5% but would move them 50% if people actually were scared.

Guy Adami said Kass didn't need Adami's defense, but, whether you follow him in Twitter or whatever, "His calls have been spot-on."

Karen plunges into the deep end of the options pool

Karen Finerman said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that HPQ is "gonna be messy for a while, but the valuation to me is just so compelling here ... still room to go. Meaningful, very meaningful room to go."

Guy Adami tried to liken HPQ's not-much-of-a-selloff to CMG's while clarifying he's not predicting the same type of run (this writer is long CMG).

Ron Insana said that if you're Meg Whitman, you do a "kitchen sink" quarter. Mel Lee pointed out Whitman didn't do that last quarter, but Insana said, "That was early," even though people made the kitchen-sink observation back then too.

Finerman sort of wrung her hands in explaining how she bought weekly options to make a bearish bet on SHLD. "I did buy puts this afternoon," Finerman said.

(Unfortunately, those interested in Finerman's disclosures (and those of her fund vs. personal account) won't find anything on the official CNBC.com recap of Wednesday's show.)

Amelia Bourdeau, who looks good on television and had a new hairstyle Wednesday, said, "I think commodity currencies could see a rally," and her trade is short euro/kiwi into next week.

Guy Adami warned that because of short interest, the pop in VVUS might be more than the news merits.

Things That Make Melissa Go ‘Wow’ (cont’d)

MGM chief Jim Murren proved an excellent guest on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, even if his answers were less than earth-shattering.

"The recovery's now firmly under way," Murren told Melissa Lee, saying Vegas is expecting "all-time" record visitation in 2012.

"All-time record in 2012. Wow. That's tremendous," Lee said.

Murren said he prefers a federal standard for online gambling and not a piecemeal state-by-state process, but in that case, "if it does happen, we will participate in it." (However, he didn't opine why the Justice Department opted to declare its new position on its Web site on a Friday night around midnight.)

Murren said social gaming is going to be tapped; it'll be "Farmville meets Las Vegas."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell June 15 MGM calls.

Michael Foust of Digital Realty was also an excellent guest, saying not everyone can get into the server REIT business. "Actually the barriers are quite high," he said, requiring "serious amounts of power" that are "not always available," as well as broadband, fiber-optic networks and costly facilities.

"It's Karen Finerman, let me ask you something," Karen said, asking if the anemic price of natural gas has helped business. "It does help our customers," was Foust's slightly dodgy answer, then moving on to New York and New Jersey demand.

Ron Insana recommended yen puts for his Final Trade. Guy Adami overly dramatized M, Karen Finerman said BBG, and Pete Najarian hailed MOS, "it's gonna go a lot higher."

Terranova shorts AAPL, GOOG

Joe Terranova on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report revealed that he's taking on 2 tech giants, AAPL and GOOG.

As is typical, the official Fast Money disclosures maybe have yet to catch up (but at least, in a rarity, they put it on the TV screen).

Terranova said he's been getting flak on Twitter about it since he suggested an AAPL short Tuesday, but "the trade sets up, as you define your risk, you know what it is, it's last week's high, shorted Apple at 513."

He said rarely have conditions suggested an AAPL short, but "This is the perfect retracement."

Zach Karabell asked when Terranova would cover and whether he might see the downside to 490 or 480. Terranova said, "I think the downside Zach is unknown" and that it could get "maybe back to all the way to 440, 450 on a break."

Judge Wapner asked about the potential of a dividend being initiated. "If the announcement was to happen tonight, I would be one ornery individual tomorrow morning," Terranova admitted.

All of that is fine, except the official disclosures (below) for Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report at CNBC.com list Terranova being short GOOG, but nothing about AAPL, which (once again) makes you wonder 1) what they really mean and 2) why they bother to (sort of) do them anyway. (Unless they figure, the rest of the page is about shorting AAPL, so no need to list it below, but then why is the GOOG short mentioned in both the summary and disclosures.

Terranova said on the program, "actually shorted Google today," because Eric Schmidt has been selling, Larry Page has been spending, and "it grew into its valuation."

Mike Murphy said "We're long TOL, we've been long TOL" because it "is hitting on all cylinders right now," but you'll have to take his word for it, because that one's not in the disclosures below either.

Herb questions another stock that Stephen Weiss happens to like

Herb Greenberg, whose hits on the Fast Money Halftime Report generally have little to do with Twitter and plenty to do with reading analyst reports, said that somebody is a little down on CHK because it's more preferable now to find the "simple execution of oily resource plays."

Stephen Weiss said "I like Chesapeake here" and praised Aubrey McClendon for executing on his strategy that has expanded from gas. "How do you know he's been executing on it," Greenberg argued, saying the business involves a complicated mix of off-balance-sheet and on-balance-sheet hedging that makes Herb's head spin.

Greenberg also said a buddy told him, "Nobody has ever drilled their way out of a deep problem in the oil patch."

Guest Michael Harris said $106.95 is the "next resistance points (sic)" in crude.

Colin Rusch faces a shutout in TSLA call

Guest Colin Rusch ran into a veritable speed bump Wednesday while defending his $39 target on Tesla to the Fast Money Halftime gang.

"We haven't even gotten to the 1st inning for electric vehicles," Rusch said, saying the company has done well at managing cash.

Zach Karabell wasn't convinced regarding valuation, asking Rusch, "How do you value a company like this," saying the multiple could be 20 or 50. Rusch pointed to "the revenue ramp" and said that's why people are buying the shares.

Mike Murphy and the rest of the panel had good questions for Rusch, who said Tesla prices range from a $100,000 model that's being discontinued to a planned $60,000 version, and that the range tops out at 300 miles and is 220 on the lower range.

Nobody on the panel recommended the stock, though Joe Terranova said you could buy it at $30.

Weiss indicates GOP nomination process may not be helping stocks

Stephen Weiss said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I took the risk off" in the last couple days because of concerns over the global economy, particularly China, which Weiss said is "very very concerned," and also because Mitt Romney hasn't salted away the nomination yet.

Zach Karabell disagreed and said that's not a surprise, questioning when in the "past 20 years" has there not been something "exogenous" out there for markets to be concerned about, but he said he was doing nothing "major" Wednesday, which prompted Judge Wapner to ask if he was just "lazy," with Karabell saying "I had to come here."

Weiss then insisted he's not bearish, that he just went from 75% net long to 55% and that actually, "I like the banks" and would do some "cherry-picking."

Both Weiss and Simon Baker said they like JPM. Joe Terranova mentioned BX.

Terranova: ‘Nobody’s short’ NFLX

Simon Baker on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report said that Comcast's streaming plan makes it "really really tough for Netflix going forward."

Joe Terranova cited a different problem for NFLX, saying, "In essence, nobody's short, or they're not as short as they were a couple of weeks ago."

Brian Marshall said "We like HP heading into the print tonight," in part on software potential, but he's not so high on DELL. Simon Baker said Dell has cash it might use to make an acquisition, perhaps something like Tibco or Compuware, so "that's something to look for."

Zach Karabell revealed he's short Lexmark.

Stephen Weiss said "I've been thinking about Visa," largely because of anecdotal evidence. "Everywhere I go, regardless of the size of the purchase, people are using credit cards," Weiss said.

"We're long Mastercard calls," Karabell said, and he hasn't sold them.

Fast Money Halftime gang agrees trip to Wal-Mart is not quality entertainment

Guest Patrick McKeever said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that TJX was experiencing a "little profit-taking, that's all," though he did caution that DLTR is "pretty rich relative to the rest of retail."

Mike Murphy said he's short JCP against an M long. "Since the mid-20s, we've been long" Macy's, he said, while JCP's valuation has soared, and "They still have to prove that to me."

Stephen Weiss dissed America's favorite discount retailer. "To me Wal-Mart is just a bad shopping experience," and that the idea is supposed to be that "shopping is part entertainment."

"Wal-Mart is no parts entertainment," Karabell agreed.

Weiss reiterated that he's got friends in the casual dining space, but "I'd rather play YUM" for China potential and because casual dining has become a "very, very crowded space." Weiss acknowledged though that restaurants have figured out ways to beat food inflation; "They make them ask for a slice of lemon instead of automatically giving it to 'em with their Diet Coke, and they cut the lemon smaller," but they were actually doing that last year.

Judge Wapner pointed out that Weiss is more negative on China than he has been in a while, but now he's touting YUM as a China play. Yes, Weiss said, but it's "2 different things" curiously related to a migration to the cities differing from builders' troubles (which didn't make much sense). Joe Terranova assured, "It's the right move."

Karabell cracked that all the "disgruntled Foxconn workers" will go to YUM to eat and blow off steam about their AAPL working conditions.

Simon Baker made RST his Final Trade. Karabell said ADSK, Weiss said to short ANR, Terranova said D, and Murphy said TWI on afternoon earnings.

Weiss hailed the Fast Money Ag Trade, pointing out for non-regular viewers that potash is really a "cartel," and that the sector has been "unduly chastened" like it always is whenever it sells off, and bottom line, "everybody needs to eat," and of course they need to fly and drive cars too, so why not plow into airlines and automakers while we're at it?

[Tuesday, February 21, 2012]

Pachter’s NFLX target: How The Wall Street Analyst Community Works (cont’d)

Michael Pachter on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was as cool as Fonzi, indirectly sort of questioning why Fast Money was even covering the subject of movie streaming, saying Comcast's incursion into Netflix territory is not a surprise at all and then dissing his chief Fast Money rival on the subject.

"Competition is gonna come, if Whitney Tilson is right that this is a great business model and will grow unabated forever," Pachter said. "I don't know why this is such a shock."

Pachter bluntly indicated dishes may not be a long-term answer. "I actually don't think that satellite has a place in our future," and he told Melissa Lee that it's not so much others gaining from a possible Netflix demise, but others such as Comcast merely fighting to protect the turf they've already got. (That seems to indicate it's more about figuring out what to short rather than what to buy.)

Most importantly, Pachter offered this stark truth of his $45 NFLX price target:

"I pulled it out of thin air. I have no idea what they're worth," Pachter admitted.

And so Pachter, rather than, say, Don Rickles, should be on this program opining on NFLX's price because ... ?

Stephen Weiss said of Pachter, "I think he may be high on his $45," meaning "too high," not that Pachter was under the influence when arriving at that number, although given Pachter's own admission, sounds like that would've been just as good of a tactic as any.

Guy Adami said he doesn't think it goes to $45 but he could make a "compelling" argument that it goes to $90, and that this is the "deep end of the pool."

Identifying a momentum stock on Fast Money is like identifying a misunderstanding on ‘Three’s Company’

Critiquing Jim O'Shaughnessy's appearance on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, one wonders where to start.

The book, the Brag Trade, the AAPL recommendation, the disclosures at CNBC.com that say nothing about any securities positions but are merely legal disclaimers about how he's not responsible if any trade he suggests turns out to be a bust.

O'Shaughnessy began his presentation saying, "Back in March 2009, we actually published a piece" that called the stock market of that time a "generational buying opportunity."

He was probably at Woodstock too, as well as Game 6 of the '75 World Series.

O'Shaughnessy was given the (snicker) difficult assignment of identifying momentum stocks. He mentioned HD, TTM, AAPL and GRMN, for those who haven't checked stock listings in, oh, at least 6 months.

O'Shaughnessy also said he thinks the "dividend play goes on for a long period of time."

Unlike Judge Wapner, the host of ‘Money in Motion’ expresses no reservations about amateur currency trading

Though bedeviled by the 3-second delay glitch, Glenn Stevens shared a buoyant interview with the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang on Tuesday from the trader expo in which there were all kinds of smiles in the background.

Melissa Lee noted, with some degree of enthusiasm, that retail investors now account for "nearly 10%" of the average daily volume in forex. Stevens said that's because they've found there are a "lot of low barriers to trade, low execution costs, and frankly a lot of excitement around it."

Lee asked if the volatility of stocks drives people to other forums such as currency. "I think it definitely does," Stevens said, explaining it's really a 24-hour endeavor between the U.S. market, European market and Asian market, that it's not dominated by the U.S., and that unlike stocks, everyone gets the same news at the same time, so it's a "level playing field."

Stephen Weiss, briefly trapped by the 3-second delay into thinking Stevens was waiting for him to extend his question, asked a good question about margin requirements. Stevens said, "Generally speaking, it's gonna be a 2% margin requirement," and so you can go 50 to 1 vs. 2 to 1 in stocks, but said, in an obvious mention to the Gary Genslers and Barney Franks of the world, before you get all "oohs and ahs" about that amount of leverage, that a 2% forex move is extremely rare and in a huge, $4 trillion market, whereas stocks can move 10% in a day, so the currency difference is "much more muted than what it appears to be on paper."

When a male refers to Limited Brands, stock footage is always shown, but when a female refers to it, no stock footage

Perpetually cute Dana Telsey (that's part of the reason she's in such TV demand) shared her insights with the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang on Tuesday and indicated the run in retail isn't over.

HD, WMT, SKS were rattled off by Telsey, who also said investors "still have some room in Macy's." She said she agrees with the positive JWN call she heard on the show and that LTD "should still do well in '12."

Guy Adami asked Telsey what would derail the HD story. Telsey said it would have to be "crummy economic numbers," and then tripped over odd multiple usage of "speak" and "spoke."

Mel Lee asked at what point gasoline matters to retailers. Telsey said "summertime."

JJ Kinahan figured to barrel back onto the set like Keith McCullough might do but instead spent most of the program on the taxi squad, asking Telsey if TGT was going to mimic M but getting tripped up on 2 times the redundancy with "exact same pattern" and "same exact thing."

Telsey went backwards and stated the obvious, that TGT hasn't had its earnings yet (hence JJ's question), and then said the M story is very much about share buybacks.

Stock market nostalgia: It’s indeed hard to remember a better year than 1995

We kinda like Jeff Weiss' chart presentations, but the synopsis he brought to Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money can't be called anything but a head-scratcher.
Weiss first showed the S&P since 2002 and then drew a curious distinction around 1,425 that didn't really make any sense that we could determine, but he said, "The next target to me looks like it's around 14 and a quarter."

It was essentially based on "triangle lines," and Weiss said "this triangle goes back several years," which is part of the reason he thinks the recent rally "was a good one."

He said in 34 of the last 35 days, there have been 1,000 advancers on the Big Board.

Joe Terranova asked if Weiss recalls 1995 and whether 2012 could be similar to 1995. Weiss said he remembers 1974 like "yesterday" but that he doesn't see a parallel to '95, this is "a rally unto itself."

Guy Adami asked what car Weiss was driving in 1974. His answer to that was unintelligible, but he said in '78 he had a Plymouth Fury.

Weiss also said that historically, the years in the middle of decades have been best for stocks. Now there's a reliable theory.

JJ Kinahan thinks the market could get to 1,425 when volume returns.

Adami: Grab TJX on a selloff

Joe Terranova said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that here there's talk of the U.S. tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve while the Chinese just keep filling theirs up, with their "insatiable appetite for oil."

Terranova rattled off several names, including SU, USO, OXY, HAL, SLB and HOS.

Stephen Weiss said he owns CHK and would look to buy more. Mike Khouw suggested buying the March 30 call on WMB rather than the conventional trade of selling it.

Khouw's Final Trade was to take some off of M and consider selling the 40 call. Stephen Weiss touted WLP (this writer is long WLP). Guy Adami said TJX, on the rebound if it misses. JJ Kinahan said HPQ, and Joe Terranova used Hecla to tout TCK.

Melissa Lee wore a new purple top that don't go there stay away from there complemented her figure quite well.

Adami on DELL: ‘Let the weak hands get blown out’

Guy Adami said at the top of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that DELL could be a washout buy.

Acknowledging the concerns of Stephen Weiss regarding Western Europe and government spending, Adami added that margins were problem. But he said a lot of johnny-come-latelys have jumped in since the Einhorn revelation, and so, "let the weak hands get blown out on this one" and consider jumping in at $16.75 or $17.

JJ Kinahan, surfacing for the first time in a while, agreed and suggested using puts. Joe Terranova also agreed and said the $16.75 is the 50-day moving average.

Adami said Dow 13,000 might work for Brian Williams on the evening news, but what matters is the correlation to the S&P 500, which is pressing up against last year's high, and Adami said for the first time in a while, some names, such as CAT, could be facing a double top and might be lining up as shorts.

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

Just what the world needs: Amateurs taking up currency trading to lose twice as much as they win

It's tricky to bring on a guest for your TV program and then convey that you're not really sold on the nature of his business.

But that's what Judge Wapner had to do on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, and frankly he did it fairly well when interviewing Tim Shea about the FXCM-E-Trade partnership.

"This pretty much opens up currency trading more to the retail investor, correct," Wapner said.

"Yeah, absolutely," Shea said, apparently uncertain whether Judge meant that as a good thing or a bad thing.

Judge said his "first initial concern would be ... equities are hard enough" for retail investors.

Shea didn't have a good answer. But, in fairness, he's running a business that some people do definitely need, and he's hoping to get as many customers as possible. "Currency trading affects so much else in the world," Shea said, conceding it's "definitely not for everyone."

He said a big problem for many, particularly those playing the most popular trade, euro-dollar, is that they've been "losing twice as much on their losing trades as their winning trades."

If Judge is concerned about retail investors getting into currency trading, how come he never complains about the existence of ‘Money in Motion,’ but happily reads teasers for it?

It was only at the end of Tim Shea's presentation on Tuesday's Halftime Report that he got to the nitty-gritty: Where's the euro going.

Shea predicted it would head up to 1.36, then take a big leg down.

Stephen Weiss jumped on that, saying, "We're not getting there ... I'll make a private market with him."

Joe Terranova immediately challenged that in one of the best show debates recently. "You never say we're not getting somewhere," Terranova said, calling that the "worst possible karma you could ever do."

Weiss claimed that on the long side, "all the good news is in the trade."

Brian Kelly said he's not long but there's an argument for it in that "it's a proxy for the German deutschmark." Weiss countered with an interest-rate comparison and said that "Greece defaulting was never part of my scenario," but just a "bonus." Kelly insisted that's an old thesis, "nobody's trading the euro on 25 bps to pick up the carry anymore."

Todd Gordon said the euro can drift higher as long as they "kick the can down the road," and the "path of least resistance in the S&P is higher." He said he could be long euro up to 1.35, but his trade was to sell the euro/Aussie.

Terranova said to "look at the FXY" for depreciation.

What was the purpose of having Dennis Gartman talk about stocks on Tuesday’s Halftime Report?

In the category of "What's the use?," pencil in Dennis Gartman's appearance on the Fast Money Halftime Report Tuesday.

In a roundabout chat about equity exposure, Gartman delivered both a Brag Trade, then conceded a mistake, then offered really nothing in the way of a forecast.

"I got very bullish on equities back in December. Nobody else was. I got violently bullish on equities," Gartman told Judge Wapner before explaining he lightened up a little too soon.

Judge then brought up the old gold-in-euro-terms thesis, saying "you have for some time" made that point.

Stephen Weiss jumped in and said, "I have UGL which is the gold ETF, some vestiges of it, I sold it today. I have no doubt it's gonna go higher," which makes one wonder why he sold it, but he asked Gartman if being long gold and lightening up on equities is a belief the correlations are breaking down.

"I am not out of equities. I am very long of equities," Gartman snapped. "You make it sound like I'm short of equities. Not on your life. Not right now."

Gartman said, and this was semi-newsworthy, "I trade only for my own account," then reiterated how he was "embarrassed" for recently lightening up after "I hit the market perfectly in December." Gartman also congratulated Judge for his long day of also handling Squawk Box.

Stephen Weiss said Dow 13,000 sort of matters a bit because "I think it gets the attention of retail investors," which might be true, but if so it's only for a day or so and then nobody cares anymore. Patty Edwards, refreshingly getting some make-up time from Judge after last week's near-shutout, said the key isn't just crossing 13,000, but, "You have to hold above these numbers" for a "week or 2."

Judge made the first reference to Jeremy Siegel since the Barron's article day, saying 13,094 is somehow important because that's a doubling from the bottom, which apparently will make MSFT go higher. Joe Terranova said you can be long AA against $9.75.

Weiss: JCP could be casualty of rising gasoline prices

Dan Dicker joined Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to laud the strength of crude; "absolutely no reason to get out of this."

However, Dicker said refiners aren't the way to play it anymore because they've gone "parabolic," and in fact he's been trading them on the short side. Instead, he likes oil-services names with Mideast exposure who can pick up Iran's slack, such as APA, TOT, BP.

Joe Terranova, whose quiet jacking-out-of-the-park of PXD in the Permian Basin play hasn't gotten enough attention, said he disagrees with Dicker and thinks refiners still have upside, and also pointed to HES and a recurring favorite, SU.

Dicker said the price of fueling nat gas cars at $1.60 might make certain nat gas plays appealing, such as DVN or XEC.

Stephen Weiss offered a curious derivative, saying to look for trouble in (of all names, the one everyone claims is impossible or too costly to short) SHLD and even Ron Johnson-land, JCP.

Patty Edwards said to be in HD because of the foreclosures-rehabbed theme that she has expressed for somewhere between 1 and 2 years, and COST over the rising gas price.

Stephen Weiss questioned if the home improvement chains are a "zero-sum game" and said HD is better than LOW, so "take a little bit off the table" on LOW, and that in general, high end is the "place to be."

Joe Terranova mentioned LPX and JWN. "I'm long YUM, adding to that position," he said.

Herb has trouble pronouncing ‘Ruger’ — maybe he was inclined to do ‘rue-zhay’?

Herb Greenberg was given time on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime to deliver such in-depth reporting as an analyst upgrading GRMN.

It's one of the "great turnaround stories," Greenberg said, before explaining that Avondale sees an "inflection point" toward higher-margin products.

Judge then brought up Smith & Wesson and asked Herb, "You're not packin', are ya?"

Herb said he gets Judge going, and "I always have to worry when I see you around." He said guns have doing well as some kind of Obama Trade, but that the news in the space is the RGR report Wednesday.

Eventually Judge cut to the chase, which is that Stephen Weiss is now curiously back in DMND.

"There's value in snack foods," Weiss said, and "asset value underlying the stock price." Greenberg questioned what's the asset value and demanding to know if Weiss is going to flip or plans to hold for months. Weiss indicated it could be either but conceded, "It is a trading position."

Terranova: You can try shorting AAPL here

Shaw Wu, who has gotten some Fast Money airtime lately, said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that DELL looks "a little overbought," and he recommends owners "take profits."

He said competition from Apple is being understated, and he hasn't seen impact from Perot yet.

Patty Edwards questioned, with a redundancy, being a "holder of tech at this point in time," saying "look at the QLD ... pretty toppy."

Joe Terranova said he doesn't like GOOG, but does like EMC and says he would "continue to buy that." He said Teradyne is a good company but "semis here are stretched." Stephen Weiss said he sold BRCM in the morning.

Terranova said one problem for NFLX is that there's been a lot of short covering, and the shorts are "no longer loaded up." Patty Edwards said CSTR is a lot cheaper.

Weiss said he added to his MT short. Terranova predicted TCK would hit 45 before 35 and said JOY is a place you want to be for mining.

Brian Kelly touted PPLT and noted platinum usually trades above gold but is now trading below.

Patty Edwards hailed longtime favorite HFL for its non-U.S. exposure.

Kelly's Final Trade was GLD, while Edwards touted CBI based on oil price, Weiss suggested UNH, WLP and CVH on a Medicare surprise (this writer is long WLP).

Terranova said this is one of the rare times you can try shorting AAPL, with last week's peak as your stop.

‘Moneyball’ & ‘The Artist’ meet:
Will Oscars support a bailout?

"Moneyball" is about a guy who recognized a troubling trend and adapted to it.

"The Artist" is about a guy who recognized a troubling trend and utterly rejected it.

Both, curiously, are colliding as Oscar nominees for best picture.

This weekend, it's showdown time.

There aren't many prominent movies dealing in macro trends. "The Godfather," certainly, Vito and Michael (not necessarily in that order) realizing that narcotics are going to end the old New York way of doing things. That film, celebrated nonetheless, is actually an inadequate tragedy; Michael doesn't seem terribly distressed about changing career paths.

More similar to "The Artist" is "Giant," proud rancher Bick Benedict refusing to drill for oil on his vast land and being surpassed by a good-for-little Jett Rink who does.

George Valentin of "The Artist" is in a similar albeit less-wealthy predicament, first with more money than he could spend during the silent film era, then finding himself looking up to the upstart who was once lucky to stand on the same ground on which he walked.

Some Wall Street banks can identify with Valentin. The mortgage-security market for a long time was the golden goose, they pretty much bet the farm on it, and then suddenly it was over, and it was time to start firing the chauffeurs and calling Hank Paulson.

Valentin, and Bick Benedict, persevered on reputation and nostalgia. It was their rivals who collected the modern fortunes, and the relevance, and gave them a chance, way past prime, to get back in the game.

Clearly nostalgia isn't enough for Billy Beane. If he can't compete right now, no one will remember last season's near-miss; he's done, at best irrelevant and at worst, jobless.

He'll only survive on his own ingenuity, not the largesse/favor of others.

"Moneyball," however, is a distant long shot to win the Best Picture Oscar, while "The Artist" is the overwhelming favorite.

Which is a reminder of what we learned in 2008, 2009, and to this day:

Don't bet against the bailout.

When the 1% was really
the 12½%: Karabell featured
on presidential series

He not only studies stocks, but presidents.

Every year, Presidents Day brings out the 7-hour series "The Presidents" on the History Channel franchise (this year it aired/airs on the H2 channel), and the A-list ensemble of historians includes Zach Karabell, who assesses the transition from James A. Garfield to Chester A. Arthur.

Karabell observes that Garfield actually might've been killed by the incompetency of his own doctors as much as by the bullet(s) of Charles Guiteau. (This reinforces the both inspiring and troubling notion of the latter 1800s as an age of low-hanging fruit in the medical profession, where life-saving techniques such as sterilization and hand-washing and public hygiene were available but not always practiced and penicillin was just barely on the verge of discovery and many died in needless ways, making one wonder how many medical breakthroughs are just around the corner now, or whether the low-hanging fruit is gone and further medical progress will be marked by centuries, not years.) Karabell says that some have portrayed Guiteau as a "disgruntled office seeker," but in fact Guiteau was merely "insane."

Arthur, Karabell says, was "incredibly meticulous" about the way he dressed, and managed to live a "gilded age" life, which included commissioning Louis Comfort Tiffany to redecorate the White House.

But, "Arthur did not like to work hard," observes Karabell, who nevertheless concludes Arthur ran a refreshingly "competent" presidency at a time of low expectations among the public.

The program notes that by the end of Arthur's presidency, 1/8 of the people owned 7/8 of the wealth, and that the people regarded as the nation's most powerful were the industrialists, not the president.

And, references include Grover Cleveland being the only president to marry in the White House, and Benjamin Harrison being the first to put electricity in the White House, but he and his wife were afraid to touch the switches.

Every year, it's an extremely watchable series, and hard to turn off.

Dr. J on the move

According to the Chicago Tribune, Jon Najarian is moving — but not out of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The newspaper says Najarian is listing his home, which he bought in 1998, for $2.2 million.

This is the deeper end of the real estate pool, and we wouldn't expect (nor in many cases want, actually) CNBC personalities to discuss very much of their private lives on TV, but best wishes for Najarian's move, and perhaps he will be able to offer a first-hand account of the strength of the big-city real estate market.

[Friday, February 17, 2012]

Steve Cortes opines on the purpose of higher education

Steve Cortes delivered a speech at the University of Notre Dame, and fans/Fast Money viewers will be interested in this interview by Sam Stryker, News Editor of the Notre Dame Observer, in which Cortes speaks of choosing Georgetown over the Fightin' Irish and spends ample time on China.

Here was one comment we totally agree with: "From an investing standpoint, I believe Wall Street has also [emphasized] too high a percentage in stocks. It is too volatile for most people. It's particularly sold to young people. Wall Street has oversold to the investing public..."

But what begs out for a follow-up question that evidently didn't happen was Cortes' assessment of the motivation of higher education: "I think the most important thing is it's not what you are learning as an undergrad, whether it's art history or you're a business major. It's far more about learning how to learn."

This is undoubtedly what most academics and university presidents would say, it's all about "teaching you how to think," etc., even though no one at these beacons of knowledge, where the highest-paid faculty member tends to be a football coach, has figured out how to measure that Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Jeremy Siegel (all degreed) demonstrably know how to think better than Brian Williams, Matt Lauer (borderline call), Lennon & McCartney, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The reality seems to be that a degree is less about learning how to learn and more about crossing society's imaginary threshold as the most important of all qualifiers for higher-paying jobs and more elite social status ... and having a blast while doing so. It's much more an effect of something than a cause. Just get ahead any way you can. It's a free country.

Stunner: Day without AAPL

Jon Najarian on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report pronounced himself "fairly neutral" on the stock market and said it's kind of like when you're thinking about buying clothes in November or December and decide to hold off until after Dec. 25 for the "Christmas sale."

Steve Grasso said 1,356 is the level, and "we need to hold it for a couple of days," but he cautioned that the words "Greek" and "default" seem likely even in the best-case scenario.

Stephen Weiss on the other hand was gung-ho, saying, "I am long; I do like the market here," and explaining that he's at a "65% net long" position.

Newcomer Reggie Middleton, who was announced by Judge Wapner but in keeping with a troubling new tradition no description of what Middleton does or what money he manages was ever given (the screen listed him as representing Boombustblog.com), said he was "reticent" to put faith in a Greece deal and predicted markets would get more volatile. But asked for a stock call, he told Judge Wapner that in the short term, "I can't help you with that."

(Used to be in the early days, Fast Money introduced each trader with a profile of him/her at his/her office, explaining what kind of work he/she does. But nowadays that's lost in Franchise Sprawl.)

Reggie Middleton indicated in Twitter feed that Facebook valuation would be a topic Friday, but no FBK either

Jon Najarian said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he likes MSFT for reasons "D. All of the above," but because it's had such a big run in 2012, "I'm virtually out of Microsoft now." He said he's looking for other tech plays though, such as Juniper.

Reggie Middleton said for the first time in a long time, MSFT is a "pure play on Microsoft manager execution," now that Windows 8 is touch-enabled and that the company is using ARM processors.

Stephen Weiss unleashed a Brag Trade on HPQ, asserting "I bought it close to the bottom" when Meg Whitman was interviewed on CNBC; "that was the worst interview I ever saw of a CEO," but the stock is "not that cheap anymore."

Weiss briefly compared NFLX and LNKD and said "I think Netflix is going a lot lower."

Jon Najarian mentioned the jump in FIO and told Steve Grasso "congratulations to you" for nailing it a week or 2 ago along with Dr. J. Najarian said Friday that the rumor was that Intel "approached these guys ... I called the company, got no response from that."

Middleton made GOOG his Final Trade.

So hike the dividend tax, allow another ‘1-time’ repatriation of overseas cash, net-net neutral

Katie Stockton visited with the Fast Money Halftime gang on Friday and she detects a "loss of short-term momentum" in stocks and predicts a "slow grind higher."

Stephen Weiss questioned, "Isn't it really about the headlines?" Stockton said that was true last year but insisted, "Momentum seems to be driving the market these days."

Stockton added, "It's fine to be long utilities here," but what looks like the intermediate-term outperformer is "really the risk-on trade" that excelled in January.

John Harwood interrupted with news about another boost to the economy, the payroll tax-cut extension. Reggie Middleton opined, "This type of behavior doesn't seem to be indicative of a recession that just ended. As a matter of fact, it looks like we're trying to climb out of recession," and asked his colleagues to respond, but Judge said it's time for a commercial and they'd get to it later, which they never did. Middleton correctly nailed the appearance, but it's not the reality, which is that there are a lot of people running the country who think everyone always needs a lot of help and those in charge would apparently be happy to finance our government for decades 100% with loans from China and then about once a year or so send Tim Geithner over to express currency concerns.

Steve Liesman got tripped up referring to "President Bush" in the White House, then showed a series of charts depicting the magnitude of dividends in our economy and explaining why Congress might be interested in hiking the rate. But, Liesman concluded, "I don't think anybody thinks the dividend tax hike is gonna pass," and why should it with an endless debt ceiling.

Fast Money in real time:
Covering the AMZN short

Yesterday we noted that Keith McCullough and Tim Seymour shared similar sentiments on AMZN, with McCullough even saying "We're short Amazon for 3 reasons."

Just to make sure we weren't going loopy, we checked the official CNBC.com summary and discovered the same quote and passage (above).

It was a surprise, then, on Friday to notice a McCullough tweet on Friday afternoon saying, "Amazon $AMZN (update): we covered our short position yesterday on red at $177.72, waiting on time/price for re-entry."

According to Google finance — and to be honest, it can get dicey moving those 1-day stock charts back a day or more in Google finance — AMZN spent the entire Thursday afternoon north of $178, and the lowest it traded afterhours was $177.95.

Yahoo finance's 5-day chart also indicates AMZN didn't see $177.72 after noon Thursday.

Which means McCullough had apparently already covered when he said on Fast Money, "We're short Amazon" ("we shorted" would've been accurate, but he clearly said "we're short"), and in fact the actual position he covered Thursday is more in line with the opinion of Guy Adami, who said on Thursday there was likely a greater propensity to go up than down.

As we always like to give the benefit of the doubt, it's entirely possible that McCullough expected to talk about the short that evening and didn't realize his shop had already covered, based on short-term technicals and not his overall thesis. This would be the ideal opportunity for the CNBC.com disclosures to shed some light on the trader positions. But, as you can see below, there are none for McCullough, which makes you wonder why everyone else felt obliged.


Kilburg: Crude to $110

Jeff Kilburg guested on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report to gush about oil, citing a "huge technical pressure point at 103.73, the January 5th high," and that the "bulls are just warmin' up in crude," and predicting a march to $110.

Steve Grasso asked how such a gain fits into Kilburg's overall stock market selloff thesis. Kilburg said he doesn't know which will come first, but like Grasso in high school realizing his girlfriend would break up with him, everyone wants to beat the others to the punch.

Guest Aaron Chew said the spike in FSLR was "possibly" just a short-term gain that he said represents more of an "unwinding of concerns and negative sentiment than anything else." But he said that since the stock cratered it's actually become appealing; he's a buyer in the "$35 range" but would be a seller in the $50s. He also mentioned STRI and GTAT.

Stephen Weiss said of FSLR, "you've gotta sell the pops." Basically for the sector, "I would sell them all," Weiss said.

Stephen Weiss tempted to go on afternoon shopping spree

Stephen Weiss said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that JWN is so enticing, "I may even buy it this afternoon."

"I like the story," Weiss said, explaining that the expenditures are good expenditures.

Steve Grasso said he'd "much rather" be in Macy's. Jon Najarian for some reason told Judge Wapner he didn't even want to talk about Macy's, but did want to talk about LTD; "I think these guys could blow it out next week."

Najarian also said the "Super Bowl" for TJX is after Christmas when it gets all the unsold stuff.

Reggie Middleton didn't have a retailer but did point to commercial real estate and the malls as facing "significant headwinds over the near term," but he was reticent to name names for Judge Wapner.

Analyst: ‘Very early’ in the game for HD, LOW

Brian Nagel offered an up-tempo, highly enthusiastic pitch for Home Depot and Lowe's on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying it's "very early" in the game for both, and that they're experiencing a "prolonged recovery."

Stephen Weiss questioned how much higher HD can go given the run since September. Nagel said, "Earnings for that company are still very depressed." But then Weiss sought specifics on the multiple, saying it's 17 now and what's the historic level. "I'd be careful there," said Nagel, saying 10 years ago it was a lot different retail reality, which we think means the historic has actually been much higher, but that doesn't mean the stock now is a buy, even though Nagel says it's a buy.

Camilla Sutton said the euro could drop back to 1.2625, "think we're on our way here." Stephen Weiss wondered if a lot of shorts haven't been covering. Sutton said almost no one wants to be long and was allowed to give way too long of an assessment by Judge Wapner.

Weiss said of Ugg, "my kids own 5 pair each."

Herb Greenberg could've taken the day off, essentially only saying after a late start that CRM might need to explain discounting, and if no one asks Marc Benioff about it on the conference call, well, then ...

Jon Najarian said CPN was his Final Trade based on unusual call-buying. Steve Grasso said MO and D. Stephen Weiss said MDRX, and "I own it."

CNBCfix misses Judge’s birthday

Every so often, we gotta say we blew it.

Unfortunately that was the case Wednesday, when this page failed to pick up on the day's Twitter traffic and didn't realize Scott Wapner, who happened to have a rare midweek day off (which should've gotten the ol' Spider Sense tingling but didn't), was actually celebrating his birthday.

According to Judge's tweets, he went to the Garden for the New York-Sacramento game. Which evokes memories of Marv's "Knicks & chicks" offer to Bud, although apparently for Judge it was more like #MaryJ and #Tyson.

We hate to speculate on these things, but the guess here — strictly a guess — is that Judge might be 41 or 42.

Happy (belated) birthday.

Tim Seymour questions reliance on S&P levels, runs into tag-team buzz saw

Steve Grasso opened Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money saying 1,356 is the level he's watching, tracing it to July 7, 2011, where it's had "so much trouble breaking out from." But he said you also want to keep an eye on 1,333 and 1,370.

Keith McCullough, meanwhile, in a refreshing return to the Fast Money desk, said "1,363 to me is the most important number, because it represents the April 2011 closing high when people thought inflation was turning into growth. Most importantly, McCullough revealed, "We shorted the S&P today at 12- 1,357."

Tim Seymour, who recently made fun of the expression "will all due respect" because it means, like, not much respect, then complained of "minute-to-minute, or the trading ranges ... with all due respect to that Keith," it's "probably a good technical call," but "it's really about fundamentals," and the data has provided reasons to buy.

Keith McCullough: Stocks ‘a lot lower potentially 3 months from now’

Not only was Tim Seymour on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money running into the Grasso-McCullough headwind on S&P levels, but on the flat-on-the-year thesis.

"Now people can make up stories about why we're going up and why we're going down, but if you can pick up 15-20 points in the S&P and be really sober about it, and I mean really sober," you can work the range, McCullough said.

More startling, McCullough said that if China's slowing and the rest of the world not cooking, the market could be "a lot lower potentially 3 months from now."

Steve Grasso echoed that, saying he's hearing from people about a reversion to 1,257, and that actually, we're "poised to fall off a cliff basically ... maybe even break 1,200."

"Based on what? Based on fundamentals?" Seymour demanded.

Grasso then followed with a curious explanation that stocks have been the "best spot for yield" but Europe is still facing a recesssion/depression.

Seymour argued that Europe has done a "backdoor paper over" and make no mistake, it's QE1 for the ECB, but "U.S. exports to Europe are not crucial" and that Europe in "recession" is much different than "implosion." Basically, "this is very good news" and there's "resilience" in the U.S. data.

McCullough, though, countered, "It's old though ... I mean everything that you just said is ... as plain as the sun rising in the East," and that, "inflation will slow growth."

"Where is there inflation though," Seymour demanded.

That's when Melissa Lee stepped in. "Let's agree to disagree guys. Let's agree- we could go on all night probably," Lee said.

"OK," Seymour said.

"We should," McCullough said, and he was right.

Guy Adami tried to stake middle ground, claiming he agreed with both arguments, but one's bullish, and one just shorted the S&P at 1,357.

Adami: JCP looks to be on verge of breaking out, ‘maybe up to 50’

Guy Adami, usually recommending trades on volume and selloffs, dabbled in valuation on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, unimpressed by JWN and saying "I'd look to a Macy's candidly at 10½ times that seems better positioned for the stock to go higher than Nordstroms (sic, said plural several times) here."

Fast Line guest Erika Maschmeyer, though, said the reasons for Nordstrom costs are all "positive," including investments in ecommerce, which was about the only one she named after being pressed by Melissa Lee.

Adami, though, didn't hesitate to hail JCP, "looks like it's on the verge of breaking out ... maybe up to 50."

Tim Seymour then explained why he doesn't like Amazon, there are better places to look, he said, given the valuation despite the fact it's a great company.

"I agree with Tim on that," said Keith McCullough, who revealed, "We're short Amazon for 3 reasons," which were top line slowing, margins compressing and expensive valuation. "Bed Bath & Beyond looks the same," he added.

Steve Grasso made only a half-hearted defense for AMZN this time, bringing up the kids using the Fire again as well as the cloud thing and conceding, while the parts individually may not justify buying, "you have to look at it as a number of different things."

Guy Adami pointed to the $175 level and how AMZN bounced Thursday and said, "risk/reward sets up much better on the long side than the short side."

McCullough: We sold
China today

But just when you thought Tim Seymour and Keith McCullough were in agreement mode on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, all it took was China to drive a wedge.

Seymour actually was talking skeptically of BIDU, saying the quarters are always about the same with this impressive growth, but "I would be very careful at these levels."

McCullough, though, explained, "We've been long China since Dec. the 29th. We sold China actually today because I think that Chinese growth is slowing as it usually does when oil is running over 110 bucks a barrel."

Seymour disagreed. "People have no idea what Chinese policy is gonna be," but he thinks it "will continue to soft-land this thing ... I would not be running short of China."

‘Another 5, 6 dollars of upside’ in MSFT

Guy Adami on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money delivered a too-long assessment of where MSFT had been and where it might be going, but "today's the day you should be getting out of the trade."

Guest Adam Holt, on the other hand, said rebalancing is hardly the only reason to buy; there's a "series of other catalysts ... there's still another, you know, 5, 6 dollars of upside in the stock."

Steve Grasso handled a Twitter question — thankfully no one with RIMM looking for a high bridge this time — and said AAPL was going back to yesterday's level before the correction, which drew chuckles apparently because it was some kind of joke, then insisted the stock was still going up (at odds with Carter Worth yesterday) because there are "too many catalysts."

Guy Adami paid tribute to Jim Cramer and Gary Kaminsky for saying in the morning that people who trade AAPL as a proxy for the market are making a mistake. Adami also said MELI had a similar day Thursday to AAPL's day Wednesday, though not quite the same.

Fast Money gang’s attention span proves to be less than 45 minutes

Zach Karabell got the unfortunate assignment of delivering an investing thesis near the end of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, a time when most of his colleagues had checked out for the weekend day.

Karabell's point was that China is a massive untapped market for mobile payments, a rising concept/industry, and mentioned the word "nascent."

"Nascent," noticed Tim Seymour, quickly going off-topic.

"I used it once; I was getting mugged," revealed Steve Grasso.

Karabell then asked, "Are we now going to have a vocabulary disquisition on the desk," and to be honest, we'd never heard of "disquisition" before and had to look it up, but it is indeed a word meaning "long or elaborate" discussion.

Guy Adami then segued into Karabell's "Naugahyde jacket." Karabell asked, "Is that a small native tribe in New England?" Adami insisted it's a "great look."

Anyway, Karabell's recommendations (per the screen text) included V, MA and EBAY, and "I think you wanna look for that next stage." Melissa Lee said Juniper Research predicts mobile payments will be tripling by 2015. Guy Adami said V had a troubling reaction on a big day Thursday but he would start buying around $105.

Brad Hintz displays uncanny breakdown of global banking economics but then basically concludes that if anything implodes, everyone’s in trouble

Brad Hintz wound up and pitched way too much inside baseball on the banks near the end of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money (that Naugahyde jacket thing really threw us off the rails), but he did say Moody's matters, "Moody's remains a powerful name," and that banks were strong Thursday because we're entering a "long weekend, potential Greek deal ahead of us, you don't wanna be short."

Keith McCullough wondered about his MS long, concerned about a Japan sovereign debt issue in March. Hintz first said Morgan Stanley has "not delivered on their retail promise of getting their 20% pretax margin," so that's the acute problem, but basically if Japan goes, then everyone's going with it.

Tim Seymour asked if it's smart to be long U.S. banks and short the European banks. Hintz said that has worked and maybe is good as long as Europe is "kicking the can down the road."

Keith McCullough raises the bar for Fast Money desk attire

Guy Adami told one Fast Money Twitterer on Thursday's 5 p.m. show that "I'd rather be in gold than the stocks," but would pick AUY above others.

Keith McCullough, who once again impressively one-upped his colleagues by donning a jacket at the desk, and spoke of a "total meltdown in the yen" as something to watch.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was FCX, Guy Adami said M, Steve Grasso said MO and Keith McCullough said to short HBI.

Mike Khouw speculated that Sunoco could buy CVI, not CVR (well actually it is CVR, just not the CVR some were trading, which Mel Lee offered as a Trade School, "always check your tickers").

Whitney Tilson implies NFLX fell 75% in 1 day

On July 13, 2011, NFLX peaked at $304.79.

On Oct. 24, 2011, it closed at 118.84.

A day later, which is the day Tilson announced he bought NFLX, shares fell to a $77.37 close.

Yet on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Tilson explained his NFLX purchase this way: "When the stock fell 75%, we were prepared to buy in immediately uh during the day when it, it dropped dramatically last fall."

Nothing about that sentence is inaccurate. However, his linking of "75%" and "the day" is a little misleading, implying the shares fell apart in a day prompting an "immediate" call that would've been the "Citizen Kane" of 1-day bottom-picking decisions, when in fact the cratering happened over more than 90 days, allowing plenty of time to evaluate an entry point.

Of course, it was a great call nonetheless, and a wise choice after apparently not biting on the $40 drop of Sept. 15.

After his dubious short of early 2011, "I think we're now back to about break-even," Tilson said.

For a value investor, Tilson’s NFLX reasoning seems to flirt with Greater Fool territory

Joe Terranova told Whitney Tilson on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Tilson must have "some sort of fair-value model" for his NFLX price.

Tilson, though, admitted, "I don't have a hard number for intrinsic value," unlike of course his $170,000 BRK-A (and if he'd just stopped promoting BRK for a couple years and playing stock market with NFLX and just went long AAPL, he'd probably be much farther ahead).

Terranova persisted, asking Tilson for his "worst-case scenario price." Tilson didn't give one, although he implied that his $77 purchase was about as low as he thinks it would get.

Netflix critic Michael Pachter dialed in the Fast Line and called NFLX a "great company ... terrible investment," as viewers heard background noise akin to when all the holders of BlueStar (presumably Gekko's positions) at the NYSE hear "18 for 500,000" and yell "SOOOOOOOOLD!"

Pachter said the company "screwed up the balance" of its pricing plan and that the stock only continues to work if customers "don't care" about the lack of movies and that entertainment is "fungible" and that they're "perfectly happy with serialized dramas like 'Lost' or 'Desperate Housewives' instead of movies like, uh, Pixar movies, or, or Disney movies, or Sony movies."

Pachter said he'd watch "Blazing Saddles" or "Pulp Fiction" several times but the serialized TV dramas aren't so valuable.

Tilson, in a dis, said that was his thesis "a little over a year ago" when he was short, and then he realized after taking 500 surveys of Netflix customers that they're only paying "26 cents a day" and absorbing about an hour's worth of content.

Then Tilson admitted, saying "at the end of the day" twice when neither was necessary, it basically comes down to subscriber numbers as to whether he or Pachter is right.

Pachter was given the last word by Judge Wapner and said, "If you see domestic subs decline in June, I think it's over for Netflix, the stock gets cut in half."

Jon Najarian chipped in that he's an "active user," and "my daughters are very active users," but unlike Pachter's theory, Najarian said they like the TV and "they don't care about the movies." Most of all, Najarian said, there isn't a better alternative for what you get; "there's no place else to go yet."

Liz Dunn goes to 2013 to find a justifiable JCP Greater Fool multiple, explains basics of stock-price discounting

In an all-Whitney (that's Tilson, not Houston or the NBC sitcom gal), all-the-time edition of the Fast Money Halftime Report Thursday, Judge Wapner challenged Tilson over JCP: "You're betting the house on Ron Johnson."

Tilson, who converted every discussion into a Brag Trade of some kind or at least tried to, said he actually started betting the house on Ackman's presence in the name, and then got excited with the Johnson hire. "We said 'Wow,' take a look at this," Tilson said, seeing potential of an "underperforming, undermanaged business."

Judge brought in Liz Dunn, who famously told people to sell LULU at the end of May last year and got Steve Cortes aboard that one, to opine on JCP, and Judge interpreted Dunn's outlook as akin to buy the stock before it runs away (which fyi for newcomers here is always a scary proposition). "I think it's a great story," Dunn said. "Now, they've laid out a tremendous plan."

AMZN, meet JCP.

Patty Edwards argued that "I just think there's better places to play" in retail, citing Macy's trading at 10x while JCP has an "over 20x" valuation.

That didn't faze Dunn, who merely went to 2013 to find a JCP multiple of 10 while offering a seminar in Stock-Price-Discounting 101, predicting EPS of "4.12 for 2012/2013, the stock's currently trading at about 10 times that level" and thus is "quite attractive" on a discounted basis with projected "expense cuts."

Tilson offered some interesting info on the company's sales, saying some micro-percentage of goods had been sold at full price and nearly everything gets discounted and that Johnson has established 3 levels of pricing and targeted "absolutely insane inefficiencies."

Enjoying the word "insane," Tilson went on to describe LULU as "insane valuation" with numbers that "aren't sustainable." He, like Steve Cortes so liberally in Against the Herd, tried to sound cool with "inherently" when pointing out that Lululemon is a retailer that unlike software companies doesn't have "inherently high margins."

Bottom line, Tilson said, "Mathematically it is almost certain that a company this wildly overvalued will eventually reward us on the short side," which is basically what he thought about NFLX more than a year ago too.

Dunn conceded LULU is "expensive" but said the company is "kind of a game-changer."

Tilson right about NFLX, right about DELL, even his biggest miss is something he was right about

Whitney Tilson, while expressing regrets on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he missed the AAPL trade, pointed to an "article I wrote in October 2000 ... about how cheap it was" comparing it to CSCO and it turned into a "66-bagger and I missed all of it."

And, unfortunately, he said, the article is still on the Web to haunt him (that's what you get for writing for Motley Fool, by the way one of the most curiously named businesses of all time and a name that Ron Johnson probably wouldn't pick).

Tilson on Thursday though was keeping his distance from AAPL, questioning the potential of that kind of market cap and that Tim Cook is only a sales guy and not much of a product guy (and Steve Jobs is an incredible genius, he realized from reading the book).

"Sounds like you're making an excuse to make yourself feel better for not owning these shares," Judge said, about his only good line of the program.

Joe Terranova asked Tilson about HPQ, saying Terranova is "all in at this point" and opining "the Street is just too low." Tilson used that to praise himself for being in DELL instead, but like Al Czervik in the pro shop with the hat, told Terranova, "congrats on Hewlett Packard."

Tilson said he likes SanDisk, hoping to get that $10 of every $100 in extra Apple memory to $20 (or something like that), and that he's short GRPN and LNKD because it's a "classic fad/speculative stock market bubble."

He said he joined Groupon and now it's just daily spam-deleting, but he keeps the account so he can keep tabs on his short.

Mark Mahaney for some reason was asked to say nothing explosive on LNKD; "very little margin for error" at these valuations, and "we're on the sidelines."

Jon Najarian indicated LNKD isn't so much about social media, but "this is an employment play," which he apparently has liked, however, "I've been lightening up as it crosses through 93 here."

Tilson said of GMCR, "something's just not adding up ... smells like channel-stuffing." He also called CRM valuation "extreme" and said there's "too much optimism built into the stock." But he still likes C and GS (see, he gets all of 'em right).

Patty should once again demand a refund for show-prep time wasted as Judge barely gives her time for a cup of coffee

Continuing an emerging (if not entrenched) Fast Money Halftime Report trend, Judge Wapner gave the bulk of the airtime to people sitting next to him in Englewood Cliffs, which is generally a setback for Patty Edwards, who is based in the state of Washington.

We'd been looking forward to another Patty appearance for a week (she wasn't on the show Tuesday) but Judge once again barely afforded Edwards a chance to speak, almost literally that was true Thursday as Judge limited Patty to about 2 soundbites, including her assessment that retailer reports next week could trip up the market; "I'm really cautious going into some of those, specifically Target, Wal-Mart ... I would be cautiously optimistic here but I would not be buying with both hands."

Herb Greenberg complained apparently that the TVIX ETN was moving too quickly. Jon Najarian said VIX players are "hedging" with it, "like crazy." Greenberg scoffed, "They're all sophisticated investors too."

Andy Busch said to buy euro/pound.

Joe Terranova took the other side of Steve Cortes' euro trade, saying, "I'm stepping in, I'm buying it," and he also likes the TBT.

Terranova also said he bought YUM and added to MCD, and Jon Najarian credited Terranova for pointing out a day ago that AAPL was trading like a commodity, and Thursday it was not.

Brian Kelly said, "I would absolutely be looking at FCX right here," and credited Carter Worth for mentioning the stock a day ago.

Kelly also explained how his emotions twisted in the wind Thursday. "I was fairly bearlish- bearish as early as 5 a.m. this morning," but now, "we've got all this bad news out there."

[Wednesday, February 15, 2012]

Carter Worth makes one wonder what an ‘incremental buyer’ is

Carter Worth delivered chart analysis on 3 names on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money; one of those names, AAPL, certainly didn't need any more discussion, but overall these were 3 names that traders and long-term holders alike are interested in, and it was an interesting presentation.

Worth said AAPL "has the elements of a key reversal day" (not a big surprise there), and that the stock looks to have hit on Wednesday an "important intermediate top." Now it's a "crowded trade" that has been marked by "buying euphoria."

So Brian Kelly asked how long an AAPL downturn would last, and Worth predicted — because this is technicals, with no thought to new products, dividend, etc. — it could sink to $450, $440, over "3-5 months."

Meawhile, SBUX, Worth said, is in a "similar circumstance," making a "mature intermediate move" and also raising the question, "Who is the incremental buyer in Starbucks, or Apple?"

Karen Finerman, though, smartly questioned what SBUX's volume is compared with AAPL's on Wednesday. Worth admitted the SBUX "similar" pattern actually has "no volume," and so, "there's complacency ... crowded trade."

Meanwhile, Worth said he likes FCX bottoming around $2, getting "back to 47, 49."

Karen disheartened that traders have actually bought shares of AAPL

As the CNBCfix.com idea for an AAPL show on CNBC continues to fester ...

Melissa Lee could barely wait until the opening teasers were uttered on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to plunge into Apple's day, with Joe Terranova declaring, "It's trading like a commodity future."

Karen complained about the price movement. "The idea that Apple within about 2 hours had a $30 billion change in their market cap," Finerman said, is "sort of very disconcerting." She said she doesn't own the stock for that kind of action; "it's not the Greater Fool Theory."

Brian Kelly said "You oughta be less long of this name," while Finerman chimed in that it might as well be trading like "Apple Coffee Roasters."

Melissa Lee, in smashing front-zippered red dress, reported that there was a rumor that the Nasdaq 100 would be "rebalanced," and that the Nasdaq would only officially say the rebalancing rule kicks in at 24%, even though last year it happened with AAPL under 24%.

"I would discount that rumor," said Brian Kelly, because the stock went up anyway last time.

Joe Terranova said he would not be long NUAN and might even buy puts below 25. Terranova did say he'd be interested in getting long NVDA on a pullback to $14.50 or $15.

A questionable Fast Money trend has surfaced this week of popular music playing into and out of commercial breaks; questionable because often it's too hard to hear both the music and the panelists talking, and something's gotta give for this to continue, unlike in Squawk Box, where the tunes play while charts are shown. "That's Pit Bull," Terranova said to Tim Seymour, who replied, "If we're gonna be 'Soul-Trained', let's do it the right way," maybe not the most time-sensitive quip given that "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius just ended his own life a couple weeks ago.

Pickens: ‘We’ve got more oil than we need’ in the U.S.

Sometimes, people come on television for one apparent purported reason, and then say things that make you wonder if they're actually espousing the opposite reasons.

Such was the case with T. Boone Pickens' curious (to say the least) visit with the Fast Money gang on Wednesday's 5 p.m. broadcast, in which Pickens seemed to indicate there's both 1) barely enough oil to meet world demand, and 2) excess oil in the United States.

So, energy independence is finally here. Or maybe not.

Melissa Lee first spoke about a Deutsche Bank report warning of a risk of the biggest global oil shock since the late '70s, even as Tim Seymour said the Citibank report has a different conclusion.

Anyway, Pickens called that Deutsche Bank assessment a "pretty big statement; I don't know that," but that the U.S. is blessed with the "cheapest oil in the world."

He added later that the world consumes 90 million barrels a day and "that's about all the world can produce," and thus, "I think oil is gonna move up from here ... I don't know whether it goes to 125, I, I would say, north of that, at some point this summer."

But then Joe Terranova asked, "It sounds to me like you're saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, we can't drill our way out of this can we?"

Pickens responded by restating the question. "Drill our way out of it? Uh, we've got more oil than we need ... the cheapest energy in the world is the United States. So you've drilled your way out of it."

So, how that ensures prices north of $125 this summer, we're not real clear.

Pickens said the U.S. is "stupid" if it doesn't build the pipeline and take the Canadian oil, and that "we got nothing out of Iraq."

Terranova for his part said, "There clearly is a strain right now on global spare capacity," and suggested names including OXY, SU, CNQ and HES.

Karen Finerman said courteously, "Mr. Pickens, it's Karen Finerman. Let me ask you, are you surprised" that there isn't more nat gas supply coming off the market given the price, which marked the 3rd Fast Money episode in a row that someone was asked about being surprised, although this time it wasn't about a whale's stock purchase. Pickens allowed, "I've been surprised that, that the producers have kept drilling."

Unfortunately, Mel Lee felt compelled to say at the end, "The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas."

Somehow this one ended up without a reference to Chess King

The Lin fad is wearing thin, as Darren Rovell visited Mitchell Modell on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to hear Modell say, "It's like 'Rudy' in real life."

(Hopefully not, because "Rudy" just got accused by the SEC of running a pump-and-dump sports-drink scheme.)

Tim Seymour revealed, to oohs and ahhhs from Mel Lee and Karen Finerman, that "my sweetheart got a lot more than a Lin jersey."

Joe Terranova wondered about people who buy basketball jerseys in February; "where are you wearing it."

Later Seymour and Terranova went at it as expected after the Michael Kors interview, with Seymour asking Terranova about his man purse and Terranova questioning Seymour's handbag. Seymour said he's got a wallet in his jeans pocket and it's not snakeskin. Terranova wondered who carries a wallet in his back jeans pocket.

Karen Finerman lamented again that she sold KORS at $30, and "I wouldn't re-up here."

Fast Money scrapes for Twitter questions that make light of a serious subject

Guest Mike Ward told the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang that the average age of cars on U.S. roads right now is 10.8 years, an all-time high.

So, he thinks "we're at the very early stages of a cyclical recovery."

"Our top pick is Ford," Ward said, and he likes TRW and BWA. Tim Seymour praised Fiat, because "they stole Chrysler" (just like BAC stole Merrill Lynch and MS stole Smith Barney).

Tim Seymour said he likes the idea of owning WLT at 9x, and "the U.S. coal plays will be in play."

Melissa Lee, almost unbelievably actually, read a tweet from a RIMM-owning viewer who suggested he might be "looking for a high bridge." Karen Finerman stressed again, "It doesn't matter what your cost is."

Mike Khouw for a Final Trade said he likes F over GM. Tim Seymour predicted (we think, it wasn't totally clear what he was saying) AAPL would go lower Thursday. Brian Kelly suggested puts in the materials. Karen Finerman recommended PLCE again, and Joe Terranova said it's been a while since he offered a short for his Final Trade, but "short Google."

Grasso: S&P at some point will be flat on the year

In the last 12 months or so Jeff Kilburg's persistent 10-year bullishness has been put to the test, but the Killir was just as adamant on Wednesday's Halftime Report as ever, saying bonds haven't flinched in the 2012 stock rally and it's like "cats and dogs" being together.

But maybe that won't last, he indicated, predicting that a "technical setback is coming here," citing data showing 80% of the S&P 1,500 are above the 200-day vs. 8% months ago.

"I would have to agree, absolutely," said Abigail Doolittle.

Steve Grasso then made an even more eye-opening forecast, "At some point we are going to see flat on year, which is 1,257," but he thinks 1,275 for now is a "natural progression."

Doolittle: DE longer-term
‘looks very weak’

Guest Ann Duignan argued on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that DE should've been going up, not down, given the outlook of "anticipate demand to be up in North America."

"I have a hundred dollar target price on the stock right now," Duignan said, and thankfully the screen text matched what the guest said this time, though she said she'd have to revisit her model after the conference call.

Duignan said Deere may be more than halfway through a North American cycle, but is in the "very early stages" of a "secular trend" in the rest of the world.

Abigail Doolittle said short-term, DE "looks a little bit oversold," but unfortunately the 200-day is sagging and so, "longer-term this chart looks very weak." Nevertheless, Brian Stutland revealed, "I'm staying long the stock."

Unload now, don’t miss that 7%

Only in the world of Wall Street analysts is a stock trading at $130 rated a "strong sell" with a price target of ... $120.

That's the view of S&P's Scott Kessler, however, who thinks both the CRM valuation is stretched and that its competitors will be the ones making deals.

Steve Grasso wondered why Salesforce can't be the buyers in this space. Kessler said there's a 20% premium in its stock price, higher than the companies that will get bought.

Later, Jon Fortt delivered purportedly "big news here in tech" — that Cisco is suing in Europe to attach conditions to the MSFT-Skype deal.

Brian Stutland said that in JNPR, it may be time to take some profits.

Someone’s hoping to book a few years’ worth of gains by this weekend

Brian Stutland reported on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime one of the more curious trades in recent memory, somebody stocking up on February 24 BKS calls; "extremely interesting in the options market."

Nishu Sood, meanwhile, was unfazed by the big move in homebuilders and insisted, "They can go higher from here," before offering DHI as his "blue chip pick," MDC as his "value play" and PHM as the "higher risk, higher reward" choice.

Steve Cortes said he looks at housing stocks' recent run with "cynical amazement" and that the key number to him is "very little new home loan application."

Sood insisted demand is getting better but conceded it's not reflected in the index; "to us that data point looks like an outlier."

Josh Brown questioned if housing isn't more of a rental story than anything else. Sood insisted that single-family varieties are contributing this year.

Cortes piling onto euro short

Supplying some gusto prior to his speech at the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday, Steve Cortes told the Fast Money Halftime gang Wednesday he's short the euro and "I've been adding the last several days."

In fact, sell euro was his Final Trade.

Cortes cited JOY as one of the "stocks to avoid," partly because of copper data. Steve Grasso said he likes TEX more than JOY at these levels.

Josh Brown for Final Trade recommended selling something and take a profit, Brian Stutland mentioned FXE puts, Abigail Doolittle said to short precious metals, and Steve Grasso, like Brown, said to lock in profit.

Steve Liesman briefly came on the program to stress that the Fed's balance sheet is its "most important tool" for dealing with rates. Abigail Doolittle said indexes might be suggesting that the Fed minutes will be "less optimistic" than maybe people thought.

Steve Grasso asked Liesman if chances of QE3 are down to 20%. Liesman, without getting into an argument over who speaks for all traders/all economists this time, said its 100% in the even of a Europe blow-up, but it's "really a binary thing" and in the absence of a Europe collapse and deflationary scare, maybe something like "30-35%."

Simon Hobbs obviously hasn’t read Against the Herd nor listened to Steve Cortes much on Fast Money lately

Simon Hobbs asked Steve Cortes on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report about gold: "Are you still long?"

"Simon no, in fact I am short gold and silver," Cortes said, slightly aghast, saying those shorts are in "small" amounts.

Herb Greenberg didn't deliver what the crowd wanted, asked twice about Lululemon for some reason and saying "I have nothing there" and "I spent zero time on Lululemon."

Steve Grasso said the company has "totally unpenetrated areas" and "uncapped growth." Greenberg said it's the opening of new stores that constantly trips up the bears on valuation.

It's unclear why Herb skipped LULU, given that he had little on DECK also (analysts have issued varying views recently), and GMCR has a new brewer called the Vue, and the V Cup reminds Herb of the Iomega Jazz Drive.

CNBCfix.com idea for CNBC official Apple show (cont’d)

Wednesday guest host Simon Hobbs said "Welcome to the Half Money, Fast Time Report (sic)," and from there it once again was off to the races on AAPL.

Jon Najarian dialed in the Fast Line to say "the options are really wagging the dog," and that it's hard not to take profits. "I have trimmed up about 75% of my longs in here today," said Najarian, and "only a fool sticks around after a $16 jump in the stock in 1 day and doesn't take anything off the table."

Steve Grasso questioned though, "How can you not wanna buy Apple even at this level," as the stock traded around $525.

Steve Cortes admitted the stock is "running away like Secretariat at the Belmont," but "I don't think that Apple has coattails."

Josh Brown said the "elephant in the room" is what happens to the big indexes if AAPL "blows off to the rest of the market." Grasso said that's a good point, "perception is reality."

Abigail Doolittle had the most courageous call, saying of the technicals, "They look really weak here" and that the Nasdaq looks ready to "top out." For AAPL, "technically I think that it'll probably drop to about 477 pretty quickly."

Later in the program, as AAPL gave back its $16 gains flagged by Dr. J, Doolittle said $510 is the next level and then $477, "this can't go on forever."

Doolittle: BAC ‘close to 5’ in 3-6 months

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report wasn't high on BAC, saying "there's nothing that's gonna come along" that would "reinvigorate" the big-bank model.

Steve Grasso said the "mental level" for BAC is $8.

Steve Cortes said he's hanging in there with his BAC short. "I took a lot of heat on it so far this week," questioning Simon Hobbs if they showed "Eight is Enough" in the U.K. (our guess is no) but if not, this is the "Bradford Trade," and that "the Treasury market has been incredibly strong in price ... terrible news for banks."

Abigail Doolittle agreed with Brown that while BAC has done great since October, over 3 years, "it's a blip in the screen," and she wouldn't be surprised to see it "close to 5" in 3-6 months.

For the 2nd straight day, someone on Fast Money is asked if he’s ‘surprised’ about the whale-watching disclosures of Tuesday

Shaw Wu guested on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report (or is that Fast Time Half Money Report?) and was asked by Simon Hobbs if he was "surprised" to learn of David Einhorn's Dell interest, given Wu's negativity on the stock.

"We're more concerned with the fundamentals," Wu said, saying in tech, "the tide has lifted all boats."

Steve Grasso asked if Wu's underperform call on Dell was based on balance sheet or assets, and what about Microsoft's strength and the potential of Windows 8. Wu insisted that the Mac has "already started eating into Windows." Grasso argued there could be a Windows multiple that would give Dell better pricing, and in fact "was it oversold at $14?" Wu said "Windows 8, it's not clear when it's gonna ship" and remains to be seen if it will sell.

Josh Brown asked and sort of answered his own question that the non-PC parts of Dell are enough to make a difference. "Still relatively minor," Wu said.

Brian Stutland asked if HPQ isn't better than DELL? Wu said yes, "We have a buy rating" on HPQ, in part because it only has 30% PC exposure vs. 70% of DELL, although wasn't that what Léo was trying to drop, only to see the stock rally because Meg Whitman kept it?

More from the Halftime Report and 5 p.m. Fast Money later.

[Tuesday, February 14, 2012]

Carl Icahn lectures the Fast gang for getting too tough with the questions

It started with the intro, when Melissa Lee (in smokin' Valentine's Day red) said Carl Icahn was picking a fight with CVI.

"I don't like the word 'pick' necessarily; I find that a little bit of pejorative (sic)," said Icahn, saying he's merely sticking to his "formula" of "risk/reward," and that he thinks at CVR, the "value is much greater to a larger company."

Guy Adami said it sounds like Icahn is suggesting CVR hedge its crack-spread exposure. Icahn said it's more difficult for smaller refiners to hedge.

Joe Terranova was fixated on the potential buyers, mentioning HOC, VLO, SUN and saying HOC is "already well-positioned" in the mid-continent space and VLO and SUN might not want to go there, and so, does Icahn see others that Terranova didn't name?

"Yes I do. But I'm not gonna get into 'em," Icahn said, before absorbing Terranova's answer and perhaps revealing what he's thinking, "Why do you say Holly's so well-positioned?"

Melissa Lee said she understands why he wouldn't reveal 3 or 4 names, but "skeptics" tell her they've heard this before from Icahn and think he's "making it up frankly."

Icahn said that what he does has "improved the performance of companies and uh, if you're right, you hit a home run."

Lee pushed, suggesting what Icahn really means is "there would be" 3 or 4 other interested acquirers.

"I'm not in a deposition here," Icahn insisted, to nervous chuckles. "We talk too much for you to start pressuring me on that."

Karen Finerman asked an inside-agitator question about putting up an offer himself. Icahn said, "You know I'm not gonna comment on that ... we're studying the situation."

Then Carl and Karen got their wires crossed over dueling thoughts about what to do if an uncle willed this company and how "amusing" it would be to find out Icahn owns 14% of one's company.

Icahn at one point referred to the CVI fertilizer business and said now's an "excellent time to sell it."

Melissa Lee asked Icahn about IEP having vastly underperformed despite the success of his funds. "You're asking an excellent question," Icahn said, adding maybe he gets "no respect," then throwing in the utterly unnecessary and trite comparison to "Rodney Dangerfield."

We were hoping to learn that Icahn's middle name is "Victor" so that we could do a headline on something like "CVI wants to sell CVI." But according to Wikipedia, Icahn's middle name is "Celian," and he attended NYU med school (but apparently opted to save companies rather than lives).

Things that make Melissa go ‘Wow’ (cont’d)

Jon Najarian made a special appearance at the Nasdaq on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to point out that expectations are high for RVBD, which so far in 2012 has pulled off a bungee cord of a chart.

"3 of the last uh 9 days it's had extraordinary volume, so people are betting that something good can come out of this conference," Najarian said.

"Wow," Lee said.

Remember how Dennis Gartman stressed, while Joe Terranova spoke about Buy High, that most people sell their winners too soon?

Melissa Lee aired her interview with Michael Kors during Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money in which Kors said getting to know his customer and what the customer does is important to getting the product right, and that $10,000 dresses are low-margin, but that's OK because he doesn't sell many of them.

Most interesting though was Lee's question after the interview to Karen Finerman, about getting in on the KORS IPO.

"I hung onto it till 30, and sold it way way way too early," said Finerman, curiously saying the latest results were the "tail end of what they could do ... extraordinary quarter."

Pop Culture Great Moment (developing) ... Joe Namath listens to Bear Bryant in the famous Bama tower

If you're an HBO subscriber or know someone who is, and you like football or celebrities, you'll want to check out the remarkably candid 90-minute documentary on Joe Namath, although, as this accurate New York Post review explains, HBO didn't exactly go out of its way to find Joe's harshest critics.

Namath tells of being recruited/steered to the University of Alabama and attending practice as a high school senior, when Paul "Bear" Bryant shocked the team by inviting young Joe up into Bryant's sacred tower overlooking the practice fields, where no player had been invited before.

Namath's explanation of the visit, and demonstration of Bryant's pointing, is the stuff that jocks who watch this program will quote to each other for decades. "I must've stayed up there with Coach Bryant for 5 minutes or so. But I didn't understand but one word he said. The one word was 'stud.' He'd point down there, it would be, '(unintelligible) stud, you know, uh, you know a stud over here, a stud here.' And I didn't know what it meant."

‘You’re asking me, is it a surprise move? ... Is this name a surprise move? ... Is it a surprise move?’

Brian Sullivan in the opening to Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money singled out not only DaVita (Buffett) but Research in Motion (Einhorn) as the stocks he found most interesting.

Anthony Scaramucci called RIMM a "cheap stock" with a "high potential upside."

Karen Finerman kind of shrugged at the size of Einhorn's stake, saying it's only "1%" of the fund.

Melissa Lee reported that John Paulson is pushing for a spinoff of HIG's property and casualty unit. After 3 tries (see headline above), Guy Adami figured out where Lee was going with her question for him.

Later Adami told Lee, "You got new lipstick on by the way."

"I do," Lee said, adding that Michael Kors promised suggestions for the Fast Money males, and that Ron Insana emailed something about how they look "pretty in pink."

HPQ scores rare Final Trade coup as former CEO fades away

Jon Fortt reported on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Tim Cook is talking about doing something with Apple's cash hoard (Zzzzzz) "sooner rather than later."

Anthony Scaramucci said it might sound like a "conspiracy theory or something like that," but "I think they have a Steve Jobs A.D. plan."

Julia Boorstin (one of these days we're going to do a cogent analysis of the beauty of Julia Boorstin because hers is a remarkably distinct appearance, some might say polarizing, though there is no question that Julia Boorstin is very good looking) spoke about Zynga's conference call in which the company said it's less reliant on top games, benefitting from partnerships, branching out from Facebook into the "Z Cloud" (what the heck?) and making "very bullish comments on mobile," while Guy Adami said the stock has a "valuation problem frankly."

Sue Herera said Jeff Gundlach is recommending people lighten up on BAC starting tomorrow. Anthony Scaramucci countered, "This thing is ridiculously cheap where it's trading right now."

Guest author John B. Taylor said it would be great if Greece started to show some enthusiasm for a change.

"Austerity, pain, whatnot ... If they looked a little more positive, I think they would change the atmosphere quite a bit," Taylor said.

We don't think there's ever been a grand slam, and in fact the Fast Money gang might've produced a first on Tuesday by naming the same company (HPQ) 3 times as a Final Trade. (Guy Adami was the outlier with ALB).

How dare Guy Adami be surprised by stock revelations just reported moments earlier

It's that dreadful day that happens 4 times a year when Fast Money opens with hurried correspondents reading off stuff that Warren Buffett bought a while ago, and Tuesday's 5 p.m. episode centered on DVA, which Brian Sullivan called "the most interesting" of the names.

"I think you wait on this one," said Guy Adami.

Anthony Scaramucci said GD was another surprise.

The conversation turned downright loopy when Melissa Lee tripped up Guy Adami by asking if John Paulson's interest in HIG was a surprise, prompting Adami to stumble and stammer and ask about 3 times, "was it a surprise," and not really seeming to know.

Anthony Scaramucci said Paulson has tended to be "a little early" but will probably be right about this one.

Karen Finerman mocked Apple's dividend analysis; "what is there to analyze already."

More from Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, including Carl Icahn's protestations that "I'm not in a deposition here," later.


Biotech is sexy, not this sexy

Mom always says, "The TV camera never lies."

So, here's what the truth looked like during the Fast Money Halftime Report Tuesday.

CNBC's best-dressed superfox Seema Mody reported on location from the biotech CEO conference in a dress that buckled knees like very few on the network recently.

Unfortunately, Fast Money Halftime producers decided it made sense to spend some of the limited time showing a chart of IDIX, ALXN, BMRN and ACHN instead of its presenter, who said, "investors I speak to say they have more room to run," and that rare diseases are a rising niche because there are few players in it and pricing power is available.

(Although, the quick cut back from the Idenix CEO interview managed to catch our show-stopping correspondent in a hair flip.)

Some will wonder if we had any doubts about posting pictures of CNBC's biotech reporter above those of the Sports Illustrated supermodel's cliche visit to Englewood Cliffs on an 18-minute (or whatever it is) leash, and the answer is no. None. What. So. Ever.

For completeness' sake, we're including a more full-screen shot below.

Funny how some companies are not criticized for trying to rig prices

Dan Dicker revealed on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "we've created sort of a temporary floor" in nat gas thanks to the Chesapeake OPEC-like effort to rein in production, however long it may last.

Dicker mentioned UPL, COG and XEC as plays, as well as SD. He also said with Krauthammer talking up a strike on Iran, it's rough trying to short oil.

Joe Terranova mentioned UPL and COG as names to buy against nat gas.

Viewers paying close attention likely heard the "f" word on Fast Money for the first time, as a trader near Dicker was heard to utter "give me f------," followed by either 4 or 5.

Judge adamant that Amazon isn’t going to stick it to Bed, Bath & Beyond

If it hadn't been for the biotech conference report, David Gober's slow-developing revelations on his retail survey would've led our Fast Money Halftime Report coverage Tuesday.

Gober, in sort of backwards order as Judge cut to the chase too quickly, first noted (with screen text help) that his top plays are AMZN, URBN, SPLS and LTD.

But the intrigue was in the details, as Gober reported that 50% of consumers consider feeling and touching products to be important (which also means 50% don't), and that 40% consider the "immediacy" and convenience of a nearby store important.

He said 40% of consumers have bought electronics online.

Judge questioned the notion of AMZN stealing business from BBBY, as if anyone will buy towels from Amazon; "I almost think that's a flawed belief."

But Gober said the survey showed Amazon was 7% cheaper than BBBY on small appliances, such as blenders, etc.

Gober also said there's apparently been a plateau in the 30% of shoppers who have bought some sort of clothing online; "that seemed to be stopping."

Judge then revealed, "I got people like top-lining me, tweeting me, telling me I'm out of my mind" in claiming AMZN can't hurt BBBY.

"You're clearly sane," reassured Joe Terranova, who doesn't like Staples but said AutoZone and O'Reilly's are the anti-Amazon plays because "they don't have the vulnerability" of ecommerce.

Stephen Weiss argued that Staples does well in ecommerce and guarantees next-day delivery, but Terranova pointed to the chart and said, after briefly talking over each other, "Let's get a pair of skis out and let's go ski down it."

Judge really adamant that Amazon isn’t going to stick it to Bed, Bath & Beyond

After warming up with David Gober on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Judge Wapner unloaded on colleague Herb Greenberg, declaring before the Twicker hit, "Don't tell me that Bed, Bath & Beyond is a showroom for Amazon like some people say Best Buy is, because it ain't."

Greenberg for whatever reason didn't feel like a fight and took a pass. In a pretty good line, Zach Karabell suggested Herb would "throw in the towel on that one."

Greenberg then called S&P Internet watcher Scott Kessler a "dubious sort" who is now "table-pounding on Priceline."

Greenberg also said Rackspace still seems like a hosting company. But Zach Karabell said no matter the terminology, it's part of the off-site, accessible-anywhere trend which is going the right way for its participants.

Joe Terranova said a tweet question about time to short WMT is the wrong question and the wrong move right now; it's about risk management.

CNBCfix idea for CNBC to launch a daily/weekly Apple show (cont’d)

We knew we were onto something with our idea last week for CNBC to do an Apple show, and on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Zach Karabell had another suggestion that would be perfect for such a feature, an "Apple watch on the screen," which he said would be an "Apple graphic with numbers."

Judge Wapner tried to claim that was done already; "Obviously you weren't watching the last couple days Zach ... but great thought," he said, but Karabell stressed he means "an Apple! An actual little ..."

Judge later asked Peter Misek about the Foxconn situation, giving viewers absolutely zero explanation or context as to what Foxconn is. Misek said Apple's on the right side of that issue (of course). Misek also said the dividend may add "closet indexers" to the AAPL buyer list, but he doubts the smaller iPad screen will happen soon to compete with Kindle Fire, calling it a "1 in a hundred probability."

Karabell said early in the program he's thinking of selling some AAPL calls he bought $30 ago.

Peter Misek predicted a March 7 iPad 3 launch. Can't wait.

Dennis Gartman’s market caution gets less cautious as show goes on

Dennis Gartman dialed into Tuesday's Halftime Report to express caution about stocks. "I'm concerned that Jeremy Siegel suddenly is very bullish on stocks ... I'm concerned that I got bullish on stocks," Gartman said, apparently referring to a Seeking Alpha blogger who said he talked to Gartman.

But even so, Gartman ultimately said, "I doubt that this correction's gonna be very severe," maybe people are risking avoiding 3% to the downside but 10% to the upside.

Joe Terranova said the way he sees it, "you get less long." Simon Baker said, "I think it's a big momentum market," and "the danger is not participating."

Stephen Weiss said, "We're getting to the point where it's going to be a stock-picker's market," and that he's short BTU and MT.

Zach Karabell, whose tremendous suit would've been the fashion highlight of the day if not for the biotech reporter, opened with another patented George Gobel "Hollywood Squares" line, praising Baker for "the dulcet measure of mellifluous tones." Karabell said it's fine to wait for pullbacks, but they're so "anemic" that you're not necessarily getting much of a pullback at all.

Baker called BAC "a little frothy" (we're wondering about that Steve Cortes short too) and said he prefers JPM. Terranova said he prefers WFC to BAC and C, and also mentioned BMO and TD (not Tony Dorsett).

Karabell sort of took a tangent to mention XYL and CGW.

Chances are, she hasn’t been long IDIX or ALXN

Willie Williams said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report he's selling the Aussie vs. the yen. Zach Karabell mentioned CMCSA for his Final Trade, while Stephen Weiss said short euro, Simon Baker said to double down on Weight Watchers, and Joe Terranova said to buy Kors (spelled K-O-R-S, not the Colorado Kool-aid).

Simon Baker stumped Judge Wapner, who stumbled into the riddle of whether men or women spend more on Valentine's Day and guessed women. Baker used that to say he likes HSY and TIF.

We promised a gratuitous Power Lunch photo of the SI model, and thankfully this appearance wasn't as awkward as Bill Griffeth questioning Bar Refaeli a few years ago, but ... to be honest ... don't want to sound harsh here, but Kate Upton's answers about managing her money to Brian Shactman's question sounded rather, um, like the Alicia Silverstone movie, clueless. Gary Kaminsky took credit just before the Halftime Report for snapping the picture Darren Rovell has of himself and Upton on his Twitter page.

Z ... zzzzzzzzzz

Ken Sena, Judge Wapner's go-to guy on social media and other tech niches, has an unexciting equal-weight rating on ZNGA but was summoned to opine and conceded on Tuesday's Halftime Report that Zynga's cost of acquiring new customers on Facebook will get higher, and that Zynga faces a challenge in trying to get "more multi-platform."

Simon Baker suggested there are "low barriers to entry" and that Facebook will want to open the platform to others. "Longer-term that will be a challenge," Sena agreed.

Zach Karabell said, "I don't play it either literally or as a stock."

[Monday, February 13, 2012]


CNBCfix special report (cont’d):
Karen takes the day off —
not from opining, but disclosing

Ah, the irony. (And yes, it seems like a valid example of irony.)

In the same episode where Karen Finerman revealed of Dodd-Frank, "We've registered; we bit the bullet 2 years ago," Finerman's stock positions — unlike those of her Fast Money colleagues — managed to go unlisted on the official CNBC.com Fast Money disclosures Monday.

Which (sigh) brings us back to Square 1 yet again; as in, maybe it doesn't really matter what any of the traders holds or whether it's for clients, and maybe it doesn't do anyone any good ... but then why pretend to do it at all, and make some people comply and not others?

And when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the team that generally wins it a year later is ...

The response to Jeremy Siegel's opinion that the Dow is likely to hit 15,000, and possibly 17,000, within 2 years was rather muted on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

We can't blame the panelists, as Siegel offered nothing more than 140-year trends, most of which are about as relevant today as C.W. McCall.

Siegel first told Melissa Lee his forecast is "actually based on valuation," because stocks are below the long-term P.E. ratio of 15, and "well below" what would be expected of this interest-rate environment.

So basically, it amounts to feeding earnings, rates, and previous stock performance into a computer and identifying trends that started when William McKinley thought he might have a career in politics, without giving any thought to whether Dow companies have products people actually want to buy (e.g., banks and their loans).

Joe Terranova implicitly gave Siegel's opinion more credit than it deserved as a market call, asking what Dow number would cause him to revise the thesis; "Where's your point of reference, your risk-management element to it?"

Siegel insisted the return he projects is "really rather modest ... it means 8% more this year and 8% in 2013." But be assured, "I've seen momentum building in the economy."

Karen Finerman asked, without her usual preface, if the economy heats up and rates move higher, would Siegel's model P.E. ratio change.

"Well Karen, a good question," Siegel said, but he didn't really answer that one either because this is no calculated money-management theory but merely a joie de vivre outlook on financial markets. Instead, Siegel said that at the beginning of a rate-tightening cycle, "that is no problem for the market," but the problem "comes at the end of the cycle."

Guy Adami asked what "headline risk if any" exists and whether we could go 15-20% down. Siegel said the risk would be a "Lehman-type event" from Europe that spill over to the U.S., and "it's not out of the question," but doesn't seem to be likely now.

Dan Nathan scoffed at tracking the Dow and said if it really does hit Siegel's level, you'd be better off in smaller cap or beta names anyway.

Terranova concluded, "What we all do here is risk management. You have to understand, you've gotta know where your downside is. And we weren't able to get that answer."

Guy Adami warned about stocks in the short-term; "we're sort of into nosebleed territory."

If there was any dis, though, it came from the CNBC graphics gremlins, who actually thought his name was "Jeff" (above) at the beginning of the segment before changing it.

Mark Hulbert introduces a wrinkle probably not included in Jeremy Siegel’s models

Meanwhile, on the other side of Jeremy Siegel, there's Mark Hulbert, who also invoked historical stats to predict stocks might be heading the other direction on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Insider selling has accelerated, Hulbert said, to the point of "8 sells for every 1 buy," reaching "the same pace" as last July. And while insider selling is not a perfect indicator, Hulbert said, "They've been right more often than wrong."

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," chirped Karen Finerman, wondering if buybacks should be regarded with the same weight as insider transactions.

Hulbert conceded he hasn't seen a data pairing of buybacks with insider selling, and that with buybacks there has been "probably some pent-up demand there" simply because companies had to hold off in 2008 and 2009 and preserve cash.

Finerman indicated to Melissa Lee in one of her standard lines why she's not terribly struck by Hulbert's point; she's more interested in insider buying than selling, and "there could be a lot of reasons why someone sells." Joe Terranova added that there tends to be "seasonality" to selling.

Kate Kelly is back!
To talk about fears of the 1%.
(And to say ‘heretofore.’)

Kate Kelly, who hadn't even issued a tweet since Oct. 25 (talk about really getting away from it all), finally roared back into action on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to talk about the Super Bowl Whitney Houston Adele ... Louis Bacon's discomfort with Dodd-Frank (ask yourself when was the last time you overheard that subject discussed in a booth at Denny's).

Honestly we can't imagine why this subject would concern anyone who is not frighteningly wealthy, but this is CNBC and it's often about rich people, so we're obliged to note that 1) Kelly said some are thinking of converting their hedge funds to a "family office," and 2) Karen Finerman, ahem, seemed semi-interested in this topic. (Steve Cortes might've been too, had he actually been on the show and not watching "Eight is Enough" in his likely warmup to a big speech at Prettiest-Hair-on-Cable-Television-Mary-Thompson alma mater Notre Dame Wednesday.)

Kelly said the regulation would expose firms' inner workings, and "Of course there are fears in the hedge fund community that this information could leak out at some point," this is information that "heretofore has never been public."

"Kate it's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, wondering about the threshold for having to report all the good stuff. Kelly said that's "way overly complicated," but it starts for those managing $150 million or more, and the "more juicy stuff" is for those with a billion under management.

Karen matter-of-factly revealed "We've registered; we bit the bullet 2 years ago," then said that losing other people's money is a "bummer," and "worse than losing your own."

Not that it matters, but Kelly did noticeably link to her Fortune article rather than CNBC.com post from her tweet.

Gartman: Anchors aweigh

Dennis Gartman said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the shippers should be watched, because "fundamentals are lagging well behind what stock prices are doing," and he thinks the stocks still have "plenty of move" even if there's a pullback ahead.

Melissa Lee asked for stocks. Gartman said, "I'm loath to give stock picks on television," but nevertheless mentioned GNK, DSX and perhaps even DRYS.

Joe Terranova pointed out that Genco has been heavily shorted.

‘One For the Money’ only got 12th place last weekend

Joe Terranova said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I think the short trade has ended in the financial space," but in fact sees upside in a beleaguered instrument. "I am long the euro," Terranova said. "I think it goes higher."

Terranova's Final Trade was BPL; he also suggested paring down AWI if long in the wake of the Masco report, and he said AKAM and FFIV look better than Rackspace here.

Guy Adami reported a report that was kind of more of a rumor about Tracinda perhaps going shopping for a movie studio, and who knows, it might be LGF. Adami said "I still think that this is a name that you wanna own," but he'd wait for it to get back to $10.50 before buying.

Adami made WPI — buying it on a possible washout tomorrow — his Final Trade, and also said he'd continue to look at HD.

Amelia Bourdeau, who looks good on television, said the Greece vote or revote (or whatever, we've lost track; remember Steve Cortes wants to see the final draft) is a "step in the right direction," but that there are still "headlines and deadlines" to deal with. Her trade is to sell the Aussie against the U.S. dollar.

Scott Nations recommended using dividend money to buy the PEP January $57.50 put. Fair enough, but to be honest, didn't strike us as the most exciting trade of all time.

Karen Finerman suggesetd TKR for her Final Trade. Mel Lee reported that Rackspace is now calling its business "dedicated cloud."

Once again, another unofficial Apple program on CNBC

This page suggested a week ago that it's past time for CNBC's own Apple show, and the Fast Money crew only further validated that notion on both the Halftime Report and a rather repetitive 5 p.m. effort.

In a search for a twist, Melissa Lee brought up analysis from Bertha Coombs about what if AAPL traded at a multiple of 25 from the dot-com days. But Karen Finerman was only "confused" by Lee's clumsy MSFT preface/example about trading at 14 times earnings or 11 times or 25 times and with/without cash.

Finerman was questioned about selling some AAPL last week. "I don't regret it," Finerman said, and Joe Terranova said there's nothing wrong with trimming a long position.

Terranova singled out RIMM as affected by AAPL, and "I still think RIMM goes below 10 before it gets above 20."

Doug Kass pronounced this market an NBA market, meaning "Nothing But Apple," and that he's concerned because of the market's dependence on AAPL and the fact it has moved "semi-parabolically."

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

How the Wall Street analyst thing works (cont’d)

Just a week ago this page asserted that CNBC should start a daily/weekly Apple program.

Monday, the Fast Money Halftime Report once again reaffirmed that notion, opting to open with Colin Gillis of all people on AAPL's ability to trade over $500.

But what we found most interesting was Gillis, who famously has had a "hold" on the stock, claiming "actually we got a $500 price target on Apple," while moments later the screen text (see picture above) said "GILLIS: 'HOLD' RATING ON (AAPL), $450 PRICE TARGET."

Judge Wapner, in a serious lapse, never addressed that difference. But what's $50 between friends?

Jon Najarian challenged Gillis over the data not reflecting 3 out of 5 phone users picking Android (Gillis said it was new users, which seems something along the lines of "cherry-picking" that you'll hear about below), while Stephen Weiss questioned Apple's success in enterprise, but Gillis said that's a small market, like the Air Force buying iPads.

Jon Najarian said it's unlikely Apple will get the iTV name but they did buy from Cisco before. Najarian also said the $500 price is difficult for call buyers in the weekly options fulfilling that size of an order. Steve Grasso said he'd wait for the stock to hold $500 before putting new money in. Stephen Weiss said "I think there's more room" in the stock.

Floyd Wilson seemed less than thrilled about his Fast Money Halftime appearance

In the category of Unhappiest Fast Money Halftime Report guest of all time, pencil in Halcon's Floyd Wilson as a contender.

Wilson never once smiled, offered notably terse answers, often looked down, sometimes closed his eyes, at least once rolled his eyes, grimaced after making a joke — and all while the Fast Money gang was heaping the type of adulation on him you generally would only see from youngsters at a New York Giants autograph session.

Wilson, labeled on the screen text as "Chariman," said he likes "liquids-rich opportunities" but that his oil outlook was worth "about a nickel." And, in a further sign of not getting off to the greatest start, told Judge Wapner that supply and demand is "the reason for the lower price" in nat gas.

Stephen Weiss, identified as a Halcon shareholder, began the tribute parade by explaining he got into Petrohawk in the early days and thanked Wilson for the "great ride," which didn't move Wilson's emotional needle but merely prompted grimacing and nodding up and down and looking up and down.

Weiss' question, about a WSJ article indicating more private equity interest in energy and asking whether that was a good thing or bad thing, was too long. Wilson said they still have to "find the people to go along with the money," and that it's the people who are in "short supply."

Jon Najarian asked if private equity would be targeting more proven reserves than exploration. Wilson, unimpressed, said private equity will "wake up" and realize reserves are a tough game, but drilling "is a great way to make, uh, profits."

Steve Grasso asked what promising plays Wilson has identified that haven't been talked about on TV much recently.

Unfortunately, Wilson said, he hasn't "had a chance to watch much TV for a few years," but said there are liquids-rich opportunities in emerging, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Louisiana.

Judge Wapner tried to ask about when HK would be big enough to sell. Maybe "2, 3, 4, years," Wilson said with an eye roll.

Judge asked which candidate Wilson thinks is best for his industry. "I'd go for Ronald Reagan," Wilson grimaced, as the panel chuckled.

Brian Kelly said Wilson hadn't addressed the Bakken shale, but Wilson sort of pronounced it as "Balkans."

Stephen Weiss seemed to think history will repeat itself because of having the same ticker symbol as Petrohawk and that if JCPenney can double with a guy who's never turned around a retailer, what does that say about an energy rainmaker who has already done it 3 times; "he's gonna get you where you need to go."

"I'd be a buyer as well," said Steve Grasso.

Weiss says he’s no longer in DMND because not ‘enough transparency on the accounting’

Herb Greenberg on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report brought up that curious DMND winner Stephen Weiss was celebrating last week.

Weiss probably owned the shares for "a day," Greenberg speculated, under the theory the walnut growers wouldn't walk away.

And while Weiss mentioned the 10% overnight flip, Greenberg demanded, "Why don't you own it?"

"They don't have enough transparency on the accounting," Weiss conceded, which is something different than his argument Thursday. "I made my money, and now I'm moving on."

Judge Wapner seemed to think it was a great call, hectoring Greenberg for even questioning it.

Weiss said "I sold down to a very small short position in the euro," but his commentary wasn't nearly as adamant as last year's headed-to-parity thesis. Brian Kelly said if Greece gets under control, the money printing would be lessened in which case the euro could actually go higher, and he's not trying that trade.

Flash: Jeremy Siegel is bullish

Barron's knows how to get publicity.

Hang an intriguing number on the Dow, and it's off to the races.

Judge Wapner on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report brought up the Jeremy Siegel Dow 15,000 by next year forecast and asked the panel what they think.

Stephen Weiss said if you believe that, buy the junk, because "the junk always moves the most." But he cautioned, "I've never really found academics, or economists or strategists can make me money in the markets consistently, unless it's James Simons from Renaissance."

Brian Kelly said of the potential for Dow to hit 15,000, "Of course it could," but "Europe still has massive, massive problems" and that Greece is looking at a "15-year recession.

Dr. J questioned how much buying power Greece has anyway. Kelly said he considers it important as a "proxy for Italy and Spain."

Judge forces Craig Berger to defend Nvidia call

You can't have a computer/semiconductor conversation on Fast Money for, lessee, how many months, without Thailand coming up, and Craig Berger didn't disappont on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

"The PC sector's under a bit of pressure," Berger said, saying Nvidia has lagged and would be a buy if it sells off. But, he said, "the closer it gets to 20, the less we like it."

Judge Wapner then pushed Berger's buttons a bit (why he couldn't do that with Gillis or Wilson or Weiss, who knows), saying Berger in his TXN report didn't sound terribly enthusiastic about Nvidia. "Well I don't believe in cherry-picking my data points to support my thesis," Berger said, stressing the laggard theory in a hot sector.

In a further example that the Halftime panelists sitting in Englewood Cliffs with Judge get the bulk of the airtime, Jon Najarian said he "loves" QCOM and BRCM but doesn't own either because "they exploded to new 52-week highs." Stephen Weiss said he owns both, but "a lot more Qualcomm than Broadcom."

Najarian said someone turned a $6 option in CRM into $12 in 2 days, but Weiss said, "I think the stock's overvalued." Steve Grasso said he's not confident the selling in Joy Global is over.

And in another Fast Money tradition, another Twitter question from JaniceRossiNY was read, apparently one of about 3 people who responds to this occasionally hyped feature (there's nothing wrong with the questions, just curious they're apparently not finding a broader base.

Jane Wells reported that a lot of people spend a lot of money on pets. Judge Wapner made a curious comment about a "transition" from Wells' report. Brian Kelly showed a picture of his dogs and was heard to say later on open mike, "that was their TV debut."

Kelly said to short FXY for his Final Trade. Stephen Weiss said he's shorting steel, picking MT. Dr. J said he's chasing CRM.

Morning treat: Jackie DeAngelis
co-hosts Worldwide Exchange
in chic new dress

After a rough weekend in Athens, what better way to cool your jets about Europe than turning on CNBC's Worldwide Exchange early Monday a.m. and catching Jackie DeAngelis, who outfoxed Swiss-stunner Carolin Schober on this day, in chic new sleeveless black-fuchsia dress that the camera found irresistible.

There are worse ways to start your week.

[Friday, February 10, 2012]

CNBC.com produces video series
on ‘History of Wall Street,’
asks for viewer feedback

People who check out the Fast Money Rapid Recap page will notice that CNBC.com is doing short videos on "The History of Wall Street," including the first one, posted Friday, featuring Ron Insana explaining how Wall Street was named.

The post by Fast Money Web Producer Lee Brodie says people who follow Wall Street closely have a passion for making money, and "often have another passion — history. And in an effort to bridge those two interests, we're trying a little test. We're rolling out a handful of short videos about The History of Wall Street."

Certainly there's no shortage of history buffs at CNBC; you don't want to play History Jeopardy against many in the Fast Money crowd, unless you think you can handle, for example, President Chester Arthur material as well as some of the traders can.

Brodie invites viewer feedback and suggestions, which can be emailed to fastmoney-web@cnbc.com.

A few initial thoughts here — at only 90 seconds, it's hard not to look, but front-loaded by an ad, it's almost not enough presentation to justify clicking. Users should make it full-screen, where the video looks good. The production could've used a present-day map of where the NYSE sits and how traffic moves around it. Insana's voiceover is a bit over-the-top, and at only 90 seconds, it's not really worth spending the first 10 seconds explaining what the Street is not named for.

Also, the first subject is one that could easily be found and satisfied on Wikipedia before the video even kicks into high gear. But if the series were to feature 5- to 10-minute presentations on, say, the 1987 crash, the AOL-Time Warner merger and (our favorite) Wall Street's presence in famous films, it could become a regular click.

Regardless, it's an interesting concept, certainly worth trying.

Check it out for yourself, and let them know what you think.

Stephen Weiss scores on DMND

A day after plunging into one of the most controversial trades in Fast Money history, Stephen Weiss declared victory Friday.

Not on the Fast Money Halftime Report, but Twitter.

As you can see from Weiss' messages above, he apparently made 10% in less than 2 days.

While we're always happy to see traders succeed, unfortunately we gotta think an asterisk* is needed.

Weiss' argument was not to flip the stock, and he said nothing about what would be a very defensible call, that the knee-jerk reaction on these things is sometimes overdone and that he was merely playing a short-term bounce. Rather, as this page noted (see below), he told Herb Greenberg Thursday that the reasons he liked the stock were that the nut business isn't going away over this, he sees a billion in revenue, and he was getting the stock for "less than 1 times earnings."

Most of his argument in fact was bashing an analyst for throwing up his hands; "doing your homework is apparently too high a hurdle."

Great trade, no question.

Weiss' flip was certainly validated, but he didn't call a flip.

His rationale has not been validated yet and will take time.

In fact, if his rationale is so correct, why doesn't he still own the stock?

Herb Greenberg did get a hit on Friday's Fast Money Report and bemoaned, "Someone's tweeting, I owe Stephen Weiss an apology. I don't owe him an apology. You know, who knows if he even still owns the stock."

Steve Grasso said, "Let's hope he doesn't own the stock today."

Perhaps the DMND haul will offset the setbacks in WLP, a recently recommended trade that unlike DMND, hasn't been "so easy." (This writer is long WLP.)

You just know Steve Grasso was dying to get into this conversation

Evidently Dr. J went a little off the rails on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report when Judge Wapner asked him about a dubious segment on probably-the-greatest-actor-of-all-time Clint Eastwood's Chrysler ad.

Apparently, the not-well-explained hook was that maybe we're at "halftime" of the post-March 2009 rally, and whether stocks that have utterly skyrocketed since then can continue going. (The more important hook was to remind viewers that Becky Quick spoke with Clint and you can find the video at CNBC.com.)

Dr. J went political, saying halfheartedly, "I liked the message," but there's an issue about "the lack of leadership in Congress and even all the way to the top of the country," in fact, hey, Chrysler's lost a bunch of jobs to Canada, and it's owned by Fiat!

Judge then tried to redirect to Anthony Scaramucci regarding stock performance, but the Moochmeister first joked that when Najarian is president he'll make Clint his secretary of the Treasury, prompting Najarian to respond "no you're gonna be."

But Scaramucci, while briefly saying there's more room for stocks, stuck with the ad theme, saying, "What Clint Eastwood is saying is true about the psychology ... I think there's more room."

Incredibly, ‘Facebook’ did not crack the top 4

Jon Najarian on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report explained the day's market setback as being indicated by options this week; "they've been protecting over the last few days."

Anthony Scaramucci said it's a market of the "3 or 4 F's," which he said are "Fundamentals, forgetting Europe, the Fed, and financials."

Judge Wapner revealed at one point in the show that Lee Cooperman had updated some positions in a new filing, saying he's into Anadarko and Halliburton and also added to RIMM, where Coop "clearly sees something there."

Anthony Scaramucci described RIMM not terribly appetizingly as half a "cigar butt" and said Cooperman is probably in because the downside from this level is not steep.

Steve Grasso pointed to the oil service names and said Cooperman apparently is buying the laggards but also Anadarko, which is "a little confusing," and he thinks Schlumberger and Weatherford are better than Halliburton here.

It was reassuring to discover Reid Hoffman does have a LinkedIn profile

Jeff Weiner had the type of beard you don't often see among CEOs, but otherwise delivered an articulate, if predictable, assessment of LinkedIn.

Judge Wapner questioned if some of the quarterly success involved limiting expenses, including fewer hires than forecast. "We did hire a few hundred folks," Weiner said, adding that they also extended offers to 200 others who start in Q1. "We continue to hire at a very aggressive pace."

Comparing his business to Monster and Careerbuilder, Weiner asserted, "Our recruiter solution, uh, is truly disruptive."

Judge asked an obligatory question about whether Weiner sees bubbles in social media stocks. Clearly learning the lesson of Molycorp's Mark Smith, Weiner stood by a pat answer, "We leave the valuations to the marketplace."

Most impressive in the interview was Weiner's ability to rattle off a list of investors subject to the lockup that's ending. He said he doesn't expect a flood of shares on the market, calling those investors including the co-founder/chairman Reid Hoffman "long-term and committed shareholders."

Judge asked if there's a possibility of a new offering. "At the moment no," Weiner said.

Weiner downplayed the suggestion that Facebook could eat the business. "Really an apples and oranges comparison," he said, calling Facebook "more personal."

And, Weiner added, "We're all rootin' for Yahoo."

The Fast gang wasn't too impressed with the stock though, with Steve Grasso citing "forward P.E." and saying "lockup is a major issue" and he won't chase the shares here.

Judge pointed out the shares were up in the morning but that they moved more during the interview.

Zach Karabell said he wouldn't trade the stock, there's "just as much possibility that it's gonna be down 15%." Anthony Scaramucci concluded, "It's 7 cents a share and trading at $89. That's the only thing I'm gonna say."

This is why CNBC should have an AAPL show (CNBCfix.com Ideas Dept. cont’d)

You know how for a while there was a bull market in rare earths, and now a bull market in social media, etc.

And this week/month there's a bull market in AAPL analysts, each one able to cheer his/her respective price targets and be hailed as an expert by Judge Wapner (to the point even Gene Munster's appearance is promo'd early in the show).

Toni Sacconaghi got a ridiculously early nod on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying of AAPL's run, "I think it's justified quite frankly ... at $500 a share, Apple has over a hundred dollars a share in cash."

He said he's not so worried about a steep selloff because of the valuation and (ever popular) dividend theory.

Jon Najarian asked Sacconaghi about the impact of "disintermediation" which seems like "one of the end-runs that they're making here" with Apple TV, a way to possibly get around some cable companies and offer "a la carte buying."

Sacconaghi shrugged and said that's "not an essential part of the stock" right now, it's only a "complementary" notion at this point and we're "still a ways off on that."

Zach Karabell said "I'm long the calls, I've been long the stock" but noted, "at some point, huge market cap is in itself an obstacle."

Patty Edwards, who was given maybe 3 opportunities to speak by Judge Wapner and should ask for a refund for the time commitment she had to give to the show Friday, was finally summoned at the 10-minute mark and said "I am long Apple," but what concerns her about AAPL and DELL is "they have had parabolic moves," and, "it's gotta come down."

Sacconaghi called DELL one of the "beta stocks" in tech, and he's only got a hold on IBM because it's at "the very high end of its historical metrics."

Edwards pointed out our favorite IBM point (the one counter to that 2015 EPS nonsense), that the company isn't actually growing revenues that fast.

Meanwhile, since our post days ago about the prospects of a daily/weekly Apple show on CNBC given the 15 minutes of every hour of CNBC daily programming it eats up, some great suggestions have come rolling in, including a standard clock/chart graphic indicating distance left to $1 trillion market cap; a Louis Rukeyser/Chris Matthews-esque daily/weekly grid with mugs of the Fast traders and their current recommendation on the stock (buy/sell/hold); reviews of past trader calls on the stock, maybe even an image (assuming it's done tastefully) of Steve Jobs from up above frowning Fast Fires.

Gene Munster twice says
‘at the end of the day’

Gene Munster late on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report got a crack at the AAPL story (with Jon Najarian hailing the $670 price target a couple times) and actually claimed the stock is merely playing catch-up; "I think Apple's one of the biggest tech laggards ... this is a delayed reaction" to the recent blockbuster quarter and that $500 will not be a resistance problem, "lot more room to go."

But Judge Wapner (halfheartedly) claimed he wanted to talk more about GOOG. Munster called that stock "rangebound here for the next 6 months," and in an interesting analysis, blamed a recent acquisition. "Motorola has nothing to do with Google's fundamentals. At the end of the day, investors don't want Google to have this big hardware business," Munster said.

Then referring again to AAPL, he again said, "at the end of the day," but told Jon Najarian he wasn't concerned about product flops; "the thing that we focus on most is their market shares with their addressable markets."

Munster knocked YHOO, saying "they need to do something that's innovative for once." Steve Grasso asked about AMZN (and why again is the Facebook multiple so outrageous when AMZN gets 100 at age 15?), saying "for me it's an everything play," and Munster essentially agreed, "Don't bet against Amazon ... I think you need to own it." The screen showed a $220 price target.

How come Herb wasn’t asked to opine on the Clint Eastwood ad?

We're not really sure why Judge Wapner brought on Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton for an on-location chat on Friday's Halftime Report, unless it was a chance to get Patty Edwards back in the game.

Unfortunately, Patty's question proved something of a dud.

First Judge asked Stockton about Hasbro's deal with Zynga, which we know nothing about. Stockton claimed, "We obviously think it's a great strategy because we enacted it last year" with "Angry Birds," and it's not a surprise that Hasbro would "copy that strategy."

Edwards mentioned the success of Thomas the Tank and asked what could be the 2nd-most valuable of the characters. "It's hard to tell," Stockton said, saying they're focused on Thomas, and see growth in Latin America with a "whole host of things."

He did mention another character, but we barely even know who/what Thomas the Tank is and certainly haven't heard of any others, so this one was a lost cause here.

Herb Greenberg used his moment in the spotlight to cast doubt on NUAN, saying it's "not what I would consider the most transparent company out there."

No. 386 argued, "It is a longer-term story."

"It's always been a longer-term story!" Herb complained.

Grasso said he'd answer his own question for Herb, "it's easier that way."

Zach Karabell cracked of Herb, "He's having a nuanced reaction to a complicated story."

Fast Money critics letting Scaramucci have it on Twitter

Anthony Scaramucci said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he thinks housing has seen the worst, which is "against the conventional wisdom ... I'm catching a lot of flak for it on Twitter, uh, but I do think that we are at a bottom."

Good-looking Amelia Bourdeau said the euro got stung a bit by finance ministers telling Greece to cut more (which is getting to be a little reminiscent of the making-bricks-without-straw angle in "The Ten Commandments"); "the market was quite disappointed in this." Bourdeau's trade actually involves selling the euro against the dollar, expecting a move to 1.29.

Jeff Kilburg got a moment to credit Bill Gross for reversing on Treasurys and not succumbing to the Samantha Sang Trade, saying, "He put emotion aside, and he's getting in. And he's coming in in a seismic way."

Kilburg added, "These Treasurys are gonna continue to rally in price and fall in yield," and obviously the last 4 words are redundant (although speaking of redundancy, this page is hardly one to talk, with another example recently of posting not just an article about Fast Money but the scribbled e-notes (you don't know the half of all that) from an AAPL dialogue; if the knucklehead who claims to oversee this operation would stop obsessing over phantom defense at the end of the Super Bowl and start actually reading (or God forbid, editing) the (bleep) that gets shoveled up here, we'd all be better off; but at least it wasn't girlfriend notes, or the entire post in headline font/point size again, etc.; at the end of the day of course, at this point in time, what can we say, you get whatcha pay for.)

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was NUAN, saying to buy it on weakness. Patty Edwards returned to an old favorite, HLF, and also said "on weakness." Zach Karabell touted NUAN calls, while Anthony Scaramucci curiously was heard to say "sell down the homebuilders" before Dr. J touted Riverbed.

[Thursday, February 9, 2012]

The best solution to Bill Belichick’s give-up defense: The 1-minute runoff

For nearly a week, we've been tortured by what to do about Steve Cortes' BAC short Bill Belichick's blatant example of why NFL defenses should sometimes give up.

Quite frankly, had the Patriots won the Super Bowl on a Hail Mary, it would've been a monstrous embarrassment for the NFL.

While Belichick's call surely makes tactical sense (the yinz lost a playoff game to Jacksonville in the 2007 season partly because they didn't just let a guy score a TD), it just violates every sense of sportsmanship and the reason for playing the game.

But now, we've come up with a solution, and it makes so much sense we're embarrassed it didn't occur earlier.

If the refs judge a defense as having given up on a play, then the offense is given the choice of a touchdown or ball at the 1 ... and 1 minute is deleted from the clock. And, the defense is charged a timeout.

So the Patriots would've ended the game doing such a play, and had they done it at the 2-minute warning with the ball on the 18, it probably would've also ended the game, giving the Giants the ball at the 1 with less than 60 seconds and only 2 Patriot timeouts.

Of course there is precedent for this, the 10-second runoff on false start plays in the final 2 minutes that an offense once could smartly use to stop the clock.

Mike Florio has pointed out that Tom Coughlin also apparently did an end-around on the rules by smartly putting 12 men on the field to stop the Pats' Hail Mary and erode time from the clock.

We've already pointed out, if Belichick's strategy catches on (and it won't on a regular weekly basis because it simply goes against the nature of too many in football despite the wisdom of it), offenses will plan for it, and you're going to see ridiculous situations of running backs standing at the 1, daring defenses to tackle them, while defenders frantically look at the sidelines for in-play advice on whether to make the tackle.

We'll readily concede, and so would the league, a last-second shootout going up and down the field is far more exciting than a team melting the clock before a 25-yard field goal. But artificial thrillers would resemble Arena Football. If that's what the league really wants, it should just automatically stop the clock after every play in the last 5 minutes.

Or, develop some Super Bowl-caliber defenses whose best play is something better than a Sonny Liston-like dive at crunch time.

Carter Worth: Gold is in the ‘throes of kind of coming apart’

Sometimes it's a fairly quiet, late-in-the-program comment on Fast Money that really perks up the ears.

Carter Worth said on Thursday's 5 p.m. show that gold had a "blow-off top in August" and that the GLD chart has been "basically lackluster."

"Our work suggests that this is in the throes of, uh, kind of coming apart, actually," Worth said.

Someone get Dennis Gartman on the Fast Line and ask about that gold-in-euro-terms thingy.

Worth was a fountain of advice on Thursday, calling a "momentum peak" affecting small-caps and saying "we would fade this."

He said GNK, unlike a lot of names recently, has a "fairly well defined bottoming out formation ... we like it a lot."

On the other hand, TJX, Worth said, has had "too much of a good thing ... 2 standard deviations above its smoothing mechanism ... crowded trade, take down your longs."

Guy makes $250,000 playing lottery! Even Vegas doesn’t give that out for Super Bowl first-score-safety wagers!

One of this page's semi-regular gripes about Fast Money is that it tends to be like lottery stories, in that you tend to hear mostly about the winners and little about all the mopes who for yet another week coughed up the dough for tickets and sat home emptyhanded.

And so, when Jon Najarian as on Thursday's 5 p.m. episode bellows that people with 68-cent February $500 calls in AAPL have been able to get $7 for them and "you can't get that in Vegas," it's worth a reminder that people have been buying AAPL options forever, and virtually no one has gotten 10-fold or whatever in a few weeks or so, and so you're hardly the only one who has missed out, and in fact you're not even unlucky.

So, no need to feel like you slipped from 1% to 99% after that one.

Doc, of course, missed nothing in his own trading of the name, revealing, "I took virtually all of mine off ... I'm trading weekly options ... Luckily this was a very big winner." (Why does he say "luckily"? Aren't they always big winners?)

Karen Finerman admitted, "I had to sell a little bit just for the good of the rest of the position ... still long."

Mike Khouw advised AAPL owners to "roll up and buy some upside calls here."

Joe Terranova said the stock is roaring because, "I think over the last couple of weeks since earnings, this stock has now become a traders' stock. And that's an indication to me that potentially a top may be near."

Terranova was in fact skeptical of NUAN, reading its report that mobile customer relationships "have become more comprehensive and complex ... this is not an Apple 2nd-derivative play as the hype has suggested."

Joe Terranova knows more about an analyst’s report than the analyst does

Joe Terranova and Stephen Weiss tend to be 2 of the best analyst critics on Fast Money (that's not counting Herb Greenberg, whose criticism borders on cottage industry) (OK, Guy Adami too as long as the analyst isn't on the show, when he tends to be too cordial to them), and Terranova more than lived up to that lofty standard on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Timothy Ramey, who had a $95 November price target on Diamond Foods, was the guest.

Clarifying his question more than once, Terranova asked Ramey, "In the analyst's report, what actual risks did you define for those that read it?"

"Um, gosh I wish I remembered exactly what I wrote in November, but since you have it in front of you, maybe you'd like to say," Ramey said.

"Uh, I don't," Terranova said.

"OK," Ramey said.

And that was that.

Melissa Lee had opened the dialogue with Ramey giving a clumsy speech of sorts, then asserted that Ramey's reasons for being bullish on the stock from here actually sounded like reasons for bearishness, a point she didn't justify in her questioning in which she said it's not good that people below exec level were doing the chicanery and that it's impossible to know if 2010/2011 results will really be much different.

Ramey said "there was no intentional effort to manipulate earnings," which he called the bear case.

Lee demanded to know, "Did you feel this way 3 months ago?"

"I did," Ramey said. (Which is believable, because of his $95 price target. We think.)

Karen Finerman refreshingly asked Ramey a question without the "hi it's Karen lemme ask ..." preface. "How could you be confident that there's nothing else additional," Finerman asked.

Right there, Ramey got a little loopy, attributing great confidence to the "audit committee investigation ... extremely thorough," largely because these are people with "zero upside in life and plenty of downside for getting this wrong."

Jon Najarian asked Ramey about the issue Herb Greenberg brought up earlier in the day, the WSJ report that implied people were still paying upper $30s for the stock while the execs were cleaning out their desks, and what does this say about corporate competency if they're not familiar with Reg FD.

"I assume they had competent legal advice in the whole process," Ramey said.

The image above of Ramey is not from Thursday, but September 2011 with Tyler Mathisen on Power Lunch.

Terranova: BAC short trade over

Suddenly, the world can't get enough Bank of America.

Yet, only Jon Najarian on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was noticeably stoked about the stock (noting the call-buying and interest-rate-uptick impact on Merrill Lynch compared with Schwab), while his colleagues were more reserved.

"I wouldn't sell Bank of America anymore," said Joe Terranova, who said the stock has had its "2nd consecutive close above the 200-day moving average. I think this short trade that (Steve Cortes has) everyone's piled into over the last couple of months is over," but indicating he's not quite yet on the buying bandwagon.

Terranova listed the biggest names in the XLF and suggested that be buyers' "first entree" into the financials.

"It never should've been at 5," said Karen Finerman, who also explained, "I am nowhere near close to selling Bank America (sic)," although several times it was called "Bank America" on the show, so we're fighting a losing battle there.

Guest Gerard Cassidy was brimming with a lot of smiles with BAC but also didn't quite go over the edge, saying the foreclosure deal Thursday is "just another log that's been taken off the wood pile," but an important step. He told Karen Finerman the Volcker Rule would be the "next log."

If BAC were AAPL, Tim Seymour’s Fast Money inbox would be overflowing with hate mail

Meanwhile, Tim Seymour's reaction to BAC's performance on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money strongly resembled how the Patriots felt about the end of the Super Bowl.

"I think this deal today still leaves them wide open to all kinds of litigation and all kinds of fines," Seymour warned.

Moments later, he told Gerard Cassidy, "They're not even out of criminal, uh, court at this point," and that all they accomplished Thursday was to have "taken 49 attorney generals, state attorney generals, off your back." (Yes, like Barack Obama, he said "attorney generals.")

Cassidy disagreed slightly, saying the foreclosure settlement was supposedly for robo-signing, but the upside was that it was expanded to states. He added, "I don't think we're gonna see a lot of fraud."

Cassidy also claimed, rather dubiously, "You have to give the CEO Moynihan a lot of credit."

Jon Najarian tried to argue that Warren Buffett gave a "ringing endorsement" of Moynihan in August even though it seemed to us more like a ringing endorsement of a government-backed annuity.

Dr. J also first called Moynihan "Moynihan," then oddly corrected himself to say "Monahan."

Seymour concluded that this is hardly a 52-week high; "We're back to August levels on the stock."

How exactly does one counterfeit a credit card?

Stephanie Ericksen, a Visa executive, evidently is inspired by the 2012 primary season because she was sounding every bit the politician in taking Melissa Lee's first question about credit card security on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Lee asked how much more secure a computer chip is compared with a magnetic strip. Ericksen initially ignored the question and went straight to talking points, "the great thing about chip technology," and stressing that it "helps eliminate counterfeit fraud" and that it makes it "easier for a bank to detect ... counterfeit fraud."

We're thinking "counterfeit fraud" actually includes anytime a thief uses your real card, and not thieves stealing plastic and adding a strip to create a fictional card that would presumably be Visa's problem and no one else's.

Lee, though, didn't follow up, and seemed 1) pressed for time and 2) more interested in another good angle, whether this will cost retailers to upgrade their equipment. Ericksen said Visa has outlined a road map through 2015 for doing so, and "many merchants have already begun that road map."

Karen Finerman uttered the obligatory "Stephanie it's Karen Finerman, let me ask you a couple things," and wondered which companies will be part of the upgrade. Ericksen agreed with Finerman's names and rattled some others; the batch included Verifone, Ingenico, ViVOtech, Gemalto.

The upgrade, Finerman said, "it's happening."

Joe Terranova, extremely well-prepared Thursday, suggested NXPI ("very strong") and BRCM and Infineon.

Jon Najarian said the VIX indicates "people are protecting a little bit more."

Melissa Lee interviewed Jerry Howard, who claimed the builders trade show is 10% ahead in exhibitors over last year.

Lee though eventually said "level with me," and have there been serious drop-offs since 2006 and 2007. "I'll level with you," Howard said, admitting there were "significant drop-offs," but now things are looking bright and those who skip this year will come back next year.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't expect housing to turn the corner until prices stabilize and people begin to see gains in selling their homes.

Dan Dicker said "Chesapeake needs a lot of support" if its production cut is to have the desired effect." He suggested UPL, XEC and RRC.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was to fade solar. Dr. J said TTWO, and Joe Terranova said SWN long vs. UNG puts.

Short Hills Capital buys DMND

Judge Wapner on a mostly spirited, feisty, well-done Thursday Halftime Report introduced Fast Money regular Stephen Weiss as being of "Short Hills Capital" before asking Weiss about his Thursday DMND buy.

Weiss told Wapner on the Fast Line, "I actually bought it in the premarket, and I bought some, uh, when it opened for trading," explaining he doesn't have nut allergies.

"Maybe you're just nuts," Judge cracked.

Weiss countered that "Sometimes you have to be a garbageman," and mostly cited as his rationale the fact that an analyst dropped his price target from $75 to $25 and didn't "know enough" to forecast earnings; "doing your homework is apparently too high a hurdle." Weiss argued the nut business is not going away, and he sees a billion in revenue, and so is getting the stock for "less than 1 times earnings."

Meanwhile, Herb Greenberg was beside himself, saying, "I used to think Steve was a sensible guy," but that buying this stock with such an overhang over the walnut business and concerns about the accounting and debt "would have to be the most speculative thing out there."

Herb also awesomely noted the timing of the CEO's departure, questioning how the stock could've traded Wednesday if the timing report from the WSJ is accurate.

Fortunately, Weiss' DMND position was indeed disclosed at CNBC.com.

However, this page wondered exactly what Short Hills Capital Partners is; according to Weiss' Web site, it's "the corporate entity that handles Stephen L. Weiss's business activities" — which, not to be maybe a little flip (but what's stopped that before), but sounds remarkably similar to our own Schwab account (although unlike Short Hills, that Schwab account has somewhere around 3 or 4 digits — possibly including the decimal places — of value).

Regardless, an interesting call to be sure, though we wouldn't have minded hearing Weiss or Steve Cortes opine on Todd Gordon's euro call, in which Gordon said "the risk trade is on ... I wanna buy a pullback" around 130.50 and profit around 1.35.

President Obama
channels Bob Seger,
says ‘attorney generals’ (sic)

President Obama and a series of Cabinet members (see photo above) interrupted Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report to explain the foreclosure settlement.

We don't want to sound cynical, but when we see all those state attorneys general together, it brings back memories of the 1990s tobacco settlement, in which 1) much of the money that supposedly was to go to anti-smoking and Medicaid programs ended up plugging run of the mill budget holes instead, and 2) you should see some of the lawyers who managed to engineer an ongoing payment from this settlement stream.

Anyway, Mr. President said we will now "turn the page" on an era of mortgage-lending recklessness, and when you hear "turn the page," you're only thinking one thing (hint: over-the-hill songwriter who still tours).

One member of the CNBCfix community claims "Turn the Page" was actually penned in, or inspired by, his hometown, though that hasn't been proved.

President Obama said "Democratic and Republican attorney generals" during his remarks, and said a home is a place where "kids' memories are formed."

The president said "in the meantime we can't wait." (Because it just happened tonight.)

Eric Holder and Shaun Donovan nodded as President Obama pointed to Gene Sperling.

Chiseled-bicepper Diana Olick, whose semi-snug blue long-sleeve top slightly betrayed the guns, said the settlement is designed to get foreclosures "moving again." After all the hubbub, for a trade, Jon Najarian said this seems like it's already "priced in" to the stocks.

Illustrating how government tries to orchestrate things as much as possible, note the choreographer in the photo above sweeping her arms to bring all the dignitaries closer together at the podium, to make sure the mug shots get on TV and in the pictures.

(OK, just having some fun with it; it's an apolitical point.)

AAPL’s going to have a newer iPad out sometime; time to jack up the stock

Guest Michael Walkley, who at 665 (if that were on "The Price is Right," he'd be getting hosed by that guy with a 666, unless he nailed the 665 exactly) has the "3rd highest" AAPL price target, told Judge Wapner early on the Fast Money Halftime Report Thursday that through "monthly channel checks," he's found Apple has a remarkable "sell-through" that justifies a higher stock price.

He said the All Things D iPad 3 report for "1st week of March ... makes complete sense to us."

Judge asked, "What derails the Apple story if anything." Walkley said basically if the carriers stop handing out the subsidies, but for now they have to do it because everyone wants the phone.

Jon Najarian, whose vest look is gaining traction, coughed up a Brag Trade, saying, "luckily been long Apple for quite the run here."

Pete Najarian said so many people have been waiting to get it and will just have to chase, "they're gonna have to get clubbed in the head ... it was a cheap stock at $400 ... it's still an extremely cheap stock ... why are people shooting against this? I have no idea."

Josh Brown said the dividend at least for a while won't be big enough to be a buying catalyst, but "to sell this or be short it, is really suicidal."

Steve Grasso said to get long, "I'd rather buy it through options." Jon Najarian called Grasso "a smart guy and a friend."

Steve Cortes, even outdoing the actor in "The Artist," got the Shields & Yarnell treatment briefly, but the sound came on just in time for Cortes' knockout line, "obviously this stock gets up every morning and takes an entire bottle of Cialis it seems, and it gets to work."

Cortes said the concern is "not about Apple but is about the rest of tech," especially after "foreboding news out of China, which is 4½% inflation." Cortes said that news is Nasdaq relevant and "index relevant."

Not buying this opposite-of-general-has-been-shot thesis, Pete Najarian countered, "How about the fact that Intel's pushing on 52-week highs." Judge chimed in, "Dell, Microsoft ..."

Dr. J gets the moment of a lifetime (and it has little to do with stocks)

Jon Najarian credited Kara Swisher (except he called her "Kyra," like Kevin Bacon's wife, to do a degrees separation there) for raising the issue of NUAN. Najarian said, based on the iPad 3, "I think you do take a look and own Nuance."

Steve Cortes actually agreed that NUAN is a "very attractive stock," but disagreed that you buy because of the iPad 3, because Apple TV is the reason to buy.

Josh Brown said the future is bright for AKAM, the development of "private Internet" is a trend that is "not ever going the other way," and AKAM is square in the middle. Pete Najarian said that's a great point, and that customers include NFLX, AAPL, FBK and GOOG.

Mark Mahaney was more lukewarm on AKAM, saying "nothing to complain about in the quarter" and that there were easier comps, but it's not an "inflection point quarter" and that there's "competitive risk." He said Amazon is venturing in, but the problem is, at 25 P.E. with 10% earnings growth, there's a disconnect; "we think our earnings estimates are right; it's a sell."

Jon Najarian gets breaks few people get; referring to Facebook and Akamai and saying, "I was talking to Seema Mody about this uh over at the green room at the Nasdaq a little bit ago ..."

Mahaney questions YHOO strategy

Mark Mahaney said on a very spirited Thursday Halftime Report he sees the GRPN selloff "a little extreme" but acknowledged, "there's some open questions here."

Judge Wapner referred to Andrew Mason and asked "do they need an adult in the room," saying Mahaney knows what he means.

"No I don't think so," Mahaney said. "We'll see ... take this a couple years down the road."

Mahaney was downright down on YHOO, saying it's now talking about subscription revenue, "that's a tough shift" that will take "years to prove out."

Mahaney said he likes LNKD management and strategy, but not the stock at least "not at this price."

Mahaney said there's a "new cloud, a negative one on Amazon," and it's known as AAPL. He said he likes Priceline more than Expedia.

Judge Wapner did an impressive transition to the panel for questions when his audio failed. Jon Najarian revealed, "LinkedIn hasn't excited me Judge," but maybe options activity will show him something.

Steve Corts said of ORCL, "I don't think they're being aggressive enough in the cloud," and that last year was the 1st in 6 it didn't outperform the S&P.

Pete sells V

Pete Najarian revealed on Thursday's Halftime, "I sold Visa today." Josh Brown said he's buying JKH.

Steve Grasso offered FIO as his Final Trade, saying "bought my first tranche" after the CEO was on Fast Money, but only after the pullback, as smart money does.

Jon Najarian said don't short AAPL but take profits. Pete touted Celanese.

Liesman, Kaminsky: Companies have hit maximum profitability

If you're a fan of corporate balance sheets, it's been Happy Days Are Here Again for a couple of years or so.

Steve Liesman and Gary Kaminsky took up an interesting subject on Thursday's Squawk Box, Cisco's earnings, of all things.

Liesman said he was talking to someone who's "got about a gazillion dollars under management," who believes that, citing Cisco, there is "nowhere to go for these profit margins but down."

Not just at Cisco, but everywhere.

"I don't think there is a CEO in any industry that would disagree with that thesis," Kaminsky said.

We're not economists (and can barely fathom elasticity), which is one reason it's fun to see people gang up on Liesman's central bank assessments, but for anyone basically old enough to remember the '70s and even the '60s (which is the vast majority CNBC audience), this is a fascinating subject.

Watch '70s TV, and you'll see countless public service ads for conserving energy (particularly gasoline ... keep your tires properly inflated!) as well as references to inflation. Those were the demons of the era. And then in the '80s it became debt. And in the '90s, really just a smattering of concerns, from derivatives (Orange County) to currency dominoes (Thailand, Russia) to irrational exuberance.

Then we got dot-com bubbles, Enron, gasoline, nat gas, housing, and finally, the 3-year-long debacle of unemployment.

Somehow, society has figured out a way to sell endless iPhones, venti lattes, Ralph Lauren and Lululemon while an unusually high number of people are out of work — with minimal inflation.

And everyone pays $4 a gallon of gas, and nobody cares anymore. (When's the last time you heard about a special tax on oil companies or another SPR release?)

And so, when we finally overcome today's bugaboo of unemployment, where will the surge be felt: in labor costs, inflation, debt ... if gasoline is 4 bucks a gallon with so many out of work, will it be $6 when they're all back to work?

One wonders.

[Wednesday, February 8, 2012]

CNBCfix special report (cont’d): Is she or isn’t she? Karen Finerman lists no long position in ILMN

Karen Finerman was given a healthy amount of time on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to translate the Roche/Illumina statements, concluding that the ball's in Roche's court, clearly the starting offer was not the final offer, and ultimately, "we will see a bid higher than what Roche opened with."

Pete Najarian briefly opined on Illumina, saying, "I would not sell the stock," even though the "options are pausing and waiting" ever since the first day or 2 of the offer.

Where this got interesting for our purposes though is when Finerman told Melissa Lee that in regard to Illumina, "I'm long the stock. I think it is a unique asset," even though she doesn't think it'll be a quick jackpot (that's the top photo above).

And if you go to the official summary of the segment on CNBC.com, you'll see a sentence that Finerman is long the stock (that's the middle photo).

But when you scroll down to the official disclosures, you see that nowere after Finerman's name is there an ILMN position listed.

(And, unlike a week or 2 ago, when there was a distinction made between the disclosures of "Finerman" and "Finerman's Fund," we're no longer seeing that either.)

Which means they're not real disclosures, just a starting point.

Melissa actually asks Brian Marshall to evaluate John Chambers’ tone

You know things are getting good again in Cisco-land when CNBC people are talking about John Chambers' tone.

Tim Seymour pronounced the results on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money as a "bit of vindication for Mr. Chambers."

Karen Finerman said despite the run-up, "the valuation here is not stretched in any way ... the multiple is still very low here," and thus the stock is "probably worth a look here."

As always, Finerman said, it doesn't matter where the stock has been, but "the question is, where do you go from here."

Brian Marshall, on the other hand, sounded more pro-Juniper than anything and was asked by Pete Najarian if CSCO is stealing market share from JNPR. "I actually think it's, it's more of a timing of a product cycle vs. any market share gains," Marshall said, which to us didn't sound very impressive, but we're not the experts.

That's when Melissa Lee pressed Marshall about John Chambers, "I mean, what is his tone?"

Marshall correctly realized he was being handed a pet rock there, saying, "it's obviously a little bit of a hackneyed, uh, phrase, but I think he's cautiously optimistic."

Except, if he was cautiously optimistic, why was he later "throwing the kitchen sink in here," according to Jon Fortt.

Diamond (not Dimon) in the rough

Herb Greenberg turned up on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to crow a little bit about Diamond Foods and the independent researcher a while back who saw this coming, noting a statement from PG in which "they say that P&G has received interest from other bidders" for Pringles, and "there's clear wording here."

Karen Finerman then spoke, without asking a question with her usual preface, and told Greenberg that with a material adverse change, "I would think it just gives P&G multiple ways out," although Greenberg noted at one point the price PG got was actually good.

Ron Insana stressed "the first announcement is far from the last ... it's never just 1 or 2 headlines in a situation like this."

Greenberg basically concurred and said his favorite intro, "Guess what" ... "Guess what, sometimes even in this market the fundamentals still matter."

Melissa Lee asked Karen Finerman if there's a timing issue in the revelations that could help Diamond. Finerman said possibly, and they often do get time to restate, but "this is gigantic though I think."

The panel suggested Pepsi could be a Pringles buyer, but Ron Insana said there are gobs of chip brands now that didn't exist years ago, and Finerman even jokingly or not jokingly wondered if there's potato chip antitrust concerns.

"I should be going for an empty plate is what I should be going for," Insana revealed.

Hopefully Murph exits before $75

A couple days after this page flagged Mike Murphy's humongous-winner-turned-decliner in WHR, the Murphmeister finally took to the Fast Money Nasdaq stage to defend his long-turned-short (as the stock continued being a long).

And, completely objectively, got the proverbial butt kicked by Pete Najarian.

Murphy's primary concern apparently is management's EPS estimates for the year; "I think that bar is set way too high," though it seems hard to believe the stock would suddenly fall off a cliff in February on that rationale.

Najarian said there are several tailwinds for the stock, including housing and not just in the U.S. but Brazil and India, and that the company is managing margins and inventory better.

Tim Seymour chimed in that he could see both sides, acknowledging Najarian's points especially with Brazil, but that the chart now looks scary.

Najarian said he understands staying out of the stock for that latter reason, but "I don't understand the selling of it," which was the coup de grâce here.

Murphy then ginned up a "special credit" that temporarily goosed Latin America sales, and the notion that the stock will trip on "the slightest hiccup."

Ron Insana, in one of the best lines in weeks, called it a "no-spin zone."

Karen, it’s Karen

Karen Short couldn't find a bad thing to say about WFM during her chat with the Fast Money gang on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show, saying, "their traffic continues to accelerate on a 1-year and a 2-year basis."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said the other Karen, Finerman, asking Short where other competition might come from, whether it's regular groceries or Fresh Market.

Short (this gets confusing; if Karen Finerman is short, that does not make her "Karen Short") said Fresh Market is a different customer, and "Whole Foods is in a league of its own."

Tim Seymour complained WFM is "priced for perfection," and wondered, "do they deserve almost a 40 multiple?" Mike Khouw suggested selling out-of-the-money calls in WFM.

Karen impressively nails correct plural terminology for attorney general

Pete Najarian said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, in case like Steve Cortes you're plotting a BAC reversal, that in the options, "volumes are just absolutely off the chain."

Karen Finerman said something that would really help BAC and the banks is "if we get some of these state attorneys general to finally craft a deal."

Ron Insana sounded like long banks is a no-brainer; "If people aren't backing the truck up and getting into financials, I think they're missing what's gonna be a much-improved U.S. economy."

Tim Seymour brought up "normalized earnings," and A) how long have we been hearing that one, and B) when are they really gonna become "normalized."

Pete Najarian said he likes V over MA, "at this point in time ... if it's good for Mastercard, it's even better for Visa." Tim Seymour called V a "great growth story." Najarian said for his Final Trade he thinks JPM has the most upside of the banks.

One that busts the Laffer Curve

Kayla Tausche delivered a Groupon report on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying the company cited a "1,600%" tax rate in certain niches, a "pretty big gap there" between that and the 35% corporate rate.

"It's Karen let me just ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who asked Tausche if May 3 is the end of the lockup for insiders. Tausche answered affirmatively, if not wholly convincingly, "Yeah, you know, it's usually always 6 months after the, you know, the offering happens."

Ron Insana encouraged, "Run, don't walk, from that stock." For his Final Trade, he piled on that theme, saying run away from Groupon and the social networking complex.

Mike Khouw said to sell Groupon calls, and for his Options Action trade recommended a way for OPEN investors to get some money back without buying more shares, by buying April 45 call and selling 2 April 50 calls.

Tim Seymour made his Final Trade a sell of Tata Motors. Karen Finerman touted PLCE (although, according to the — chuckles — disclosure, she's not in the name).

Eamon Javers said the House is taking up the Nancy Pelosi trading thing.

Stephen Weiss explains his secret to getting ahead in the stock market

Judge Wapner ushered in Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report with a roundtable on whether Larry Fink is right about 100% stocks.

Steve Cortes had the most stark assessment, saying that Fink touting stocks is "sort of like asking Silvio Berlusconi, do you like women."

Cortes then irritated Judge Wapner by saying Fink was a guy who said Lehman had plenty of liquidity and wasn't another Bear Stearns. Wapner said that's "irrelevant for this conversation."

Stephen Weiss insisted that BlackRock is hugely in bonds too and thus Fink is "agnostic" in this regard.

Then, more helpfully, Weiss, revealed, "I try not to focus where the stock has come from," but where it's going, and he's "not crying over spilled milk." He said he's 75% "depending on the account" net long equities.

Cortes concluded that "stocks have not rallied at the expense of Treasurys."

Jeff Kilburg takes issue with Larry Fink’s free stock tip

Judge Wapner brought in Jeff Kilburg on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to reiterate he thinks we're heading to that 1945 1.67% low that we've now heard probably a dozen times.

Kilburg disagreed with Larry Fink, saying "being in 100% of anything" is not a "nimble" or "prudent" way to manage money. "I can't be all in," Kilburg said.

Brian Kelly said, "I think you can buy bonds here. I'm long bonds." Judge Wapner asked Kelly how many stocks he's in, and Kelly said, "very little .. the only thing I has (sic)" in stocks are S&P calls, Kelly said.

Brian Stutland mostly echoed Kelly's caution, saying, "You just have to be worried" about a pullback though there might be another 4-5% to the upside.

Fast Money Halftime spared; Jeff Harte didn’t make his great-in-the-long-term case for BAC until a half hour later on Power Lunch

Guest Matthew Czepliewicz, in one of those curious things analysts do, said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he cut Morgan Stanley to hold, not a sell, but "we've got a target price of 23," which, if you do the math which we often struggle with but this doesn't take an algorithm, sounds actually like a buy.

Czepliewicz (probably shouldn't have tried to type that twice) said GS is his only U.S. buy.

Stephen Weiss claimed Judge was "beating me like a dog" last year over JPM, not one that will go over well with PETA (the comment, not the trade).

Steve Cortes said "I'm a tiny bit underwater right now" in his BAC short. "This is my Nicholas Bradford 'Eight is Enough' trade," which reminds us of that fox Joan Prather who played David's girlfriend Janet (wonder what she's up to these days) … "I think the yield curve is a serious problem for Bank of America," Cortes said, claiming the stock has a "chance to get back to the low 7s."

It’s about where the stock is going, not where it’s been

Stephen Weiss hailed CSC on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, admitting "regrettably I sold it around 27" (remember he doesn't cry over spilled milk), but that this space is exciting and "I think there's a possibility Allscripts can be acquired by CSC."

Weiss, perhaps noticing Gary Kaminsky's market-moving interview just before Halftime that really casts doubt on the wholesomeness of Caesars stock ownership, said if he had the shares, "I'd be getting out," which apparently is what everyone else is doing, even though it keeps going up.

Judge Wapner twice in the span of a few moments tried to call b.s. on both a Ralph Lauren analyst (Micheal Binetti) and Steve Cortes, telling Binetti he couldn't tell Wapner that he wasn't concerned about what Tiffany reported last year. Binetti agreed "it was a worry early on in December," but that Ralph Lauren is "just getting started" in Asia among other strengths.

Judge then turned to Cortes, "This sort of flies in the face of your high-end retail story sort of falling apart," even though of course LULU last May/June had already flown in that face to great success. Cortes said "I'm not surprised these shares are doing well" but that retail unlike energy trades in scattershot ways for different names, and that Amazon is what troubles him. "The sector is a bit of a puzzle, and just stay away," Cortes advised.

"You can't tell me that what's going on in Amazon is a referendum on all of retail," Judge bellowed.

Cortes also warned about Rambus; "stay away … I don't like the headline risk in this stock."

Brian Stutland, mostly quiet on Wednesday, said someone who's a "day trader" might take a look at Western Union.

$30 target on GRPN

Jeff Houston on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report first said it's great to be on Fast Money with a fellow Chicago analyst (that would be Rick Summer), then waded into the Groupon bull case, saying the company "has created a brand-new business category" known as "discount group purchasing."

Houston, in a couple of polite statements that nevertheless lingered longer than Judge Wapner preferred and got the "right-right-right" reaction, said 65% of Groupon's revenue is generated outside the United States, and that the Street is "extremely conservative" in its numbers.

Summer said it's a "category mix issue" that justifies his $8 price target and sell rating.

Stephen Weiss asked Summer if he has any concerns about Andrew Mason's eccentric personality. Summer called that a "great question" but then delivered an ambiguous answer, saying if the CEO wasn't Mason, "who would it be."

Brian Kelly then challenged Houston to defend Groupon's niche when others like Macy's could presumably do the same thing for Macy's only. Houston said there are gobs of Groupon "clones," but "these companies are dropping like flies," largely because there are "low barriers to entry, but high barriers to success."

Brian Stutland tried the old saw about Google having much more reasonable valuation and possibly competing in the space, an argument we've been hearing on Fast Money almost as long as how great the Ag Trade is because "people gotta eat."

Gasparino also used to beg off stock calls even though he agreed to appear on a show called Fast Money

Herb Greenberg complained on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that BWLD was going up because "the beat was all based on tax rate."

As long as a restaurant or retailer can open stores, no matter the economics, there's a bid on the stock, Greenberg sighed, saying that's what he's learned over the years while noting Buffalo Wild Wings raised prices.

Judge Wapner charged in, asking how it's a negative to be able to raise prices. "There's only so far that goes," Herb said.

"That's called pricing power Herb!" Judge said.

Greenberg then said OpenTable isn't growing so much but "just cutting expenses … metric for metric for metric is going lower, lower, lower."

Herb also claimed it's a generic product. Judge disagreed. "I use OpenTable all the time … it's the first place that I do go."

Steve Cortes for some reason asked Greenberg to make a stock call on OPEN, pointing out it's part of the worst-of-2011-booming-in-2012 trade and that insiders have been selling. Herb of course begged off, even though he willingly appears on a show called Fast Money, "I'm not the trader here," but just know "the spreadsheet on this company tells a heckuva story."

‘Good to be alive’
and shopping Maiden Lane II

Steve Liesman interrupted Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report — which Judge Wapner said is OK — to report on some Maiden Lane II sales and tying up some "loose ends," oddly enough some "kind of good to be alive" situation.

Brian Kelly said it sounds to him like a "repo trade," buy it now from the Fed and sell back in 6 months.

Colin Gillis said CSCO is moving; "we're goin' up to 23 bucks" even though it's "dinosaur" tech.

Stephen Weiss said "I'd rather put my money elsewhere." But Gillis argued CSCO has "very easy compares" for a few quarters. He said "gross margins" are most important.

Gillis said that if you think the Yahoo board shakeup means a deal is imminent, "you might wanna think otherwise … Yahoo's in for a difficult 2012."

Steve Cortes for Final Trade said "sell euro," while Brian Kelly said TLT and Stephen Weiss mentioned DIS.

We think AAPL actually escaped mention (somehow), a bad sign for our show idea (below), or maybe not.

[Tuesday, February 7, 2012]

CNBCfix plan for Susan Krakower’s next show

After Tuesday's wretched 5 p.m. episode of Fast Money, it hit us like a ton of bricks, and we couldn't believe it hadn't already hit like a ton of bricks.

CNBC should do an Apple show, start out weekly and then probably make it daily.

Unfortunately this would've been a hotter idea a few years ago, but it's still got legs.

It would feature some of these more (snicker) credible bloggers who have (potential) scoops on new products, upgrades, etc., and who aren't regularly on TV and thus would get their legions of online followers to tune in.

Then you're talking Gene Munster, Colin Gillis, the 666 guy, Tavis McCourt, maybe even Brian Marshall, teaming with a couple of the Fast Money gang, maybe Karen Finerman and Joe Terranova or even letting "general has been shot" Steve Cortes go to town for angry-email-attracting purposes, opining strictly about the stock.

And of course, you're going to get some combination of Seema Mody, Courtney Reagan, Jackie DeAngelis, Carolin Schober, etc., overseeing some of the segments if not running the whole show, with Jon Fortt as co-host.

The savviest idea is to feature an app developer each episode, demonstrating what he/she is working on, and then conducting a daily poll at CNBC.com where viewers vote whether the app will be a success or a flop.

There'd be clips of Steve Jobs' greatest moments at some of his presentations, and some of the more notable commercials.

Celebrities on some TMZ-type of video would close the show explaining some interesting thing they do with their Apple products.

Obviously, it wouldn't look good to run Apple ads during the program, but it shouldn't be too hard to sell some spots to Qualcomm, Interactive Brokers, Starbucks, New York Times, etc.

Then, the rest of CNBC's daytime programming could lighten up on AAPL a little bit.

We never ask for royalties around here; just happy to help.

See, this is the type of stuff that could be used in the Apple show and spared from Fast Money

Melissa Lee said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that some blog claimed to have a Best Buy survey featuring an Apple HD TV, and it would involve using your iPhone, or even your hands, as a remote.

That got Guy Adami "gesticulating."

Mike Khouw said said that may not be a good thing, "a roomful of people, this is gonna be quite a circus, I would think."

"Channel 4! Channel 2!" shouted Melissa Lee.

Karen Finerman said it's all part of finding revenue to bring people into the ecosystem.


We were all set to hail Melissa Lee's awesome Steelers-like outfit on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but by the end of the show we just couldn't do it.

Someone evidently recognizing Fast Money had no material to fill its 2nd hour Tuesday came up with an utterly bone-headed idea to have Mel read a series of trivia questions about rock stars and cities that seemed to have no relevance to absolutely anything including the artist and the city in the same pairing.

The first set of questions was downright obnoxious, panelists interrupting, Lee enunciating about as clearly as Mushmouth on the old "Fat Albert" cartoon (man, what are the odds of a cartoon about someone named "Fat" passing muster today?), and the panelists getting downright jagbaggy in talking over each other to prove how well they read UsWeekly.

"This is like 'Jeopardy!'," Lee scolded Tim Seymour, but it wasn't, and in fact, "Jeopardy!" in many parts of the country was a favorable alternative to Fast Money on Tuesday.

Lee said "I didn't apply" to Georgetown, for those keeping score at home.

Tim Seymour first claims no one watches the NBA and then claims Time Warner alienated Knicks fans

Fast Money panelists at 5 p.m. Tuesday found the Disney earnings report so fascinating, the first thing they could do was complain, "I didn't think people still watched the NBA," according to Guy Adami.

"Well said ... I know I don't watch the NBA," added Tim Seymour, who then claimed, "They've ruined college football by the way by pushing those BCS games into January but that's a, another story."

Karen Finerman argued "There is some synergy there and they don't get that premium multiple; they should." But Dan Nathan said that's exactly the problem, there are "so many different businesses" in Disney that the market can't "isolate" a pure play.

Tony Wible, who got his earliest Fast Money call in history at about the 4-minute mark, said the problem is "the advertising side of the business drives so much of the profit," and that based on this report and what others have said, there is "so much uncertainty."

Karen Finerman chirped her usual intro, "It's Karen, let me ask you something," asking Wible what his valuation is and how he gets there.

And, given that Wible's target is $40, he's basically already there. "I think the company should warrant some more multiple expansion," Wible said, and wasn't that the refrain of the day.

Tim Seymour claimed Time Warner was "alienating a lot of Knicks and Ranger fans."

Julia Boorstin, who temporarily did the Shields & Yarnell thing on a day when many of the Fast Money microphones did not work, said Disney "sold out the Academy Awards," and that there was even more demand for the ads than are allowed to be shown. (Just think if they didn't sell them out and had to run MagicJack.)

Guy Adami doubts that FCX could be in play

This is the type of thing The Strategy Session was known for.

Guest Anthony Young showed up at the Nasdaq on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to say that basically "any natural resource producer" is in play right now.

But, Young said, there are 3 exceptions: BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale, and maybe the Glencore/Xstrata combination, because they are the giants who will likely do some of the buying; "virtually every other name is in play right now."

A couple he rattled off were CLF and FCX.

Guy Adami was a tad skeptical, saying an FCX deal would be about $60 billion, and "Who's large enough to pull off something like that."

Young didn't answer that directly, but said the company has "4 nice components" and that presumably only parts of it might be sold depending on the unknown buyer's risk profile.

In any event, "the bigs certainly get bigger," Young concluded.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was to "sell your miners."

As weak flu season hits the bottom line, medical conspiracy theorists gain fodder

Debbie Weinswig spoke on the Fast Line on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to explain how she downgraded WAG to sell, saying it's based on a PBM survey with an analyst. "I think it's definitely CVS' game to lose at this point in the game," Weinswig said.

"Hi it's Karen let me ask you something," Finerman said, asking if there's really zero chance for WAG and ESRX to reach a detente. Weinswig said Walgreen has made a clear demand, and "I really do believe Walgreens in this case."

Finerman said, "I think we have more room to run on CVS here."

If we can sell KFC and lattes in China, why can’t we put a pro football team there?

David Bain was one of many with a bad connection on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money but when he did get connected didn't seem too excited about the Caesars IPO, saying, "They're basically just dipping their toe into the equity market water right now."

Greg Zuckerman spoke about what was a decent article but quite honestly a snoozer of a Fast Money topic, which was the CALSTRS $500 million investment in an infrastructure fund.

Zuckerman said the sector has been desirable but runs hot and cold. "Lots of money on the sidelines," he said, but "there aren't enough deals yet" to make a lot of money.

You-know-who asked, "Greg it's Karen let me ask you something," which was, what are CALSTRS' expectations for this fund. Zuckerman said with a straight face that they actually claim they don't want "home runs," but "low double digits."

Tim Seymour said in terms of China exposure, Starbucks is in the "bottom of the 1st," and YUM is in the "top of the 7th." (Does that mean WYNN should be calling for Mariano?)

Karen Finerman gently chided a Twitter questioner for asking a nonsensical question about whether to "cut your losses" on BAC if it goes to $8, not for asking a nonsensical question, but for something we agree with Finerman on, that your own purchase price has no bearing on where the stock is going. "The question is interesting but it doesn't matter what your cost basis is," Finerman said. (Is it possible to "cut your losses" on a rising asset? Not sure.)

Guy Adami mentioned RHI for his Final Trade. Karen Finerman said to start trimming CMI, while Dan Nathan suggested a similar move in AAPL; "downside puts are cheap."

Score another one for CNBCfix

Steve Cortes on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report said of BAC, "I shorted it yesterday," and "8 is enough."

"The Dick Van Patten Trade," cracked Zach Karabell.

That brought back memories of our Aug. 29 Fast Money report, in which this page used the "Eight is Enough" reference regarding Rich Ilczyszyn's (where's he been lately?) corn-price analysis, and then heard Cortes use it the next day regarding BAC. (So, this page will take the credit, but as always, the Fast Money gang can borrow our lines; we're here to help.) (We also questioned if BAC will find "3's company," though that didn't happen in 2011; Cortes can use that in the next DryShips conversation.)

Cortes was given time to outline a 3-point plan for his BAC short: technicals, Lazard's take on capital markets, and the yield curve.

Meanwhile, guest Brian Bedell trumpeted SCHW, saying, "that rate headwind has largely ended right now." Zach Karabell said he agreed with Steve Cortes in that the economic conditions Bedell described could happen without a "concomitant rise in interest rates," but as for SCHW, he still sees "margin compression ... fees are still going down." Bedell insisted, "Their core fees are going up."

Joe Terranova’s mixed message on euro long/short

Joe Terranova launched Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report with a stumble, first identifying the lingering strength in the euro, then saying "for a trade, you could play the euro from the short side right now," then concluding, "deterioration is not coming to fruition."

(We think he meant you can play it from the "long" side right now. But then again, this currency stuff makes our head spin, so maybe not.)

Andy Busch later said "the market is really short euros ... the thing looks like it's got some juice to it." Busch likes Aussie vs. U.S. dollar.

Steve Cortes said he wants to see the "final" draft of the Greece plan, which he thinks is a "sell the news phenomenon ... Germany is not OK ... European banks, which have had an incredible run, are going to start to roll over here."

Cortes admitted to Judge Wapner he's not in the short-euro trade yet and Judge demanded something that he is doing, and he said he's shorting silver.

Zach Karabell described himself as a "generic buyer of this market."

Judge Wapner asked Patty Edwards what she's buying Tuesday. "This morning, absolutely nothing," Edwards said. "I am the skeptic in the room I guess," she added, calling the market "fairly extended at this point in time."

Joe Terranova revealed he got int TBT and recommended looking at MCD, which was one of his final trades.

Steve Liesman likens coverage of Fed testimony to ‘playin’ with fire’

Thankfully Judge Wapner spared Halftime Report viewers Fed testimony on Tuesday, something Steve Liesman noticed in telling Judge he should "thank me for watching this so you didn't have to." Basically, Bernanke said "many measures seem to be improving," Liesman said.

Zach Karabell opined, "The less news the Fed makes in the coming months, the more that's gonna be indicative itself of a relatively stable, expanding economy."

But Liesman warned it's not good if the Fed has to drop a surprise. "You're playin' a little bit with fire here," he told Karabell, even though he's not and it was a good observation.

Judge gets snarky after Patty makes a quality point

Guest Shaw Wu on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report predicted a 13½ multiple on 2013 earnings for IBM, which gets him to a $230 price target.

Judge Wapner asked if Europe isn't too much of a headwind with 1/3 of revenues. Wu said "2/3 of its profits are actually recurring," so not a problem.

Joe Terranova asked the obligatory question-for-IBM analyst, asking if they get to that 2015 EPS number ahead of schedule. Wu said yes, he thinks they "get there a year early."

Steve Cortes asked Wu if ORCL's stock will continue to struggle as IBM gains. "That's an interesting question," Wu said, explaining IBM is shifting to the software/services while Oracle it trying to crack hardware. "That trend's probably likely to continue."

Patty Edwards called it like it is regarding this ridiculous 2015 forecast that somehow has credence. "It's not revenue-driven earnings growth; I've got a problem with that. I'd much rather be in something like Qualcomm," Edwards said.

Judge Wapner decided for some reason to be taken aback. "Whoa, sorry (likely sic, could've been "starting" but sounded more like "sorry") to have a problem with IBM. Patty Edwards. Picky. Picky, picky," Wapner said.

We’re at the stage where new cable channels sound more like albatross than opportunity

Guest Jason Bazinet was a bit subdued in his DIS call on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, citing "low-single-digit ad growth at ESPN" and theme park attendance (based on inbound air traffic to Orlando) as only up "nominally."

"I think the stock is worth about $44," Bazinet said, downplaying the impact of a Univision channel. "It's not like there's uh, a lot of, uh, incremental opportunity for news ... at the end of the day."

Patty Edwards does like the Univision notion and sees "at least 10% upside to the stock." Joe Terranova, who a day ago made DIS his Final Trade because of its great earnings ahead, said, "The earnings might be somewhat difficult here," but that S&P P.E. expansion, which if true sounds like a reason to buy a lot of other stocks, is the key to the stock, "I think that's where you get the apprecation in Disney."

Patty Edwards said of MA, "it is certainly at this point in time (sic redundancy) overbought," but "I own Visa instead of Mastercard." However, she said she wouldn't buy now.

Zach Karabell had something of a Brag Trade in MA (as well as OpenTable later), but that's OK because he took the JCPenney thing on the chin recently. "I'm long the calls, well in the money, so I'm kind of pleased about that." However he said he'd take some profits now, even though "I don't know how 'overbought' " it actually is.

Herb to Scott: ‘You are a prickly type of guy’

Herb Greenberg told Scott Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime, "You are a prickly type of guy," before complaining names like OpenTable and SodaStream move on "anything but their fundamentals." Herb warned, when the short squeezes end, these kinds of stocks "fall in a vacuum, there are no natural buyers there."

Wapner was silent there in an awkward transition.

Herb told Wapner comparisons of SodaStream to GMCR are "like saying, I should have a show because you have a show."

Greenberg told Zach Karabell the OpenTable metrics are "all going in the wrong direction." Karabell said the stock "in the 40s is kinda where it should be" and twice emphasized, "I'm long much lower than where it is."

CNBC rarity: Caution on the people-gotta-eat Fast Money Ag Trade

Zach Karabell handled a tweet on Tuesday's Halftime Report about MOS and POT and whether there's a difference. Karabell said they're different companies and that he bought MOS calls because of some corporate reasons. Even so, "You gotta be careful about the way these have traded," Karabell said.

Steve Cortes flat-out declared, "I think that they are both to be avoided," and that in agriculture, "the bloom is off the rose."

Gina Sanchez said "we think the rally has some legs on multiples," which is how Roubini Inc. gets by in this era, acknowledging pockets of strength while still asserting doom ahead, which is basically how Sanchez responded to Joe Terranova's question as to whether 2008 is over. "Oh no, we are not past that crisis at all," Sanchez said. "Liquidity doesn't solve solvency problems."

And if her husband hadn’t been picked off by a middle linebacker with an open receiver for a TD because he couldn’t throw it far enough, they also might’ve won

Steve Cortes said on Tuesday's Halftime of SINA; "I am short this name," it's in a "frothy space."

Joe Terranova said "Coinstar's a buy," and so is NCR. Patty Edwards said, given the Coinstar multiple and the Netflix multiple, "I'll buy Coinstar all day long," although she didn't also mention that Coinstar is apparently headquartered in the same town as Trutina Financial (wonder if that makes it easy to walk down the street and ask questions).

Zach Karabell said for a Final Trade, he's interested in WYNN. Steve Cortes said WAG, Patty Edwards said to consider taking some off the top of TAL, and Joe Terranova touted MSFT, IBM, MCD, AXP (take your pick, apparently).

Joe Terranova wrote off the Patriots and their QB as championship material. "Never another Super Bowl will you see him again," Terranova said.

[Monday, February 6, 2012]

Flash: Analyst actually believes his price target

Michael Pachter, who's on CNBC's Fast Money these days more than even Steve Cortes, issued a shocking declaration on Monday's 5 p.m. program about Coinstar.

"I think the stock goes a lot higher" than even its $57 afterhours, Pachter said. "I have a $72 price target and I actually think they get there."

So, the 72 is not just for show.

Pachter said Coinstar didn't speak much Monday about the Verizon deal because he thinks Verizon is still figuring it out, but did describe the NCR purchase, which he called "pretty huge news," in part because it eliminates a competitor in a non-messy way.

Pachter said he thinks the Verizon arrangement will be a "pay as you go" deal and he doubts it will be unlimited "all-you-can-eat" as Netflix does and which he considers unsustainable.

Joe Terranova asked Pachter if Coinstar's free cash flow is a concern. Pachter resorted to crudity, saying, "If they were pissing it away, yes, it would concern me a lot, uh, but they're not exactly, you know, getting up on the top of their building and throwing it into the street."

Notably, this time Pachter did not chide the Fast Money panel for not getting the Coinstar story, as in December, when he said, "And the truth is, your nanny rents movies, your, your driver rents movies, the guy who delivers stuff to your office rents movies, um, most of the clerical workers around you rent movies."

Tim Seymour observed of Coinstar, "They're obviously going after the Netflix space." Guy Adami said even at $57 afterhours, the stock looks like a buy; "I hate to say it," which prompted Tim Seymour to butt in and claim that's like saying "with all due respect" when it's really no respect.

Adami suggested Mel Lee rented a bunch of movies on Super Bowl night. We were hoping Mel would share details of her Super Bowl activities on Fast Money, but it didn't happen Monday.

Brian Kelly said he likes DIS and CMCSK on the heels of Coinstar's news.

‘Want’ to do it, but ...

Scott Nations on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money offered a way to measure risk with a bullish play on VLO.

Nations indicated this trade was inspired by comments earlier on the show by Seth Kleinman (about gasoline spread) and Guy Adami (about Valero being sideways since 2008), although anyone has to think realistically such a trade had to be studied well before the show aired.

Nations said he likes a risk-reversal for taking long exposure. The play is to buy the June 27 call for $1.10 and sell the June 22 put for $1.10, which gives you a "huge margin of error."

Honestly, we couldn't figure out the point of this trade. If you're bullish on the stock, it's an extremely weak bullishness. He said he gets long the stock if it breaks either 27 or 22. If you're bullish, why not just own the shares and sell the put. It seems like the reason for this trade is the belief that a big Valero move, should one happen, is more likely to be up than down.

But even more curious, once again, is the disclosure at CNBC.com. While the screen text above says "Nations: I want to be long refiners," the disclosure indicates he actually was not long any refiners, but in fact is long BAC and C. Maybe he's planning to get long VLO on Tuesday, but it apparently hadn't happened yet. Given that C and BAC were apparently his actual positions Monday, wouldn't an options trade on the big banks convey more conviction than a maybe-wannabe refiner position?

Of course, you knew Vimpelcom, Mobile TeleSystems and Yandex would be touted in this feature

Tim Seymour on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money quarterbacked another investing-in-Russia segment that once again resembled a Putin campaign rally.

Seymour addressed the political situation, concluding Putin will win and maybe even in a runoff which would be great for the Russian (snicker) democracy, but regardless, "Western media is much more consumed about this than Russian media."

He offered 4 trades, 2 of which you've heard forever, another which you've heard recently, and the 4th (Mail.ru) perhaps interesting.

Joe Terranova curiously asked Seymour a "serious question ... can you speak Russian?"

"I can order food, I can get around town, but I cannot have a, a, terribly proficient conversation," Seymour admitted.

"OK. So Mel's the only one on the desk with a proficiency in another language," Terranova said, for some reason intent on reaching this determination.

"I don't even have proficiency," Mel protested. "I speak English, and that's about it."

Seymour initially made the case to buy emerging markets when fiscal policy is tight and monetary policy loose but then cautioned, "be careful; it's been a big run."

Brian Kelly said Europe looks like a "value trap." Joe Terranova said, "I think the German equity market is underpriced." Willie Williams said, "I like selling Aussie/Swiss at 99."

‘Long gasoline, short WTI’

Guest Seth Kleinman offered an interesting oil-complex thesis on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, suggesting people "be long gasoline, and short WTI."

Kleinman said WTI is under pressure from the newfound oil sources in North America, and the "demise of the crude-oil hypothesis getting played out on- on shore in the U.S."

He also told Joe Terranova that weakness in gasoline demand is a "bit overstated."

Joe Terranova said HFC and CVI are his top takeaways from the conversation and "still names you can own." Guy Adami mentioned KOG, "this is worth a look." Terranova followed that CXO and PXD look good, as Permian Basin plays.

Tim Seymour, who seems to think every dubious big corporate buyout of recent years (BAC "stole" Merrill Lynch) was savvy, insisted "the XTO purchase will look like genius down the road."

Dennis Gartman doesn’t mention that he probably likes gold in euro terms

James Altucher, who said 5 years ago that Facebook would someday be worth $150 billion if it went public, was hailed for this call on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, probably as a make-up call for the Fast gang regularly mocking Altucher's $1-$2 trillion AAPL call since last May.

"I think Facebook is definitely worth more than $100 billion at this point," Altucher said, echoing the guy last week by saying there's a "huge moat to cross" for competitors.

Altucher stood by his AAPL call. "Apple's a no-brainer to me, to hit a trillion-dollar market cap within the next year," he said. "It should be there today."

Mel Lee, in her striking bright blue top, repeated "within the next year" a couple times, but didn't say "Wow."

Guy Adami and Brian Kelly said the valuation on YUM is getting stretched and that there's upside, but maybe not much left short term. Tim Seymour says maybe it's just going to trade with a higher multiple for a while.

Dennis Gartman said the weather in various parts of the world is bullish for grain prices. Gartman assured Brian Kelly that fertilizer production cuts aren't a sign of a smaller crop, but more efficient spreading of fertilizer. "Farmers are getting far more sophisticated" using GPS, Gartman said.

Guy Adami said HGSI for his Final Trade. Brian Kelly, who disclosures indicate was long S&P puts and calls, said "I still do like TLT," which he is long, per disclosures. Joe Terranova said he expects great earnings out of DIS.

How to turn a monster winner into a break-even

Last Wednesday, Mike Murphy revealed on the Fast Money Halftime Report that he had turned around his sizzling WHR position into a short, as the stock closed the day at $61.

Hopefully, Murphy got out of that one before Monday. (Or, for that matter, Friday.) (Or, actually even Thursday.)

Fast Money crew split over whether an AMZN bricks-and-mortar location makes sense

Judge Wapner played the "Mill" game on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, asking panelists if the notion of Amazon launching physical stores is valid.

Steve Grasso rightly noted he was the only saying weeks or months ago that Amazon could buy Best Buy, and "maybe I got 50% credit here" for being ahead on this idea. Grasso said he isn't sure about a test store, but "eventually you will see this" as Amazon loses its sales tax advantage.

Josh Brown, who has some of the best lines in the Twitter space, said such a store would be called "Bezos, Bath & Beyond."

The Najarians were firmly in the "b.s." camp. "Let me tell you something, if I had all the money back that my wife spent at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I'd actually be a pretty rich guy instead of the poor guy that I am," said Pete. "I don't understand why this makes any sense for them whatsoever."

Jon Najarian said such an idea would be like if "Starbucks all of a sudden decided they wanted to get into streaming movies. I mean, it doesn't make any sense."

Brian Kelly justifies a serious ‘180’ with a Brag Trade

Judge Wapner, feelin' it a bit on Monday's Halftime Report, opted to turn the screws a bit on Brian Kelly, who apparently was unloading everything after saying last week that the Fed had just given the green light to stocks, bonds, etc.

Kelly started by saying Monday he sold financials on the big gains. Judge pressed, "For credibility's sake frankly BK, how do you make such a tectonic shift" after last week's call.

Kelly said selling Monday was a "tactical portfolio management, let's-take-some-profit type of move" and was just a matter of "selling the news" before everyone else does.

Judge stressed that it's still kind of a "180" from Kelly's Fed comments last week.

Kelly protested, "I would not characterize this move as saying 'risk off altogether'," but then claimed, "Thursday and Friday were just tremendously profitable days." Then it was Fast Money's Favorite Redundancy, "at this point in time let's take some profit."

Pete Najarian questioned why Kelly didn't buy some cheap puts and roll over his long positions in the banks. Kelly said "I did buy some S&P upside calls," but the rally has been so steep since December, "how much more does it have left in it? Maybe another 5, 10%. I'm OK if I miss that."

FIO chief’s presentation is so good, both Steve Grasso and Jon Najarian try to claim it for Final Trade

Fusion-IO boss David Flynn really just spoke in corporate cliche-speak, but it was enough to convince some of the Fast Money Halftime Report gang that FIO is a winner.

Flynn called the EMC news "huge" and just an attempt to "follow our architecture to try to stay competitive."

"We're just focused on driving business," Flynn said of his own company's strategic goals.

Judge Wapner apparently confused Flynn with a question about rising costs. Flynn asked for clarification, saying FIO is "growing into a market that stands to be very large." Judge stressed that the company did report a loss. Flynn conceded that was true, "on GAAP measures."

Pete Najarian wasn't particularly enthusiastic, saying that with more competition in the space, "how much more of these margins are gonna start to come in."

But Steve Grasso said he liked the way Flynn "danced" around Judge's question about being a standalone player and recommended the shares for his Final Trade, with a "short leash." Dr. J said that would've been his pick, but Grasso took it.

Glencore’s grand plan

Dan Dicker took a turn on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report by spinning what sounded a bit like a conspiracy theory, although presumably totally legal.

Dicker said Glencore's strategy is definitely to get ahold of companies like Xstrata and that there are rumors about AAUK as well; innocuously, "we call it vertical integration," but really it's a plan to "continually buy fresh physical assets" that will create an "enormous vortex of profitability" and ultimately put more commodities in fewer hands.

Meanwhile, Dicker said "Brent price is really the only one that matters," but that "some of these refiners I think are a bit overdone here. I'm actually short a couple of shares."

Josh Brown said a couple times he likes COP and envisions a Marathon-type unlocking of value later this year. Brown also said, "I like Caterpillar and Cummins." Pete Najarian said "I like the met coal space," and of ANR, "I like this name."

Wait before ordering BWLD, YUM

Guest Stephen Anderson said on Monday's Halftime Report that BWLD is facing "record wing costs," and thus, "concern's not with the top line, it's with the bottom line."

Anderson said CAKE is a name that might have upside because dairy margins, unlike wings, are not so bad.

Jon Najarian stressed BWLD is a sports play, but now we're in the downtime between Super Bowl and NCAA Tournament, so let the stock fall a bit, then buy.

Pete Najarian said Fast Money's Favorite Redundancy regarding YUM, "at this point in time," there looks to be less upside. Josh Brown said it's a name you sort of hope pulls back at earnings a bit so you can get in.

Brown: BRK poised
for ‘major break’

Josh Brown was pounding the table for BRK-B on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, predicting a "major break" once shares top $80, and so he's accumulating below $80.

Pete Najarian said BAC breaks through $8 by the end of the week.

Steve Grasso said markets were a little quiet because "guys are spending a lot of productivity time discussing the game," and that the question now is "do you sell the deal in- on Greece at this point."

Josh Brown said the market was doing some "healthy" pausing, which typically happens the Monday after a jobs report.

NFLX in the 70s sure looking like a good purchase

Guest John Blackledge brought some NFLX enthusiasm to Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, as the stock continued to make Pete Najarian's take-the-money-and-run call look premature.

"We think Netflix is in the early stages of its content evolution," Blackledge said, saying Coinstar's VZ venture is sort of small potatoes.

Josh Brown said of NFLX, "long term, there really is not much here," but conceded the stock's on fire.

Guest Michael Harris said he turned bullish in September, had a setback in early October, and since then, a "very firm trend line" and that there's still cash on the sidelines to keep it going.

Steve Grasso asked if 1,275 was a hard floor, or if we'll even see a 12 handle at all. Harris said, "1,300 for sure is gonna be the near-term bottom" and that there's "good support" at 1,275 and 1,260.

Jagadish Iyer revealed he's a believer in Gorilla Glass II, saying of GLW, "We think that the bulk of the bad news is already baked into the stock." Iyer also credited Judge Wapner for a "great question," his first, about liking a company whose business is an area that's slowing dramatically.

Josh Brown said he has wanted to buy GLW but it's been a dog. "Let's see it break out first, and then I'll get excited about it," Brown said.

Too Against the Herd? How embarrassed would the NFL have been if Patriots won by letting Giants score? And what if Bradshaw just stood at the 1, would the play have just continued for the final minute?

In Chapter 5 of "Against the Herd," Steve Cortes credits Bill Belichick's controversial decision — even though it failed — in 2009 in Indianapolis to attempt a pass on 4th and 2 from the New England 28, leading 34-28 with just over 2 minutes remaining, as an example of successful strategy contrary to conventional wisdom.

Cortes didn't go far enough.

The strategy had almost no downside, had Belichick done what he did in Super Bowl 46 — let the Colts score a touchdown immediately. Then Brady gets the ball back with almost 2 minutes needing just a field goal to win.

Instead Belichick's defenders tackled Joseph Addai at the 1-yard line, allowing a couple more plays to drain the clock to 13 seconds before the Colts scored the winning TD.

Belichick scrambled the lessons from this game in Super Bowl 46, punting on 4th and 11 from the Giant 44 (apparently thinking the extra yards would be a difference-maker for the D), and letting the other team score several plays too late.

The statistics Cortes cites in his book would probably argue that Belichick first should've let Brady try to convert 4th and 11, or at least should've let the Giants score at 1st and 10 from the 50, after the miracle sideline catch with 3:39 remaining.

After that catch, probably no one had a doubt the Giants were going to score; the question was when and how.

How does Belichick just "let" the Giants take it in from 50 yards? That one is easy. Call a jailbreak blitz, send 8 guys. Maybe you get lucky and get a crippling sack or interception. Or, Manning finds a wide-open receiver for a TD. Either way, it's better for the Patriots than the 15-yard plays that ate the clock.

If not that, then let Bradshaw score at the 2-minute warning, 1st and 10 from the 18. By that point the field goal was nearly a given, and Belichick could've saved a minute and a timeout.

Football is the only sport that comes to mind where it's actually advantageous to let the other team score the go-ahead points. Few teams exploit this wrinkle, probably out of a sense of honor, which is admirable, that you always put forth an honest effort to score and keep the other team from scoring.

Certainly this page has harped on old-school NFL stubbornness that ignores the reality of the rules. So we can't fault Belichick for doing what he did ... but how would it look if Rob Gronkowski caught that Hail Mary, and the Patriots won the game largely because they deliberately quit at a critical moment? (There's a message to youth — play your best defense on some series; on other series play no defense at all.)

One wonders if, Bradshaw had neither scored nor gone down at the 1 but just stood there, would the Patriots have stood next to him (talk about embarrassing) until the clocked ticked down to 3 seconds and he fell into the end zone, or tackled him?

Had Belichick been a bit more progressive in this department, he could've avoided such controversy by merely selling out at the 50, an all-or-nothing blitz, and then, presuming a Giant touchdown, putting the game in Brady's hands with more than ample time. Instead, his apparent strategy was a curious willingness to play defense at the 18 but not at the 7, despite the fact his defense in the course of an 88-yard drive didn't even force a 3rd down, and was downright terrible all season.

In the fog of war, strategizing is difficult. But this is what coaches get paid for.

‘21 the hard way’

The other day in advance of Super Bowl XLVI, we happened to cite the ground-breaking developments of Super Bowl X (see below).

Turns out XLVI proved sort of a tribute to X, as the final score was the same, and the Giants' scoring breakdown incredibly mirrors the Steelers' — 1 safety, 2 field goals, 2 touchdowns in cluding the clincher in which the extra point(s) was missed.

In the locker room after X, Sonny Jurgensen and Tom Brookshier congratulated Chuck Noll for achieving "21 the hard way."

No such references were made by Dan Patrick Sunday, and that's OK.

In the end, the Patriot offense just didn't get it done; you can't win many playoff games scoring 17 points, and despite grandiose regular season offenses of the last half-dozen seasons, that is the Patriots' secret Achilles heel, they just can't score very often against playoff defenses. This century, 91% of playoff winners score at least 20; this season, it was 100%.

And the 1st to 20 won again; making it 10-1 these playoffs, matching the 91% this century.

When was the 1st shotgun snap in Super Bowl history?

Sometimes, monumental innovation happens in subtle ways.

Super Bowl X became an instant classic not because it was a particularly great game — it wasn't — but because after 10 years, it was the first to suggest the Super Bowl could actually produce excitement, the game decided by 4th-quarter playmaking.

(Super Bowl V of course went down to the wire, but was so poorly played as to be instantly reviled by utterly everyone associated with it — players and fans alike.)

According to Wikipedia, the shotgun was used by Eagles QB Tommy Thompson in the 1940s and 49ers QB John Brodie in the '60s, as well as apparently Joe Namath on occasion by 1971.

Tom Landry added it to Dallas' repertoire in 1975, and for a significant time, the Cowboys were the lone NFL team to use it, enhancing the franchise's mystique/disdain.

Its 1st Super Bowl sighting was in the first couple minutes of X, 3rd and 13 for the Cowboys from the Steelers' 47, and under a heavy rush from Ernie "Fats" Holmes, Roger Staubach threw wildly incomplete down the middle.

And thus marked football's equivalent of the 1st semi-successful atomic blast.

With only about a half-dozen shotgun snaps late into the 4th quarter of X and little mention by announcers, it would seem Dallas got little benefit from it ... until Staubach went exclusively to it in the last 3 minutes trailing 21-10. From there, the birth of the modern shotgun intersects shockingly with another important concept, the prevent defense, which unfortunately was still in the womb at the time ... and a great, stubborn defense that insisted on 4 linebackers and (only) 4 defensive backs got ripped for one frighteningly quick TD and nearly another (and if Dallas had only kicked off deep, uh-oh, could've been a different ending ...)

We know NFL coaches would never admit it, but machismo is their worst enemy. They will say the game is about physical force, speed, hitting, blocking, tackling, wanting it more than your opponent. All of that is true but obscures the importance of the rulebook.

Teams refused to adopt the shotgun for the same reason Joe Pisarcik attempted to hand off to Larry Csonka; a certain mind-set of what's "real" football and what's not. Taking a knee, everyone has come to learn, is a phenomenally successful strategy.

Now they've at least embraced passing-majority offenses; at some point, maybe not until the 2100s, they'll correctly reach 95% passing. Before that, they might realize that, with very rare exceptions such as Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs, teams should almost never field a punt, the results are, on average, poor for the receiving team (block-in-the-back penalty, fumble/muff, running into the kicker, wayward punt hitting a guy's helmet with his back turned) and sometimes given the circumstances, catastrophic. Just keep your base defense on the field and let 'em kick it wherever.

And, they might also realize, sometimes it's smart for your defense to actually let the other team score a touchdown (this is the innovation from Super Bowl XXXII) ... this is controversial, and admittedly disturbing, but undeniably valid ... basically anytime the opposing team is about to run out the clock before an easy game-winning field goal, or anytime the opposing team is marching down the field with a 1-point lead and little time remaining.

Be safe this Super Sunday, and enjoy the game.

Looks like a mismatch

If the Super Bowl came down to a draft between the 2 teams, who would be the No. 1 pick?

The guess here is Jason Pierre-Paul.

The 2nd pick quite possibly would be Victor Cruz.

You might be wondering about the QBs. Many see that as a push. As soon as someone takes either Brady or Manning, the other team would immediately pick the other (so as not to end up with David Carr starting). Chances are, the drafters would wait to do the QBs until filling out some of the roster.

The third pick has a decent chance of being Justin Tuck, and the 4th might well be Osi Umenyiora.

The 5th could well be Hakeem Nicks.

You can see where this is going.

Some might think Rob Gronkowski would crack that list, but most don't believe in a tight end as Super Bowl difference-maker.

The Patriots have no business being here, and this game could get out of hand.

Perhaps like Denver, in Super Bowls 22 and 24.

The Patriots are here only because they played the Baltimore Ravens, and rules required someone had to win the game before it could end.

Either the Ravens dropped the winning TD, or the Patriots made a big play. Take your pick.

Media and fans tend to overcomplicate football. It's basically a game of scoring.

For all the pouring-it-on in the regular season, the Patriots have been a suspect playoff offense, even during their glory years of 2003-04 as the NFL's last real juggernaut.

In their last 5 playoff games spanning 5 years, they are 2-3, with one of those wins (2 weeks ago) as shaky as it gets.

This defense is typically the type that never sees the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl.

There is, actually, 1 bright spot for the Patriots. To win the Super Bowl, they need only defeat a 9-7 team. It's a 9-7 team that beat a 15-1 team with ridiculous ease and then outlasted a 13-3 team, but 9-7 stands as the official tally, including a 3-5 close.

And that makes one think there are issues here, a reason to believe this team might not be as good in February as it looked in January.

Quite frankly, if the refs rule "fumble" 2 weeks ago instead of forward progress stopped, it's entirely possible we're not even having the Giants conversation now and instead are placing the 2011 49ers defense on the same pedestal as the 2002 Buccaneers.

But the Giants dodged that bullet, and that's likely as close as it'll get.

New York 41, New England 24.

Comeuppance: Dom Capers

It's not like this page wants to root against anybody.

But there's one small measure of satisfaction on a yinz-less Super Bowl weekend.

A year ago at this time, before and especially after the game, Aaron Rodgers probably grabbed most of the headlines, but 2 other themes were common in the endless media: The greatness of Ted Thompson, and the greatness of Dom Capers.

Thompson of course "built" the Packers with some extra degree of genius other teams unfortunately don't have, and Capers, who once did a fine if quiet job with the Steelers, was supposedly the defensive mastermind who finally helped the Packers put it together on the other side of the ball after a 2009 playoff embarrassment.

The way people talked, you'd think Capers was en route to Canton, at least until his 32nd-ranked defense opened the floodgates at home for a 420-yard show from the New York Giants.

And this year he's watching the Super Bowl on TV, just like mopes like us.

Bill Gurley apparently enjoyed
Fast Money Halftime interview

Bill Gurley gave a shout-out to Judge Wapner after Gurley's appearance on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, tweeting, "Thanks to @ScottWapnercnbc for having me on Fast Money today. The time flew by..."

[Friday, February 3, 2012]

‘Most aggressive business execution in the history of business’

Judge Wapner welcomed Silicon Valley giant (he's 6-9, according to Wikipedia) Bill Gurley in a much-ballyhooed Fast Money Halftime Report get on Friday, yet the conversation plodded through Facebook justified valuation before Gurley ultimately unloaded a whopper.

Android, Gurley said, is conducting "the most aggressive business execution in the history of business."

(And we thought it was Qwikster.)

(No, the K-Cup brewer.)

(Check that — those emails where you supply a bank account for someone in Asia or Africa to park half of their $20 million inheritance.)

Gurley argued that, in an environment where carriers are charged for a platform, Android is actually giving them money.

"If Pepsi cost negative 25 cents, what would that do to Coke," Gurley said. (Probably put Pepsi out of business first.)

Judge seems to take Bill Gurley’s assessment that everything in social media is going to be gloriously monetized at face value

It was reasonable for Judge Wapner to open his conversation with Bill Gurley on Friday's Halftime Report with a Facebook chat, even though calling it "repetitive" with everything else said on CNBC this week would be kind.

Gurley said the $75-$100 billion valuation is justifiable, because more than anything investors care about barriers to entry and competitive position, and "It's hard to find a company in a better position."

Zach Karabell asked whether the fundamentals justify something more than a flip. Gurley first said there will definitely be a "willing buyer" for the valuations being discussed, and that Facebook's strength, why it can be valued nearly half of Google despite not nearly the profitability, is its "incredible protective moat" that figures to draw future revenue.

That was an early indication of where this conversation was going, namely that "social networking is in its infancy" and Facebook is "early in the monetization phase," or put another way, every hot Internet company is eventually going to make gobs of money from the eyeballs, but most of them (including Twitter and a couple niche names we hadn't heard yet) just haven't started to do that yet.

The marching orders are "Growth first, and monetization second," Gurley said.

Halftime gang basically could’ve called it a day halfway through

Bill Gurley's up-and-coming tech favorites revealed on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report include Instagram, Edmodo (which lets teachers and students connect; we couldn't log in because we're neither one) and Nextdoor, where you "talk with people in your neighborhood," and man, we're aware of some neighborhoods where that is definitely not the greatest idea.

Gurley said, "We're an investor in Twitter," which he has drawn everyone in front of a camera or in the media, who by trumpeting their own accounts (as Judge Wapner often does) give the service an "insane amount of natural promotion."

(And, after years of this phenomenon, when is the monetization coming.)

(And II, a quick survey of the CNBCfix community found virtually no one had an account, someone (who doesn't read Keith McCullough) arguing that "it's only media people who do it.")

Gurley said like every Zynga fan or mild fan or not-too-negative-dissenter has said this week, the Facebook filing shows Facebook does need Zynga, and "I feel like they're in a very strong position."

Mark Mahaney was curiously brought in amid the Gurley conversation, while most of the actual Fast Money Friday contingent was unfortunately shut out, and while Mahaney's mike was silent for about 5 seconds, he did say Groupon is strong in daily deals but needs to get beyond daily deals to justify this level of valuation.

Gurley said others have abandoned the space and that raises the question of whether they're leaving because Groupon is great or because it's not a great space to be in.

The overall take, Gurley said, is that this represents "the death of the Yellow Pages."

Gurley conceded that growth rates for Facebook and perhaps others as public stocks may be less than, say, Google or others of the dotcom boom, because companies are waiting longer to go public. "For right now, they're not thinking about, hey when can we be public," Gurley said.

‘Anodyne’ surfaces in
Fast Money lexicon

In the early part of Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, when Judge Wapner did actually call on traders for trading advice, Jon Najarian indicated that a 33-50% return in 5 months is not enough. (Or perhaps not likely enough.)

Najarian reiterated "my belief" that Research in Motion will be bought by the end of the 2nd quarter, "see a buyer come in at about the 22, 24 level," (the "22" being not as robust as "24" in the year-end prediction).

But, Najarian said, he doesn't "have a position right now."

Judge Wapner interrupted with something like, "What the hell are you waiting for."

"I'm waiting for it to pull back a little bit more," Najarian said.

Zach Karabell said he wasn't impressed by the new CEO and the "very anodyne, bland press conference he gave ... that really doesn't cut it," and he'd be more interested in Samsung if it could do an ADR.

Patty Edwards said there's a "lack of enthusiasm" with RIMM, and "if you can't give me a robust, as, as, Zach was saying, press conference, then, I can't even tell if you're fogging the mirrors still," and that the company needs to show something that "gives sex and violence a better name, or I'm not interested in buying it."

Judge then cracked "TMI," which really cracked Patty up.

Analyst talks about her ‘long-term buy’ without anyone mentioning the price target

Guest Robin Farley defended her buy rating on WYNN on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, admitting a weak quarter, but "our buy rating is a long-term buy."

Viewers learned from the screen text that Farley has a rather boisterous $148 price target on WYNN and $57 on LVS; the time frame presumably anything from 6 months to 6 years.

Patty Edwards said of WYNN and the casinos, in a nice distinction between personal accounts and managing client money, "they look very interesting to me. My client base, however, generally speaking, not looking for anything that volatile."

Steve Grasso said "I still like Las Vegas stocks," but suggested people be wary of stocks subject to so much turbulence from foreign governments. "We could wake up with a headline tomorrow of something that just doesn't make sense."

Rebecca Patterson goes to the ‘well’ once too often

Foxy Money in Motion expert Rebecca Patterson said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there's a bit of irony in that a stronger U.S. economy can actually benefit the euro because it produces "capital outflows" from the U.S.

Nevertheless Patterson said she'd be inclined to "sell the euro against the dollar on rallies, but that wouldn't be my highest conviction trade."

And so Judge Wapner did a tease where he said Patterson is selling euro against the dollar, just not the U.S. dollar.

"Very clever of you there," Patterson said, referring to the Canadian dollar vs. euro, her trade, while tripping over the word "well" a couple times.

Patterson said it's hard to fight the data for stocks, but the length of the rally makes her "very nervous quite frankly."

Zach Karabell said he bought MOS calls.

8 is nearly enough for BAC

Jon Najarian opened Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report by saying, he had gotten out of the banks, but that was the trade Friday, right from the get-go.

Others, though, weren't sold on an extended rally in financials.

Referring to BAC, Steve Grasso said it's "really hard to buy these names now."

Grasso, in another fine distinction between clients and personal, also said, "Clients are going for the risk assets," but he's more cautious; "I own Altria Group; I added to that a little bit today."

Patty Edwards said she owns Bank of Montreal and BlackRock Kelso, but that's it in the banks.

Zach Karabell, not big on the banks for a long, long time, hailed other names, CMI, BRCM and CX, but said right now, "I think it's prudent to take a little bit of profits."

Edwards agreed, saying she was "taking a little off the top," because the market has come "very far, very fast."

Jeff Kilburg said he's still bullish on bonds, and that when the 10-year gets to 2.10 or 2.15. that's the buying opportunity.

Kilburg and Jon Najarian agreed on the USO being poised to pop; "it does feel very coiled here Doc," Kilburg said, and Najarian suggested selling puts or going long a call spread.

Steve Grasso suggested WFT and SLB on the dips, though he sold WFT recently.

Steve Liesman said the Fed wasn't alone in thinking the 1st half of 2012 would be worse than the 2nd half of 2011. Zach Karabell suggested we could have healthy growth while maintaining unemployment around present levels, an unusual historic situation in which the Fed is "not really set up to deal with that."

Patty Edwards tried a lipstick joke regarding Europe. The cameraman also managed to blip Patty out for Final Trade, which seemed kind of pointless given that Judge didn't offer any of his panelists time to speak after they sat through a half hour of interview with Bill Gurley mostly without being able to get in.

[Thursday, February 2, 2012]

Who gets to watch the
Super Bowl with Melissa?

Melissa Lee revealed on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money "I recently bought a TV," and who wouldn't want to watch the greatest TV show in history on Melissa's new TV, as long as it's with Melissa, especially if she dons something like her chic burgundy top of Thursday.

(Honestly, you can just imagine the conversation ... everyone walks in the door, "Hey, is this the TV you were talking about on 'Fast Money'??!!" and Mel having to tell everyone, "Yeah, that's it ... bought it from Amazon; actually didn't look it up at Best Buy first this time" ... Then it gets into, "How's the job; how do you like the morning hours?" "Well, it's goin'," Lee will say before politely affirming "I like it a lot"; "just starting to get used to waking up that early," then it'll be 25 questions about "whaddaya think, are stocks going higher," and "is Cramer really like that off-camera," and "which one of those traders is the best," and "How's Scott Wapner doing," and "are there gonna be any more shows like Options Action," and then Mel's housekeeper, working that day to help Mel be party hostess and who according to Michael Pachter gets Coinstar DVDs instead of higher-priced streaming, will emerge with the food spread; it won't be pizza but something a little more upscale, probably tapas or something like that, the beer will range from Beck's to Dos Equis to varieties of Samuel Adams (Hamm's was the best choice in the '70s, when the game ended early enough to be followed by the Bob Hope Desert Classic or some similar golf event); once it gets to be about 6 p.m. the chatter will quiet to a hush whenever a commercial comes on, by halftime, the males will be blurting, "Ever hang out with Courtney Reagan or Seema Mody?," and by the 4th quarter the filing-out process will begin, everyone having a good time and wishing warm regards and a safe trip home.)

Why movies can’t always be believed: Gekko planned his big score by raiding an overfunded pension

We can't fathom why, but a show called "Fast Money" opted for an excruciating segment on corporate pension shortfalls.

(And just think, Keith McCullough said Steve Cortes' China play was an "old" thesis.)

John Ehrhardt, the guest/expert, is certainly knowledgeable on this subject, but how a newfound emphasis on this subject would actually move any of the stocks in question, we can't fathom.

Ehrhardt somehow tried, though, saying it'll take a "record level of cash contributions" for corporations to catch up, and that they'd need 20-30% stock returns just "to make up the kind of gap we're talking about."

Ron Insana then cloaked an obvious sentiment that retirement benefits in this country are overly generous and/or unaffordable by saying, "There should be a social conversation in this country about working longer."

"And I think everybody here would agree that we need to have that conversation on a broader basis," Melissa Lee said.

Translation: We're all debt hawks, and a good place to start is age eligibility.

Joe Terranova wasn’t paying close attention to a tweeter’s question

Melissa Lee read some viewer tweets at the end of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, and one of them posited that TriQuint "has much more upside" despite already a big 2012.

So Lee asked Joe Terranova, "Would you agree?"

Terranova somehow said "No," and then proceeded to absolutely agree, saying, "I do think it's a classic example of buy high, sell higher, and I think it's a name that you can continue to press from the long side as it moves up."

If only people were spending 30 seconds minutes a day on this site

Rich Greenfield, for years one of the best Fast Money guests, ran into a front 4 even more determined than the New York Giants to take his long-Zynga thesis and knock its block off.

Greenfield said the stock's recent is based on, and validated by, the Facebook IPO filing, which he said reveals, "Facebook needs Zynga to be successful."

And there was also a bit of a Brag Trade, saying this revelation was something "we certainly expected when we initiated back in December."

Ron Insana questioned why Zynga is any different from 4Kids Entertainment, the purveyors of Pokemon. Greenfield insisted at Zynga, "They are really focused on expanding their wings" and not just standing pat.

Greenfield said people are spending an average of 30 minutes a day on it, a "new way to kill time."

"I've seen a million fad stocks over 28 years," Insana grumbled.

Jon Najarian said the 30 minutes a day, assuming it's true, is not the problem, it's the possibility of being down from 50 or 40 minutes a day that matters, and "I think it's going toward zero minutes."

Ron Insana indicates speaking circuit is a bigger priority than ‘professional trading’

The other day (see below), this page noted that Ron Insana's bio doesn't exactly indicate that, even though the Fast Money panelists are labeled "professional traders," Insana is regularly shuffling through stocks like, say, Keith McCullough.

In fact, Insana appears to devote even more time to his speaking tour, which he presumably indirectly referenced on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money in an assessment of Vegas.

"I was just there, and it wasn't as bad as it was by any stretch of the imagination 3 years ago when it was a ghost town," Insana asserted.

Indirectly referencing Insana's vest attire, Joe Terranova impressively had the best line of the week (through Thursday); "And you were obviously working dealing blackjack while you were there."

Does the chart tell you to believe in the fundamental story, or the technical story?

The only thing that could've been less interesting than MSFT for the Thursday 5 p.m. Fast Money gang would be pension shortfalls, and indeed they did get to that, but not after Mel Lee kicked off a sleepy hour with another go-round on whether this is finally the version of Windows to latch onto.

Joe Terranova backed the stock, curiously, "because if you're a money manager and you look at the chart of Microsoft, it now tells you that you should be believing in the fundamental story."

Brian Kelly said he'd be all aboard, except, "I'm not sure that they have the management to actually execute the plan."

Carter Worth was also skeptical, saying, "We think maybe a (whole) dollar upside" while recommending people long the stock start "writing calls, trimming, doing something."

Jon Najarian said this time it looks poised to head above $30. Ron Insana was most effusive, telling Worth, "I'm more inclined to look for a breakout here." Worth said that won't happen for a while because it has to trade in a band before that happens, and that selling the current pop is a good strategy for now.

Worth did say the QQQ is the one seemingly headed for a breakout.

Joe Terranova delivered a Brag Trade but kind of credited Worth, saying, "Friday morning bought Google at 572, out of half of Google yesterday at 583."

Gene Munster said AAPL no longer has a good reason not to do a dividend

Gene Munster's airtime on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money really didn't accomplish much more than Sharon Epperson's airtime (see below), but at least viewers did get to see the text indicating Munster's $670 AAPL price target.

Munster said it's good that he's found some confirmation that an Apple TV is indeed in the works for late 2012, but, "the margin is the problem on something like this, it has the same gross margin as probably a basket of chicken fingers."

Munster claimed people in general buy a new TV every 7 years, and it's not more often because there's no "innovation," and Apple has a chance to change that.

Melissa Lee revealed, "I recently bought a TV ... and I'm not gonna buy another one."

Meanwhile, Dan Dicker visited the Nasdaq to say, "We have a dichotomy actually going on between European crude and U.S. crude."

He thinks SD has been oversold, and is a "decent buy here," and didn't get to talk about another speculative play, ATPG.

Brian Kelly said he likes KOL party because it's so unloved.

Flash: Trader takes a position into jobs report, bets on Super Bowl

Sharon Epperson is a wonderfully reliable CNBC "senior correspondent" ... who apparently hasn't been getting enough airtime lately.

So obviously, someone in the programming dept. decided the burgeoning Fast Money franchise has air pockets to fill, and what better way to solve a couple problems than to assign Epperson to do segments on the personal lives of a few hotshot traders.

So near the very end of Thursday's 5 p.m. program, Epperson introduced viewers to John Netto, who we learned plans for the jobs report and likes the Patriots on Sunday.

Ron Insana, who apparently trades currencies from time to time, recommended long dollar over the euro for his Final Trade. Brian Kelly said MHK, and Joe Terranova said AXP before predicting the Giants 34-20, which made Melissa Lee roll her eyes simply because he offered a score.

Buyers who bought RSE after the Dr. J spike still make money Thursday

Jon Najarian told the world on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report what options positions he had taken up in advance of Bill Ackman's remarks ... and apparently Wall Street decided Najarian was on to something.

Before actually naming any stocks, Najarian prefaced this trade with, "We did reach out to, uh, Mr. Ackman's firm, Pershing Square, they did not, uh, respond," then adding, why would they, with this "$1,500-a-ticket" event going on.

Then Najarian said he's watching GDX and the rails, which Ackman has been in, but finally, the zinger, RSE ... "maybe this one gets mentioned."

Then a chart showed RSE popping instantly from $12.69 to $12.89, then, when Judge Wapner asked to see it again, up to $12.96.

"Let's just make it clear this is all pure speculation," Judge cautioned.

But by the end of the day, RSE actually closed at $13.09, which meant buying even at Dr. J's poppish mention would've been a winner by day's end.

What nobody mentioned was that the stock really took off on Monday, so somebody was presumably ahead of the Doc in speculation on this name.

Interactive Brokers sponsors segment on TD Ameritrade national adviser conference

In a Fed-abridged Fast Money Halftime Report Thursday, analyst Arvind Bhatia knocked Zynga.

"It's trading on completely the hype around the Facebook IPO," Bhatia complained, saying growth and margins are about half of Facebook though Facebook is much larger. "This is too expensive ... we would recommend selling this stock aggressively here."

Steve Grasso said CMG's dip might be a buying opportunity; "probably see this dip bought in the next couple of days."

Grasso said that for the overall market, "It really looks like we're going to that risk-on trade again."

Steve Cortes, on the other hand, said "I am short crude and pressing this," and said gold looks like a big indicator for stocks, although precisely what he would do if gold "backs up" was not fully clear.

Brian Kelly said the market has done well but the thing that concerns him is that we're not seeing copper lead higher.

In something of a treat, Mandy Drury beamed in from the TD Ameritrade conference and reported on a survey of Main Street investors, saying half are neutral on the markets, and half say the S&P will be higher in 3 months.

Mandy also said they were asked "what keeps you up at night," and the answers were U.S. joblessness and Europe.

Steve Liesman assessed Ben Bernanke's remarks and said he noticed "the neutrality of it" and that there was no "hint" of QE3.

Judge conducted another CNBC interview with Sheila Bair that didn't accomplish anything, Bair saying of the Volcker Rule, "I think it's tremendously complicated," and "I don't see any sudden shocks coming out of Europe."

Brian Kelly said SLV for his Final Trade, Steve Cortes said RGR, Steve Grasso said MO, Jon Najarian said NUAN and Pete Najarian said V.

[Wednesday, February 1, 2012]

Karen Finerman indicates she took a pass on Facebook IPO shares

You'd think Melissa Lee would've led off Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money asking her panelists, "Are any of you receiving Facebook IPO shares?"

You'd think.

Instead, it took 4 minutes for the subject to come up, incidentally — with no follow-through.

Finerman had compared Facebook's revenue growth to Apple but complained the valuation was nowhere close. Lee then asked, "Let's say somebody tapped you on the shoulder and said, 'Hey Karen Finerman, would you like a, an allocation of Facebook?' What would you say?"

"We were offered an allocation of Facebook at a, at a valuation of, I think it was high $60 billion, in the last 2 weeks, which I ... don't really wanna participate on," Finerman said.

Finerman was even more dismissive earlier, saying we probably haven't seen this kind of valuation since the "Internet craze," which means, "tremendously large valuations, that I probably won't be able to get on board for at all."

There was a noticeable present-tense element to Finerman's remarks. In other words, she presumably hasn't given her final answer yet.

Pete Najarian indicated he hasn't gotten such an offer. "As long as they allow you to flip this, and I mean trade this, I absolutely would want it," Najarian said.

Finerman then, in this rather enigmatic conversation, first agreed with Najarian, "that's a huge point though, being able to get out," before seemingly answering his question; "flipping and having the ability to flip it, which you can do if you buy on the IPO."

We're just the amateurs, but we can't imagine this officially pricing anywhere near the 1st-day price it will trade at.

If Karen doesn't want it, her loss.

Pete, on the other hand, flat-out declared, "I would put up all the money I would get to get into this allocation."

‘It’s Karen, let me ask you something ...’

Guest Kevin Landis found himself ensnared in the Greater Fool Theory on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, no matter how much he tried to extricate himself.

Landis was introduced as a Facebook shareholder, and he said, "We are hoping to increase our position."

Karen Finerman pressed Landis, though, as to what kind of metrics he's using to reach a valuation, perhaps something like $200 for each of the 483 million users. "You gotta have some formula to get there," Finerman challenged, or it's just a "Greater Fool Theory."

Landis, momentarily speechless, chuckled a bit and first asserted, "Well ... a year from now, we'll have much better numbers than we have today," and that for now, people are going to be "scrambling, reading, staying up late tonight reading this S-1."

Then he said yesterday's numbers don't matter so much; it's a question of where the company is headed. "Right!" said Finerman, "I'm asking you, where are they headed."

"It's tough; I wouldn't wanna be a sell-side analyst, uh, uh, covering this stock right now," Landis conceded, while the CNBC Silicon Valley cameraman briefly played the up-down camera trick, adding that the "tough part" is figuring out "just what kind of a premium you can get" for its "specific targeting" of Facebook users.

Which sounds like Greater Fool is the way to go.

Asked a similar question by Melissa Lee, Landis essentially capitulated without declaring so, implying previous business results are no way to adequately measure the stock's worth and admitting "you cannot make the math work based upon the numbers that you have today... past is prologue and all that."

In the end, Lee thanked Landis for his "honesty in this matter."

CNBCfix.com special report (cont’d): Change in Options Action terminology; no Finerman disclosures Wednesday despite apparent ownership in 4 mentioned stocks

While the CNBC gang on the 5 p.m. Fast Money furiously combed through Facebook's S-1, nobody evidently was combing for Karen Finerman's or Mike Khouw's disclosures for Wednesday's program.

Anyone actually following along at home — and CNBC clearly thinks or hopes nobody is — wondering if Finerman still has the MSFT, AAPL, GOOG and GPN positions that CNBC.com disclosed Tuesday of stocks mentioned on Wednesday came up empty-handed on Wednesday, as the Fast Money disclosures proved utterly silent for both Finerman and Mike Khouw, who recommended a trade for people who have been long WHR; "one of the things you might look to do if you were fortunate enough to ride it up here is possibly sell some upside calls against it," specifically the June 65s.

In a small victory (the first of many, perhaps, on this subject) for CNBCfix.com, the screen text while Khouw spoke started with merely "using" (top photo above), and not last week's "Mike's using" (bottom photo above), which, we discovered, may or may not have actually been the truth.

Guy Adami on Wednesday hailed MSFT, saying, "I still think it has further room on the upside." This was adequately disclosed Wednesday online (for Adami, not perhaps Finerman), where Adami has listed owning it for years, but producers didn't see fit to note that on television.

Mike Murphy identifies a way for AAPL to deploy its cash horde

In one of the more curious angles to the Facebook story we've heard, Mike Murphy suggested on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that AAPL could buy Facebook before the IPO even happens.

Guest Kevin Landis said "that ship has already sailed," and "I'll buy you a steak dinner if that happens." Murphy, who earlier in the day was celebrating a blockbuster December-January call on WHR, got off on the wrong foot when, during his introductory comments, apparently no one told him to look into the camera and thus he looked everywhere around it while saying Facebook (you've heard this before) is "priced almost to perfection." Later he got it mostly down pat but still roamed a bit when discussing WHR and even floating POT as his Final Trade in the closing moments.

Remember when (snicker) GM was the IPO everyone was all buzzing about?

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that panelists complaining about/marveling over the Facebook valuation will be having the same conversations 18 months from now, and that as for the stock, "They'll get a lot of rope though on this one ... Facebook the stock will get a lot of rope to hang itself."

Adami at one point managed to tout Microsoft in comparison with FB, saying, "Slow and steady wins the race," and that the stock appears headed higher. Pete Najarian agreed, saying, "I've owned it since back in April."

InterPublic chief Michael Roth, whose appearance was preceded by Pete Najarian's phone going off with "Sweet Child O'Mine," spent what felt like an hour saying his firm invested in Facebook strictly for "strategic reasons," and then, "when it no longer became strategic," took the "opportunity to sell some of it, not all of it," and still has half.

In other words, definitely no Greater Fool going on here.

Karen Finerman asked Roth a question without first saying "Let me ask you a question." Guy Adami asked what the next Facebook-type thing on Roth's "radar screen" is. Roth didn't identify one but said his firm is certainly "looking at other opportunities."

Flash: A person designates who will receive his assets when he dies

Kayla Tausche, who looked very good Wednesday, highlighted a 5 p.m. Fast Money episode that was essentially an exercise in broadcast journalists skimming a document and reporting what they've seen every 40 pages or so (but at least that was more intriguing than the Navistar clean trucks that got Simon Baker through the Halftime Report, see below).

Facebook's S-1 is a "201-page document," Tausche told Melissa Lee, so it's "gonna take us a while to, to sift through it."

Tausche did note that the company doesn't see itself paying a dividend in the "foreseeable future."

Julia Boorstin, who reported on location with a straight face that Mark Zuckerberg claims to be on a "social mission," covered a California intersection during the Fast Money program.

Jon Fortt reported that Zuckerberg "maintains voting control" because of his Class B shares, and that, if Zuckerberg were to pass away, "power will go to his designated successor."

Darren Rovell interviewed Cam Newton in Super Bowl-land. Newton did a much better job of endorsing Gatorade than a college education, saying "as a athlete" twice.

Stock admittedly has bounced around, but Fast Money gang missed a bundle by not saying ‘buy GMCR’ in the $40s

Herb Greenberg is now fixated on the new Green Mountain brewer, sold at cost just as patents are expiring. "It's unclear what- who will buy what going forward," Greenberg said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

There are a "lot of moving parts" to the story, Greenberg said.

Guy Adami said you'd think, given its valuation, that CMG would've fallen much further than it did on Wednesday. "I'm not saying to go race out, and buy CMG," Adami said, but note that it could've been worse. Mike Murphy agreed.

Pete Najarian said of QCOM, "I still like the stock," and he thinks it gets near the $70 Piper price target.

Mike Murphy made POT his Final Trade, while Guy Adami said ASH, Karen Finerman said GPN (no mention she was long it Tuesday) and Pete Najarian said HUN.

Simon Baker: Facebook IPO could actually be trouble for Morgan Stanley

Investment banks presumably trip all over each other to land the hottest IPOs — particularly the hottest IPO in many, many years, which would be Facebook.

Yet, Simon Baker suggested an interesting angle on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, that Facebook winner Morgan Stanley "could be in a tough position there" because it won't be able to satisfy the massive, 800-million-user-fueled demand for the stock.

Brian Kelly said he wouldn't buy MS right here after its Facebook-related pop, but would buy on a pullback.

Baker said RENN got way overdone in the wake of Facebook news. "We started to short this stock at 5," Baker said.

Steve Cortes fights back against skepticism from Judge that his China thesis is a massive bust

Judge Wapner confronted Steve Cortes on Wednesday's Halftime Report about the Chinese hard-landing theory, saying, "That argument is almost in- off the table altogether."

"Scott, I disagree entirely," Cortes said, saying the "preponderance of PMIs are still below 50," while "right now the rage is decoupling."

Wapner, unimpressed, said the hard landing "seems to be such an outlier thought at this point."

"Of course it's outlier, that's one of the reasons that I'm actually embracing it," Cortes said.

Simon Baker said he trusts PMI like reverse mergers, but said, "I think you have to be long U.S. equities at this stage."

Cortes claimed the 10-year yield is a sign of anything but robust growth. Dennis Gartman said Gartman and Jimmy Grant were the first to peg the Baltic Dry Index as an economic signal, but "now I look at it as an indicator of, of shipowner stupidity." Cortes said it's another sign to be wary of markets and that shippers have done terrible.

Brian Kelly indicated the 10-year yield is good for both bonds and stocks. Jeff Kilburg didn't go quite that far.

Cortes said gasoline usage dropping off to 2001 levels is trouble, "I'm short crude oil" and cited Gartman's Letter a day earlier as reason to keep shorting, and the trade was a roller coaster, in the morning he was pulling out his hair, then in the afternoon he was pulling out a cigar.

GMCR backer undaunted

Herb Greenberg, in his Twicker report on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, tackled GMCR and insisted people have to "beyond the headlines," and that one thing "nobody's talking about" is Starbucks interest in making K-Cups recyclables, which Greenberg called an "interesting jam for them to be in."

Simon Baker cracked that recycling should be ideal for Navistar's clean trucks.

Guest and GMCR backer Bill Chappell admitted, after months ago recommending a GMCR buy when it was 40% higher, "I definitely have some tire tracks on my back. But that just made my focus sharper." He's got a $90 price target.

Chappell said he also covers Diamond Foods. "You must talk to Herb Greenberg often," cracked Judge Wapner.

Edward Aaron has an $85 target on WFM because even if there's a selloff, "weakness gets bought pretty quickly."

Murphy turns around
big WHR winner

Mike Murphy said, while accepting congrats on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report for his buy WHR call in December, that "we're actually shorting the stock here" because it's gotten ahead of itself.

Stephen Weiss called it a "tremendous call," and indeed, it'll be a contender at year-end for one of the best on Fast Money, though we have to say, a lot of picks have looked awesome in January.

Simon Baker said of AAPL, "that thing's on steroids" and needs a breather but is a buy when it does pull back.

Stephen Weiss said it "amazes" him that people would bid up a name like C on an analyst comment. He said he'd be careful of small regionals but he likes ones "of size."

Simon Baker said "We like, uh, Third Fifth," which Judge corrected, and said financials feel like it's 2009 again.

Baker made LVS his Final Trade and had fun with Navistar's clean trucks throughout the show.

David Palmer of UBS likes YUM because in China, "the bed seems to be made for wage growth to be quite rapid over the next few years." He said the company's results are 75% outside U.S. and that China is 47-48%.

Brian Kelly praised CMG for ability to raise prices; "I still think this has a lot of room to go."

It was revealed that Stephen Weiss that sold 3/4 of his BRCM position a day ago, but he said he "bought some in the aftermarket last night," though not enough to refill the position.

Jason Helfstein kept an outperform on AMZN while cutting the price target from $255 to $234, but he didn't give Brian Kelly a price target to start buying, saying the stock moves based on whether revenue beats or misses.

Steve Cortes said "I like Dunkin Donuts a lot."

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