[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, January 2013]
[Thursday, January 31, 2013]

Tim Seymour is getting to be a niño about the bull-bear debates

You would think that the guy who most likes to talk on Fast Money would relish the chance to make uninterrupted bull-bear spiels.

Yet, Tim Seymour apparently not only wants people to listen, but kiss his (expletive) when he's done.

Seymour, once again making as much of a bear case as bullish one, tackled WHR on Thursday night and said Latin America remains hot, and in the U.S "margins stay supported here," but "at 117 you've got a triple top."

Rival Karen Finerman actually didn't fare much better except to make the overextended argument, saying it "scares me" that there's been an "enormous run in the stock," and that it's no longer the 800-pound gorilla in applicances and is susceptible to raw material price hikes. "I would not be a bull right here," Finerman concluded.

Guy Adami, noting that Seymour mentioned the 117 top, said "I'm with Finerman on this one." Seymour protested a little too seriously, saying this always happens, and, "Did I say buy it tomorrow? I mean, really."

Dr. J drinking Colorado Kool-aid

Often times after elections, the losing side (generally, unfortunately, one particular side) tends to speak of how people need "healing" to "move on."

Tim Seymour on Thursday's Fast Money told viewers that "at the end of the day ... we're getting healing," apparently in relation to how the PMIs reflect on the global economy and the stock market.

"I think we actually pull back 4 or 5% in the next couple weeks before we set the base to take it higher," Seymour claimed.

Guy Adami, for about the 40th time in 2013 already, predicted stocks go between 1,535 and 1,560 1,530 and 1,550, and then, "I believe that'll be the high for the year."

Karen Finerman matter-of-factly said, "I would be, and am, long this market."

Jon Najarian, apparently referencing Michael Kors in an extraordinarily clumsy opening to his remarks, saying that's "me drinking Coors," said he sees the correction coming "sometime in the 2 or 3 weeks preceding the sequestration which is of course the end of February, first week in March."

NFLX approaching levels where Whitney Tilson likes to short

Rich Greenfield, long a superstar Fast Money guest (at least up until that goofy Zynga call), evaluated Netflix's new original series "House of Cards" on Thursday and, in not that great of an endorsement of the episodes actually, said, "They certainly look like high-quality television."

He said this type of production could be good for a name like Amazon and bad for traditional cable names including Comcast and Time Warner, as well as Verizon and AT&T. However, he stressed, "This is not about cord-cutting," as though cable subscribers would cancel, but more like a "digital version of HBO" that people would add to their services.

The exclusivity matters, he said. "I love 'Downton Abbey'," Greenfield admitted, but he said that unlike this Netflix original, "there are other ways of finding it" (tip: Not too difficult when the whole season has already aired in the U.K.)

Mike Khouw said there were actually big sellers of weekly NFLX January 160 puts, indicating there might be more to the run. Guy Adami said, "I'm not convinced that it is over yet."

Mexico ‘incredibly strong’

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson, first forced to do the Shields & Yarnell routine with no sound, told the Fast Money gang on Thursday "you guys are great lip-readers" before saying that the market consolidation is encouraging and bringing relief to longs. Patterson said she'd be "looking to add on weakness," explaining "we reduced our high-yield" and are moving it into stocks, with opportunity still in Asia/Japan and Europe.

Patterson admitted the sequestration resolution or whatever it ends up being is "nervous" for the market, and she's more focused on large-cap names. She said she expects mid-8% growth in China, and "Mexico to me continues to look incredibly strong."

Guest Dodd Kittsley meanwhile spotlighted how he sees fixed-income cash not flowing out of fixed income, but sloshing around between different plays. "They're going into credit, high-yield, investment grade, emerging-market bonds," Kittsley said.

Assessing the Shanghai composite, Tim Seymour said "this market is looking tired ... this index looks a little exhausted," and predicted a 2nd-half run. (See, nobody's claiming that he said jump into the stock(s) tomorrow.) He suggested the materials plays, VALE, BIDU, CHL and RIO. Guy Adami said it was a "pretty benign day" for FCX and that the stock looks to have bottomed on that oil deal announcement recently.

Mel actually called Jed York
the ‘Ravens owner’

Melissa Lee interviewed NFL exec Eric Grubman on Thursday's Fast Money, the first question not being particularly as hard-hitting as Ray Lewis as Grubman was asked to define what would make this year's Super Bowl a success.

Jon Najarian, well-informed for his turn as questioner, asked Grubman what factors are responsible for ticket prices on Stubhub being down about 30% from the previous year despite naming them all himself. Grubman said with a straight face, "We don't look that carefully at the secondary market."

Melissa Lee, getting the team wrong, said amid a pause that they'd be talking with Jed York from New Orleans.

"You had to think about it," Guy Adami told Lee, before praising Grubman's appearance. "He's got that Daniel Craig thing going ... tough guy," Adami said.

"Is that something you like?" asked Tim Seymour.

Adami: Buy AAPL over 480

Tim Seymour, assessing how accurately the Fast Money gang has called AAPL bottoms recently, said on Thursday's Fast Money that most recently, "We were kinda right, relative to the S&P."

Guy Adami said "to me you're buying it above 480," and warned viewers again "don't get short Qualcomm as a proxy," which really doesn't make any sense; either QCOM should be shorted or it shouldn't be, so he should just say "Don't short QCOM."

Jon Najarian stuck to this ridiculous armchair analysis of AAPL's December sellers vs. January sellers (as if he interviewed all of them), suggesting the knife catchers of last year unloaded in January, and they haven't re-bought because "now they have to wait 30 days before getting in."

Eamon Javers pointed to that millisecond natural gas trade that got people's shorts in a bunch and assured the crew and viewers that authorities are "aware that this type of trading is going on in general."

Jon Najarian said, "this is something that should be investigated."

Sam Zell and the Tribune buyout

Gary Kaminsky delivered another hit for Fast Money on Thursday, this time in Palm Beach from the Tiger 21 conference, where "these guys really say how they truly feel" (and where they undoubtedly speak often about cnbcfix.com), relaying comments from real estate legend Sam Zell.

Zell said on camera he's "less optimistic" than others about the housing recovery, and that for it to heat up, "interest rates have to go up."

Kaminsky also quoted Zell as saying at the conference, "I can guarantee you one thing, if you own bonds, the price of those bonds are gonna be lower a year from today."

Recently, the Chicago Tribune produced an intriguing series on the just-exited bankruptcy of Tribune Co.

According to the article, Sam Zell apparently initially in 2006 took a pass on bidding for Tribune Co., not wanting to compete with private equity heavyweights that were studying it. Yet after all those heavyweights also took a pass, somehow the idea became appealing, as Zell asked his associates to develop a buyout plan that might work.

What they came up with was an S-Corp ESOP form of ownership, a financial engineering maneuver that would sharply limit tax consequences from selling Tribune Co. assets and boost the company's ability to pay off the $8.2 billion in debt needed for the buyout.

The article says the biggest financiers, going all the way up to Jamie Dimon, were excited about the prospect of handling this deal despite obvious misgivings about lending huge sums to buy a significant print media operation because it meant making inroads with Sam Zell and landing future business. And, even certain buttoned-down Tribune execs were excited at the prospects of Zell running what had become an extremely frustrating business.

Basically, one can infer that by the time the deal was done in late 2007 with a $34 buyout of shares that would at best be a single digit now, Zell's plan amounted to 3 goals, none of them having anything to do with revitalizing the media business: 1) Economic recovery (the recession had barely begun if at all), 2) a bottoming of the newspaper business, and 3) the realization of these S-Corp capital-gains savings. A year later, Tribune Co. was filing bankruptcy.

Why does this matter? It seems as though Dell will soon be experiencing a buyout of its own in which large amounts of money will be lent to buy a PC maker recently trading in single digits, and we can see why this deal is easily capable of happening: The financiers will want to establish a relationship with Michael Dell if they don't already have one, and a bunch of people will get paid a bunch right away, rather than dealing with the pesky problem of hoping to create long-term value and hoping this doesn't become Gateway-land. The same thing might even happen with Best Buy, which would prefer something happen to the shares before it's Circuit City-land.

Just as there appears at Tribune to have been no Zell media plan beyond a tax-friendly corporate structure, the most compelling (that's sarcasm but the truth) business argument we've heard so far on Fast Money as to why DELL needs to go private is Joe Terranova's observation that Michael Dell as recently as 2010 wanted to "slow down the process of which his company is viewed." (You see, that's the reason why a PC titan continues to sell PCs, because of those annoying, too-fast quarterly analyst meetings.)

So, kudos to Wall Street.

Melissa Lee complimented the photo of Gary Kaminsky; "nice picture." Guy Adami said he agrees with Zell, that housing is "way ahead of itself." Tim Seymour said it's even "starting to set up for a scary credit situation."

Najarian: PSX through 70 ‘maybe’

Jon Najarian had a Quicker than the Ticker and a Fast Fire (they call it The Good, The Bad & The Ugly now) on Thursday's Fast Money, with the good call being PSX.

"Love it, still love it," Najarian said, pointing to unusual activity again today and suggesting it might make a "push through 70 maybe."

But Najarian admitted that FDO proved "pathetic" even as he made a double-down call. "I'm not gonna touch Family Dollar, or Dollar General, ever again," Dr. J said.

His Final Trade was IMAX based on June 27 calls.

Mike Khouw said WYNN longs "probably could take a little off the table here." Khouw said he wouldn't buy DOW here, but made JCP calls his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman wouldn't buy MJN, "it's too expensive for me here." Finerman told an admiring tweeter "I love yah too" and said that while you could buy some COH here (this writer owns COH), if it breaks 50, cut your losses and run. Finerman's Final Trade was GM.

Regarding recent falling knives, always a favorite subset, Tim Seymour said he'd buy STZ on weakness (which Jon Najarian concurred with) and despite the feds' action in the beer circuit, "this deal I believe gets done." (This writer is long STZ.)

Guy Adami suggested taking profits in PBI and DEO and made LGF his Final Trade. Seymour said to take profits in ERJ and made sell VLO his Final Trade.

Terranova: 425 ahead for AAPL

For those who somehow haven't realized it, Jon Fortt revealed on Thursday's Halftime Report that this "feels like" the worst AAPL plunge since the dot-com days, given how the S&P has actually had a robust January.

Jon Najarian took the bull case, arguing the forward P.E. of 7 minus the cash, the growth rate, and the fact they've "got China coming on" are reasons to get long.

Bear Stephanie Link, who conceded the stock is owned by Action Alerts Plus, said "I actually hope I'm wrong," but did correctly note, "there's no catalyst in the near term ... no real 'wow' products."

Najarian had to admit he has no position in the stock.

Jon Fortt correctly assessed the action in front of him instead of prejudging the case and offered, "It didn't sound like Stephanie's heart was in it," and he'd give the nod to Najarian.

Mr. New Land, who has completely prejudged the case and then some, pointed out that AAPL after its earnings traded down to 465.73 and "they have not been able to get back up to that level."

"It says probably 4 and a quarter is the next stop," Terranova said.

Stephen Weiss argued the headwinds are bigger this time for AAPL than when Lehman fell. "It's different than 2008," Weiss said, because the company "won't get those margins anymore." Weiss also complained that making announcements about simple upgrades to existing offerings "cheapens the product."

Who really thinks stocks are going ‘fall over’

Joe Terranova, milking this punch line for all its worth this week, insisted again on Thursday's Halftime Report that the stock market hinges on Friday's jobs number, for which Joe already has a built-in lackluster prediction.

Mr. New World also identified a laggard. "I think technology overall has to come around here ... I've actually bought some Google puts, some Netflix puts," Terranova said.

Stephen Weiss, saying he doesn't want to get flagged by H-R, said "we're due for a 2-3% correction" in stocks, but nevertheless, "I think it's still off to the races."

Stephanie Link complained that "everyone expects a 2-3% correction," which concerns her a bit. Jon Najarian said the VIX is spiking recently but that's a "positive sign," however, Najarian said in the event of an unexpectedly bad jobs report, "the market'll fall over."

Keith Banks, adopting the now-popular Barry Bannister line, hung a 1,600 on the S&P and we're just starting an "unwinding of this fixed-income bet ... we think there's a long way to go here." Banks also actually used the term "grand bargain," which Wall Street (despite what people say) is really not interested in unless it certifies the slogan in the image above.

‘They’re the only guys monetizing mobile’

Julia Boorstin's report on Thursday's Halftime about Facebook gift cards managed to unite longtime rivals Stephen Weiss and Julia Boorstin.

"The story on Facebook hasn't changed with this report," Weiss assured.

"I totally agree with Steve which is kind of a rare thing," Link said, adding investors "gotta have patience with this one."

Michael Pachter, a Facebook bull, said "we're seeing revenue accelerate faster than we were seeing before," but the company also projected a lot more spending than expected, which is why some have been downgrading.

After a clumsy exchange in which Judge tried comparing different firms' rating criteria with Pachter's and the two talked over each other, Pachter said, "Scott God forbid you would ever knock me," and explained, "Facebook has its own lingo," and that Zuck won the day, "I think he sounded smart last night."

Pachter agreed with the suggestion that FB's newfound devotion to long-term (which we're just finding out this week) is like Amazon's. "They're the only guys monetizing mobile, and they're doing it exceedingly well," Pachter said.

Joe Terranova said the institutional growth manager is getting into FB and providing a floor. Stephanie Link said there's a rotation from AAPL to FB.

Jon Najarian crowed again about his put-selling Brag Trade, "the panic that carried it below 28, adios to those of you who got out down there."

Stephen Weiss got the last word with Judge in a note of skepticism at the end of the segment, questioning whether anyone's making money on mobile ads. "It's unproven," Weiss said.

RIMM management assertions fail to set off Weiss’ b.s. meter

Stephen Weiss told Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that, after first informing viewers of a successful RIMM Brag Trade unwinding, he "did keep some" into the announcement, and "obviously I'm smarting from that."

But, Weiss said, he spoke to some of BlackBerry's largest customers at the launch as well as the "management" and heard good things, and "the b.s. meter wasn't going off."

The stock "may go down to 10," Weiss allowed, but the "ultimate move is higher though ... I wanna see it consolidate first" before buying, he said, as it's "by far the most advanced device out there."

‘Tremendous froth’ in bonds

Bonnie Baha joined Thursday's Halftime Report to say that stocks are "getting awfully close" to an overbought condition, but it was her bond comparison to a particular year that raised eyebrows.

"Well there is a bubble in credit," Baha said, saying that in high yield and even investment grade, "it sort of looks like 2007 all over again."

Baha said "there's tremendous froth" in investment grade and pointed to how a company like DELL can apparently easily find lenders; "I'm afraid that we're in for some real dislocation and, and credit degradation because of that."

Matching last year's 15% junk-bond return this year will be "almost mathematically impossible," Baha said, arguing "we are going into a bond-picker's market."

Najarian: FIO below 15

Anthony Grisanti told Thursday's Halftime that "it's very tight supplies" that are driving the gasoline rally. Rich Ilczyszyn though said "we've gone too far too fast ... I'm actually selling this pop here."

Stephanie Link told viewers "I'd avoid" DOW. Stephen Weiss said LVS growth is still there "because of China. Joe Terranova said to "sell the strength" in WHR.

Stephen Weiss called ADT a "solid story" but said to wait to get into the stock, which put him at odds with Stephanie Link's Final Trade (long ADT).

Weiss' Final Trade was TBF. Link said she'd love to buy AIG in the mid-30s, but it doesn't get there.

Jon Najarian bragged about making money on his AWAY-calls Final Trade a day ago and then bragged about FTNT. "Luckily I owned it, um, Fortinet, and got out this morning," he said. "I would buy Checkpoint" on the N.Y. Times story and the "renewed focus on security," Najarian said.

Najarian said FIO has more to go; "I think the stock breaks 15 ultimately on this move." His Final Trade was February 31 calls in ANN.

Mr. New World said to sell the rise in GRPN since November; "guidance was way too high." Terranova's Final Trade was conditional of sorts; long MA with a 500 stop but add at 535, it's "going to 600."

Paul Richards said to buy euro at 1.3540, but the screen graphic said 1.3530.

[Wednesday, January 30, 2013]

Nation’s economist community apparently caught flat-footed this time

The Nasdaq on Wednesday became the home office of gorgeousness as Melissa Lee and Karen Finerman were joined by The World's Cutest Economist®, Michelle Meyer, for a chat about GDP on Fast Money.

"If we do see sequestration kick in, it probably won't impact Q1 GDP, because that hits on March 1st, but it will impact Q2 ... that will be a hit to the real economy," Meyer said.

But she noted the year-end headwinds on defense spending and suggested "you wanna look past that a little bit."

The conversation touched on one of our favorite subjects, how a group of economists (all with their own biases) is given custody of the word "recession." Meyer said "I don't think it's fair to define a recession as just 2 negative quarters" and noted at the NBR, "they look at a lot of different indicators to determine if we're in recession."

Or, basically, they can make it whatever they want.

"At the end of the day," what does it mean for the economy, asked Melissa Lee. Meyer said housing is helping to provide a lift but then there's the payroll tax holiday expiration, so she thinks we'll "start off the year pretty soft."

Karen: Be long CHK

Karen Finerman unfortunately wasn't on Tuesday night's Fast Money when the Aubrey McClendon news broke, but she caught up with it Wednesday — specifically the part about the company finding no improprieties in McClendon's tenure.

"It's absurd, it's laughable, it's absolutely laughable," Finerman said, adding McClendon has added value but has been "compensated more than fairly for that."

Most significantly, "I would be long the stock now ... I wouldn't be short it," Finerman said.

Steve Grasso said "I don't totally disagree with Karen ... I would not be short the name but I don't feel comfortable buying it," citing the prospect of asset sales.

Mike Khouw said "the options market is definitely bullish and it's probably a good time to actually follow that lead," though he suggested going further out than CHK's March 21 calls.

At the beginning of the day too ...

Steve Grasso asserted on Wednesday's Fast Money that "nobody wants to believe in this rally yet everyone continues to buy this rally," and meanwhile, "we're waiting to fall off this cliff."

Dan Nathan argued, "The rally is getting a little long in the tooth," and in the first of many usages, said "at the end of the day ... people (are) starting to buy protection for the first time all year long."

Jon Najarian pointed to the TLT and TBT and said "there's clearly been rotation." That gave Steve Grasso a chance to claim the CBO still needs time to score the fiscal-cliff deal HPQ always doubles off its bottoms that the other times there has been a greater flood of money into stocks, "the market fell off 40 or 50% within 4-6 months after. It's a contrary indicator."

So the prototype of today’s Greatest Businessman in the World is a guy who mails you books

Jon Najarian could give viewers of Wednesday's Fast Money precious little guidance in the way of FB but was able to issue a Brag Trade or Brag Relief Trade on being short 29, 28 puts; "I was happy that we rebounded ... looks like I'll keep that premium."

Dan Nathan called the FB road show a "disaster" but said "this company's grown up a little bit," though he contended, "probably about 7 years, we're gonna be speaking to- uh about them like MySpace."

And, "at the end of the day" of course, people leaving AAPL are looking for names like this with potentially a lot more pop. (But what about the "epic" move pending in AAPL according to Carter Worth?)

Fast-talking Bob Peck visited the Fast gang and cited 3 reasons to be optimistic about Facebook. "He even says in the earnings announcement that they are a mobile company" (oh joy); "core revenues accelerated a-gain" (wow) and "their margins expanded as well."

Furthermore, Peck said, Facebook has adopted a long-term approach "much like Jeff Bezos."

Fast Money is so hard up for material, it’s redoing its Halftime features with different actors

On Wednesday's Fast Money, Steve Grasso and Dan Nathan rehashed the AMZN bull-bear clash that Brian Kelly and Enis Taner had just conducted hours earlier.

Grasso insisted "it's about gross margins," and also about how they have "89 global fulfillment centers ... it's going in the right direction ... I think growth is there."

Dan Nathan though said "sales are decelerating" and then, "at the end of the day" of course, said no big tech stock since the 2009 bottom "is up as much as Amazon ... I think there is a sentiment bubble in this stock."

Grasso pressed on, saying "it's a cloud play; it's a retail play."

Karen Finerman, who has lonnnnnng since prejudged this case, said "it's a great company, but it's a Greater Fool Theory."

Finerman was later asked if NFLX or AMZN is a better short now. Finerman said that's like asking if you'd rather have your "hand cut off or your knee," but "with Carl out there" in NFLX, she'd probably pick AMZN.

RIMM back to $6

Jim Suva, who we think is part of that 3-man Citi team that evaluates AAPL, showed up at the Nasdaq on Wednesday's Fast Money to hang a 6 target on RIMM/(Blackberry).

The big problem with the rollout is that in the U.S., "you don't get it until March."

"That seems like a big misstep," agreed Melissa Lee.

"It's make or break for the company right now," Suva said of BlackBerry 10, arguing he's got a sell rating because "they're unlikely to make money."

Karen Finerman likewise called the U.S. sales delay "really odd" but asked Suva what the floor value of the stock is. Suva said it's "closer to $6."

Suva said "Amphenol and TE Connectivity are great long-term investments." Dan Nathan said, "I think you go to Qualcomm," apparently either at the end or beginning of the day. Jon Najarian said "I said 12½, 13, I'll stick by that" for getting long RIMM and "reload" there.

Mike Khouw said most active QCOM options were the 65 calls for weeklies and monthlies.

Dan Nathan made QCOM his Final Trade. He also said, "At the end of the day (you got it), I think this phone is gonna be a massive failure."

Miners, refiners, early-bird ...

It used to be in the early days of Fast Money that Eric Bolling crowed every episode about how great the refiners are.

Wednesday on Fast Money, Steve Grasso said the 2013 selloff in VLO didn't happen because "they blew the cover off the ball," but "it's obviously grossly overbought ... resistance is gonna be around 46.31."

Likewise, Grasso pointed to PSX and said "most say it's unsustainable."

Mike Khouw said he'd definitely sell PSX which is richer here; in this space, "the only thing that's still a positive catalyst is the Keystone Pipeline."

Mel didn’t realize the tweet said $34, a good question, not $24

While Anthony Scaramucci (oops) this week delivered the first post-Ackman HLF buy recommendation on Fast Money, Mike Khouw fielded a Twitter query on Wednesday from an Herbalife put buyer and said it's not going under $24, but there's "a lot of smoke in this stock ... probably range-bound in this thing for several months."

Khouw said of LVS, "I wouldn't chase this stock here," and made sell AVY his Final Trade, saying at one point the "stock valuation's not attractive to me."

Steve Grasso blessed DDD; "I love the product." Grasso said "I'd be a buyer of X" because it feels overdone on China concerns, and he made long X his Final Trade, though with a 21 stop.

Karen Finerman said that when it comes to ADT, "you don't need to chase it." Finerman made GDI calls, a bit further-dated at least to March, her Final Trade.

Jon Najarian said RHI and MAN have been cooking in the last several months. Najarian said he likes M and said to get long March 25 calls in AWAY as his Final Trade.

Dan Nathan, Fast Fired for NAV, said it's one you "probably want to avoid."

Amelia Bourdeau, who generally looks good on television, said to buy euro at 1.3550.

CNBC newcomer Josh Lipton reported on FIO's afterhours stumble.

Actually Steve Liesman’s suggestions that people making $250,000 constitute the ‘rich’ really have been in vain (at least when Steve Grasso’s on)

Steve Liesman chided the Halftime Report gang on Wednesday for not listening to him very well regarding the Fed.

For the market, "It's all about Friday's jobs number," contended Brian Kelly.

"That's crazy," Liesman said, explaining he hopes all of his appearances on the show "have not been in vain" as he has tried to point out how growth drives the lagging labor market and not the other way around.

Judge Wapner, for his part, said the issue is whether the Fed takes away the "proverbial punch bowl," and "that's all that matters" as far as the Dow reaching 14,000.

Meanwhile, the 1,500 S&P has traders ginchy. Pete Najarian said "I've been prepping more for the pullback." Brian Kelly agreed, "take some risk off the table here." But Enis Taner said the pullback will likely be just 1-2%, and Jon Najarian admitted "I'm seeing a percolation of some positives about jobs."

Guest Mike Ryan wrongly claimed "the Fed is still a majority of one" but probably rightly said it is now focused on outcomes rather than timelines. Ryan also said that when equal-weighted, tech has been doing well.

But no one made the argument that Jeff Bezos has inherited the cult of Steve Jobs because he mails books to people

Brian Kelly was given the task of advocating the bull case for AMZN on Wednesday's Halftime Report and said the stock is beyond a valuation story; "they're actually taking market share and increasing the profit margin."

However, Kelly admitted, "I'd probably wait for a pullback on this one," which is basically the bear case, but whatever.

Designated bear Enis Taner said AMZN has traded poorly, and on every metric, the company is too rich, and it's "totally insane to me" to buy it now. Pete Najarian waffled and tried to agree with both, saying, "at 200-day moving average, I'd be a buyer."

Henry Blodget is still evaluating trendy tech stocks

Henry Blodget told Wednesday's Halftime Report that Facebook just has to keep making money to keep the momentum going.

"The search engine is irrelevant," Blodget said, explaining that "mobile just has to keep accelerating," and if so the stock represents "vast opportunity."

Enis Taner, though questioned "what is the catalyst" in the next few quarters to reaching 38. Blodget said it will take accelerated revenue and expanding profit margin.

Blodget said Zuck "reassured" people by doing the TechCrunch interview that he's not asleep at the switch.

Pete Najarian said he doesn't think momentum players have climbed aboard as Blodget suggested and added, "I continue to use the upside options." Enis Taner said the stock seems range-bound, from 27-28 to 33-34.

Weiss: Sell CHK

Stephen Weiss dialed into Wednesday's Halftime Report to suggest exiting CHK.

"I think you sell it," Weiss said, because whenever there's news like this about a CEO, "it's never a good thing."

Moreover, Weiss argued, those that think McClendon's exit puts the company in play are wrong; "the company's been in play anyway."

Weiss said, in a Patty Edwards Tribute, "at this point in time," and suggested BP is writing down losses in certain fields and maybe CHK needs to catch up.

Judge Wapner noted "my buddy" Carl Icahn has a huge stake.

Pete Najarian said, "Chesapeake to me is a non-trade," and he suggested EOG. Jon Najarian said there's a shale overhang on CHK.

Tip: If your video has a time delay, don’t try to make jokes

Donald Yacktman, who struggled with the time delay while on satellite with Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Fast Money, said owning RIMM "is a little like drilling wildcat oil wells," which actually makes one wonder if it's like owning CHK.

"They have to some degree bet the ranch" on the new phone, Yacktman conceded, while making a curious joke about haircuts.

Yacktman argued that long-term bonds are "overpriced." He disagrees with Bill Ackman on PG being a good candidate for activism, saying if you were looking to prompt changes at companies, "this would not be the first one to attack."

Pete Najarian was convinced about RIMM, he said he's "seriously considering adding to a position."

Kelly: Don’t take a flier on BA

Brian Kelly told viewers of Wednesday's Halftime Report to avoid BA.

"You do not buy the stock here ... I would stay away ... this is a big issue," Kelly said.

Pete Najarian, meanwhile, said to keep rolling with PSX. "The margins are just unbelievable right now ... I still think all these names are still undervalued," Najarian said.

Anthony Grisanti said of gold, "I'm gonna dip in the water very slightly." Jim Iuorio contended that "we might be opening the door to some real live inflation," an argument we haven't heard for a while (at least this side of Peter Schiff). "I am long gold," Iuorio said, but he said he's had the position for a long time so don't read too much into it.

Brian Kelly said he likes gold and silver and made SLV his Final Trade.

Kelly said DECK is not a buy; "I would stay away, no catalyst."

Enis Taner said of QCOM, "I like buying this stock." Taner made COP his Final Trade.

Jon Najarian called a 41 price target in BRCM "conservative." He said KMP is one you still buy at this level because of the great dividend. Najarian further argued that the more headlines we see about AAPL such as that from Contrafund's selling, "the more likely it is that we've seen a bottom in Apple."

Pete Najarian mentioned "image" during his YUM Fast Fire about 5 times; "right now it's still about image." But he called the stock "very cheap" at 63 or 64. Pete also backed LVS, "I think this is goin' higher."

Both Najarians made WFT their Final Trade.

[Tuesday, January 29, 2013]

Guy Adami already beginning to call the top for the year

He keeps saying the same thing every show.

Guy Adami told Tuesday's Fast Money that "I do think we're headed higher," basically somewhere between 1,535 and 1,560, but "I do believe we're in the late stages of this thing" and potentially would put in the high for the year around those levels, so "I don't think now's the time to get in."

So first the S&P is going up another 50-60 points fairly soon, and then the top quite possibly will be in for the next 11 months.

Why stop there; how about crowning the winner of the New York Super Bowl?

Tim Seymour noted that it's a "completely benign environment" for stocks right now. Brian Kelly said "it is the regret rally ... it just does not want to go down."

Mike Khouw does not think Mark Zuckerberg is the 2nd coming of Steve Jobs

Anthony Scaramucci, really infatuated with the notion of the next Steve Jobs or next Jeff Bezos or next Steve Perry or whatever, gushed about FB on Tuesday's Fast Money.

"I think this is the Amazon of social media," Scaramucci said, because it takes a "very long-term approach."

"This is a $50 stock," Scaramucci said.

Guy Adami made the weakest counterargument possible, "valuation," before muttering, "it's all about mobile monetization," and some company in "fcommerce" is already giving up.

Scaramucci, completely unfazed, insisted, "This stock is in the right place at the right time."

Tim Seymour said it comes down to basic revenues; "I think the Street's too high." Brian Kelly returned to one of his old themes (no, not "buy everything that's not nailed down" or this could be 1937 all over again or the biggest risk to Wall Street/banks/stress tests/whomever is an improving economy) and suggested that if you think Mark Zuckerberg is the next Steve Jobs, stick the FB shares in a drawer and grab them in 20 years.

Mike Khouw opined, "I don't really see Mark Zuckerberg as Steve Jobs," and said options are suggesting a possible 12% decline in FB by March expiration.

Scaramucci on AAPL: ‘This stock has not hit its bottom’

Guy Adami, who on Tuesday's Fast Money seemed to be revisiting every call he's made since November, called AAPL "a stay away until we can get a close above 480."

Anthony Scaramucci bluntly declared "I do not think that the bottom's in," because he said Apple is "overowned in the hedge fund community ... this stock has not hit its bottom."

But Tom DeMark said it did.

Tim Seymour never misses a chance to mention Samsung and said Apple, with various price points for its products, "starts to look a lot like Samsung."

Brian Kelly though said that with a 435 stop, "you can give it a shot."

Guy Adami said after its recent pullback, you can buy YHOO here. Adami was praised for a good call on NFLX but admitted, "I didn't think it was going to 170," but "now's not the time" to get in.

Najarian: RIMM might be available at $13

There apparently can't be just 1 Steve Jobs in history; there has to be one at all times.

For mailing books to your home, Jeff Bezos "is now the cult of Steve Jobs," according to Anthony Scaramucci on Tuesday's Fast Money.

Scaramucci said AMZN is as much a retail-investor darling as hedge fund darling. But Guy Adami said margin improvement "is exactly why the stock is higher."

Tim Seymour assured viewers, "I don't chase stocks like this."

Jon Najarian assured viewers that the RIMM BlackBerry rollout is "not a make or break; it is a show-me time though."

Najarian said price point is critical; "if they shoot too high," that would be a mistake, he said, but as for the stock, "this one could have more ramp" depending on how great the phone is. However, rather than chasing here, he thinks you'll be able to "pick it up more like 13."

Anthony Scaramucci said the new phone won't give you an hourglass. Brian Kelly said, "Every product's supposed to work."

Mel owned the camera in purple

Tim Seymour said on Tuesday's Fast Money that with the announced retirement of Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake's corporate governance story "clearly gets cleaned up quite a bit."

Yes. And did he really transfer ownership of the map collection when the company "bought" it?

Anthony Scaramucci actually claimed that Ron Johnson's fiddling with sales prices "could be good for the stock long term."

Brian Kelly said not to rush into STX; "I'd wait till probably $31." Mike Khouw said DHI "looks rich" and he'd sell now if he owned it.

Guy Adami, sort of Fast Fired on his WHR call a while back, said "I didn't like it then, I don't like it now."

Adami said if you want to go long LVS, "Wait for them to report" and hope the stock pulls back a bit.

JetBlue boss Dave Barger, who regularly tells Fast Money how good the outlook is for his carrier, stressed that Sandy delivered a huge impact on operations. But he defended the 787; "that's going to be a great airplane." Guy Adami said JBLU is a stock that provides "beta."

Guest Yonah Lloyd of SodaStream argued that it'll be great to have his ad in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl after the cola giants go first. And, Lloyd admitted controversy over an ad isn't bad; "It's good to have buzz out there."

Guy Adami said SODA has "huge short interest," and the risk/reward suggests there could be a "huge short-covering rally in this name." Tim Seymour said SODA's perceived household penetration might be greater than people think; "I don't think people can really gauge it at this point," he said, whatever that means.

Brian Kelly said to "watch out for ADM" amid the chicken wing shortage.

Anthony Scaramucci said it's "fiction" that the Fed has created another housing bubble, whereas Tim Seymour called it "fast."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was put spreads in SPY as well as buying CHK. Tim Seymour, no surprise, said buy JBLU (he might as well have thrown in "buy Irwin Simon's stock"). Guy Adami, also no surprise, had no ideas, so he (yep) suggested PSX. Anthony Scaramucci became the first Fast Money member to recommend HLF post-Ackman. Brian Kelly said to buy FXE.

Guy Adami wasted no time telling Melissa Lee at the top of the program "nice blouse," one thing he was absolutely right about on Tuesday.

Yahoo’s mobile strategy
‘absolutely stinks’

Mike Murphy on Tuesday's Halftime Report made the bear case in YHOO, largely arguing the rally has run its course and the stock "can actually trade a lot lower than this."

Bull Stephen Weiss, referring to "Marissa Mayers (sic)," argued the CEO has "still got the honeymoon period going," and while he's not in the name, he's "lookin' to get involved ... the stock can go into the mid-20s."

Murphy argued there is no more honeymoon after 30% in the stock; "I think it's actually over." But Weiss argued the downside is "less than 10%."

Josh Brown said "I gotta give it to Murphy," because the "enthusiasm rally" in the shares has "run its course." Joe Terranova, having prejudged the case, agreed with that conclusion. "I think their mobile strategy absolutely stinks, and I think further appreciation in Yahoo is not going to occur," Terranova said.

‘Good risk/reward’ in RIMM

Peter Dixon on Tuesday's Halftime Report offered little of substance for viewers to weigh against the upcoming AMZN earnings report, saying he's interested in "earnings growth" and the "top line."

Josh Brown said that given the extended run in the stock, getting out is the "prudent thing to do" in terms of risk/reward. But Dixon said he gets less worried about the results quarter by quarter.

Stephen Weiss wondered about the valuation and will it be realized. Dixon said to "make your best guess as to what earnings could be if they weren't investing so much."

Josh Brown said it sounds good but suggested viewers "maybe take a little bit off just in case." Joe Terranova actually advised people to "own some eBay puts" in case AMZN disappointed. Mike Murphy said "I will be long puts" in AMZN by the end of the day, because it "comes down to valuation," and "I think you could see a massive selloff if they disappoint."

Josh Brown said of RIMM, "I'm not long, I'm not short." Stephen Weiss said, "I'll be at the event tomorrow ... I think it's actually a good risk/reward."

‘30-plus’ for PFE

Josh Brown, unlike Steve Grasso, who tells anyone within a football stadium's earshot that HPQ always doubles after it bottoms, wasn't so high on the potential of Hewlett Packard from here, saying on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "this thing is in no-man's land."

Meanwhile, Mike Murphy said VLO "could keep going." Stephen Weiss pointed to DHI and said "still think they're stretched." Joe Terranova reported exiting GLW, and "I'm glad I got out of this name ... don't trade it."

Josh Brown said "there's nothing not to like about Pfizer ... I think it's got 30-plus all over it."

Joe Terranova said to avoid VMW and even one of his longtime faves, EMC. "You don't buy this falling knife," Mr. New Land said of VMW.

Terranova, like almost everyone besides Mike Murphy talking about the homebuilders, addressed TOL and said he's been "completely wrong on it ... you own some puts, you stay long the stock." Murphy said LNG was rallying on the HES news and "I think the stock can continue to move."

Terranova said HAL is an energy name and you want to own energy, including SLB and HOS. Murphy said PCL is long in the tooth; "I think you should fade this." Josh Brown called STX "broken now" and said to "give it time" and buy in the high 20s or low 30s.

Andy Busch advised buying the euro at 1.3510 and "look for 1.3610."

JCP ‘was oversold’

Judge Wapner revisited on Tuesday's Halftime Report Bill Ackman's defense Friday of JCP, but pointed out that was before Carl dialed in, "so it was sort of lost." (Yes. And part of the reason it was "sort of lost" is because the Ackman interview was weak with flimsy questions after the first.)

Mike Murphy said Ackman has been wrong so far on JCP so whatever he says, "I don't give it much credibility."

"I actually bought JCPenney stock this morning," Murphy said, because it "was oversold," and credited Keith McCullough for a "great call" on the stock.

Asked to comment, Stephen Weiss said, "I'm gonna try and channel Carl Icahn," prompting Mr. New World to interrupt, "Make sure we don't end up in H-R afterwards." Weiss then said, apparently referring to Ackman, "it was the wrong stock to strap it on with," and advised viewers to "go away."

Weiss was also told Stephanie Link would be listening to his commentary on VALE. "Maybe she'll ..." Weiss started to say, before explaining he wouldn't short and wouldn't own the shares.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was SWN. Stephen Weiss said QCOM into earnings. Mike Murphy said JCP and Josh Brown said to trim AMZN positions.

Murphy: ‘You will see 1,525’

Tuesday's Halftime Report pitted a pair of bulls against a pair of cautionaries.

Josh Brown warned that "we're kind of getting into hot-stove territory here," while Joe Terranova insisted that the "ultimate indicator" is going to be this Friday's jobs report.

Stephen Weiss told Brown and Terranova to "man up" and "get long," though Weiss conceded, "I think we're due for a pullback" and questioned why CAT isn't in the 80s.

But Mike Murphy said he thinks the S&P will climb over 1,510, and then "you will see 1,525."

Guest Scott Black agreed "It's a good time" to be in stocks, even though he thinks "the S&P estimates are much too high at 112." Black said his favorites are QCOM, MPW (he called it "MPT"), MCK, ESV and TWI, one of those 2 annoying Titans floating around out there. But Black wasn't so high on INTC; "I wouldn't own it."

Josh Brown backed QCOM. "At a certain point this baby's gonna go ... it's been flat for way too long."

Murphy: F under 13

Every so often the Halftime Report (as was The Strategy Session) is interrupted by a Phil LeBeau interview with a Detroit auto exec; Tuesday it was Ford's Robert Shanks, who called the stock price action "interesting" and then argued that Europe is "very very tough" but that there could be a "trough" in 2013; "all the pieces" are there for success.

Mike Murphy called a pullback under 13 a good entry point. "I think management has already addressed what's happening here," Murphy said. Stephen Weiss said he sold F a bit early but that the yen is a headwind on Detroit. "Both Ford and GM are very rich," Murphy said.

Jeff Kilburg told Mandy Drury "we're seeing a short squeeze in crude oil," but "technically it's a little bit overdone." Rich Ilczyszyn said hedge funds have been adding to crude longs for 6 weeks, and he expects it to trade over 100 this year but it won't stay there long. "93's my support level right now," Ilczyszyn said.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Monday, January 28, 2013]

Wall Street bigwigs silent after Icahn, Ackman trash each other’s character

If you had a friend or associate who was called a "liar" or "loser" or "not an honest guy" on television, would you rush to his defense?

Hopefully, the answer is yes.

So then, one wonders: Do Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn have no friends?

An extensive check of Google and of course Henry Blodget's Business Insider, which posts some of its own material when not rewriting every punchy business story drummed up by other media, finds no one — not Dan Loeb or anyone else — in the realm of Wall Street big shots defending either Bill Ackman or Carl Icahn in the wake of the other's criticism.

We began to wonder about this when we noticed that Anthony Scaramucci — such an agreeable fellow that even his critics admit he schmoozes with everybody — offered no opinion whatsoever during Monday's Halftime Report on the character of these 2 individuals.

Later on Monday's Fast Money, Karen Finerman, who once taped an art-auction segment paying homage to Icahn, said nothing about the Friday donnybrook.

Nor was anything heard over the weekend or Monday from Eliot Spitzer, whose name was mentioned prominently Friday by Ackman, or Michael Burns, who himself battled Icahn over the future of his company.

Judge Scott Wapner, among his lapses Friday/Monday (note: We're not trying to harp on Wapner's performance; it was still compelling television, just maybe could've been handled better), never pursued this angle.

5 years ago, we had "banksters" running the housing market and economy into the ground with greedy mortgage schemes, even (gasp) writing the word "sh---y" in a Goldman Sachs e-mail, enough to catapult Dylan Ratigan from a stock-picking host into a public advocate on MSNBC.

Now, we've got a person called a "liar" who is literally trying to put a publicly traded company out of business, and another person dubbed "not an honest guy" who every fortnight is trying to get a company to 1) allow a tender offer, 2) change a bunch of board members and 3) sell itself to another company.

And Wall Street complains about Dodd-Frank and Volcker and Basel and whatever.

A number of scenarios are possible. Maybe Icahn and Ackman, because of the nature of work they do, simply don't have many (real) friends in their profession. It's also completely possible that people on Wall Street who do have an opinion as to these gents' character are quiet for professional reasons — if I say something here, that'll be bad for business, etc.

Perhaps there's the notion that "these guys are super rich and can certainly defend themselves." If so, that's a sad commentary.

Finally, there's the distinct possibility that Wall Streeters don't buy any of it — and don't think anyone else does either.

In which case, nothing that was said during this purported moment of landmark business television had any greater significance than the sideline trash-talking before an NFL game, and that all the purported outrage directed at Wall Street shenanigans since and before 2007 is about as real as Manti Te'o's late girlfriend.

Icahn in the clear with ADL

This one's probably got trouble written all over it. But then again, when a Web site appoints itself critic of something, there's sort of an obligation to make sure all of the bases are covered (particularly when there might be an ounce of entertainment to be procured).

And so, enjoying multiple viewings of the Carl Icahn-Bill Ackman showdown last Friday hosted by Judge Wapner, we somehow were possessed to wonder: Did anyone object to Carl Icahn's, um, ethnic description of Bill Ackman relating to that tough Queens school Icahn attended?

Evidently, no. The most recent ADL press releases involve a Murdoch apology over a British cartoon but make no references to tough Queens schools.

Yes, we're having a little bit of fun here, as Icahn was speaking within his own demographic, but it's worth noting that such qualifications didn't help ESPN's Rob Parker over the issue of "cornball brother."

The overriding angle here is Icahn's age. See, there is glory in growing old — as Max Meyers repeatedly told Carl, you can say whatever you want.

Which AAPL bottom call do you like most: Joe’s generational bottom, Doug Kass’ close to a generational opportunity, Tim Seymour’s 480, or Tom DeMark’s ‘bottom is in today or tomorrow’

Nobody seems to notice Carter Worth is calling a temporary top in the market.

"This is overdone," Worth said on Monday's Fast Money, before turning his attention to mighty AAPL, which he said has had a "mature intermediate decline," and in fact is "an epic bounce candidate."

Worth admitted that for long-term purposes, "This could turn into an Eastman Kodak," but in the near-term, "all the euphoria has been expunged."

Steve Grasso said if it can break through 460, "I'm looking for back to 500."

"I think even higher," said Worth, hanging a 525 or 550 level while 2 or 3 times saying the AAPL chart has "round-tripped."

Karen Finerman asked Worth the key question, whether he has seen enough of a volume flush. Worth said he didn't have those stats in front of him, but "last 3 days, almost 10% of the float" has traded; "people literally are panicking."

Tim Seymour claimed, "The trade is really to be short Samsung." Brian Kelly said he's doing that indirectly via short EWY.

Steve Grasso admitted regarding Amazon, "I've never actually bought the name" all the times he has recommended it, but advised viewers now to "wait just a little bit."

Tim Seymour, delving into Joe Terranova-Doug Kass terminology, said Amazon has a "generational thing going on."

Grasso cautioned, "If Apple starts to rally back, it's gonna come out of Amazon."

Hard to believe, but Brian Kelly’s argument trumped Karen

Karen Finerman looked fabulous in her pinstripe vest on Monday's Fast Money, but unfortunately that wasn't quite enough for this page to give her a win over Brian Kelly in a Goldman Sachs debate.

Finerman said the GS price to tangible book is "uniquely low" and that it trades almost 45% below its 10-year average, and the rest of the analysis is "actually qualitative ... their reign as one of the most hated companies in America is coming to an end, probably to be replaced by Apple."

Kelly argued "it is bouncing against a 5-year downtrend line" and bumping the high end of its price/book, and "the next 10 years in this capital markets (sic) is not gonna look like the last 10 years ... their underlying business is deteriorating."

Kelly added that the stock is "up 13% in 20 days."

Tim Seymour waffled as he always does, saying "I agree with Karen," but allowing, "Goldman's overdone here ... I would get out of Goldman Sachs." Steve Grasso said if it climbs over 149, he's bullish.

Unfortunately, Kelly is right that the future 10-year average price/book in that particular business isn't going to be the same as before, and really unfortunately, Karen is way wrong that Goldman is going to cease being one of the most hated companies in America. Nevertheless, this page will disagree with Kelly and Seymour that there's an imminent pullback ahead.

Grasso: S&P to test 1,361

Steve Grasso had nothing more important to add on Monday's Fast Money than a warmed-over Brag Trade in GOOG. "I sold out of it" after getting the $50 pop, Grasso said, and then went into AAPL; "I bought that on Friday" because of its "oversold condition."

All that aside, Grasso made one of the more important predictions of 2013 thus far, suggesting the S&P is going to revisit 1,361.

Brian Kelly said bonds in Japan and the U.K. caught his eye because they were "going down on bad economic news," and perhaps represent a "black swan" event. So, "I was a seller today."

"This is all reallocation," said Tim Seymour, after another long-winded spiel.

Karen Finerman called the spike in the VIX "sort of interesting" and noted that puts are still cheap.

How come Matt Blunt doesn’t realize the value of owning gold in yen terms?

Melissa Lee, who normally likes to say "this is not a political show," invited former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt onto Monday's Fast Money to complain about the falling yen.

It "really has a significant impact on our ability to be competitive," Blunt said, arguing the value "should be set by the marketplace," which sounds a bit like he's veering into that "currency manipulator" terminology.

Tim Seymour pointed out the benefits of the weak U.S. dollar for years and suggested people "be careful" making arguments such as Blunt's.

Steve Grasso said that as far as autos go, he's waiting for a "12-handle in Ford." Scott Nations said there was a big buyer of weekly F calls for 19 cents.

Elsewhere, someone who knows all about the yen, Dennis Gartman, did not opine on gold, but did say people are continuing to exit the long bonds and the yield will go "back through 2% ... the economy is doing demonstrably better." Gartman said he'll have to make a decision soon about whether to sell more bonds and buy more stocks for February, and that's probably what he'll do.

Kelly: Take profits in CMG

Debbie Weinswig told Monday's Fast Money crew that WMT is getting "much more aggressive on price," particularly in cellphones.

Karen Finerman asked if the WMT P.E. can improve from 14. Weinswig basically said yes, that she can get to an $82 price target with a 15 multiple, and that if WMT starts delivering "fresh groceries" (as opposed to stale ones), that's a growth opportunity.

Finerman concluded, "At this price, it's worth owning."

Finerman curiously said "this is a layup" regarding the Joseph A. Bank typical promotions and added, "don't touch it."

Finerman said she's still long 90% of her TKR winning position. But Karen said despite complaining about Dell's future recently, "I don't view it as a bad decision" to avoid the stock. Tim Seymour congratulated Finerman's eloquent explanation, saying in one of his few good recent lines, "That was a genius acceptance speech for The Good, Bad & The Ugly."

Finerman's Final Trade was PACD.

Tim Seymour admitted "I don't see a whole lot of organic growth" in YHOO but that a buyback could help. Seymour complained that the Dodgers' TV deal is "bad for fans." His Final Trade was long EEM vs. SPY.

Steve Grasso had to handle the latest company-spinning-off-a-REIT query, WM (same as Halftime), saying "I'd stay away." Grasso, whose Final Trade was VZ, wished Finerman "congratulations Karen" on Jane Wells' report that a home sold in Southern California for $117 million. Karen said real estate feels a little overdone right at the moment; "I even had to sell some Realogy last week."

Brian Kelly advised taking profits in CMG and to get out of DXJ, "those yields are going up for the wrong reasons." Kelly's Final Trade as usual was DBA or JJG.

Melissa Lee admitted that everyone on Fast Money has called an AAPL bottom recently; "our bad here."

Is it pronounced ‘Her-ba-life,’
or ‘Err-ba-life’?

Eager to capitalize on the momentum from Friday's Halftime Report Ackman-Icahn showdown (which was only referenced about 4-5 times Monday), Judge Wapner brought in ... Doug Kass ... to trumpet the virtues of short selling.

"Publicizing a short position is no different than publicizing a long position," Kass said, adding that research by short sellers tends to be "much more rigorous analytically than long buyers."

Kass in fact twice pointed out that long recommendations are handed out on a "silver platter" on Wall Street (which of course gets the Brady Bunch mojo going around here).

Odd thing was, while defending Ackman's move to go very public on this short, Kass couldn't seem to pronounce "Herbalife" correctly, beginning with a hard "H" as though he was talking about "Herb" Greenberg.

That made us wonder if we've had it wrong all along, except Judge Wapner pronounced it "Err-ba-life" on Monday's show, and even Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn, when not accusing each other of wanting to be each other's friend, on Friday pronounced it "Err-ba-life."

Josh Brown in a curious commentary on short selling about losing 50% and needing 100% to recoup argued, "The math is so far against the average participant." Joe Terranova said, "I do not understand why Ackman has been so public about it," and that he doubts Ackman would ride the stock to 80.

Herb Greenberg said the FTC announcement later Monday wouldn't be about HLF, but it might affect HLF in that it could "free the FTC up" for other projects.

How does a money manager get short Twitter?

Anthony Scaramucci, who last year made a stark prediction about the fortunes of LNKD that, um, didn't exactly pan out (yet), said on Monday's Halftime Report that high-multiple tech is at least partly responsible for the underperformance of long-short managers.

Rattling off Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Scaramucci pointed out how they've continued to stay aloft even while "they have these excessive P.E.s. Any smart long-short manager would be short those 3 names on valuation," Scaramucci said.

Yet Joe Terranova said "the 34 strike is very active" in FB, and "that looks to me where it's going here around earnings."

Scaramucci insisted that "Apple has not lost its mojo" and curiously noted, "if you're a value buyer," to get long.

Mr. New World complained that "Tim Cook has really not done a good job" at addressing the product challenges, but added, "I actually think you will see money rotate back into Apple if the overall market does see a little bit of a correction," calling it a "defensive technology play."

Guest and AAPL long Darren Chervitz admitted "we should've done more trimming" in September or last fall, but issued a Brag Trade, "we owned it at $7 pre-split."

Chervitz actually claimed YHOO has been "monetizing the Alibaba stake more effectively."

Momentum stalled: Ackman suggested Judge should bring Eliot Spitzer on the show, but no Spitzer on Monday

Just when we thought not enough people (think Gina Martin Adams) were signing on to the Barry Bannister Market®, along came David Bianco on Monday's Halftime Report.

"I wouldn't uh, focus on getting the tactical calls right this year. I don't think we're gonna have a big pullback in the market," said Bianco, whose price target is now coincidentally at Barry's magic 1,600 level.

Anthony Scaramucci said we're in the middle of a "well-orchestrated rally induced by central banks" but cautioned, "any slight bad news will trip up the market in the short term."

Josh Brown said Monday's price action was fine for bulls; "let things settle down a bit ... so far, there are no alarm bells."

Stephanie Link said the Cramer group took some off in Lam Research, but the "underlying direction of the market is higher."

Joe Terranova said now, "it has to be looking forward ... we need a better-than-expected labor report," and actually said he was reducing stakes in AXP, GLW and MS on expectations of the jobs report.

Anthony Grisanti said the rotation into stocks or beta is in full gear, "I think you have to sell bonds on any kind of a rally." Jim Iuorio predicted an "orderly" rise in 10-year rates to the "2.12/2.13 area" but said if it gets to 2.40, "I think it becomes a little less orderly." But for now, "it's not the great migration yet."

Anthony Scaramucci said, "If you polled 20 of the smartest people, they'd say we're in a bond bubble."

Josh Brown gave Stephanie’s bull case (slightly) more respect than Stephen Weiss did last week

Stephanie Link pushed the bull case for CAT on Monday's Halftime Report, citing "macro reasons and micro," which were basically just improving conditions in the U.S. and globally.

Brown scoffed, "The stock's up 20% since December 16th," and from this point, "don't think that this is gonna outperform the market ... why would the multiple expand from here."

Joe Terranova, asked to referee, didn't make a whole lot of sense in his prejudged verdict. "Josh Brown told you why Stephanie's right ... the stock is higher, no one can figure out why ... it's the process of trading. That means it's gonna continue to go higher."

Or as Judge put it, "magic."

Link was Fast Fired on BKS and got defensive. "I don't think the story has changed in a month though," Link said, claiming it has a "sum of the parts" valuation of $16.17.

Carl was made ‘dizzy’ at the Italian restaurant while he and Ackman allegedly tried to be friends with each other

Josh Brown made a comment on Monday's Halftime Report that seemed to stretch the bounds of believability, but whatever; "Over the weekend all of the traders that I talk with are looking at Nokia," and that the price action is "eerily reminiscent of what we saw with RIMM."

Anthony Scaramucci made some bizarre quip at the end of the conversation about "those of us that are heading for our AARP card."

Stephanie Link decried the "28 multiple" in CMG and said, "I think this company has a hard time ahead of it." Link also said "I wouldn't get involved in RIG" but prefers Ensco.

Mr. New Land touted CNX; "I say you go out and buy it," and he also said APC is OK to "own and buy on a pullback."

New ongoing tiresome Fast Money/Halftime subject: Every company is a candidate for a REIT spinoff

Josh Brown said on Monday's Halftime Report that AGU is the subject of an interesting report by Jana, which suggests there is "potential to split the company up."

Brown said there are rumblings about WM being a REIT play but the "stock's in no-man's land."

Stephanie Link said "on a pullback I'd be a buyer" in DIS. Anthony Scaramucci said of the EUO, "I would stay as far away from this as I possibly could."

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was TEX. Joe Terranova said LNKD, Josh Brown said IEO and Anthony Scaramucci said to sell NFLX or buy at least buy puts.

[Friday, January 25, 2013]

Judge unprepared for Icahn call, bungled golden opportunity

Somehow, he managed to momentarily become a bigger enemy of Carl Icahn than Bill Ackman is.

CNBC's Scott "Judge" Wapner was unfair to neither famous investor he spoke with on Friday's Halftime Report, but his clumsy handling of this instant gold mine of business television — not to mention clock management that actually made the New England Patriots' end-of-first-half debacle vs. Baltimore look impressive — cost the network a bigger story and himself a chance at a serious leap up the anchor ladder.

This page sometimes actually gets some things right, and it was pointed out here in our year-end review that Wapner lacks any offspeed pitch whatsoever; Judge lived up to that billing Friday by repeatedly ignoring the feud in front of him to push uninteresting Herbalife questions and arguing about bullying.

Wapner never even mentioned Hallwood Realty or gave viewers the slightest context of this dispute. He did begin with a fine question, asking Ackman about Icahn's beef on the Ira Sohn announcement. But his follow-up (something about Ackman making a public case) either was just a restatement of the first question or was no question at all; his 3rd question (Zzzzzz) was about the general merits of short-selling (well, said Ackman, it can "mollify the upside" and "cushion the downside").

Then, incredibly, perhaps thinking Dan Loeb might call in too, Wapner, in one of the themes of the hour, asked Ackman if he's friends or "frenemies" with Loeb.

Precious minutes being lost here, Wapner asked an utterly backwards question about Ackman's criticism of PG chief Bob McDonald and wondering if that doesn't really apply to Ron Johnson.

A far better, and absolutely relevant, question that was not asked in this mess is whether the Herbalife grandstanding was meant to upstage Ackman's embarrassment over JCP, picking a target that had already been demonstrably Einhorned. Ackman of course will say no (a good question: which do you like talking about more, HLF or JCP?), but responses like those are a matter of how they said it, not what they actually said.

Squeezing in a much-needed commercial around the half-hour mark, Wapner told Ackman "I'll give you 2 choices," one being that Ackman was welcome to stay on the line while Icahn called in (unclear what the other choice was, presumably to hang up, which would've given Ackman a chance to preempt Icahn's later line about not needing Wapner to tell him what he's free to do), leading to an unnecessary minute of decision-making rather than just saying "Bill can you stay on the line with us."

Once back, Wapner used airtime (instead of commercial time) to verify both were on the line. His first question to Icahn was fair enough, that Ackman is calling him a hypocrite.

This produced some of the most hilarious commentary, with Icahn explaining, "I really sorta had it with this guy Ackman," then calling Ackman "the crybaby of the schoolyard" and implying that Ackman sounded like one of those "little Jewish boys" who whines about getting picked on instead of fighting back at "a tough school in Queens," and that 10 years ago Icahn was "minding my own business" when he got a call from Ackman, over Hallwood Realty.

After 4 minutes of Icahn talking, Wapner inexplicably had no question for Ackman but instead offered him the floor to respond, which allowed Ackman to waste minutes on Spitzer and MBIA and a book called Confidence Game that nobody cared about before offering some of the most important commentary, his version of how the Hallwood deal went down.

Icahn, to his apparent credit (unless he was muted), let Ackman finish the details, which concluded with perfectly explosive question material; "this is not a great use of, uh, CNBC airtime, what I can tell you is, this is not an honest guy, and this is not a guy who keeps his word."

Wapner then made his biggest mistake, instead of just saying, "Carl, he says you went to dinner at your favorite restaurant, offered him a charity settlement, but he says you don't keep your word," Wapner persisted with yesterday's news; "Carl why don't you just come clean on the Herbalife thing?"

After Icahn denounced the purported bullying, Wapner insisted, "The principal issue is the Herbalife thing," which is utterly not the principal issue of this particular dispute.

"Ackman is a liar," said Icahn, insisting he lived "by handshakes" in the '60s and '70s (apparently by the '80s it was the fax machine).

"Categorically, Ackman knew that he wasn't gonna get half the profits," Icahn asserted, apparently suggesting/implying that a written agreement did not reflect the verbal agreement; "my lawyer's a great lawyer, but this one was missed."

Obviously, there's a personality clash here, as the two couldn't agree on whose idea dinner was and who wanted to be friends with who, and Icahn called Ackman either the "most sanctimonious" or "most arrogant" guy he'd ever met, and even quoted Disraeli about being so sure of things.

Meanwhile, Icahn continued, "Herbalife is a classic example of what he does ... the guy takes inordinate risks ... this could be the mother of all short squeezes ... the guy is a major loser ... He talks about charity — that's complete bullsh--. He's not given it to charity."

Wapner, flummoxed over how to ask the simplest question to escalate the conversation, for some reason jabbed Icahn about his language on live TV; "so that was an interesting choice of words," then felt it important that floor traders/specialists/tourists were watching the tape-delayed version, before turning the floor back with no question to Ackman, who declared he told Icahn, "you are no friend of mine."

Given another chance, Icahn insisted, "I never said that I want to be friends with, with you Bill ... you said to me, you- you'd like to be friends so that we could invest together."

"Carl, I have no interest in- if you think I want to invest with you? Let's move on."

Wapner insisted again on another question for Icahn on Herbalife, to which Icahn said he's not going to tell Wapner anything about it, because, "I don't think you've been handling this fairly. I think you're trying to attack me and, and bully me into admitting something. ... You seem like a nice enough guy ... You're giving me all this bullsh--; and Max Meyers said I could say what I wanted on the show so I'm saying it."

Icahn squeezed in a final dig, saying Ackman "weaseled out of the deal," before Wapner declared (for commercial reasons probably) that they had to wrap it up.

"Bill, I so much appreciate you coming on today. Carl, uh, I hope you'll come back. That's all I can say," Wapner feebly concluded.

"I didn't hear you tell me that you appreciated me coming on," Icahn chuckled.

"Well I think it was um, obviously, uh, meant there when I said 'I hope you'll come back.' Right? I mean ..." Wapner waffled.

Unfortunately, the best thing Wapner did during much of this showdown was remain silent. He was bailed out by the combatants themselves, who put on such a good show unprompted, and impressively gave each other ample time to speak, with neither being particularly interested in Judge's favorite topic of the day, Herbalife.

All Wapner needed to do here was ask each guy about what the other guy just said. That would've sufficed, but his utter lack of interest in Hallwood Realty prevented a sharper, far more explosive volley. Ackman should've been asked if he misled Icahn verbally and if not, why does Icahn think he did. Icahn should've been asked if he has a personal vendetta here at the level of Gekko-Wildman that would've prompted an HLF long (or perhaps JCP short) or any other way to take the opposite side.

Something clearly was funky with the linguini at that favorite Italian restaurant, and Max Meyers has never gotten so much publicity.

Who knows, maybe an encore next week.

Laszlo Birinyi thought he was going to spend an hour talking about the S&P 500

It's hard to remember he was even there.

Laszlo Birinyi opened up Friday's Halftime Report with pearls of wisdom such as "bull market, stocks go up," and "one thing no one's mentioned in all the reports I've read is animal spirits." (Hey, is he doing a review of "Life of Pi"?)

Actually, Birinyi just barely touched upon a very important element of this market, that "Chipulte (sic)" recently warned and traded to 260, suddenly is over 300, that ISRG has had similar activity and so has TIF. And so it's a market for buying high-beta on any pullback, as the relative ocean of money coming into stocks outweighs any dicey outlooks. (All except for AAPL, strangely, which isn't high-beta but sure trades like it.)

Judge Wapner suggested it could be a sign of "irrational exuberance" in the market, except as the bulls will always say, most P.E.s aren't ridiculous. But it was too close to Ackman time, so that conversation didn't go anywhere.

"I see the bond market just stalling," Birinyi added.

Stephen Weiss said he thinks the market will go "much higher," singled out tech as his favorite sector and QCOM as a top play and said, "I added to Citi today." Jon Najarian said news out of Germany and Microsoft is bullish. Pete Najarian saluted SBUX. "They are sitting on a mountain of cash ... I think it's going a lot higher."

Icahn swears at Judge: ‘I’m never goin’ on a show with you again, that’s for damn sure’

Scott Wapner found himself in the wrath of Carl Icahn during a landmark CNBC debate on Friday's Halftime Report between Icahn and Bill Ackman.

"I didn't get on to be bullied by you," Icahn bellowed at Wapner, using "bullied" about 10 times, saying Max Meyers called him about responding while Bill Ackman was still on the line.

"I don't give a damn what you want to know ... you can say what the hell you want," Icahn told Wapner, who demanded to know about Icahn's Herbalife position (if any). "I'll talk about Herbalife when I goddamn want to and not when you ask me. I'm never goin' on a show with you again, that's for damn sure, OK."

That came after Icahn rebutted the Ackman rebuttal of his own criticisms.

"I've really sort of had it with this guy Ackman," Icahn said, asking Judge for a moment to explain a "little history" years ago when Icahn was out "minding my own business" when he got a call from Ackman, over Hallwood Realty.

"He's like the crybaby of the schoolyard," Icahn said, noting "I went to a tough school in Queens" and that Ackman reminds him of one of those "little Jewish boys."

"You rue the day I ever met the guy," Icahn said, before elaborating on what sounds a bit like a Gordon Gekko-Sir Lawrence Wildman showdown in the Hamptons that apparently hinged on "Schmuck Insurance."

"He's the quintessential example, that, you know, on Wall Street, if you want a friend, get a dog," Icahn said.

"Carl Icahn unfortunately does not have a good reputation for, uh, being a handshake guy," Ackman asserted, adding more details than we can shake a stick at regarding this ancient, long-settled "deal."

Ackman curiously began by rebutting Icahn's gripe about announcing a short at Ira Sohn, saying Icahn did the same thing in 2002-03 with his own 22% short of Trinity Industries.

Ackman asserted that Herbalife is "causing enormous harm to millions of people," is a "well-managed pyramid scheme," and that it's "unfortunate" if HLF longs lost money on the announcement of his short, but anyone who gets out above zero is ultimately better off.

Ackman did allow that if Ron Johnson is still struggling in 3 years, he's "probably the wrong guy," but keep in mind he's somehow trying something that's "almost never been done before."

He questioned why Dan Loeb would short Nu Skin and not Herbalife.

Judge had opened the round of interviews with, "Let's not focus on the past."

[Thursday, January 24, 2013]

Gary Kaminsky: Tom McClellan predicting AAPL bottom
about Feb. 19

CNBC Capital Markets Editor Gary Kaminsky, making another refreshing hit on Fast Money, said Thursday that Tom McClellan's comparisons of AAPL to the old RCA from last fall not only have been spot on, but that McClellan is predicting an AAPL bottom in about a month.

McClellan "continues to see a slide," Kaminsky said, that will culminate "ideally about February the 19th." At that point, you will have "growth investors out of Apple ... and that's when the stock will bottom."

Kaminsky said AAPL's price pattern bears resemblance to MSFT of the turn of the century, when value investors bought it, but just because it got cheap, not for catalysts.

We don't know if McClellan's right (although it sounds better than Tom DeMark's and Tim Seymour's "We've bottomed!!!!" from last week's 485), but we looked up McClellan's own analysis and found the AAPL chart does resemble RCA and MSFT in the times in question, especially MSFT.

Jon Najarian said of AAPL's day, "That was just ugly."

AAPL: ‘Implosion of growth in earnings’

Walter Piecyk, like Steve Milunovich earlier in the day, did little but recap the AAPL plunge on Thursday's Fast Money, explaining, "The multiple has contracted further but so has the earnings growth," and that there's been an "implosion of growth in earnings."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who asked Piecyk what the right multiple should be. Piecyk said he's basically got a 10 on updated earnings of $43.

But Piecyk didn't sound too optimistic, expressing doubts about the amount of people in China who can afford an unsubsidized iPhone; "Apple probably needs a cheaper phone to address that market."

Melissa Lee tried to pin Piecyk into calling AAPL a "value trap." Piecyk resisted, but said if it is going to become a value name, they've got to "do something with the money."

Mike Khouw said the issue is "who the incremental buyers are going to be" and suggested viewers "probably wanna wait a couple days" before buying.

Karen ‘still short’ PAY

Melissa Lee on Thursday's Fast Money aired several clips of her Davos interview with PAY chief Doug Bergeron, who noted that sometimes it seems like a great gilded age at Davos, and other times it seems like 1933.

Jon Najarian said of PAY, one of the more controversial stocks, "I like it cautiously," mostly because "you can't invest in Square" or another pure play, but at the same time Verifone can't blind itself to the competition as "occasionally this CEO has done."

Karen Finerman meanwhile affirmed, "We are still short ... mostly long puts," saying the company faces "tremendous pricing pressure" on the hardware part of its system.

And, there's an accounting mystery; "we don't get how they get the free cash flow numbers they do," Finerman said.

Tim Seymour a couple times said Karen is doing a "structural short," but he thinks Verifone "can succeed" as an emerging markets play; "margins are going higher; international sales are going higher."

Once again, someone misuses ‘literally’

Tim Seymour observed at the top of Thursday's Fast Money that we've had "7 straight up days in the S&P," but admitted, "I think the data is fantastic."

Keith McCullough said the contrarian play is to stay with the rally, given that the VIX fell through previous bounce level of 14, and that hedge fund faces are getting "literally ripped off."

"I've been buying pullbacks," McCullough said.

Jon Najarian said TPX proves McCullough's point, it's an "expensive stock getting more expensive," and TPX in fact was Najarian's Final Trade.

Karen Finerman revealed she took some off her spectacular call from the end of 2012, Realogy (selling it was her Final Trade also), and also some TKR, though she likes both names, just because the rally feels a bit extended, and "at the very end of the day bought some S&P puts," Finerman added, a non-metaphoric use of "end of the day" for a change.

McCullough said SBUX "deserves to be expensive now" and should be bought on weakness. Tim Seymour likes SBUX as an emerging markets story.

McCullough: NFLX could see 195

Tim Seymour, who just a week ago was hailing the short-term AAPL bottom and predicting a run to 550, said on Thursday's Fast Money that MSFT "is a story that I think people can get excited about."

Karen Finerman said the price ceilings on MSFT and AAPL despite them being great companies gives her "some pause about, is there a floor for valuations."

Keith McCullough insisted, "Cheap stocks are getting cheaper ... the performance is shorting cheap stocks and buying expensive stocks."

McCullough said NFLX has "nothing to do with valuation" and could even go to 190 or 195. Mike Khouw said the 140 NFLX puts were most active, but don't try to short it here, it's "really stepping in front of a train."

Tim Seymour questioned whether with T, "isn't the low-hanging fruit off the vine," and if last quarter's margins are as good as it gets.

Jonathan Litt said "real estate's got a better value" than the S&P 500 and said the rails, specifically CSX, are the "perfect candidate for the REIT." But he spent most of his time arguing LVS is worth $85 with or without the REIT.

Amelia Bourdeau, lookin' good, said to buy dollar/yen around 90.20 and "swing for the fences" with a target 95.

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of ORCL March 35 puts.

Khouw's Final Trade was XRT put spreads in a "levered bearish bet." Tim Seymour said sell AVP, and Keith McCullough said sell KMB.

She said in October that the ‘fundamental case is actually weakening’

Fighting the Barry Bannister Market®, Gina Martin Adams insisted on Thursday's Halftime Report that stocks are due to fall.

Martin Adams said she's "still pretty bearish," because "the data that I'm looking at is earnings."

Stephen Weiss though told Martin Adams that "we're looking at different data," because the "beat ratio" is anything but bearish.

Martin Adams argued that the beat ratio is only 59% vs. a long-term 65% and that she'd want to see it in the upper 60s. That was the final straw to this buffoonery, as Judge even stepped in and put up a chart saying it's actually 68%.

Jon Najarian admitted he's impressed by the market — the same market he predicted a January "whoosh" down in after the fiscal-cliff mumbo jumbo subsided — but, "I just haven't thrown a ton of money at it," except in options.

Stephen Weiss claimed there's "a number of institutions still under-invested." Joe Terranova went off on a serious Fed tangent that seemed to make utterly no sense, pointing to a couple statements last year indicating a "shift in the monetary policy" or no shift in policy, or whatever, and said the "language" is something to note next week. (However, he did not put the Fed in the penalty box.)

Gundlach looking good

Seeking yet another voice on AAPL (1,111 guy Brian White was on Squawk Box early), Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report brought in Steve Milunovich, who said the "10% drop seems a little extreme" (he should've waited till the end of the day), and allowed that Jeff Gundlach's 425 might've even been a "relatively good guess at the bottom."

"At the end of the day though it's really about growing operating profit dollars," Milunovich said, which is kind of Karen Finerman's point. "I actually think that they should be doing a lot more in services," he added.

Joe Terranova, in what proved to be a highly accurate assessment, said "I think Apple is trading today horribly." Anthony Scaramucci later told viewers from Davos, "If you're long that stock you should hold it," although you've also "gotta cover the short on BlackBerry."

Nothing Stephanie Link might’ve said was going to convince Stephen Weiss

As they tend to do when these two clash, things got chippy on Thursday's Halftime Report during the MSFT bull-bear debate between Stephen Weiss and Stephanie Link.

Link, the bull, opened with "The expectations are very low," that the stock had a bad 2012, and the P.E. is not high.

Weiss condescendingly began by noting he "dozed off" during Link's comments and mainly derided the stock as too boring to own; "it is tied to PC growth," and there's "always been a narrow trading range."

"If you want growth, come on," Weiss said.

"I didn't say it was a good growth story, I said it was a good value story, that was the first thing I said out of my mouth," Link snapped, though of course it wasn't the first thing out of her mouth; the first thing out of her mouth was that expectations are very low. She said the company has "other areas beyond PCs."

Weiss wasn't entertaining an ounce of it, even asking, "You ever see a Civil War movie," and likening the front row infantry to value investors that try MSFT.

Jon Najarian, having completely prejudged the case, said the debate was "something like Entebbe," then called the Surface a "big winner" and said "I'm a bull on this one."

Wait on FFIV

Herb Greenberg, adding nothing new about the NFLX story, said on Thursday's Halftime Report that "the only thing that's blowout here is the stock price," and that the company "cannot afford even a little mishap."

Joe Terranova advised waiting a "couple days" before plunging into FFIV. Stephanie Link said a couple times she likes TKR and UTX. Stephen Weiss called CMI overvalued and said in general, "I'd short the safety trades ... they're going to reverse." But Weiss said SCCO is "going higher."

Link said, "On a pullback 3M is attractive," and that she likes UPS but likes FDX better. Weiss said airlines are now actually "good investments" and "they all go higher I believe." Link's Final Trade was NAV, while Weiss said TBF.

Weiss said you can hold WMT but don't buy it, which is at odds with Karen Finerman's assertion that any stock you own at the end of the day, you're basically a buyer at that price.

Jon Najarian said he'd fold OPEN at this point, "even though I like their service." His Final Trade was NVDA based on June calls. Joe Terranova said EOG is a hold to 130 and made XOM his Final Trade.

Anthony Scaramucci said that Dan Loeb is predicting over 18 months "less accommodation and a return to normalcy" and grumbled that Judge didn't give time for a Nouriel Roubini update. Andy Busch said to buy the euro at 1.3325.

[Wednesday, January 23, 2013]

Jeff Gundlach calls out Brian White, says AAPL 425 ‘should probably happen this quarter,’ set for ‘probably somewhere in the 300-zone ultimately’

The most provocative Apple opinionator (is that a word), Jeff Gundlach, spoke with Wednesday's Fast Money gang and, with the wind behind him to some extent at the beginning of the AAPL afterhours horror show, reiterated his 425 price target.

"It's coming this year for sure ... it should probably happen this quarter," Gundlach said.

"It trades incredibly badly," he added. "The intraday low is 483, I think if you take that out, and certainly if you close tomorrow at 483, you're gonna see 425 very very quickly."

The New King of Bonds allowed that on the plus side, AAPL has "lost some of its downside momentum," but insisted it's "really a broken company that's incredibly overowned," and the longer the dialogue went, the sharper it got.

The cash pile "doesn't exactly argue for a huge multiple," Gundlach said, as Guy Adami tried agreeing with him in a cumbersome bit of dead air in which a question was anticipated and never came, and as for analysts, "just to be cute somebody (um, that would be a guy at Topeka Capital) came out with this ridiculous target of 1,111," while the innovation these days amounts to a "tutti-frutti" iPhone; "I think it's over ... probably somewhere in the 300-zone ultimately would be a sensible place."


Melissa Lee on Wednesday's Fast Money let Dan Nathan speak first about AAPL ... and then let him speak at every conceivable opportunity about AAPL.

"At the end of the day it's not the disaster" that bears wanted, Nathan said, although he probably should've waited till the end of the program to qualify that one, instead of curiously asserting, "It's in a lot of weak hands here at $500. It's retail that's left ... I don't think you're gonna see a flush tomorrow morning."

Steve Grasso politely and correctly argued otherwise, that retail AAPL holders have been "a little bit dragged around here," and "I would think that institutions are still holding this stock." Rather, Grasso said, Apple is a "one-dimensional company right now."

But Dan Nathan was only getting started.

"At the end of the day, you don't have that product story anymore," Nathan said.

"At the end of the day," Nathan said for the third time, "what Wall Street needs to do is come down to their senses."

Incredibly not at the end of the day, Nathan added, "At some point, you know, Tim Cook is gonna come under fire as maybe he's not that great (of a) supply-chain guy."

Melissa claimed Gundlach put a $300 target on AAPL when he actually said ‘300-zone’

Jon Fortt, given something of a stage on Wednesday's Fast Money during the Apple afterhours horror show, said the company now actually believes the guidance it is issuing, they're saying, "we're not sandbagging anymore."

Brian Kelly assured viewers, "You don't have to aggressively buy this name," and pointed out that when a chart such as AAPL's gets broken, "they go well beyond the levels that, that would- one might think is fair value." Except the problem was that later in the program, while observing "the way the company's valued is changing," Kelly suggested waiting to buy around 480/460, which is exactly where it got by 6 p.m. Eastern, and it wasn't exactly his Final Trade.

Steve Grasso credited a friend with being the first to suggest to him that AAPL might be entering "value trap" territory. "They need a product right now," Grasso said.

Guy Adami said that if Apple is more retailer than tech company, as he believes, "it's very hard to put the margin genie back in the bottle." But Adami warned against shorting QCOM as an AAPL derivative move. "You're making a wrong play," Adami said.

It’s almost time to start talking about whether NFLX can catch AAPL again

Guy Adami curiously praised Reed Hastings on Wednesday's Fast Money, saying "he took a broken stock and turned it around."

That brought an outcry from (who else) Dan Nathan, who bellowed, "He made a broken stock!" Undeterred, Adami pointed out that Carl Icahn got into NFLX, and "there might be some more room in this stock," even up to 150.

Mike Khouw said the options market actually "underestimated" the move in NFLX.

Nathan asked Jeff Gundlach whether he'd prefer NFLX over AAPL, kind of an easy question during Wednesday's afterhours. "I'd certainly rather own them," Gundlach said, referring to NFLX.

Gundlach, by the way, called Japan "a really extended trade," said it's about time for a "decrease, believe it or not, in long-term bond yields once again," and said to buy silver if you believe in the inflation story.

Brian Kelly actually says the
U.S. consumer is ‘tapped out’

In one of the more bogus Fast Money debates recently, Guy Adami, who always makes technical calls based on recent support and volume, made a bull case for SBUX "setting up for a nice bounce" and possibly getting to 58 on fundamental reasons, even though, "I can easily see me being Fast Fired for this one."

Dan Nathan, meanwhile, made an equally poor bearish argument on long-known valuation, at "30 times trailing ... I don't think you have to step in right here."

Brian Kelly, who prejudged the case, agreed with Nathan, "I don't like Starbucks here," and then uttered the howler of the program: "To me the consumer is tapped out here in the U.S."

Mike Khouw said the most active SBUX options were the February 55 calls.

Congrats to Steve Grasso

Steve Grasso took a few stand-up victory laps on Wednesday's Fast Money over his recent buys of GOOG and HPQ.

The Google gain just happened this week. "Sentiment was so negative going into earnings that you just had to buy it," Grasso said, "when it held that 691 mark," assuring viewers "I had no idea" he was going to get this much pop.

His rationale was a bit bogus, though, saying "search is only the tip of the iceberg for Google."

Guy Adami said "I believe we're still in" a GOOG uptrend, but the stock now is at "prove-it stage," and it's a "fool's errand" to take a position in the 740s.

Meanwhile, Grasso credited Gary Berman as identifying that "Hewlett Packard rallies over a hundred percent when it's oversold," and that once the chart formed a V and started to go up, that was the "true confirmation of oversold."

Grasso said Toni Sacconaghi has a 1,111 29 price target. Mike Khouw said if he had to take an HPQ position now, it would probably be as a call-buyer.

Really? ‘Much more volatile’
than in 2008?

We thought Brian Kelly had the howler of the day on Wednesday's Fast Money, but in fact, it might've been guest Ed Morse, who said, "Crude is gonna be much more volatile this year than any year in recent memory."

Morse said "The new norm for China is significantly lower than the old norm," and he wasn't referring to that character on "Cheers." Referring to oil, he said that in China, "Final demand at the consumer level is not growing very fast," and Chinese refineries could become exporters. He told Brian Kelly that iron ore isn't as vulnerable as copper.

Dan Nathan predicted that the BlackBerry 10 rollout would be a "flat-out disaster," and rather than try a tweeter's apparent risk-reversal idea of selling a call to buy a put, said he'd "rather be long premium."

Brian Kelly, Fast Fired over his ridiculous STJ sell call from November this page flagged weeks ago, insisted, "I still don't like this name ... I would still again sell it here." But Kelly said he'd keep a winner, PPLT. "I would still hold on to platinum," he said.

But Kelly said of gold, "I hold it, I still like it, I also like silver." Guy Adami said he was wrong about his suggested CHK short, but he likes APA and PSX in the oil patch.

Dan Nathan's Final Trade was adding to XLY short. Guy Adami said PSX, which he always says when he has no ideas. Steve Grasso said AMZN (another fallback choice), and Brian Kelly said EWY.

You probably beat Einhorn

Kate Kelly, in a double report, told Wednesday's Halftime Report that none other than David Einhorn reported a 4.9% net drop for the 4th quarter.

"Our coffee was too hot, our apple was bruised, and our iron supplements didn't go down smoothly," Kelly reported Einhorn's note as saying, suggesting Einhorn is quite possibly indicating a short position in HLF.

Meanwhile, Kelly said that John Paulson has now called the bottom in residential real estate, likes energy, and owns NXY.

Stephen Weiss said he doesn't really know what that signifies, "nor do I know why we should care," while quickly allowing, "I always defer to billionaires."

Enis Taner said that unlike Paulson, he doesn't see the need to own gold miners. Pete Najarian suggested LYB.

Dr. J: Buy COH with 49 handle

Jon Najarian (bull, sort of) squared off on Wednesday's Halftime Report against Stephen Weiss (bear, pretty much) over the day's biggest dog: COH.

"I have this 3-day rule," Najarian said. "I don't wanna buy it today, but if we break through 50, get down to 49, I'm a buyer."

"You've seen the brand again start to atrophy. So, it's no longer what it was," Weiss argued.

"The turnaround in China is good for Coach," Najarian rebutted.

Enis Taner had already prejudged the case. "This is the 2nd bad quarter for Coach in the last 6 months so I'm going with Mr. Weiss," Taner said.

(Around here we have a 3-minute rule — buy any stocks mentioned by Jon Najarian within 3 minutes of him mentioning them. (That's only a joke.) This writer found Doc convincing enough to, as of this posting, scoop up a few shares, albeit not quite at 49, although Lew Frankfort's embarrassing, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, Closing Bell interview was a bust. #buyersremorse)

Taner: AAPL could rally
on a ‘small miss’

Among the wilder predictions we've heard on Fast Money/Halftime Report lately was Enis Taner's contention that Apple "doesn't need to do too much for the stock to rally," and in fact the shares would rise even on a "small miss."

Pete Najarian said he's not sure it'll get a big pop and isn't interested until it clears 550; "otherwise for now it's technically broke."

Jon Najarian said not to expect a profit decline, "I don't think it will happen," and defended the products; "it is still a hot phone."

Later in the program, Toni Sacconaghi agreed with the non-Taners; "I think for the stock to work it has to be a pretty convincing beat." Sacconaghi said big moves would happen if iPhone sales were on either end of a 46-52 million range.

Guest Josh Spencer, though, told the panel "I'm going to give Apple the benefit of the doubt ... I think there's still a lot left in the tank."

Spencer said he actually sees CSCO as "early in that same journey that IBM took." Jon Najarian and Pete Najarian weren't so high on IBM post-earnings. "I took off my long positions in this stock," Jon said, while Pete advised viewers to "wait again for an opportunity near 190."

Pete: GOOG could ‘easily’
pull back toward $700

Enis Taner said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that Research in Motion is "setting up for a buy the rumor/sell the news" and advised viewers to take profits. Stephen Weiss revealed he "sold half my stock this morning," but Weiss thinks there's still upside in the name.

Pete Najarian said NFLX earnings would be all about streaming subs, bulls looking for somewhere between "a million and a half and 2," but cautioned, "this is an earnings with volatility."

Pete also called SINA a "very volatile stock."

Pete also said GOOG's overdone; "I see this pulling back easily toward 700 once again."

Jon Najarian predicted NXPI "is gonna be breaking higher I believe." Enis Taner reiterated his lack of enthusiasm for EBAY; "I still don't really like it here."

‘Unusual buying’ in D

Anthony Grisanti told Wednesday's Halftime Report that gasoline "starts to rally in January all the time," while Jeff Kilburg called it a "wonderful opportunity to get short here" at 2.85 and added, "2.60 looks like the target here."

Enis Taner said MCD is OK with a nice dividend but he doesn't see a breakout; there are "better stocks to buy in this market." Jon Najarian said he too wouldn't go out and buy MCD but "If I owned it, I would hold it."

Stephen Weiss said of WLT, "I continue to like it." Dr. J said VECO was benefitting from the CREE report. Enis Taner said GD was facing defense headwinds, while Pete Najarian said he couldn't find much going on with SWY besides Canadian asset rumblings.

Stephen Weiss told Judge Wapner he prefers The Floyd Trade (HK) to NOG. Jon Najarian's Final Trade was D, "unusual buying in this name" (but apparently no 3-day rule, unless the unusual buying started 3 days ago), while Pete Najarian said FB, Enis Taner said AMGN and Stephen Weiss said AIG.

[Tuesday, January 22, 2013]

AAPL critic sorta thinks shareholders should sell before earnings ... and sorta not

Whatever trouble Rocco Pendola (see, Fast Money is below its quota of thestreet.com personalities) was having making his AAPL recommendation sound as ridiculous as possible, the Fast Money gang on Tuesday was trying to put him over the top.

Actually — and this page is not inclined to bail people out for mistakes, but here goes — Pendola's point probably (stressing "probably") makes sense, that long-term it's a decent stock but there are others better, and short-term it could be volatile and fails the risk/reward test.

Where Pendola went off the rails was in referring to "cost basis" as a factor in whether to sell before earnings.

There are "so many other names to be in over the last year and probably going forward uh that can give you a better return and also help you sleep at night a little bit better," Pendola said, so don't rush to buy ahead of these earnings; "you'll have time to get in."

Karen Finerman wisely asked if that means current holders should sell before earnings.

Well, that depends, Pendola said; "everyone's gonna have a different cost basis."

"When is the cost basis relevant," Finerman demanded.

"It's never relevant," said Tim Seymour.

"It's incredibly relevant. It's absolutely relevant," Pendola said, explaining people have to ask themselves, "what's your profit target. When do you think you should be out of this thing."

Seymour predicted $550 in the short run.

Gary Kaminsky: AAPL buyback would draw incremental value buyers

CNBC Capital Markets Editor Gary Kaminsky, normally heard mornings on Squawk on the Street these days, delivered on Tuesday's Fast Money a provocative (and more convincing than Rocco Pendola's) theme for the AAPL earnings report.

Kaminsky traced the stock's trouble to Oct. 10, a date when he said the 50 largest closet indexers were all in the name, a "coincident indicator" that at such a point, there ain't a whole lot left on the sidelines.

"Those are the incremental buyers," Kaminsky said, but rather than suggest a ballooning dividend, argued that a big buyback would attract the "incremental value buyer" with greater success than a dividend hike would attract the incremental income buyer.

Karen Finerman agreed that "absolutely" AAPL should do something like that, but she's "not optimistic" in the slightest that it will happen Wednesday.

Actually we've been wondering why, instead of buying back its own shares, AAPL couldn't just buy Dell's, which Barron's seems to fear is getting "stolen" at $14, and make sure the market is cornered between tablets, phones, PCs, etc. (see below).

Kaminsky did express envy toward Rocco Pendola on one subject. "Now I know where all my hair went lookin' at Rocco there," Kaminsky said.

Before you know it, FCX and
BHP Billiton will want to take a look

Pete Najarian — using a line, curiously, just before it went up on this page on our Halftime recap (albeit in slightly different usage) well before we actually saw the 5 p.m. show — said on Tuesday's Fast Money that it's time to get out of DELL. "There's really not a whole lot of meat left on the bone," Najarian said. "I think this trade's over."

This subject came up when Karen Finerman said the notion of MSFT taking a stake in DELL makes sense and is believable.

The funny thing is, if it's such a "steal" according to Barron's and a great investment for MSFT, then why doesn't AAPL do it instead, and get a greater return on its cash than the zero it now gets ...

(Ah, that one's above the pay grade, got it.)

Mike Khouw said February 14 calls were the most active DELL options. Melissa Lee used the term "domiciled."

What exactly is the ‘lowest common multiple’?

One of the original Fast Money cliches involved Guy Adami declaring that Freeport McMoran "stole" Phelps Dodge, way back in, oh, 2006 or 2007.

In recent months, however, Adami has altered that refrain (what about the miners, refiners, early bird diners), stating repeatedly, as he did on Tuesday's Fast Money, that the consensus at the time was that FCX stole nothing.

"A lot of people thought they overpaid for that, turned out to be incorrect, they paid just exactly what they needed to pay," Adami said, while refusing this time to argue that Freeport "stole" whatever oil plays it's buying.

However, Adami's bullish on the name. "FCX will go up faster than the broader market," Adami said.

Tim Seymour complained that FCX has "thrown in the towel on being a dedicated copper and gold company," is delving into fields with "no synergies" in a "low-growth strategy," and that the stock is now "stuck in no-man's land."

Pete Najarian, after explaining how either side could be right, said, "I think Guy won." Mike Khouw said options activity indicates Adami is on the correct side and in fact made FCX calls his Final Trade. Karen Finerman though, backed Seymour. "When you diversify into something else I think you end up getting the lowest common multiple," Finerman said.

Guy Adami told Melissa Lee, "Nice lipstick by the way tonight."

Adami: All the way to 1,550

The Fast Money gang on Tuesday universally endorsed the market, but with the typical cautiousness always reserved for when times are good, in other words use protection etc., as opposed to all those other times you should carelessly be purchasing stocks willy-nilly.

"I remain a buyer of the market," said Pete Najarian, though indicating he's into the options more than equities now. Tim Seymour tried wearily to argue that the market "feels a little exhausted."

Guy Adami saved the thrust of his (same old point from a week or 2 ago) argument for the end of the program, predicting the S&P would find a top around 1,550, and then "I think the market will exhaust itself there," coinciding with a 12 VIX.

Pete Najarian suggested that actually "we could see 10" in the VIX.

Adami said you're not getting enough premium now to sell upside calls. Tim Seymour questioned if buying puts does any good; "isn't that throwing money out the window at this point." But Pete Najarian and Karen Finerman said it's not if you value insurance.

Very, very well-run, despite any capital destruction occurring

Sasol's Andre De Ruyter paid a visit to the Nasdaq for Tuesday's Fast Money to trumpet the notion of converting nat gas to liquids and how it surely makes sense given the prices of Brent and nat gas, but this interview was only notable for the way Tim Seymour tried to express caution about the name without offending De Ruyter.

Sasol is a "very, very well-run company," Seymour assured, but there is concern over "capital dare I say destruction." However, "long term these guys are in the middle of a very exciting space."

Seymour said IBM was benefitting from a margin beat. He said the DB selloff amounts to "a chance to buy Deutsche Bank on weakness," and he made TSU his Final Trade.

Guy Adami a couple of times hailed BX, his Final Trade, and said KSU is the play for "beta in the rails." Adami said there's "another day or 2 left to the upside" in RF though it's at the top of its range.

Mike Khouw said IBM options players were simply using tight strikes, but GOOG buyers were into the 750 calls. Khouw said in NFLX, the "valuation is just too rich for me."

Peten Najarian said RIMM is "going higher," but his Final Trade was to play it with options. He said to wait for a pullback in ISRG.

Karen Finerman said oil is a "creeping headwind" for airlines, that CHK was up because it's cold out, and backed both MHP and PACD in response to a tweet, before making MHP her Final Trade while the screen text showed GM.

Melissa Lee admitted she never got a flu shot.

Once again, a Dell discussion in which no one can explain why this company needs to go private

(Sigh) And whatever happened to David Faber and The Strategy Session.

Joe Terranova was called upon Tuesday to defend his long DELL position on the Halftime Report.

And, more than anything regarding these discussions, we're just intrigued by the terminology that smart people use to justify leveraged buyouts.

"Dell is a turnaround story in 2013 and in essence is 2012's technology Yahoo," said Terranova, but it took a moment for Terranova to note that Michael Dell in 2010 suggested interest in going private, to "slow down the process of which his company is viewed."

Hmmm. "Slow down the process of which his company is viewed."

How about: Cash in instantly while there's still some meat on the bone and avoid embarrassing quarterly calls with Toni Sacconaghi and Brian Marshall and hope that private investors will believe enough in long-term cash flows to justify lending the $14 a share?

Mike Murphy took the contrarian view, saying, "If this deal is scrapped, I think the stock pulls back 15 to 20% quickly." But Terranova argued, "The probability of a deal being pulled off the table is relatively small."

Then Terranova once again tried to make things difficult for himself. "The harder trade to make is to stay in this trade for what could be potentially a price north of 14," Terranova said.

Josh Brown sided with Murphy. "The easy money's probably been made ... the risk/reward is on the side of those who would take the profits," Brown said. "Do something else, this one looks as close to done as you get."

In a full-page article on the purported buyout price this weekend, Barron's never once explained how going private would help the cause, or that there's a need to "slow down the process" of which the company is viewed, only that $14 would "significantly undervalue" a stock that was $9 just a couple months ago.

‘Don’t confuse a hold with a sell’

The last time Google had an earnings report, Simon Baker said to buy it ahead of time, only to have the results come out early minutes later in a startling real-time embarrassment.

Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime Report once again enlisted his panel to take part in one of the show's most tiresome cliches, whether AAPL or GOOG is the better pick, and this time was not finding many GOOG takers.

Josh Brown said GOOG has traded "very badly" on a relative basis since last week. Mike Murphy said the AAPL bar is low but "I think there's more downside on Google." Jon Najarian said, "My bet is up in Apple right now."

Colin Gillis wasn't particularly high on either one, saying AAPL is fine for high-end consumers but has a "difficult time getting scale" with cheaper devices; "I just see ASPs in the entire space declining."

Gillis called Motorola a "millstone" around GOOG, prompting Judge to defend the company; "they're gonna figure that out eventually." But Gillis argued, "What are they gonna do with Motorola once they've got it working," answering his own question by saying it'll be building hardware at no margin or even a loss.

Gillis actually said, regarding his AAPL negativity, "Don't confuse, you know, a hold with a sell in all, all these types of things."

Joe Terranova, dispensing Trade School advice, told viewers, "For you all out there, you have to understand margins ... I say take a look at IBM."

Herb Greenberg once again made the subsidy argument, saying, "I think ultimately Verizon gets, uh, the upper hand." Joe Terranova, after tripping over a double-negative, said "Verizon is an excellent play."

The lines sometimes are out the door at Jack in the Box too

Erin Gibbs told Tuesday's Halftime Report that stocks can get to the Barry Bannister Level (see, everyone's catching up), or "about 1,600," thanks to an "improving unemployment rate" and "nice housing recovery" and "earnings growth."

Gibbs' 2 stock picks were CMG, pronounced "Chipulte" by Mike Murphy, and BIG, which she admitted is "definitely more of a value play," but "they have the cash flows, they have the earnings" to dig their way out of BIG trouble.

Judge Wapner actually said "the lines are out the door" at CMG and then later talked about the Fed taking away the "punch bowl."

Gibbs said THC is on her "avoid list," even though Guy Adami has been recommending it about once a week basically because it went up the previous week.

Joe gives viewers a trade he doesn’t want them to try

Apparently, it's the deep end of the trading pool.

Joe Terranova told Tuesday's Halftime Report that while watching the Research in Motion tape he embarked on a don't-try-this-at-home trade.

"I am short as of today RIMM via the $18 puts," Terranova said, but "I don't want folks to put this trade on and follow me in here." Rather, he's thinking that maybe he'll get an "island reversal" out of it.

Judge Wapner chided Josh Brown's negativity toward NFLX, saying Brown is "still drinking the haterade" (sic). Brown said it's a case of not wanting to be short a name that so many people are short, but at this point, he wouldn't want to be in it ahead of earnings.

Mike Murphy made long FB his Final Trade.

Murphy: FCX to 40

Steve Grasso, getting almost as much airtime from an NYSE floor hit as Jon Najarian, who was nearly shut out, on Tuesday's Halftime Report said the transports might be overcooked once the S&P hits 1,500 or 1,505. "They're all registering overbought right now," Grasso said.

Jon Najarian, however, said he likes NSC, "I like it to play catchup."

Najarian added, "I like STX as well as WDC." He also said he likes LSI and made APC (via long May 90 calls) his Final Trade.

Josh Brown said JNJ is "proactively talking about spinning off some units," and he made it his Final Trade.

Brown said Dan Loeb is short NUS, but that there's a "lot more room to the upside" in USG.

Mike Murphy predicted FCX will be "going right back to 40 now" and said "Caterpillar's fine." Murphy added that "Foster Wheeler is a buy here."

Rich Ilczyszyn said "I think we're hittin' a bit of a wall" in nat gas, which he called range-bound. Todd Gordon said to buy the Aussie at 1.06 with a 1.09 target. Anthony Scaramucci, overcoming a video delay, said Japan is a "big topic of discussion" at Davos.

Joe Terranova said he was in TRV much of 2012 but "got shaken out right after Sandy," unfortunately; "the insurance companies look strong," and he sees that as favorable for AIG.

Terranova advised buying cheap calls in SBUX and made long RF his Final Trade.

[Friday, January 18, 2013]

Well, Jim Chanos does

Normally John Rutledge's China-is-great commentary — once in a while tempered with a cautious market-timing call — gets a free pass from a Halftime crew that sounds just happy to speak with him.

But Friday, it was just one quip from Rutledge that sent him headlong into a fracas with tough hombre Stephen Weiss.

"We've seen 25 hard landings reported in the last year," Rutledge scoffed, explaining, "Western investors want China to fail ... the big swings in China-related stock prices happen when Western investors, uh, lose their mind."

Weiss started off politely. "I like your work but I can't think of a more ridiculous statement than what you said in terms of Western investors hoping that China fails ... why would you say that?"

"I would say that because I have been on this show and others more than a dozen times in the last year," Rutledge began, before Weiss interrupted. "Excuse me you asked me a question, let me answer it," Rutledge persisted. "I think Western investors do a terrible job understanding China."

Weiss responded, "That's too big a generalization ... all the time that you've been saying 'It's great, it's great, it's great,' it's actually been declining."

"That is not true," Rutledge insisted, talking over Weiss as Weiss continued to make a point.

"I let you finish, let me finish," Weiss protested, before giving up. "OK, you talk louder, you talk more often, you must be right."

Apparently suggesting an SPHB short, Michael Santoli knows where the ‘pain for the market’ is

Mike Santoli, the crown jewel apparently of the CNBC-Yahoo partnership who just a few weeks ago predicted a sell-the-news on the cliff deal but got no flak from Judge on that one, said Friday there are 3 reasons for market caution right now, first being a "general kind of optimistic backdrop," then there's the fact the "Citigroup Economic Surprise Index has kind of rolled over," and finally whenever there's a "good upside run into earnings season ... you tend to have some turbulence."

Santoli predicted D.C. and sequestration could give the markets a "little bit of a cold shoulder."

Santoli said DELL's potential buyout would be a "one-off thing."

The tepid interview eventually ended in a head-scratcher as Santoli, apparently trying to suggest a trade for a "pullback," mentioned SPHB and its early outperformance, "that's where the juice is" — presumably meaning it can be shorted for a "scalping," and doesn't that sound like fun, shorting high-beta in this market.

‘Time to play offense’

Friday's Halftime Report brought Day 2 of Joe Terranova's utterly incomprehensible stock-market terminology.

"The harder trade, the pain for the market, is the move to the upside," Terranova insisted.

So, the market has been nothing but pain in 2013.

Got it.

Much more conventionally, Terranova would add, "There are signs in the marketplace that you could say 'This is the beginning of a correction'. (That must be the pleasure.) I don't see that."

Pete Najarian freely admitted, "There is not a lot of fear out there." Stephen Weiss said the market is so good, it doesn't have green shoots, but "it's got blossoming flowers. Go buy it," later adding, "Get rid of your defensive holdings and go with beta. Time to play offense."

Jon Najarian, still smarting from that year-end out-of-the-market-for-the-first-time-in-31-years call, told Judge Wapner, "I like owning options instead of owning equities. I just do."

Whose idea was it actually
to re-debate INTC?

For some unfathomable reason, the Halftime Report chieftains on Friday decided it would be useful to have Jon Najarian and Joe Terranova re-argue INTC.

Basically Joe said the capex needs to be cut in half while Najarian said it's a good expenditure. "Intel is going to address the problems, and that's why they're spending more," Najarian asserted.

Pete Najarian, bashfully trying to avoid picking a winner, ignored both sides of the argument and pointed to the earnings selloff. "There is an appetite out there for Intel right now ... now's the time to get in."

Meanwhile, Pete said he sees more upside to YHOO than GOOG, especially as YHOO tries to "unlock some of this Asian asset," and (whew) we were afraid that we weren't going to hear the unlocking/monetizing Asian-asset value in the YHOO story anymore.

Stephen Weiss boldly asserted that RIMM has legs; "you'll see people come back to the BlackBerry."

GS ‘well north of 150’

Jon Najarian said on Friday's Halftime Report that he avoided the equity in his winning call on MS, because playing the equity would've forced him to buy a "$20 stock; instead I bought a 32-cent option." (Which could've been a zero-cent option were the results weaker.)

Najarian said there's more to go in MS. "It should pierce through those uh July of 2011 highs not too long." Joe Terranova, indicating another trade he presumably finds as much fun as a charley horse, said he has owned MS for 3 months, and that he expects GS to get "well north of 150."

Steve Grasso said of GE, "you can still buy this one," for all those who wondered if you actually couldn't, and said 23 will be resistance, but then it gets "gappy" to 26 ... you're playing it truly for $26."

Grasso said he only owns BA because he bought a small amount 15 years ago for one of his kids. He wouldn't plunge in right now; "I need closure," perhaps to 65.

"I like sequestration," said Stephen Weiss, who said debt reduction wouldn't hurt.

Lack of any mention of the conference championship games suggests public — at least New Yorkers — yawning at remaining NFL matchups

Pete Najarian had one of the more provocative (the competition wasn't too difficult) calls on AAPL on Friday's Halftime Report.

"Stay away from Apple. I don't understand what the fascination- everybody's had this fascination that they wanna buy the bottom in Apple," Najarian said. "This is gonna be a 2nd-half-of-the-year story."

Joe Terranova suggested "Apple may just move sideways," but he wondered about the "effect of a potential S&P correction" on the stock.

Terranova said "I like American Express here on a pullback," but added, "Capital One, I would move away from," which presumably means penalty box. Terranova admitted he looked at buying FCX Friday but didn't; "I have screwed this one up royally ... I like where it sits right now." He advised taking COP positions and "shave in half," and made PANW his Final Trade.

Pete Najarian called TSN "a little overextended," and of FB, said "I still like it." Pete's Final Trade was NE.

Jon Najarian backed TWI, "I like the stock," and said of Big Blue, "I think a good earnings report next week carries 'em through 200 on the (sic) IBM." Najarian's Final Trade was long JPM February 50 calls.

Stephen Weiss called SCCO the pure copper play that FCX is not and complained about F; "I don't think it's compellingly cheap anymore." Weiss' Final Trade was JNJ.

Gunmakers have taken off since President Obama's remarks Wednesday, but no one on Fast Money/Halftime seems to notice or care.

Cute Kathy Lien recommended buying dollar/yen at 89.50.

[Thursday, January 17, 2013]

Brian Kelly talks himself about halfway out of the blowoff-top theory on Mark Hulbert’s ridiculous conclusion

Mark Hulbert, making almost zero sense, told Thursday's Fast Money that citing Ned Davis Research, he sees signs of a market top, because in general just before the top comes, "the 2 sectors that tend to lag are financials and utilities."

So utilities are lagging ... and financials are not.

"That's perhaps the exception that proves the rule," Hulbert said.

OK. Got it.

The banks, he said, may be a "false positive," and have a "fairly weak thread."

OK. Got it some more.

Hulbert suggested the financials wouldn't be doing this well without the Fed's interest-rate help. Tim Seymour, packing a brain for a change, rightly asked why anyone thinks the Fed is about to stop. Hulbert responded that investors "have to at some point start discounting the end of that."

Guy Adami told Hulbert he agrees with him and wondered when Hulbert sees the blowoff top. Hulbert backpedaled, saying it's "more of an intermediate-term indicator."

Brian Kelly then started to find the concept of "blowoff top" amusing. "To me I would now start to go the other side and say, 'Maybe everybody's being a little too cute with this thing'. I'm still in the camp with Guy," Kelly said, which really is the blowoff-top camp, but whatever.

"How long you guys been going to camp together?" asked Tim Seymour.

Who in the world would’ve trusted their gold supply to Drexel?

Guy Adami explained on Thursday's Fast Money he wasn't around Wednesday to talk about the Germany gold-move story.

"This is a huge story in my opinion," Adami said, arguing it's a case of, "What do they see that the rest of us don't see ... and the answer is, it can't be anything good."

Adami even argued that if others start doing the same thing, the gold would have to be redeemed, and it has similarities to a run on banks; "this could potentially be exactly that," saying Drexel had custody of gold that the real owners couldn't access.

Brian Kelly backed up Adami, pointing out "gold is lent out every single day."

Tim Seymour and Jon Najarian, the outer edge of the panel as Mel Lee noted, found it silly. "I don't think that this is going to be a catalyst to other people," Seymour said.

Evidently he called it, even though he actually said, ‘Who said step in and buy it today?’

Melissa Lee on Thursday's Fast Money tried giving Tim Seymour credit for a BA call a day earlier, telling Seymour "you were a reluctant bull on this."

Guy Adami said "I admired Timmy's, uh, his chutzpah," on that call, then suggested COL, PCP and LMT on a BA-related selloff (which might already be over).

Seymour suggested ERJ.

Guest Yair Reiner indicated that the 787 concerns though are minimal, predicting, "We can get this problem behind us in a matter of days," in fact, the 787s will be back in the air "by this time next week."

Reiner also said Boeing will have a couple new projects within a year, a "stretch 787" and an updated 777.

Dr. J got completely out of the market almost a hundred points ago, waits for a do-over

Jon Najarian, still trying to rationalize that utterly goofy out-of-the-market-for-the-first-time-in-31-years call at year-end, said on Thursday's Fast Money, "I saw a lot of money flowing out of bonds," but told Melissa Lee he's still waiting to plunge back into stocks; Lee asked what it would take and Najarian weakly offered up AAPL and other earnings next week, "that's what I'd like to see." (And then the big "whoosh" predicted around year-end will presumably materialize.)

Brian Kelly said, "I came in long today, I stayed long," but cautioned, "you need to buy puts."

Guy Adami, doing that now-then trade himself, said, "I think the S&P is headed somewhere between, again, 1,525 and 1,565," and the VIX will hit 12 and the 10-year yield top 2%, and then, "that will be the top of the S&P and the bottom for those other 2 things."

This will happen in the "next few weeks," Adami said.

Kelly: Possible ‘bottom’ in INTC

Jon Najarian, as goofily as he explained on the Halftime Report, reiterated on Thursday's Fast Money that AAPL in January is dogged by sellers with losses, as opposed to the December sellers with gains; they are "taking those losses in 2013."

Superfox Seema Mody, whose beige dress was a treat, asked the panel, "How can Apple get its mojo back." Tim Seymour said, "I think Apple is a trading call here, and I think it's going higher."

Melissa Lee, whose lashes have been a little overdone the last 2 days, called the early INTC release a "question mark." Jon Najarian said the INTC selloff appears to be on concerns the earnings benefitted from a "tax issue."

Brian Kelly said the INTC report "could have kind of that kitchen-sink effect here ... you could see this being the bottom."

More evidence against the
Mark Hulbert conclusion

ETF watcher Matt Hougan told Thursday's Fast Money there are "huge inflows into XLF," and "I think momentum continues there," despite the fact Tom Fitzpatrick claimed on the Halftime Report that the market has no momentum.

Hougan said the overall message is "clear as day. For ETF investors, at least, it's all risk-on and out of risk-off."

In bonds, Hougan said he's "definitely seeing more inflows into the shorter duration."

Brian Kelly, noting the afterhours trouble in COF, said that name was an early bellwether of the 2008 crisis. "Keep an eye on Capital One here," Kelly said, which means ... what ... cash out everything and play for a bailout? Mike Khouw said there's a lot of complacency and optimism in this market.

Adami: THC still works

Tim Seymour argued against homebuilders on Thursday's Fast Money; "I think these valuations are absurd ... I like cement, I like materials."

Then, trying to say something about RIO senior management, Seymour made sure to include, "at the end of the day."

Jon Najarian likewise said, "I don't like Lowe's and Home Depot anymore right here short term, very short term," but he does like WY and suggested DEL.

Guy Adami pointed to THC and said "specific names still work."

Brian Kelly said of the XLY, "For me it's a no-go," but it "looks like The Chairwoman was right once again." Kelly dissed SBUX; "that chart doesn't look that great to me."

It’s not because of ‘Two and a Half Men’

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Fast Money argued that VZ "added 2 million net subscribers," has a Redbox deal going and also a 5% yield, making the shares attractive.

But Tim Seymour argued the "stock's been dead money ... I don't see margins expanding there ... the low-hanging fruit is off the vine."

Najarian pushed back, "96 million subs," while Seymour complained about talking time, before concluding, "A lot of people were in this name as a bond proxy."

Guy Adami said of JCP, "Short term, I think it continues to go down." Tim Seymour said MRO benefitted from the "piling into names that have underperformed."

Brian Kelly noted TSN is in the "meat space" and also suggested DBA and said HRL is "on fire." Tim Seymour suggested MON. Mike Khouw said the multiple in CMG looks rich. Jane Wells looks tremendous in an artichoke field.

Khouw also said CBS there was unusual options activity in CBS before Thursday, and that someone bought January 42 calls for 40 cents.

Khouw's Final Trade was selling out of the money puts in AAPL. Tim Seymour said EBR, Guy Adami said (what he always says when he has no ideas) PSX, Brian Kelly said FXA but only if Chinese data is good, and Jon Najarian said NE.

Brian Kelly advised (the limited) viewers of the Web Extra to "hold your Johnson."

Joe: Seeking pain

Thursday's Halftime Report opened with a remark from Joe Terranova that we won't expect to see in the next edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

Joe, quickly veering into his head-scratching "harder trade" tangent, explained he has been in GS, and his position is "even bigger now. Why? Because that's where the pain is. The pain is to the upside right now."

So, let's get this straight ... Joe is trying to accumulate as much "pain" as possible for his portfolio, in this case either by adding more GS shares, or simply watching them go up.

Wall Street was then seriously hurting Thursday, with the S&P 500 up a robust 8 points.

The odd thing was, despite the pain, Mr. New World said that "it's boring, it's calm ... It's a benign tape." (See, we implied he was a quote machine on Thursday.)

Jon Najarian indicated he hasn't got time for the pain, telling Judge Wapner "my toes are back in the water," but he's only "25% invested."

Stephanie Links said, probably surprising zero listeners, "on the weakness, we've been buying ... beyond housing, I still like industrials."

Simon Baker added, "I've been buying ... buying on the dips, absolutely."

Hopefully Dr. J’s 25% market position doesn’t include any INTC

In one of the best calls of the still-fairly-new year (this review was posted after the INTC report Thursday), Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime Report correctly urged viewers to "get out of Intel before earnings tonight."

Terranova, arguing the bear case against Jon Najarian, said "the stock is highly correlated with gross margins. Gross margins continue to decline," and he expects management to "guide those margins even lower."

Najarian argued that there's a positive outlook including Europe, that the Lexington chip (whatever that is, perhaps involving Kentucky basketball) has potential, and Intel in cloud TV will "beat Apple to the market."

Forced to choose a winner, Stephanie Link whiffed. "They kinda both did a really good job," Link said, agreeing with Mr. New Land that management will lower margins, but suggested the play is to buy on the weak guidance. "There really is growth opportunity in the cloud," Link said.

Simon Baker played the dolt with this one. "I go with the Doc. I think Intel beats earnings tonight," Baker said.

Joe can sleep well, despite the presence of the Tom Fitzpatricks of the world

One thing human beings tend to take for granted way too much is a good night's sleep.

(Until it doesn't regularly happen, then you stop taking it for granted.)

Yet Joe Terranova signaled on Thursday's Halftime Report that not even the harshest bears such as Tom Fitzpatrick can keep him awake at night.

"I know that I could put my head on my pillow at night, and go to sleep, knowing that I have a very easy access to hedge out whatever portfolio risk or trade risk I might have based on Tom's comments," Terranova said.

(How Tom's comments create risk of some kind, we have no clue. But we digress.)

Fitzpatrick, basically echoing A. Gary Shilling a day earlier (it's become bear season on Fast Money/Halftime as Judge evidently doesn't have the brass to put Barry Bannister back on), said we "still have a little bit of legs left here" and that the S&P can reach "maybe 1,495," and then, in the howler of the day, argued, "what there isn't is momentum."

Try telling that to holders of FB ... BAC ... NFLX ... VLO ... AMZN ... LEN ... JPM ... YHOO ... or basically anything besides AAPL.

Fitzpatrick said the plunge will be "probably in excess of 20%," and while acknowledging such a plunge would almost certainly have to involve recession, said there's a "danger" of that outcome.

Stephanie Link wasn't on board. "I just don't get why you would fight the flobal Fed," Link said.

Baker: BA may be ‘buyable dip’

It's still early for declaring victory/defeat, but Mike Murphy appeared to bungle the BA call on Thursday's Halftime Report.

"I do not think now is the time to get in on Boeing," Murphy contended. "This problem is not going to be going away anytime soon" and is not so much a glitch, but "really more of a design issue."

In fact, Murphy suggested, as the stock hovered around break-even or below its 74.34 previous close, that the time to buy might be the "mid-60s."

Jon Najarian said the BA options activity was "10 times normal," and that "I took off all my shorts this morning" (try not to visualize that literally).

Stephanie Link said, "I wouldn't buy Boeing just yet. But I would buy the suppliers." Simon Baker, hopefully offsetting his INTC call, said it "could be a buyable dip here" in BA.

Dr. J’s non-wash-sale AAPL-selling theory (cont’d): All the people with gains sold in December; all the people with losses are selling in January

He has already said it a few times in 2013, but it was refreshing nonetheless to hear Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime Report tell Judge Wapner, "What I'm trying to do is, is not measure my investment in Apple anymore on a day-to-day basis." (See, that's kind of "where the pain is" too.)

Simon Baker, like most on Fast Money when AAPL falls to a startling level, suggested, "I think we're close to" a bottom.

But Jon Najarian, whose year-end analysis of why AAPL was selling proved a complete bust, doubled down with a newfound 2013 theory Thursday, explaining that people who bought in the 600s and 700s didn't want to take a loss last year with lower rates; "I think a lot of those same folks have been taking (sic) and that's been the pressure on Apple the last few weeks."

And, Gene Munster has probably spied longer lines than usual at the 2 Apple stores he has Segwayed by.

Flash: Cramer, Stephanie actually like the same stock

Herb Greenberg, with really nothing new to report on The Trade That Fast Money Missed, HLF, told Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that the Loeb-Ackman battle is "a sideshow, a distraction" as to whether it's a real business, or a "pyramid."

Judge had a contender (vs. Joe Terranova's stable) for line of the day when Greenberg curiously used "pyramid" singularly, clarifying that we're not talking about "Giza."

Jim Iuorio grumbled that with crude, "I'm tired of fighting this fight, because I have lost ... something's driving this market higher ... if it settles above 96, maybe I'm a bull now," advice that is bound to help anyone make a trade.

Mr. New World, with curious phrasing, suggested not being on the sidelines for LEN and LPX. Stephanie Link said she likes the BRCM story. Simon Baker grumbled that he was supposed to get eBay but got dealt Netflix instead (no problem, just read the notes).

Later, given a crack at EBAY, Baker actually suggested checking out PAY on the EBAY report. Stephanie Link said of CSCO, "I actually like the story; we've been buying it for the fund," and Judge actually found it worth noting that he listened to Cramer on the same stock and "he's right with you there."

Flash: Fast Money gang says Irwin Simon’s stock is a good one

Kevin Holt, using the baseball (or horseshoes) terminology that should always give one pause, told the Thursday Halftime crew that we're only "probably in the 2nd or 3rd inning" of bank stocks rising, and that he likes the money centers best.

Unlike Mr. New World, Hold didn't argue that financials are where the pain is.

Jon Najarian said, "A lot of the banks are still great buys," and Simon Baker chipped in, "I think they're all very much buyable dips."

Stephanie Link said of BLK, "This is the one on weakness."

Simon Baker said to flat-out "stay away" from JNJ, while Stephanie Link said LOW is peaking; "the restructuring story is already played out ... I would actually take profits here."

Joe Terranova blessed APC. "You hold it or you buy it because I believe it moves north of $80," Terranova said. Simon Baker said of UA, "I think you avoid it here." Jon Najarian called Irwin Simon a "good guy" and asserted that HAIN is "climbing that wall of worry, coming back."

Andy Busch recommended selling the Aussie at 1.0575.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was OXY. Joe Terranova said RKUS, an "excellent company." Simon Baker (gulp) said INTC, and Jon Najarian said AMRN.

[Wednesday, January 16, 2013]

But nobody on Fast Money noticed that gun stocks surged after press conference

Tim Seymour, without Chess King to pick on during Wednesday's Fast Money, apparently tried making a bull case for BA when he wasn't getting tripped up by "at the end of the day," which he tossed in "for those at home that are playing."

Seymour claimed "These planes are still safe," and then, "this is not a big move" after "significant news against it."

This boneheaded, knuckleheaded, toilet-cam argument came full circle when Seymour, after taking a rightful pounding, actually exclaimed, "Who said step in and buy it today?"

In fact, Seymour was arguing — whatever he was arguing — the opposite of a bull case, which would be that the stock got so hammered by these headlines that there can't be much left, a point beautifully made by (of course) Karen Finerman, who noted that a plunge has not happened and said, "Why do you need to step in right here, it's only down a few percent."

The designated bear here, Dan Nathan, called it a "big PR problem ... largely a PR problem." Steve Grasso noted half the 787 fleet is idled and agreed, "You can't buy it just yet." Karen Finerman, the funniest member of Fast Money, chipped in, "Till it's all grounded?"

Tim Seymour wants people to buy AAPL $20 above the current offer

Andy Hargreaves, like everybody else now apparently lowering his broad AAPL range to account for all possible scenarios, told Wednesday's Fast Money that the "timing wasn't ideal certainly" for a downgrade (to a 440-550 range on high-end "saturation"), but this is his assessment of the company's outlook in which "all of the profit dollars are at the high end."

Hargreaves listened to Tim Seymour's commentary and actually responded with something that made less sense than what Seymour said, "I've never really been of the view that you should pay attention to, to margins on a percentage basis."

Hargreaves dismissed the notion that it ultimately would trade like RIMM or NOK, "but it probably does trade at Microsoft multiples or, or maybe even a little bit below." (See, that's another recurring theme in this story too.)

Karen Finerman declared, "I am long." Dan Nathan said he was hoping to buy at 465 but didn't get it; "expectations got dire."

Mike Khouw said there's a case for selling iPhones in India but with $1,200 average incomes, "I just don't see that as a growth story," even though regarding the short-term downside, "I think the stock might be overdone here." Fortunately for Khouw his India point was only challenged by Tim Seymour, who, immersed in moisturizing jeans, first indicated AAPL has a great opportunity in India but then seemed to get confused as to Samsung being better, and whose advice was to "buy Apple at 525, take some profits, and then wait for the next move up."

Tim Seymour says the banks are so great, you should fade them

Among the crystal-clear calls Tim Seymour made on Wednesday's Fast Money was that GS and MS were great, MS having even the more appealing valuation, and yet, "I think this is where you fade it."

While nobody noted that Guy Adami (GS selloff at day's end) bungled this one a day earlier, Dan Nathan did suggest it feels like "kind of a beta chase." Karen Finerman, though, said "I like this space still."

Steve Grasso said of GS, "If it holds this level, it's 150," and then touted a related name, FRC, that is "under radar, outperforms."

Flash: A. Gary Shilling says the same thing every time he’s on CNBC

For fresh market commentary on CNBC, there are few more reliable sources than A. Gary Shilling, who probably showed up Wednesday on Fast Money just because Dennis Gartman mentioned his name the other day.

Shilling predicted an upcoming "shock" to the markets that will lead to risk-off mode, which he calculates to be 1,040, or a 29% decline.

But Shilling admitted, "I sure wish I knew on the timing," and because he doesn't, the markets now can go higher, "yeah risk on but with caution," for those who buy stocks with zero caution.

Shilling like several others Wednesday had the good fortune to have his logic challenged by Tim Seymour, but this time Seymour actually made sense, saying the world is "not even close" to recession.

EBAY ‘overbought in the monthly’

Steve Grasso, who hasn't said anything about the CBO scoring the fiscal-cliff deal recently, said on Wednesday's Fast Money that the difference between AMZN and EBAY is that AMZN is "not overbought," while EBAY "is overbought in the monthly."

Grasso said the issue about an HPQ sum-of-the-parts scenario is that "it depends on what they're gonna sell these pieces for."

Karen Finerman urged caution on DELL; "I wouldn't buy it." Mike Khouw said the same for NFLX. Dan Nathan said of INTC, "I think the stock's in a really tough spot here."

Nathan, given months-old Quicker Than the Ticker/Fast Fires, said YHOO has become a "stock-specific story here ... I think you have to take a pause at 20." He said he was talking his book in his bear case for CSCO on Aug. 15 that was blunted by the dividends of big tech. Steve Grasso paid attention to the shirts in the clips and said "you didn't lose your shirt in that trade" because it was the same one in both August and September (but not the same one he was wearing Wednesday).

WYNN might get to 130

Barbara Marcin told Wednesday's Fast Money that stocks offer "mediocre valuation," but in the search for total return, she likes names including IP, PFE, JPM, DEO, BLK.

Tim Seymour chimed in with GM and VOD, but not BA. Steve Grasso said he's waiting to get into MO again.

Seymour, whose Final Trade was ERJ, said "let's wait" on GM.

Mike Khouw said that some institution tried a cleverly bullish 295/300 call spread in CMG; "nice cheap, levered way to make a bullish bet," but noted the "puts are trading at a huge premium." Khouw's Final Trade was calendar spreads in April/February AAPL calls for 500 or 510.

Steve Grasso called WYNN "definitely overbought here" but said it might get to 130; he likes it in the 115-118 range. Grasso's Final Trade was GOOG.

Todd Gordon suggested buying Aussie at 1.06. Karen Finerman's Final Trade was MHP. Dan Nathan was heard to say, "I wanna know more about Grasso's butt double." Melissa Lee spoke about "doing nothing" on the set, but her royal blue top was doing everything for her.

AAPL bottom-pickers correct for at least a day

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Obama-shortened Halftime Report viewed the day's AAPL recovery with a dose of skepticism.

Brown said some predicted a 460 bottom that didn't happen; "we had this DeMark bounce because of what he said on Fast Money last night," but that if the company doesn't report 13½ in earnings and at least 54.5 billion in revenue, "this is gonna revisit those 480 levels and much worse."

This page agrees with Brown, though it must note Keith McCullough did crush an extra-base hit on this one yesterday, and Tim Seymour (broken clock) and Tom DeMark are right at least for a day.

Meanwhile, Enis Taner argued that FB is stuck in a 33-27 range, and "I am not a buyer of Facebook here." But Brown argued, "This thing is a beast right now," and the stock is "probably not where you would sell." Mike Murphy, who's long FB, said "this is a classic buy the news," and that the shares are "still going to $38."

Brown called EBAY "great risk/reward" and told Taner, "I can't find anything not to like about it." Taner's bear argument was, "Why pay for the growth of PayPal when you can buy Visa or MasterCard for the same multiple," before cleverly pointing out that Brown doesn't even own EBAY.

"I don't own eBay yet," Brown conceded, but if it pulls back Wednesday, he would.

Mike Murphy concluded, "I'm gonna go with Josh," but said options are pricing in a 5% move and that it "could pull back a little" first, although somehow that didn't stop him making it his Final Trade.

Bill Nygren can’t recall the 4th non-PC source of DELL earnings

Bill Nygren said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that he buys stocks with a 3-5-year horizon, and in general, "I think all the signs are positive."

Twice referring to a favorite, "Bank America" (sic), Nygren said, "we continue to like JPMorgan a lot, but made the biggest case for DELL and its "very strong liquidity position."

Nygren said the stock is punished as a PC company, but "more than half their earnings are coming from services, security, uh, servers, and uh, you know, areas away from PCs."

He said the reported LBO price is "something beneath what we hope the business is worth," suggesting there should be an "open process" for business and that existing management should "consider possible restructuring steps."

Josh Brown cautioned against buying the shares now; "might be some letdown if it doesn't happen."

Pete hangs a 150 on GS

Pete Najarian said at the top of the abbreviated Halftime Report Wednesday that Goldman Sachs "overdelivered in my opinion," and he would "actually put a 150 number on this at this point in time."

"I think the banks continue to go to the upside," Najarian said.

Star guest Rick Rieder (or was that Bill Nygren) said stocks have more upside than bonds right now; "I don't think it's a fair fight today ... the upside potential in fixed income is pretty limited this year."

Rieder predicts a 2.25-2.50% yield on the 10-year this year.

He said "I also would argue that default rates in high-yield should stay relatively low, very low," and added, "I don't believe in a bond bubble."

Mike Murphy warned against BA. "This isn't a 1-time or a 2-time or a 10-time thing. This is a major issue ... I wouldn't be buying it here," Murphy said.

Murphy said to hang onto STZ, and Pete Najarian said the same for VLO.

Najarian's Final Trade was SBUX. Enis Taner said YHOO and Josh Brown said QCOM.

[Tuesday, January 15, 2013]

Fast Money pros still trying to call daily direction in AAPL, declare bottom with zero evidence


Once again on Fast Money Tuesday, everyone's an expert at outguessing the Street on the world's most scrutinized stock.

Keith McCullough said that, "when the Journal's bearish on it" and a sell-side firm gets bearish, you buy it; "we got the signal between 482 to 492, you buy it for a trade to 518," though he at least for his Final Trade suggested it's not necessarily a bottom of any kind, only a bounce.

Karen Finerman first said she "exercised," then said "sold," $500 puts in AAPL, which makes her a "little nervous, but getting longer."

Tim Seymour flat-out declared, like the others with utterly no real evidence whatsoever, "The traders here in us say, this is way overdone ... the oversold conditions are very clear in this stock. I would be a buyer ... somewhere around actually 480, the stock has bottomed."

Even Guy Adami, who would generally look for a volume washout that utterly did not happen Tuesday, claimed that "for a trade ... now's the time to play the other side."

Nomura's Stuart Jeffrey visited the Nasdaq to explain his cut in price target to 530, which included the ever-popular margin concerns, which brought the margin-dollar argument from Karen Finerman.

Covering all the bases, Jeffrey implied, or had Mel Lee do it for him, that the shares potentially could fall as low as $400. He said that $400 amounts to a 9 multiple, and that CSCO and MSFT ex-cash are at 6 times multiples, so "If you compare it to those guys, I think Apple's still a little bit expensive."

Guy Adami, seemingly taking the other side of his own long-running point, asked Jeffrey if Apple's apps and iTunes aren't enough to keep it from being a "1980 version of Sony." Jeffrey sort of made a case against that, saying most apps aren't made by AAPL but 3rd parties and most programs are compatible across phones or devices.

The things Tom DeMark did not mention on his Fast Money Brag Trade tour

Funny how we never heard about it Sept. 21.

Market-timer Tom Demark told Tuesday's Fast Money crew that back on "September 21st, we turned bearish on, uh, on Apple, it was about $700 ... we made a prediction that the stock would go down to 494, 494.97 to be precise."


Although that didn't do Fast Money viewers much good, given that DeMark only made (per our records) one appearance in the last 4 months of 2012, that being Oct. 22, when he didn't talk about AAPL 494.97, but predicted a surge to 1,485.33 within 10-12 trading days before the "long, extended decline" hit.

We're still waiting for the 1,485, and the "long, extended decline" to follow.

Then there's the interview DeMark gave to Bloomberg last week, in which he predicted a peak at 1,492 and then a fall of at least 5.5%; "this high could occur as early as tomorrow," he said, on Jan. 10, and we're still awaiting that one too.

DeMark told Melissa Lee he "turned positive on uh, Herbalife, uh, recently when it moved below $26," another call we never heard on the show at the time it purportedly happened.

But DeMark did stick his neck out on AAPL. "The bottom is in today or tomorrow," DeMark said.


Karen: DELL shareholders might rise up against deal price

Karen Finerman on Tuesday's Fast Money had the most provocative comment on the pending DELL borrowing-money-to-eliminate-quarterly-conference-call embarrassment, suggesting it's possible that if an LBO valuation is $13-$14, there could be a "shareholder uprising" in which agitators insist "it's not enough."

Mike Khouw reported that someone was doing DELL call spreads by buying the 12½ and selling the 15 against it, "that's kind of a thread-the-needle trade."

Melissa Lee, in sizzling mustard top Tuesday, said the FB production Tuesday "seems extremely anticlimactic," though guest Max Wolff found reasons to take it seriously.

The Bing angle "suggests ongoing conversations with Microsoft that are interesting ... this is about staying ahead of Google, Google+," Wolff said, before articulating with an interesting Allen Edmonds example of how useful dedicated search is for advertisers as opposed to trolling people's pages for references that might not mean what advertisers want them to mean.

Wolff suggested that posting all kinds of your personal thoughts on a Facebook page is like experiencing a toilet cam when you've really got to go.

Seema Mody, revealing Tuesday yet another weapon in her arsenal, beauuuuutiful teeth, (as did Karen Finerman), asked the traders about Twicker reaction to FB. Tim Seymour said "This is a warning shot" to Yelp and LinkedIn, who might have given buyers "trading byes" in selling off Tuesday, but there might be something to it down the road.

Keith McCullough said of FB, "At the end of the day, the stock pulls back, if it holds 27½, you buy it."

Adami: Watch GS go up, then sell off

Karen Finerman said on Tuesday's Fast Money "we're long JPMorgan," hardly a surprise, but Keith McCullough said to adequately trade GS and JPM this week, you merely have to understand the "expectation of the event."

Tim Seymour had more than expectations, saying, "I think JPMorgan certainly offers the best value" of the bulge bracket, and "I think things probably bottomed at the end of the 3rd quarter."

Guy Adami, who was credited on the show for an excellent call in GS, said "all bets are off after tomorrow," and suggested the stock might rally a couple dollars higher before a late-day selloff, and then the short-term top is in.

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of the MS January 20.5 calls for 35 cents, a "big change in sentiment."

Underestimating the American shopping-mall consumer (cont’d)

Jeff Jordan on Tuesday's Fast Money dealt with the one trade that has bedeviled Karen Finerman (maybe there's more than one actually) and probably could've ended up on the worst calls of 2012 list had it happened early enough in the year but didn't, perhaps because it might've been made in a Web Extra, which is shorting the mall REITS as part of a long-term play on bricks-and-mortar decline.

Jordan, echoing Karen's long-standing thesis, said there is "stress at the malls," more space being created while retailers are shrinking, and "I think marginal malls are gonna close."

But Finerman pointed out she has tried this trade, including DDR shorts, and "the whole space has done pretty well."

Jordan though said rents are "down substantially from 2009 and are not recovering," contrary to what other guests have said.

"I've gotten it wrong every which way," said Finerman.

‘Benign tape’ sighting

Tim Seymour said on Tuesday's Fast Money "I'd buy this weakness" in SAP, and made long EEM vs. short SPY his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman said GPS went up just because it was a "very good day for retail." Her Final Trade was TKR.

Guy Adami said if you're "ambitious and want to short" CHK, trying it at 17½ would be a "good play." Adami called CELG a hold and (sigh) noticed the "same shirt" in his WPI Fast Fire, explaining, "I still think, benign to a good tape, Watson Pharma's a buy." Adami's Final Trade was BIDU.

Adami also suggested Melissa Lee throws like a girl.

Keith McCullough said LULU took a dip on serious volume because this is what happens with a top-line miss. McCullough called the transports a hold.

Mike Khouw said AVP has been trading with HLF, and "People aren't concerned about the pyramid scheme as much as they were a week ago."

Stephen Weiss actually suggests Apple products are like Polaroids

Joe Terranova opened Tuesday's Halftime Report with a bit of self-analysis over recent AAPL commentary even this page had already started to forget about.

"Let's go back and, and critique what my comments were on November 16th when I called this a generational buy. And it was foolish to do so, it was an emotional type of statement," Terranova said.

He went on to say he had been buying 525 calls and is "long a small amount of Apple right now," but citing the struggles of the last few days, realized "something is wrong with the stock of Apple, not the fundamentals, the stock of Apple."

Mike Murphy admitted "I've been wrong on this name," but nevertheless, "I added to my long call position this morning."

Stephen Weiss said "momentum cuts both ways" and actually likened AAPL to EK, IBM and RIMM as companies that once had must-have, unique technology. "I can give you many, many more names ... Polaroid, couldn't live without it," Weiss somehow claimed.

Then Weiss faulted AAPL capital allocation, arguing "Philip Morris sells at a big premium to Apple. Why? Because they've got a big dividend."

Jon Najarian was the only one fixing a potential bottom. "I think it's getting wildly oversold down here at these levels, but they've gotta show us something," Najarian said. "I think 465 is a critical level, and I don't think we go below that."

Toni Sacconaghi said "sentiment is extremely powerful" and then argued that Apple is shifting from a growth-investor base to perhaps a value base that isn't there yet but when that shift occurs, stocks fall like this. "There's a transition in that shareholder base happening," Sacconaghi said.

Weiss seemed to doubt the stock will remain in free fall, pointing to people like Lee Cooperman who will step in; "he's the consummate value buyer."

The amateur opinion here is that the Fast Money gang, while necessarily needing to opine on AAPL for TV purposes, would be consummately wealthier if they'd focus their own accounts on stocks not heavily scrutinized by tens of thousands of people in which they might acquire a research advantage for themselves.

Shout-out: Neil Young

In yet another tiresome preview of the Facebook surprise (from the Son of Ping and Pong Room), Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime brought on Porter Bibb to invoke, of all things, a (deep-inference-requiring) classic rock reference.

"Zuckerberg in German means mountain of sugar," Bibb said, predicting an "underwhelming" announcement.

"I think it's gonna be a mobile app that improves search," Bibb said, before rattling off ideas that are probably well beyond the scope of Tuesday's party. "He could buy RIMM for example ... huge, huge potential in Instagram ... he could buy Monster."

Mike Murphy was predicting greatness. "I think they have something that will overwhelm the Street," Murphy said.

Joe Terranova offered, "Unless there is something today that is incredibly underwhelming, on any weakness, I think you buy Facebook."

Stephen Weiss resorted to Brag Trade, pointing out he bought the shares a week or 2 ago and has "sold 3 quarters of it playing with the house's money," and thinks the real action Tuesday will be in GOOG and YHOO.

You can't be 20 ... on Sugar Mountain ...

Forget HPQ, DELL, RIMM — Joe claims LULU is a ‘comeback story’

Joe Terranova, the bull, began his LULU debate with Stephen Weiss seemingly arguing against the stock, that it will bottom out first and then climb, before concluding gross margins are good, operating expenses are good, and gift-card catalysts will propel the stock.

"This is a comeback story," Terranova actually said.

Weiss argued, as too many do in these features, "it's very high-priced," referring either to the valuation or cost of merchandise. "Men's shirts cost 90 bucks," Weiss said, and the company has "missed 2 quarters in a row now" and has "limited appeal to the broad U.S."

Terranova rebutted that management is "gonna present at ICR," and "there is no competition."

Weiss said, "Gap has competition."

Mike Murphy, who had prejudged the case on recent technicals, said "I'm going with Joe on this," and that given the "overselloff in the stock ... wanna be long."

‘Long-term ... platinum’s gonna be a better bet’

Greg Peters opined on Tuesday's Halftime Report on Jeremy Siegel's bull call of last week, saying "nothing wrong with it per se" (good thing he added the "per se") but that Asia and Europe look better, based on valuation and earnings (is there really anything else?).

There's "better risk/reward actually outside the U.S.," Peters said, adding he's got a "pretty confident view that China is stabilizing."

Mike Murphy disagreed. "I think U.S. is the place to invest right now," and Joe Terranova argued that "volatility is just incredibly cheap." Stephen Weiss said Europe's had a great run but suggested it could be toppy.

Anthony Grisanti said "gold is moving up on platinum," while the Ilchmeister said "I think gold short-term will benefit, but long-term I think platinum's gonna be a better bet this year."

Mike Murphy pointed to GLD as facing "heavy selling pressure" if it gets to 164.

HPQ: Masters of M&A

Toni Sacconaghi, invoking a tune from the Grayhead Era on Tuesday's Halftime Report, argued against a DELL buyout. "I ultimately think when push comes to shove, it will not happen," Sacconaghi said, calling it a "very large LBO."

Jon Najarian scoffed, noting "Hewlett Packard paid $11 billion for Autonomy ... this is not an overly large leveraged LBO."

Joe Terranova called the AXP downgrade "absolutely ridiculous ... stay with American Express, stay with Capital One, and absolutely stay with Discover."

Terranova said in big banks, "my position is long Goldman Sachs," and MS; "I like the capital market plays here." Jon Najarian said MS is hot in the weekly options and in fact he put his money where his mouth is in his Final Trade, MS.

Najarian pointed out that ARNA is up over 20% year to date, and he likes CLF; "I think this one continues to work" into the mid-40s.

Stephen Weiss said SWKS is a bigger AAPL play than BRCM. Weiss said to buy airlines on the dips and to keep holding THC. Weiss' Final Trade was EUO.

Mike Murphy said EXPR was moving because "Wall Street wasn't expecting this," and that MON is a definitely hold, can even buy it. Murphy's twofold Final Trade was TGT and LEN.

Joe Terranova called RSH "nothing more than an option" and made DECK his Final Trade with 35 stop.

[Monday, January 14, 2013]

‘Historic research of every story stock in history’

Of all the AAPL calls heard on Fast Money, few carry the (ahem) credentials of one Paul Schatz.

Schatz told Melissa Lee his 50-80%-plunge bear case "is not new as I woke up today."

Rather, he said, "Apple became the story stock of the post-financial crisis bull market," and "Apple's gonna get taken apart," based on "historic research of every story stock in history," which "gets me under 400 ... somewhere between 3 and 400."

Schatz assured the company's not in any trouble, just that the stock has peaked, "just like GE's best growth days were in the '90s."

Lee impressively pointed out, "You're not putting your money where your mouth is," but felt compelled to say "you seem like a nice guy" and ask Schatz to verify that he's not short.

"We have no position in Apple long or short," Schatz said, adding that the "2nd half of this year, tech's a clear underperformer."

Schatz tried to shoot down the P.E. argument, saying, "in '06 and '07 the financial stocks and the homebuilders, they had P.E.s in the single digits and they still went down 50-90%."

Karen sells 460 AAPL puts

While the Fast Money panel on Monday wasn't as sour on AAPL as Paul Schatz, there weren't exactly a lot of table-pounding buys.

AAPL "seems like a broken chart right now," said Pete Najarian, adding, "I think we actually get below 500 ... 465 area."

Karen Finerman said, "Those 460 February puts seem awfully pumped up so we sold some of those against the 500s."

Brian Kelly asserted, "The company is changing. They're not gonna have those high margins that you saw over the last several years." But Finerman said the margin percentage isn't such a big deal considering the amount of money. "If you have the dollars expanding, to me that's OK too," Finerman said, before lamenting that the stock is a "free-for-all now."

Steve Grasso was concerned about a different tech giant. "I bought Google, I'm ready to add in Google ... this could be below 700 if the whole market gets weak," Grasso said.

‘Facebook will buy Netflix’

If you thought Paul Schatz sounded a little hokey on Monday's Fast Money, wait until you got a load of Larry Fishelson (yes there are some mangled time references in that sentence but sometimes we push the envelope around here).

Fishelson, a know-it-all to the nth degree, plunged into the deep end of the sanity pool in claiming "I believe Facebook will buy Netflix," arguing Facebook could secure one or all of the essentials in today's tech world, content, apps and mobile (and which one of those does NFLX represent?), in the "world's largest what I call operating system."

Fishelson said Tuesday's Facebook surprise is "gonna be about video advertising on the mobile," and then added without provocation, "I believe Facebook is gonna be well over $50 a share this year."

He added, "If you don't believe in Facebook, then you don't believe in the whole tech-o, tech ecosystem."

A couple times, Fishelson actually claimed FB would've done better if its highest execs wore suits, prompting disbelief from Karen Finerman. "I think they got multiples of revenue that they would- wouldn't have gotten with the suit. Because, 'Wow, he's wearing a hoodie, this is the new paradigm'," Finerman rightly claimed. (Have we ever said Karen was wrong about something?)

Brian Kelly shrugged off Fishelson's hysteria and said there's "huge potential for disappointment this week." Finerman said, "I'd rather own Google, I do own Google." Only Pete Najarian was sipping a bit of the Kool-aid. "I'm with Larry here, I actually think there's a lot more upside," Najarian said.

Joe on fire with DELL

If only he wasn't spending so much time (until this week) on the AAPL roller-coaster.

Joe Terranova, in an early bid for Call of the Year 2013, has utterly ignited with DELL since his Dec. 3 ($10.06 close) debate in which Simon Baker offered him a $100 bet that the stock would be down in 6 months.

This page certainly, like the Denver Bronco secondary, didn't see it coming, and in fact opined as much in the headline on the debate. (But Steve Grasso, Josh Brown and Stephanie Link all said the same thing.)

Believing in tough grading, we might not even be giving Joe that much credit simply for Monday's pop. But the shares had already cleared $11 on Jan. 3.

Brian Kelly actually claimed on Monday's Fast Money that "an LBO makes perfect sense in this environment," a true statement only if borrowing gobs of money to avoid 1) embarrassing conference calls with Toni Sacconaghi and Brian Marshall and 2) embarrassing prices on the CNBC stock ticker constitutes "perfect sense." (Oh we forgot, there are just so many things you can do to improve a business without having a public ticker.)

Wonder if the $500-as-support theory is based on historic research of every story stock in history

Just the other day, this page (rightly) started complaining about all of these sophisticated stock traders/investors on Fast Money announcing how they're calling a daily direction in AAPL as though they've got an angle that 5,000 others have missed on the Bloomberg machine.

Lo and behold, Chris Verrone showed up at the Nasdaq for Monday's Fast Money to attempt that exact folly.

"We held the 500 level today which was important, and we probably bounce from there, I think that's a rally you fade," Verrone asserted.

"This is the longest Apple has lagged the market in over a decade," Verrone said, arguing that's why "we'd be fading this rally ... maybe that 430, 440 level is a more appropriate area to start to look for a bottom."

Brian Kelly told Verrone that IBM looks like it's forming a top that "could be a very long-term top." Verrone agreed; "this is a stock we've been telling our clients to avoid."

Steve Grasso sounds like he’s trying to convince Dennis Gartman that stocks will fall 50% and then another 15% (or vice versa)

Dennis Gartman on Monday's Fast Money for once didn't rehash some favorite cliches, and in fact left the head-scratching material to Steve Grasso.

Gartman argued that investors will find that "fading the Federal Reserve bank is going to be a very bad decision," and that, as buyers transition away from bonds, we're likely to see "stock prices dramatically higher ... in my fund in Canada, I've been long of S&P futures, I've been short of Treasury notes in equal dollar amounts."

Gartman said the bond market has "broken almost every imaginable trend line," and, recalling the 1981 top in yields, "this has the same feeling to it in the opposite direction."

"My old friend Gary Shilling is probably gonna call me tonight and say 'Dennis, you're wrong'," only because Shilling has been right for a long time, Gartman said.

Steve Grasso, apparently catching a "Grapes of Wrath" double feature over the weekend when he wasn't watching football, told Gartman he was concerned about fund inflows and that after it happened in March 2000 the market tanked, and then, in an utterly bizarre market reference we don't recall in the slightest, said the same thing happened "September '09, and the market was down around the same amount, 50%, a number of months later."

Not content to stop there, Grasso pointed to the debt ceiling controversy that nobody really believes is a controversy anymore and said "that's good enough for another 15% selloff." (Whatever happened to the CBO scoring the deal by the way?)

Gartman shrugged off those concerns and told Melissa Lee, "We're gonna see 4% yields ... sometime in the next 2 years."

Basically either the market’s going up or it’s not

Karen Finerman (bull) debated Brian Kelly (bear) on consumer discretionary on Monday's Fast Money, and anyone who thought this might be close was surely not thinking that way after Kelly's opening remarks.

"Consumer discretionary is overdone here primarily because," Kelly said, the consumer credit increase that is "2 standard deviation away from the trend," as well as a "non-linear effect" from something or other. (What, nothing about the savings rate doubling from 4% to 8% when WTI hits 108?)

Eventually, Kelly said, the XLY is "trading at the high end of its valuation."

Finerman said she likes XLY because "I'm optimistic on the American economy here ... greater employment overall," but she argued that you can't scoop up names randomly; "one really needs to be discretionary," pointing to TGT and M presumably gaining on JCP and KSS' struggles.

Kelly firmly declared "no to the whole sector."

The most informative part of the discussion was learning what's in the XLY, namely AMZN and HD, SBUX, LOW and EBAY.

Too bad the HLF bull cases weren’t being made in the $20s

Karen Finerman, in an excellent showing on Monday's Fast Money that maybe was a little bit overcelebrated on consumer discretionary, pointed out that she started wondering about HLF, "maybe they would do a self-tender." But Karen and Pete Najarian agreed that however you do this self-tender (we don't have the foggiest idea), "they got very expensive," whatever "they" is.

Brian Kelly said VZ had AAPL aftereffects and "I would stay away from this name." Karen Finerman said she likes FNP. Pete Najarian indicated the news on RIMM wasn't huge but there's a "lot of dollars being bet right now." Steve Grasso said the word is that with UPS ending its TNT offer, the cash will end up going down 50% months after September 2009 in "shareholders' pockets."

Willie Williams recommended buying euro at 1.32 with a target 1.36.

The camera caught Mel Lee doing a flip through that beautiful hair just before Scott Nations reported a big buyer of QCOM January 65 calls for 23 cents.

Steve Grasso told Seema Mody that AMZN has "momentum on its side" and is a better stock now than AAPL, and he made it his Final Trade. Pete Najarian assured Mody that the options market indicates further success in YHOO, but his Final Trade was FB. Karen Finerman's Final Trade was to sell AAPL puts but be prepared to own the name. Brian Kelly said MON.

How does anyone really know if Ray Lewis is retiring after this season?

Before the NFL playoffs began, this page forecast a Seattle Seahawks victory in the Super Bowl — over the Denver Broncos no less — so keep in mind you get what you pay for.

Actually we're not too disappointed. By the time this is over, whoever wins, only a minority of experts will have correctly called the champ, and Seattle and Denver were only eliminated by the narrowest of margins.

No need to redo any predictions, but fair to state a few things we actually know:

Championship teams do not win — or lose — playoff games in the final minute.

Nobody's defense can convincingly stop anything.

Quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick do not win road conference title games.

No Super Bowl loser has returned to the Super Bowl since the 1993 Bills.

Teams first to 20 are 6-1 (the Texans won a game 19-13). The toughest points in football remain that gap from 14/17 to 20.

Only 1 team has hosted the same opponent in back-to-back years in a conference title game (we're still verifying the research). That was the 1978-1979 Steelers, who drubbed the Oilers both times. In fact, most of the time when there are rematches (or rematches a couple years apart) in conference title games at any stadium, it's the same result as the first time. When they play 3 in a row, that's when the result changes.

We noted prior to the playoffs that basic Seattle concerns would be its poor road history, rookie quarterback and playoff inexperience.

Unfortunately, all 3 of those came to fruition in the first half in Atlanta, when tweeters such as Joe Terranova let the Seattle bulls (such as this page) have it. You can't fall behind by 20 and win playoff games. Russell Wilson botched a couple of scoring opportunities around the 10-yard line. He otherwise played a great game. The overrated defense, meanwhile, leading the league in points allowed, thought it was AMZN when it was really HPQ, and probably was spared wild-card embarrassment when RG3 dinged up his knee in the 1st quarter, though it seemed like they played a good game afterwards.

This is the weakest NFL playoff field perhaps ever, featuring utterly embarrassing defensive football. With nobody able to stop anything (even San Francisco is quite capable of getting lit up for a half or more), each game is pick'em, with better arguments against each team than for any one of them, and if you feel like trying Vegas in the next few weeks, you'll probably have better luck calling the daily direction in AAPL.

What happened to Dr. J insisting it’s just year-end tax-selling, these are gains, not wash sales?

Joe Terranova refreshingly admitted on Monday's Obama-shortened Halftime Report that he has "expended way too much mental capital" trying to outduel the Street on the most overly scrutinized stock probably of all time and suggested that AAPL stock (the stock, not the company) "really does have some problems."

"Buying volatility in Apple after earnings might be the best trade," Terranova said.

Josh Brown concurred that trading it is tough. "This is way too difficult of a stock," Brown said, suggesting people "take the risk of missing a pop and buying it after earnings."

Stephanie Link said that at the "500 level ... the risk/reward is interesting," but made a stronger case for BRCM.

Simon Baker was the most enthusiastic, saying, "I think it's buyable before earnings."

Glen Yeung, one of the Citi crew who analyzes this name, said indications are that "demand isn't great; maybe it's just good ... now they have competition." Yeung predicted AAPL will be a "sideways stock ... for a while."

Simon Baker made a tiresome reference to AMZN partying like it's 1999. Josh Brown said WAG and CVS aren't on highs because of the flu but because it's the "last men standing." Joe Terranova, annoyed by overcaffeinated Judge's interruption on DFS, said of AXP, COF and DFS, "I think all 3 work."

Chris Whalen said "Citi and BA probably have the most potential" and are "probably the most promising ... I think the large caps still have the most risk."

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was NKE. Josh Brown said JNJ and Joe Terranova said PCP. Simon Baker's was unintelligible though it might've been Stillwater.

[Friday, January 11, 2013]

Stocks vs. 2012: ‘I think we’re gonna match that and even do better’

It's not like anyone would expect Jeremy Siegel to show up on CNBC bearish, but everyone's favorite stock market prof was making lofty comparisons to 2012 on Friday's Halftime Report.

"I think we're gonna match that and even do better this year," Siegel told Judge Wapner.

P.E.s have been lower in the '70s and '80s, Siegel said, but "I have never seen stocks cheaper relative to bonds."

Judge Wapner brought up the "punch bowl," first time we've heard that in months, actually the "proverbial punch bowl," and asked Siegel what happens if it's taken away. Siegel asserted that "bull markets do not end at all in the early stage of Fed tightening," we're "miles and miles away from that."

Addressing the faux controversy at the top of the show regarding fund inflows, "It's not just institutions into ETFs," Siegel said.

Jon Najarian suggested that if you agree with Siegel, "I think you take a look at BlackRock (BLK) ... really nice move on a very steady stock," a fine recommendation, but if Siegel's right our guess is you want to load up on AMZN, GMCR and PCLN. Joe Terranova, citing Byron Wien, acknowledged the "disparity of views" toward S&P earnings this year.

Would Congress reinstate payroll tax holiday if enough people complain?

Judge Wapner on Friday's Halftime questioned what might happen if the Fed punch bowl were gone. But nobody on Fast Money/Halftime has been talking about the government's punch bowl.

One wonders, in fact, if fiscal cliff wasn't just a trial balloon to see what works ... and whether that old "payroll tax holiday" might end up back in the goody bag if unemployment/GDP don't exactly go in the directions people would like.

Like we say around here, it's a Barry Bannister Market®.

Judge pesters a reasonable AAPL analyst about other people’s price targets

Once again resorting to the brushback, an over-Red Bulled Judge Wapner barreled into AAPL analyst Ben Reitzes on Friday's Halftime, immediately cutting him off to ... whatever ... stress that people have made AAPL price cuts.

"We did on Monday," Reitzes agreed, but suggesting "you stick with it down here," in large part because on Q1 iPhone sales, the "buy side is very low," around 35 million. "You can't really count out Apple just yet."

Reitzes made the baseball analogy we haven't heard for weeks, that we're "still in the early innings of smartphone and disruptive mobility," and that the App Era will be "bigger than the PC revolution."

Judge, apparently not really sure what he should be asking about, pointed out Brian White's "hyperbolic" price target of $1,111.

Jon Najarian said that if AAPL gets something going with NTT DoCoMo, "that would be big."

Instead of tackling boring WFC, how about crediting Pete for apparently winning the YUM battle?

Jon Najarian took the bull side of WFC on Friday's Halftime against Stephen Weiss, citing the usual arguments, mortgage lending and "less and less of the defaults."

Weiss insisted "it's overvalued on a tangible book basis, price to book basis ... originations down 10%, applications down 19%," and it doesn't have European exposure.

Najarian for some reason said you could own WFC and BRK (A or B, presumably), which sounds like 2 plays on the same thing. Weiss said he has no problem with WFC but sees "better gains in other stocks."

Joe Terranova said, "I like Wells Fargo here." Pete Najarian concurred that the "quality of Wells' assets I think stands out."

Either money is flooding into mutual funds, or it’s not

The beginning of Friday's catatonic opening Halftime Report topic brought nothing but disagreement from Joe Terranova that an ocean of cash has been flowing into mutual funds.

"If you were to categorize it," Terranova insisted, "There are 10 consecutive weeks of equity mutual fund outflows. That is absolutely 100% certain."

Stephen Weiss though didn't disagree with the stats. "I think you're starting to see the great rebalance going on ... I think the market looks very good here," Weiss said.

Pete Najarian said a lot of people are buying calls instead of equities.

Pete: 5½ on NOK

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime called NOK and RIMM the "beta names" of gadgetry and thundered a bull call for NOK: "I think it certainly can get to 5½ without any problem," Pete said.

Jon Najarian made the argument we haven't heard since Joe Terranova followed C in the single digits; "there's a lot of folks that can't own it sub-5," and once it goes above, institutional interest will soar. (Or like C it'll just do a 1-for-10 and get there the easy way.)

Stephen Weiss, actually the funniest guy on Friday's show, dismissed NOK, "the balance sheet still is a piece of garbage." But Jon Najarian said Mark Cuban has a 920 or something and said "this phone blows away the iPhone."

Mike Santoli, the crown jewel of CNBC's Yahoo partnership (or is that Blodget), said FB has made a longer-term case, so "you can extend your time horizon," but don't expect an excited market on Tuesday over the big announcement.

There's still a risk, the stock "never got cheap," Santoli said.

Santoli, a year late to the party in EBAY, recommended that name over FB; "obviously they're different animals," but the same market cap, and EBAY is the "payments play." Joe Terranova said of FB, "You do have the institutional side now attracted to this name."

But what about gold in yen terms?

Jane Wells said on Friday's Halftime Report that the crop data constitutes a "bullish report for corn ... bearish for soy, bullish for wheat."

Stephen Weiss suggested AGU and POT with no real conviction, while Joe Terranova said AGCO and CNH and said BG "worked throughout 2012."

Paul Richards insisted there's more to go in dollar/yen; "this trade is not crowded ... this thing is going to 100 ... you just do not fade this trade." His advice is to buy a small dip at 88.65 with "minimal target" of 93.

Pete Najarian praised SBUX; "I think this thing goes higher." Stephen Weiss said "I still like Green Mountain ... consumers equate Starbucks with expensive."

Jon Najarian said "I love Weyerhaueser," for housing and the Sandy rebuild. Joe Terranova said "American Express has worked and it's gonna continue to do so." Stephen Weiss said M will still fulfill expectations, "I still like it, I'd stick with it, I'm probably gonna buy more," but Pete Najarian said he'd avoid Macy's and play discounters instead.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was DNB calls. We think Stephen Weiss said PZN and that Joe Terranova said XLI, but there was a lot of yuks and talking over each other. Pete Najarian definitely said AMAT.

[Thursday, January 10, 2013]

A (dash) to the finish line:
The 2012 Fast Money
Call of the Year,
and other highlights

Oh, to have scooped up some Halftime Report picks on June 8.

Or better yet, the following Monday, June 11.

This site finally — finally — pieced together the notes we'd compiled from 2012 in Fast Money. Once again, like Alabama in the BCS field, it came down to whether anyone could stop Karen Finerman. To be honest, this collection was less earth-shattering than we expected, though there were some great picks, and even a little comedy.

It was too much to plunk down atop this page, so to see it, you have to click here.

‘Part of the business is legitimate’

While the Fast Money gang sat silently as HLF crash-landed recently into the $20s, at least one investor apparently did not.

Sahm Adrangi turned up at the Nasdaq on Thursday to explain why he's on the opposite side of Bill Ackman. "We just think that his thesis is flawed," Adrangi said, explaining that even if U.S. authorities acted against this company just because Bill Ackman says they should (editor's note: don't count on that), it's really a Mexican-Malaysian-Indonesian company unlikely to face regulators in other parts of the world. "These emerging market governments have much bigger problems on their hands than multi-level marketing," Adrangi said.

The funny part was when Adrangi indicated the company might be a pyramid scheme but not an illegal one. "It's really in a gray area," he said, explaining that "certain of its distributors are using deceptive practices," but his team went to Queens to see an overweight Latino man run a Herbalife support group "almost like an Alcoholics Anonymous for overweight people ... so part of the business is legitimate."

Adrangi said recent longs could take profits, the "stock might you know drop down to 35 bucks or so," but "50 to 70 bucks sounds about right."

Mike Khouw said he thinks too many people would be thrilled to sell around 50. "At some point I think the growth story comes to an end," Khouw said, adding he doesn't expect to see the shares hit 65 "anytime soon." He recommends "sell some premium."

Dan Nathan, meet Barry Bannister

Brian Kelly wasted no time on Thursday's Fast Money referring to himself in 3rd person during his general market commentary. "I'd certainly be buying puts at these levels," Kelly said. "When things get that good, it scares BK a bit."

Tim Seymour, echoing Brent Musburger, admitted, "There's a lot of things to get excited about."

Dan Nathan though claimed the market is only reacting to a "lot of seasonal effects going on ... not gonna be clear sailing from this point on." (Yeah. Sure.)

Nathan in fact said of the banks, "I think they probably need to pause." Brian Kelly said if you're long banks, it's time to be "taking some profits, buying some puts." Jon Najarian answered his own rhetorical question as the debate veered into overseas banks: "Are they going to outperform; they already have," Najarian said, while Tim Seymour suggested SAN got a boost from changing its symbol from STD. (#nothinglikeyearsoldFastMoneycliches)

China hard landing ‘this year’
— if it’s gonna happen

Stephen Gallagher told the Fast Money gang on Thursday that he's only about 12 months behind the times one of those previous regular Fast Money themes is still on his mind: the notion of a Chinese hard landing.

If such a case, which might entail 3% growth, prevails, Gallagher said, "We'd be looking for a 30% and possibly a temporarily as much as 50% pullback in copper prices, um, base metals, leveling out to 30% decline." (And if the Steelers had the No. 1 pick in the draft, they could probably get a decent pass rusher, a defensive lineman who can stop the run, a running back who can play 3 consecutive games, a wide receiver who doesn't drop the ball, an offensive lineman who's not a turnstile ...)

Pressed on when/how this happens, Gallagher said, "It's this year," while allowing that "some of the recent data does look encouraging."

Tim Seymour countered that the prospects for a China hard landing this year are "zero."

"China has recovered. It is not 10%, it is not 2%," Seymour said.

Fold FDX

Mike Khouw reported on Thursday's Fast Money that there was actually a big seller of January 12 BBY puts for 55 cents, and that the lack of a blockbuster holiday season could be trouble for Richard Schulze's purported financing bid.

Tim Seymour said the 5.5% dividend (actually by the end of the day we think it was much less) is a compelling reason to be long NOK. Seymour also called 125 resistance in BIDU, and "I think you can still play in this name."

Brian Kelly said the curious thing about AXP is that they "talked about having these record days, yet their revenues were less than expected." Tim Seymour called AXP "very overbought."

Seymour called F a hold, saying it's not expensive. But Kelly wasn't so high on FDX; "this one you've gotta fold here."

Dan Ackerman wowed the gang with a fine presentation actually of the Asus Taichi and Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11S. Dan Nathan rightly grumbled, "I don't really believe that people wanna touch the screen on their laptops ... I think touch has kind of gotten a little over the, the skis here."

Alexandra Lebenthal told the crew that cap a person's deductions, possibly affecting how interest-free their munis are, is "actually on the table again." If she had to buy right now, she'd "probably buy something relatively short."

In a fairly clumsy segue, Jon Najarian told Seema Mody that it's not a bad idea to take profits in CELG and GILD, which Mody characterized as his 2 "picks."

Brian Kelly said a scene from "Argo" reminds him of "the scene in 'Boiler Room'."

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was sell TTM. Dan Nathan said to get long February VIX calls. Brian Kelly said JJG, and Jon Najarian said DECK.

Just to be on the safe side, Gene Munster gives his price target a trim

Gene Munster sought to assure AAPL longs on Thursday's Halftime Report that there's no need to panic after his 2nd price cut.

"Both of those cuts were for 4%," Munster said, meaning "collectively" but unfortunately not helping his own cause by stating that. "Started out at 910, now we're at 875 ... relatively small cut."

Munster's argument was that the cheaper iPhone has big potential but he's erring on the side of caution by not factoring in sales acceleration. "The narrative reads that we cut our price target a couple of times but at the end of the day it's still 70% upside to the current stock and we still feel very good about owning AAPL here," Munster said.

Stephen Weiss found Munster's opinion significant. "So he said, 'I'm gonna look to assign them the costs, but I'm not going to assign them the units sold, and that's the first time you've really heard that, and he's supposedly the most bullish guy on the Street," Weiss said.

Weiss, visions of the Brent Musburger/Katherine Webb hullaballoo fresh on the mind, concluded, "I don't think Apple's the story that it was. I really don't, because it's a low-end world."

Judge pretends to be amazed that millisecond trading glitches occur

Bob Pisani told Thursday's Halftime Report that some people 4 years ago got shortchanged by BATS and first gave the exchange "kudos" for reporting the glitch but then weakly protested, "How come no one has covered this before ... how come these high-frequency geniuses out there didn't notice it?"

"What do you mean, kudos to BATS?" demanded Judge Wapner. Pisani said he was referring to the fact that once BATS discovered the glitch, they came out in 2 days to make good, "but I'm completely with you on this."

Jon Najarian complained, "I spend the money to look at this ... the regulators, they never see anything wrong with any of this." Stephen Weiss grumbled that when something unnoticed like this can "go 4 years, that's ridiculous."

Big day for Kate Kelly

Herb Greenberg on Thursday's Halftime Report zeroed in on Michael Johnson's 90% reversal from the Kate Kelly HLF interview, saying "that is not what the Street wanted to hear."

Later in the show, Johnson was seen on a clip explaining 90% is bought by distributors and he made a mistake because "I was kind of hyped up that day wasn't I."

Herb pointed out that Johnson used to say the hedge funds ganged up on HLF in stock schemes, but he's not complaining about them since Dan Loeb took his side.

Stephen Weiss said, "I don't know how this differs from an Avon Products, or from a Tupperware." Greenberg insisted, "Tupperware is a party plan."

Stephanie Link said she/Cramer are "not willing to dabble at all in this one ... how does a CEO not know what their outside net- exposure is."

Jon Najarian said the stock has triggered "animal spirits" among big shots who know Ackman was hugely short just after the stock cratered. "They're gonna twist him as hard as they can," Najarian said.

Weiss said, "To me it's not even a close bet; I'm going with Loeb on this ... for however long he plays it."

Herb later reported on Ackman issuing a statement, saying he would "respond with particularity."

Judge doesn’t even know the name of occasional Fast Money bank analyst

Lessee ... there's Dick Bove, Mike Mayo, Jeff Harte, "Gerald Cassidy."

At least that's what Judge Wapner thought on Thursday's Halftime, twice misstating Gerard Cassidy's name and never issuing a correction though later getting it right.

Cassidy predicted 4th quarter earnings would be "solid for the group," but it's been a high-beta trade, "Wells is not a risk-on name." His top picks are C and PNC, calling C a "big turnaound story."

Stephen Weiss' own top pick is BAC and that there's industry potential in "consolidation with the smaller banks." Mike Murphy said if the economy gains strength, "These banks have a lot of upside."

Murphy later also said reports of P.E. interest in LM are no surprise; "steady stream of revenue ... this company's been in play for years." Jon Najarian said that just as the LM reports came out, "they came in aggressively buying options."

Erik Ristuben said the government's year-end mess was "constructively resolved but we want to be a little cautionary ... I like equities," suggesting a greater likelihood of going above 1,500 than below. Yet, the most exciting picks he offered were "consumer discretionary" and "health care." "We don't think there is a bond bubble," Ristuben said, but that bonds' return this year will be zero.

ARO ‘probably dead money’

Jon Najarian tackled MSFT on Thursday's Halftime and said "I like the Microsoft story here," MS downgrade be damned; "I think they're wrong."

Stephen Weiss said of SVU, "I'd stay away from it." Mike Murphy distanced himself from MCP; "I don't see any reason to try to jump in here." Stephanie Link called ARO "probably some dead money" and Jon Najarian suggested "take the money and run" in LVS.

Jim Iuorio told guest Futures Now host Mandy Drury that "What I don't believe in is buying crude when it's up 10½% over the last couple weeks," but he'd get in "probably around 90.50." Anthony Grisanti said he too thinks oil's rise is "overdone."

Kathy Lien advised buying euro/dollar at 1.13150, with a target 1.33.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was ADT. Jon Najarian said AMAT April 12 calls, Stephen Weiss said long GM and Mike Murphy said TWI.

[Wednesday, January 9, 2013]

How the Wall Street analyst community works: Suddenly pulling $29 out of the air for HPQ

If you pay close attention to his thesis, Toni Sacconaghi on Wednesday's Fast Money made one of the most ridiculous arguments for a stock double we've ever heard (and we've heard a lot, including one from Rob McEwen (OK spot price, not necessarily a stock) early in the program) regarding HPQ.

Sacconaghi said he sees the stock "broken up being worth about $29." But he thinks a more likely scenario is that they "stabilize the company" with $3-$4 in earnings, and then you get a 7 or 8 multiple. "I think the stabilization scenario is much more likely over the next 12 months," Sacconaghi said.

So, a stodgy company with no exciting growth divisions is really worth double what it trades at once those divisions including PCs and printers "stabilize."

Sacconaghi said if that doesn't work, "external forces" will deem the company "unwieldly" (sic) and demand a breakup, and then you've got a "sum of the parts" success.

Karen Finerman, apparently not listening to this dubious commentary, asked Sacconaghi if the breakup was the only way to get to 29. Toni said "getting an 8 or 9 multiple is not unrealistic."

Tim Seymour cogently pointed out that some observers say a breakup would actually destroy value. Josh Brown rightly observed that Sacconaghi's scenario sounds glacial-like at best; "I can't imagine them announcing anything like that just yet." Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of 10,000 August 13 puts in HPQ for 80 cents.

The only person who might've backed Sacconaghi is Steve Grasso, who has said that traditionally when HPQ bottoms, it tends to ultimately double. But Grasso wasn't on the program.

Brown: REGN over $200

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's Fast Money he'd still take CELG over GILD; "I still think Celgene's the best name in the entire space."

But, Adami had to admit he bungled his bearish GM call in a debate with Karen Finerman. "You don't fight a land war in Asia ... and you don't fight Finerman," Adami said.

Karen Finerman said she's happy to be in XBI so that she doesn't have to stay awake at night wondering about Phase 3 drug trials. Josh Brown touted REGN. "Everything seems to be headed in the right direction for a move above 200," he said, before also backing MYL, which was his Final Trade. "More of a pharma than a biotech ... through $29 this thing looks like it's a home run," he said.

All of that investigating, for what: Herb refuses to say whether HLF is a pyramid scheme

Herb Greenberg told Melissa Lee on Wednesday's Fast Money that the key thing he wants to hear about regarding the HLF battle royale is an explanation of Michael Johnson's recent statement to Kate Kelly that "absolutely" 90% of sales are to customers with no affiliation with Herbalife.

Herb said he wants to see them "really quantify that number."

Mel asked Herb an excellent, pointed question: whether Herb thinks it's a pyramid scheme. (Which shouldn't be beyond the scope of his opinion, given that he's been researching the thing forever and has compiled a CNBC report.)

But Herb backpedaled like the Fightin' Irish secondary, saying he can't say, but if the revenue is "mostly recruiting," then, "that would be, by all definitions, a pyramid scheme."

Herb also said he would "discredit" the opinion of Northwestern prof Anne Coughlan, who he said is a paid consultant to Herbalife. (That's one way to get positive research reports, just order them.)

Karen Finerman said, "It doesn't get more interesting than this," but leave this one to Loeb and Ackman. "Let them shoot it out; don't get caught in it," Finerman said.

Mike Khouw suggested HLF is getting extended; "I actually sold some calls myself." Khouw predicted that holders of HLF before the Ackman news broke will be "happy sellers in the high 40s or about 50 bucks."

Dennis Gartman: ‘You want to own gold in yen terms’

Rob McEwen, chief of McEwen Mining, proved an impressive Fast Money guest Wednesday at least in the category of staking his own claim (although we do wonder how he pays the bills if he takes no salary and the company pays no dividend), even if his gold forecast sounded a bit optimistic.

McEwen, whose name was spelled "McEwan" on the screen text, has a "longer-term target of $5,000," basing this on the previous rally of "$40 to 800, 20-fold increase," and starting from $250 in 2001, "you're at $5,000 very quickly."

"Wow," said Melissa Lee.

So, based on post-2003 returns, AAPL's headed to James Altucher land from here.

"This year, we'll probably push through 2,000," McEwen said, claiming the XAU goes down every presidential election year, and "in the year after it fully recovers."

Tim Seymour wasn't so sold on gold. "Platinum and palladium are where you wanna invest right now," Seymour said.

Dennis Gartman said, "I think the trend in gold is from the lower left to the upper right," and refused to opine on Byron Wien's $1,900 call. "I have no idea what the number could be on the upside."

In case you wanted to know, Gartman added, "I know everybody gets tired of me saying it, but you want to own gold in yen terms."

The Commodities King (shouldn't it be The Yen King?) waffled equally as much on Wien's agricultural commodities bull call. "The climate is changing; I don't think man has much to do with it; I think Mother Nature has everything to do with it." Gartman said "we are going to plant a huge amount of acreage this year," but we won't know until March, April or May how bad the drought conditions are.

9 days into the year, conclusion is ‘no discernible impact’

MGM boss Jim Murren didn't have a whole lot of excitement to dispense on Wednesday's Fast Money, though he did say "I would expect MGM would be involved in Internet poker by the end of this year."

Mostly Murren spent his time tamping down issues raised by Mel Lee over his 30-to-36-months-away Macau investment, saying "so far we've seen no discernible impact" from a smoking ordinance, and "we've seen no impact" from supposedly dubious VIP junkets.

Murren said he was off to CES after this interview. (But according to Jane Wells and Melissa Lee yesterday, he's not going to find the AVN annual awards.)

Josh Brown said that for a play in Asia, "Why not buy these U.S.-based casinos." Guy Adami pointed to LVS and said, "If you missed it, you probably missed it for the short term," but you can buy below 50, maybe 49½.

Karen confident of BAC

Despite a selloff, BAC was pronounced a buying opportunity by most of Wednesday's Fast Money gang.

"We'll continue to be long," said Karen Finerman, saying the company was "getting clarity" and benefitting from the "booming housing market."

Josh Brown observed that "valuation downgrades typically are good buying opportunities." Tim Seymour said, "I think this is a place to probably buy it."

Guy Adami said GS can be owned into earnings, but his favorite is USB.

Adami suggested a 12 VIX and said "I still think the market trades very well." Seymour said "Europe is rallying," and that a 10-year between 1.75% and 2.0% will "probably hold those ranges."

STX ‘a little bit overbought’

Karen Finerman said on Wednesday's Fast Money that it seems like "Groundhog Day" with JCP, and she expects "more bad news to come somewhere down the line."

Guy Adami said the BA trade might be over; "I'd be careful here," but he likes LMT. Josh Brown likewise suggested not jumping into FDO, "maybe avoid this one."

Mike Khouw said STX is "looking a little bit overbought."

Karen Finerman said she'll take Zuck's word that FB isn't launching a phone. "I believe him ... I'm taking him at face value," Finerman said.

Josh Brown said he "can't imagine how that would be a bullish development" for Facebook.

Mike Khouw said the options have been "increasingly bullish" on FB but then singled out Zuck's comment about 20 million phones not doing anything; "that math doesn't really add up." Khouw said the stock's had a nice run and he'd be "inclined to fade that here ... sell some upside calls."

Amelia Bourdeau maybe gave her hair a slight tweak (as opposed to the overhaul this page suggested below) and advised selling euro at 1.31.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was "selling some cash-covered puts" in ABX. Tim Seymour said to sell YNDX. Guy Adami said stay long MA, and Karen Finerman said GDI for the 2nd day in a row.

Mike Murphy: FB will
‘print over 38 this year’

Robert Peck sought to assure viewrs of Wednesday's Halftime Report that Facebook is not actually unveiling a phone.

Analyzing the company's recent activity, "we came up with something unique," Peck said, which is a "video ad product," or "putting video ads in a user's timeline."

As to the phone, Peck said they "really haven't heard much."

Julia Boorstin suggested the announcement could be related to an ad network, or search, or mobile phone.

Stephen Weiss revealed, "I bought Facebook this morning," suggesting it could move ahead of the announcement. "I don't have to be there when the announcement happens," Weiss said, adding "there are people that are looking for a home away from Apple."

Joe Terranova said the key to FB's momentum will be the Jan. 30 earnings, but "it's about money flow right now."

Mike Murphy had the most provocative comment on the subject, saying, "I'm long-term money in Facebook ... I think the stock has a magnet to 38. I think this stock will print over 38 this year."

Brian Kelly said "this is a sell-the-news type of trade."

Only on Fast Money can a stock be deemed going up and down at the same time

Mike Murphy (bear) battled Stephen Weiss (bull) over BAC on Wednesday's Halftime Report, and the judgment of the observers was that both are correct.

Got it.

Murphy said the Credit Suisse downgrade "came at the exact right time ... the stock got too far, too fast." He predicted a "pullback that could easily be 20% off."

But Stephen Weiss, offering no instant catalyst, pointed to how its 2-year and 5-year charts are terrible, and it's "still at a discount to tangible book," has gotten "lean," and should benefit from the "steepening yield curve."

Weiss concluded, "I think you can see the stock go mid-teens, easily."

Murphy agreed, "I think the upside is around 15, but I think the downside is around 10."

Weiss said Murphy was still backing a 25% gain. Murphy then transitioned, saying, "I think Citi has a lot more upside than Bank of America."

Asked to make a decision, Joe Terranova sounded like he'd prejudged the case and skipped the conversation. "Honestly, tough to call," Terranova told Judge Wapner, suggesting people "continue on any pullback to look to acquire Bank of America," because of an argument not made by either contestant, it will "monetize the value of Merrill Lynch at some point."

Pressed by Judge to make a simple declaration, Joe said he owns GS and MS, then grudgingly admitted, "If the objective is to get me to pick one over the other, OK, I'll go with Weiss."

However, Brian Kelly was no better, suggesting with his own Brag Trade that both Weiss and Murphy are correct. "I own XLF, I own it at lower prices ... you can buy these on dips," Kelly said.

Herb obligated to talk about HLF news, but has nothing to report

Herb Greenberg joined Wednesday's Halftime Report to tackle the Dan Loeb presence in HLF, but lacked utterly any details on Loeb's case.

"We don't know what it is," admitted Judge Wapner.

Greenberg said there are people who silently agree with Ackman, and there are others who dislike Ackman, and then there are those who "hold their nose and buy because they know the stock is gonna go up because nothing's gonna happen, anytime soon, if ever," but unfortunately nobody questioned why the Halftime Report gang wasn't suggesting the stock in the mid-20s (#whyshouldtheshowtrytohelppeoplemakemoney).

Stephen Weiss indicated Ackman's argument is a tired one. "I was at Salomon when we took this company public ... the same issues that are raised now were raised back then," Weiss said.

Keith McCullough utterly nailed BA

A day ago, Keith McCullough said he bought.

Wednesday, Mike Murphy said he wished he would've.

Judge Wapner asked Wednesday's Halftime crew what they do with the Boeing spike.

Murphy said, "The time to buy this was yesterday ... I wouldn't chase it here."

That brought Judge's favorite bizarre argument, "Is there really a difference, a couple of bucks ... c'mon."

Stephen Weiss said, "I don't own it, I'm not tempted to step in."

‘No one who could afford a $600 phone is gonna go out and buy a $100 phone’

Gauged by Fast Money/Halftime sentiments, enthusiasm for AAPL seems to be at its lowest level in, who knows, maybe 6-7 years if not more.

Henry Blodget said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that Apple's foray into lower-priced products is smart but overdue. "There's no question that this will lead to lower profits per phone and probably a decline in the overall profit margin," but the company has "missed the big growth opportunity in smartphones."

"Apple's profit margin really is too high ... it can't go on forever," Blodget said.

Brian Kelly took both sides on the stock. "It's still cheap, but I think it could get a little cheaper here," Kelly said.

Mike Murphy said the Apple move won't cannibalize higher-end products with a dubious assertion; "No one who could afford a $600 phone is gonna go out and buy a $100 phone."

Joe Terranova suggested his colleagues were grasping to identify fundamental reasons for the stock's months-long slide, when it's actually a "real pure trading call ... the biggest pain is actually to the upside."

S&P speculation reaches urine-test level

Deutsche unloaded the David Bianco/Joe LaVorgna double-team on Wednesday's Halftime Report to paint a Goldilocks-like scenario.

Joe Terranova, with Bond Bubble Babble obviously fresh on the mind, asked LaVorgna for LaVorgna's opinion on Tony Crescenzi's insistence yesterday that there's no bond bubble.

"I love Tony, uh, he's a great guy, uh, but but, uh, look, I think there's a limit to how far bonds can move," LaVorgna said.

Bianco predicted an "orderly increase in rates" based on economic strength. But Brian Kelly questioned if there's a lot of "weak hands" in the bond market that will bail quickly.

LaVorgna chipped in that if rates were to gradually rose on the 10-year from 2-4%, "it's because the economy's better." But Kelly what if people start bailing and it goes from 4% to 6%. LaVorgna doubted that, "math is, works against you unless the Fed is actually raising rates."

Bianco, like so many every year, said the "2nd half should be better." His $108 earnings forecast differed with Byron Wien; "it's rare for earnings to be down without a recession." Bianco further argued that in banks, "higher dividends will drive P.E. expansion."

Stephen Weiss told Bianco that it's entirely possible "you're not positive enough." Bianco said, "There's still risks out there and I don't wanna get too far ahead of myself," but that it's not inconceivable to throw out 1,700, 1,800.

"If you say 1,900 you have to take a urine test before you leave," Weiss said.

Murphy: Can buy S

Like most topics on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Jon Najarian argued LVS both ways, saying "we took profits on that trade," and nobody ever went broke taking profits, but "I think you can still ride this one."

Brian Kelly called MCD "not exactly my favorite name to buy right here ... I'd stay away from McDonald's." Joe Terranova said he agrees with the $575 target on MA, but "own some 500 puts against your long equity position." Mike Murphy said the downgrades for FDO and DG might be late. Stephen Weiss said "I prefer Macy's" in retail.

Weiss said of WLT, "buy it." Joe Terranova didn't exactly take a stand on HPQ; "I like the move in HPQ; I own Dell however." Brian Kelly said of APOL, "sell this stock." Mike Murphy said of S, "I think you can still buy this stock here."

Brian Kelly said AA's report "usually doesn't matter" but that there's trucking weakness. Stephen Weiss said AA's report "doesn't mean anything," though Judge Wapner argued, "The tone matters!"

Kelly said that fixed income was not confirming the day's stock rally. Mike Murphy pointed to the low VIX and said there's "not a lot of fear in the marketplace ... I think we're looking for 1,475."

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was XLK. Stephen Weiss said GMCR, Joe Terranova said MMM and Mike Murphy said EBAY.

[Tuesday, January 9, 2013]

McCullough buys BA

Carter Leake of BB&T told Melissa Lee on Tuesday's Fast Money why he cut Boeing after one of its new jets caught fire.

"Gut feel," Leake said, explaining, "no one really knows the answer of what's going on," and after a series of glitches, they "run out of mulligans."

"What concerns us the most is not what the exact issue is but rather, you know, why the Boeing, why the 787 systems aren't- aren't isolating uh, quarantine the problem," Leake added.

Karen Finerman asked a great question, whether these kinds of incidents happen all the time and this is only significant because the 787 is a new plane. "Yes, they do happen all the time," Leake said, but "I am confident that we are going to have another incident with the 787, that's just the way airplanes work."

Mel Lee eventually asked her panelists the money question, "Is this the moment of fear" in which people should buy the stock.

Yes, said Keith McCullough, who said airplane mishaps/disasters happen all the time. "At the end of the day, this is a big stock, it's down 4%, we got an oversold signal, my analyst said just what I said, and we bought it," McCullough said. Guy Adami said to look at PCP, he hates the term, but the pullback presents "opportunity."

Adami: Yum ‘needs to hold 62’

For some reason Fast Money felt compelled to spend the crucial minutes at the top of Tuesday's program on AA earnings. "It was fine," said Guy Adami, who was more inclined to talk about MON. "They crushed," he said, but "it's probably stretched here now."

JJ Kinahan, sounding like he was bumbling through Bond Bubble Babble, later said that MON was up because "they can charge more for their herbicide."

Keith McCullough shrugged off the day's selling in X and said the stock looks "pretty good actually." Guy Adami, adding a wrinkle to the riveting Halftime debate between Josh Brown and Pete Najarian without referencing it, said YUM "needs to hold 62 ... my sense is you're gonna get another down day tomorrow."

Karen Finerman said that when retailers reveal Christmas results, she thinks JCP will be the "worst of the bunch ... we're short, staying short."

Mike Khouw said BAC down 1% is no big deal but it "looks like it might be a little bit overbought to me though."

CNBC's Sister Golden Hair reported STX's pre-announcement (at least that's what we think it was) and said its market share has stabilized.

Mike Khouw noted the DISH offer for Clearwire and said, "I think the 3.30 bid looks fairly compelling," and for his Final Trade said he'd be a seller of DISH.

Few things more uninteresting than a conversation about BRCM chips

The Najarians and Joe Terranova love these AAPL-derivative chip stocks, but even the 2nd half of the BCS championship game was more interesting than BRCM chief Scott McGregor's commentary on Tuesday's Fast Money, which included gems such as "we're delighted when people buy smartphones."

McGregor spent much of his time trying to explain how his company isn't just about AAPL, and he said there's an expanded arrangement with ARMH; "it's gonna go in more of our products."

Guy Adami, who like certain others tends to endorse stocks of CEOs who visit with Fast Money, said halfheartedly of BRCM, "The valuation is not rich on this stock ... you can take a shot at Broadcom here."

JJ Kinahan said that if the company can separate itself from just being known as an AAPL play, there's "a lot of good upside."

Guy Adami actually suggests AMZN should look at RSH

Keith McCullough, who delivered several good one-liners on Tuesday's Fast Money, said that SHLD "looked like hell" and that Eddie Lampert probably doesn't have an exit strategy: "Unless he sells it, I don't think he can get out of this ... he's stuck in it," McCullough said.

JJ Kinahan offered, "There is no reason to try and step in and pick a bottom on this stock at all." But Karen Finerman added, "Also you can't be short it," while wondering about Lampert's investment funds; "does that ever have an exit."

McCullough concluded that it's another example of a hedge fund unable to turn around an actual business. "So again, maybe the smartest man, man on Earth in this case, but maybe not," McCullough said.

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of SHLD January 39 weekly puts for 50 cents.

In the category of damaged retail you'd think no successful person would want to own, Guy Adami suggested that if you're AMZN, "Why not look at a RadioShack," to get into bricks and mortar, plus there's "tremendous short interest."

Karen Finerman cracked up her colleagues. "The whole thing is just beyond absurd," starting with AMZN's valuation, and now there's, "God, if they just owned RadioShack, that would complete the whole story ... you've gotta be out of your mind."

Or maybe the government will just issue loans for people who want to donate to $10 billion athletic-center endowment campaigns

Mike Cagney told Tuesday's Fast Money that the government is "on the hook" for student loan defaults and while it's not like the 2008 banking crisis, it's a "different kind of time bomb ... how the government's gonna finance the shortfall."

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman to Cagney, wondering if the government might have to totally pull back and no longer do student loans. Cagney said it would more likely look to "drive more of a market-rate pricing for student loans," because right now, the "schools have no recourse" (he actually meant that in a slightly different way, we think) if someone graduates and doesn't pay back the loan; it's on the taxpayers.

Keith McCullough rightly concluded what's going on. "What we know is that the government is going to bail everyone out," McCullough said, and people have tried to short Sallie Mae, but what are you gonna do.

Karen Finerman suggested shorting for-profit education, though that trade seemingly has been in vogue for a long time. JJ Kinahan, who had a clumsy day, made a strange joke about "alcohol stocks" and only giving students the "low-end" ones.


Miss Alabama, eat your heart out

Jane Wells, World's Hippest Business Reporter, mentioned on Tuesday's Fast Money the biggest (by far) story of the BCS title game: the appearance of one of the player's girlfriends, and how 73-year-old Brent Musburger opined on that.

"Was there drool involved with all of these comments," asked Melissa Lee, a not-particularly-funny nor original gag.

Then Jane laid down the ground rules for this type of thing:

"Here's the difference Melissa: Women can talk that way about men. Men on TV have to act like they're the dad. ... It's just creepy."

Guy Adami insisted that's not the case: "Jane Wells, totally hot. Love Jane Wells," Adami said, as "Brick House" began playing.

Karen Finerman, whom this page has often declared the Funniest Person on Fast Money, noted Wells' comment about the AVN awards not being held the same week as CES. "Did they move it to the week of the SALT Conference?" Finerman asked.

Adami: Short BBY on Jan. 11

Keith McCullough said on Tuesday's Fast Money that he shorted COH against a long in FNP, which Karen Finerman dubbed a "good call."

McCullough rated as the top 3 risks to the market earnings, $115-$120 Brent, and Japan's Taro Aso "ripping his country a new one."

Mel Lee helpfully said "A new 'Aso'," then protested that's what McCullough meant.

Guy Adami suggested hoping BBY gets a pop Jan. 11 on its holiday report, then you can short it.

JJ Kinahan backed TOL; "I think this can definitely run higher."

Keith McCullough told superfox (hopefully that's OK to say in the post-Musburger era) Seema Mody that RH is appealing, but not for a buyout. "I think you buy it, but again, you don't buy it for a takeout I mean for God sakes, they just came back to the public market," McCullough said.

McCullough's Final Trade was buy BA. Guy Adami said (Zzzzzz) BRCM, Karen Finerman said GDI and JJ Kinahan said GS without tripping over his tongue for a change.

Mel Lee and Guy Adami observed the 6th anniversary of Fast Money, except we're fairly certain it's only the 6th anniversary of the show getting a regular prime time slot on CNBC after it had already aired for months, but not to rain on the parade; Adami said "It's been a great 6 years."

Best debate of 2013: Pete says YUM gets ‘7-handle before you can blink,’ Josh says ‘5-handle very soon’

Judge Wapner, who looked literally about half the size (note to camera crew/optics coordinator) of Pete Najarian and Josh Brown while hosting the best Halftime Report stock debate yet on Tuesday, asked Pete to make the bull case for YUM.

A bounce is in order, and "I think this one makes a lot of sense," Pete said.

"He's very wrong on, I think on technicals especially," Brown said. "This is a very obvious double-top that a 6-year-old can pick out on the chart."

"Craziest thing I ever heard," Pete said.

"Momentum is rolling over," Brown asserted. "This baby's gonna have a 5-handle very soon."

Najarian then brought No. 386 into it, saying they had just talked and agreed. "Grasso must be a 6-year-old ... I think you're gonna have a 7-handle before you can blink."

Brown insisted, "This was a clean story that has now become dirty ... this one's headed lower before it goes higher."

Joe Terranova delivered the most ridiculous verdict. "I like what Pete's saying and I do believe there is a buying opportunity coming, but I think Josh is right, it could come in the upper-50 range," Terranova said, then after getting an "attaboy Joey" from Brown, said, "I said Pete was right."

Maybe Joe's been reading too much "Bond Bubble Babble."

Flash: Pimco exec says bonds aren’t in any kind of bubble

Tony Crescenzi began his tepid appearance on Tuesday's Halftime Report rattling off some required reading: "2½ years ago on Pim- on um, CNBC's Web site, I posted a note called 'Bond Bubble Babble'."

In a startling position (not) for a Pimco exec, Crescenzi told Judge Wapner, "We wouldn't expect a meaningful rise in rates for some time."

Josh Brown asked a valid question, whether bonds have to implode, or could there just be a "slow leak" into equities. Crescenzi argued there's always more money coming into the market and sitting on the sidelines and so money doesn't actually have to leave bonds in order to go into equities; "the pie just gets larger."

Joe Terranova, who undoubtedly read "Bond Bubble Babble" 2½ years ago, coined a new term. "Whatever allocation we see out of fixed income into equities, it will be ordery (sic), um orderly rather on a lot of what Tony is saying," Terranova said.

Josh Brown pointed out some stocks such as JNJ are yielding more than the company's 10-year debt. Pete Najarian said he's been in MRK getting 4% and sees no reason to change that. "I'd rather be there far more than I would in bonds," Najarian said.

Gotta admit, Pete’s right

The all-important opening minutes of Tuesday's Halftime Report were marked by a bathroom reference.

Josh Brown indicated he was actually waiting for the AA earnings to pass, while Pete Najarian bellowed they don't matter and that you can "flush it down the toilet."

Brown insisted that AA will provide a read on China, and investors will need to "give that a chance to marinate."

Told of this dialoge later in the program, No. 386, who just happened to be on the NYSE floor, said "I agree" with Pete but indicated AA might be a play on some level: "You can make money, but it's tradeable, not investable," Grasso said.

Najarian thundered that financials are still the leader, and if China roars again, the "industrial space is a definite base that we can move off of."

Mike Murphy said X will go "a lot higher than 25" if China kicks into higher gear. Murphy advised viewers to "get long your core names" and buy puts with the VIX around 14.

Josh Brown called Tuesday's selloff the "absolutely most constructive thing that could be happening" for market bulls.

AAPL: Here we go again

Mike Murphy said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that AAPL is on an upswing: "I'm long the name. I actually like the way it's been holding, making higher lows," Murphy said. "I think the upside is through 600 when you see that they sold over 50 million iPhones."

Joe Terranova (sigh, you'll see more about this once our 2012 Fast Money Review, which has been plagued by football-related delays this weekend, is posted ahem get that damn thing up already) basically agreed, saying, "The race, and the pain, is really in the up- uh, toward the upside."

Lowell McAdam, who enjoyed the treat of having Julia Boorstin nearby, told Boorstin and Judge Wapner that "we sell roughly 50/50 between Android devices and iPhone devices" and indicated there isn't going to be an instant change in the subsidy model, but "not sure I would" say it's a permanent part of the U.S. sales outlook.

McAdam said he's "hopeful" about Research in Motion.

"I think the trade is stay with Apple," said Mike Murphy. Joe Terranova said "I like Verizon as well," and also suggested CSTR.

Perhaps "Bond Bubble Babble" is actually spelled "Bond Bubble Babel," as a play on the Oscar-nominated film.

Pete seems hell-bent on undermining everything Josh Brown says

Mike Murphy said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that SHLD shouldn't exactly be the first place you put your investment dollars.

"No reason to invest in this name," Murphy said, calling it "very reminiscent of Best Buy ... hoping for a Hail Mary here."

Josh Brown said Eddie Lampert has endured "10 years of this," and "the stores are horrible, they're linoleum floors, fluorescent lighting."

Judge tried to crack a joke about given that, what's wrong with the company, prompting Brown to seriously say, "You don't wanna be short the name," which is absolutely true, or at least has been true because that one has been major face-ripped-off land.

Pete Najarian equated SHLD to JCP. Brown suggested, "You could own Target. You could- Target is whipping the cover off the ball."

"Target's making mistakes," Najarian countered. "They're trying to compete with Amazon." Mike Murphy sided with Pete, "I don't like the strategy."

Perhaps TD Ameritrade can determine whether its clients are reading ‘Bond Bubble Babble’

TD Ameritrade boss Fred Tomczyk took a seat at Post 9 on Tuesday's Halftime Report to outline the company's new sentiment indicator.

"It will tell you that, uh, on a relative basis, whether retail investors are becoming more bullish and actually in the way they position a portfolio, or becoming less bullish or in fact bearish," Tomczyk said.

Steve Grasso said he likes FRC and GS in the financial space.

Pete Najarian backed AMGN, "I like this name," and said he likes LLY best in the field. In the only time they agreed all day, Josh Brown said "I think Pete's right on the money." Mike Murphy said, "I like Amgen right here."

Andy Busch, who may or may not have read "Bond Bubble Babble" at andrewbusch.com, said to sell the euro at 1.3175.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was CVI. Mike Murphy said long AAPL. Josh Brown said sell YUM though he's "long Pete Najarian." Najarian said buy JPM.

[Monday, January 7, 2013]

Anthony Scaramucci says he’s got 4 reasons for loving AMZN but actually mentions at least 5

It's hard to believe a bull-bear debate on AMZN could produce anything of note, but Steve Grasso had a new wrinkle on Monday's Fast Money.

"It's all about fulfillment centers for Amazon," said Grasso, saying if the cost of the cost centers is going to recede, you want to buy. But, keep a "short leash, use a 260 stop."

The bear in this case was not, as many would expect, Karen "valuation, valuation, valuation" Finerman, but Tim "I can talk forever" Seymour, who claimed AMZN is facing "significant competition globally."

Anthony Scaramucci, asked to determine a winner, told Melissa Lee he had obviously prejudged the case; "I love Amazon so, I'm, I'm sorry."

"But why do you love it?" Lee asked.

"4 reasons," Scaramucci said, rattling off No. 1 as Jeff Bezos, No. 2, the "best virtual real estate," No. 3 being a "great transition" to the digital space of things like books and who knows what else, and then, without enumeration, Scaramucci said "gadgets, and they're holding their own in the cloud," which sounds like 5 reasons to us, but we can't always count (we actually thought Notre Dame was a 10-point underdog, not 30-point).

Tim Seymour's last comeback was "580 times earnings," Zzzzz.

Doug Kass predicts ‘close to 20’ in F in 2013

Doug Kass' 3 predictions for 2012 — honestly, it seems like from December through January of every winter, he's offering 5 predictions about every 2 weeks — didn't really sound as much like predictions as run-of-the-mill stock calls, First, Kass claimed the presence of another activist besides Pershing Square (quick question: If you walk into a McDonald's and ask all the patrons what Pershing Square is, what percentage do you think will know the correct answer?) would force a PG split into "2 or 3 separate entities" (as opposed to 2 or 3 of the same entity) and add $7-$10 to the price of the shares.

Kass also said, "I like Ford Motor Company," and predicted it would "trade close to 20."

But Kass' AAPL opinion couldn't be stated without a purported Brag Trade, one we don't have the time or inclination to actually research, in which Kass claimed Monday he said last year it would rise during the year and then "in September it would fall down dramatically, and obviously I got that right," and how that pertains to this year's trade we have no clue, except Kass claims the Surface "will gain traction," and Sen. Carl Levin's report on offshore tax havens will bring unwanted publicity to tech giants, and so AAPL will spend the first 6 months under $550.

Reminded of last year's blunders, which apparently included a bearish call on BAC, Kass claimed the financial statements there are "quite opaque ... I wouldn't touch the stock here."

Karen Finerman, courteous as always, said Kass said last year that "Facebook would underwhelm; that was a spectacular call." (And that was a bit ironic/coincidental, as you'll see in our year-end review.)

Mel Lee had teased the segment with something about Avon that was never explained. Steve Grasso said he thinks F could end the year much higher, but "Ford appears to be overbought at these levels." Tim Seymour said, "I like the Avon call" (whatever it was), and Anthony Scaramucci said, "Procter & Gamble, I like that one."

Well, at least Kass didn't try to predict the Notre Dame-Alabama game like (gulp) this page and the Najarians and Brian Shactman did. The best answer is that the SEC is at just such a different level, it's no contest. Pete Najarian said on Monday's Fast Money, after Jon had predicted like this page a Notre Dame cover, that Notre Dame and Alabama are "almost exactly identical teams on almost every position across the football (sic, whatever that means)," which was not in the slightest true, but because of the QB difference, "I think Alabama runs away with it in the 4th quarter." Schactman said, "I would take Notre Dame 'cause the points look good," a fine strategy, as Jimmy the Greek supposedly made his mark by taking the underdog, but man, that was one big-time embarrassment.

Steve Grasso no longer concerned about CBO scoring the fiscal-cliff deal

Monday's Fast Money crew spent their precious opening minutes telling viewers ... absolutely nothing.

"I'm long what I'm still long," said Karen Finerman, in a not-particularly-profound statement that sounds a bit like "it is what it is," but "I'm not a wholesale seller here."

Steve Grasso contended that "1,465 still remains that kryptonite level," and he'd "rather be a seller at this point, but then admitting we're in Barry Bannister Land; "you have seen, a never-ending buy side coming into this. It's shocked me."

Grasso added, "I actually don't even use deodorant."

Anthony Scaramucci said, "The market looks reasonably priced to slightly underpriced," but he expects a "headwind of earnings right now ... I think we're going into the worst earnings season since 2008."

"You can't buy and hold," Grasso said.

He’s not going to comment on iPhone sales month-to-month

AT&T's Ralph De La Vega proved too much of a corporate flack than even Mel Lee bargained for on Monday's Fast Money, refusing to delve into details of the business but stating "the iPhone is a big seller for us ... I think it's selling very well," and that oh by the way everyone likes the Pantech Discover smartphone too.

Steve Grasso concluded this CES promotional moment with "AT&T is the buy here," on the strength of its U-Verse offerings.

Tim Seymour said he "took half off" of YUM after its plunge last month, but "this is a fantastic company," and if it's punished too much now, it's good to buy.

Anthony Scaramucci said YUM is a cautionary tale about "don't put a lot of eggs in China ... lot of uncertainty" about the government.

Steve Grasso voted against AA; "I probably wouldn't be a buyer of the name." Tim Seymour said that while he thinks Klaus Kleinfeld is a great CEO, he admitted, "I think he's a bit of a cheerleader."

If the price of gold fell to $800, what would that do to John Paulson’s net worth?

Karen Finerman said on Monday's Fast Money that "CVS management is far superior" to WAG, but because of the valuation disparity, "I think it's OK to own Walgreens here ... Walgreens is much much cheaper now."

Scott Nations said the risk to WAG and CVS might be Brian Kelly's favorite risk, a "really good" economy. "Both of these do really well if the economy is OK to bad," Nations posited.

Daniel Hurwitz of DDR, the shopping center kingpin, said "sales overall were pretty good," but then went on to say that those "really creaming it this year" were TJMaxx, Ross Stores, Marshall's, Nordstrom Rack, and Old Navy, which isn't exactly TIF or COH, but whatever.

Hurwitz said retailers have finally gotten savvy about letting dollar stores into their space; it's "harder to lease dollar stores," because tenants are blocking them in their agreements, even theaters.

Hurwitz stressed that a lot of shopping space should be demolished; he predicts "fewer shopping centers, both open air and mall."

In a go-round on hedge fund performance, Karen Finerman felt compelled to stand up for David Einhorn's 8%; "we had a graphic that attacked him."

Anthony Scaramucci defended John Paulson, who coincidentally is giving Scaramucci an interview at SALT in Vegas, saying, "This is not a guy that I'd be betting against." But Tim Seymour pointed out, "He lost more money when he was at his largest."

Scott Nations reported a big buyer of NFLX Jan 100 calls for $3.05.

Nations' Final Trade was YHOO. Tim Seymour said sell ARCO. Anthony Scaramucci said buy RIMM, Karen Finerman said WAG, and Steve Grasso said GOOG.

Joe has the stronger case, if only for the basic momentum reasons this page has identified several times before

Mr. New Land battled Stephanie Link over NFLX on Monday's Halftime Report and, despite referring to "earning (sic) estimates" a couple times, offered an astute argument for continued strength, suggesting the stock will be a sell once the Street comes up.

Link said the company has "struggles" with U.S. subscriber growth, and it doesn't matter whether it's a 6-cent loss or 12-cent loss, "a loss is a loss."

Josh Brown missed the whole point of this exercise, concluding, "Joe's right from a momentum standpoint but I think Stephanie will be vindicated." Jon Najarian, who had prejudged the case, made a tremendous point, that Carl Icahn has been agitating the name and "he's approaching a pure double on this now."

We've said it before, and we'll say it again, the stock goes up because there's a decent-size group of buyers who like this name like some like the Packers, and when they get rolling it's hard to stop, eventually it gets to a point where enough independents jump in on the short side, but given its past ranges, we're probably not there yet.

Josh Brown said FB started going up because it's monetizing mobile and doing search and creating a want button there were "90 million people caught short this thing in October."

Brown: ‘Massive reallocation’

Joe Terranova opened Monday's Halftime Report utterly refusing Judge's instructions.

Mr. New World declined an opinion on the S&P 500 but said he's looking to financials; he's "not interested" in WFC, but "I am interested in Goldman Sachs ... I will be adding to Goldman Sachs on further weakness."

Even after Judge protested, Terranova insisted, "Don't listen to all the nonsense about where the S&P is going ... get the sectors right," which will come as news to Steve "70% of stocks move with the S&P" Grasso.

Josh Brown said there's a "massive reallocation out of fixed income," and so "this year we've got much more room to run."

Jon Najarian, recently completely out of the market for the first time in 31 years, told Judge, "I don't think it's over," though he said the rally is "getting a little old in some respects." But, "I'm still bullish as far as where we can go."

‘The defensive plays have had their time’

Guest Ron Sloan on Monday's Halftime Report seemed to be caught in no-man's land, mentioning "margins" more times than we cared to count and that "we have to recalibrate everything ... how are we gonna get earnings to grow," hanging a $100 EPS on the market.

But that didn't stop Sloan from trumpeting quite frankly a basket of stocks that will probably only have a good year if the overall market does, namely PGR, GE, SYMC, MSFT and K.

Better margin growth is the "theme of everything," Sloan stressed, numerous times.

Stephanie Link gave a half-hearted endorsement to the world's most useless stock, GE, because the Cramer trust owns the stock of his co-employer; "They're getting cleaner, they're getting leaner," Link said.

Josh Brown, using the term "per se," seemed to disagree with Sloan's thesis; "the defensive plays have had their time."

Dennis Gartman makes the case for gold in yen terms

Steve Liesman took a seat on Monday's Halftime Report to summarize the recent signals (actually it's signals about what the signals are going to be) from the Fed, and basically concluded with "QE3 could come off sooner than you guys think."

Dennis Gartman then chimed in, said he heard the "extraordinary" Fed comments and still follows the "monetary base," which "takes the, the case for gold in dollar terms away."

But, "Gold in yen terms however is only a couple of pennies away from its all-time high."

Gartman said he does think economic growth will improve and for those looking for the global growth trade, "What I really like to own is steel."

Another AMZN bear case defeated

Joe Terranova, in one of the classiest moments in Halftime Report history, accepted his AMZN Fast Fire (vs. Josh Brown) from Judge Wapner on Monday with grace.

"Let me share with you why I'm still here after 25 years," Terranova said. "You look at the person next to you, you say 'excellent call,' you won the debate, I am wrong."

Judge persisted in eliciting from Terranova whether he still believes his early December argument that institutions will choose FB at the expense of AMZN. "The case that I made? No. I do not believe. I believe I am wrong," Terranova said.

Few attributes are more impressive than refreshing honesty ... although sometimes it's not a bad idea to stand one's ground a little while. We think Joe is right to give up on this one; he shouldn't have bailed so quickly on FCX after that stoopid knee-jerk reaction by the market that was obliterated in about 2 weeks.

Jon Najarian said he likes AMZN and thinks the NFLX downtime issues around Christmas were "overstated" as they pertain to Amazon.

Dr. J: Possible 20 in VVUS

Brian Sullivan, who fancies himself a semi-pro comedian, talked about Josh Brown's unicorns while saying WAG should benefit from flu season on Monday's Halftime Report.

Joe Terranova suggested CVS and perhaps Roche. Jon Najarian said CVS will do fine, but "stick with Walgreens."

Barbara Ryan, who is pretty good-looking actually, said she was at the "Woodstock of health care" (like seemingly everyone else on CNBC Monday and rattled off eloquent cases for PFE, GILD and BIIB. Ryan also cited what she said were good biotech names that could be in the M&A space, BMRN and ONXX.

"I love the Onyx pick, uh, quite frankly Judge," said Jon Najarian.

Josh Brown said FSLR was giving back the Buffett Gain that solar experienced; "I wouldn't buy this dip." Jon Najarian predicted VVUS would "test 20 perhaps within the quarter." Joe Terranova defended PSX; "I think you buy Phillips 66 here."

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was LVS. Stephanie Link said EWJ. Joe Terranova said GLW and Josh Brown said QCOM.

Jon Najarian made a prediction on the BCS title game that may not make Notre Dame fans happy: "I think they cover in this one Judge, I don't think they win."

This page will agree with the first part. College ball isn't our specialty, but we've gotta think the Irish cover, quite possibly win. The Notre Dame defense is a much different monster away from home, and Alabama is in the midst of competition fatigue, so many big games over so many years, the gut is that the Irish just want this one a little more.

Year-end review tonight

We promise, it's coming ... but likely not till after football.

This page has been compiling the year's highlights and lowlights of Fast Money — a project that, given the 2 full hours of daily Fast Money material that now exists was dicey to say the least — and plans to unload them after the BCS title game.

[Friday, January 4, 2013]

Seattle will win the Super Bowl

It's only going to give Patty Edwards a Brag Trade. (But then again Patty only really cares about hockey; when it comes to football she's as fair-weather as Charlie Crist.)

After considerable review and analysis, the CNBCfix.com team has concluded that the Seattle Seahawks are going to win Super Bowl 47.

Now, we know what you're thinking ... notoriously weak road team, rookie quarterback, little playoff experience on the roster.

This year, none of that matters.

Forget the Patriots (and Giants, as this page exclusively pointed out before the season opener); last year's Super Bowl participants never get through the divisional playoff round.

Atlanta is the perennial decent team waiting for the hot team to come by and knock them off, and enjoys no home-field advantage.

Green Bay fell off the cliff after its 2011 loss to Kansas City and has not been more than a pretender since.

Math works against the Vikings, who can't beat the same team with a better record 2 weeks in a row, the second time on the road.

San Francisco has no quarterback.

Washington is a year away and playing Sunday by default.

Cincinnati, Baltimore or Indy? Sure.

The Texans are better than people think. But not good enough to beat both the Patriots and Broncos on the road.

Pete Carroll somehow — hard to believe he did it, but he did — has the biggest weapon in this tournament, a wrecking-crew defense that's just starting to play its best ball.

So, it goes like this:

Houston drills Cincinnati
Green Bay beats Minnesota
Baltimore beats Indianapolis
Seattle beats Washington
Houston beats New England
San Francisco drills Green Bay
Denver drills Baltimore
Seattle beats Atlanta
Denver beats Houston
Seattle beats San Francisco
Seattle beats Denver

Joe claims he takes ‘offense’ at being associated with the title of his own show

Note to Fast Money/Halftime Report guests: Some panelists dislike the title of their own show.

Tony Dwyer, impressively proving on Friday's Halftime Report that he "gets it," defended his 1,650 S&P call for 2013 (after 1,575 for 2012), even though all he really did was repeat what he said on Nov. 29.

"You've upped the ante, I mean you're doublin' down," said Judge Wapner.

"I think this year's conservative," Dwyer said, arguing last year he was "directionally right," but "the target was too optimistic."

"The average up year for the Dow is up 18%," Dwyer said, so 15% isn't a big deal, especially when stocks are in the "sweet spot of the economic data and the deficit."

Where Dwyer goofed was in saying of the Fed, "they're gonna cut back on the QE," and then, asked about the debt ceiling, claimed "I'm really bad at guessing," this from a guy who put targets on stock indexes.

But the mini-fireworks started when Joe Terranova and Judge Wapner ganged up on Dwyer apparently to somehow force him into some edgy call on the debt ceiling that Dwyer rightly doesn't have (and neither should anyone else), and Dwyer sighed, "You guys are fast money I, I'm a guest on this show which I love because I am not fast money."

"I actually- I actually Tony take offense at that, because we are not all fast money, and in some cases, creating that alpha's good, in other cases, there are those of us on this desk that have owned stock for over 5 years," Terranova snapped.

Dwyer impressively chuckled it off and talked about hoping he doesn't get hit by a bus, then said markets fall "when money availability begins to shut down," and as long as that's not happening, it's a question of how long to get.

Dwyer gets it; it's the Barry Bannister Market®, it doesn't matter what the reason is or whether it's good or bad or whether you can adequately answer questions about downside risks, the government's into the market, it's going the same direction as the debt ceiling, you might get hot for a month or 2 with a short call over Greece, a tsunami, etc., but then it's face-ripped-off land, so why bother snatching pennies from in front of the steamroller, just be risk-on and enjoy the ride.

Oddly enough, Joe's bio at Virtus Investment Partners Web site states Joe is a "regular panelist" on "Fast Money" (something apparently Joe is not), but Joe's Twitter account describes him only as a "CNBC ensemble member."

Lessee, what's next ... Joe Kernen and Becky Quick insisting "We're not Squawkers" ... Mandy Drury snapping "I'm not a Street Sign" ... Maria chirping "I'm not a Bell" ... Larry Kudlow declaring "I'm not a Kudlow" ...

Steve Liesman on possible Fed buying slowdown: ‘I guess it’s gonna be a train wreck’

On a borrrrrring edition of the Halftime Report Friday, it's no surprise that Steve Liesman of all people proved to be the biggest rabble-rouser.

Liesman said that with jobs-report concerns now focused on the "Fed spectrum" rather than the political spectrum or the Philadelphia Spectrum where Rock thumped Apollo Creed and as the market tries to make interpretations of occasional Fed statements, "this is not gonna be smooth."

In fact, Liesman predicted markets will try deducing in advance when or if the Fed might stop buying fixed-income, and "I guess it's gonna be a train wreck."

Like Mary Ann Bartels, Steve Grasso, Guy Adami and a host of others on Fast Money, Liesman got into the dating business, suggesting this could come into play in April or September, but either way, "you have to be out front of this story."

Mike Murphy was the closest to recognizing the wisdom of Barry Bannister, saying, "There's a reason why we have the saying 'don't fight the Fed'." Joe Terranova said he expects an "orderly rise in yields," which he said will be "good for equities."

AAPL discovery: ‘Buying the stock up at 705 wasn’t the right move’

Judge Wapner on Friday's Halftime Report tried to engineer a feisty AAPL-GOOG debate, but his panel of traders sounded more interested in catching "Charlie Rose" this evening.

"I actually was long Google but I sold it on Monday, ahead of the fiscal cliff," grumbled Steve Grasso.

Mike Murphy insisted that "long-term, Apple is going to outperform Google," while admitting, "buying the stock up at 705 wasn't the right move." Murphy said he liked both names but there's only so high Google can go in search; "more likely they're gonna start losing some market share."

Jon Najarian said AAPL has more revenue streams than GOOG and that FB is a threat to GOOG, but "I like both stocks."

In conclusion, Pete Najarian claimed, "Apple and Facebook will both outpace Google." Mike Murphy agreed, Joe Terranova picked AAPL, and Jon Najarian did not pick AAPL, pointing out, "I have been short Apple 2 of the 3 days of the year."

Murphy: A Q1 repeat?

Friday's Halftime Report opened with the Najarians offering utterly nothing in the way of a trade and Joe Terranova rehashing leftovers from Wednesday or Thursday about "it goes back to financials" (as well as inventing either a new word or a radical Southern dialect, "themsailvs").

Mike Murphy at least constructively pointed out "the price of options is extremely low" and that last year January and the 1st quarter set the tone for the year; we "could see a repeat of that."

Jon Najarian said the guys at the CBOE were "extremely busy" for the previous 30-40 minutes.

Kaylta Tausche reported on a bunch of bank upgrades but pointed out "the 4th quarter was absolutely dismal." Judge Wapner said it feels like a lot of bank upgrades might be coming too late. Jon Najarian assured that "Kayla's reporting is spot-on" but said he was more intrigued by Lee Cooperman's COF, given the "relatively mild" taxes we ended up with.

Who woulda thunk people could actually stage a stock debate over JNJ

Generally when people start talking about how great JNJ is (you know, you can "hide out" in it), it's time to go high-beta.

On Friday's Halftime Report, Mike Murphy said the stock is poised to benefit from approval of a diabetes drug mid-year, "I think that's what's behind this upgrade," and it has a fine dividend.

But Murphy said a big catalyst would be in a breakup, with "20 points of value unlocking."

But JNJ bear Joe (don't call him "fast money") Terranova insisted the company is not breaking up, the pipeline is priced in and lesser than big pharma rivals, and it's "actually overvalued."

Murphy disagreed, saying it's "as good if not better pipeline." Pete Najarian, asked to declare a winner, said he agreed with both on the pipeline (apparently that others are better but JNJ isn't bad), then claimed the other 2 facets of the company are the Minnesota Vikings, er, a "wild card right now."

Unfortunately Guy Adami wasn’t around to talk about CERN

Guest Edward Yoon wasn't exactly dispensing stock picks on Friday's Halftime Report but did say he likes biotech (does anyone ever not like biotech), for "deflationary and disruptive business models," explaining that deflationary is generally regarded as a bad thing but in health-care spending we need it (unless you're bullish on JNJ like Mike Murphy).

Judge Wapner said Yoon's fund holdings include Amgen, Gilead, Catamaran, Cerner, Quest Diagnostics.

Jon Najarian gamely explained, "On the list I actually like Quest Diagnostics the best," as well as Amgen and Biogen Idec in the space.

Pete Najarian claimed there's a big pharma "Patent Cliff ... somehow that's completely forgotten."

Suit crew: Even Joe Terranova dons a jacket Friday

After Tony Dwyer offended Joe Terranova on Friday's Halftime Report by suggesting people on a show/spinoff called Fast Money are actually "fast money" people, Judge Wapner should've known not to mischaracterize Joe's position ... on anything.

Yet, that's precisely what happened later in the program when Judge said that Joe likes "all things commodities."

No, Joe corrected, he doesn't like them all, but he does follow them all.

That's a "semantic issue," Judge tried to explain.

Given that buildup, the best wisdom Joe could dispense was, "You own gold, you don't trade gold." (But the real question is, do you own it in yen terms, or Jack in the Box terms?)

Mike Murphy again was constructive, saying, "If you're trading it as I would the momentum here is to the downside ... you don't wanna fight that."

Pete Najarian carped about those who try to "bottom-pick ... I don't know that we're at the bottom of gold."

2 airlines taking off

Michael Santoli, who basically busted out just as bad as Jon Najarian in his overthinking-to-the-max fiscal cliff stock market call, told Judge Wapner on Friday's Halftime Report that for the market to maintain momentum in 2013, "I think deals have to come back," especially with "corporate profit margins at historic peak."

Mr. New World suggested that if M&A deals don't work, it could mean corporate bonds suffer.

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson said a bunch of people connected to the Fed are going to be making statements "walking us back from the Fed cliff." Patterson's trade is to buy dollar/yen around 86.50, with a target of 89.50.

Pete Najarian wasn't high on AVP; "I think you can still stay away from this name." Mike Murphy called CSTR a "buying opportunity" and said Michael Pachter is defending the stock (hopefully not like when Pachter told the Halftime gang that their housekeepers still rent DVDs). Joe Terranova said of HRL, "you own it, you own the 32 puts along with it."

Jon Najarian called LULU "still a great stock" but said it's "due for a correction" and should be bought in the "mid-60s."

Najarian's most effusive call was for the airlines, including DAL. "I'm buying it, and uh, I also bought LCC."

Mike Murphy triumphantly defended his GBX position. "I'm long the name," he said, arguing it's got a much lower multiple than other rail names. "We've bought more, and I love the name here at these levels."

Pete Najarian lukewarmly defended CVS. "I like the name, I think you can hold onto it."

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was February calls in ADBE. Pete Najarian said CP, Joe Terranova said LVS, and Mike Murphy said FB.

[Thursday, January 3, 2013]

Mary Ann Bartels is another person who should be listening to Barry Bannister

Unfortunately, Mary Ann Bartels just doesn't get it.

Bartels on Thursday's Fast Money tried to predict stock direction the next 2 months with absolutely zero catalyst, claiming, "We still think January can rally a little bit more; we're more concerned about the month of February."

That could bring a 10-15% correction, Bartels said; "the VIX could go up to 40."

Later, Bartels used the "it's the 4th year" of a bull market argument, and so "we do think you can get a deep correction in 2013."

Guy Adami asked specifically what "deep correction" means.

"I don't think it's 30%. It could be 20-25," Bartels said.

Bartels suggested outperformance by big pharma and the S&P 100.

Basically Bartels, like most of the Fast Money gang Thursday and certainly like Jon Najarian, is seriously overthinking this, tossing darts at a board, inventing reasons to have a call of some kind, when stocks in fact are going the same direction as the debt ceiling.

Fast Money traders spooked by a few words from the Fed

At the top of Thursday's Fast Money, only Guy Adami was standing tall among a crew utterly buffaloed by a couple Fed words.

"I think the pain trade still is to the upside in the S&P. If it sold off, I'd be surprised," Adami asserted.

Steve Grasso outlined the headline risks to stocks and argued, "There's a reason to be exiting the marketplace right now."

But no one was making less sense than Tim "This market's a sell but not because the market's not a buy" Seymour, who stated, "I was surprised the market held as much as it did" after this "trial balloon" from the Fed, and for Friday, "I'd be a seller." (And if Mel could've kept him talking a little bit longer, he probably would've come around to a buyer.)

Brian Kelly said, "I think you could have this trap ... I ended the day net-short in the portfolio."

See, what none of these dudes get, except Adami, is what Barry Bannister definitely gets, which is that it's utterly pointless to fight this government or most governments on stocks; just wait for markets to eventually go up, but if you want to try to pull a few nickels out from in front of the steamroller by selling Thursday and plotting a Tuesday buyback, feel free.

Guy Adami praised his own haircut; "I think it's great, I think it's rockin'."

IBM must be sponsoring Fast Money

Bernard Meyerson, a fine chap it seems, paid a visit to the Nasdaq for Thursday's Fast Money ... and we have no clue why.

Meyerson apparently wanted to let the world know about the "new paradigm" of IBM's cognitive computers (or whatever they're called) that haven't been built yet, but there are already biohazard detectors and someday they'll be able to pick up "every conceivable smell."

Brian Kelly for some bizarre reason asked about "emitting a smell" while reading a magazine.

Meyerson a couple of times felt compelled to praise how well the humans did against the computer in "Jeopardy!"

Guy Adami gave this bizarre presentation a valiant effort, suggesting you could try 3D or Stratus as a play on whatever it was they were talking about; he'd pick "3D for the short-covering rally." Brian Kelly actually picked CSCO or QLGC, which is probably news to CSCO and QLGC.

And don’t forget that, OMG, Costco is a special-dividend play to beat the fiscal cliff!!

Brian Kelly basically denounced the department store retail space on Thursday's Fast Money, saying, "all of these names still look very weak."

Debbie Weinswig though visited with the Fast gang and reported that Costco was showing "real strength across the board there" during the holidays, while cautioning that rare-discounter JWN had "discounted across the board."

Steve Grasso asked Weinswig if COST is better than TGT. Weinswig prefers COST.

Weinswig said that with the day's punching bag, FDO, "the concern here was margins across the board," and management's inability to elaborate on its tobacco strategy. "It's a question mark," Weinswig said.

Guy Adami said viewers could trade FDO against 53, but the selloff is "not gonna be a 1-day event." (This writer is long FDO.)

Adami tried to claim the consumer is tapped out (which isn't true now and has never been true during the lifespan of CNBC) but then argued that MA and V work regardless.

Wait ‘at least a month’ before buying WLP

Steve Grasso told the gang on Thursday's Fast Money that "I sold my Aetna," and reminded everyone that he predicted a market selloff of 10% or more in the 1st quarter.

Also selling, in a howler given the stock, was Tim Seymour, who admitted, "We sold some GFI this morning, not enough."

Brian Kelly said of BWLD, "Up at these levels, I think you sell out." Kelly also wasn't high on homebuilders, specifically LEN, "I think you fold these here ... terrible price action."

Mike Khouw said FSLR is volatile and people who actually want to buy it can wait for a pullback. Steve Grasso advised viewers to "wait ... at least a month" before jumping into WLP.

Grasso said VLO isn't in the hot space in energy, whic is BP, RIG and APC; "I would fold it."

Guy Adami said of UNP, "you gotta still hold these guys," but his favorite is KSU.

Someone on Fast Money finally realizes Tim Seymour ‘just doesn’t stop talking’

Tim Seymour on Thursday's Fast Money squared off against Steve Grasso on Ford, calling it the most efficient of the American automakers, plus "Ford is your housing proxy stock," with the now-ever-popular F-150 Trade.

"He just doesn't stop talking," Grasso rightly observed, before declaring that "technically it's a little extended" (F shares, not Seymour's commentary), and that he'd look to buy "maybe around the $12 mark."

Grasso, playing the same kind of month-out stock market game of Mary Ann Bartels on Thursday, said "the 5-year average for the month of April for Ford is up 33%."

Brian Kelly awarded the decision to Grasso, which prompted a couple of protests from Seymour about how "you have to qualify the time frame of the trade," a protest that made no sense whatsoever.

Guy Adami called Seymour's characterization of the F-150 as an "office on wheels, that's genius."

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of March 32 calls in GM.

Steve Grasso fell into the Jon Najarian New Year’s trap

Amelia Bourdeau advised viewers of Thursday's Fast Money to buy the Aussie dollar at 1.0480, with a "very tight stop."

Bourdeau, as this page always notes, always looks good on television.

Hopefully that will avoid any ramifications here for what we're about to say, which is that Bourdeau's particular hairstyle on Thursday needs work. (We can't possibly stress it more: nothing wrong with the hair, just the hairstyle.)

It's like having Eli Manning on the roster, but starting Joe Pisarcik.

World's Hippest Business Reporter Jane Wells on the other hand unveiled a perfectly chic 'do and said not to bet against Steve Wynn in the Okada flap. Mel Lee indicated she likely hasn't been to Vegas since the George Bush SALT Conference of 2011 in pointing out the (former) Okada restaurant at Wynn.

Steve Grasso lamented that he sold WYNN but "I left a lot on the table" and said to wait for $115 to get back in.

Brian Kelly doubts HPQ's sustainability; "I would get out of it here."

Tim Seymour played RIG as a Momentum Stock, saying the news Thursday was "much, much better than a lot of people had priced in." Brian Kelly said "I like it here" but maybe you should wait for a pullback to buy.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was XHB puts. Tim Seymour said sell BIDU (impressive at least that it wasn't just "long RIG"), Guy Adami said buy CSTR, Steve Grasso said buy LNG and Brian Kelly said YCS.

Dr. J unfortunately didn’t heed
Dennis Gartman’s Rule No. 1

Oh my.

(And no, we're not talking about Seema Mody's sizzling attire.)

But, there's a silver lining — anyone who's having likely his worst Halftime Report performance of the year might as well get it out of the way early.

That would be the case with Jon Najarian's out-of-control wipeout on yesterday's New Year edition of Halftime, in which first he claimed (with supposedly supporting math) that his out-of-the-market-for-the-first-time-in-31-years call wasn't too bad and might still work ...

... and then proceeded to advise a "double-down" on his admittedly bad FDO call, saying — gasp — "I would be buying it at $63 a share."

Well, there's 362 days left to get it right.

Link: ‘We were aggressively buying’ at end of 2012

Determined to open 2013 playing offense, Stephanie Link informed Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that (unlike Jon Najarian), "We were aggressively buying last, last 2 weeks."

But Link conceded that when the debt ceiling or whatever is next in Washington comes up, "it is going to be March Madness."

Josh Brown and Henry Blodget both pronounced Thursday's market activity as encouraging, with Brown suggesting the bulls actually want a "shallow, light-volume pullback." Blodget asked if traders weren't really concerned that the "insane people in our government" might hurl us over the cliff (while he's right about some, we didn't know being concerned about Greece-like debt made one "insane").

Judge Wapner declared the cliff, "fair to say, was an embarrassment the way it was handled."

Simon Baker said it's a "really tradeable market," and the risk is "not being in the market."

Josh Brown delivered a Trade School. "The biggest difference between professionals and, and amateurs in terms of the 4th quarter, how they handled the market, professionals were welcoming news that was shaking people out of stocks," Brown said.

Blodget: Facebook is a ‘momentum stock right now’ with ‘huge downside from a valuation perspective’

Josh Brown and Stephanie Link on Thursday's Halftime Report conducted a slightly chippy debate on AAPL, with Brown mostly dismissing Jeff Gundlach's $425 call and insisting the stock's slide is "really a sentiment thing."

Link though stressed caution, saying the "fundamentals have changed and the biggest change is the gross margin story."

Brown said that margin concern for a company that's trying to maintain or gain its big lead in various products and needs to spend in those areas is a bad catalyst; "it is the most ridiculous bear case," he said.

Link said of the tech giants her fund is long AAPL so she wishes that was the best pick but it's actually FB. Brown suggested GOOG, in part because "Google+ is not gonna be a laughingstock in 2013." Simon Baker said GOOG also. Henry Blodget chuckled, "I own all of 'em, index fund."

Blodget, though, while refusing to answer Judge's questions to make a call, said "I have no idea" when buyers stop believing in Amazon's valuation, but the thing about Jeff Bezos, "he does not care."

"I actually own Amazon, it's a legacy position," Blodget said.

But Blodget said FB would be smart to reinvest like AMZN does; "you don't need a 50% operating margin."

Simon Baker rightly questioned the purpose of being public in that case; "Facebook should've stayed private then."

Blodget declared "Facebook, it's a momentum stock right now," and at some point that multiple will come down, representing "huge downside from a valuation perspective."

Some bigwig actually made HLF long his ‘biggest position ever’

Herb Greenberg explained on Thursday's Halftime Report that Robert Chapman is taking the other side of Bill Ackman's HLF short, putting his "biggest position ever" into the stock.

Henry Blodget said he read Herb's report and was struck by Chapman's apparent argument that has nothing to do with fundamentals, but short squeezes and government decisions. Greenberg pointed out, after wishing Ackman no offense, "A lot of people do not like Bill Ackman. They don't like his grandstanding."

"Controversy = sell," said Josh Brown. Stephanie Link said if the stock was trading on fundamentals, "it would be a lot higher."

AIG: ‘Hedge fund hotel’

Josh Brown said on Thursday's Halftime discussion of last year's winners that he's skeptical of another year of financials leading the market because it "never happens" where the same group repeats.

Brown said he's most interested in C and least interested in AIG, which is "overowned, overloved."

That brought another slightly chippy exchange with Stephanie Link, as Brown called AIG a "hedge fund hotel."

"We are not a hedge fund," Link said, saying the government deal is not the end; "it never went down on that news." Link also touted Prudential, Met Life and Hartford.

Simon Baker rather halfheartedly said, "I like gold."

Brown also indicated he thinks YHOO is a bit tapped out; "I don't know if it can replicate that so quickly." Leave it to Henry Blodget to bring up the 700 million users and "Asian assets."

Simon Baker: ‘Windows 8 is revolutionary’

Simon Baker on Thursday's Halftime called TGT a "sympathy play" in Thursday's markets. Baker said of PCLN, "we like it, we're long here."

Josh Brown called HRL "fantastic" and said of JCP, "looks like it's gonna take a rest." Stephanie Link called STI "kind of expensive" and said WLP could be interesting on a pullback because "these stocks trade on employment."

Anthony Grisanti said the fiscal cliff deal is good for gold. Rich Ilczyszyn called 1,695 the "line in the sand" and said if there's a breakout maybe the bulls take over, but for now the bears are in charge.

Keith McCullough dialed in to say that with growth stabilizing or improving, "we're bearish on gold, we're bearish on bonds, and we're bullish on stocks." McCullough said he's into growth, not valuation, "that's how I roll."

Henry Blodget said of Microsoft, "fundamentally, they are in a terrible place," and called the stock "scary."

Simon Baker said that's the consensus, and "that's why you should be buying it right now."

"Windows 8 is revolutionary," Baker added.

Judge declared that Blodget was laughing at Baker. Baker insisted it's a consumer thing, and he's "talked to developers" who are using Windows 8.

Josh Brown, who had prejudged the case, said his 6-year-old and 3-year-old "will not know what Windows is," and there's only one positive catalyst, which is a Ballmer exit.

Kate Kelly, in an enchanting orange dress, spoke of the strength in lumber. We knew Stephanie Link would bring up WY or perhaps IP, and she didn't disappoint with WY, nor did she disappoint saying it would be great to buy on a pullback.

Josh Brown said coffee could be the hottest commodity in 2013 on a mean-revert.

Andy Busch recommended selling euro/dollar at 1.3170.

Simon Baker's Final Trade was MSFT. Josh Brown said DVYE. Stephanie Link said "the India ETF." Henry Blodget said "Vanguard Global Equity Index Fund."

[Wednesday, January 2, 2013]


Holy. Moly.

Happy New Year, wish granted.

Seema Mody joined the Wednesday Fast Money crew to ask about some Twicker stocks, including longtime Guy Adami favorite CERN. "80 bucks here, I think it goes higher," Adami said.

Brian Kelly said Met Life has potential, and Tim Seymour told Mody the "inflation trade is really why you wanna buy gold."

This page finds a Fast Money pundit it can actually outperform

And if you ever think your returns are bad, get a load of the recent record of Brad Lamensdorf's short fund.

"1 year, it's down 28%," Melissa Lee said, on Wednesday's Fast Money.

Undaunted, Lamensdorf said that when the fund is down, "We're really gaining a lot of alpha," and said he was "very bearish" when on in September, "correctly so."

"I feel like our market timing has been pretty good," Lamensdorf claimed, but wait'll you revisit some of his picks of 2012 in our year-end Fast Money review that's due ahem this weekend.

Lamensdorf on Wednesday first touted CenturyLink (CTL), claiming the company uses "90% of their entire cash flow to pay this dividend." Brian Kelly said with borrowing so cheap, can't they just get cheap cash to pay the dividend? Lamensdorf said they need it elsewhere. He predicted it could get "whacked" 25-40% in a bad economy.

Lamensdorf said his top short is actually TIF.

Seymour: $28 in X’s sights

A lot of echoes of past Fast Money episodes were revisited on Wednesday's program — including Steve Grasso's timeliness trade in steel.

Grasso was down on X, he said, because it's generally a play for that conference starting in late November, but not in January-February. "I'm just looking at seasonality right here," Grasso said.

Tim Seymour though argued the "fundamental demand is there for steel," and that X has broken out and longs can get "up to $28," and if the China story comes through, it's "gonna rocket."

Grasso shrugged and suggested "wait until March."

Brian Kelly said, "I'm not a buyer of U.S. Steel." Dennis Gartman wasn't on the program and therefore wasn't asked, but he has said — perhaps only 1 time, which would be a record — on the program something along the lines of, "When U.S. Steel gets going, it's like a freight train."

Mel shows off Harvard math

So much for the revelry.

Killjoy Chris Krueger told the Fast Money gang on Wednesday that there's still a massive partisan divide in Washington, and he raised his prospects of a U.S. debt downgrade from 10% to 20% because House Republicans can still make things difficult with their "trifecta of hostages."

Melissa Lee asserted that 20% is still not a high probability, "it's not over 50%."

But Krueger insisted it's "kind of a big deal," and at 20%, "you have to say it's in the cards."

Downgrades are nothing to shrug off, said Tim Seymour; "this is a big deal." Brian Kelly said it would have to be a "multi-notch downgrade" to make a real difference to U.S. debt; meanwhile, "you do not want this bond bubble to fall apart."

Adami: Market will keep going up, then down

Guy Adami asserted at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money that "market headlines are gonna continue to be positive," then, almost as bad as Jon Najarian's endless ridunculous defense of being out of stocks on the new year, continued this bizarre prediction of great market for a little while, then incredibly good bear trade.

Adami said the market would settle somewhere between the 2007 high of 1565.26 and 2000 high of 1527.35 and find its "top for the year," which will create the "selling opportunity maybe of the last couple years."

Tim Seymour seemed to concur (we have to say "seemed to" because he argues every side of every trade), pointing to highest EM RSI since 2006, "this is a sell signal."

Brian Kelly said after a day like this you've got to think about taking profits, and "the rental position is gone at this point in time." Steve Grasso said he sold Aetna, Ford and Google.

CMI to 118

Guy Adami and Steve Grasso agreed on Wednesday's Fast Money that HPQ has legs, with Adami expecting "more move to the upside" and a push to 16, and Grasso asserting "the stock has a lot more room."

Grasso made it his Final Trade but suggested waiting for the lower 14s by the middle of next week.

Grasso wasn't high on CNX; "I would stay away from the name." He said GS has got to hold 129.72 for 2 or 3 days, if so, "the door's open to 137."

Guy Adami said to hold CMI to 118, then pull the ripcord. Adami said ORCL is a "hold them" (sic) but said 35½ is tough resistance; he expects a "print there and then fail."

Brian Kelly said M's performance Wednesday reflects the "consumer being tapped out ... this is not a buy." Tim Seymour said BHP "is the one you buy" in that gigantic materials/metals/whatever-it-is-they-do space. Mike Khouw tackled JCP and said "speculative is the only way to describe it here."

Guest Flavien Desoblin was actually about the most sensible visitor the Fast crew could land at the Nasdaq, for obvious reasons in the photo above.

What Guy Adami didn’t tell you about Fast Money’s history with MA

Bill Angrick, who heads some kind of operation that resells returned goods on some form of consignment, told Wednesday's Fast Money crew, "this is a great time to be a consumer, but it's a challenging time to be a retailer."

Brian Kelly tried to pin down an economic contra-indicator there but got nowhere.

Guy Adami said "I like defense names" and prefers silver to gold. Mike Khouw said someone bought a bunch of April 18 puts in PHM for $1.50.

Guy Adami hailed MA, saying the show is 6 years old (actually a bit more than that) and that MA was an original biggie.

What he didn't say was that Eric Bolling famously scoffed at it, based strictly on the chart, suggesting a sell around $85, and then admitted months later he never stopped hearing from folks about that one (and maybe that helps the current gang figure out why they get hate mail for recommending 2-day shorts in AAPL).

Anyway, Adami said, "I still think Mastercard and Visa are going higher." Steve Grasso reported that 85% of transactions worldwide are done by cash or check.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was long BA. Tim Seymour said to sell EEM here and buy it back long-term (that's a good one). Guy Adami said SNA. Brian Kelly said EWG.

Dennis Gartman admits his gold-in-yen-terms trade gets ‘tiring’

Unfortunately, the new year hasn't rung in new clichés.

Lo and behold, the New Year's Edition of the Halftime Report ushered in 2013 with a declaration from Dennis Gartman that gold is "going higher in yen terms."

"I know this gets tire- tiring to most people," Dennis admitted.

Not just tiring, but downright head-scratching, given Dennis' Dec. 13 characterization of what exactly this position means: "Uh, if you buy gold and short yen, you are now long gold in yen terms ... I'm long gold, I'm short the yen, I'm long gold in yen terms," Gartman said, which prompted this page to observe that there are likely dudes out there technically long gold in Jack in the Box terms.

Stephen Weiss, obviously recognizing a quality punch line when he sees one, tried to spin his own variation of our assessment on Wednesday's Halftime, explaining, "I own gold in of (sic) Chuck E. Cheese token terms."

Jon Najarian advised, "Stay with a long on gold."

Lee Cooperman prevents CNBC viewers from front-running ‘mystery’ stock

Joe Terranova, who occasionally doles out stock suggestions the way a spreader doles out backyard fertilizer, was actually one-upped on Wednesday's Halftime Report by Judge Wapner's star guest.

Always-classy "Call me Lee" Cooperman spoke with Judge about the cliff and about his outlook for 2013, but started with a mispronunciation, stating "bear markets generally proceed (sic) recessions" and he doesn't see a recession ahead.

Coop said nothing in the world is "competitive to equities," which are in a "zone of fair valuation to modest undervaluation," and "I think the bubble is in bonds."

But he said that in stocks, "The earnings momentum is not what it was."

Cooperman spent much of his time complaining about leadership in Washington, a favorite topic of his whenever he speaks on Fast Money, though this time he reported hearing of "expletives" hurled by John Boehner toward Harry Reid.

All of which was well and good, until the Coopmeister started handing out stock calls like New Year's Eve champagne, starting with CROX, CIM, Qualicorp, Quality Corp and Tetragon, and then surging into QCOM, GOOG, PAY, S, SD, HAL, ATLS, APL, ESRX, MRK, MSI, AIG, C, JPM, WFC, etc....

And let's not forget the "mystery stock" that can't be revealed because he's accumulating the position and the fiduciary duty to investors comes first.

Unfortunately, Cooperman's first thought about why he's not so high on AAPL is because "we didn't like the way it was acting," which sounds like momentum call.

Coop told the 850 Dow story, which has probably been told a lot but not as often as Dennis Gartman's 1) long gold in yen terms 2) doing this for 35 40 years 3) euro inevitably heading toward a breakup 4) owning gold miners is risky because you could wake up one morning with a mine flooded 5) etc., and complained about policy (not Carmen the ex-football genius but the bad kind that people actually take seriously in regard to government), in warning of the "unsustainable nature of the policies we're following."

Stephen Weiss said he would've wanted to talk to Coop about bond yields ("I think they go to 2½ to 3%") and whether Coop sees a massive reversal out of them; "I think that's the trade of the year."

Joe Terranova, just getting warmed up, said he actually thinks energy should be underweight in 2013, and cautioned viewers not to make a "binary call" on the S&P 500.

Joe turns Ralph Whitworth
into ‘David Whitework’

Judge Wapner's featured debate on Wednesday's Halftime Report pitted Joe Terranova vs. Stephen Weiss, but instead of an entertaining donnybrook, all viewers got was the Dave Mason Trade.

Weiss, the bear, called HPQ a "pure commodity stock" but admitted "I wouldn't short it."

Terranova asserted, "I think the stock is bottoming," noting he bungled the purchase last year by being too early and had to put it in the Penalty Box® (like we said, new year, but not new clichés (can a cliché by definition actually be "new" anyway?)), but indicating the "breakup" is coming "at the end of next year."

Weiss rebutted that even if it's broken up, it's just 2 commodity businesses instead of one.

Simon Baker, rating the debate, said "I think I'm going to jump into bed with Joe on that one," and we're not even gonna bother touching that one.

The strongest case for HPQ, without a whole lot of evidence other than repeated technical history, came earlier from Steve Grasso, who said whenever HPQ bottoms, it tends to see a "doubling its stock price."

Grasso said he thinks dividend stocks are worth a look again, specifically XLU, MO and D, but cautioned they're "not immune" to a selloff. Weiss said he likes T and VZ.

No one seems to be lamenting the exit of Vikram

Joe Terranova, en route to about 15 stocks he rattled off on Wednesday's Halftime Report, started with a call for GS and MS and saying he'll be "continuing to own financials," and the key to the market is "where the 10-year Treasury actually trades."

Fred Cannon said financials were up 25% in 2012, and it will be "very hard to sustain that" in 2013. But he conceded that if the yield curve steepens, "these stocks can move a lot."

Contrary to Joe Terranova, Cannon called GS and MS "a bit challenged" this year.

Jon Najarian, who for days/weeks? now has been predicting a big selloff (after the big gain, when all the bad stuff starts hitting us) nevertheless managed to say, "I love Bank America and Wells Fargo," which isn't exactly what people say around the same time they're getting totally out of the market for the first time in 31 years.

Najarian also hailed COF. Simon Baker called WFC the "best name" in the sector. Joe Terranova rattled off V, MA and AXP."

Baker and Stephen Weiss both endorsed the overall market. "I think it's game on ... the real danger is not being involved," Baker said. Weiss predicted there won't be much volatility from the debt ceiling, and so "I'm pretty bullish," adding to WLT and the bond short which we think is TBF, Weiss' Final Trade.

Bullish FDO a ‘horrible call’

Jackie DeAngelis wore striking black to usher in the 2013 version of Futures Now on Wednesday's Halftime Report, and viewers learned that Anthony Grisanti will get long crude if it's a dollar lower.

Rich Ilczyszyn, featuring plaid tie, said crude has been range-bound and you want to "buy that dip against that support level," but beware the "double-top at 94.98."

Joe Terranova suggested COP, CVX or XOM.

Terranova advised waiting till earnings to get into WYNN, and he wasn't so high on TGT; "the better play is WMT." His Final Trade was still another, BRK-B, a "hundred-dollar print in the near-term."

Jon Najarian said LMT is benefitting from new contracts post-cliff.

More importantly, Najarian actually admitted a recent long-FDO recommendation was a "horrible call," but he's willing to double-down, "I would be buying it at $63 a share." Najarian's Final Trade was ELN.

Simon Baker had to look down at notes to report that FB got a boost from a "real-time bidding exchange and gifts." Baker's Final Trade was TRK.

Jon Najarian rewriting history on ridiculous ‘out of the market for the first time in 31 years’ call

According to this page (just PgDn a bit), Jon Najarian declared on Thursday, Dec. 27, "For the first time in 31 years in the market I'm completely out of everything."

But don't just take our word for it — check out the date on the official CNBC.com summary.

Yet on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Najarian insisted to a Judge Wapner who declined to challenge him, "You take a look at where we are virtually, uh, from December 20th, when I said that, uh, we're 6 points higher. 6 S&P points higher. We were 1,443. Today, we're right now at 1,449."

Actually, when he really said it (that would be Dec. 27), it was 1,418.10. (Or, 31 points below 1,449, assuming we subtracted correctly which is not always the case.)

But let's give Dr. J whatever possible benefit of the doubt exists.

On the 20th, Najarian actually said it makes sense to take profits in winners given capital gains tax changes, but, "I think overall that uh, we are not going to see a market crash."

Isn't it odd that, according to what he said Wednesday with his supporting math, on that day, Najarian secretly was out of the market for the first time in 31 years ... but didn't bother to announce it until a whole week later — when he trumpeted it on both Halftime Report and Fast Money, and gave CNBC only a week-old scoop.

Even if somehow the above paragraph was true, Najarian was still announcing on Dec. 27 he was out of a market that was going to climb 31 handles in less than a week.

Not only was there no mention of being totally out of the market Dec. 20, but a day later, Najarian pointed out that the previous Friday's (Dec. 14) close was 1,413, and "if we don't break through that, then yes you buy this dip."

On Wednesday's Halftime, Wapner did tell Najarian that obviously the sell-the-news types were wrong. Najarian argued, "I don't know if they were wrong on this," because they predicted a jump and then a selloff; "time will tell."

Everyone makes mistakes. (Wait'll you see our recap of things this page said in 2012.) Najarian's call Thursday was curious at a minimum. Making a bad call is one thing. Rewriting history is another. This b.s. — even though it occurred in 2013 — is headed for the Worst of 2012 list.

More from Wednesday's Halftime Report later.

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