[Fast Money Review archive — July 2009]
[Friday, July 31, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Contango
gone, and GDP goes up

Featuring: Tim Seymour | Melissa Lee | Guy Adami | Mike Khouw | Joe Terranova | contango | GE | HON | BWA | CSCO | SLB | MFE | Dave DeWalt | David Pyott | AGN | Gene Sperling

Tim Seymour early on Friday's show gave a nod to yesterday's curious dollar debate with Peter Schiff. "Our guest was right; I just didn't agree with the levels he was talking about," Seymour said in a candid description that boosts his own credibility on the subject.

Joe Terranova made what we think was an incomplete point on contango that was rightly questioned by Seymour. But Terranova also opened the door to what we think is a fascinating and important concept: whether oil is going to be a headwind on economic growth for several years, that whenever the economy surges, the price of oil will surge disproportionately, which will then gut consumer spending. Or, is oil merely the tail on the economic dog?

Terranova said, "Here's the trade: If we are going to have a GDP economic recovery, what should happen in the commodity space is the massive contango that all these commodities right now are trading under, should be removed. All that inventory gets worked off, contango comes out of the market, that will be the tell in the commodity space, if we get the shift into backwardation."

"When you say contango comes out, does that mean you think that, aluminum prices are going to be 40% higher at the end of the year or oil prices will be 40% higher at the end of the year?" asked Seymour. "I mean clarify that."

"If contango comes out of the market, then yes, aluminum will move higher, yes, oil will move higher from here," Terranova said. "But without contango coming out, then none of the commodities will continue the upward momentum through the end of the year."

Without knowing the professional significance of this (this writer has never traded futures and has no training in trading futures), Terranova's comment sounds like a circular argument, that the price will go up when contango comes out, or maybe if contango would come out the price will go up, something like that, but what he's really simply saying is that the economy — and commodities — will rally if these inventories are shown to be worked off, kind of an elongated way of delivering an obvious if-then scenario.

Once again, there is talk on the panel of General Electric, and we found Guy Adami's comments Friday interesting. He said, "If you like GE, you gotta like Honeywell ... Honeywell's just basically a better company without the GE Capital exposure."

Tim Seymour said later, "This stock actually does look technically very challenged ... The RSI, which is a momentum indicator, looks very overbought. I'd be careful."

Melissa Lee on Friday and Erin Burnett (dressed to the 9's) on Thursday both asked the panel to explain the confusion over why the stock would actually rally on Barney Frank comments about divestiture rules or legislation. One thing we don't understand, other than the fact GE is the parent of CNBC, is why there isn't more healthy discussion about selling off GE divisions. Adami says clearly, "Honeywell's just basically a better company without the GE Capital exposure." A couple years ago there was a lot of chatter on media sites that NBC Universal might get spun off. This site does not care one way or the other, but finds it a worthy "Fast Money" topic that never comes up. You would think, after several years of lagging performance at least partly because as Karen Finerman says, it's not a pure play on anything, that someone would raise some interesting points as to how much certain divisions of GE might be worth spun off, stockholders would certainly seem interested in that type of discussion. (This writer has no position in GE stock or financial instruments but does have a refrigerator, oven, microwave, washer and dryer.) As always, this site wishes the best for GE, its employees and stockholders.

Adami again expressed overall caution on the S&P, saying, "It can't continue to go straight up from here." He wanted to come clean on seeing a major tell in oil's recent $4 one-day drop. "I messed this one up for you folks," he said. "Gas led this time and I missed it."

Despite that, he reminded people of his warning on BorgWarner ("We told you to get out ahead" of earnings) this week, which is fine, except by trumpeting old trades, which Adami does (not bragging, but just mentioning them), it invites scrutiny of the ones that didn't pan out too; in other words, it's fine to say we told ya so, but then we need distinguishing between which trades we should believe and which ones we shouldn't ... what about telling viewers for days that the S&P felt like it would drop from 870?

He said of BWA on Friday, "It's not a buy here." Adami had things to say about other names, calling SLB "dead money" at this price and saying of Ford, "to me, way too late in this thing." He said, more or less, that CSCO is a market performer, which has been the case for nearly 10 years.

Greg Troccoli is finding a niche with his weather forecasts, including the near-flirting that he tends to do at the beginning. ("You look well-rested," he told Melissa Lee, even though she'd been working on assignment in Atlanta the four days she'd been away from "Fast Money.") Troccoli didn't have any earth-shattering views Friday, saying he sees a "psychological resistance level at about a thousand."

McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt disappointingly delivered a rather dry earnings update. DeWalt goes way back on "Fast Money," appearing on the set as far back as perhaps two years ago, with more inspired things to say. This time despite great results and a good outlook, he seemed glum. He noted that the security business is great, and "we think there's a good opportunity" in emerging markets despite a "little bit of currency exchange impact negatively."

Terranova cracked us up — and Melissa Lee as well — with his comment that Internet security firms are "defensive plays" that should be remembered "next time there is a recession."

Next time there's a recession. Got it.

David Pyott, CEO of Allergan, sounds like a chap with a great sense of humor, even though Melissa Lee's injection joke was kind of flat and silly. Lee mentioned Treasury Department adviser Gene Sperling's suggestion of an excise tax on forms of cosmetic surgery, and Pyott gave it the expected brush-off, explaining that Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) isn't taking it seriously. "This most recent initiative is already losing momentum." He said New Jersey once levied a cosmetic tax that only brought in 25% of projected revenues.

Guy Adami asked about Acuvail for cataracts, which Pyott actually called "kind of a second-tier product." He said a "more important recent approval" was Ozurdex, for retinal therapeutics. "Everybody knows us for Botox, but then there's the other side of it as well," Pyott said.

Pyott, it turns out, is a Commander of the British Empire. He came to Allergan in 1998 from Novartis. He has a diploma in German and European law from the University of Amsterdam, a master's from the University of Edinburgh and an MBA from London Business School.

We were curious as to who Sperling is. He's a Clinton guy, going back to the 1992 election, major architect on Clinton economic policy and a Hillary adviser. He was director of the National Economic Council for several years. He was also a consultant to "The West Wing."

Mike Khouw, taking a chair but without a "Fast Money" nickname, was mostly quiet but held his own. He said he keeps hearing people warning of a pullback, but he's not hearing about people suddenly getting short. "I don't really think there's gonna be any disaster on the horizon," he said.

For "Final Trades," Seymour said CBD, Adami said RJF, Khouw said CVX and Terranova said Google is going lower. Seymour said at the beginning of the show, "I would not want to be short going in to next week."

[Thursday, July 30, 2009]

Fast Money Review: What has
that dollar done since March?

Featuring: Peter Schiff | Tim Seymour | Erin Burnett | Guy Adami | Karen Finerman | Joe Terranova | Zach Karabell | dollar | gold | JPM | MA | Clay Jones | COL | Jack Hockema | KALU | UNG | F | PLCE | AMGN | TIM | VIV | TKC | Eliot Spitzer

Every time Peter Schiff shows up on CNBC, it's worth a long look.

Thursday on "Fast Money," he ended up in an odd debate with Tim Seymour over the dollar index.

And this was one strange debate.

Tim Seymour seemed blatantly wrong, at least according to the chart that was shown. But we're now under the impression it might've been a misunderstanding.

First, Erin Burnett introduced Schiff as "The man who tore up YouTube with his prescient calls on the stock market."

But this was a more important part of the introduction: "He even appeared on this show, when the Dow hit 7,500, and warned of more losses."

That was Nov. 20, 2008 — a day the DXY closed at 88.26, according to this interactive chart at MarketWatch.com.

Schiff said, "The last time I was on uh, on your show I pointed out that the dollar rally was not gonna last, and it hasn't, the dollar has fallen precipitously, uh, since March, and that's undermining, uh, the real returns that investors think they're earning on U.S. stocks because what they're gaining nominally as the stocks are going up, they're losing it in purchasing power as the dollar's coming down.

Seymour said, "Well in fact the dollar's actually up since March, the doll- the dollar actually bottomed back in December and bottomed, and bounced off that same bottom later this week, so actually it has traded sideways to upwards from that point, and that's actually a place that I think a lot of people think we're going—"

Schiff said, "No, no, not at all, the dollar index got close to 90, uh, in March, and now it's just below 80, so it's fallen rather sharply..."

Seymour said, "I thought you said the dollar index had gone, the dollar index hit a bottom at 78.30, which it's bounced off of a couple of times over the last six months."

"No, it hit that- it hit that bottom a couple of days ago, but earlier in the year, when the dollar was rallying, the dollar index was up near 90. And, and that was, that's where it was early this year, late last year."

Erin Burnett said she wasn't going to play referee because she didn't have the charts in front of her. That's what we're here for. So it's our pleasure.

The clear-cut blunder is Seymour saying "the dollar's actually up since March." Clearly, it is not. According to the chart we cited above, its lowest level in March was 83.09 on March 19. Thursday it closed at 79.06.

Then he said, "the dollar actually bottomed back in December." Perhaps, but not if you're speaking of a six-month bottom (which Seymour suggested later), which doesn't go back as far as December, or a one-year bottom, which finds much lower levels in August-September 2008.

The problem with Schiff's point is that after his November 2008 appearance, the dollar did fall to the 78 level cited by Seymour, but it rallied off that back up to the March highs Schiff cites. So the dollar has already re-strengthened once after a Schiff call for its decline, and who knows, maybe it'll do it again.

But what else. Schiff said, "I still think the trade is to get out of the U.S." He also said, "I think bonds are a huge disaster." Guy Adami questioned his returns from last year. Schiff acknowledged a rough 2008, but said, "This year is the best year I've had in the history of my career as a stockbroker." But we want to revert back briefly to Schiff's November appearance on "Fast Money." It was a remarkably fascinating episode. Here is one site that has the video.

Schiff said, "Our markets are going lower. ... Our entire phony economy is collapsing around us. There's nothing the government can do stop it, they should get out of the way and let it happen."

Zach Karabell, quite possibly the funniest guy on "Fast Money," asked, "So other than that Mr. Lincoln, how did you like the play?" (We think the joke has it "Mrs. Lincoln," but you get the point.)

"When this dollar stops rallying, it's gonna fall like a stone," Schiff said. "That is the next major economic crisis we're setting up, a major, major run on the dollar."

Here's where it got fascinating. Karabell challenged him, "You know Peter, you say we have to get back to an economy where we make things, I mean that suggests that there can be no change, no evolutionary change in the way in which economies function, that it's all just about bricks and mortar, and there can be no difference."

"We have to pay for our imports," Schiff responded. "We can't expect the rest of the world to produce all this stuff, send it to us, and then give them nothing in return. We have to be able to export to pay for our imports."

"But if you create a unified bloc of capital," Karabell said, "whereby goods and services flow somewhat freely within it, you know, nothing, every state in the United States doesn't have to make and be self-sufficient."

Both of them are right, but Karabell is more right than Schiff. (Note: This writer is not an economist and has never been trained to analyze currencies, economies or markets.)

The major glitch in Schiff's point is the implication that we export virtually nothing, when in fact we are exporting the know-how as much as ever. His point would be 100% valid if Honduras was the only nation that knew how to make T-shirts and was superior to the U.S. firms. Then acquiring those T-shirts would require a constant payoff. Instead it is generally the U.S. company, knowing what kinds of T-shirts Americans want and the most cost-effective way of producing them, that chooses to operate in a place such as Honduras to lower its costs. The risk is that a Honduras company could produce the imagination of what an American T-shirt consumer wants, the plant to produce it, and the distribution network of acquiring and assembling the raw materials as cheaply as the U.S. company can, and all of that superior to the typical, American/Western-dominated international business structure that exists. If one were to analyze every good and service produced in the world, one would find the highest caliber of a vast majority of those goods and services produced in America. (Not the best at everything, but very good at many things: agriculture, aerospace, medicine, computing to name just a few ... you're reading this in all likelihood using American software, even though you're free to buy your software from any country's developer you wish.) That is not going to change, as Schiff suggests, because we built a few too many houses a couple years ago and overpaid for them.

Also in November, Schiff made this provocative prediction on gold:

"You gotta fade this rally in the dollar, it can't last," he said. "Once this rally is exhausted, you know, the dollar is gonna collapse. ... I think next year gold's gonna hit $2,000 an ounce, and then go higher."

One thing we'll say: Dennis Gartman did a wonderful online chat with Toronto newspaper readers several weeks ago and mentioned he doesn't care for Schiff because Schiff gets hot-headed and argues in ungentlemanlike fashion. Schiff seems a little edgy, but in two "Fast Money" appearances, made his points professionally.

Perhaps because Michelle Caruso-Cabrera raised the fashion bar Monday, Erin Burnett showed up in the guest-host chair Thursday looking like a million and a half bucks and directing a remarkably smooth production on the heels of Rick Santelli's choppiness. Quite simply, she was flawless in every sense, and whoever her date for this evening might've been should've taken her to the finest Manhattan restaurant to celebrate.

Tim Seymour made what we think is a compelling argument for the market in the face of three bearish colleagues. "Guys are underweight and they're scared ... Fundamentally, I don't see what's gonna stop this," he said. We agree — again, we're not economists here — but it seems if the unemployment number is high, everyone calls it a useless laggard, and if it's low, everyone says it's a sign things are picking up faster than thought. (Except the "underweight" part is something CNBCfix wishes was the case, personally.)

"You have to be concerned," said Joe Terranova, of the fact a lot of big names traded down by the end of the day and gave up some good gains. "Next week's unemployment, that is gonna scare people."

Karen Finerman said, "If anything, we were a seller into this today." Guy Adami predicts we're near the top just about every day now, so we know he's kind of in that camp also.

But "you can't be too cute with this tape," Seymour insisted, and we think he has a point.

Of course, we're interested in discussion of GE stock. (This writer has no position in GE stock and never has to his knowledge.) Burnett made a joke, saying anyone who calls it a sell might upset Jeff Immelt. Guy Adami made this curious comment: "We've said ... literally, $13 is a fair price."

In fact (scroll down), on July 8, we reported that Adami actually said it's worth about $12 or $12.50, and "anywhere around 10, you wanna get in GE."

So $13 is now "fair." Whatever.

He also said, "GE Capital's probably 0 frankly." This is hardly a new sentiment, something Adami mentions whenever the stock comes up. But this is a division that until recently was said to be responsible for nearly 50% of GE profits. And as Karen Finerman will say (she wasn't asked this time), GE is not a pure play really on anything. As always, we report objectively on GE and wish the best for its employees and shareholders.

When Eliot Spitzer came on for a discussion about high-frequency trading, all we really cared about is how his wife's job with Karen Finerman's firm would be detailed. Burnett mentioned it right off the bat, good for everyone involved. Other than that, we don't have much of a clue what Spitzer was talking about, although the fact he was on a show with Karen Finerman suggests Spitzer must not be on the outs with his wife. More importantly, we are aware that high-frequency trading is a concern to pros, and that others in the media are knowledgeable about it and consider it important, but we'd have to think the typical "Fast Money" viewer, as Guy Adami said recently, is best left ignoring this subject and focusing on more controllable things.

Adami said, "JPMorgan, at this price, not a buy." But he did say WDC is a great story that still has legs (maybe not necessarily at this price). There was a lengthy discussion on Mastercard that quite frankly is the same MA chat we've heard on "Fast Money" for all three years, of the sea change going on in how consumers pay for things, etc.

Clay Jones, CEO of Rockwell Collins, a company Adami has liked for a while, made some positive comments but unfortunately, like the Goodrich CEO recently, wasn't on long enough to get into anything interesting. Adami said "valuations still extraordinarily fair" with this stock.

Jack Hockema of Kaiser Aluminum made an interesting point about his business that we didn't know and that Burnett introduced, well-prepared, citing Finerman: "We seek to be metal-neutral and make our money on the value-added," Hockema said. We will say, it wasn't quite clear to us how that happens, and Tim Seymour nevertheless suggested aluminum is looking better, which by the way he said it we would think might be a good sign for KALU, but maybe it's just the opposite if aluminum rises. Burnett handled both interviews expertly.

Burnett did give herself a bit of a highlight clip in an "around the world" segment, which allowed Seymour to talk about some general global opportunities. He focused on the "cellular space," citing TIM, VIV, TKC.

For the "Final Trade," Seymour said UNG, Adami said to sell F, K-Fine said it's time to get out of PLCE and Terranova said withdraw from AMGN.

[Wednesday, July 29, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Santelli
doesn’t quite fit to a ‘tea’

Featuring: Rick Santelli | Billy Goat | Dennis Gartman | Guy Adami | Tim Seymour | Pete Najarian | Joe Terranova | gold | oil | copper | FCX | Mark Mahaney | YHOO | MSFT | Jon Najarian | GT | David Bank | DIS | LAZ | GHL | Mohamed El-Erian | HIG | NKE | PBR | PTR | Steve Liesman

Rick Santelli ended his two-day stint as "Fast Money" guest host, and didn't exactly go out with a bang.

Santelli's timing was off the entire show, a far cry from the electricity of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Monday. Sometimes guests were talked over, and panelists seemed confused at times about when they should speak.

The biggest glitches came during the Dennis Gartman segment, and Gartman did look mildly annoyed. We don't blame him. Joe Terranova asked Gartman whether he prefers gold, copper or oil now, and after Gartman said copper, someone on the panel — it was offscreen, but we assume it was Santelli — actually started clapping, which not only seemed an odd reaction to such a humdrum question, but a bit amateurish too.

Gartman said he'd be interested in FCX if it falls a couple more dollars. He talked about gold, saying, "I thought the trade was to be long of it until they started hitting every stop known to man ... somebody large is selling at a thousand." He also said, "I think crude oil has a way to go ... to the downside."

Anyway, Santelli's obvious awkwardness throughout apparently went unnoticed by his colleagues, who heaped praise on him throughout and especially at the end. Tim Seymour made this comment in closing, "Nice to have a guy who can actually give us some trading strategy." While literally, that text sounds like a zinger toward other hosts, it really didn't come out that way and we don't want to portray it as such. It sounded like merely a compliment to something Santelli brings to the table. Nevertheless, it does suggest that the show maybe thrives better when the host is fully plugged in to the trades.

"You've done an unbelievable job," Guy Adami said.

Pete Najarian said people at the "Billy Goat," a notable Chicago tavern, are eagerly awaiting Santelli's return home, and we dunno, is Santelli a Billy Goat guy? Depends what a Billy Goat guy is, maybe.

Joe Terranova and Guy Adami seconded Santelli's "tea party" call early this year. But here's the problem with that. We don't disagree really with many or any of those anti-bailout sentiments. But look at the stock market since Obama took office. This is a government massively dominated by the Democratic Party. Maybe the rally is a fluke. We don't know. But the "Fast Money" experts are always saying how the markets are leading indicators. If whatever Santelli was denouncing, help for mortgages or whatever, is so devastating, why is the stock market up about 10,000 percent in five months (that's an exaggeration; you get the point)? Cheering things like tea parties is the equivalent of some recent comments by Larry Kudlow, and we like Larry Kudlow, but saying the market is rallying because Obamacare has been derailed is akin to suggesting the Dow would really be around 10,000 or 11,000 if we had a conservative administration, which seems a reach. The Dow was massively rallying before anything was derailed. If it's your position this administration is ruining the economy, fine. Right now, the market scoreboard says no.

Back to the show. Mark Mahaney, the "strong hold" guy, came back on to discuss MSFT-YHOO (does this mean we don't have to talk about it any more?). Mahaney said the "biggest winner here appears to be Microsoft ... Yahoo should've gotten more out of this deal."

Then there was this bungled exchange, like a bad snap in football, between Guy Adami and Mahaney. We know it was bungled, because Adami was talking about Microsoft, and Mahaney was talking about Yahoo. "The stock went from 15 to 25," Adami said, and he mentioned the big revenue miss, and Mahaney thought he meant YHOO when he responded, "Kind of hard to see this stock moving, uh, near-term."

We checked, and YHOO last hit $25 in June 2008 and $20 in September 2008.

Someone came up with a funny gag, showing the panelists with candy bars discussing the Mohamed El-Erian market "sugar high" comment. It did seem like a provocative comment though, and we didn't get much out of the discussion, except Tim Seymour asked about the "sugar low" the market apparently experienced in March.

Seymour made a strong call about one of his favorite sectors. "The emerging market oils are as toppy as any of the names out there," he said, citing Petrobras and PetroChina. "I think aluminum is actually starting to rally," he added.

Pete Najarian had another idea for getting short China — the FXP. "September 10 calls, amazing amount of activity," he said.

Pete's brother Jon also pointed to "unusual activity" in Goodyear options.

Guest David Bank of RBC delivered a fine report in spite of some disjointed directing by Santelli. Bank talked about Disney. He said there is "relatively good visibility" in Disney's cable operations, "pretty decent visibility" in its broadcast division, but much more difficult visibility in the parks, where he said visitor spending patterns are hard to determine.

Bank said of media companies, Disney has the "least amount of what we call toxic assets," and that it's problems are cyclical, not secular as is the case with newspapers and broadcasters. He said if you're looking for a diversified media company that is leveraged to a cyclical recovery, Disney is a valid play.

Joe Terranova made an eye-opening comment. He asked, "how does it get north of $30?" Then he said Bob Iger has a plan, and "the plan looks like it's going to be online content."

"Online content" admittedly can mean many things, such as buying movies via download, but the idea that Disney is hinging its "plan" on "online content" doesn't sound too optimistic to those who toil in cyberspace. (Hint: That's us.)

Guy Adami liked HIG a couple times, once for his "Final Trade," saying "this stock is ridiculously cheap" assuming they earn what they project. He also mentioned the Jefferies story while urging caution at this price but touted GHL and LAZ, "both still great plays." Early into the show, he touted his pick (and K-Fine's pick) yesterday of selling BWA prior to earnings.

Santelli rolled some clips of previous sparring matches with Steve Liesman. These clips were great. CNBC should do this more often, so that people can see these on TV more often instead of just consulting YouTube. The resulting live Santelli-Liesman discussion didn't really go anywhere and we quickly got lost in the chart fiasco.

Santelli hilariously, mistakenly, referred to the airing of a "health care scummit" on CNBC.

Seymour said to sell PBR, Terranova said buy Nike, Najarian said buy MetLife in the "Final Trade" segment.

This was a mild stunner: Eliot Spitzer is apparently going to join Thursday night's show as a co-guest host (or something like that) with Erin Burnett. (Full disclosure: Karen Finerman hired Spitzer's wife late last year.)

[Tuesday, July 28, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Santelli
steady, but no MC(squared)

Featuring: Rick Santelli | Michelle Caruso-Cabrera | Guy Adami | Tim Seymour | Karen Finerman | Joe Terranova | 980 | 870 | RIG | Aetna | IBM | PCX | LFC | WDC | HTZ | Mark Frissora | David Silver | BWA | Jon Najarian | Patty Edwards | PM | TAP | TEVA | JNK

Anyone expecting sparks from Rick Santelli's "Fast Money" guest-host gig, oh, that's just so February.

Santelli was quiet and gentlemanly from beginning to end and not nearly as provocative as Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who blitzed onto the set Monday like a hurricane and still had the pedal to the floor while signing off. If "Fast Money" were a stock, Caruso-Cabrera upgraded it to "conviction buy." (Which is also the rating some give to Allen Stanford.)

However mellow Santelli, the show is absolutely ripping this week, as Pete Najarian would say; electric since MCC showed up and apparently ignited the whole panel. Tuesday's show didn't have to be all about the host as Guy Adami made a welcome return from a lengthy vacation and was on-point from the get-go, rarin' to go. But we can't help but quibble with a few things. Adami initially asked the host, "What's it like to be Rick Santelli?" And the elite professional questioners know the "what's it like" question is sorry, indicates lack of preparation, and can be awkward for the recipient. But no matter. Before Santelli could answer, Karen Finerman, who always looks sparkling but looked very sparkling for the second day in a row, excitedly dubbed him "Big Sur," and we were off to the races.

"Is there a correction coming? Absolutely there is," Adami said. "You know what, a hundred S&P points in two weeks is much too much folks. ... I'm a seller here."

Joe Terranova jumped in with a curious point. "I love Guy, Guy nailed this market at 870," Terranova said.

But did he? We actually thought just the opposite.

This is what Adami said Friday, July 10 (page down to see it): "Frankly, I don't think we're gonna hold 870. It feels like it wants to go lower from here. I still think we're gonna test now 830."

Actually, it was Terranova himself — on July 14, see below — who declared 870 "was the low" (he didn't explain for what time period).

So Terranova credits a fellow panelist who made an opposite call for making the call that Terranova himself actually made.

Anyway, Terranova disagreed Tuesday that a correction is ahead, because the market "doesn't go out with a whimper."

Tim Seymour conceded somewhat to Adami's point, saying 980 has been a resistance number. Still, he said he'd be "amazed" if there's more than a 5% correction.

Of course, then Seymour also dug into, what else, "two big data points" and "capacity utilization in the steel sector." Sigh.

We've conceded before that it's probably not a bad idea for panelists to constantly repeat themselves because not every viewer watches every day like CNBCfix; plus it's a good way to stay on message.

When it comes to IBM, Adami really likes to stay on message.

"The quarter wasn't as good as it looked," he said. "We talked about IBM going to 120. They gave us guidance for 2010. They said they'd earn between 10 and 11 dollars a share. I think IBM is a little long in the tooth."

This site has already taken up the predicted 2010 earnings thing (sigh, see July 10 below), but the short answer is that the $10-$11 thing was planned by the company at least no later than February 2008, likely before, published in the company's own press releases, and merely reaffirmed in May 2009, so — and we're not pro investors here — we hardly think this "guidance" could be considered not in the stock already.

What about K-Fine? She used what we think is her favorite term, "ridiculous," in getting a dig in at Goldman Sachs for moving Aetna from "conviction sell" to "sell." Kind of like that "strong hold" Mark Mahaney talked about yesterday.

Karen said of the HMOs, "these things were on fire," but, "I'm a little bit scared" that the government could still gin up a plan that sticks it to shareholder value.

"I would not buy RIG yet," she said, citing valuation.

Terranova, who not too long ago mentioned buying FTO because all the bad news is in the stock, now says "refiners are not yet ready to rally."

Tim Seymour talked about opportunities in China, specifically LFC, though he noted some of their gains come from the stock market. He told PCX holders to "stay in the trade, still good."

Adami said, "Gold has trouble at 950." He said WDC is "hard to chase" at this level, "but I love this story," and K-Fine congratulated him for being early on this one. In a chat on the rails, Adami said, "I think they all pull back."

Santelli and Jon Najarian ushered in a segment on speculator crackdown, but honestly, it's nothing viewers haven't heard in recent weeks. The fact the CFTC issued a statement about "inaccurate" reports on its study suggests maybe Gary Gensler, who was once a regular guest of Larry Kudlow, was watching "Fast Money."

Terranova gave an interesting little talk on what's apparently a controversial subject, high-speed trading, which Terranova basically described as "black-box trading," or computer trading done according to algorithms, formulas, etc. He discussed it well for the layman, but Adami's point makes the most sense to us, at least for the vast majority of "Fast Money" viewers: "Focus on what you can control."

David Silver of Wall Street Strategies delivered a fine segment on automotive suppliers, pointing out that fuel efficiency is everything now. He said "BorgWarner's my favorite," a stock Guy Adami also likes.

Hertz CEO Mark Frissora was slightly interrupted by breaking news, but had a good show. One thing we like to hear from CEOs, because they're never going to deliver stock-trading advice, is basic stats about their business or industry that laymen probably don't know. Frissora didn't really do that, but did say "We've seen for the last 15 weeks in a row, advance reservations improving." Terranova asked him if he's buying into the fuel-efficiency urging of the White House (we're not exactly sure what Terranova meant). Frissora said Hertz is "buying primarily Toyota, Nissans," but it wasn't clear to us if that applied to all vehicles or only the more fuel-efficient varieties. He did say a lot of people actually want minivans and SUVs because they're renting cars for shorter vacations rather than flying somewhere.

Patty Edwards did the "Bull Market or B.S." segment and of course it's no surprise where she's leaning. "I think that we may have put in a top at this point," she said, suggesting 950 or 940 as a near-term S&P destination. Her picks included PM, TAP, TEVA and JNK.

[Monday, July 27, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Scorching
guest formula is E=MC(squared)

Featuring: Michelle Caruso-Cabrera | Joe Terranova | Karen Finerman | Tim Seymour | Pete Najarian | Daniel Clifton | Aetna | Cemex | Michael Fox | Greg Troccoli | WMT | GFA | HXM | Mark Mahaney | AMZN | Andrew J. Hall | Mike Huckman | GSK | AMGN | Andrew Lo

"Fast Money" viewers expecting a humdrum summer Monday got a gift when Michelle Caruso-Cabrera finally landed in the guest-host chair.

Caruso-Cabrera, dubbed La Princesa, in a crisp white jacket, dominated this show like she's been hosting for three years. Dylan Ratigan never made it look this good. We'd almost be tempted to do a word count for MCC vs. the other hosts but of course that would be taking this analysis to extremes. The only loser on the day appears to be Guy Adami, who was billed in teasers earlier in the day as doing a "tell" segment, then apparently couldn't make it on the regular show.

The person in his chair, Joe Terranova, set the table for Caruso-Cabrera early — "The market tops out with an explosive high-volume thrust, everyone comes to the party" — and Michelle crushed it out of the park with this: "I love it when you talk that way."

Then, she asked Tim Seymour if he was turning red, and he admitted, yes.

Was this one a scorcher, or what?

If there was any downside to this show, it was a noticeable lack of trades in exchange for the type of broader free-market politics that Caruso-Cabrera tends to bring to the shows she's on.

We didn't care.

MCC turned a segment that presumably was supposed to be about health-care stocks into a broad discussion on whether individuals should buy their own coverage as with car insurance. Daniel Clifton of Strategas said, "Health care reform is slowly dying."

Karen Finerman said earlier that it would be wise for HMOs not to brag about earnings. Much more interestingly, "I am afraid of this administration," in terms of health care, she said, and we'd love to hear more from her about her own opinion of the nation's health-care situation.

She also offered a classy tribute to Michael Fox during a promo to a CNBC roundtable health-care discussion.

Finerman, whether ignited by Caruso-Cabrera or not, showed up on fire and dressed to match. First to cross paths with her was Tim Seymour.

"I think commodities are rallying on an asset class rally and a strategic hording..." Seymour said.

"But not fundamentals," Karen said.

"No, and that's why if we get a little bit of fundamentals, I'm bullish on that," Seymour responded.

"If they're rallying, then the fundamentals have moved," Finerman stressed. "If they're rallying, they reflect the higher price, higher multiple..."

We don't think we're ever going to get a winner out of that one, at least that we would declare.

Finerman also challenged Greg Troccoli on one of her favorite stocks, only after Troccoli floated a slight flirt in Caruso-Cabrera's direction. The market, said Troccoli, "It's a little bit overextended."

Wal-Mart, he said, "I think this stock goes to 35."

Finerman was nearly in disbelief. "I think it's crazy, actually."

"They expanded way too much in recent years," Troccoli insisted, and the only thing about that was, it was kind of odd to see a technical analyst making such a bold call based on fundamentals.

Caruso-Cabrera brought up the $100 million bonus demand of Citigroup oil trader Andrew J. Hall, of Phibro. Joe Terranova explained that Hall isn't just getting lucky buying oil. "What Andy does is, he measures inventories." Tim Seymour didn't understand why this salary agreement was subject to pressure. But it was Finerman who raised the most important point, "What's his risk?" The others agreed that was an important concept for taxpayers.

Mark Mahaney of Citigroup came on, first smartly dodging MCC's bold question about Hall, then saying of Amazon, "You're a buyer ... a small buyer," but if gets below $80, "you wanna be a big buyer."

Instead of asking about other stocks, MCC asked this provocative question: "Why is the Internet analyst still covering Amazon?"

"That's a very good question," Mahaney said. "There's some Internet development here," explaining why it's different than a traditional retailer.

Then Mahaney said, "Akamai for us is a strong hold." Forget about the illogical investing thesis of that, just enjoy Pete Najarian's joke: "I had a girlfriend like that once." Hopefully, everyone saw MCC's reaction to that one.

Mike Huckman explained a deal on d-mab between GSK and AMGN: "It did come as a bit of a surprise." Joe Terranova said of Amgen, "You gotta be out ahead of August 13."

Terranova described the day as "Low volume, 3:52, scramble for cover."

"I was a little concerned that we didn't trade better on this data," Seymour said. He said if he was really into homebuilders, he would buy the cement and copper names, including old favorite Cemex. He rattled off GFA, HXM and expressed his usual admiration for Brazil.

Pete Najarian added this howler on homebuilders, "Great trades, but you don't wanna be in there long because it's a roach motel."

Andrew Lo of MIT came on to discuss something about mutual funds and hedge funds. We weren't paying much attention, particularly because Caruso-Cabrera managed to sweep her hairstyle into another dazzling look while he talked.

Rick Santelli came on the show — he's apparently going to host the next couple nights, which might be interesting and is only a downer knowing that our Monday luck won't continue — but the only thing we took note of in this segment was this provocative line from Tim Seymour regarding bond auctions: "The government obviously is getting away with murder here."

[Friday, July 24, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Najarian
in ‘Vista vortex’ on consumers

Featuring: Tim Seymour | Pete Najarian | Microsoft | Joe Terranova | Steve Grasso | Melissa Lee | AXP | COF | John Krafcik | Kevin Johnson | JNPR | HIG | CB | OSX | Jeremy Zirin | Christopher Zook | INTC | BUCY | MCD | CAT | JOYG | Jimmy Iuorio | Scott Nations | PFE

Friday's "Fast Money" was remarkably lackluster, four guys sitting around in blue shirts with a woman in black and hot pink really not talking about much of anything, relative to usual shows.

So the best we got was a strange discussion involving Microsoft — strange, because Pete Najarian seemed to take issue with Tim Seymour's description of a buying opportunity while conceding he had made the same move himself.

"I jumped in premarket because those numbers were not that ugly," Seymour said, citing the 11% dropoff overnight.

But, countered host Melissa Lee, "We also know it's a stock that hasn't done much over the past decade or so..."

"What do you mean it hasn't done much," Seymour asked. "I mean what do you mean, cash flow, they've got a great balance sheet, they continue to do ..."

"The performance of the stock has been terrible, that's what she's pointing to," Najarian grumbled.

"The stock, the stock, the stock performance," Lee said, sticking with a great question, "take a look at the chart and it hasn't done much, so why does Win 7 all of a sudden unlock this move higher for Microsoft?"

"Well because first of all they've been trapped in a Vista vortex for the last three or four years," Seymour said. "They haven't been innovative on the product side, and they actually have broken out of that, that stock has broken out this year, so I would argue, that actually it HAS broken out..."

"I tell you what we need to be careful of right now, we need to be careful of getting the pompoms out and suddenly everything's OK," Najarian responded. "The consumer is NOT OK." "Pete's totally right, it's not about the consumer," Joe Terranova cut in. "What probably would take us higher is the corporate balance sheet ... Listen (to MSFT) on July 30 and see what they're gonna do."

"Microsoft still has to produce," Najarian insisted.

"Nobody here on the desk is saying the consumer's in a great place," Seymour countered, saying Microsoft's revenue miss was rear-view mirror material. "They told us that the consumer in their business is good looking forward, why would I care about the second quarter revenue number..."

"You wanted a pullback and that was your opportunity, we talked about that last night," Najarian said.

"I bought it," Seymour said.

"I bought some today too," Najarian said. "On the pullback would you buy it? Absolutely. I still like it."

Steve Grasso offered a tidbit on the big buyers he deals with everyday: "I saw them buy Amazon; I didn't see them buy Microsoft."

Seymour pointed to Samsung's good results. "It's not dire straits out there people, it's not."

Our first thought was that Najarian was merely taking issue with perhaps the idea that the coast is clear for Microsoft, that he views it only as a trade on the earnings report. But why would he say, "I still like it" at Friday's closing number?

Even more curious at "Halftime," Najarian talked about Microsoft's $30 billion in cash (note to panel, we can't envision how the amount of cash a company last reported can be considered a stock indicator, given that the whole world already knows about, and wish people would quit talking about it, same for Cisco) and suggested the company could do something interesting with it, although he included the dreaded, useless "share buybacks" in that description. "I like Microsoft for those reasons. I think you've missed it on the way up, now we're getting a nice pullback, a big 10% move, I like the opportunities here for Microsoft."

Najarian seemed to be grouping the Microsoft dialogue into some other comments about the banks made by Seymour and Joe Terranova.

Najarian scoffed at gains in Capital One, saying, "Go after Visa ... transactions continue to work, Mastercard still continues to work."

Terranova said he disagreed, and the reason he's interested in AXP and COF is, "I think there's a fundamental story behind these names," specifically that they might regain "normalized" earnings sooner than the market thinks.

"I'm skeptical of that. Iiiiiii ... totally disagree," Najarian said.

Seymour then was brought in to the conversation, and sort of agreed with Terranova without explicitly saying so, regarding AXP and COF: "Those actually are encouraging because we see stabilization."

At "Halftime," Najarian took up AXP and said something similar. "Their delinquency rate, far less bad than people at first expected," he said. He said it was a stock where, "when they're showing any kinds of signs of pullbacks, we're seeing folks come in and start to buy."

So it sounds like Pete agrees there are bullish reasons to buy these stocks, but he doesn't trust that the consumer can really support them.

Got it? Sure.

Like we said, it wasn't a particularly good show. (The folks at CNBC.com probably thought the same, referring to one panelist as "Joe Grasso.")

Seymour, by the way, has an interesting disclosure at CNBC.com. He's down to two stocks, owning MSFT and TSL. Granted, they only disclose stocks that are "mentioned" or "intended to be mentioned" on the show, but that is fewer than his usual number.

Someone who brought his "A" game was John Krafcik, acting president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

We'd never heard of Krafcik before. No disrespect to Fritz Peterson or Bob Nardelli or Nardelli's successor, but we sat there wondering, why isn't this person running GM or Chrysler? Krafcik did trumpet his company but was candid.

"We admit, we're a little bit- we've been late to uh, to the hybrid game, but we think we've got a wonderful surprise up our sleeve," he said. "Um, next year we'll be entering the market with our first U.S. market hybrid. And what we're doing is leaping from today's nickel-metal-hydride battery, which is in every hybrid on the market today, past lithium ion batteries that are in vehicles like Tesla and in your own laptop, to something we call lithium polymer batteries."

Tim Seymour sounded impressed and asked if this could be a patent. Yes, said Krafcik, "That is our own technology."

We looked up the Wikipedia entry on lithium polymer batteries. It notes Hyundai is working on them, but adds this: "The cost of an electric car of this type is prohibitive, but proponents argue that with increased production, the cost of Li-poly batteries will go down."

Melissa Lee suggested to Krafcik that Hyundai might be better off not counting on hybrids too much for profitability. Krafcik agreed they haven't been a gold mine. "The real issue that no one's solved in the industry yet on hybrids, is how do you keep them affordable for consumers?"

Pete Najarian asked a great question about diesel, and Krafcik's answer was something we didn't know: "Just about every major automaker has canceled their diesel programs for the U.S. as we've all had to tighten our belts," he said. He pointed out that it's double the engine cost, plus an extra grand or two to make the exhaust conform with U.S. standards, requiring a $6,000-$7,000 premium to be profitable.

That's something consumers need now, paying $6,000 more just to drive a diesel.

Krafcik said 15% of the trade-ins they get are cash for clunkers, and for trade-ins in general, he had this "wonderful news for American consumers": On average, they have 140,000 miles and get low mileage, so people are replacing a lot of inefficient older cars with better-mileage models. (That doesn't seem so earth-shattering to us, but we'll take good news of any kind in autos.)

We'd probably rather root for Ford, GM or Chrysler if possible, but Krafcik seems like a great choice to run a car company, and Hyundai looks to be doing something right.

Krafcik has a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Stanford and a master's in management from MIT.

Another CEO, Kevin Johnson of Juniper, appeared on the show, and while it wasn't Johnson's fault, this segment was practically useless, full of mind-numbing inside baseball and lacking any kind of trading context.

The most we got out of it: Juniper has a good arrangement with IBM ("IBM has a phenomenal sales force," Johnson said), and that things are going well even if there was a margin setback. "Just be a little careful because you're gonna get a lot of hot money now chasing this," said Joe Terranova, in probably the best comment on the subject. Pete Najarian also said don't chase it here, "might have a better shot back towards 25."

Johnson jumped to Juniper (say that fast three times) a year ago, July 2008, after 16 years at Microsoft and an earlier stint at IBM. He doesn't have the most overwhelming technical academic resume, which is kind of refreshing: a bachelor's in business administration from New Mexico State.

Two analyst/expert types, Jeremy Zirin and Christopher Zook, provided little more than a general investing overview. (Like we said, it wasn't the most earth-shattering show.)

Zirin, head of equities at UBS Wealth Management, was on the set, relaxed with hands in pockets, but not in a disinterested way, which was good. He said his recommendation is "moderate overweight in equities," and that a key is "sequential revenue growth." He said companies are doing a good job of getting cost structures primed for growth. "What we're seeing is that revenue growth is up 4%, we're seeing earnings growth up about 10%, quarter on quarter," he said.

Terranova said "sentiment remains overwhelmingly bearish," and what are you gonna do about that.

Zirin said he thinks we'll start to see growth instead of "less bad news" in the second half of 2009. He added, "We're overweight emerging markets, we're overweight commodities," and he likes "energy, consumer discretionary ... also like tech" because of its "very reasonable valuations." He said he finds "software trading at 14 times, hardware trading at 14 and a half times, the market's trading at 15 times," so it's a growth industry trading less than the market.

Zirin appeared on "Fast Money" on Feb. 17, an appearance we didn't recall, but then we watched the video and we recalled it. The subject was government nationalization of banks. Dylan Ratigan was up in arms over taxpayer bailouts and Zirin's contention that the government needed to provide the "missing link" of backstopping enough toxic assets that private capital would start arriving. Ratigan and Karen Finerman both asked which banks should be nationalized, and Zirin avoided any specific names, but when Ratigan named C and BAC, Zirin acknowledged the stock market was telling us that those are prime names. Zirin also called the stimulus, which apparently became law that day, "very necessary to bridge the demand gap." Pete Najarian asked him about "clawbacks," something you never hear on "Fast Money" since about, oh, March 27. Ratigan first called Zirin "David" but apologized later, and Zirin didn't seem to mind.

Zook (guess it was "Z" night) said oil plays will be reporting like OXY and SLB, "eye-popping declines, year over year, the outlook's gonna be pretty tepid." He said the integrateds are going to track gasoline prices, while oil service names will more closely track crude. "I like the oil service names over the E&P," he said, and according to the graphic, likes OSX long, shorting long-term Treasuries, and buying the S&P health care index.

So what about the actual stock market and Friday's move?

"I don't think we should read too much into it," said Steve Grasso. "The floor was waiting for something to fall off the table," and it never really did.

"There were guys I know that came in short, looked at futures, almost jumped out a window," Tim Seymour said. Ouch, we hope it wasn't really that bad.

"People are chasing. People are absolutely chasing," Pete Najarian said. "They use every pullback as an opportunity." Seymour said there is also short-covering going on. Grasso concurred, suggesting it started with the Goldman Sachs earnings. "It was led by short covering, and for the last couple days we saw the mutual funds coming back in, really trying to get a taste."

Melissa Lee asked Grasso about resistance indicated by the advance/decline line. Grasso merely said, "I have never seen a market like we've seen this week," something like 5 to 1 sells to buys, but everyone ends up chasing. Lee asked, "So what does that mean" in regard to her chart question.

She also asked Joe Terranova what to do about Apple right here, right now, and he too dodged that one. He pointed to the upcoming August unemployment number, saying, "going into that you are going to see the market soften."

The Quicker than the Ticker and Fast Fire segments, which were dropped for a long time during the debacle of September 2008-March 2009, should probably be dropped again. This time the Intel chart accompanying Terranova's good call was botched, showing INTC trading around $0 at the beginning of July and Terranova recommending at $10 (or put another way, the stock went from about $0 to $20 in a month, which was probably better than Terranova's actual return).

And, Terranova somehow was spared a Fast Fire, even though we could readily offer about a half-dozen contenders. Grasso was spared too, though he hasn't been on often.

Pete Najarian pointed to heavy options action in Hartford (HIG), saying they're buying the "August 13s, 14s, 15s" and he was able to get in on some of that. Tim Seymour said to be careful with insurance because Chubb's performance might be unique. "Chubb is to me, they're so far ahead of the competition," he said. "I think Chubb does stand alone."

Terranova compared BUCY and JOYG favorably to CAT. "I like Bucyrus, I like Joy Global," he said. "Caterpillar, too much exposure to the, uh, late-end cycle, non-residential construction market." Try saying that a bunch of times fast.

Najarian discussed the MCD pullback and said, "I think that's a great opportunity," even though, as we all know now, he doesn't trust the consumer.

Melissa Lee has been having a rocky week, and extended it with a bungled joke about Bernie Madoff's arrest, first saying it was in Palm Beach, and in fact it wasn't that great of a joke anyway when they did get it sorted out. Her questions in particular to Kevin Johnson sounded like she was reading awkwardly from a script, which she most certainly was.

The Graphics Dept. bungled the spelling of White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. Then Tim Seymour asked Lee, "Can you give me one other perfect game? Just one?" Lee said, "I don't know," and that might be a bit troubling to some but her reaction was cute. She said in closing, "I'll be on assignment next week but back Friday."

Grasso said the declining health-care legislation is good news for the sector. "As soon as this starts getting more watered down, you gotta buy the whole space."

Najarian admitted a bad call on YUM, "I've bit on a chicken bone on this one."

Seymour said he was wrong to short PKX, because "there's no letup in Asia, Korea's been kickin' butt, there's another economy growing in Asia."

Scott Nations offered this trade "after dark" that only an options trader would like. It was Pfizer, "I like buying the Dec $15 call."

Seymour named TOT, Grasso CVX for "Final Trades." Terranova said "Kroger found a bottom at $20.51, that's what you use as your point of reference, go in, buy Kroger." Najarian said "I love BP, 7% dividend yield, trading at a 9 P.E."

At "Halftime" (sorry there's more to this, but we wrote it down so we might as well include it), Bill Strazzullo said, "The S&P is really bottoming in the same area it did in 02-03 after the dot-com bubble burst ... I still believe the S&P gets to a thousand, we'll probably take a big chunk of our profits there, maybe even get short a little bit."

Grasso said, "Based on a technical basis, I think you wanna be buying the casino names," but he expects "worse news to come in that space."

Jimmy Iuorio said of a wireless stock rally, "to me it looks like a failure" and he might go to RIMM, maybe AT&T but he hardly said that with any enthusiasm.

[Thursday, July 23, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Terranova
reboots his operating system

Featuring: Joe Terranova | MSFT | AMZN | AXP | Pete Najarian | Larry Kudlow | Jim Cramer | Jim Goldman | Peter Miseck | YHOO | Jon Najarian | Karen Finerman | Steve Grasso | eBay | John Donahoe | GR | Marshall Larsen | Carter Worth | Charles Gasparino | John Mack | Morgan Stanley | Lloyd Blankfein | Jeff Macke | Patty Edwards | WMT | Brian Stutland | AXP

As soon as we realized — quickly — that Thursday's show would be utterly dominated by tech earnings news, the first thing we thought was, "Thank goodness it's not Danielle Park reporting on the conference call."

(Please note: That was only a joke! Just having some residual fun with yesterday's show. Danielle, please don't get mad at us.)

Joe Terranova on Thursday pulled one of the biggest U-turns in New York since Sollozzo and McCluskey gave Mike a ride to the restaurant.

On the "Fast Money Halftime Report," Terranova sounded as bullish as it gets:

"I truly believe this is a breakout in the market."

He also repeated his Wednesday call on AMZN, "Once it gets above that 9 number it usually goes to 10." And he said of AXP, "I'm long, I'm staying long."

A few hours later, after the Microsoft earnings release, this was his reaction:

"It's horrible. This is an 0-for-7 today if you throw in Capital One, Broadcom, Netflix and other earnings that have come out after the close and you know what, you can't decide what you're gonna do ... you're gonna have to cut down positions, you're gonna have to get smaller, these are not good earnings report, from Microsoft."

First a breakout, then we're cutting down positions. All in a day's work.

However, Terranova wasn't quite the only "Fast Money" panelist reversing course Thursday.

Terranova said at 5 p.m. of the afterhours earnings, "It does not reverse your sentiment, not at all. It does however tell you to reduce your position." Pete Najarian balked, however. "It reverses some of my sentiments, I gotta tell ya. I mean, this makes me a little bit nervous." He griped about Microsoft, "How did they miss on the revenues by that big a number ... why did the Street have this so wrong. I mean, this isn't just a small miss, this is a MASSIVE miss..."

Then, at the end of the show, he made MSFT his "Final Trade," calling it a "great opportunity."

Pete actually said at "Halftime" he thought Microsoft could keep "the love going." But he added, "I question a little bit whether Amazon can, because the move has been so exaggerated," a point taken up a bit later.

In the Web universe, we tend to see more criticism hurled at Lawrence Kudlow than anyone else on CNBC. Now, there's a key disclaimer to that. There is likely far more vitriol for Jim Cramer. But much of that is concentrated in message boards and reader comments on articles. In terms of original posts taking a point of view, often political, Kudlow turns up a decent amount of time because he tends to draw political types who don't care about stock trades. (We should point out, most of the Kudlow digs we see are at least civil.)

Who would be next? Quite possibly Jim Goldman, the network's Silicon Valley Bureau chief. This is because 1) he covers tech, and techies blog more than non-techies; and 2) is perceived by some (not necessarily this site) as reporting too favorably on Apple.

We do think he tends to get overly rosy on tech in general and some of his appearances are tiresome. But we like Goldman. For one thing, he's unflappable, a great quality to have for someone in his position (or anyone really).

For another, he can kind of sling it too when the situation calls. For example, his take on Microsoft's earnings report Thursday.

"You know Melissa, it's 5 o'clock Eastern, and to borrow a CNBC phrase, do you know where your one and a quarter-billion dollars is? I mean this is just such an ugly report from top to bottom, I can't even tell you," he said.

Then there was this. "Microsoft needs to do something with its online strategy, and Yahoo seems to be the most expedient thing out there," Goldman shrugged. "It is absolutely stunning that after all this time Microsoft cannot come up with an online strategy that works."

(Please note, we're not cheering MSFT's sell-off. This writer has no position in MSFT but wishes those who do, well.)

Goldman can't be zinged for excessive negativity here. Peter Miseck of Canaccord Adams said "the amount they lost in online services in that, in this quarter was a, was a record." And, "Our doubts aren't necessarily on this quarter, our doubts are, uh, that this quarter is a symptom of." He said results of the new products will emerge in October and early November, but "until then, this trade is a tough trade right now."

Miseck proved an entertaining guest, if for no other reason than he's a believer in the cliche, especially in expressing his doubts about a Microsoft-Yahoo deal that, let's face it now, has reached the stage of laughingstock.

"Chasing the search market in this way is really a, you know, a lateral move," Miseck said, in what sounded like an overly generous analysis. He said he wishes MSFT would instead "really think outside of the box here" to beat Google; "you gotta go do an end run."

Najarian said if there is a deal — and the WSJ was reporting that Yahoo's board was going to meet on this subject — "This could be potentially something great for Yahoo." Yeah, sure. Terranova said Bing allows Microsoft to "cherry-pick the crown and only jewel of Yahoo right now." Whatever.

Goldman reported that Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell told the Journal, "Tough economic times will last for the remainder of 2009 but there is some reason for optimism into 2010." And, "there are major new products in the pipeline."

One person who exceeded high expectations on Thursday was Karen Finerman, who showed up in a sleek, majestic royal blue outfit that was turning heads. Unfortunately for whatever reason, the show was being conducted like a funeral and Karen wasn't laughing and smiling as much as is customary.

Melissa Lee was having an off day, tripping over several words and seeming downright disinterested, if not frowning, at times while the camera cut away. She was obsessed with up-to-the-moment stock futures prices to the point of annoyance. Hey, it happens to everyone.

But back to Finerman. K-Fine was skeptical on MSFT. "A revenue miss of that magnitude, that is really hard to overcome with cost-cutting," she said. But by the end of the show, she was just about in friendly snicker mode that is seen in discussions about Dress Barn. "This miss (snicker) on Microsoft, a revenue miss of that magnitude, that's more than the bar being too high. That's ... it's bad," she said.

More than just about anyone, though, Finerman, was keeping it all very much in perspective. MSFT was down a few percent; AMZN maybe 1 or 2%. The world was not ending.

Steve Grasso said the markets need new leadership but also need tech to continue doing well, and thus, "This is a major blow to the market rally."

"I don't know that this is such a major blow actually," K-Fine said. "Look at what's happened to the Nasdaq the last two weeks ... it's been ridiculously huge. ... If you put in a little bit of context and step back..."

"I will tell ya, this is the first day that I felt as if people were chasing the market rally," Grasso insisted. (Note: We don't disagree, but it's worth noting Grasso has been telling of how bearish his clients are since about, oh, 70 or 80 S&P points ago.)

Of course, a little later, Grasso would say that markets overshoot up and overshoot down, and "this is purely a, just a, slight correction."

Jon Najarian reported on Amazon's earnings report and this was the most interesting thing he reported: Jeff Bezos wasn't on the call.

Najarian speculated "Jeff knew that these numbers weren't gonna be stellar and decided, nah, I'm gonna take a pass on this one," and then he quickly noted, "but that's just my read of it, Melissa."

Jon Najarian said "these guys are the liquidator of choice," and he thinks the two issues it faces are whether it's continuing to get inventories from sellers it relies on, as well as tax-withholding issues.

Julia Boorstin got an interview with eBay CEO John Donahoe in what appeared to be a crowded hallway outside a ballroom. "We're just staying to our plan," Donahoe said, explaining that "...every-, every- everything in our, in our, portfolio grew, and grew double digits, except for our core auctions business." He said of the future, "We see stabilization."

So no gaffes, but not exactly a Power Seller.

Finerman (did we mention how good she looked in royal blue?) compared eBay with AMZN afterhours stock reaction. "The reason that eBay's response was so much better, was that eBay was trading at 13, 14 times, and Amazon was at 41 times."

"Absolutely," Melissa Lee said.

"Absolutely," Joe Terranova said.

And Terranova would add on AMZN, once it started trading better even if it's not going straight from 90 to 100 because that's what happens with $90 stocks like he said yesterday, "Maybe it is not as bad as we initially think it is."

Carter Worth returned to the show to paint a slightly bullish case for tech and a flat case for everyone else. First, he agreed with Finerman about the panel's overreaction to AMZN and MSFT trades, "they're only back to where they were on Monday," he said. As for chart analysis, he pointed to a divergence between the Nasdaq and broad market and extrapolated a bailing point where investors have recouped losses. "When they are made whole, human nature is to get out, so we think 2,100, which is about 5, 6 percent from here, is where basically the Nasdaq is going," he said. "We're looking for actually not a lot of upside, of the Dow, S&P."

The most interesting thing he spoke of was a theory about predicting whether a company will meet or beat its earnings estimates. "Just look at price action before they release the earnings ... in the two weeks prior ... the ones that beat were up 5% on average. The ones that missed going into earnings were up only 2." We don't know where MSFT fits into that scenario.

"I think those charts just say it all," said Pete Najarian, but we really don't know what they say, to be honest, other than providing grounds for Worth to make an educated guess.

Pete pointed out that a lot of people have done well in a long S&P options trade. "All kinds of S&P buyers of the August 100 calls," he said. "Those were 19 and 20 cents when they bought 'em, those are now trading a buck-fifty. I mean, that is a home run-type trade, and they bought 200,000 of those last week."

Charles Gasparino returned to the "Fast Money" set, and while this version was better than his appearance last week, it still wasn't great to be honest.

Last week CG rambled and never ultimately made two or three points he suggested. Thursday, he seemed tired and edgeless, which maybe shouldn't be a surprise given that his topic was something he already covered a day earlier on "Power Lunch." It was refreshing that he actually allowed people to ask him complete questions, but we'd prefer to see the open-mindedness mixed with some degree of aggressiveness.

The subject was John Mack. Gasparino explained, "I actually know John Mack very well, I like him." Fine disclosure. From what we know of Mack, we like him too; seems like a straight shooter and an honest broker throughout the banking crisis.

The only thing is, Gasparino's reports about Morgan Stanley this week and perhaps over the last year have suggested that Mack may be due far more criticism than he gets, from his own investors. Gasparino noted that Mack took significant risk on what turned out to be toxic material at the peak a couple years ago and ended up with a lot of unwanted assets, and, in reducing leverage from a heyday of 30-1 to 11-1, "he's cutting back on the trading in a major way" just as Goldman smartly got back into the leverage thing many months ago and is kicking butt. "I think, he bet wrong," Gasparino said of Mack, and according to Gasparino's reports this week, this would be two (major) miscalculations in a couple of years, which we think would put a lot of CEOs on the hot seat, which doesn't seem the case for Mack.

We're not saying Mack should go, only that he's apparently made two significant market miscalculations in a short period of time and Gasparino seems to be the only one noting that very loudly. But then again, his firm is still standing and viable, far more than you can say for some of his rivals.

"Can you imagine we're actually talking about taking more risk?" Gasparino wondered aloud. "What I understand, they are now taking more risk" at Morgan Stanley, he said, likening Mack's situation to a "whipsaw."

At any rate, we suspect no one will accuse Gasparino after this report of being on the "paycheck" for MS. Although maybe we should, because then he might mention this site on the air. (By the way, CNBCfix is angling to score an exclusive interview with Lloyd Blankfein; once we get it, we'll notify our subscribers via RSS feed, tips to Bess Levin, etc.)

In a really ill-advised segment, Goodrich (GR) CEO Marshall Larsen took part in a "Set the Record Straight" interview with Lee. Lee first asked if Goodrich faced headwinds from Boeing's thinking that the Defense Department is trimming certain lucrative programs. Larsen said GR is strong in "those parts of the Defense budget that are continuing to grow."

That part apparently justified the "Set the Record Straight" theme, though it should've been called "Set the Record Straight IN A HURRY" because Lee quickly ended the interview after the second question on various defense projects.

Asked his investment opinion, Terranova said something about how it depends if you believe in the trough. Grasso called it a better play than Boeing; "the only thing worse than the Microsoft-Yahoo deal is Boeing with their Dreamliner deal," Grasso said, and we have to totally agree with him there.

Lee hilariously mentioned the "aerosplace," er, aerospace play.

We wondered if the "Trader Radar" choice — Ann Taylor — was a bit of a facial to Jeff Macke. (His wife has the same name, though we think it's spelled differently.)

Terranova returned to a recent laggard that Guy Adami likes, ABT, for his "Final Trade," while Grasso picked APC and Finerman suggested Whole Foods puts. Najarian tossed in BUCY on a pullback.

K-Fine said of AXP, "they needed to just knock it out of the park to have the stock go up after the kind of gains they've seen."

"I still think Microsoft goes above 30 before it goes below 20," Terranova insisted.

Jon Najarian, aside from deftly handling the AMZN, seemed like money all day. He noted at "Halftime" the 9,000 Dow number could be another resistance level. "We've certainly seen a fair amount of call-selling, put-buying, uh, going into this higher number for the Dow." He was asked about Amazon and said, "for now I'm on the sidelines," which looks like a good move.

Brian Stutland thinks the S&P has a bit more room to go higher, but "I don't know that we continue to rally, gapping 2% a day going forward." He said "we even saw Goldman Sachs firm trader take the opposite side of some of these call-buying and sell that type of stuff ... the next stop is probably a thousand on the S&P, just not gapping at this point."

Stutland said "Microsoft is actually almost becoming a bank right now," and we think he meant that as a positive, unless he was foreshadowing some afterhours earnings trouble of the type usually experienced by financials in the last couple years.

Patty Edwards insisted "we don't have the earnings power to support this in my opinion," but she wasn't exactly rushing in to short today. "I think that Wal-Mart is the play once we realize that uh, the economy is not as on fire as everyone believes it is," she said. But "I'm not sure that you're gonna get quick pops out of it."

"The quality of the earnings are in question at this point," declared MLee in another market commentary.

[Wednesday, July 22, 2009]

Review: Danielle Park takes debate
on ‘Fast Money’ to OT on blog

Featuring: Danielle Park | Tim Seymour | Melissa Lee | Joe Terranova | Karen Finerman | Steve Grasso | Jim Goldman | QQQQ | SMH | SPY | EWC | EBAY | QCOM | Jeff Tomasulo | Goldman Sachs | MSFT | Brendan Barnicle | YHOO | Patty Edwards | AMZN | Netflix | Dani Hughes | Jon Najarian | Scott Nations | Deane Dray | MMM | WYNN | CAT | WFC | AXP | PEP | Larry Fink

We're sure that by the end of the day Wednesday, Danielle Park wished she had never run into Tim Seymour.

Park tried her hand at the stock market "Bull Market or B.S." segment on "Fast Money," and by the time it was over, it was Seymour who was saying "B.S." — only he wasn't talking about the stock market.

Honestly — and we like Danielle Park, she's chipper — her point, as she described it on television, did not make a whole lot of sense to us either.

It seemed like she was trying to make several roundabout points on the market, eventually leading to the theory that another pullback will happen this summer, although after exhaustive analysis (keep reading), we're not really sure why. She said "The tech rally is encouraging," and "energy ought not to be leading." That much of it was fine, although we're not quite sure where she was going with that. It was the part about the rest of the world that was trouble.

She said it was "absolute fantasy" that the rest of the world was doing so much better, specifically citing European banks and Japan in general.

At this point we're noticing Joe Terranova twice glancing at someone on the panel with a quizzical look, almost making a face. Eventually Melissa Lee jumps in, asking "What kind of pullback are we going to see?"

Park responded that emerging markets had "raced on ahead" because some people think America is "substandard," but that it's only a reflection that "the risk appetite has gone crazy again."

Still failing to make the "bull vs. b.s." case, Park was interrupted again by Tim Seymour, who called her "Nicole, Nicole" and didn't notice her correcting him. Seymour explained what everyone had to be wondering, how could she be talking about rest of the world in terms of Japan and not include BRIC? Seymour noted the size of various BRIC economies compared with Japan, wondered "where the problem is," and said, "I'm gonna take the other side of that."

"OK, but relative to global GDP, we're talking about very small slices here—" Park started to say.

"We're talking about half of global GDP is, is growing," Seymour said.

"You're talking about America, and the U.K., being about 26 or 27..." Park continued, and we weren't really sure what she meant, but Seymour summarized her point as, "Your argument was, that the rest of the world is very slow, so how can we be excited."

"What I think we might see though is a rough patch again coming into the fall," Park explained, saying she wants to be ready for it, but at the same time seeing opportunities for the first time in a while, so we're not quite sure where she stands, but she couldn't resist a final dig, "But I don't buy that the emerging markets, etc., are gonna be great; they lagged in this cycle, the U.S. led..."

"These aren't rebound trades though, these are V-shaped recoveries, for a very real reason," Seymour insisted.

At that point Lee said she had to be "referee" and end the segment. She told Park, "Always a pleasure to talk to you, great debate, hope you'll come back on the program very soon."

We doubt that. Danielle looked rather angry when it was all over.

"It sounds like she's looking for a drop, and then a pop," summarized Joe Terranova.

Seymour damned with faint praise, like Kobe Bryant saying the Orlando Magic played a great series. "She makes a very good point, Japan and Europe are dead."

Park did not make a very good point; given ample airtime it was still unclear what her thesis is, and — with no disrespect whatsoever to Japan and Europe — there are two nations whose economies command about 95% of most investors' immediate attention and those are the U.S. and China, and to single out Japan as a leading indicator for global markets just seems woefully lacking.

But whoa whoa whoa, hold on here ... Park wasn't done, continuing the debate Wednesday night on her blog:

"TV clips can be so fast that its a miracle you get any complete thoughts out sometimes. My point that was not finished on Fast Money tonight was that western world over-consumption and then retrenchment, has triggered the global recession. And this new reduced level of consumption is likely to continue for several years," she writes (spelling/grammar sic).

"To think that emerging markets can somehow pick up the slack in world demand because they have a few billion people walking about is to miss the point about consumption. It is not just about population; it is about marginal propensity to consume per unit (human)," she adds.

Her conclusion: "So after costs have been cut and estimates have been slashed, business will find its way back to profit (at least the ones that can survive) but it will be based on considerably lower revenue in most cases. This is the new normal. And given that the US is still,on average, relatively more wealthy than most places in the world and given that America has considerable natural geographical advantage and given that they hit the wall first in this crisis and have responded bigger and faster than most, it is likely that Amercia will survive bettter and recover faster than much of the world."

She goes on to mention Spain's leverage to the U.K. housing bubble.

Forgive us, but we're still a little lost here. The markets will drop in the next month or two, but then will be poised to rebound, once they get the "new normal" earnings outlook ... but right now tech is encouraging.

Park is a likable person on television, but this is two bombs in two appearances — and Wednesday wasn't the first time she crossed paths with Tim Seymour. On June 25 she also did the "Bull Market or B.S. segment" (clearly this segment isn't her thing, by the way, "Fast Money" producers) and predicted a down market largely because markets do well in certain months, poorly in others, and summer is "god-awful."

Seymour questioned then why she didn't trust the rally off the March lows, and Park said "mostly it's technical stuff," then cited "seasonality studies." She did, however, offer some names to get long, including SPY, QQQQ, SMH and EWC.

We wrote of that appearance, "So she really doesn't want you to be long, but here's how you can be long."

Wednesday, according to the show's too-kind official summary, Park is "particularly concerned about weakness in overseas banks. ... However she's encouraged by the progress being made in technology. Tech should be leading if we're coming out of recession."

Then it says: "Although we didn't get to this on air, before the broadcast she recommended the following plays to our producers: QQQQ, SMH, SPY, XCB."

So if we're headed for a rough patch, why, again, would we want to invest in the SPY?

This was the conclusion of TheStreet.com: Park "took issue with commonly held notion that the emerging markets are the place to be. ... She sees the U.S. coming out of the recession, though it will hit a rough patch in the fall. ... Seymour took issue with the analysis, arguing there is plenty evidence of growth in the rest of world, especially in China and India."

Park has written a book with a provocative title, Juggling Dynamite. The book is described on her Web site as "best-selling." In the book's intro she says she is "humbly indebted" to names like John Kenneth Galbraith, Peter L. Bernstein, Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett and John Templeton, "to name a few," referring to them as "mentors." She also notes she is "indebted to my partner in life and in work, Cory Venable, a gifted market analyst and fiercely independent thinker."

Park lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and is an "avid health and fitness buff." According to her Web site, "She is a passionate and insightful speaker on money management, work/life balance and wisdom." Her site does not list her academic background.


Jim Goldman took care of the eBay and Qualcomm conference calls, saying eBay delivered "a lot less bad news than Wall Street was anticipating," and that "guidance is pretty good for these guys too." He said that would help alleviate fears the company could "spiral into oblivion." With Qualcomm, he noted concerns about guidance and average selling prices for phones.

"I can't get excited about Qualcomm," said Steve Grasso, who said "Goldman (Sachs, not Jim) was the real story today with the warrants."

That reminds us again of what has to be the funniest "Fast Money" trade in recent memory: Jeff Tomasulo's short of Goldman Sachs. Now this is an important note: We're not saying "funny" in mocking or derisive terms, only in terms of "amusing."

There's nothing wrong with trying it. Hey, whatever works for you. It's just funny someone would try and mention it on-air. It's like shorting the Brazilian national soccer team. We noted shortly after Tomasulo mentioned it June 18, when the stock traded around $143, he had the chance for an early quick gain down to about $137 or so, and apparently did take some gain around that time.

But Friday, July 10, a day it closed at $141, he said, "I'm still short Goldman Sachs, lookin' to cover at the 135 level."

Oops. Went up $8 the next trading day. Then another $6 a couple days later, then another $4, you get the picture.

Some of that may be attributed to Meredith Whitney, who clearly was not late, Canaccord Adams.

Again, a funny trade, but we're not making fun of anyone here. Tomasulo seems like a good-natured guy, so there's some ready-made material for the next cocktail party, "Can you believe I shorted Goldman on national TV...?"

OK. But back to the overall markets and away from Goldman Sachs, Whitney, Danielle Park, et al...

"Economists can say what they want," Seymour said. "More importantly, you can't fight the tape. This is about money that's been on the sidelines."

"Intel, that is the barometer," Joe Terranova said, and when he complained about people predicting it would test a $15 price floor, we assume he was referring to Guy Adami. Terranova also said the eBay report was a reason to buy Amazon. Later Terranova cited a different reason for owning Amazon: "I'm long Amazon, you've gotta be long Amazon, once it gets above 90, it goes to a hundred." Tim Seymour responded: "Once it goes to the 8, it goes to the 7 and 6."

There was talk about a market-moving blog item from Kara Swisher suggesting a YHOO-MSFT deal could be imminent. "One of the sources probably was Carol Bartz," said Joe Terranova. Karen Finerman isn't impressed by another possible MSFT-YHOO deal. "I don't think we're gonna see anything tomorrow," Finerman said.

Tim Seymour said "Vista was a disaster," but Microsoft offers reason to get excited about video games and some other initiatives.

Brendan Barnicle of Pacific Crest came on to offer this opinion on MSFT: "What makes us more bullish about Microsoft tomorrow is that we saw such a nice recovery in the quarter in PCs. ... I think it's a good long going into the session tomorrow."

"I have added to my position every day over the last couple of weeks," said Joe Terranova. "I am telling you, that I believe mutual funds, which are significant players in ownership of Microsoft, are underinvested in Microsoft right now."

"I don't want to pour water on you now," said Steve Grasso, but, "I haven't seen any mutual fund buying yet. That doesn't say that they're not, just the ones I cover, the biggest and the best."


K-Fine, with the triple-hoop earrings again, made a funny, in discussion about another tech giant, Apple, although not as funny as when she's talking about the Dress Barn, our favorite company to listen to Karen talk about (how's that for a grammatical sentence). Would she buy AAPL here? "It's hard to jump on board when nine firms" have weighed in with new price targets on the same day," she deadpanned.

Patty Edwards came on to talk about Amazon, reporting the obvious — "There's rumors they want Netflix" — but saying if they get Netflix, "once again, it's still accretive," because as Finerman noted, AMZN trades at a 40 P.E. and NFLX is only around 30.

Edwards said Amazon is trying to grab more of the turf of traditional retailers, and one reason it works is because people like to "price-compare," which they can't really do driving store-to-store but can online. However, the stock's on a good run, and "there is no sense to necessarily rush into it," Edwards said, but at the same time "it didn't seem that toppy to me either."

Tim Seymour was skeptical of AMZN based on price. "I'm wondering where the next trade is," he said. "I would not be owning the stock here."

Seymour got an e-mail question from Akron about Baidu. "I was long from 120 to 200, missed the rest of the rally," he said, and he likes it and isn't afraid of Google, but at the same time urged caution at these price levels.

Grasso said of AMD, "I have not seen any one of my clients buying in." Grasso owns OXY, WMT, CSCO and V, according to disclosure.

Terranova called the move in WYNN a "classic short squeeze," and said "the short trade in WYNN is over."

Nobody was terribly enthusiastic one way or another about Wells Fargo, though Seymour made a case. Finerman said loan problems were not a surprise to anyone, and that the stock is probably just selling off because of a recent run-up. Terranova said he would look at other banks instead, like USB or BAC. Grasso said during other times, this WFC report would've hurt financials, but this time it "didn't kill the whole sector." Seymour said the "earnings power for these guys going forward is fantastic."

Finerman noted her firm is short Moody's (MCO), which apparently Berkshire is shedding, and "David Einhorn's short as well."

Larry Fink apparently slammed "luxurious profits." Oh joy. That prompted Joe Terranova to tell a strange story/analogy about why people like Steve Grasso work on holidays because otherwise there's no liquidity in the markets and that's one way to get rich, to be the sole liquidity provider, which is what companies like Goldman Sachs are.

Or something like that.

Deane Dray of FBR Capital made a case for 3M, calling it "absolutely" a buy. "We think investors need to be in defensive, early-cycle names," he said. Dray has worked for Goldman (Sachs, not Jim) and Lehman. He has a B.A. from Brown and an MBA from NYU.

Seymour said of CAT, "I would own this stock."

K-Fine talked about Pepsi. "They are seeing actually the consumer, in Europe and in the rest of the world, coming back, and that is a very good thing; Pepsi cash flow is huge here," she said, and she explained that it could take over PBG, its bottling company, and so you could try playing PBG instead.

We're not sure what Melissa Lee was thinking about in describing the sun as a "heavenly body." Lee did look charming in her black outfit, and straighter hairstyle.

The "Halftime Report" got seriously abbreviated, and actually packed a small little punch, even though Lee once again referred to Jon Najarian's firm as "optionsmonster."

Scott Nations said, "It's tough to see that Wells Fargo is not gonna try that $20 level that it had so much trouble getting through in April." Lee said, "Absolutely."

Tim Seymour said things look good for AAPL: "The average street target around this stock is around 195 at this point, there's plenty of room to go."

Jon Najarian handled YHOO again. "It's still lookin' good to me, I would stay long Yahoo," he said.

Finally, we heard from really the first "Danielle" on "Fast Money" Wednesday, Dani Hughes. Hughes was sharp and looks like a good addition to the show. She talked about AXP. "I would write some calls at the 32 level, and buy puts at 22 in order to be safe," Hughes said. "I wouldn't buy the stock right here, but if I'm long it, that would be my strategy."

[Tuesday, July 21, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Panelists
laugh about ‘stepchild’ slur

Featuring: Chris Mutascio | "stepchild" | Melissa Lee | Tim Seymour | Pete Najarian | Karen Finerman | Steve Grasso | WFC | BAC | Apple | YHOO | Carol Bartz | Apple | BKS | BGP | FCX | ISRG | Richard C. Bernstein | Tomma-sue-low | CAT | BUCY | JOYG | BWA | UNG | UNH

The guest was Chris Mutascio of Stifel Nicolaus, and this is what he told the "Fast Money" panel:

"I'm listening to you guys talk about uh, Yahoo and Apple, and I think I'm the red-headed stepchild here, uh, following the bank stocks, 'cause—"

"Ha ha," interrupted Melissa Lee.

"... so far we're not seeing ..." Mutascio continued.

"It's not a nice thing to say," said Tim Seymour, while Pete Najarian laughed out loud and Karen Finerman and Steve Grasso smiled.

"... we're not seeing the, the, the economic turnaround, the bank reporting earnings so far..." Mutascio continued.

Karen Finerman ... Pete Najarian ... Melissa Lee ...

On national TV.

Really amazing.

CNBCfix was made aware a while back of the large amount of use of the term "stepchild" in the national media. As Mutascio demonstrated, this term is definitely not used to convey something good. Apparently, no one's too offended.

Even "Fast Money" panel members — some with Ivy League education — regard "stepchild" as a synonym for poor and/or neglected and/or beaten and/or unwanted and/or ugly and/or inferior, and they don't hesitate to laugh. Oh, how great to be from the traditional nuclear family and not have to be an inferior stepchild. At least this was a good moment to have four panelists' faces on the screen with Mutascio, so we could see the reaction from each one and know where each stands.

One wonders what types of jokes Mutascio makes when not on national television. Presumably none of his clients has a stepchild or a stepparent because he would view them as he does the banking industry. One wonders even more how the same joke with a different term inserted for "red-headed stepchild" would go over on the show. Someone could probably concoct a derogatory term for each of Tuesday's five "Fast Money" panelists and try one of those instead and see if everyone chuckles just the same.

It's been made clear by past comments that CNBC is definitely no one's "stepchild," it's above that, just better, and Tuesday's "Fast Money" gag merely reinforces that notion. To see people this site respects, people like Karen Finerman, a dazzling and brilliant woman, and Pete Najarian, a down-to-earth Wall Street everyman ... wow, and not wow in a good way...

Tim Seymour's response was not 100% clear. Seymour did slightly frown and tell Mutascio, "It's not a nice thing to say." Then he broke into a smile. Was he serious, and smiling just to gently make a point? Or was he just accelerating the gag. We don't know. For the others, the tape pretty much speaks for itself. Mutascio's real estate comments were profoundly boring and the panel faces showed that. But once we got "red-headed stepchild," everyone lit up.

This is one clip we won't be erasing for a while.

By the way, the feelin'-like-a-stepchild Mutascio offered these pearls of investing wisdom: "Clearly we're in the early stages of the commercial real estate debacle ... we're probably not through a quarter of (estimated total losses) yet (estimated total losses) ... WFC, BAC, "they're gonna have the revenue growth to offset the higher losses ... they may be the first out of it." Oh, and his picks apparently are WFC and BAC, because "we like larger franchises with very large deposit bases."

Mutascio went to Gettysburg College and got an MBA from Loyola College.

Elsewhere on "Fast Money," Jim Goldman got to deliver an Apple earnings update about every 10 minutes. You would never believe it, but he was positive on the company. (This writer is long AAPL.)

"As you might expect, Apple is accentuating the positive," Goldman said. "I gotta tell ya, what other company wouldn't kill for numbers like this, retailing or consumer electronics."

"As soon as investors got a chance to truly digest just how blockbuster this report is, we saw Apple shares basically undergo an almost instant turnaround here" in afterhours, he also said. He called guidance "a little less conservative" than in the past and said the company was "able to maintain its hefty margins."

"You gotta like everything Apple's saying right now," said Pete Najarian.

"The market wanted to sell this number," said Tim Seymour, explaining the beat was impressive enough to push shares higher, "so I think up to 160 you've got a nice free run."

"I don't even know why they bother to give guidance though," said Karen Finerman.

"At the end of the day, they make a great product," said Steve Grasso. "I'm a texting guy, I need the BlackBerry, I can't see how they do it with the iPhone, but maybe I gotta check it out."

When not talking about AAPL, the crew spent a decent chunk of time on YHOO. Jon Najarian was impressively candid about the difficulty in listening, twittering and talking on national TV at the same time. Melissa Lee agreed messaging isn't easy. "If you can read some of those twitters I manage to get out there, boy, uh, we'd be fined by the FCC I think."

Jon Najarian was impressed by the commentary from Yahoo chief Carol Bartz, explaining the guidance might be conservative, but "everything else she's saying is far from conservative." He said "she called Yahoo a kingmaker and that they're going to be driving traffic to people that basically do business with them," citing some massively seen New York Times story, which allows us to point out that Yahoo — and we like Yahoo and use the site — is not writing original news material, just providing a directory to the New York Times and those who do.

"I think that this is exactly what investors would want to hear," Jon Najarian concluded.

"It almost seems these guys are kind of sprucing up the store for something in the second half," said Tim Seymour, raising the obvious question of a deal with Microsoft. "Absolutely, I like Yahoo down here," Pete Najarian said.

Karen Finerman made a fascinating point about booksellers, suggesting the play might be more brick-and-mortar than people think. "Barnes & Noble would be a huge beneficiary if Borders Group were to go under," she said. "Which I think is a reasonable likelihood. Borders has a lot more debt than Barnes & Noble, it's smaller; their sales are declining more quickly. They would see — Barnes & Noble would see a Bed, Bath & Beyond boost that they got when Linens & Things went under. So that makes me not want to be short. I covered Barnes & Noble. And now I'm just waiting for Borders to go under."

Talk of commodities actually was highly focused on Caterpillar. "The thing that I liked was that they started to talk about a bit of a recovery in, in, in the U.S. side of their business," Seymour said.

"It's mining and infrastructure," said Pete Najarian. "You look at Bucyrus, you look at Joy Global, both trading in single-digit P.E.s right now, they're gonna probably explode to the upside if Caterpillar, at a 20 times at best right now..."

But hold on. "I don't disagree with any of the two gentlemen," Steve Grasso said. "The problem is, everyone I spoke to today, said it was a short squeeze."

"Pete's a gentleman, I am not a gentleman," Seymour said.

Pete Najarian said commodities are what's keeping the S&P above 950, and he cited the Maria Bartiromo interview with FCX boss Richard Adkerson. "He made you a bull again even with the stock at 58," Pete said. "Demands in China are just immense right now."

"Copper is your long-term play," Seymour said. However, in a closing segment in which Jimmy Iuorio talked about indicators from CHK and MOS and actually recommended Freeport McMoran and Barrick Gold, Seymour explained that he was actually selling FCX at the moment because of steep gains even though he loves the long-term play.

Pete Najarian and Seymour teamed up for this eye-opener on Intuitive Surgical, which Najarian said has the Da Vinci device for less-invasive surgery and has run from $100 to $170. "Definitely a name you wanna at least keep an eye on. Maybe, just maybe, they've got some incredible upside." Seymour said there's a "significant amount of short interest ... this stock could double on you in the next six months."

Seymour noted that Morgan Stanley keeps running into resistance at $29. Karen Finerman said, "I would be a buyer of a little here ... you don't need to jump in with both feet now."

Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Capital Management, who was no doubt eager to get on CNBC and remind viewers he just left Merrill Lynch to start his own firm, basically indirectly suggested the government shouldn't be in the bailout business, for example, CIT got bailout cash a while back when it could've been allowed to go under and others would've filled the void, etc. Bernstein said "the fear is that we turn into something like Japan, keep all the excess capacity alive when it's not needed," although he conceded that a lot of car-industry capacity is gone while suggesting there may be trouble ahead with the suppliers. He took issue with Tim Seymour's term of "free lunch." Bernstein has a B.A. in econ from Hamilton College, 1980, and an MBA from NYU.

Curious little exchange over coffee. "McDonald's makes better coffee than Starbucks," Steve Grasso declared.

"It depends on the roast," said Pete Najarian.

"Do you drink it — not to offend any of the ladies — do you drink it like a man, black, or not?" Grasso challenged him.

"Oh yeah," said Najarian. "There's an expression..." he continued, but Melissa Lee moved on to something else.

Grasso, whose overall market statements are packing a fair amount of punch and quickly becoming some of the most interesting comments on the show, also said at one point, "my mutual fund guys ... they used to say, 'Stand there and bid for them, do not let it trade lower.' I haven't heard that conversation in two years."

"Is that 'cause the machines are taking over Steve?" asked Tim Seymour.

Seymour picked UNG as his "Final Trade" because "nat gas is coming back eventually." Grasso liked UNH, Finerman said to short BWA, and Najarian singled out Joy Global (again).

We enjoy the fact that we probably watch CNBC a lot more than CNBC personalities do. For example, Bob Pisani, handling the "Fast Money Final Call" segment mid-afternoon, introduced Jeff Tomasulo as "Jeff To-MAAS-sellow." (The correct way, as Melissa Lee always says it, is "Tomma-sue-low.") The best To-MAAS-sellow could do on Apple's earnings was to wait and see what happened.

On a long-delayed and uninteresting "Halftime Report," Steve Grasso reflected on the market rally and the S&P 850 number. "Now we've seen this rally come basically out of nowhere, and it's angered a lot of people on the short side," he said. "Do they, do they buy, do they cover, do we get to a thousand? ... I still think a lot of money is still short."

Tomasulo offered this: "I think there's a lot of money on the sidelines."

[Monday, July 20, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Obama
‘desperate’ on health care

Featuring: Melissa Lee | Steve Grasso | Tim Seymour | Joe Terranova | Pete Najarian | Addison Armstrong | UNH | TEVA | CSCO | RSIs | INTC | TXN | RIMM | AAPL | MSFT | YHOO | Tavis McCourt | Youssef Squali | Barry Ritholtz | "sidelines" | TCK | Neal Soss | Brian Goldner | HAS

We don't know what Melissa Lee did differently with her hair Monday, but whoever got to take this smoldering beauty out to dinner after the show was in for a treat.

The show gets good when it gets political, and Steve Grasso (good to see him back on the set) got the ball rolling about midway through on health care:

"I think that the president at this point is getting a little desperate, and we've seen his language change, and we've watched his language get more aggressive, and it's sort of a teacher talking to 6-year-olds at this point," he said, predicting stocks expected to be punished under "health care reform" will rally if the legislation dies. "UNH is the biggest player. I'm seeing money flows into UNH," he said. "If you chart President Obama's approval rating, and you look at the UNH, you can see they just cross."

Tim Seymour seconded the notion. "The good news here is that he is failing on this health bill, and you go after the guys that are the easiest targets," he said. "This is a very unpopular bill, I don't think it's gonna pass in its current form."

Pete Najarian reminded viewers of a health-care stock that's been going up, TEVA. "They're the Google of the generic drug space," Najarian said, whatever that means. "These guys just continue to go higher and higher. ... This is a great stock."

Much of the show centered around tech stocks. Tim Seymour was striking a cautious tone about tech.

"What worries me about Cisco and a lot of the tech plays though from a pure technical perspective (is) the RSIs, or the relative strength indicators, and these are very reliable measures of momentum for people that follow markets," Seymour said. "These guys are in a band where they've been selling down every time they hit this mark, it's Cisco, it's Intel, it's a number of these guys."

Pete Najarian insisted, nevertheless, the stocks have demonstrable support at certain levels and "incredible upside" if they can break through this mysterious resistance cited by Seymour.

Joe Terranova repeated (something he does often) his point that tech stocks know how to operate in this economy because they "understand the crash" from 2000-02." This time he added that the big names like Apple, Google, etc. "all basically in essence, going to war with each other" in a competitive environment. Hey, whatever works for you. "Tech, there is a fundamental story," Terranova said.

Jim Goldman, who tends to say more positive than negative things about tech companies, reported on TXN earnings and it's no longer a case of things being less bad, but actual good things. Even better than green shoots, "this is like bamboo," Goldman said.

The show saved its Apple earnings preview for late, bringing on Morgan Keegan's Tavis McCourt, who once hilariously asked Pete Najarian about his Nokia phone, "you really have one of those?" (This writer is long AAPL.)

Melissa Lee asked McCourt if this would be another quarter of Apple beating expectations but guiding lower. "You got it," McCourt said.

"My best guess is the stock will trade off a bit for a couple of days, then people will figure out that the September guidance is ridiculously low," McCourt added. He cited several reasons to like the stock over the latter half of 2009, "new operating system," "cameras being built into the iPod line" and the improving "consumer environment."

He also made this interesting point about RIMM: "The benefit that, that Research in Motion has specifically is all the carriers that have to combat the iPhone are generally forced to subsidize and promote BlackBerry. ... The iPhone, you can almost make the argument, has been a positive for BlackBerry."

Joe Terranova thinks the BlackBerry might hit a temporary wall. "RIMM heading into earnings tomorrow for Apple, you gotta take some off the table and that's my plan," he said.

With Apple, "I think it all comes down to how many Mac sales," said Pete Najarian, saying 2.5 million is apparently the consensus. "If they can exceed that, this stock's got more room to the upside."

McCourt didn't go to Virginia or Valparaiso, but did attend Villanova (B.A., business administration) and Vanderbilt (master's) and once worked for L. Knife and Son, a holding company of Anheuser-Busch distributorships before joining Morgan Keegan in 1998.

Youssef Squali of Jefferies said he thinks YHOO will probably be available in the mid-teens but has $20 of value, as long as it can team up with a certain Redmond company. Squali said he "would not be surprised to see the stock sell off post-earnings," and about that potential MSFT team-up, "we certainly still think it's gonna happen." However, without such a deal, "I think Yahoo's gonna have a tough going." He said it can make a lot of money by just "becoming the largest display advertiser out there."

Traders were a bit lukewarm. Najarian said a "monster put buyer" picked up 36,000 of the $17.50 put spreads in August. Terranova said, "I think the trade on Yahoo is a confirmation of Microsoft's aggressive strategy."

Terranova, who is placing himself in the forefront of what he's basically calling a raging bull market, continues to revert to the "money on the sidelines" argument.

"The savings rate right now sits at 8%," he said. "That's about $900 billion of disposable income that is gonna get very frustrated earning 1%, and that money will eventually move back into the market. So how do you look at that? You look at that as one massive buy order that eventually is comin' in."

Stunning Melissa Lee asked, "How do we know that's ever gonna come into the mar- — that whole 8 percent's gonna come back into the market..."

"We're all waiting for that money to come back in, and mutual fund and pension fund money is sitting on the sidelines," said Steve Grasso. "Does it come back? I don't know, but it's getting scared."

"The longer we sustain, that's gonna push people in," said Najarian.

"The earnings are coming through, people are beating on the top line," Seymour conceded, despite his pockets of concern.

"At some point you gotta chase the benchmark and move in," Terranova said.

Grasso talked about the "flow" of money from the floor during an end-of-show segment that was a bit flat without much of a point. Grasso basically said a lot of money has poured into the ETFs as opposed to single stocks because for now, investors are seeing an overall trend but not necessarily a sustainable long-term trend in which they can pinpoint individual stocks.

Or something like that.

There was a small amount of chatter on commodities. Seymour said copper is one that "actually is seeing some inventory tightness." Najarian talked about TCK and said people might want to scale back, "this is a staggering move in a short period of time." Najarian also said he likes where oil is but wishes it was closer to $60 and not as threatening to the consumer.

"This continues to be a story about crude following equities," said Addison Armstrong on the "Halftime Report." Armstrong said he is bearish on nat gas in the near-term, "we're way oversupplied," but thinks it is also "starting to get cheap here" and might be ready to move by the end of summer.

Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Fusion IQ and one of our favorite longtime Larry Kudlow guests, delivered by phone a thesis on housing that either didn't have much to offer, or we just didn't really get it. Apparently Ritholtz thinks the market is more "B.S." than "Bull" because housing isn't yet stable. "We could be in and out of three or four major trades long before the housing market goes to its next leg," he said, and we didn't really know what kind of trade that prescribes.

Ritholtz said he's interested in three key stats: median income vs. median home price, cost of renting vs. cost of owning and total capitalization of the housing stock in the U.S. as a percentage of GDP. He also said, "When you get an asset class that's overvalued ... you rarely nearly revert back to the mean. Unfortunately you tend to careen past that historic trend line and, and go too far to the other side."

Ritholtz has a bachelor's in poli sci from Stony Brook, and a law degree from Yeshiva .

Neal Soss, chief economist of Credit Suisse, was very articulate in brief comments on the Fed, but didn't report anything not already priced in by the markets. Soss said Ben Bernanke will likely explain that we're entering a recovery that needs a steady hand.

"Your logic tells me the Fed's no longer independent, and that scares me," said Tim Seymour, and we're not sure if it was the logic or the conclusion that scares him.

"Well I don't know why that should be the case," Soss said. "They're not sitting there as pie-eyed optimists about what the economy has in store."

So, kind of an abbreviated non-debate about nothing.

Soss was a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (that's Bank 2 (B) on your paper currency). He has a B.A. in Spanish and econ from Williams College and a master's and Ph.D. (in econ, of course) from Princeton.

Brian Goldner, CEO of Hasbro, came on to sort of talk about movies but basically just said everything's great and they don't have any lead-paint problems. Actually our favorite part of the segment came when Tim Seymour touted the Nerf football. CNBCfix actually owns many local touchdown pass reception records in Nerf football (TD receptions, not passes ... can catch, not throw), and it's great the ol' foamy pigskin is still going strong.

Goldner says his company is "providing immersive brand experiences." He singled out two big movies coming down the pike, "Iron Man 2" from Marvel and "Toy Story 3" from Disney.

The original "Iron Man" was a good movie because it shuns all the tired character angst of so many useless superhero follies. It's a movie about what a guy can accomplish when he puts his mind to something, and it's got some intriguing special effects. We'll watch a sequel (probably).

Back to Hasbro: "I learned how to get dressed through Mr. Potato Head," Seymour said. "Stock's actually cheap relative to its peers ... these guys have a great pipeline."

Goldner, like Jeff Macke, is a Dartmouth guy.

Joe Terranova stood up for Nouriel Roubini, someone who often draws looks of disdain on "Fast Money." Terranova said Roubini did a great job in his interview Monday with Maria Bartiromo as far as outlining his vision of the economy.

Steve Grasso — and it sounds like both of his sons are doing well, which is great news — floated the number of 14% unemployment out there. He also said, "As Goldman (Sachs) goes, so goes the economy."

Seymour liked NOK as a "Final Trade," while Grasso picked OXY, Terranova picked AMZN and Najarian chose Dow Chemical, "giddyup."

The "Halftime Report" was about as flat as listening to Julian Epstein's promotion of health-care or stimulus legislation (something that also occurs on "Power Lunch"). Lee conducted what was little more than a round-robin Q&A with a mostly uninspired group.

All-Star break: Our belated picks
for a ‘Fast Money’ guest roster

We'd really hoped to put together a timely little all-star team of "Fast Money" guests a week ago and roll it out at the actual baseball All-Star Game.

We're a little late, but so what.

The following would be our choices, if we were Melissa Lee, for a "Fast Money" batting order, based mostly on performance this "season," i.e., since about March or so, but maybe we bent those rules here and there...

Leading off: Rich Greenfield, Pali Capital — Always well-prepared, telling you things about media you didn't know, offering straightforward stock recommendations, currently riding an interesting call on DTV this season.

2nd: Chris Thornberg, Beacon Economics — Joe LaVorgna was finally back on the set last week, but for a few months now Thornberg has become the go-to guy on econ matters, even trading dukes with Tim Seymour.

3rd: Dick Bove, Rochdale — His reputation long precedes him. Yes, the once-in-a-generation Citi thing last year (or whatever the exact words were) was pretty bad; still, this is a veteran who is going to lower the shoulder and force you to stop him in the lane, or he might just dunk on you, as could be the case with his recent call on Goldman Sachs.

Cleanup: Joe Theismann — A non-pro in financials who nevertheless commands his segments like the Redskins offense of 1982. Highly skilled at basic television and loves talking about stocks. Should be considered a must addition as a permanent member of the show.

5th: Jonathan Bush, AthenaHealth — Undoubtedly the most candid CEO on "Fast Money," gotta like a guy who will answer just about any question you've got. Hasn't been on for a while, however.

6th: Brian Marshall, Broadpoint AmTech — In recent months, quite possibly the best "Fast Money" analyst on Apple, which is no small feat and an important distinction.

7th: Greg Weldon, Weldon Financial — Admittedly, we like the nickname we dug up, "Big Slick." But the real reason is that he played in the World Series of Poker and apparently is willing to discuss on the show.

8th: Hunter Keay, Stifel Nicolaus — For whatever reason, most "Fast Money" people avoid airline discussions like the plague, even though the stocks tend to move rapidly and can indeed bring fast money. Keay has only conversed with the panel by phone to our knowledge, but has packed the calls with interesting data about the airline industry.

9th: Dr. John Najarian — Not (just) a nod to Pete & Jon Najarian. The real "Dr. J," famous transplant surgeon, came loaded for bear in a discussion about Steve Jobs' health. For completeness' sake, we did post a Bloomberg article with contrasting opinions. Dr. J was down to earth and discussed Jobs' situation in easily understood terms and will certainly be in high demand for the next high-profile Wall Street health situation.

How about some others...

Need a little more warmup in the bullpen: Tavis McCourt, who seems capable of cracking the starting lineup but hasn't been on often enough; Danielle "Dani" Hughes, interesting stock picks but needs to tighten the delivery; Eugene Profit, we're always partial to former NFL players; Mark Schoenebaum, M.D., talked a bit too fast but had good stuff; Pip Coburn, interesting trend-setter, doesn't have all the answers.

Too much too soon: Mike Gurka for a while seemed to be on every five minutes giving overly long presentations on South Africa and Taiwan; Jim Suva touted RIMM to $100 once too often; Deborah Weinswig and Craig Berger haven't had enough interesting things to say to justify multiple appearances.

Boom or bust went bust: Frank Mitsch calling MON a "screaming buy" at levels higher than it is now; Danielle Park saying summer is a "god-awful" time for the markets; Brian Overby seeing the S&P very possibly at 810; Paul Miller selling WFC.

Make or break in '09: Gene Munster. Quite honestly, he's a Minnesota guy and we're rooting for him. Too many Apple calls laced with hyperbole, even during the horror that was the 2008 stock market. Long a favorite of the show, it's time to justify those multiple appearances.

[Friday, July 17, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Letting
Patty Edwards off the hook

Featuring: Patty Edwards | CIT | Dillard's | Associated Press | Melissa Lee | Joe Terranova | Pete Najarian | Jared Levy | Karen Finerman | Goldman Sachs | JPMorgan | Apple | Intel | IBM | BAC | C | Ned Kelly | KRE | Jeff Tomasulo | Chris Brendler | Joe LaVorgna | housing starts | Dan Niles | BTU | AXP | MS | MSFT | Jeffrey Pollack | World Series of Poker | Doyle Brunson | YHOO | NVDA | RIMM | SU | AIG

We were going to lead off this review describing what seemed like an odd blunder by Patty Edwards on Dillard's exposure to CIT. (In fact, we still are.)

But once we investigated, we found that the Associated Press is the real culprit.

On the "Halftime Report" Friday, Edwards was discussing the apparent finance injection for CIT.

"This is huge for the mid-market retailers," she said. "There are a lot of folks, um, Dillard's is one of them, in that strat- that area, that they only have relationships at this point in time with CIT. It could've been a disastrous holiday, we could've seen really a whole change in retail. It would've been retail Darwinism if this hadn't come through."

Nearly five hours later on the real show, Melissa Lee said this:

"We do want to clarify something uh, that Patty had said today on the "Halftime Report," Dillards does not have exposure to CIT. We were kind of, going with the flow, breaking news, and so we just want to clarify that."

The Associated Press has actually been reporting all week — including Thursday evening — nuggets like this, "Dunkin' Donuts franchisees and Dillard's Inc. are among the company's clients."

BusinessWeek followed suit on Wednesday with this description: "CIT's clients in this business include Burlington Coat Factory, Bon-Ton Stores (BONT), and Dillard's (DDS), all of which are currently placing orders for the critical holiday season."

On Thursday night, out came this from Dillard's corporate: "Little Rock, Arkansas, July 16, 2009 – In response to recent inquiries, Dillard's, Inc. (DDS: NYSE) ("Dillard's or "the Company") stated today that CIT Group, Inc. is no longer a participant in Dillard's $1.2 Billion Revolving Credit Facility and has no ongoing financing agreements with the Company."

TheStreet.com, to its credit, noticed this release, but apparently many others didn't. Dillard's stock, by the way, has actually been up for the week.

So Edwards deserves a break. One really has to wonder why the Dillard's PR team was so late to the game on this one after several days of potentially damaging stories.

OK. But that wasn't the extent of Edwards' headline-grabbing comments. On the 5 p.m. show, she made clear that more than just CIT is in trouble.

"Well there's so many other things going on that we are not talking about," she said. "Let's talk about the consumer first. You know, the consumer is totally leveraged, they are on life support at this point.

"How many of the companies that have reported so far, and/or will report in the next week, have actually had top-line revenue growth as opposed to earnings growth? And, you know, we are not going to cost-cut our way out of this," she continued.

She concluded by suggesting Philip Morris International. "I think that this is a situation where we are going to see the consumer really retrench to the point where our, my grandparents anyway, did during the Depression, and I think people will trade down to a Wal-Mart," she said.

Four months into a massive stock rally, Edwards declares the consumer on "life support" about to descend into "Depression"-level spending patterns.

Meanwhile, Apple enjoys a breakout week to $150.

One person not buying the gloom was certainly Joe Terranova, who is now crowning himself champion of the bull market without saying so in so many words.

"First week of earnings, everyone told you to do the following," he announced. "They told you to sell Goldman Sachs, after the number came out. They told you to sell JPMorgan. They told you to sell Intel. How did those three trades work for you? They worked horrible for you, and they worked horrible for a reason. The reason was, in the first quarter, China was the economic stabilizing force. Now, the next leg, what is the economic stabilizing force? It is the strength of those corporate balance sheets. Selling those three names didn't work. We march on."

Actually, Terranova might as well have been identifying one Guy Adami, who regularly suggested a JPM short at "35 and a quarter," called Goldman Sachs "dead money" in the $140s and said Intel was toppy about a dollar ago. But instead he just says "everyone" was saying it.

Pete Najarian wasn't going to let that go. "Don't go short any of these names, I don't think anyone ever said that. They said take profits," Pete said. "We could be at 900 in the next four days, or we could be at 960. The market's giving you a trading opportunity."

"I gotta respond to you," Terranova said. "Here's the problem with taking profits in this environment. It is the new normal. There is a tremendous amount of capital sitting on the sidelines. Asset allocation, doing exactly what you're suggesting, 'Wait for the pullback, wait for the pullback'..."

Then of all people, it was Melissa Lee, whose sleeky, chic-y wardrobe is surging faster than Goldman Sachs shares, who tried to lasso Terranova's runaway bull. "This is not your last chance. This is not your last chance," she said. "There is a, a, thinking out there that this is not a new bull market because for a bull market to happen historically you need a change in leadership. Who have been our leaders up till now? Technology as well as financials, the same old leadership groups..."

We totally get the first part. Every time someone like Terranova tells you it's somehow your "last chance" to buy stocks, it ends up never being that way.

But the second part about leadership groups didn't make a whole lot of sense. Gadgets, energy, exchanges and Google were the leaders right up until late 2007. In the last four months, it has been banks, gadgets and Goldman Sachs. Financials clearly are not "the same old leadership" sector, unless you're saying that bull markets need to change every four months.

"My job is to insert skepticism into this discussion," Lee said. Fair enough.

One thing we're really curious about: Jeff Tomasulo's short of Goldman Sachs. The last time he was on the show, he mentioned it and indicated it was still on. But he hasn't been on for several days.

Jared Levy said now that the market is rolling, it might just need one final piece of the puzzle.

"We need energy," he said. "Once energy takes off from here and I believe it could, especially oil going into hurricane season, energy comprises a large part of the S&P, 80% of the companies that reported this week meet or beat expectations. Balance sheets are strong. The next catalyst could be energy."

But Levy also offered this: "Huge crush in August volatility today. August volatility has come down huge and nobody is buying protection. I can't believe it. I'm seeing all the puts come in, everything across the board, I mean we're looking at IBM today, nobody is worried about this thing falling out of bed." All of which gives him "a little bit of caution."

"We could be at 900 in a (snaps fingers) blink of an eye," said Pete Najarian.

While Lee looked ready to steal the show at a banquet, Karen Finerman was trending a little more toward casual Friday in snappy fuchsia and oversized hoop earrings.

BAC earnings had "a lot of noise there," Finerman said. "They had some tiny signs of credit improvement that probably bodes well for American Express." But she noted BAC is lacking the kind of trading revenue that seriously boosted Goldman Sachs.

"I don't think when you look at Citigroup, you should have any inclination to own them," said Terranova. "Bank of America, yes, you can." But don't despair, Terranova, added: "There is a rising star at Citigroup. Ned Kelly, CFO, he is a rising star there. So there's hope on the way.

Najarian was focused on another name. "Morgan Stanley, they will crush," he said. "They also STOLE Smith Barney from Citigroup. ... That's what you call a pipeline trade. That's in the pipeline right now for Morgan Stanley."

"Regional banks are a heaverly, heavily shorted sector right now," Terranova said. "So the play really on this is to stick with the ETF, which is the KRE, that's the regional bank, that gives you the short exposure."

Finerman spoke about AXP. "I wouldn't buy it right here, it's had such a big run," she said. But, "if you get anything close to a Mastercard or Visa valuation on that transaction portion of American Express' earnings, I think there is more upside from here."

"AXP in the options, we saw a lot of risk reversals going here, buy puts, sell calls, the 25 and 30 line in August," Levy said. "Very popular strategy."

Chris Brendler of Stifel Nicolaus pretty much picked CIT apart in an informative little segment that would've been good to have a day or two earlier.

"The key here is, from all indications I get, this short-term financing is actually a, debt-financing as part of a bankruptcy filing, so don't get too excited," Brendler said. "There's still a chance that CIT could qualify for government financing, which would be a much better option for CIT.

"The model's broken, it's been broken ever since the world changed in the summer of 2007," he said. "There really is no long-term solution for CIT. ... They need to be bought." One might wonder if there's a chance for a big score with the common stock under $1. "Unfortunately I don't like the equity much at all," Brendler said. "I think the bonds are probably ... more interesting."

Brendler worked for a Legg Mason division before its acquisition by Stifel in 2005, and earlier worked for Sears. He's got a B.A. in econ from Virginia and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago.

The panel went around the horn on Microsoft, something that'll undoubtedly be happening more often next week.

The MSFT earnings will "be a catalyst for pain for me regardless of which way the earnings go," Finerman said. But, "I actually am mildly positive on Microsoft."

"The Yahoo conversation is not over with ... resurfaced again today," said Pete Najarian.

Terranova said the company is interesting again because "their strategy is to be aggressive again."

Levy called it a "low volatility stock that usually won't hurt you too bad."

Najarian had another name in the tech space. "I think you've gotta take this read on Intel right now and just like the chip space," he said. "I still look forward to a name like Nvidia ... they're finally starting to push through that $12 level ... plenty of option activity out there."

Longtime tech market mover (at least he was in the '90s) Dan Niles, of Alpha One Capital Partners, was asked if a great quarter for AAPL is already baked in. "Yeah, I mean I think it is," he said, in a remarkably cautious outlook that would no doubt seriously differ with one Gene Munster. Niles said everyone ignores the guidance anyway, and that the September quarter is really what will matter. "Going into Q3 with back to school, you're gonna really have to price aggressively, because the consumer just doesn't have any money, um, or a job for that matter," Niles said, apparently taking a page out of the Patty Edwards playbook. "The margins may have to come under pressure."

"I actually think the trade here is RIMM over Apple at these valuations," said Terranova.

Niles has a B.S. in systems engineering from Boston U. and also a master's in electrical engineering from Stanford. He has worked for Robertson Stephens, Lehman and Lehman division Neuberger Berman before Alpha One.

Najarian said he wished he'd been on board with the recent Apple surge; "it's been absolutely spectacular, upgrades across the board," he said. "I would love to see a pullback, I don't know that we're really gonna get it right now. ... PCs aren't as bad as everybody's saying."

Najarian though has the upper hand on recent panel talk about Nokia, long a favorite of Tim Seymour and Karen Finerman which had a dreadful week. "Nokia's gotta do something, and they've gotta cut the prices on those high ends," Najarian said.

Maybe the CNBCfix lobbying paid off. We finally got a return "Fast Money" visit from Joe LaVorgna, whose name pretty much symbolizes Deutsche Bank on the Internet. LaVorgna isn't as stodgy as Mike Darda can be, and he's good at cutting to the chase.

And, he's not quite on board with the Patty Edwards 1932 scenario.

"We've had now one quarter where actually housing starts were up. That's a big deal. It's the first time since the first quarter of 06. The best reading since the first quarter of 05. Things are getting better. I mean there's no question," LaVorgna said, before offering one of those dreaded ancient year comparisons. "It'll almost feel I think a lot like late 91, 92."

LaVorgna said he talks with a large amount of clients who are very negative about things, which makes him think contrarian. "I'm talking myself into being more bullish," he said.

But we'll let Edwards get the last word. According to her twittering late Friday, "Someone PLEASE explain to me why higher housing starts is good when we have a housing glut? Color me dense."

Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker, had the retro look in gushing about his business.

"The World Series of Poker which just concluded on Wednesday had its biggest and best year ever," he said. "We had more than 60,000 entrants, more than ever before ... If you're looking for something that's recession-proof, it's poker." Pete Najarian explained that he's a big fan and always watches it.

Joe Terranova joked that "probably a quarter of the hedge fund community" was at the WSOP and thus that's great for stocks because they missed the rally and will come home and pump all that money on the sidelines back into Terranova's favorite stocks. Terranova said to avoid the debt-laden casino stocks to tethered to "Staycations" like WYNN and LVS and to look at names like PENN and IGT.

This segment would've been a lot more interesting if the show had invited Greg Weldon, a commodities guru who previously told "Fast Money" he had just been playing in the WSOP.

But it turns out Pollack actually has quite the interesting backstory. He's got a bachelor's from Northwestern and a pair of master's degrees from UMass. He initially worked on political campaigns before launching something called Sports Business Daily, something probably read by Darren Rovell, in 1994 at age 29. He later sold it, then got high marks for his promotions at NASCAR and the NBA before being hired as a VP at Harrah's ... and according to Wikipedia, has been considered a potential successor to Bud Selig.

But back to business. Neither Melissa Lee nor anyone else on the show countered Pollack's lofty claims with anything from this New York Times article of November 2008, which says "Poker's status as a pop phenomenon ... is in trouble." It goes on to say: "Television ratings for the poker world series on ESPN peaked in 2005, with last year’s event drawing 32 percent fewer viewers than the previous year. The number of players entering the world series, the game’s most prestigious tournament, hit a high of 8,773 in 2006. Only 6,844 entered this year, a 22 percent decline." And the hook for this story was that in 2008, Pollack created a four-month delay between the main event and the finals in hopes of building interest into late November.

One chuckler? Poker legend Doyle Brunson claims he can't win anymore because there are too many players and too many players who want to defeat him. "The magnitude of the numbers makes it impossible," he said. "It’s like I got a bull’s-eye on me. Every one of those players wants to break me. I have to overcome so many obstacles that it's not realistic to think I can win."

Jimmy Iuorio took part in the "Trading After Dark" feature and, by the time he got to an actual point (which is a problem in this segment), said he would be selling the Yahoo $15 August call. Pete Najarian disagreed.

Apparently groping for something because he hasn't been on often, producers somehow gave Jared Levy given a "Quicker than the Ticker" for his call to sell oil on 5/28, when according to the chart it was about $65 and proceeded to surge for several weeks after before finally pulling back. Quicker than the Ticker, where spring calls become summer blockbusters.

Curiously, Levy seemed to be wearing the same shirt/tie combo in Quicker than the Ticker, Fast Fire, and Friday's show — a trifecta we don't think we've noticed before.

Karen Finerman, who unfortunately had kind of a downbeat, lackluster day, was clearly disgruntled about having to offer two explanations of Nokia's crumble in the span of about 10 minutes.

Pete Najarian said he kind of likes NOK at its current level, and he is liking coal again. "If you're betting on the consumer at all, over in the Asian markets, you've gotta like somebody like Peabody," he said. Joe Terranova touted coal stocks for his "Final Trade."

Finerman picked APC and Najarian mentioned SU. Levy, though, finally addressed an issue we've been wondering about regarding AIG. He said you "can't short the stock" because apparently no one can borrow it. But he recommended the February 23 puts at $12 as a way to go negative on AIG.

Managing editor Tyler Mathisen is not some stodgy, Lou Grant-style news boss. Twice he broke into "Fast Money" with gags on Nouriel Roubini's bearishness.

[Thursday, July 16, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Trading
down in the afterhours

Featuring: Jared Levy | Tim Seymour | Melissa Lee | Karen Finerman | Joe Terranova | IBM | GOOG | JPM | Charles Gasparino | Vikram Pandit | Ken Lewis | HPQ | Nouriel Roubini | Jon Najarian | MOS | AGU | POT | IPI | CIT | Peter Jacobs | GE | Michael Pento | Jim Goldman

Google, IBM and some others may have reported earnings, but the real afterhours disappointment was the "Fast Money" production.

We're tough critics here, but rarely would we say an episode is as lousy as the one viewers got on Thursday.

Jared Levy, for starters, apparently was short calls.

That's "short calls" in terms of not having any.

By the end of the day, we barely recorded him saying anything.

We did note that he disagreed with Joe Terranova's certainly dubious claim that this market is trading on fundamentals, saying that if a stock is way beyond standard deviations (or something like that), you have to protect yourself. The only problem was, he said it at about 185 mph and we lost track of our notes. But that's the gist of it.

Otherwise, we only noted a "Final Trade" and a couple of agreements with Karen Finerman, on being impressed by IBM ("I agree 100%, especially in this environment. ... I like the stock still here") and not seeing a whole lot of customers in his most recent visit to a Cheesecake Factory (couple of weeks ago, "dead ... right in the heart of downtown Chicago").

The show didn't exactly open on the right foot either.

Tim Seymour started by picking apart one of two afterhours movers — IBM or Google. Only problem? We're still not sure which one.

"It's a similar theme though," he said. "They crushed on the bottom line, They were a little light on the top line, and, and the margins were very good because they've shown how to rein in spending. I, I, think it's really about their services spend and the outlook they're giving for the second half of the year."

Then he said this, which didn't make the previous statement any clearer:

"But I think in IBM's case, again, the stock's performance here afterhours, is a little lackluster and it tells you that at least a couple of these names are a little tired."

We think both of those paragraphs are about IBM. (Melissa Lee noted the company hiked EPS, but this tough critic from Britain makes this point: "As if anyone except Wall Street cared about EPS, which IBM largely makes happen through the billions and billions of dollars it expends buying up mountains of its own shares.")

Karen Finerman was asked about the "lackluster" stock reaction. "I think it's pretty impressive especially when you think about, they didn't need to raise guidance that much," Finerman said. "I think this actually, it's pretty bullish."

Seymour would counter, "IBM is actually only up 1 and a half percent here, I just checked again." (Later, Seymour and Melissa Lee would agree that he was looking at the afterhours move whereas she was taking into account the full day move.)

On the subject of GOOG, no confusion there. Terranova likes it, Seymour isn't impressed. Seymour quoted his "Diego," a business partner, as calling GOOG the "mo-mo canary." Seymour said "They're running out of a little gas here."

Terranova said the afterhours GOOG sell-off was a chance to get in. "You cannot tell me three to six months from now this is not a stock that goes north of 500 bucks."

Terranova also was crowing, "Seven days in a row for tech. Seven days in a row for tech."

Seymour merely called it "A very complicated tech rally."

So, what did CNBC Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman have to say?

"Yeah, this is uh, pretty good news, that both companies are trying to, uh, accentuate the positive in aftermarket. I mean really, this is good news. IBM taking the time today to stress the quote annuity quality of our services."

"Pretty good news" that companies are actually trying to "accentuate the positive" in their earnings calls.

Goldman shared none of Seymour's skepticism. "Starting to see some pretty rosy trends sizing up for the entire sector," Goldman said.

"I like HP, I'm happy to own it here," Finerman said. "I wouldn't be surprised if it trades up on the heels of this tomorrow."

Back to the setbacks. Charles Gasparino, one of our favorites, utterly laid an egg.

Gasparino does like to make roundabout points, but Thursday he spoke as though he had purchased Levy's unused air time in some kind of cap-and-trade exchange and never fully cashed in.

He succeeded, after a clumsy opening involving hangovers and memos of understanding, in pointing out that Ken Lewis and Vikram Pandit are on some kind of three-month watch for righting the ship. "They have about a quarter to do that or else there will be change at the top," Gasparino said. "I'm getting this from senior regulatory officials. Now, uh, I will say this: I believe that Pan- Pandit, uh, excuse me, Lewis is more on the hot seat right now than Pandit," but he could never actually get into why, because he was explaining all the mistakes Pandit made — and really never finished that point either.

"Vikram Pandit should've been busting up Citigroup the minute he walked in there," Gasparino explained. Then, "I can't believe I'm saying this, I feel sorry for Hank Paulson ... he's been quoted in some deposition, that, you know, he basically hates my guts."

Apparently CG was on the way to saying that Paulson somehow was victimized by Lewis' MAC threat, or something like that, and that Bank of America is a huge company, sprawling, running Merrill now which is also huge. But when the dust settled, we didn't know why Lewis is more on the hot seat, we didn't know why he feels sorry for Paulson, and we didn't know why Paulson hates his guts.

At the end of this dubious segment, Terranova, clearly addressing viewers, said something about "your trade is," and Gasparino boasted he doesn't trade anything.

There was something of a bright spot when Tyler Mathisen broke into "Fast Money" early to read parts of a statement by Nouriel Roubini, who thinks his latest market view taken out of context into a bullish rally in the afternoon, and that he still thinks this is a 24-month recession that has about five more months to go.

Joe Terranova scoffed. "He's averaging into a bad position. He made a bad call back in March. He's averaging into that call right now. Nouriel, tell me where the next hundred points are in the S&P."

Peter Jacobs of Ragen Mackenzie (which Melissa Lee pronounced "Reegan") was the latest "Fast Money" personality to take up GE. Jacobs unfortunately offered only a couple of if-thens and virtually nothing of use for a trade.

He said markets might be ascribing a negative value to GE Capital. "If they can get through another quarter, including the announcement tomorrow, that this is a viable business, I believe that the stock starts to strengthen from here," he said.

So basically, if things are going better than people might think with a key part of the business, the stock will start to go up. Bold call there.

"I think GE could probably leverage a demise of CIT," he said, but "at a minimum I think it's probably a wash for GE." He agreed with Tim Seymour that there are good things ahead for GE in the stimulus but said they'll take time.

Lee asked him if the low in GE stock is in the rear-view mirror.

"Well I'd hope so," Jacobs said, because the low was around $5, and Jeff Macke whether he knows it or not reminds us that hope is not a strategy. "I would tend to believe the stock can certainly hold at least $10, and perhaps trade up to the mid-teens later on this year," Jacobs said.

Lee in closing noted that 45% of GE earnings come from GE Capital.

"I'm gonna start calling you Mrs. Roubini," Joe Terranova said.

Karen Finerman actually made the point CNBCfix has made several times, that no one seems to questions GE's head-scratching business model and that you don't know if you're getting a finance company or an industrial company or what. "I like pure play things" instead, Finerman said.

Jacobs, a CFA, spent some years at Boeing. He's got a bachelor's in aerospace engineering from Cincinnati and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

We also heard from Michael Pento of Delta Global. We're as happy to hear from tough critics as the next guy. But the more Pento talked, the stranger it got.

"There's no way we have solved the country's problems. There is no way the worst is over," Pento said. "Total non-financial debt is still increasing, it's now growing at a 4.1% annual rate. Total debt as a percentage of GDP is at 361%. That by the way is an all-time record high. So interest rates must rise, because of the record Treasury issuance, and the economy is still increasing leverage, and it cannot prosper within this rising rate environment that I foresee.

"I have no confidence in Ben Bernanke," he concluded. "Does anybody have any faith that Mr. Bernanke can land a jet airline on a driveway and actually stick the landing on this inflation, on the inflation front?"

Pento is a "specialist in the Austrian School of economic theory," according to his firm. So what, exactly is "Austrian School theory"? According to Wikipedia, it holds that mathematical models are difficult and advocates laissez-faire. But then there's this sentence on the Wikipedia page: "It currently lies somewhat outside mainstream economics, and contributes relatively little to mainstream economic thought."

Pento was promoted to chief economist at Delta Global in this Jan. 31, 2009, press release in which his boss Chip Hanlon notes "he has shown that he is no stopped clock, as he did most notably last Autumn when he declared that he thought a bottom was in for the stock market."

So there you go. Delta Global, by the way, is based in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Normally stellar Jon Najarian came on to discuss activity in Mosaic.

Unfortunately he wasn't able to do it without a little optionMonster self-promotion.

"Last Friday, stock took a dump," from 44 down to 40, he said, and "created a buying opportunity of what will almost be biblical proportions based on where that stock has gone this week. We bought into it because over a hundred thousand options traded last Friday, another 60,000 followed up Monday of this week. Lot of that traded under people's radar, not under ours, we were on the stock, and the options. ... I do think the focus should be stocks like Agrium, Potash and Intrepid Potash, those are the better plays."

Finerman, who sported a bright floral dress and looked like she was doing something different with her hair again, said there was a trade to be had between the Burger King (11) and Cheesecake Factory (23) multiples. "It doesn't make sense to me that that divergence in P.E. can exist for a long time," she said.

She also said of JPM, "they did have big credit losses ... but, but but but ... really have built a pretty big cushion, (so) that (loss) provision doesn't need to be so high going forward."

"Look at what Goldman Sachs did again today," gushed Joe Terranova over a stock that made a grand 1% move.

In "Final Trades," Seymour called SWC "the gift that keeps on giving." Terranova touted natural gas. Finerman picked Wal-Mart. Levy (remember, we said we did get an actual trade out of him) said "Mosaic, a 55/60 call spread in December, I think the deal gets done higher if one gets done."

Halftime Report: More IBM $140

The "Fast Money Halftime Report" on Thursday seemed to feed on Zach Karabell's discussion of IBM a day earlier.

Pete Najarian said Karabell's description "makes me much more bullish even ... it still trades in single-digit P.E." He said, "I like the direction of IBM. ... They are so much involved in other aspects of the market. They're almost Google-like, from the standpoint of, they have gone green." Specifically, Najarian sees an option spread. "What I like in IBM right now is the explosive move we're seeing in the July options," he said. "I still think this sets up well for what we call a calendar spread which is, not to be too complex, but buying the same strikes, but buying an August and selling a July."

Greg Troccoli chimed in — and even attached a lofty potential price that Karabell offered up Wednesday. "I love IBM overall," he said, even though "near-term though, we have a resistance area at 110 that dates all the way back to last September ... I would buy into IBM, your downside may be 95, your upside could be 140, 145 by the end of the year."

The mood on GOOG was not quite as euphoric. "If I look at the chart I'm seeing that there's a cap on it right around 447 or so," said Patty Edwards. "I'm not sure we're gonna get anything through that. ... I don't think there's any reason to get in before they report."

"We went from 250 to 450 in seven months. I would not touch it up here," said Troccoli.

Jared Levy disagreed, in a head-scratching way. "But on a percentage basis though, that isn't that much. I mean if you look at what the rest of the market does, it's done the same thing. ... I'd go with something like the 410, 400 put spread in July."

Brian Stutland was a wee bit bullish on banks. "I think you have to have a little bit of exposure right now to the financial area," he said. "I've gotten long Bank of America. ... buying August 11 puts. I may be selling some outdated calls against that ... I kept my upside right around the 17 and a half strike. I like selling calls there."

"I like the August 12-14 collar," Levy said. "Buying the August 12 puts to sell the 14 calls and you collect about 30 cents doing that." Troccoli said, "B of A, I don't think your downside is all that great."

"I'm a little nervous with Citi," Levy offered. "I frankly do not personally like Citigroup." Troccoli countered, "I'd take a third of your normal position, dip your toe in with Citi."

Levy had a suggestion for ICE, saying regulatory concerns are overdone. "The trade is, do the 75/65 bull put spread ... that's in August."

"I look for the market to trade up to 942 on the S&P by the end of next week," Stutland said.

Edwards wasn't high on the consumer. "I think that people who have been really excited about the consumer going forward have to be taking some caution right now," she said. "People are not traveling, people are not spending money on things that they can do without at this point."

[Wednesday, July 15, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Adami
picks good day to be off

Featuring: Guy Adami | Dick Bove | JPM | GS | Karen Finerman | Melissa Lee | wardrobe | Pete Najarian | Tim Seymour | GOOG | Mark Mahaney | Joe Terranova | MFE | OIH | MSFT | Dennis Gartman | AA | FCX | GIS | K | BUCY | JOYG | Zach Karabell | IBM | DELL | HOG | RIMM | XLF | Greg Troccoli | John Kosar | Patty Edwards | NOK | PHM | John Brock | CCE

We don't know how the "Fast Money" schedule is put together. But it seemed awfully convenient not to have Guy Adami on the set Wednesday.

Adami might've been compelled to offer more than one "my bad" for recent calls about shorting JPM, taking something off Intel and a few other tech names, and repeatedly stressing he thinks the S&P would bust out below 870.

That all seems sooooo... six days ago.

And if Adami had been present, who knows, maybe Richard X. Bove would've declined an invitation to join the show via phone, given that in Bove's last discussion on "Fast Money," Adami mocked the number of jobs Bove has held since the Beijing Olympics and questioned why people should believe him on Citigroup.

So we turn the floor over to Bove, who had interesting commentary on JPMorgan. "The markets have opened up," he said, explaining JPM should benefit from underwriting and trading as has Goldman Sachs. Bove said the "key problems with JPMorgan are all on the other side of the business, which is their retail buiness; they're gonna absorb substantial losses in their consumer finance area, in the commercial real estate area, and in consumer and industrial lending. But I don't think people are gonna be looking at the earnings that much in this company. I think what they're gonna be looking at in this company and all bank stocks is the direction of nonperforming asseets. In other words, if non-performing assets accelerate on the upside, you will see all of these bank stocks come down just like a pancake. On the other hand, if they do what I think they're gonna do, which (is) show that non-performing assets are growing at a much slower pace, I think that'll give a lot of confidence to people who are now buying these stocks expecting a turnaround in the earnings next year."

Bove said if there is a weakening in non-performing assets, JPM would reach $40 by the end of next week. "We've only started the move upward in these companies," he said.

Joe Terranova was confident in JPM's numbers, saying, "The investment banking side the revenues I think will be strong enough to offset the credit losses." Karen Finerman said the "biggest negative" looking ahead for JPM is the monster Goldman Sachs number.

Maria Bartiromo delivered breaking news on CIT, saying to expect "major developments tonight, or first thing tomorrow morning." That gave Tim Seymour the opportunity to make a (kind of subtle) political point.

"It's kind of comical to me that we're, we're throwing this blanket out to this middle class, that you know, needs so much help on health care, and all these things that they're doing aggressively in the next two weeks, and they can't throw out a, a line to someone they've already thrown TARP money to" like CIT, he said. "It doesn't make sense, it does sound like a political football."

Seymour though said people with long positions in the overall stock market had reason to celebrate. He called the huge rally Tuesday "a very positive close" marked by "performance anxiety" of buyers who were wrong about the head-and-shoulders chart and needed to get long for allocation purposes.

"Volatility exploded today," said Pete Najarian, declaring "panic buying" was taking place. He said 919 was the key S&P point of resistance, and once that was broken, "the people that were short the market were looking for ways to hedge."

Joe Terranova chided Melissa Lee for her negative appraisal of the market in recent days, something Lee, who is rapidly growing more aggressive on the show (and is putting together a sizzling wardrobe to go with it, evidenced again Wednesday), downplayed. "I feel great that there's a rally on but it is the beginning of earnings season, Joe," she said.

Terranova seemed to like the action. "I clearly think people are completely off guard right now" and underinvested, he said, even though only 15% of S&P earnings are coming out this week and Lee points to the remaining 85% as possible setbacks. "Why are we so confident that 870 is the bottom?" Lee asked.

Pete Najarian said if JPMorgan, Google and IBM all hit one out of the park, "We might see a thousand in the S&P before the end of the week."

Why stop there? Why not just pay $140 for the SPYders and $205 right now for Goldman Sachs? (This writer is long SRS.)

Here's where the show really could've used an appearance from Steve Cortes, who has been perhaps the most remarkably bearish person in the show's core cast.

Karen Finerman came back to a certain PC maker. "Why is Dell telling a very different story?" she asked. Najarian said netbooks aren't much for Dell, but that Intel is "feeding into" them. Finerman said "I like Cisco here."

Najarian said McAfee (MFE) August 45 calls that he has talked about were 75 cents two days ago, and $1.50 today. "This stock is breaking out," he said.

In the commodity-related space, Najarian was also pounding the table on a couple longtime favorite names. "Bucyrus, Joy Global, unbelievable, they still have so much more upside," he said.

"I actually wanna own the OIHes, I wanna own the natural gas, the Apaches of the world," said Terranova.

"People were short coming into this," Seymour said. "A lot of this was short-covering."

Some of Dennis Gartman's recent calls are going to put some investors in AA — Alcoa Anonymous. Several weeks ago he was trumpeting the aluminum charts and said he was hoping to eventually ride AA up to $40. Then a week ago or so he said he was unloading it as fast as he could, although apparently not all of it.

He said Wednesday, "I came in short," saw that commodities were on fire and the dollar was weaker dollar and knew he had to get long. Wednesday he was recommending long positions in AA, K, and GIS. And he also likes a certain gadget maker. "Apple I'm always enamored of," he said. "Continues to make new highs ... that was one of the things we came in long enough to begin with; I had to go buy more Apple."

Gartman even said that when he heard Najarian earlier mention BUCY, he wrote it down in his notebook. "Gotta buy this in the morning," he said. "Breaking out on the upside again."

Gartman on the "Halftime Report" said, "Look at those basic industrial commodities," mentioning AA and FCX. "They're all breaking downtrend lines, they're all moving up to the 200-day moving averages. ... I wouldn't be surprised if we see more follow-through on those commodity stocks ... I think you have to buy those two," AA and FCX.

Mark Mahaney managed to confuse Melissa Lee with his explanation of Google, though it didn't sound that complicated. Mahaney said he doesn't expect a miss but, "If there's a miss on Google, the stock will correct, it will correct significantly." He said there is "less fundamental risk going in" to this report than in the last two quarters. He did say, somewhat negatively which probably was confusing, that if they're going to surprise on the positive side, it would have to be top-line growth. But the "numbers seem reasonable this quarter," he said. Lee asked him when he expects the correction because "your price target is now at $580." Mahaney said he doesn't expect the correction here, only that if there's a miss, a correction will happen.

Mahaney dissed Joe Terranova's favorite search engine. "Is it bada-Bing, or is it bada-blip," Mahaney asked rhetorically. "I think the conclusion has to be bada-blip. ... So far, bada-blip."

Terranova was restrained on GOOG. "I think the downside is really what you have to be cautious about, if there is a big miss," he said. Tim Seymour was notably skeptical. "I'd love to hear what they say about what's going on with them in China, because people have been placing them a lot of growth in China, they've got a lot of problems there."

Zach Karabell gave a longer, and more comprehensive, description of IBM than Guy Adami has regularly been giving. The only thing is, he didn't offer a specific hook as to why we should buy the stock right now, and like Adami he did actually bring up the dreaded "next year's earnings" and if-then multiple.

Why is the 2010 IBM earnings outlook "dreaded"? And why do we dismiss Karabell's notion "It's a discount to the market; it's a discount to its group"?

Because — page down to our report from a couple days ago — we found a recent news article that says the company has learned to "manufacture" EPS in part by doing share buybacks ... and this is backed up by the company's own press release in February 2008 predicting a "road map" of $10-$11 EPS in 2010.

Lee asked Karabell if IBM would still trade at a "group" discount if it were classified in a consulting-type group rather than hardware as Karabell suggested. According to Yahoo finance, IBM closed Wednesday at a P.E. of 11.90. One competitor, Accenture (ACN), which doesn't do hardware to our knowledge, trades at 12.47. Dell trades at 12.20 P.E., per Yahoo.

"It's trading at you know, maybe, a 10, maybe an 11 P.E. on this year's numbers, maybe a 10 on next year's numbers. I mean if you bump that even to a 13 or 14 multiple, purely on earnings, I'm not even talking about cash flow, it's price to sales is, you know, unbelievably low, then you could easily look at a 140 or 150 dollar stock.

So Karabell has a point. Here's the problem though: What is going to cause IBM's multiple to suddenly shoot up to 13? What, specifically, will make this company's stock go up?

ExxonMobil trades at a 9 P.E., has a great global business and tremendous prospects. If that P.E. were to shoot up to "even a" 12 or 13, suddenly you've got a $90 stock. And we all know that's not happening.

"It's not a computer company anymore, it's a global service company," Karabell said of Big Blue. "I think that this is a stock that has been so chronically misunderstood ... it remains underpriced relative to what they're doing. It's an extraordinary transformation."

But Karabell doesn't explain why it may soon no longer be "chronically misunderstood."

Last week, Goldman Sachs — you know, the greatest company since sliced bread — actually downgraded IBM because it's considered something of a safe haven and won't move as broadly to the upside as other names in a better economic climate. Bottom line? Neither Guy Adami nor Karabell has offered a valid counterargument.

Karabell, to his credit, did open his segment with a chuckler involving Pete Najarian.

Rebecca Jarvis delivered a report on hedge fund oversight requiring something like bank holding status for anyone managing $30 million-plus. Karen Finerman and Tim Seymour kind of seemed to be expecting this report. But to say they treated this news with disdain would be accurate. Finerman wondered aloud if the registration goal is for the government to seek out campaign contributions. We're sure we'll be hearing more about this one.

John Brock, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), could've used a lot more caffeine in his appearance. "The positive trends that we saw in the first quarter have continued," he stated, then he practically ignored Karen Finerman's excellent question about YUM's claim that people are forgoing drinks at fast-food places to instead talk about bottled products in the grocery stores and convenience stores before the music cut him off.

Brock joined CCE in 2006; he was previously CEO at InBev. He is a 1970 graduate of Georgia Tech with a bacheor's degree in chemical engineering; he earned a master's there a year later.

Greg Troccoli gave another weather forecast, and these aren't too bad. He said of the 874 number, "We pounded this point home for weeks," even though Guy Adami was credited earlier in the show for standing by 870. Now, Troccoli says, "950 is my area ... (but) even if we break through 950, there still could be some drag as we get up toward 970, 975." Troccoli also noted, "four trading days ago, we were headed to hell."

On crude, Troccoli said it "came down to 58.38 two days ago and bounced ... crude is trading as a financial."

He's even into a homebuilder. "I like Pulte because I can define my risk. I have a stop in at 7.70 We get through $9, it is South Beach, total sun Melissa."

"Greg, you have some insane weatherman swagger back there," Seymour said.

Seymour, by the way, no longer owns GE, according to disclosure.

Halftime Report:

Tim Seymour on the "Halftime Report" wasn't quite as bullish as he was by the end of the day. "I think at 930 in the S&P you get a little worried about some resistance," he said. He described tech as "very low-leveraged, very defensive cyclicals ... I think we've seen breakout to the upside ... that's how I would play this."

His major push was for NOK. "This is 37% market share in China," he said. "It's rare when you get the industry leader at its cheapest all-time price to sales, going into numbers ... This is our China growth story play, this is how we play the Chinese consumer, even more than China Mobil."

John Kosar was as humdrum as it gets, suggesting things might be OK for a week or two but not beyond. He said of the NDX, "We're probably within a couple of weeks of a peak." XLF, he said, "I think it's a little bit long in the tooth, I think we might have another week or two of upside." He didn't say specifically why, but said IBM holders can get "a short pop ... I think we can take a run up to the 108 to 110 area."

Scott Nations said he expects with GOOG "a 5% move after earnings; IBM a 4% move ... implied volatility for both of these names has come down." He said "Google is a great company so I'm a buyer of the stock. It's probably looking for the June 5th high of 444, but it's had most of the move that's expected, so I would be quick to hit the sell trigger."

Patty Edwards, who like Steve Cortes, Guy Adami, Steve Grasso, Gartman and to a lesser extent Tim Seymour has been negative on the market, said she had to cover some short positions in the morning. "My dad said never step in front of a moving freight train, on the other hand he said if it's a runaway train, don't get on either, so I'm staying on the sidelines."

Edwards likes RIMM, but isn't very high on the HOG. " 'Easy Rider' turns 40 years old this year, and their consumer turns a lot older than that," she said. On phones: "More and more of the consumers I'm talking to are looking at the iPhone and looking at the BlackBerry and going with the BlackBerry because they like the fees better."

[Tuesday, July 14, 2009]

Fast Money Review: What’s so
bad about Meredith Whitney?

Featuring: Meredith Whitney | Guy Adami | Melissa Lee | Canaccord Adams | INTC | Jeff Harte | Jim Goldman | DELL | Patrick Wang | Tim Seymour | Pete Najarian | Joe Terranova | Patty Edwards | Michael Golden | SWHC | Dani Hughes | YUM | I-R | Rich Greenfield | DTV | iPhones | BlackBerrys | Mike Huckman | cougars | Zachary Karabell

Something very interesting was heard on Tuesday's "Fast Money," and it had nothing to do with a stock pick.

Melissa Lee referred to a Canaccord Adams report suggesting superstar analyst Meredith Whitney is "late" to the Goldman Sachs party.

"There's a lot of reasons to criticize her," said Guy Adami. "That's not one of them."

A lot of reasons to criticize her? What are those reasons?

CNBCfix hasn't heard any on CNBC, where Whitney remains a (very) prized guest and is apparently above the "Fast Money" fray, only appearing on "Closing Bell" with Maria Bartiromo and/or "Squawk Box" with college chemistry superstar Joe Kernen.

We checked around the Internet, including Whitney's Wikipedia page, which is basic and limited but has been edited by a decent number of people, and couldn't find any thread of controversy or criticism.

As far as we know, she's made some great banking calls and has looked great doing it. She is fairly accessible to CNBC as well as Bloomberg, but doesn't strike us as seeking TV cameras as much as, say, Senator Chuck Schumer.

According to a year-end report out of Britain's First Post, "Whitney, who is blonde, well-formed and looks younger than her years, has become so famous that she has been signed up by the Greater Talent Network Agency and is reaping, like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, a windfall fortune in speaking fees." Well, whatever works.

Our guess is that Adami thinks she's been too bearish in '09, or perhaps thinks she isn't really that impressive and just happened to get lucky at the perfect time and thus is accorded more acclaim than she's due. We're not putting words in his mouth, only speculating, because we think it's eye-opening that someone on CNBC would say there's "a lot" of reasons to criticize her when we can't think of any.

"I'm not a Meredith apologist; I worked with her frankly" (at CIBC in all likelihood), Adami said, and once again we're puzzled as to who would be known as a "Meredith apologist" and why such a person would exist. "She started a new shop, she did her homework ... to say she's late, it's just not fair," he said.

We agree it's useless, or perhaps "not fair," to call Whitney late. But we'd really like to know all of these purported reasons to criticize her.

Pete Najarian offered that if Whitney's potential $20 earnings projection for Goldman is accurate, "She's probably early."

Lee didn't mention what apparently is the gist of the Canaccord Adams point about Whitney, that the firm believes she merely touched off a phony rally that should be avoided.

We can hardly stand to report any more "Fast Money" discussion on Goldman Sachs, except that Melissa Lee — who is suddenly (see yesterday's report) showing some brazen moves in pinning down panelists and guests — actually put Tim Seymour on the spot.

The question was overdue: Do you put money into Goldman Sachs at this level?

"Technically here I don't love it," Seymour sort of stammered, "but yes I like the earnings story."

Sounds to us like a "maybe."

(And according to disclosure at CNBC.com, Seymour does not own GS ... but he does suddenly have a disclosed position in GE.)

Pete Najarian gave this recommendation of sorts on GS. "If this gets anything close to the low 140s again, I think it's again a steal."

Jeff Harte of Sandler O'Neil unfortunately was uninspiring on Tuesday. It's not his fault he was merely asked to add to the chorus of Goldman Sachs cliches, but his analysis seemed so yesterday. He said the earnings report shows "Goldman Sachs is best of breed," a major leap there, that it's a good sign for investment banking in general, fair enough, but "commercial real estate remains a drag."

Guy Adami asked a good question about IPO activity. "It tends to go day-by-day," Harte said, adding he's "finally starting to see some activity levels picking up," but he downplayed this, saying he would definitely want to see a couple months of stability before getting excited.

Harte, who is not as prominent on the Sandler Web site as Richard Repetto, joined the firm in 2002 after working at ABN AMRO and PaineWebber. He has a B.A. in econ from Wisconin and an MBA in Finance from DePaul.

Tim Seymour said of GS, there were "a lot of people piling in yesterday," but that "JPMorgan is really the guy you need to get excited about." That brought the expected response from Guy Adami on JPM, "That 35 and a quarter level is still there for anybody that wants to get short this market, which frankly I think is still not a bad idea."

It was even less interesting to listen to traders gush about Intel the Magnificent. Joe Terranova was the standard-bearer.

"Intel is moving higher, this will take the rest of the market higher," Terranova said. "You now have a foundation, 870 in the S&Ps, that was the low."

So 870 "was the low." Low for what, this week?

Then he got even more celebratory. "We are in the late innings in this entire crisis," declared Terranova, the guy who a couple days ago was suggesting we might need a globally coordinated stimulus package.

Seymour also couldn't get over how great this report was, saying something like "Third-quarter guidance for these guys is rare, (only) 10% of the time, of the last 31 quarters," etc., did they give any kind of good guidance, or he said something like that, and anyone who is keeping tallies of the positive-negative ramifications of Intel's last 31 quarterly reports is in more serious need of getting a life than even CNBCfix.

Jim Goldman said that CEO Paul Otellini said, "Customers are sharing confidence in a second half '09 recovery."

Pete Najarian thundered that the forward multiple of INTC might not be too high because it's "had a couple estimates that are over a dollar ... this is Prince Fielder right now, (and) great for IT."

Guy Adami said, "Hate to throw an Uncle Charlie on this thing ... that's a curveball ..." but he said back on April 15, Intel had actually reported April 14, "that was the day as it turns out to buy Intel." His advice to those who are long (which includes himself)? "You take profits tomorrow."

Analyst Patrick Wang of Wedbush Morgan agreed. "I think taking profits probably makes sense here." He said he would be keenly interested in gross margins. Seymour asked a good question, how to reconcile the difference between Dell's outlook and Intel's outlook. Wang said something like the "enterprise market clearly hasn't improved there," and he made some comment about notebooks, but we didn't really catch what his point was and it didn't seem significant enough to rewind the tape. Najarian said if the stock does surge on Wednesday and you want to be long, it's OK, because "they will crush the volatility," and "the protection that you can buy in the form of puts ... will be extremely cheap."

Wang has worked at Thomas Weisel and Nollenberger Capital and also spent five years at Texas Instruments. He has a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas, making it two Longhorns in two days for "Fast Money."

Seymour made a point about Intel we liked. "They better be fighting this (European) antitrust (case), because this is garbage ... they should not give into this."

Joe Kernen, overnight on Wednesday morning's "Squawk Box," agreed with that. Kernen was offended that the EU drove Intel to a loss. "Mind your own beeswax, socialists," Kernen grumbled.

As we like to say, most CEO interviews on "Fast Money" are a bust. The segment with Michael Golden of Smith & Wesson was not one of those.

Golden not only candidly described the recent history of his company, he tossed out some statistics that we didn't know about or hadn't thought about.

He said "there certainly was a, an increase in demand in firearms all around the country, right after the election," something that had made news several months ago. Golden said, "Certainly the frenzy has slowed down, (but) sales are still very strong." He said, "There are 17,000 police departments, we used to have 98% of their business, back when police officers used a revolver as their primary service weapon. When they shifted to, to a pistol in the '80s, we didn't have a product to effectively compete, and we lost most of that business." But he said nowadays, "We're winning over 80% of the competitions for contracts with law enforcement." And it's not just pistols. "In addition, we're selling tactical rifles to law enforcement, we're winning over 90% of the competition on tactical rifles."

He cited two big opportunities in military contracts, one being the M4 (there'll be an "RFP" this year) and apparently a handgun update, saying today the military uses a pistol that's 25 years old, from Beretta.

"They made a huge acquisition that nobody's talking about, USR, it's a perimeter protection," Adami said. "These guys have tremendous upside, this has become a homeland security play. Just think about railroad crossings," he said. "Smith & Wesson (SWHC) is a name that not a lot of people cover but it's a name that should go higher."

"Last quarter was phenomenal ... the question is, are they out of bullets?" said Joe Terranova.

Golden was named Smith & Wesson president and CEO Dec. 6, 2004, after stints at a hardware lover's dream trio, Black & Decker, Stanley Works and Kohler. He has a B.S. in marketing from Penn State and MBA from Emory.

Danielle "Dani" Hughes, CEO, Divine Capital Markets, showed up and instantly got our attention, both with her snappy appearance and "Hi boys" comment. She was on the precipice of making the type of interesting comments that aren't regularly heard on the show, namely obscure fields that might be driven by new government orders. But honestly, her investment explanation got a little wordy.

"What we're looking for is industrials, capex ... we're looking at companies like Ingersoll-Rand, um, companies that, uh, are investing in machinery that takes us to the next level," she said. Melissa Lee cut in (see, we've been pointing this out for a couple days, Lee has gotten on a mini-warpath, refreshingly) and asked for the trade. "I am buying productivity names ... companies that either have a productivity mandate or a policy mandate," Hughes, said, rattling off DIOD, ITRI, FTEK.

We think those are interesting names, and wish she had rattled those off from the get-go. Hughes is a 1991 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a B.A. in poli sci.

It just so happens that Ingersoll-Rand was one of the very first subjects ever to get written up at CNBCfix.com after CEO Herbert Henkel appeared on "Squawk Box" and fielded a question from Becky Quick about why his company is based in Bermuda and not the U.S. (We pointed out that I-R maked the popular Bobcat equipment, which is made in West Fargo, N.D., and thus explains why Henkel has made contributions to Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad.) But we digress.

Karen Finerman wasn't on the set today, so others had to discuss retailers.

"I'm scratching my head at that retail sales number being construed as anything but bad," said Tim Seymour. "I don't think the consumer has any legs to them ... I think you're gonna get more of the same when the banks and JPMorgan tell you just how weak they are," he said. (This writer is long SRS.)

Guy Adami mentioned a Dana Telsey appearance on "Fast Money" a while ago and said he agreed with her on the GAP, "I like GAP a lot."

Patty Edwards did the "Fast Money After Dark" session and, while she didn't call PBR a "low-beta" stock, also didn't really directly answer Melissa Lee's fine question as to whether YUM is a buy on the afterhours weakness. But Edwards' answer was apparently yes. "You might as well go in now, and get some of those revenues going forward," she said.

Edwards said YUM success is another sign of dining trends. "The consumer is trading down, and this is just further, uh, proof of that," she said.

"The earnings were fine ... guidance was fine," Adami said. "I still think YUM's a great story."

Seymour said YUM had headwinds from the fx, but tailwinds from commodity prices. However, he said he was looking beyond YUM: "I think Burger King is something that's overlooked despite the creepy mascot."

A little note about Edwards' Web site. We mentioned a week ago something she posted on the Storehouse Partners blog.

Now, here's the deal ... CNBCfix, we know, is the last organization that should gripe about someone's Web site design. But you know what? The Storehouse Partners site design is terrible. Gold and green text on black. Do you want to win design awards ... or do you actually want people to read your site? If the Storehouse Web site were a stock, a value investor like Karen Finerman would take a look at it and ask, "what the heck is going on here..."

Richard Greenfield, undeniably one of the best "Fast Money" regular guests, had more to say Tuesday about one of his favorites, DirecTV (DTV).

Greenfield appeared on the show June 16 to recommend DTV, a day it closed at $22.34. Since then it has reached $25.18 and by Tuesday had closed at $23.79, so a worthwhile pick.

Greenfield was there to talk about DTV's Sunday Ticket and the iPhone. First he said the Sunday Ticket app wasn't just an Apple thing, but "also gonna be on the BlackBerry very soon, multiple carriers, multiple devices." He then did a fine job of explaining the price structure after Joe Terranova brought it up. "First you pay $280 a year to get the Sunday ticket," Greenfield said. "About 2 million people across the country do that right now." He said the NFL and DTV offer an expanded $100 package that adds high-definition material among other things but isn't heavily subscribed; it contains a "bunch of other incremental features, (but) that extra $100 package will now include the iPhone app, the BlackBerry app," and for the 700,000-800,000 people who pay that extra hundred dollars, "this is a way to really give you an incremental value-add."

Lee asked him directly (see, she's quickly getting good at this) if DTV is a buy on this development, and Greenfield said, "I think it's yet another reason why you step in ... this is the cheapest stock in the group, it's trading at 4 times EBITDA, 6 times free cash flow, we think this company is bought out in the course of the next 12 months ... our price target's $32 ... I think a $35-plus buyout is certainly possible."

He also made positive comments about Cablevision, but we think sports-franchise ownership is a non-starter in stock discussions.

Greenfield has worked for Fulcrum Global and, sigh, Goldman Sachs. He's got a B.A. in history from Brandeis.

Mike Huckman only was intriguing in that he made a Becky Quick point. He said "U.S. sales of Johnson&Johnson's skin care products, which includes Aveeno, and Neutragena, were up, were up, ... they weren't just up, they were up 8 and a half percent in the United States." He added he "was talking to Becky Quick earlier, she thinks it's an economic effect, that people are trading down from the Cliniques, more expensive brands." He also grinned when he got the chance to say of JNJ, "They bought Cougar Biotechnology."

One little oversight from yesterday: We were pointing out Zach Karabell's attempts to raise the intellectual humor bar of the show, something he often succeeds at, but we were so disheartened by "deja vu all over again" we forgot to note he creatively offered a Bastille Day trade, Veolia (VE), a water company. "They are everywhere, all the time." Hey, we'll take whatever "Fast Money" panache we can get.

Halftime Report: All hail mighty GS

Just as we predicted, Goldman Sachs wasn't just the talk of Monday, but Tuesday as well.

And there was so much insightful new commentary on the "Halftime Report."

"The world's biggest hedge fund, they are back," said Joe Terranova.

"Goldman really is just one big hedge fund," said Dennis Gartman.

"Goldman is the standard. Goldman is who Goldman is," said Patty Edwards.

"Goldman is in a league of their own," said J.J. Kinahan.

Gartman at least got sneakily technical: "With Goldman raising their VAR, everybody else probably has to ramp theirs up."

Kinahan, whom we hadn't seen for a while, had a good show. He said of the XLF, "we see some right-out-of-the-money call buyers." He also reported "200,000 SPY calls, the August 100 calls, it equates to the, uh, S&P 500 going to 1,000." Melissa Lee asked if those were truly bullish positions. Kinahan said, "In these cases ... what we're seeing is people who are making bullish bets."

Terranova tried to make another case for oil stocks vs. oil futures based on this speculator crackdown that Addison Armstrong says hasn't really affected the market yet, but Dennis Gartman was of another opinion. "Well actually I'm short the equities, I'm short Exxon and I'm short Chevron," Gartman said. "The action in the futures today, in, on the oil futures says I'm doing the right thing."

"I'm selling the oil stocks, I'm buying food," Gartman said.

"I'm with Dennis, I'm buying food," Edwards said. "I don't want to be labeled as the Princess of Darkness, but ... the market has got some downside here."

"I'm a buyer of both Intel and the overall market going into the close," Kinahan said. "It's expiration week, we tend to have a lot of bullish activity on expiration week."

Terranova closed with a nat gas call. "Over the next three or four days," he said, "you wanna be long Apache, XTO, Chesapeake. Play those energy names for a little bit of a recovery."

[Monday, July 13, 2009]

Fast Money Review:
Thank you, Tim Seymour!

Featuring: Tim Seymour | BusinessWeek | Melissa Lee | Goldman Sachs | Goldman Sachs | Goldman Sachs | Goldman Sachs | Pete Najarian | Guy Adami | Karen Finerman | CIT | Chris Whalen | Goldman Sachs | JPM | INTC | DELL | Craig Berger | MRVL | BRCM | FCS | GE | YUM | Forest City | IYR | BNI | MS | EXM | Jeff Tomasulo | Goldman Sachs | GS | USU | Neal Wolkoff | Eric Bolling | Youssef Squali | PDE | V | Moshe Orenbuch | MFE | Zachary Karabell | "eviscerated" | Jon Najarian | Addison Armstrong | Mike Khouw | XLF

First, Melissa Lee — who looked dazzling in chic black Monday — set the table on the purported $1 valuation of BusinessWeek with a personal anecdote:

"I canceled my subscription, personally, no offense to McGraw Hill ... to BusinessWeek because it just, it was not timely any more. It's not a timely publication," she said.

Then, Tim Seymour said this:

"They obviously don't feature like a 'Fast Money' recap in BusinessWeek, otherwise it would be more timely."

(High-fives and "Fast Money"-esque fist-bumping all around.)

Yes, we're aware Seymour didn't specifically mention the "CNBCfix 'Fast Money' Review." We're also aware he used the term "recap" as opposed to review. A few sites out there do indeed perform useful recaps, including CNBC.com, and then some of them turn things over to scattershooting message boards. Our gut reaction to that? We'll give you a lot of original material, a little point of view, and perhaps even a tiny bit of panache — reviewing "Fast Money," not restating it, and dedicated to the highest standards of journalism — and something must be working, because our hits for this page have seen parabolic moves this spring and summer.

No, we don't want BusinessWeek to struggle or go under. We're rooting for it actually. BusinessWeek is a pillar of financial journalism.

Seymour might've been making a joke. Or he might've been, inadvertently or otherwise, explaining exactly what a site like CNBCfix can and does do that old media can't or won't do. We wouldn't claim any kind of superiority whatsoever over the likes of BusinessWeek, but the amount of original material we're putting out over the course of a week isn't tremendously far behind — and we're doing it with zero debt. How's that for a business model.

And maybe, just maybe, we're of the possible strong belief that MLee might be spending a tiny portion of that time she used to spend reading BusinessWeek to instead check out the daily CNBCfix "Fast Money" Review.

So thank you, Tim Seymour, for saluting the handful of "Fast Money" recap/review writers out there.

In a way-overdone series of segments on mighty Goldman Sachs on Monday, which will probably be continued on Tuesday, here's all you really needed to hear, courtesy of Chris Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics:

"If you had an opportunity to invest in a fund that had access to the discount window, subsidies, and you have Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner as your lobbyists in Washington, would you want a piece of that."

Melissa Lee chuckled, "I guess the odds ... may be in your favor if you're 'Government Sachs' as some call it..."

Whalen did actually suggests a pair of risks. "The downsides to Goldman are two," he said. "One is political ... and then it's just the markets."

Lee had explained the GS bounce on the Meredith Whitney bullish call and asked, "is she late to the game?"

Guy Adami thought there might be promotional reasons behind Whitney's comments.

"Think about this, she's in a new shop, she's in her own shop, she needs to make a big splash ... I don't know if I necessarily agree with her price target" of $186, though he said he agrees with her in general on the stock.

Seymour said he wasn't convinced the move in the Dow was attributed to Whitney. "I think it was asset allocation today," he said, adding, "I don't think Asia's in a good place, and I do think it's a bit ahead of itself." He said Goldman was benefitting recently from "once-in-a-lifetime spreads in fixed income," but that the firm nevertheless is full of geniuses and will always figure something out.

Pete Najarian said Whitney might not be late at all, but Melissa Lee — who was dishing out brazen market commentary (basically bearish) all day in that chic black outfit — referred to Goldman as perhaps being merely the tallest midget in the room of banks, blatantly swiping Zach Karabell's line from the lunchtime version (see below).

Guy Adami, who has recently been describing GS as "dead money" in the $140s and predicting a return to $135 or so, a similar position as Jeff Tomasulo (who must not've had a good day being short GS), said Tuesday could nevertheless bring GS and the whole market back to earth. "If you see a big-volume day, and a reversal to the downside in Goldman Sachs, then the tape gets very scary to me," he said.

Adami is once again thinking JPM lower. "Now the risk-reward trade sets up very easily...I think you can get short JPMorgan here," referring to the important $35.25 barrier.

Karen Finerman said Whitney helped anyone long Bank of America, like herself, and said "I think Bank of America is attractive here" but that it faces potentially strong consumer headwinds.

Pete Najarian and Tim Seymour both said a better trade than GS might've been Morgan Stanley. "I think they could crush it almost like Goldman Sachs," Najarian said. Seymour noted that John Mack may not like Joe Terranova's recent description of MS as "Goldman Sachs lite."

Pete Najarian delivered the show's introductory take on the markets and the big Dow jump, and whatever it was he said, we really didn't get. But we definitely took notice of how unimpressed Melissa Lee was with the Dow's jump. "I'm gonna put my skeptic's cap on ... This just seems like a bounce, a reflex ahead of earnings season," she said. In the "Halftime Report" she even said if she was long banks, "this would be my cue to sell."

"Really not much volume, not a ton of direction," Karen Finerman kind of agreed. "Right now it did just seem like a little bit of a bounce."

Traders also couldn't get too excited about the afterhours comments from Dell.

"Deferral in purchases is not what you wanna hear," Finerman said. "This is not a good thing."

"They gotta show us growth," Najarian said.

"I think it's still an interesting play here but these comments are not helpful," said Guy Adami.

Craig Berger of FBR came on to discuss Dell and Intel but not surprisingly his other names were more interesting.

"Actually think Intel's gonna have a pretty good report," he said. "Global inventories out there remain very, very lean right now." He said more than Intel he likes Marvell, Broadcom and Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS), the latter because "I think they're gonna absolutely crush the, the third-quarter guidance."

Berger once worked at Intel, as well as Smith Barney Citigroup and Wedbush Morgan. He's a CFA and CPA with a B.B.A. and a master's in professional accouting from the University of Texas.

Guy Adami and Tim Seymour both gave parent company GE a bit of a shout-out, but a restrained one to say the least. "You know I think GE's a $12 stock," Adami said, and wow, that's some ringing endorsement for shares trading above $11. "You buy it below 11 and you sell it above 12 and a half."

"I love GE for the same reasons Guy pointed out, but I think today's move is a little outsized," said Seymour, although he hasn't owned it according to disclosure, and Adami doesn't own it; the only panelist who who has a position is Pete Najarian with some calls, according to disclosure.

Karen Finerman regularly talks about her concerns over commercial real estate, but her explanation of Forest City (FCEa) was downright head-scratching. Lee introduced the segment as maybe all the bad stuff is fully priced into real estate and the "armageddon" scenario is gone.

K-Fine referred to covering a position in Forest City. "It's not a bullish call, it's wow, the risk-reward has really changed and I can't justify being short at this price anymore." Fair enough, but disclosure still shows her firm being short the IYR, perhaps as a hedge along with several other ETFs. If she thinks commercial real estate has bottomed, it's not clear how she's getting long or why she's short the IYR.

At least, that was our initial take, and it didn't seem like a very significant segment to be rewinding and re-analyzing the tape.

We noted the CNBC.com disclosure now says Finerman's firm is long YUM, which would make more sense if she didn't say last week she was "short" the name. (Our Sherlock Holmesian theory is that she meant to say at the time she was long YUM, said the opposite, and somehow it never made the Web site's disclosure list until Monday, because sometimes the online disclosure can be shoddy, at least compared with what people are saying on the actual TV show.)

Neal Wolkoff, who looks a bit like Jeff Macke, is the founder of the new futures exchange ELX, which quickly has carved a 3% market share as a possible long-term rival to the CME. The ELX had a "very good opening," Wolkoff said. "Right off the bat, we beat the analysts," some of whom apparently thought his exchange would never get off the ground.

But Karen Finerman asked another great question: What market share does the ELX need to break even or be a viable, long-term enterprise.

Wolkoff unfortunately dodged the question, but said his is a "very low-cost operation," and "we need to start bringing in the buy side, we need to get the hedge funds coming in, we need to have the Chicago FCMs (futures commission merchants) coming in."

Ron Insana recently charged on CNBC that Barack Obama has a lot of Chicago pals connected with the CME that the president might try to reward with a cap-and-trade exchange. Perhaps that explains why Wolkoff in 2007 only made donations ($2,300) to Hillary Clinton and ($1,000) Chris Dodd, according to Huffington Post.

Tim Seymour picked a "rising star" stock, USEC (USU), that brought some chuckles. Only because a couple years ago, in the early days of "Fast Money," this stock was momentarily hot, only to collapse, in part on a negative New York Times article questioning the company's sustainability, prompting original "Fast Money" kingpin Eric Bolling to say on-air that he had called either the CEO or other top exec who said they had no idea what the Times was talking about, only to have the battered share price continued to fall. Anyway, Seymour said, "your trigger here ... is a loan from the U.S. government for 1 and a half billion that will allow them to finish a project which should create 5 to 6,000 new jobs, keep nuclear power a big part of the front burner for Senator Obama..."

Because we're sort of touting this as Tim Seymour Day, we're going to make scant mention that Mr. Obama is no longer a senator.

Pete Najarian said the energy infrastructure play is a good reason to check out FLR and SGR.

Guy Adami said BNI, "now above 70, probably goes back now to 75 off these CSX numbers." Seymour said, "Gotta be really most concerned here about the coal volumes, which were significantly, uhhh, eroded in the first quarter." Seymour expressed skepticism for Asian markets throughout the show and offered a short in PKX as his "Final Trade."

Adami made what we thought was a very interesting comment. "Don't trade the headline releases," he said. "You're never gonna make money doing that. Let the chart patterns work for you."

If trading the headline releases — such as what happened with Amgen last week — is so foolish, why are so many people apparently doing it? It can't be all inexperienced amateurs who were buying AMGN at $60 last week.

Here's another one: On April 1, Research in Motion jumped $2, from $43.11 to $45.62. On April 2, it jumped $3 more. On April 3, it jumped 10 dollars. And continued to roll into the upper $80s over the next two months.

CNBCfix unfortunately never made those trades. Adami knows far more about trading than CNBCfix does. But we think it's wrong to say one is "never gonna make money" trading the "headline releases."

Pete Najarian reported another round of $45 call-buying in MFE, this time not July, but August. "Incredible amount of activity out there," he said. He also touted EXM as a possible home-run stock in the dry-bulk arena. "You've got a chance ... giddyup."

Guy Adami singled out Abbott as his "Final Trade" and referred to an ABT rating we tackled last month in our June "Fast Money" review. On Monday, Adami said "Abbott on valuation is very fair; Morgan Stanley put a $65 price target on these guys I believe a while back."

What we found is that Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis, in February, according to Barrons, gave the stock a $67 "12-month" price target.

Nevertheless, Adami's comments were an "upgrade" of sorts over his June 19 statement that "they have a $55 price target."

K-Fine liked PDE and Pete Najarian mentioned V for "Final Trades."

Youssef Squali of Jefferies came on in an extremely abbreviated segment to talk Google and ended up saying virtually nothing. "We think it's gonna be a pretty good quarter," he said, and gee when have you heard that about a tech name lately. He said "pricing seems to be stabilizing," and he kept talking about some "mid-teens" number for advertising in general, but the gist of it was, search ads seem to be working for a lot of companies.

Squali, hired by Jefferies in 2004, has a B.A. in econ from American Business School in Paris and has a baccalaureate in math and physics. He earned an MBA in finance from the University of Hartford. According to a press release at the time, Squali reports to Steven R. Black. Previously Squali worked at Laidlaw, ING Barings and First Albany, as well as former Dick Bove stomping ground Ladenburg Thalmann.

If Squali's appearance on Google was rather useless, at least it was nowhere near the dead money of Moshe Orenbuch's sleep-inducing take on CIT. The news on the company changed during the show, which wasn't Orenbuch's fault, but having nothing of interest to say is sort of where the buck has to stop here. Tim Seymour asked a great question, "Politically I think it would be a very significant thing not to bail them out, and Orenbuch had no answer as to why CIT was apparently getting the government "stiff arm" at least from the FDIC. We did get this from Orenbuch: "If there is a rally, uh, .... we'd probably be sellers into it."

Orenbuch is a 1984 graduate Yeshiva University who gave to George Bush in 2004 and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in 2007.

Cliche-filled ‘Halftime Report’

We tend to love cliches at CNBCfix. But here's the deal. There are some cliches that truly are funny when used in whatever given context; others just simply dreadful (hint: "The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal," "There's just SO much money sitting on the sidelines").

Zach Karabell, despite his professed battle Monday on the "Halftime Report," is capable of delivering the type of zinger, and intellectual humor, that too often goes unappreciated and underutilized on "Fast Money."

"You know I, I've been fighting a lonely, unilateral battle against cliches," Karabell said, "but I'm gonna unroll one which hasn't been used since March, that markets climb a wall of worry, so even though there's a huge amount of concern out there about where financials are going, and how they're gonna do, this is a kind of a rally based on based on the anxiety about what's happening, not necessarily a rally based on strong fundamental conviction."

All right. Maybe not the funniest cliche ever, but a good try.

"Everyone's been talking about Meredith Whitney's call, that in and of itself is not 'Oh wow, these things are doing great, it was more like the tallest midget is Goldman,' " Karabell continued, offering a line Melissa Lee would downright steal for the 5 p.m. show. "I think if you're a fundamental investor these are really difficult stocks to get into because it's really difficult to know what exactly is going on."

More on Karabell's cliches in a moment. But Goldman Sachs also brought this reaction. "I will be lightening up I believe," Jon Najarian said, "afterhours ... take some serious profits. If you have afterhours activity I'd take advantage of it."

Mike Khouw sounded almost offended by Karabell's terminology. "Well the first thing I would say, referring to Goldman Sachs as the tallest midget, I don't know if they're a midget, we are talking about some, you know, people are forecasting some pretty extraordinary trading revenue there, so I'm not trying to refer to them as midgets in any case," Khouw said. "We did see bullish activity in the XLF earlier today, very near-dated bets to the upside. Someone bought a hundred thousand of the July 12 calls. ... That's a bullish bet that really wants to be hedged."

Jon Najarian also mentioned Intel. He said a big industry conference was a good reason to buy. "I would use weakness as a buying opportunity." He also said Windows 7 is "gonna be a monster."

"Intel is not gonna, it's not gonna kill you, but I don't think it's going to reward you if you have a more beta, higher-moving market," Karabell said. "The segments of the economy that they serve into are not the same as are being eviscerated by unemployment — I used eviscerated again."

Moments later, Karabell was again asked about Intel. "So this is part 2 of our earlier conversation, deja vu all over again, I don't think you should be overly defensive in stocks. If you're feeling defensive, buy bonds. If you want to be in stocks, look for things that are gonna have a little more of a pop than Intel."

All right, "deja vu all over again" is one we definitely don't like, and here's why: Nobody every says the correct term anymore, but the cliche. So you'll never hear someone say, "oh, it's deja vu," in which case if they did the cliche would still have some surprise factor, but rather the cliche has overwhelmed the original term, apparently because everyone liked it so much. Also it's kind of a dated thing; we want "Fast Money" to appeal to the younger, hipper crowd.

Addison Armstrong said of oil, "on the charts it certainly looks like we get down to 56 or 55 dollars without too much trouble." But he cautioned about the "very steep selloff" recently and suggested a stabilization of sorts could happen. "I will say it's interesting today though that crude continues to fall despite, uh, the buoyant S&Ps."

"I don't want to fade this guy," said Jon Najarian, because he is "spot on."

Armstrong said the oil speculation crackdown widely discussed on the 5 p.m. show can't be played yet, it's too early.

[Friday, July 10, 2009]

Who besides Laura Tyson is on
Economic Advisory Board?

The White House in February announced 17 members of President Obama's Economic Advisory Board.

Paul Volcker, Chairman
Austan Goolsbee, Staff Director and Chief Economist
Members include:
William H. Donaldson, Chairman, SEC (2003-2005)
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO, TIAA-CREF
Robert Wolf, Chairman & CEO, UBS Group Americas
David F. Swensen, CIO, Yale University
Mark T. Gallogly, Founder & Managing Partner, Centerbridge Partners L.P.
Penny Pritzker, Chairman & Founder, Pritzker Realty Group
Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO, GE
John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers
Jim Owens, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.
Monica C. Lozano, Publisher & Chief Executive Officer, La Opinion
Charles E. Phillips, Jr., President, Oracle Corporation
Anna Burger, Chair, Change to Win
Richard L. Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO
Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Dean, Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley
Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Tyson made the point Friday on "Fast Money" that members speak for themselves. Who so far is on record regarding the first and/or "second" stimulus?

Yes to 2nd: James Owens, Caterpillar CEO, May 1: "The top executive at construction equipment maker Caterpillar Inc said on Wednesday he believes there will be another round of U.S. stimulus spending on infrastructure because the first was not big enough"...(Reuters)

Yes, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO secretary treasurer, July 7: "Richard Trumka, the labor federation's secretary treasurer, has been pushing for a new stimulus as a member of Obama's Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board." (Associated Press)

Yes to 2nd, (apparently), Anna Burger, chair, Change to Win, July 9: "But several labor leaders said that with unemployment nearing 15 million, they plan to urge the president to push for a second stimulus package." (New York Times)

Second might be needed: Roger Ferguson, CEO, TIAA-CREF, March 10: "The U.S. stimulus program, for example, consists of short-term spending increases, long-term infrastructure investments and tax cuts. We won't begin to experience the benefits of the stimulus until later this year. Additional stimulus measures beyond those already proposed may be needed as well." ... July 2, CNBC interview with Maria Bartiromo, "the economy, I think, still requires some Fed stimulus and some Fed intervention. So the challenge around the exit strategy is getting it right."

Not expecting 2nd: Jeff Immelt, CEO, General Electric, mid-June: does not expect a second major stimulus ... June 25, on "Charlie Rose" ... said stimulus "has to get faster"

Wait till September: Penny Pritzker, Obama campaign finance chief: No reported comments, yet, plans at least one speech in September

1st was "massive": David Swensen, CIO, Yale University, May 23: "We’ve had this massive fiscal stimulus, massive monetary stimulus, and it’s hard to see how that doesn’t translate into pretty substantial inflation, or at least pretty substantial risk of inflation."

No to 2nd: Martin Feldstein, Harvard professor, July 11: "It would be wrong to plan a second stimulus package at this time. Increasing the national debt would not only impose a greater burden on future taxpayers but would also run the risk of raising the long-term rate of interest. Such a higher interest rate would depress business investment and housing activity, offsetting the expansionary effect of the proposed stimulus. ... We may nevertheless need to use some additional federal borrowing in the next year to fix the banking system and to stop the downward spiral of house prices. That spending would be less popular than another stimulus that gives away money to transfer recipients, low-income taxpayers and state governments. But the federal government should preserve its scarce borrowing power for that more important task." (Washington Post)

Fast Money Review: A laugher
with Laura Tyson, and the origin
of those IBM earnings in 2010

Featuring: Laura D'Andrea Tyson | Melissa Lee | Dylan Ratigan | Art Cashin | stimulus | Karen Finerman | Guy Adami | Tim Seymour | IBM | POT | GS | JPM | MS | DELL | TER | MSFT | RIMM | RIG | oil | John Kilduff | Joe LaVorgna | Addison Armstrong | David Bailey | QCOM | BAC | INTC | Scott Nations | Jeff Tomasulo | Christopher Zook | Jimmy Iuorio | Brian Schaeffer | Christian Magoon | HAO | YUM | FLS | AIG

Melissa Lee introduced longtime Democratic economic adviser Laura D'Andrea Tyson as "the woman that rattled the markets this week after floating the idea of a second stimulus package."

Lee, whose show should be a must for political types who never want to get interrupted, gave Tyson a lengthy monologue to "set the record straight."

That monologue follows below. In a nutshell all you need to know is that Tyson used the term "first stimulus" at least a couple of times, meaning there is going to be a second, and that she chuckled several times during her discourse, further proof that the "first stimulus" is a borderline joke (or even "part illusion, part hoax" as our longtime CNBC favorite Art Cashin put it) and that the second one will be 0% economic urgency but 100% "Wheee, let's see what we congressmen can authorize for our districts this time under new political cover from our economists" urgency, down from about 25% and 75% the first time.

"I, I really want to, to set the record straight," Tyson told Lee. "I mean, basically, I think, uh, this following: The economy is in recession, the recession is moderating. We have only spent one-quarter of that original stimulus package, and actually it's being spent out and having an effect more or less as predicted, as kind of on track. But what's also true is that the economic outlook is very uncertain, and there are a lot of downside risks. I think it's premature to plan for a second stimulus, but I think everyone should just keep in mind that what we need to do, in a highly uncertain economic situation, where there's a lot of downside risks, what we need to do is continue to monitor the economy, monitor the spend out of the first stimulus and how it's affecting things, and then make a decision whether something more is warranted, but that decision wouldn't be for several months, so when I was asked about it, I basically said you know, as a scenario planner, if I were teaching a business course, I would say, 'Let's look several months ahead, and then we'll sort of see where the situation is and whether the economy needs an additional stimulus. We don't know that now."

Tyson's July 7 comments on the stimulus were first reported by Bloomberg.

One of the first things we noticed is that Tyson implied Friday that she didn't float this on her own, but only "when I was asked about it."

But according to Bloomberg, she offered all of this up in a speech in Singapore, in which she gave far more detail than what she told the "Fast Money" crew.

According to Bloomberg, Tyson said the February stimulus was "a bit too small." She also said, "The money is just really starting to come out in more significant amounts now. The stimulus is performing close to expectations but not in timing."

But this is what she told Bloomberg on Jan. 30, when the package was being finalized. "It’s designed to be very much front-loaded so we can give a real boost to the economy through the second half of the year."

First it was "front-loaded," now it is not meeting expectations in "timing." And the same people who designed the first one are eager to do a sequel. Kinda like Brownie gearing up for his next disaster.

Tyson apparently was backpedaling on timing when she told Lee on Friday, "The biggest effect of the first stimulus is really meant to be, designed really, to, to be in the third quarter, right now of this year, the biggest effect on GDP growth. Biggest effect probably on employment growth in the next quarter."

Tyson also said, "Let's admit a lot of uncertainty here." But in fact, her comments reported by Bloomberg sounded very certain: the stimulus was too small, and the timing isn't fast enough.

Joe Terranova, as he often does, asked a good question. "How do you get that liquidity expansion out of the banking system to where it needs to be?"

Tyson laughed it off.

"Well, I mean, you know the problem with a balance-sheet (chuckles) recession is that everyone wants to restore their balance sheets, understandably, including the banking institutions themselves," she said.

Karen Finerman asked her another excellent question, as to how easy it will be for the U.S. to find more buyers for stimulus-related debt offerings. Tyson, who talked a little bit with her hands the whole time, suddenly went off-the-screen-haywire with hand gestures here, suggesting this is one of those anticipated questions for which she really didn't have a good answer. But she assured us the Treasury and the Fed are working together, and then cut herself off, "all right," we also have to get our long-term fiscal house in order.

According to Bloomberg on July 7, she told reporters after her speech, "The concern is that the U.S. will have to inflate away its debt. I do not think that is a valid concern."

"Fast Money" was not nearly so accommodative to Tyson when she appeared on the show Nov. 24, 2008. Then, Dylan Ratigan peppered Tyson with clawback-related questions as to why taxpayers should be bailing out Citigroup when Citigroup executives such as Bob Rubin collected tens of millions of dollars this decade. Tyson said then we shouldn't be harping on the individuals and even prompted Ratigan to accuse her of cutting him off. "Let me finish, please," Ratigan said. "The same- same system allowed me to bonus myself a few hundred million dollars creating $40 trillion worth of credit for every trillion dollars that I had; I didn’t really make that money either."

Later, there was this exchange: "Sorry to interrupt you, but we’re running a clock here," Ratigan said. "But I think the question everybody wants answered, on the stimulus, we know that there are many variables, and lots of things we do not know. These traders live it every day; we all live it every day." Tyson said, "Yes they do." Ratigan said, "So, we don’t need that information, quite honestly." Tyson said, "OK, what information would you like?" When Ratigan explained he wanted to know the "mathematical formula or set of principles" being used for the stimulus, Tyson chuckled.

Not exactly the kind of host grilling we've seen on "Fast Money" since March 27.

Here's another note about that November appearance. Ratigan first addressed Tyson, 62, as "professor," later as "Laura."

Karen Finerman then addressed Tyson as "Miss Tyson."

Friday, Melissa Lee referred to Tyson repeatedly as "Laura."

But Joe Terranova got formal: "Dr. Tyson, it's Joe."

So did Karen Finerman: "Dr. Tyson, it's Karen."

Terranova again referred to "Dr. Tyson" later in a discussion of RIG.

The general standard among news media is to only use "Dr." when referring to a medical doctor. Lee did not deviate from this, but two of her panelists did, suggesting a heightened accordance of respect to someone who is basically delivering political talking points. Why not "Dr. Jared Bernstein," or, in the case of Thursday guest Mark Schoenebaum, who actually has an M.D., why wasn't it "Dr. Schoenebaum"?

Tyson, who teaches at Cal-Berkeley when not delivering the administration agenda, has a B.A. in econ from Smith College, 1969, summa cum laude, and received a Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1974. Her husband is writer Erik Tarloff.

If not for Tyson's appearance, we would've led off with Joe Terranova running head-first into a Dennis Gartman headwind.

"What do we need now from oil? We need stabilization, that's it. We need the liquidation of speculators to end, and oil prices just to stabilize," Terranova said. "Today I bought Frontier. A refiner. ... It is priced for armageddon folks. This is a great hedge against economic recovery and a hurricane. I like the refiners here. The bad news is in the price."

Interesting ... because earlier on the "Halftime Report," Melissa Lee asked Gartman if people should be investing in the battered refiners.

"Not on your life. Uh, no absolutely not. Uh, I think you should not be a buyer. No, please don't. I hope I'm clear," Gartman said. "This is a very bad business to be in right now."

"I'd feel fine in Exxon here," Seymour said on the real show.

Adami said of oil, "It hasn't shown that it's gonna turn back up yet. You'll know when it does." Seymour added, "I would say 57 is your next stop, and then 52. But I think we're actually gonna rally off 57." Finerman said, "I really think we have not seen the end of this derivatives (regulation) discussion."

News flash: IBM predicts EPS for 2010

If you watch "Fast Money" all the time — and apparently guys like Joe Theismann and Regis Philbin do, so hopefully they read this page — you might wonder how many times you will have to hear Guy Adami cite IBM's EPS estimate for 2010.

If we had, say, 48 hours in between "Fast Money" episodes, we could chase down all the subjects we want to chase. But we don't have that much time.

So our little IBM examination has gotten pushed back. But it's worth the wait.

Friday, Adami restoked the Big Blue fire. "I mean, IBM on May 13 told us that they're gonna make between 10 and 11 dollars a share in 2010. They have a huge, recurring revenue stream," he said.

Adami and Jim Goldman were discussing a new report from Goldman Sachs — the analyst whom they didn't name is David Bailey — that upgraded Dell and downgraded IBM.

Adami actually said, "I think Goldman Sachs is playing a dangerous game of stock market here with IBM specifically."

"For Goldman to make the call that it's making now, you wonder where the information is coming from," Goldman said, as though there is some sort of IBM conspiracy in the air.

We should note that if Adami were interviewed for this article, he would say he's only talking about the trade and that depending on any day's given price direction, he doesn't always recommend it, only that people should look to a level to get in.

What is really going on with IBM and Goldman Sachs and 2010?

According to MarketWatch, Bailey sent a note to clients Friday putting Dell on the famous "conviction buy" list, upping Seagate, and lowering IBM and Western Digital. "Bailey took a more sedate view of IBM," wrote Rex Crum. Bailey said IBM's "steadiness can keep it from higher growth rates when market conditions improve." Crum quotes Bailey: "We expect IBM shares to trade more in line with the (tech) group after outperforming tech year to date and in the past 12 months, as investors shift their focus from earnings resiliency in a period of soft demand."

But what about that famous $10 a share that IBM somehow already knows it's going to earn in 2010 which, if you attach a 12 multiple, gives you the $120 stock Adami envisions?

First, we found writer James Rogers of TheStreet.com characterizing that May 13 IBM investor day as the company reaffirming its $9.20 guidance for 2009. In a lengthy article, Rogers says nothing about 2010.

Then there is this summary by Timothy Prickett Morgan in The Register (U.K.) of May 13 that says CFO "Mark Loughridge went over the numbers and made it clear that IBM was not offering revenue projections for 2009 or 2010."

Morgan also writes of that May 13 presentation: "Loughridge joked that IBM had merely done its own 'stress test' on its models and worked backwards to prove that cost-cutting measures already implemented in 2008 would bear fruit in 2009 and 2010, and that ongoing cost-reduction measures and other initiatives would allow Big Blue to hit its numbers, which the company originally laid out at its investor meeting in May 2007. ... Big Blue has learned to manufacture EPS growth in a market where real profit growth is increasingly difficult."

Morgan's article kind of gives us the impression that this 2010 EPS number is already known because the company will do buybacks or cost-cutting to make it happen because it has "learned to manufacture EPS growth" ... and might've even set its target numbers as far back as May 2007.

Finally, sometimes the best articles come straight from the company's Web site. As far back as Feb. 27, 2008, IBM stated in a press release "the company's '2010 roadmap' objective of $10 to $11 of earnings per share."

So we've got a company that declared at least 18 months ago what its 2010 EPS would be ... has aggressively done buybacks and cost cuts to ensure that number comes to fruition ... and a "Fast Money" trader has been suggesting the stock market hasn't priced in this "manufactured" number yet??

We can't figure out at all why Adami is so wedded to this stock. It's barely done anything since the end of March. It has a beta of 0.74. This is why Bailey downgraded it, because he does see some boom in tech and others will benefit from it more. For someone like Adami, who yesterday trumpeted the great trading market that exists, to regularly suggest trading a stodgy player like IBM is a head-scratcher. Bottom line? Adami offered no real argument whatsoever against Bailey's downgrade.

Jim Goldman said, "IBM's commentary on its services division is going to be absolutely key as far as where this stock goes." And he said, "When you're talking about Intel and Google ... I'm wondering if there's almost too much optimism."

"Dell didn't do anything today," Adami said. "Benign tape, that's OK, should've been higher. But Pete's liked Dell, I know Jon likes it. ... Dell here to me is pretty interesting."

"I actually don't love the Dell story," said Karen Finerman, "because I feel like somewhat the model is still in a state of flux. IBM would be a name that I would be much more comfortable with."

Brian Schaeffer said at "Halftime" that "I'd be a buyer in IBM on a dip," via options.

Joe Terranova was excited about one company. "A name I like, Teradyne, I jumped back into that today. I think the semiconductor space, which is tethered to that Asian demand that Timmy can talk about, I think that, on this pullback, is an opportunity," he said.

Oh, and another name: MSFT. "I got back in today, which means it's going lower," he said. He mentioned QCOM as his "Final Trade." He said he underestimated RIMM's fall but "I do think you have to buy it."

Terranova also offered a curious reason for investing in tech that seems about, oh, one year too late. "Look at technology. They get it. They know how to manage the inventories. They've been through a crisis like this before."

We heard so much good stuff on "Power Lunch" today that we have to pass it on even though it doesn't qualify as official "Fast Money" material.

John Kilduff, Addison Armstrong and Joe LaVorgna were all asked to predict the spot price of a barrel of crude at year-end:

LaVorgna: $40
Armstrong: $57
Kilduff: $85

Kilduff says there is just too much demand worldwide, specifically China. Armstrong said there's not nearly enough demand for an $85 number. "They've got no more storage to fill ... China is not gonna be the driver here," Armstrong said. LaVorgna said $40 would be the effect of a weakened global economy.

But Kilduff and Armstrong did agree on one thing: the proposed crackdown on oil speculation is bogus and will actually increase spot crude prices.

"It'll be easier to get to a hundred," Kilduff said. "This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long time."

Jeff Tomasulo said something about Fibonacci and $59.50 or $59 being important, whatever, then said it could actually test "the low 50s, maybe even the 40s."

Guy Adami and Tim Seymour said S&P 870 likely won't last.

"Now you're sort of in no-man's land," Adami said. "Frankly, I don't think we're gonna hold 870. It feels like it wants to go lower from here. I still think we're gonna test now 830."

"We were talking to a couple of big brokers today, 30-40% of the flows that they saw were on the short side," Seymour said. "The ammunition for taking this thing higher, I'm not sure is there." He said it feels like "we forestalled a fall this week, it's probably still coming."

Karen Finerman said talk of a second stimulus is probably not a good sign for markets. "That would be the interpretation that I would read, is that things are worse than we thought," she said. "So I, I actually would not like to see a second stimulus for that reason." She added, "I don't put too much into consumer sentiment."

Melissa Lee talked to Phil LeBeau about GM and asked, "What is their strategy at this point? They seem to be really behind the game."

"It's not as though the cupboard is dry," LeBeau said. "They do have product that is coming. The problem is, they have essentially for the last six months to nine months, no marketing at all. None whatsoever." Karen Finerman asked LeBeau if the old GM argument, "don't put us in bankruptcy because then the warranties will be an issue and no one will buy our cars anymore," had any credence, and LeBeau said President Obama's statements backing the warranties put that issue to rest.

Guy Adami said Goldman is too high for him here. "Again, I think, 134, 135 gets interesting. But in the 140s, I think it's sorta dead money."

"I like Morgan Stanley, it's basically Goldman Sachs lite," said Terranova.

"Jamie Dimon, he's hot," said Finerman.

Jeff Tomasulo returned to a trade he mentioned a couple weeks ago that has drawn our interest because Dennis Gartman disagreed. And yes, Tomasulo's trade is still on.

"I'm still short Goldman Sachs, lookin' to cover at the 135 level," he said, which is basically the view of Guy Adami though Adami's not short.

Seymour said of AIG, "This is a joke," and that more bonuses are in the pipeline.

Terranova and Finerman are both big fans of Transocean. Terranova made it the "stock of the day," saying it's a "great way to get exposure to energy," and that hedge funds are looking at it for this purpose. (We used to say that "Fast Money" could just be a weekly show, and that essentially daily quote from Terranova is one reason why.)

Karen Finerman was praised in "Quicker than the Ticker" for her recent call on YUM. No mention of why she declared this week she was "short" the name, and why it hasn't appeared in her online disclosure all week. (But we know, and that's all that matters, right?)

Tim Seymour got Fast-Fired on GE. His "Final Trade" was Potash on the "big overreaction."

Christian Magoon of Claymore Securities suggested Laura Tyson should pay a visit to Beijing. "The stimulus is working in China," he said. To that end, he recommends an ETF (HAO) that holds Chinese small-cap companies. Tim Seymour said corporate governance in Chinese small-caps is among the worst in the world and asked how Magoon screens companies. Magoon said there is "some due diligence" but in small caps in China or anywhere, "there are risks."

Chris Zook showed up as a "Halftime" panelist and 5 p.m. guest. We're not sure why he was on the real show. He said "We're seeing earnings meet expectations, but there's no revenue growth." He said to buy commodities, the OIH (everyone's favorite now) and energy. "I think we're in a stagflation forecast," he said.

At "Halftime," Brian Schaeffer said, "I love Bank of America." But Christopher Zook said, "I would not be a buyer personally of the financials." Schaeffer said he likes the SRS. (This writer is long SRS.) Zook said "I'd be short the rails here."

Jimmy Iuorio said, "We're seeing put-spread buying in First Solar, which means they're betting on the price to go down."

Scott Nations was brought in for an utterly useless "Trading After Dark" segment that was mostly a plug for "Options Action." Delivering a treatise on Intel and Goldman Sachs that sounded woefully repetitive, Nations finally said Intel is "set up for a 5% move on earnings."

Adami returned to a Joe Terranova name that hasn't moved since they talked about, ABT. "Abbott ahead of earnings is a name you might want to start dipping your toe into," Adami said.

Finerman picked FLS for her "Final Trade." Melissa Lee had the hoop earrings to go with the black dress.

[Thursday, July 9, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Buffett,
Boorstin get a ‘Fast Fire’

Featuring: Warren Buffett | Julia Boorstin | Guy Adami | Tim Seymour | Melissa Lee | Joe Terranova | Karen Finerman | Jeff Macke | stimulus | Intel | Goldman Sachs | OIH | SLB | Mark Schoenebaum | AMGN | NVS | EWZ | DO | UNG | USO | AA | FCX | DBA | XLE | Alex Hamilton | CACI | SAI | Steve Cortes | Jon Najarian | WMS | Brian Stutland | Greg Troccoli | Zachary Karabell | Dana Telsey | Steve Grasso | 870

The "Fast Money" crew wasn't terribly impressed with Julia Boorstin's interview with Warren Buffett.

"He didn't say a damn thing," grumbled Guy Adami.

And when Boorstin gave the panel a "fun fact" about what the founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, and Warren Buffett have in common — "they both are from Nebraska!" — all we got was this from Tim Seymour: "Wow. ... That is something."

And this from Guy Adami: "Hmmmph."

Here's how it unfolded.

Buffett told Boorstin, in a very casual, stand-up session: "I think there probably should be" a stimulus, it is "useful," but not a "panacea," which nobody really thinks anyway. "There is no silver bullet," he added. "If you wanna end the recession as soon as possible, you do nothing to encourage new housing construction ... but we still have too many houses ... or you can blow up a bunch of houses, which I don't think any of us would like."

(Actually, that was a point made on this site about, oh, a year ago, that the only fast way to put a floor under housing would be for the government to pay the major homebuilders five years worth of revenue to build nothing, and then pay a little more to destroy some in-progress projects that aren't selling. But that one never got off the ground, even though Guy Adami alluded to that very concept later in the show.)

In response to Buffett, Joe Terranova questioned, "A second stimulus plan, what are you zoning in on, are you zoning in on getting people to spend, which will stimulate the economy, or are you creating the stimulus package to actually employ people? ... The real problem is, is the availability of cred- credit has been cut off."

Tim Seymour offered, "I think he's saying that the first stimulus bill was, was overly watered down, because he made another comment today that it was like taking half a Viagra pill mixed with a bunch of candy. I think what he's saying is we didn't really get the right dosage, or somebody didn't get the right dosage of whatever pill they're looking for, um, the economy specifically ... we haven't even gotten through the first stimulus, so how can you ask for a second unless you know that this one is flawed."

"One thing he said that was excellent," Terranova added, "was the fact that the government is not going to end the recession and that is true."

"He didn't say anything," Adami said. "I mean, he talked for two minutes, he didn't say a damn thing folks. I mean everything he said you've heard before. If it was anybody else talking, it wouldn't have been on-air. That's me."

That got Boorstin's attention, naturally: "I would, I would have to disagree. I mean, he did talk a lot about his thoughts on taxation ... he firmly believes that taxes need to be higher." (Which, as a matter of fact, is something he always says.)

"All the talk Warren Buffett that's great but frankly we're in the best trading market of my lifetime, and probably the next four or five lifetimes," Adami said. "People will wish they had a market like this five years from now. ... Intel for example we talked back on June 24th, I believe that was the date, 17.31 on 92 million shares ... nice run, (but) much too much," he said, reminding people he basically nailed the "15.78 low yesterday. ... It doesn't matter what any of these guys say, politicians, who cares. It's all about trading the stocks in front of you. Trade the market you have, not the one that you want."

"Shake and bake," Seymour said.

A couple of our thoughts on that, with of course zero inside knowledge as to Adami's thinking.

1. We think he hasn't been thrilled about Jeff Macke leaving the show.
2. It's possible Macke's anti-Democrat comments were a factor in his departure.
3. We think Adami's tired of the network's obsession with Buffett.
4. Adami's tired of these bigwigs delivering pronouncements.

Oh well. At least Boorstin didn't have to deal with skepticism from Dennis Gartman.

We actually heard Ron Insana on "Power Lunch" taking up our new favorite subject, the stimulus. Insana suggested that a better way to go might be a withholding/payroll tax holiday of some kind that would put extra money in people's hands.

That idea, and everything else you read/hear about the stimulus, is significant for this reason: Nobody really knows what to do here.

If they did, a second stimulus wouldn't be an issue.

Notice what we've gone through. First it was government backing to "sell" Bear Stearns. Then it was Fed stuff with the discount window or whatever it's called. Then it was bailing out Fannie and Freddie. Then it was gonna be let them fail like Lehman. Then it was supposedly buying the troubled assets from the bank balance sheets. Then it wasn't buying those assets but stuffing cash at the banks so that they couldn't fail on their own. Then it was prohibiting short-selling. Then it was giving Citigroup and AIG an endless line of credit. Then it was the stimulus. Then it was Ben Bernanke bringing out the "bazooka" in February or March as Joe Terranova once put it. Then everything was all well and ducky until the jobless numbers failed to show the kind of results the more optimistic people hoped to see by now.

As for Insana's idea, it's just another gimmick at dumping cash into the consumer's hands. And what did they say about George Bush's rebates last year? That people did three things with the money: 1) Saved it. 2) Spent it on gasoline. 3) Spent it on the adult-entertainment industry.

Speaking of government issues, Karen Finerman re-engaged the speculator crackdown.

"The OIH," she said, "continued to do much better today even when oil was down in parts of the day, I know it closed up slightly. To me, it's very interesting that you have a lot of this rhetoric coming out of the Obama administration about trying to hedge speculation in the commodities markets, in particular in the oil market. Out of any other administration I would say ah, you know what, this is gonna blow over, forget about it, uh, at the end of the day they're not gonna do anything. This administration though has shown that they are different, and, some of the things that they propose to do actually are getting done. I mean you see, you know, GM's in bankruptcy, Chrysler's in bankruptcy, I mean, so, and the way they've done it is kind of steamroll 'em, so that could happen here. And so where do you go if you want to speculate in oil? You've gotta go to the equities, or you go to other places around the world. But I think what's happened in the OIH is reflection of, money going into the equities because they're afraid to be in some of the, uh, in the futures."

Melissa Lee said that might be an "early" conclusion because bankruptcy is something the administration can ramrod but futures trading would apparently involve Congress on some level.

But the administration is "just jamming down the plan that they want to jam down," Finerman said. "They're doing things we have never seen before. ... However I think that a lot of these OIH names are just inexpensive anyway."

Tim Seymour agreed with that. "Diamond Offshore is a name we love, they pay a special dividend coming up in July ... this is a great place to get in." But he said of the speculation crackdown, ETFs like USO, UNG and the retail players are "really gonna be unaffected ... USO and UNG really have not been tracking the spot price of, of oil and gas," he said, expecting a "muted response."

"My thing has always been, it's all about the trade," Adami said. "Look at Schlumberger ... I like SLB."

Mark Schoenebaum of Deutsche Bank (we're still wondering, whatever happened to Joe LaVorgna) stopped by the set to discuss Amgen and its blockbuster drug results.

Schoenebaum went about as fast as some of the drivers Darren Rovell is featuring in his NASCAR documentary. All of the periods you see in the paragraph below were added by our own volition because Schoenebaum doesn't necessarily use them.

"Amgen's had a huge move, I mean, what drives value in biotech is innovation and Amgen had a big hit a few, uh, days ago. It was a drug called denosumab, we call it d-mab for short ... for bone disease, data were way better than expectations. They didn't just beat a sugar pill, they beat the market leader, which is Novartis drug called Zometa. They beat it out of the park it was out of the park home run for them. It was one of the biggest success stories we've seen in biotech. In our opinion the stock's probably, uh, gonna get stuck in a range, right now, around the low 60s we think, so right now wouldn't be aggressively buying it, but we think long term it's one of the best bets in biotech right now. ... What we're recommending right now is if you own it, you hold on most of it, maybe you trim a little bit just to take a victory lap."

All well and good, but here's where it gets more interesting.

Schoenebaum pointed to an existing $1.5 billion market for Novartis and said, "The fact that they beat Zometa means that 1 and a half billion grows, we're thinking over 2 billion."

Karen Finerman rightfully asked for more clarification: "You say the pie grows, 1 and a half to 2 billion, do they take, how much of that away from Novartis?"

"Probably gonna take about 70% of that market," Schoenebaum responded. "That's the cancer pie." He explained that osteoporosis is the "second parallel track for this drug" and could represent "another billion dollars" in market opportunity.

What we wonder about is this: On Wednesday, when AMGN soared $7.27, why did NVS also rise, even if only 26 cents?

Schoenebaum came to Deutsche Bank from Bear Stearns in 2008. He'd also worked at Piper Jaffray. He is an M.D. from Johns Hopkins (2000) and holds a B.A. in history and music from Indiana, 1995.

Lee mentioned early in the show that Ben Bernanke would be doing a town hall forum with Jim Lehrer. The panel wasn't sold on this move.

"I don't think it's his job to be out there," said Karen Finerman.

"To get out there in front of the mob and pitchforks is not what he's supposed to do," said Tim Seymour. "He's not supposed to answer questions from those people."

"Right, I agree, I agree with that entirely, he is not the message deliverer, he is the policy crafter," said Finerman.

Joe Terranova said that was no reason to avoid the market. "That doesn't make you stay on the sidelines, no ... we held the gains from yesterday, that is important ... as Guy said, 870 is the bogey."

Adami said, "I like Goldman, (but) listen, I don't like chasing Goldman here." He said the "S&P is your proxy, not the Dow ... would've liked to have seen it trade a little bit higher than it did." But he said he likes Goldman as long as the S&P is above 870.

Tim Seymour said at "Halftime" that "at these levels, I'm a little worried about Goldman." He said it is contingent on the "larger tape," which he thinks is still "under pressure."

Seymour at 5 p.m. pointed to "jobless claims, which were a bit of a head fake because there was some seasonality in that number." He said "continuing claims were the worst on record ... the data I like this morning was the fact that Chinese auto sales were up 48%."

And he said not to get bummed out from Alcoa's fizzle. "I think the, the Alcoa trade was what it was ... if you look at everybody else in that space, they did rally, the steel companies did rally."

"Look at copper," said Terranova. "Copper surged today ... so if you're gonna buy something, I'm not gonna buy the aluminum name, I'm buying the copper name."

Adami said, "Now if you're looking for a short idea, and I do think the financials set up on the short side, you look for JPMorgan trade between 34 and a half and 35, at those levels an easy short, a stop above 35 and a quarter. (But) think you're sort of late on Goldman Sachs now."

"I don't know if right now I wanna play the financials from the short side," Terranova said.

Seymour added what we think is a very noteworthy comment, similar to what he has said in the latest quarter. "They're not as heavily shorted as they were in the first quarter. So I don't think you get the same kind of an impact, I don't think you get the same kind of short-covering rally," but there might not be much risk to being long either.

"I think a lot of these financials are under-owned at these levels right now," Terranova said. We've always been fascinated by the term "under-owned." We do "get" the term "crowded" trade, but "under-owned" is a bit of a head-scratcher.

The most straightforward S&P 500 commentary we heard Thursday came not on "Fast Money" but "Power Lunch," courtesy of Steve Grasso.

"If somebody misses, this market is gonna crater back down to 800, and then possibly a 700 handle," he said. "I know no one wants to hear that." He also said: "Mutual funds are not buying stocks at this level; they're waiting for the 850 level and 825 unfortunately."

Steve Cortes brought to "Fast Money" a contrarian emerging markets trade that Tim Seymour didn't really sound like he was buying.

"We think emerging markets are dangerous here," Cortes said. "Major caution flag right now, and that is the price action in commodities. ... We think this is a very dangerous sign for the emerging market trade."

Yeah, but, "how do you play that," Seymour demanded. "I assume there's a relative value trade in here somewhere."

"This chasm (he pronounced it like "chazzim" instead of "kasm") between the prices of physicals and the prices of the shares is unsustainable over time," Cortes said. "Crude and soybeans have been pummeled in recent weeks, yet, uh, EWZ has held in relatively well. We do not believe that that breach is sustainable. ... Buying things like DBA, USO, XLE and selling the shares, selling things like EEM and EWZ. ... There is also a simpler way to play it, which is simply to short Brazil."

Seymour said the EWZ has actually performed not too differently from the spot price of crude and that enough correction might've already occurred. "I'm starting to look at re-entry levels here."

"I do not believe in decoupling," Cortes said. "I think I'd rather have a Brazilian wax than own Brazilian shares right here, uh, it's a dangerous spot."

"There's a lot to debate," Seymour concluded. "I think the decoupling debate, is, is over." And to be completely honest, we're not totally sure if he means there is decoupling or there isn't decoupling, but maybe it's the former.

"I do think part of the China trade is very crowded," Seymour said later, and there's that "crowded trade" again.

Cortes, by the way, graduated from Georgetown in 1994. He played two seasons of football there, something Guy Adami and Tim Seymour did not do.

Alex Hamilton of Jesup & Lamont came on the set to discuss cyber security.

"The threat is there, we see it every day, and this is all that we see," he said. "The Pentagon alone gets attacked hundreds to thousands of times a day. ... CACI is a company that has the best free cash flow in the space, very little debt. SAI is another company, the bellwether in this space. ... I think these are long-term trends." He said the government as a customer can be unpredictable, but will ultimately pay, and he sees room for "margin expansion."

It might've been better if Hamilton could've provided more numerical specifics on these names. But it was still a good presentation. Hamilton joined Jesup in 2007 and has a B.A. in economics from Brandeis.

Jon Najarian gave the "After Dark" trade about gaming. He actually gave too much information because he started by explaining that summer isn't good for Vegas and thus a summer turnaround would be "strange," but the extreme hits to LVS and WYNN have drawn investors, which his options software has tracked he was glad to say, making you think he had some trade going with WYNN or LVS, but then he got to his actual trade, which was WMS, for its "supply side" position in video gaming that states and cities are now adopting or considering adopting. "I think it trades close to 40 by year-end," he said, also mentioning BYI.

Karen Finerman said her "stock of the day" was Target. "Bought it as recently as today," she said, in part because the company "did guide to the high end of their range (and) did show some margin improvements. I like Wal-Mart as well, I have both now, Wal-Mart and Target."

Of specialty retail, no surprise, she said, "I still think they're expensive, names like Abercrombie & Fitch."

Finerman bemoaned the ELX story as "the downside of risk arb," when "the Machiavellian or amateur buyer walks away."

Joe Terranova saw value in Potash. "Looks like it's found a bottom. You can buy the July $90 puts for about a dollar and a half and trade this thing from the long side," he said.

Seymour had an interesting "Final Trade" comment. He said he likes AAUK because he thinks "there's gonna be a higher bid."

Adami offered BNI, saying it is "interesting below 70." Finerman touted Target, and Terranova said FCX, "45.10, that's your stop."

Brian Stutland resurfaced on the "Halftime Report" (we could swear Lee introduced him and his firm as "Sutland") and said someone out there is positive.

"We've definitely seen a big institutional investor on the S&P 500 options coming in and taking a bullish stance ... he's actually created a synthetic call-buy of the 880 strike in July."

Greg Troccoli, doing regular commentary instead of the weatherman routine on the "Halftime Report," said the 874 level is "extremely significant" because the market is hovering around it, but "I'd like a few more days to hold that value" before getting seriously long.

Jon Najarian said at "Halftime" that "mortgage rates to me should hit about 4.8."

Those interested in seeing Zach Karabell return to the 5 p.m. "Fast Money" desk had a chance to catch him in extended action Thursday on "The Kudlow Report." Karabell made a consumer point that he has been ahead of the pack on, until Larry Kudlow hijacked the point for something else.

"You believe in global warming don't ya," Kudlow asked.

"I wanna first start with Monty Python and say 'And now for something completely different' because I, I have a different take on what's going on than, the consensus right now," Karabell said. "So, you've got companies like Apple and companies like Amazon, shooting out the lights, selling more devices than they have ever sold, at relatively decent price points, and you can throw in BlackBerry to that, you can throw in Palm, which, may have its own issues, but people are clearly interested in these things. And you have a multi-year trend of, sort of specialty retail, high-end or highly branded products being in considerable demand regardless of what remains to be anemic and negative overall figures. And I don't think all these things—"

"Instead of going to Tiffany's, instead of going to Neiman Marcus, instead of going, to, dare I say it, Saks, or one of those places," Kudlow interrupted, "you're saying we're all buying, using Apple, we're all buying off Amazon, using, BlackBerry, let me get Dana, Dana, what do you make of that, is that logic logical to you, or is he bobbing and weaving here?"

We'd cover what Dana Telsey said, and frankly, if it's not out of bounds to say this, she is cute, but we've actually got limited time here and it really doesn't matter. So we move on:

"First of all the retail sales number you get every month from the, uh, from the government, does have an Internet commerce component," Karabell added, "but a lot of people feel that the ability of those surveys to actually capture what's going on and the way in which companies massage those ... they don't wanna declare all their online sales because they're trying to dodge sales tax while doing it."

"Kind of?" Kudlow responded. "That's the whole purpose of it. And we should keep that sales tax off the Internet by the way."

"Well I mean they often have, and that's changing, but the ability to capture online commerce through headline government numbers is not nearly as good as getting a read from the Amazons and the Pricelines and to some degree Apple at all," Karabell said, explaining the economy is in "a multi-year economic transition of who spends and where."

We agree. It really does make one wonder why we need a second stimulus when people are lining up outside buildings to buy a second- or third-generation iPhone.

Karabell, like Adami and others, thinks the financials are basically hitched to the S&P. "On the banks as investments in the equity market," he said, "the ability to figure out what's going on at either a balance sheet level or management level is really compromised ... I invest in some of the banks because I think they will go up if the market goes up, but it's a kind of caveat emptor when it comes to investing in the equities."

Melissa Lee's buddy list keeps growing. She talked up Thursday night's CNBC NASCAR production and said "My good friend Darren Rovell did the reporting on that."

[Wednesday, July 8, 2009]

Fast Money Review: How much
of stimulus is ‘tax cuts’?

Featuring: Alcoa | Tim Seymour | Joe Terranova | Karen Finerman | Guy Adami | Rebecca Jarvis | CKE | Andrew Puzder | AVB | Joe Theismann | Erin Burnett | Ken Chenault | AXP | Eugene Profit | Pete Najarian | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | New England Patriots | UPS | V | Greg Troccoli | 874 | gold | OIH | Chris Thornberg | Mark Zandi | stimulus | CME | Brad Hintz | GS | Jim Goldman | GOOG | MSFT | SUN | YUM | GE | RIMM | Karen Tso

Karen Finerman explains why she likes being on "Fast Money" in this Huffington Post column.

We finally got those incredibly important Alcoa numbers, and nobody really cared enough to actually suggest a trade.

The report was "very positive," Tim Seymour said. "Alcoa always disappoints; this was a very positive number ... I had lightened up yesterday. I am still long, but not long enough."

"I think it's a bellwether," Guy Adami said, "because it came on a day the S&P traded down, and made a low of 870 and reversed. ... At least now, you have a bit of a benchmark, 870 in the S&P."

"It highlights the intensity of the global credit crisis," Joe Terranova said.

Melissa Lee noted AA is the "smallest weight in the Dow."

"I don't, I don't put a whole lot stock in this as having a, being a great indicator for what we're gonna see in the weeks to come," Karen Finerman said.

Then Seymour couldn't resist spouting the multiple-angles-from-the-same-data routine.

"This is the third consecutive quarterly loss for these guys, I mean, their numbers aren't particularly good," he said, suggesting AA is about 5-10% away from correcting its supply-demand imbalance.

Then Terranova wanted to expound on the real meaning of the report by taking issue with Finerman's comments.

"I slightly disagree with you," he said, "and I hate to do that, but I do believe the earnings season is going to be about how companies are managing the bottom line and cutting back."

"Oh I think the earnings season's gonna be about outlook," she said, and of course she's right, earnings season is always about outlook, but it hasn't exactly been a blockbuster week for the show's biggest Islanders fan.

First we were shown Rebecca Jarvis on the phone, still a favorite "Fast Money" pose during these earnings reports, to convey the urgency with which we're reporting these all-important earnings, and Finerman joked, "It's like we're running a telethon."

When Jarvis finally got on, she said the CEO sounded really happy about everything he's doing, included the amount of jobs phased out, 75% of which apparently aren't coming back. "They are happy with the cost savings," Jarvis said.

Melissa Lee read a headline apparently breaking from Dow Jones Newswires with a slightly different angle: "More signs of a cyclical downturn in aerospace," according to Lee.

Terranova said Joe Theismann is "loving Alcoa."

Finerman reminded, "You've gotta remember the Dow was really becoming irrelevant." Lee was describing how the index is "rigged" and Guy Adami jumped in, "Rigged is the right word ... rigged game." We're not sure what he meant.

It was interesting to hear a CEO call out the government.

In this case, it was CKE's Andrew Puzder.

"I think we'll be in a recovery when the government starts doing the right things to encourage business instead of trying to spend us into, into prosperity. ... We need to do some things that will generate activity in the business community and continuing to spend on roads and bridges isn't going to do it."

Take that, Lawrence Summers.

But to be thorough, when it came to describing sales pressure, it sounded like Puzder was ordering up a mistake in the drive-through window.

He discussed the problem of "people getting fewer combos" and explained, "A guy who a year ago said I'll take a $6 burger combo is now saying I'll take a $6 burger and a glass of water."

Let us get that straight: A year ago the guy would only pay you $6 for the burger, the fries and the drink ... but now he'll pay you $6 for just the burger and water?

We think he probably meant a year ago someone would order a $6 combo that included a $3 burger, and now that customer is merely ordering the $3 burger.


Puzder's comments on the government bring into play some of the recent "Fast Money" segments involving Mark Zandi, Chris Thornberg and Tim Seymour.

Thornberg said July 2, "Here's the good news: We had rebates, we've had tax cuts..."

Zandi said Tuesday the part of the stimulus that is in effect and to him apparently working is "the tax cuts to individuals, it's checks to Social Security recipients."

We've been intrigued by this notion for a week, and only overnight did we have time for a little fact-checking, courtesy of this wonderful page by the New York Times.

First, the entire stimulus package was estimated to cost $787 billion. The Times said the tax cuts for individuals and businesses amounted to "roughly $282 billion," or 35% of the package.

We added up every category in the Times chart labeled either "Tax Cuts for Individuals" or "Tax Cuts for Business" and came up with something around $265 billion.

But whatever.

This $282 billion (or thereabouts) is dominated by two components: $116.2 billion will "Provide a tax credit at a rate of 6.2 percent of earned income (after federal taxes are taken out), up to $400 for individuals and up to $800 for couples, in 2009 and 2010." And, there is $69.8 billion to "Exempt up to $46,700 of an individual's income and $70,950 of a couple's income from the A.M.T. in 2009."

Now ... is either one of these things truly a "tax cut"?

According to this NYT analysis, in a news article helmed by David M. Herszenhorn on Feb. 13, after the package cleared Congress, "The centerpiece is President Obama's 'Making Work Pay' income tax credit of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples in 2009 and 2010. The money will mostly be distributed through reduced paycheck tax withholdings, adding $8 or so a week that officials hope will be spent not saved. Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples up to $150,000 will qualify for a full credit."

An extra $8 a week, as a "credit," that ends in 2010.

And "officials hope" it will be spent, not saved. Jeff Macke always says, "Hope is not a strategy."

What about that AMT exemption? "The bill also spares millions of middle-income Americans from the alternative minimum tax in 2009, raising the exemption to $46,700 for individuals and $70,950 for couples."

Carole Feldman of the Associated Press on Feb. 14 said the 2008 AMT patch raised "the AMT exemption for married couples filing jointly to $69,950, for single filers or heads of households to $46,200, and for married people filing separately to $34,975."

The Times said, "Each year, Congress creates a temporary fix to keep millions of people from paying the alternative minimum tax."

So they took a government policy already in effect for years and simply did not let it expire which would not have happened in a "normal" economy either, then declared it a "tax cut" and a "stimulus" measure. Kind of like saying the government gives us a huge stimulus every year by raising the standard deduction.

So here's the bulk of our "tax cuts" that Thornberg and Zandi claim either are working or might be working: 8 bucks a week in a limited credit, and a certain group of taxpayers getting basically the same deal as last year.

The business credits included alternative energy things and S-corporation minutiae that seem included not to fuel the economy, but someone's private agenda.

A couple things that are useful? "First-time homebuyers will be able to claim a tax credit of up to $8,000, for purchases made by Dec. 1, 2009." And more interestingly — we didn't know about this or had forgotten about it and thus assume many others don't know either: "Individuals earning up to $125,000 and couples up to $250,000 will be able to deduct the sales tax paid on a new car costing up to $49,500."

But those seem a lot less like tax cuts and a lot more like temporary gimmicks designed to jolt the most depressed sectors in our economy.

"If nothing else, the plan is a striking return of big government," Herszenhorn wrote.

Important disclaimer: We don't know if the stimulus package was a great idea or not and we don't know if Arthur Laffer's curve really works. We do know that trumpeting this $787 billion federal spending package as significant "tax cuts" as Zandi and Thornberg have done is a little bit off the mark.

By the way, many who read this site and watch "Fast Money" are probably not big fans of New York Times articles on economics and other subjects ... but the articles cited here are an example of very well-done, accessible journalism on an extremely dense topic.

We say it all the time, and we'll say it again: We're lucky we've got newspapers.

Now, back to our program.

Panelists were slightly abuzz over the reversal in the OIH.

Karen Finerman noted it "somehow managed to turn around later in the day, decoupling entirely from the underlying oil."

Joe Terranova said that people are going to want oil-related exposure away from the futures markets now that government regulation will be increasing. "I bought OIH this morning after the inventory numbers came out," he said. "I think OIH ... clearly the bottom is in place there."

Guy Adami was saying "I told you so" without actually saying it.

He did say "I'm not trying to be a jerk," and pointed to the "50% correction" in the OIH he called at the $90 level.

But Tim Seymour was keeping a wary eye on this regulation business. "This kind of attack on speculators ... against the 'zombie' buyers ... this is ultimately gonna hurt liquidity in the futures market, which is where real players are," he said.

Guy Adami said the concurrent selloff in the exchanges was "completely overblown," and he made a startling prediction for Thursday morning. "I think these are great opportunities now ... especially CME ... Craig Donohue ... made some great comments ... I think CME's a buy tomorrow right off the bat."

Terranova was playing some kind of Genesis theme on oil. "I got long oil on the close today, on that theory, on the seventh day, hopefully we rest."

The 10-year bond auction might've done very well, but traders weren't enthusiastic. "Not a good sign if you are short longer-term Treasurys," said Karen Finerman, who still believes there is Treasury trouble ahead.

"Falling yields is a big negative right now for our economy," said Tim Seymour, pointing to the day's big sale. "Bid to cover the highest they've seen in 15 years ... This is the 10-year- auction, this is THE auction." He called it an "extraordinary event" and "an exclamation point on economic weakness."

Brad Hintz of Sanford Bernstein apparently cut estimates for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. We say "apparently" because we somehow were unable to (quickly) find an article on it, but that's what "Fast Money" says, and in fact many of these things are not publicized terribly well.

So we had little clue what Tim Seymour was talking about when he referred to "TARP" and "debt" and said "this is an accounting calisthenic; this downgrade was not necessarily something that was driven to, to, to, undermine the overall, fundamental value of these guys going forward."

Finerman said of GS stock, "I think it could come in a little bit more ... I wouldn't be buying it just for this quarter's earnings."

Hey, said Guy Adami, when "we say a stock is going lower, it doesn't mean we hate the company. ... We said it would trade down to 135, I think that was the low today."

Actually, Adami said June 30 it would trade into the "130s." We don't have a record of $135 specifically. Doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Earlier on CNBC Erin Burnett interviewed American Express CEO Ken Chenault from Sun Valley. (Burnett apparently had too many questions for too little time and is noticeably prodding Chenault to conclude virtually every answer quickly with "uh huh, yeah, uh huh, yep, right," etc.)

Melissa Lee made a point of saying Chenault was interviewed by "my friend Erin Burnett."

Burnett, in guest-hosting "Fast Money" a few weeks ago, also referred to Lee as "my friend."

Fair enough. Is this some kind of elite-level name-dropping going on here? Maybe Guy Adami should say, "I was talking with my friend Larry Kudlow about how you can't trust the action in gold," or Tim Seymour could say "I heard from my friend The Huck about this ASCO development," or Pete Najarian could say "My friend Matt Nesto just talked to some NYSE floor guys about the credit markets..."

All right. Anyway, Lee apparently was so excited to claim friendship with Burnett that she delivered this errant chuckler, that Chenault "has his pulse on the consumer."

Chenault tried to avoid the term "recovery" as much as possible. Traders took up consumer credit statistics. "I am concerned about that, I don't think we can't rally off of lows," Seymour said, but a "sustainable recovery ... is not here, and it's not around the corner."

Karen Finerman was a little more optimistic. "The thing that was interesting to me about that consumer credit number is that it wasn't down nearly as much as people were estimating, which I thought was 8-plus billion dollars ... Maybe the consumer ... demise is greatly exaggerated."

"Listen," said Joe Terranova, "last week everyone was wildly bullish. Today, if you listened to everyone on the network, everyone was wildly bearish."

We don't really think so, but whatever.

Jim Goldman was overwhelmingly skeptical of a Drudge Report headline claiming that Google was trying to topple Microsoft. "Chrome OS, (is) at least, at least a year away, and that's just the beta version," shrugged Goldman. "I'm not sure how big of a threat this is, it's interesting, it's neat. ... Google is looking at netbooks as a real opportunity down the road." But he said Apple already views the iPhone as sort of its netbook. "I don't think that Microsoft is sitting still though," he said.

"I did not step in and buy Microsoft just yet," said Terranova, who pointed out the stock moves so slowly, you can hitch a ride at just about any time.

Terranova, though, decided it was all aboard on a certain smartphone maker.

"Powerful reversal today in RIMM," he said. "About 2:30 in RIMM you saw a huge surge ... That's a tell that the bottom is in place temporarily. ... I bought it, I went home long RIMM on that price action." (PALM, by the way, which again went unmentioned, closed at $14.89.)

Terranova said KSS, FDO, DKS are all interesting plays on cheap products for consumers. Finerman then wondered how you could avoid putting the king of that theme, WMT, in that group.

Guy Adami said not to write off Family Dollar just yet. "Take some money off the table? No, I think it has room to 35. ... Think there was a negative Journal or Barron's article or something out there..."

Here's a huge surprise. Adami mentioned gold and said "I still think it probably moves lower from here."

Karen Finerman was given a lot of time for a strange segment. Apparently she was going to say that AvalonBay (AVB) was a strong sell because of inaccurate forecasts in the rental housing market. But she said it has "sold off very, very hard in just the last month" and that now it's more of a short-covering play than a sell, "move's happened already." So here's a few moments about a trade that has already happened that you should ignore. As MLee would say, "Got it." (This writer is long SRS.)

Former NFL player Eugene Profit, who founded Profit Investment Management in 1996, came on the set to discuss a few consumer-driven names. He said he likes UPS as an "early cyclical play," and "we actually bought Visa today," where he sees a "$70 valuation price."

Profit is from Baton Rouge and attended Yale, B.A. in economics. He played three years for the New England Patriots, 1986-88, as a nickel back or perhaps dime back. He was a member of the Washington Redskins, as Lee said, in 1989, but we believe he missed the entire season with an injury and never played in a game for the Skins. He's listed as 5-10, 168 as a player.

In 1988, Profit possibly crossed paths with Pete Najarian. The Patriots played Pete's Tampa Bay Yuccaneers in Week 15, and the Pats dealt the Bucs loss No. 11, prevailing 10-7 in Foxboro — but only on a Jason Staurovsky field goal in overtime. (Hope you didn't have tickets to that one.) But both Profit and Pete reportedly played in only one game that season, and the odds of it being the same game are probably remote. Pete wore 58, Profit wore 22.

Profit's description of his favorite stocks came across as a bit stiff and maybe overly rehearsed, but he seemed like he's got a good sense of humor and impressive demeanor and would be a good guest to bring back more often and see what he can do.

Speaking of Pete, he made a little "After Dark" call to rave about not Vinny Testaverde, but Amgen. "Has just been an absolutely phenomenal stock," Pete said. He noted it doesn't really trade like the biotechs of old, with a "15 P.E.," and "the beta right now for Amgen is a point-4." So you might not want to ring the register just yet.

Karen Tso, a CNBC knockout from Asia, discussed some kind of report on corporate skulduggery involving Rio Tinto and China, or something like that. Lee could've used some of Erin Burnett's prodding tactics to get Tso to conclude her report with a bit more brevity, but viewers got a long look at her in stunning yellow and that won't hurt. Tim Seymour kept trying to ask a question, never really got the chance, but said "I do think it shows the value in the ore companies."

Weatherman Greg Troccoli said of the S&P, "close below 874, we have full rain conditions." He said gold is "cloudy" until it breaks out above $950. He said Treasurys will stop doing great if the S&P can hold at 874, and if this then that, or if not then what, etc.

Joe Terranova couldn't get over a "refiner sector that is still priced for armageddon ... I bought today Sunoco," he said, calling it a "great way to play a turnaround" after a huge drop in the last year. "It's low-beta, trading at 21."

Seymour named MT, Adami INTC, Finerman WFC preferred and Terranova AXP for "Final Trades."

Karen Finerman had the triple-loop earrings back and a pinstripe jacket to contrast with yesterday's sleeveless look. But there's still no mention, in Tuesday's or Wednesday's "Fast Money Rapid Recap" at CNBC.com, of any position of hers in YUM, even though she clearly said Tuesday, "I am short names like YUM."

Once again, no porn trade. Maybe we weren't the only ones who scoffed.

Guy Adami is recommending GE, saying it's worth about $12 or $12.50. "Anywhere around 10, you wanna get in GE," he said.

Keeping score

Jared Levy said Thursday, July 2, he would consider FAZ a short after its 1-for-10 split. According to show disclosure at the time, he already had some short position. But FAZ has actually trended up in the week since.

UNH, subject of a very intense (by "Fast Money" standards) conversation Tuesday among Guy Adami, Karen Finerman and Tim Seymour, actually dropped 50 cents or 2% Wednesday, a short-term victory for Seymour over Adami.

Yet Adami one-upped Seymour on the OIH, slightly, recommending $90 as the "entry point" for a few days while Seymour said Monday "it was well-overdone" to the downside at $92 and that it was time to buy back in.

Monday, Petrohawk (HK) closed at $19.29. Jon Najarian said he got long it "late in the day." It has since trickled down slightly, to $18.62.

As far back as June 19, Guy Adami hailed Joe Terranova's bullish call on ABT, said it "could get to 50," and spoke of a Morgan Stanley estimate hike. The stock was $47.58 then, trades for $46.31 now, topped at $48.37 in between.

We have no idea if Jeff Tomasulo's GS short is still active, but the last couple days would've been a good time for it. He debated it (barely) with Dennis Gartman when GS was about $143. It closed Wednesday at $138.55.

Dennis Gartman said Monday on crude, "I guess I really wouldn't be surprised if we put a 5 number up as the big number."

Adami said Monday of GIS, "60 has been resistance, I think that'll continue to be resistance." So far he's been right, GIS has not managed to climb over $61 since.

Intel trickled down to $15.78 Wednesday and slightly bounced. Adami said Monday, "15 and three quarters is now your new bottom." He pointed this out Wednesday in his "Final Trade."

[Tuesday, July 7, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Finerman
does a flip-flop on YUM

Featuring: Joe Terranova | Guy Adami | Tim Seymour | Karen Finerman | Melissa Lee | Mark Zandi | Brian Overby | Patty Edwards | Gene Munster | UNG | Oil | "speculator" | Rahm Emanuel | UNH | AET | YUM | AAPL | David Riedel | IBN | CHL | ITUB | David Lipschitz

It actually took a while after the show for this to hit us — but it looks like there was no "porn trade" Tuesday unless you're willing to attempt some naked shorts on some of Guy Adami's toppy tech names.

Joe Terranova is always refreshingly honest, and he made an impressively frank comment at the end of Tuesday's regular show.

"I did not have a good day today."

So for his "Final Trade," he was going to buy some McD's to put the malaise behind him. Sounds like a plan.

If the "Fast Money" plunge into politics on Tuesday wasn't enough to get you stoked about financial television, nothing will do it.

The first subject was the prospect of the administration's intensified regulation in oil futures. "Probably sent the market $2 lower," Joe Terranova said, adding "I've been talking about playing the low-beta names in the energy space," and yeah, we all know how that goes...

But Melissa Lee cut to the chase with Tim Seymour, who said ETF holders could actually benefit.

"Well, there's two sides to this," Seymour said. "Cutting off speculation in oil and actually limiting people on the contracts they can trade will actually, you know, ultimately take some of the air out of the oil market. If you actually put a limit on the size of the amounts that these programs can have on the ETFs, you're right, some of these closed-end funds suddenly could trade at a premium to the net asset value of the underlying assets, because people want to buy shars- shares that are not there. So the UNG's case, look, UNG's been under pressure because the fundamentals as nat-- Joe's been saying for a long time, we've all been saying, for not gas are not very good. Today people got spooked by this news in, in the underlying ETF structure, which I think was totally misguided. It's actually bullish news for the ETF and UNG if there are more people that want to invest in the UNG than there are shares out there to fill it."

Then, Guy Adami began his virtually complete unwinding of the recent CNBCfix view that he has been the most "centrist" politically of the "Fast Money" gang.

"I thought the double-top was what set us up to move lower and I think we continue lower," Adami said, "but I will say this to our policymakers: Would we (be) having this same conversation, speculation works both ways, if you were selling this short and oil was $35 right now, you having the same conversation? You should think about that folks."

Joe Terranova seemed on board with the White House. "Well I don't think they're talking about speculation. I think that's the wrong term. Speculation I think they want in the market. What they don't want is what we call 'zombie buyers.' Those are index funds that just come in and continue to gather the paper asset of oil as it marches higher and higher and higher."

Melissa Lee broke in, "But not just index funds Joe, also the hedge funds out there, aren't those considered speculators?"

"...Hedge funds are buying, they're selling, they're playing it both ways, they're going short at times," Terranova continued. "We're talking about passive index buying, 'zombie' buying that just marches in as oil marches higher, and they march in and continue to buy, buy, buy, buy, buy."

"Yeah but at some point the market catches up with 'em just like it did this time last year," Adami said. "Those same zombie guys were all buying in the 140s, they got shown the back door last year. So, if you leave the free markets alone, they'll correct."

Ultimately, Terranova would add, "Just to put a wrap on this conversation in terms of regulation in the energy space, I agree with Guy, I don't want the regulation from the administration. But when you're trading, when you're invested right now, you have to understand the administration you're working with. This is their intent. They told you what their intent is, and they're gonna act upon it. They are going to step in and try and limit the amount of contracts you can hold to the long side in energy futures and other commodities."

It's not really Pick on Joe Terranova Day here, as a casual reader might think.

But we have no idea where he gets the idea that the White House isn't targeting "speculation."

According to this lede paragraph in a New York Times Dealbook item on Tuesday, the Times' Edmund L. Andrews reports "they were considering trading restrictions on hedge funds and other 'speculative' traders in markets for oil, natural gas and other energy products."

We didn't see the word "zombie" in that.

Melissa Lee to her credit questioned the definition of "speculator," which gives us a chance to take up one of our favorite subjects — the hijacking of certain words on Wall Street to serve a financial or political gain.

As far as CNBCfix is concerned, a stock "investor" and a stock "trader" each buy a stock at a certain price, and sell it later at a certain price, and some people may think there's somehow a big difference there when there really isn't except for the government's preoccupation with the magic one-year holding period.

The word "recession" is thrown around on CNBC to the point it is worthless, and has somehow been narrowed to two official definitions, one of which is a lagging and subject-to-revision government GDP statistic and the other is when a select group of economic elites tell us what it is.

Now, we get to deal with "speculator."

According to the Times, "Federal officials said 'speculative' traders were primarily those the agency defined as 'noncommercial,' which are essentially financial investors who are not users or producers of the commodities and are primarily interested in betting on the direction of prices. 'Commercial users,' by contrast, include farmers, airlines and oil companies that want to hedge against the risk of rapid price changes."

So 'noncommercial' means a non-user, non-producer who is betting on price direction. Kind of like any grocery store that stocks its shelves with goods it didn't make and won't consume but expects to sell for more than what they cost.

So basically, anyone who owns stock of a company with just a few tiny exceptions (such as Carl Icahn), whether he cares to admit it or not, is a speculator because he's primarily interested in betting on the direction of the share price, not in launching the company or taking control of it.

We're not oil experts or CFTC experts here. It's our general opinion the commodities markets are efficient. Not perfect, but generally efficient. Interfering poses greater long-term issues than will be offset by a few dollars in watchdog-related price decline. Quite simply, the world is perceived as having a draining supply of oil. That's not new, but when you have a giant communist nation suddenly exploding into capitalistic behavior at the same time, the supply-demand thing gets worse. If oil were perceived to be as bottomless as the fountain of reality TV shows in Hollywood, it'd trade $4 a barrel and the government couldn't care less if you were speculating on West Texas Intermediate or "Dancing With the Stars."

OK. But then we had a little go-round on health care.

Basically, Guy Adami and Karen Finerman agree that by Rahm Emanuel's use of the term "negotiable," the administration is suddenly adopting a new approach to a public option that is bullish for provider plays. Tim Seymour says there is no new approach but just softer rhetoric to score the same deal that has long been envisioned. Joe Terranova says it's too murky right now to really do anything.

Emanuel's quote in the Wall Street Journal was: "The goal is non-negotiable; the path is (negotiable)."

"They're backtracking," Adami said. "We talked about UNH on June 11, I remember sitting here that day, stock traded 31 million shares, made a low of 23 and change, we said it's the perfect 50% correction ... we said you can own UNH for a trade. ... Now it's trading 25 and a half, Goldman Sachs just put a $30 price target on it, I don't know if it gets to 30, but I think it gets to 27, 28. Shorts will get squeezed."

" 'Negotiable' doesn't mean this overly fat industry is getting a reprieve," said Seymour. "I still think these guys (are) under tremendous margin pressure. They're gonna be under the watch, and today's move ... is something I'd be selling. 'Negotiable' does not mean ... there is pressure off the sector."

"But negotiable to me," said Finerman, "that seems like very different language than we've heard from that administration--"

"That's political though. That, that's getting this thing through and striking a deal," Seymour said.

"... Looked like they were opening the door," Finerman continued, "to something very different than, I mean, ... you were, we were close to a Kennedy plan three, four weeks ago which would've been, I mean, just the death knell for these companies. Now a negotiable path, that, that to me is a very big shift..."

"I agree, uh, that's true, but if you look, what Guy said, the back of these charts, these companies are back where they were three months ago before we started digesting and deliberating over what's gonna happen to them. So if you buy here you're assuming nothing's gonna happen, and I, that's not a place I wanna be."

"I don't agree," Finerman responded, "I think they already represent a pretty dramatic shift in the way — this will not be business as usual for the HMOs once the plan is done, I think they reflect that already. ... To me, this was very interesting that he said that. That was a change. I do think they're more attractive today higher than they were yesterday lower."

"There's just too much uncertainty," Terranova said.

Karen Finerman really got our attention with one comment, and no, it was not "I have not been to a Ruby Tuesday."

She said, "I am short names like Yum."

Really? On June 23 they brought some KFC on the "Fast Money" set as Karen trumpeted the YUM trade. "The stock's very attractive," she said.

Tuesday, she continued, "We like Burger King and against that I am short Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen."

None of these names, Yum, Burger King, Cheesecake Factory or California Pizza Kitchen, show up in Finerman's disclosures at CNBC.com.

"I haven't had KFC since 1972," Adami said. "I remember the day."

We heard four numbers kicked around during the show for the S&P, with varying levels of conviction. One was 870, one was 830, two more were 810 and 820.

The number closed at 881 on Tuesday.

Seymour suggested "There's a lot of air down to 830, I think people are looking at that."

Adami mentioned 870. "I think it goes there, maybe tomorrow, maybe not," he said, "but you know what, that's not a bad thing, this gives the people that have missed this run up an opportunity to get back in. ... I'm not bullish yet but I'm getting a lot closer."

Finerman offered, "I wouldn't go in with both feet right here." She said the earnings bar is now higher for retail, and "I think the bar's getting higher for some financials too."

Terranova was kind of waffling. "I do believe you need to be as close to flat in your positioning heading into those earnings as you can. I wouldn't play the short trade though."

Seymour again pointed to numbers he finds strong. "I believe we're actually getting good data that will result in better earnings. But right now, it's a risk-aversion trade."

"It's all about earnings now for the second half of 2009, that's what you gotta be focused on," Terranova said. This is getting to be a refrain with him, but whatever.

Brian Overby of TradeKing came on the set and said, "I see much more bearish signs leading into earnings than I see bullish." He said he sees a possible head-and-shoulders chart, and we're not talking shampoo, though it might be a good time to wash out your long positions. "If we go down to that 870 level, I don't think we're gonna stop" until 810 or 820, Overby said. He encouraged long investors to "look at SPYders as a hedge," and he pointed to XRT options activity as "extremely bearish over the next 10 days in the retail sector."

Overby is based in Boca Raton and notes that he was born in Wisconsin, likes golf, college basketball and the Packers. He has a degree in applied math from the University of Wisconsin. He wrote The Options Playbook, published in July 2007.

Interestingly, Overby mentioned his "Fast Money" appearance on his blog and asked for feedback. "Just wanted to let you all know I¹ll be back on CNBC¹s Fast Money show today, Tuesday 7/7, starting at 5pm. If you¹re near a TV, tune in and let me know what you think! I¹m very excited to join the Fast Money crew once more." But he adds this curious note: "P.S. I should point out that, even if during the segment I mentioned some individual stocks, I do so for educational purposes only. TradeKing's clients are self-directed ­ we don't make recommendations, nor do we provide any investment advice."

"Educational purposes only" sounds a bit too close to "entertainment purposes only." But we think he did fine, although he might've had his point(s) a little too-well memorized and thus too long rather than just rattling it off in brief soundbites.

Patty Edwards, who has expressed disappointment recently on her blog about the lack of time allotments on "Fast Money" for certain subjects she really wants to talk about, offered a couple vice trades Tuesday, specifically PM (a "slam dunk") and TAP ("still gonna do OK"). She said PM has "a little more sex and violence" than Altria.

On her blog, she says this about the July 1 "Halftime Report": "I had hoped to talk about healthcare ... We were going to talk about healthcare on the Fast Money Halftime Report today — specifically about Pfizer's little problem with Chantix, their smoking cessation drug. Apparently something isn't right there, so the FDA is requiring what they call a 'black box' warning label. But we didn't. And frankly, I'm bummed. Because I have the perfect way to play this little problem. ..."

(Note: We just gave you a hint above as to how she's playing it.)

Edwards held two positions in Anchorage (wonder what she thinks about Sarah Palin) and also worked for Paine Webber and Smith Barney. She earned a bachelor's in econ from UCSD and got a CFA in 1994.

We also noticed, because we're such sticklers for updating Web sites, that the Storehouse Partners site suddenly stopped doing news updates after Feb. 18.

David Riedel was a little more bullish on international plays than Tim Seymour has been. "I'm buying India, I'm buying Brazil, I'm a little cautious on China." He mentioned IBN and CHL and ITUB.

We were more interested in his backstory though, which we found conveniently in a couple of articles, specifically this 2004 piece in the New York Times by Neil A. Martin.

Riedel actually got laid off by Salomon Brothers (a Citigroup operation) in December 2002. He attended Cal-Berkeley and studied Chinese, then got an MBA from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He covered telecom companies in Southeast Asia and then got transferred to New York to cover small-cap stocks before he was laid off.

But he saw an opening for niche, smaller-company analysis that Wall Street biggies were overlooking and perhaps couldn't do well anyway, and he was able to launch Riedel Research from his Tribeca apartment with $200,000 in capital — and purchased a Web site design for $1,110. Which, we have to note, is significantly higher than what CNBCfix paid to have its own site "designed."

Anyway, seven years later, Riedel is now on "Fast Money" ... and what's happened to Citigroup? We always like a happy entrepreneurial story.

Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com does not think for a moment that we can draw any conclusions about the stimulus or whether another one is needed. He said the original is operating as planned, and that the economic assumptions might've been a bit too optimistic.

And he says the notion that only "10%" of it has gone out is mistaken.

"I've counted up $110 billion in payouts since it all started about three or four months ago, and, uh, It is working as best can be expected," he said. "I think the maximum impact will be later this year ... so it's premature to conclude that we need another stimulus at least at this point."

Tim Seymour asked, "What would you be looking for to see that this is actually working," saying the package was "mostly tax-break-related."

"Most of it is aid to state governments, that's already flowing through," Zandi said. "It's the tax cuts to individuals, it's checks to Social Security recipients," he said, and infrastructure is coming later in the process but is a "small part of the puzzle."

Zandi added, "The problem is that the forecasts that were done at the beginning of the year, they were just wrong, I mean, the economy was measurably worse than anticipated." He said the White House might be floating stimulus teasers not because it's serious about the concept right now, but because "I think the administration's worried, they, they have reason to be" and want to show they're as in touch with the situation on the ground as anyone else. "I don't think at this point it's a trial balloon, they're nervous." Then he made the profound statement that if May and June Labor numbers were reversed, people wouldn't be so concerned.

Yes, and if the Giants had won the Super Bowl in 2009 rather than 2008, more people would be more optimistic about them now than they actually are.

"Another stimulus package here in the U.S.?" asked Joe Terranova. "OK, great. But go out and get another nations globally to do it as well."

"I don't know that we can get away with this, and I think there's a lot of debate whether the first one's even working," grumbled Seymour.

Gene Munster is once again raving about Apple to the point Guy Adami's macro concerns mean nothing to him. "No question now's a good time to own Apple; June's gonna be good, but September and December are gonna be huge for these guys," Munster said. He pointed to "ESPN today, it's just crazy, you're starting to see these app developers basically advertising, uh, for the iPhone. They've had a full takeover of the page the entire day today, this is like a boa constrictor on the competition the iPhone. These apps are slowly squeezing the life out of the competition."

By the way, another day went by on "Fast Money" without a Palm mention, not even a RIMM mention. So you know this is a tough market.

Munster, we discovered, owns a bachelor's in financial management and new venture strategies from the University of St. Thomas (it's in St. Paul). He's been with Piper since 1995.

David Lipschitz of Calyon or CLSA did a phone call about the most overrated and over-discussed subject in recent memory, Alcoa's earnings. He said the good news came out today and the earnings should be "pretty weak."

Joe Terranova said of IBM, "Gotta move to the sidelines." Guy Adami said, "Yes, I like IBM, but might dip further on a bad tape."

"Just a tough time to be playing this name right here," said Tim Seymour. "I would be waiting for it around 95."

Karen Finerman said of the banks, "It's all about the loan-loss provision" and when that will "plateau."

Adami said JPM is still in that trading range that might make it a short, or might make it a long. Terranova said people have obviously rotated out of financials, the question is will they rotate back in.

"Everything with a letter and a number is a trading vehicle, folks. That's what it comes down to, folks," Adami said.

Halftime Report: Terranova’s
puzzling ‘low-beta’ definition

If you've already seen our headline below from Monday's show, you'll understand why Joe Terranova has left us utterly dumbfounded this week.

"Dumbfounded" is an understatement.

Monday Terranova said he wanted "low-beta" integrated oil plays such as PBR and HES. Before we had a chance to express surprise, Tim Seymour pounced on PBR, calling it a "high-beta" name.

Tuesday on the "Halftime Report," we wondered if Terranova would clarify.

Instead, he struck another jaw-dropping gusher.

"We keep saying, move away from the exposure to the oil futures. It is the Wild West, it is way too volatile. Get your exposure to energy in other names. Look at the low-beta oil names. ... Low-beta, the slow movers. Don't look at the RIGs, don't look ... slow and steady. Take a look at Suncor. Take a look at Hess. Take a look at those names that get ya any- energy exposure. That's the trade here."

Suncor??? Low-beta???

We put together a list (see Monday report below) of oil-stock beta according to Google finance. We don't get what Terranova's talking about, and the fact he has echoed the theme in back-to-back days with plays we don't understand suggests we're not going to "get it" anytime soon.

And we can't figure out why Dennis Gartman was silent about it during "Halftime," given that Gartman has been telling us for two weeks that he had been bullish oil by going long the high-beta names PBR and SU and going short the low-beta names like XOM and CVX ... a position that Gartman this week says he is now trying to unwind ... but now Terranova apparently wants to buy Gartman's high-beta names that Gartman is trying to unload instead of just offering the most obvious, simplest trade which would be a reversal of the position Gartman has frequently spoken of.

Terranova followed up with this, a reasonable sentiment on nat gas. But no more on the beta thing.

"I would not put the refiners, I would not put any energy company integrated name that has the exposure to natural gas on my laundry list. I don't want that exposure. I want big, integrated oil with global exposure."

When one regularly chronicles a TV show, or anything really, occasionally there are things heard that don't quite make sense. We've spent a decent amount of time chasing down such statements on "Fast Money" or CNBC in general, only to find — before writing about them — that they actually do make sense, that either we misunderstood, or the person wasn't heard correctly, or we thought they were talking about one thing and they were talking about something else, etc.

With this one, we're at a loss, figuratively not literally.

If one trader tells you a trade, then another trader recommends the opposite trade using the same long positions in the same stocks as the original trade, does that make any sense to anyone?

As always, we like Terranova. This is either some sneakily insightful maneuvering, or a train wreck.

[Monday, July 6, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Terranova
needs to refill the gas tank

Featuring: Melissa Lee | Guy Adami | Jon Najarian | Tim Seymour | Joe Terranova | Karen Finerman | CVC | NFLX | VIX | Alcoa | Mike Khouw | Steve Cortes | Katie Stockton | Oil | PBR | HES | SU | Dennis Gartman | Addison Armstrong | beta | SLB | OIH | INTC | MSFT | COF | PLCE | TBT | QQQQ

Cablevision (CVC) might be a bit surprised to learn it was Monday's "porn trade" on "Fast Money."

Especially given that pornography wasn't the explicit (get the pun?) reason for buying it.

This segment was ridiculous at best, shameful at worst. The primary goal Monday (and presumably all week) was to show a bunch of adult film clips. The secondary goal was to remind you that Melissa Lee has a porn-industry documentary coming up because "These days the porn business is as mainstream as must-see TV."

Yet there was, in fact, one tremendously good stock-buying question in this segment, from Karen Finerman: "Do they, can you get porn on Netflix?"

"Actually I do not ... know," said Melissa Lee, who has just completed a documentary on the porn industry but somehow doesn't know whether national movie rental chains offer those titles. (Note: We don't know either, and aren't about to look this one up.)

Guy Adami could barely conceal his disdain but was a good sport about it. "In terms of in-room entertainment, buy a backgammon set folks, I mean it's much more interesting. I think Cablevision frankly is probably the best company out there, it pains me to say it. ... Frankly it's a great company ... if they spin off Madison Square Garden, you might see a pop in the stock. ... I like Cablevision above 19, otherwise you buy it at 16 and a half."

So, hope for the spinoff of MSG, profit from the porn trade. Makes sense to us.

Jon Najarian said, "More money is made from in-room entertainment, uh, than is made from mini-bars," which actually makes you think a hotel might be a stronger play.

"As long as there's an appetite for sex out there, there will be an appetite for, yes, porn," Lee said. "You may be tempted to blush, but we aren't."


We noted that during Thursday's "Fast Money Halftime Report," Tim Seymour made a dismissive comment about the Labor Department report, then an ominous comment about the Labor Department report, and then took the ominous side of the argument in a discussion on the 5 p.m. show with Chris Thornberg.

Monday, Seymour got the chance, more than once, to perhaps put the shoe on another foot.

First was a lengthy, basically overdone VIX discussion by Jon Najarian that started on the "Halftime Report" and should've been allowed to triple-witch around 3 p.m. We should note that we don't fault what Dr. J said. He was asked by Lee to comment on the VIX move, and what he said over both shows wasn't overtly contradictory, although at the same time, it kind of left us wondering, what the heck, does it mean the market's going up or down?

At "Halftime," Najarian said of the VIX spike, "It tells you that there's a lot of nervousness going into the report on Wednesday with Alcoa."

Mike Khouw, who normally doesn't cause a splash here, to his credit added something to that report. "Quick cautionary note about that," he said, suggesting people look at VIX futures, which weren't spiking at nearly the same level as the spot. "Spot VIX ... can exaggerate upside moves early in the week," he said.

"Mike's dead-right here," Najarian said.

Najarian was further downplaying the VIX spike on the 5 p.m. show, until he ran into Seymour.

"In fact the futures were lower going into the end of the day," Najarian said. "It was just a one-day, or two-day event, the spike in the VIX, and we're coming right back down."

"But what is that telling you," Seymour asked, half to Najarian and half rhetorically. "The market is not too concerned about earnings here? In other words, we, we got to a place where those VIX signals were almost saying sell, we'd come too far too fast, you're telling me you think it's going lower, which would tell me you think the market's going higher."

"I do," Najarian responded, then shrugged off Alcoa's upcoming "crap show" report. "I'd say you wait two weeks from now because that's when the real, more-telling earnings are going to be hitting. That's when I'd be more judgmental on the quarter rather than right now..."

"It does seem; we, we were checking on both sides of the options market," Seymour said, "names that we, you know, Freeport we actually are long calls, and something like Petrobras, we're buying puts; you know, I mean, the put side of this equation here is much more expensive though, which tells me, I think guys are still very nervous, I think at least guys are looking to buy protection. Maybe it means they want to get longer..."

"I agree with you. I agree that they do wanna buy protection. And they are buying protection right now. That's why they pushed up the spot but they're not buying the futures," Najarian said, with a slight shrug.

CNBCfix is no expert whatsoever on options. If we could get Stacy Briere Gilbert on the Fast Line, we'd ask her to sort this out for us. But we can't, so we won't.

All we know is that a lot of people are "nervous" about something, but apparently not too nervous.

Seymour happens to own Alcoa, according to show disclosure and recent comments. As a matter of fact, so does Dennis Gartman.

"I still own a bunch of Alcoa," Gartman admitted Monday. "I wish I had thrown the whole thing overboard." But he said selling some calls has reduced the size of his trade.

One wonders what'll happen if AA somehow surprises to the upside.

But back to Seymour's day. CNBCfix is a big fan of Joe Terranova. But this trade he somehow unloaded at the end of Monday's show was a whopper — and not in a good way. We hoped by overnight he would clarify on Twitter, but he apparently did not.

Terranova's oil play was so bad, instead of "Fast Money After Dark" it should've been called "Fast Money In the Dark." Thankfully, Seymour was there to challenge this on behalf of viewers, and not in an embarrassing way.

Here's what Terranova said: "Over the last four or five sessions, the overnight trading ranges have been larger by a 2-to-1 ratio than the day trading ranges. Here's the trade though going forward ... what you need to do at this point is get long and play from the long side the low-beta trades. Take a look at Petrobras. Look at what Petrobras did today. Look at the intraday chart of that. Take a look at Hess, the intraday chart of that as well. They both were supportive throughout the day and closed near those highs. Those are the ways you wanna play it right now. Avoid the high-beta names. Avoid the oil futures, the exposure through the USO. Look at the integrated, low-beta plays, and that's what you look at right now in terms of playing energy from the long side."

Petrobras? Low-beta?

"Joe, I disagree," Seymour said. "I think Petrobras is an extremely high-beta story. I also think that Petrobras is a lot of risk right now around that Tupi discovery, which drove a lot of these returns. I think that's what it's under pressure from right now, I'd be cautious."

Not to mention, we wrote this on Thursday, June 26, about a certain famous commodity trader: Gartman explained that he is still long high-beta oil names and short the low-beta oil names, and has been "for a long period of time." He is long Suncor, long Petrobras, short Chevron and ExxonMobil.

We did an overnight sample of select big-oil beta rankings according to Google finance:

XOM — 0.50
CVX — 0.68
BP — 0.73
HES — 0.99
OXY — 1.05
APC — 1.09
COP — 1.15
MRO — 1.33
CEO — 1.57
LUKOY — 1.60
PBR — 1.63
SU — 1.74
PTR — 1.74
CNQ — 1.86

So, we're not really sure what Terranova is talking about with this one. We'll just say, everyone has an off night, and we hope Joe shrugs it off and is refreshed in his next appearance on the show. (By the way, these home office hookups aren't very impressive in general and sort of remind of the early days of "Fast Money" when regular joes would ask traders choppy, hard-to-understand questions with time delay.)

Dennis Gartman also was on the show Monday and took up the oil question.

"I was using last week as a selling opportunity to reduce my positions in crude oil," he said, and apparently he's got a taker in Terranova for his unwanted Petrobras. "I've been trying to get out of that since last week ... Even I have to say I'm surprised by the seriousness, the viciousness of the correction, so, is it a buying opportunity, I don't think so."

While some are predicting a crude bounce in the low $60s, Gartman thinks that might not be the end. "Markets have a way of going to what I call the obscene number the number that nobody believes possible," he said. "I guess I really wouldn't be surprised if we put a 5 number up as the big number ... just as we got above 75 last week on a mistake, on an error" (we're not sure what he means there unless he's talking about the U.S. corn acreage report). "I bet you put 59 up there just to do it."

He added about crude: "Watch what goes on in the term structure. ... If we start to go weaker to the bottom, and all of a sudden the term structure starts to narrow, that'll be the signal to start to be a buyer."

Finally he's not impressed by gold. "Everybody you know is bullish of the gold market. ... The conspiratorialists are out there buying gold. ... I have no position on it; if you made me do something I'd sell it."

We noticed in the CNBC.com disclosure that Gartman is long BX, short POT and short BRK.B.

The rest of the traders also took a stab at oil.

"I don't think that crude oil is gonna go an awful lot lower myself," said Jon Najarian. "I'm seeing quite the opposite, I saw a lot of speculation, buying of out-of-the-money calls in Petrohawk, for instance, HK; I am long that name, got long it late in the day."

Seymour went so far as to disagree (implicitly) with Guy Adami and say "The OIH is well-overdone; we started covering some shorts today ... probably the highest beta to the sector, we started buying back in." (Note 1: Adami just said Thursday that $90 is your "entry point" for the OIH; it did hit an intraday low of $89.26 Monday. Note 2: According to the composition list we found of OIH, we noticed NBR, WFT and BHI all apparently trade at higher beta than OIH.)

Seymour added, "I do think this market can rally without oil. I think today's ISM data this morning, non-manufacturing, was very important, I mean, a 47 print was very positive on the upside ... I think there's real strength in the economy, not for $75 oil but certainly for $60 oil." (We're not going to go there again ... at least two days in a row ... but "real strength" in the economy was not exactly the point he was making against Chris Thornberg last week in a discussion of real disposable income ... but we won't go there again right now.)

Adami didn't argue the OIH but said, "I'm not so convinced this oil market's gonna bounce ... I don't care where it traded overnight ... I still think the trend in oil is lower." "I agree," said Jon Najarian, who was chipper and pretty much agreeing with everyone Monday. Citing the Tom McClellan Oscillator, Najarian suggested, "We are gonna see a bottom for crude oil in the end of July, beginning of August, so other than that, be very short-term with this." Then he made some joke about leading Karen Finerman four months that we didn't get.

Addison Armstrong, who is kind of the designated hitter to crude discussions just like Edgar Martinez was the designated hitter for the Seattle Mariners, said "The next stop, Melissa, would be down around, uh, 61, we're looking at as the next attraction level." He offered a "post-target probably down toward 60. ... The DXY is not really that much stronger, so I'm not, I don't really think the dollar is figuring into what's going on in oil today. What's going on right now is certainly the reaction to the poor demand figures we see week in and week out of the U.S. government," he said. "We're not seeing any rebound at all in gasoline demand," and the "consumer's just not getting any break."

Mike Khouw also said at halftime, "I actually am a buyer, although probably the integrated names. The one I'm looking at most closely is ConocoPhillips. I would be buying names like ConocoPhillips on pullbacks."

Jon Najarian predicted oil might "test down to 60, and then I'm a very aggressive buyer ... just right at that oversold level right now."

Steve Cortes says even the dip in crude isn't good enough. "Oil is one of the reasons that the consumer is in the pinch he's in right now," Cortes said. "I think that uh, the consumer is in a horrible place."

Adami later offered a trade on SLB. "Just as the stock overshot on the upside, it will overshoot on the downside ... 52-week low back in February of 35 and a half, basically a 50% correction of the move that I just told you about, is 49 and a half. I think we'll get there and I think you'll wanna gobble up Schlumberger at those levels."

Terranova explained at the show's outset that it's been "a wild four or five days in the oil market," and "what you're seeing right now is stability. ... I actually got a little bit long ... I am closing out some positions that I had on later in the afternoon," he said. Perhaps his high-beta/low-beta confusion stems from sleep deprivation caused by the oil chart. "I stayed up all night watching it," he said.

Seymour delivered an extremely refreshing and thought-provoking eco-political take on the U.S.-Russian presidential meetings. Seymour noted the Deere and PepsiCo announcements were basically just "carefully choreognaphed" events coinciding with the Obama visit. And he conceded that between the presidents, "not a lot got done out there."

"But the good news is there's dialogue," he said, and while he didn't name George Bush and Vlad Putin by name, referred to the previous "two leaders" who he said "were more concerned about their domestic consituency than working things out internationally." Seymour said, "The good news most importantly is, the mutual uh, destruction, that we all at least attempted to set up in the '80s, is going away." He pointed to progress in nuclear de-proliferation. "Probably means bad news for uranium producers, I mean if you're trying to stretch a trade out of this, CCJ, maybe," but he didn't really see a trade in this. "Today's news was good news for people that want to see us having sensible dialogue with Russia."

All that we'll note from a contrarian standpoint is that the same thing was happening in 2001, when our president looked into the soul of their president, or something like that, and things kind of unwound from there.

Guy Adami said, "I like General Mills." But, they just said the same things they said June 7, and "60 has been resistance, I think that'll continue to be resistance."

Adami might sometime like AA, but not now. "Close today 9 and a quarter; I think you can see an 8 handle, when I say 8, I think down to 8 and a half, then I think it gets interesting." For INTC, he said, "15 and three quarters is now your new bottom," and "I think it trades lower from here." Then there's old reliable with the company that has already told us what it's gonna make in 2010, IBM: "A fair multiple for these guys puts you at a $120 stock. ... benign tape (one of perhaps three mentions of the word "benign" Monday), the stock goes back to 105."

Adami said "Master Trust data ... trending the wrong way for American Express ... I would rather be in MA ... I'd rather own Mastercard here than American Express." And Yum brands, "great day on a pretty benign tape. ... That probably trends up to 40 ... I like Y-U-M."

The others tackled the credit card story. "Bank of America has tremendous exposure" to credit card debt, Seymour said, and it's a "trend that's not improving. ... This is your problem for Bank of America, JPMorgan ... Capital One," he said.

"Capital One would be the bottom of my list," said Jon Najarian.

Karen Finerman was asked about Discover Financial, DFS. "I'm not sure why they're raising the money ... to me it's a little bit of an also-ran."

Seymour said tech has some life in it. "MSFT is a name where fundamentally people are getting excited," he said. "Taking an opportunity to buy on the weakness ... I don't think tech is done."

Karen Finerman still likes Cisco. "I would be a buyer right here," she said, citing favorable "risk-reward."

Seymour pointed to the BMS deal. "Packaging ... That's a great place to be," he said. He sees possible G8 help for a name like MOS.

Mike Gurka is fast becoming a "Fast Money" regular, but that didn't stop Melissa Lee from calling his firm "Global Empower" on Monday. Gurka trumpeted "Taiwan, and Southeast Asia is a very good place ... Technology is king over there ... Right now we're seeing huge allocations into that part of the globe ... You get the backdraft from China with Taiwan."

Seymour questioned if the Chinese stimulus was something of a paper tiger and something that might be fueling more stock speculation than civic growth projects. "I worry about Taiwan," Seymour said.

"That is a very good point," Gurka said, but "Taiwan is starting to stand on its own." Is it all about tech, or other sectors? "I see more follow-through here, and independence," Gurka said.

He also said the South Africa story is about more than just precious metals. "They have more than just mining out there," he said, adding there are a lot of American companies looking to "geographically distribute out of this area."

Greg Troccoli gave another weather forecast. He pointed to an "eight-week consolidation" in the U.S. equity market. "My fear is that we go from a cloudy weather condition to full-out rainstorm if we close below 874," he said. He pointed to support at $55 for WTI; "I don't expect crude to get below that."

Troccoli also said something about the Nikkei, but we didn't much care. Japan, Seymour said, "they haven't really turned a corner."

K-Fine was wearing royal blue and looks like she's got another snappy new hairstyle. But we barely heard much from her on Monday's show. She did give a two-minute pitch for Children's Place, PLCE. "The reason that I like it is, I love their target customer, it's a mother, and mothers are loath to cut out spending for their kids ... they also have a fantastic balance sheet, $6 a share of net cash. ... I don't see a ton of downside," she said, explaining that an ex-CEO is trying to seat board members, which could also drive the stock. "We bought some as recently as today," she said, and she noted that Thursday's same-store sales report might not be good and provide an even lower chance to get in." According to disclosure, Finerman personally owns RIG and TBT. (This writer has a long position in TBT, but it's only three digits, so it's not a make-or-break type of thing.)

Katie Stockton of MKM wasn't high on the QQQQ. "Down below its 50-day moving average today ... definitely signals rotation out of technology," she said.

Steve Cortes said, "I'm definitely not a buyer of technology, Melissa ... has traded too disparately from the consumer." He said it's also very unlikely that we're gonna see a return to sustained low VIX volatility.

Jon Najarian cracked us up with a verbal glitch while guesting on "Power Lunch" (this was after his "Halftime Report" stint). He said the "Microsoft OS X" will be a "game-changer." Surely it would be a game-changer if MSFT did indeed unveil its own OS X.

MLee made a funny when she said "bright sparts."

Billy Mays ads — you know he died more than a week ago — continue to air on CNBC.

We discovered over the weekend that Dan Fitzpatrick is twittering, and on June 27 said this: "Transitioning to fewer TV spots under the theory: 'Less is More...'(relaxing)!"

More by Greg Weldon

Greg Weldon appeared on "Fast Money" last week and hinted at some interesting stories involving poker. Over the long holiday weekend and whatnot, we had a (brief) chance to catch up on some of Weldon's thoughts in his 2007 book Gold Trading Boot Camp. (You can look it up at amazon.com right here.)

First, we discovered the foreword was written by none other than one of our favorites and a "Fast Money" legend, Dennis Gartman — who happens to mention how long he's been doing this: "I have been an observer/participant in the commodities world for more than 30 years."

Gartman describes Weldon as someone who now "sits at home in New Jersey surrounded by sophisticated technology that provides him with ready access to data about markets in all corners of the world." Gartman adds, "We must learn to trade like mercenaries, trading not on the bull side or the bear side, but on the right side, as Jesse Livermore once said."

As for Weldon, we could tell he was tall, but didn't know he's actually 6-10.

One of Weldon's passages really caught our eye: "At Lehman, as I began developing my first raw technical trading models, single-trade risk of 5 percent of total equity seemed reasonable. Naturally, 5 percent of single-trade risk is anything but reasonable. It is suicidal ... Soon, within my models, the single-trade risk limit of 5 percent was replaced with a maximum single-trade risk of 40 basis points, which the firm still considered high."

Weldon studied English Lit at Colgate and apparently had little to no finance background when, at 24, he visited a buddy at the CEC in the early 1980s and had a chance conversation with Stanley Bell about basketball.

Liking the intensity of the place, he told his friend he wanted to work there, had a follow-up chat with Bell and Bell's son Craig, and in "one of those life-defining, grab-the-bull-by-the-horns moments," was hired by Craig Bell on the spot.

"I went so far as to use the phone in the booth of Stanley B. Bell and Company to call my boss at the telecom firm in New Jersey and tell him I was quitting, effective immediately," Weldon writes.

Weldon writes that he "came to realize the sheer power of momentum once it is unleashed and intensified by position dynamics." He tells of the gold market in 1985 and how one firm, Volume Investors, "had become accustomed to a certain high-flying lifestyle." Weldon says VI decided that selling naked calls "would provide a steady source of income without risk. They were right ... for months. They were wrong ... for one day. ... when gold rallied nearly $40. ... Volume Investors went bust in one day, and some of the most powerful men on the exchange were reduced to tears."

Weldon worked for Lehman (a "boutique firm") and Moore Capital Management and did a vast amount of reading and research. He would go to the library after work to read microfilms of WSJ data, writing out highs and lows in the days before the Internet and widespread computer use. He cites several books that helped him: Anatomy of a Crash by J.R. Levien, Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre, The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros, Technical Analysis of the Futures Market by John Murphy and The New Commodity Trading Systems and Methods by Perry J. Kaufman.

A couple testimonials are listed at amazon, including James Grant ("If speculate you must, read Weldon first") and Minyanville's Todd Harrison ("From soup to nuts, this is one of the most comprehensive tutorials I've read on the subject of commodities").

So there you go.

More about Jeff Macke

Weldon's "40 basis points" passage above reminds us of a tremendous comment often made by Jeff Macke.

The comment goes something like this: "You can do any trade you want, as long as you have an exit strategy."

What a glorious concept. And totally true. You can indeed do whatever you want. And as long as you follow Macke's basic advice, you'll be able to keep doing whatever trade you want.

You can go long UNG and short crude, or do the opposite. You can go long XRT and short WMT, or you can go long WMT and short TGT, or any other combination. Whatever you want.

Macke displayed a healthy ego and could be edgy. He was also remarkably down-to-earth in speaking to the regular joe "Fast Money" audience who aren't trained like Pete Najarian (to analyze options) or Tim Seymour (to interpret global market forces) but could still stand some productive advice on buying and selling stocks. Macke better than anyone called the 2008 market while it was happening and hadn't missed a beat in 2009. It's a shame he's no longer on the show.

[Thursday, July 2, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Is Seymour
overprepared for the show?

Featuring: Tim Seymour | Chris Thornberg | Guy Adami | Joe LaVorgna | Melissa Lee | Joe Terranova | Pete Najarian | Jared Levy | FAZ | Jimmy Iuorio | Zachary Karabell | Mike Gurka | David Silver | Joe Sanderson | SAFM | AA | FXC | JPM | GS | MS | POT | F | SHLD | GIS | ELN | Dennis Gartman | "The Huck" | Rebecca Jarvis

It's right before Independence Day, yet who would've expected Chris Thornberg to ignite the equivalent of a firecracker under Tim Seymour.

And it was all about real disposable income.

Joe LaVorgna, eat your heart out.

The chippiest part of this exchange went like this:

Thornberg: "Well I, I'm just talking empirical facts here OK."

Seymour: "What am I talking about."

CNBCfix is not an economist and not trained to analyze economic statistics. We'd love to have a direct line to LaVorgna's BlackBerry for his analysis of this, but unfortunately we don't (and frankly LaVorgna has been "Fast Money" MIA for a while so he might not even know what we're talking about if we did reach him).

Here's how it started, during a discussion about the day's unemployment stats:

"Employment is a lagging indicator," said Thornberg, who appeared to dismiss the market reaction as merely a minor little unwinding of some unjustified euphoria. "Today the market got the nasty realization that things aren't decelerating nearly as fast as they thought, and it looks like that recovery's gonna be a little farther in the future than we, than uh, we had first expected."

Guy Adami thought there might be more to it. "But it's a leading indicator in terms of consumer confidence," he said, challenging Thornberg: "Gotta admit, folks are not feeling good tonight."

Thornberg: "Yeah, yeah, but I tell you what, you know that consumer confidence number, it doesn't mean that much. Consumer confidences bounces all over the place and it really is not an indicator where consumer spending is going. Here's the good news: We had rebates, we've had tax cuts, we've got falling prices, you add that all up, and in fact, even though we've lost many jobs, real disposable income today is higher than it was a year ago. So people do have more buying capacity because of all the things that have been goin' on."

Seymour: "But maybe they don't Chris, because again we're looking at earnings, hourly, year over year, are down 2/10 of a percent—"

Thornberg: "Ah..."

Seymour: "... The work week's getting shorter; when does this— there's so much slack in the labor market, why as an employer wouldn't I cut wages and, and, and, you know, go to the cheapest buyer?"

Thornberg: "Well I, I'm just talking empirical facts here OK. For this quarter—"

Seymour: "What am I talking about."

Thornberg: "...real disposable income in the aggregate is about 2% higher than it was last year during this particular quarter. And that's, that's based on those April and May numbers that we already have in the bank. So, this is just, uh, uh, this is just facts. And of course again a lot of it has to do with tax cuts, a lot of it has to do with rebates. Of course all those things have to go away at some point in the future; we need to worry about that. But people really do have more earning power today despite these bad labor numbers and you're seeing that, because of stability in the retail numbers we've seen over the last few months."

Seymour: "I'm not an economist, but I don't, I don't see that. I see with unemployment at, uh, at, you know, decade-high rates, with earnings going down, people scared of losing their jobs, employers are ..."

Then Melissa Lee felt compelled to end it, perhaps with a voice whispering in her ear, so she cut Seymour off: "Even if they think — even if they have earnings power, people don't think they have earnings power at this point."

Which actually was a very good neutral way to summarize the debate.

We'd rather declare a winner right here. We think highly of both Seymour and Thornberg and have said so on this page several times. But given the purposes of this discussion, we'll give a slight nod to Seymour. Yet, we have to mark that with an asterisk*. Three things worked against Thornberg. First, he was remarkably nonchalant. "Fast Money" is a stock market show, and the market — yes, we know it's extremely light volume — clearly was not as comfortable with this data as Thornberg is. So he's a bit out of step there. Second, we'd like to know exactly what "tax cuts" he's talking about that have given consumers any permanent earnings power. Third, David Rosenberg Tuesday made a very convincing case for "the mother of all jobless recoveries." Seymour echoed these concerns Thursday, and Thornberg, despite presenting "empirical facts" that he concedes are based partly on tax cuts and rebates, never adequately accounted for this.

We do agree with Thornberg's dismissal of the consumer confidence number, something Zach Karabell more or less blasted the other day, although we note Adami was not necessarily citing a number but the general willingness of consumers to go shopping.

* But then there's the asterisk. Seymour was (somewhat) arguing against a point he made earlier on the "Halftime Report" in which he was either at a minimum seriously "parsing," or at worst arguing both sides of the jobs report, calling it both merely an "excuse" to sell as well as something that legitimately "hurt a lot." But more on that below.

Thornberg, according to his profile at the Beacon Economics site, "is an expert in the study of ... labor markets and business forecasting." He's got a bachelor's in business administration from SUNY-Buffalo and a Ph.D. in business economics from UCLA's Anderson School. He's been on the faculty at Clemson and also taught at UCLA, UCSD and in Thailand. Beacon is based on Wilshire Boulevard in L.A.

Ah, but there was a second little fracas on Thursday's show. This one was more entertaining, though not nearly as substantive.

And we're starting to get the impression that CNBCfix is not the only one who thinks Jared Levy might be rattling off the commentary a bit too fast & furious.

Levy did the "Fast Money After Dark" segment with only about 10 minutes left in the program, from Texas. At this stage of the show, most segments are little more than one- or two-sentence soundbites. Levy actually discussed a very interesting topic, the FAZ, and its upcoming 1-for-10 reverse split, but gave it far more than two sentences.

"No. 1, it's based on a Russell 1000 index that's designed specifically for it," Levy said. Also, it's "rebalanced daily, and it uses total return swaps to get leverage."

Almost from the beginning of Levy's discourse, Guy Adami — The World's Greatest Poker Face — was showing remarkable signs of disdain. There was a little eye-rolling from Tim Seymour, while Joe Terranova and Pete Najarian were playing it pretty straight.

Adami even glanced up into the ceiling, as though asking someone off-camera, what the heck is this about.

Levy explained a scenario under which the FAZ's target could be flat over two days, but the investor could still lose money for holding it that long. He concluded with "This could be a really dangerous investment" (as if a triple-levered investment in anything would not be considered "dangerous"), "it's a day-trading product," and he'd be interested in shorting it when it hits $50.

Melissa Lee turned to Adami for reaction.

"It's a long weekend, I'm thoroughly confused frankly," Adami said. "I mean, I'm sure it's, yeah ... well, yeah, my mind isn't working right now. It's almost the end of the show and he just completely threw me off base, so ..."

Twice more, he looked up into the rafters. Apparently either at a clock, or a producer/techie who might've sold him short on what this segment was supposed to be about.

Our unofficial translation? Adami, already a bit skeptical of Levy based on his uncalled takedown of Levy's "75%" First Solar options play a couple weeks ago, was assigned a follow-up comment on the FAZ, anticipated that Levy would go into extensive detail that Adami couldn't care less about and wasn't prepared for, saw this prophecy unfold, and decided to dis Levy and whoever gave him this assignment with scorn that was equal parts verbal and visual.

Notably, this video does not appear with the CNBC.com official recap of the segment, which of course makes no mention of Adami's rebuttal.

Actually, Levy's take on the FAZ was indeed quite interesting. "Fast Money" gripes (including those by Joe Terranova and Tim Seymour on the USO) on ETFs should be discussed far more often than what is heard on the show. Seymour barely challenged Jim Ross last week on ETF fees. Jeff Macke (gosh, we miss him and bet Adami does too) was probably on to something when he used to claim these double- and triple-levered ETFs would gradually be blamed for more market swings and are decent candidates to be modified if not tossed from the market playbook someday.

Anyway, other than what we witness on TV, we don't know how the panel really feels about Levy's commentary. Maybe it is much-anticipated. We do think, as before, he just needs to slow down a bit. Throw people like Adami a changeup so he'll stop sitting on your fastball.

Noteworthy: According to show disclosure, Levy's firm is short GS, which puts him on the Jeff Tomasulo side of that Dennis Gartman battle. His firm is also short JPM, POT and FAZ.

Levy also pointed out signals of people putting on a "butterfly" spread with Potash at 110, 120 and 130. Pete Najarian agreed and said it "tends to be somewhat bullish." That and the fact Potash had a monster gain Thursday in a terrible day for most stocks may not be good news for Dennis Gartman, who as recently as Tuesday said, "I ... was adding to my short position in Potash, because the market is telling me that I was right."

Whew ... where were we?

Oh yes, some bad jobs data.

"You don't need a freak event on a day like today where there was very little liquidity, there was tons of nervousness," Seymour said leading off the 5 p.m. show. "We had very bad data this morning ... the wage side of the equation and that the hourly earnings are down year over year, the hourly- workweek is shorter."

That was after he had said at "Halftime,"The S&P's broke the 50 ... the real key here was this jobs number, probably an excuse on a light-volume day, uh, to throw this market down. You look at these numbers, the headlines should not have been a surprise. ... It was the average hourly earnings, and the work week is shortening just a little bit. ... This number hurt a lot ... yesterday's data I would argue is what you wanna listen to. It was positive."

Note the official CNBC "Fast Money Rapid Recap" doesn't mention Seymour's "hurt a lot" comment, only that Seymour "muses" that "the jobs number was an excuse to throw the market down."

Seymour later sounded troubled that his recent thoughts on data might now be in conflict and sought to clarify that: "It's important ... to have a view and stick with it," he said. "We are seeing a pickup in ISM. Fourth quarter auto production's gonna be up 40%. ... I don't think we're in dire straits here."

Why is CNBCfix starting to find this interesting? Because as the saying goes, once is a fluke, two's a trend, three's trouble ... and after Karen Finerman twice questioned Seymour in June about recommending multiple trades that seemed to be at odds with each other (namely pro-Treasurys and pro-gold), we've been paying closer attention to themes Seymour is espousing.

And this is one of our initial conclusions: Seymour is actually overprepared for the show. He is obviously digesting so much data, and rattling off details on virtually every topic that comes up on the show, that he inadvertently ends up arguing both sides of a trade in which there are indeed two schools of thought but can only be one winner. Kinda like saying correctly "this team's got pitching," and later saying correctly "that team's got hitting," but somehow recommending both when only one is going to win the division.

This is a sampling of his Thursday commentary beyond the extensive examples already cited:

"By the way, oil's only 8% off the highs ... it (dollar rising vs. euro effect on reflation trade) certainly doesn't help; it's putting enormous pressure on the resource space, (is ...) really a move away from the riskier assets, it's not a flight to quality. ... Demand for fertilizer does increase, I'm a buyer of IPI ... (Sears as a retail indicator) "Probably 15% on the downside ... now it looks like there's pretty good downside from here. ... (Alcoa balance sheet) "They've cleaned it up ... they're not as highly levered" ... (GIS) "These guys actually are making more money now with commodity prices lower ... look at Heinz, look at Sara Lee ... places where you can get defensive gains. ... "This is a very bullish thing for Morgan Stanley, that their credit spreads are tightening, they're borrowing cheaper." And the July 2 floor activity: "lowest trading volume of the year."

Those points don't seem to be in conflict. But he did say at "Halftime" that today's number "hurt a lot," then said "Yesterday's data I would argue is what you wanna listen to," then argued with Thornberg that today's data might actually be worth listening to also.

We're huge fans of preparation and we salute Seymour for all the legwork he does. But it might serve him and the show better to limit his focus and perhaps err on the side of repetition, as in saying things within his specialty over and over, as in repeating his strongest investment convictions and avoiding tangential thoughts, rather than scattershooting about the universe.

Pete Najarian grumbled about the NYSE glitch that delayed the close. He said things like this could be blamed on unusually heavy days, but clearly "today it wasn't about massive orders."

Adami said, "I still think the S&P trades down to 870" before he and Terranova and Najarian traded some thoughts on oil.

"Emphatically, the reflation trade is over. Dead, done with. Now, it is all about earnings," Terranova said.

Adami returned to his oil services skepticism, saying $90 is the buying level for OIH, and "Schlumberger, still rich ... probably (moves) down to 48 or so. Those are your entry points."

Terranova sought to clarify his "dead, done with" outlook. "I am not saying to get short the reflation trade," he said. "Get flat the reflation trade." To his credit, he explained that non-futures-players might not be able to get out of a short USO or short HES position fast enough and should avoid that. But in a puzzler, he said, "Here's your playbook for the second half of the year. Great earnings ... Those are the ones you wanna be with."

Really. People should go long companies with great earnings.

Terranova again called the previous strength in oil "paper asset demand." He once again cited the "dramatic reversal" that occurred Monday around the $73 level but bemoaned, "natural gas was weak again today."

Pete Najarian chimed in on Hess. "That stock has absolutely broken down. Not broken out, broken down. ... Today, MASSIVE put buying out in August. They were buying the 50s, they were buying the 45s in the form of a put spread."

Adami said of ExxonMobil, "Don't be surprised if they report earnings that are not up to snuff."

Melissa Lee showed a Dennis Gartman chart featuring a double-top in oil. Pete Najarian wondered what's the vehicle for people at home to effectively short oil, and a good answer was not provided.

Najarian got a chance to dissect the Elan deal he impressively suggested might happen. But there was a catch. "This name (ELN) was trading 9 dollars and 40 cents in the premarket today, never came close to that in the regular session," Pete said. "You have to be able to get into that premarket, postmarket execution," something we hope "Fast Money" viewers are certainly able to do.

(In fact, it occurs to us that we've never heard a "Fast Money" recommendation as to whether people should be trading stocks — in general — during afterhours sessions.)

"I was talking to The Huck, The Huck about this," said Tim Seymour (did we mention he's always well-prepared?). "Johnson & Johnson effectively bought a small piece of Elan, but they then have created another company to own that drug, that Alzheimer's drug ... This is a revolutionary deal."

Najarian noted that Pfizer-Wyeth also have an interest. "They are expecting blockbuster numbers out of this drug."

Melissa Lee wondered aloud if lousy weather truly was a problem for retailers. Terranova said the sluggish economic data suggest "The question will now become, are we gonna need a second stimulus package? That's something that, up until today, no one thought we needed."

Adami took up JCP and its "monster move." He asked rhetorically, "Where do you get in? You do get in, but it's not here. ... It goes down to 25."

Najarian was gushing about Visa. "You just gotta love it ... I like where they are right now ... The volatility (in options protection) is extremely low."

Everyone seemed to be smiling at Ford.

"They've got things turned around, their pipeline's been very, very strong. They are clicking on all cylinders," Najarian said.

"Alan Mulally, stud," Adami said, citing one of the hardest CEO names to spell. The stock goes to "at least 7 bucks, if not higher."

"They're actually making money on these cars," Seymour agreed.

Adami returned to one of his favorite subjects, the $32-$35 JPMorganChase trading range. "You probably don't short it here ... If you get another bounce, you sell into it again." Najarian said MS and GS are OK but JPM is the one out of the three biggies that is having trouble getting going.

Sounds like Terranova was doing a lot of bailing. "The tape forced me out of Teradyne, which I've had for a while." And Microsoft, "I had to cut that position."

But Najarian said for Microsoft, "This is just a slight pullback ... The Street right now, they love Microsoft, the direction."

David Silver of Wall Street Strategies didn't see any "hope on the horizon" for Alcoa. "I think that we're gonna see the stock act a lot like it did during the first quarter where we're gonna see it down," he said. "Costs continue to rise ... end markets ... just continues to be horrendous."


"They always miss, they'll miss again," Adami said.

"Sorry Regis," Terranova said.

"This thing's probably going down again ... they're a serial disappointment," Najarian said.

Silver is a Tulane grad, with a B.S. in management and "dual degree" in finance and accounting, according to his firm's Web site. But does CNBC know about this dis? Silver's profile at his firm's site says: "He is routinely invited to appear on business oriented television and radio shows including Fox News, Fox Business News, the Business News Network of Canada, WCBS Radio, and the Wall Street Journal Radio."

Fox Business News ... but no mention of CNBC. John Melloy might want to rethink any rebookings.

Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson was one of the more remarkable guests in recent memory. Apparently Sanderson doesn't realize that jokes are a common theme on "Fast Money," and he was in full-seriousness mode. He said something about "paws and wingtips" being the only things he sends to China.

Traders thought it was funny; Sanderson didn't.

Mike Gurka, quickly becoming a regular presence, gave a speech on Canada that would make Jared Levy envious. Eventually he arrived at a conclusion: "I actually like the FX play here a lot." He would like resources, except, "I'm short crude ... You're gonna get a little bit of a swoon here." Then he noted Joe Theismann and Regis Philbin went to Notre Dame and that he's a Marquette grad. "Another Jesuit school," said Guy Adami.

Traders mostly agreed upgrades in Continental and Delta don't matter because airlines "are just trading stocks." Someone noted that they might be a play on falling oil. Seymour mentioned LFL and CPA.

If you thought we were done with the jobs data, you forgot the "Halftime Report."


Zach Karabell provided a bit of a speech at "Halftime," though it made sense to us, and we thought his jacket which strongly resembles the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction jacket (even if it's actually part of a suit) was first-class, so we're running his extended comments:

"Let me give you a couple of 'these'-lets, little mini-theses ... I'm in Babylon, New York ... The connection between corporate profits and the overall economy is a lot less than a lot of people think. ... I'm saying that when the market sells off based on the assumption that these numbers lead directly to how corporations are going to do writ large, it's a good opportunity to look at companies that aren't going to be affected by those to the same degree that the overall economy is."

"Zach brings up a very good point," Jared Levy said.

"Chinese Internet names," Karabell continued, "are selling off today as part of the market; a lot of ADRs are on the U.S. exchanges, they have absolutely nothing to do with the jobs report in the U.S., but because everything else is selling off, they're selling off."

"This number is a slap in the face. It reminds us that the remainder of this recession is more probably gonna be measured in years, than quarters and months," said Jimmy Iuorio. He sees a rotation into "consumer staples ... things like General Mills."

"A little bit of fear tends to create a flight to quality," said Levy, citing light volume and the holiday. "Frankly I might be a buyer in this, in this, uh, sell-off."

He had something interesting on AXP. "There's a big buyer out there of the August 23 puts ... what I'm thinking is they're protecting themselves against earnings coming on the 23rd ... I would be a moderate buyer, but I would use something like the 21, 19 put spread in July," he said.

Two sparring matches is more than enough for us to handle on one given day, but it's important to note that Levy isn't ready to give up on that volatility showdown with Jon Najarian from two weeks ago.

Both, thus far, have claimed victory.

"Overall, vol is still cheap ... I would be more of a buyer of vol here, I know that Jon Najarian disagrees with me, but you know, two weeks ago, I said vol was going higher, and we spiked up, last Monday when we had that sell-off, we're seeing a spike again today."

Karabell went on to say, "The summer is (sic) not been a great time over the past four or five years for these commodity names, so you have a kind of cyclical summer issue. I don't think that story is broken ... as a trend, you know, that base metal, uh, emerging market thing I think is absolutely intact."

Joe Terranova made a "Halftime" call, mentioned the famous $73 oil reversal of Monday, and said "The equities market will not go higher if oil price is not above 70 bucks ... (but) ... I don't wanna see people make the mistake of, of, getting short energy names here."

"I say stay away from UNG," Levy said, which sounds like a direct challenge to Joe Theismann.

Good thing we afford ourselves a little space in our "Fast Money" review to do CNBC fashion notes, or else we wouldn't have a chance to mention the adorable red-white-and-blue outfit Rebecca Jarvis wore on Thursday.

[Wednesday, July 1, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Seymour
says GE ‘looks attractive’ here

Featuring: Tim Seymour | General Electric | Melissa Lee | Pete Najarian | Guy Adami | Joe Terranova | Dennis Gartman | Jeff Tomasulo | Patty Edwards | John Kosar | Joe Duran | David Windley | Michael Darda | AIG | KO | NUE | BTU | YGE | STP | oil | FXA | PRXL | ICLR | TEVA | Phil LeBeau | Lear | BWA | F | ELN | ORCL | INTC | RIMM | MYGN | NVO | VIX | Billy Mays

A slow week in stocks, and a slow week in "Fast Money" ... but then Tim Seymour got our attention with a brief discussion of CNBC parent company GE near the end of Wednesday's show.

CNBCfix made one of its early waves (not that we've made a lot of waves; this isn't the Drudge Report) by critiquing CNBC's day of coverage Feb. 27 when GE announced what had become a widely expected dividend cut. Namely, there was a lot of muted, kind-of-phony "applause" going around on the network all day, and we happened to think Erin Burnett made a couple of questionable comments that seemed to be a reach at finding positive news.

Our point then, as always, is that CNBC should cover GE as it does any other company, particularly any other influential, Dow-level company. And we believed at the time that the network's anchors and reporters for years had sort of cloaked themselves in this quick cliche of "GEparentcompanyofthisnetwork (sothat'swhyI'mnotgoingtosayanythingmoreaboutthecompany)" as some sort of rationale for avoiding discussion about the company.

We made our point and don't want to re-trumpet it here. We won't even include a link, but you can easily find it at the bottom of our home page. The following Tuesday, "Fast Money" undertook an impressive discussion of GE, with Jeff Macke and Pete Najarian explaining positions they had taken (again, it matters not to us if the position is bullish or bearish) and Karen Finerman remarkably more candid than she had been the previous Friday in question. (Jeff Macke was so candid, we wondered later if it might've gotten him some frowns from corporate.)

Later that week, David Faber, Matt Nesto and "Power Lunch" had lengthy reports and discussions on GE and those were real; absolutely people need to hear what Bill Griffeth has to say. Finally GE CFO Keith Sherin appeared in mid-March on "Squawk Box." Sherin was impressive, and we said so, in another link you can find on our home page.

So we made our point, the coverage did improve, but of course we always pay attention.

Melissa Lee opened the GE segment late during Wednesday's show labeling the company as the worst performer in the Dow industrials year-to-date, down 27%.

Seymour noted stigma toward the company's finance operation. But he said the technology infrastructure, energy infrastructure and stimulus all present opportunity for General Electric. "GE's as well-positioned as anybody other than possibly Siemens, SIE (we think he meant "SI"), who I also like, I think you have to be excited about ... on a current earnings, it's incredibly cheap. ... I think it looks attractive here ... and I think people still need to get over the hangover from finance."

Exactly how "attractive" and how "incredibly cheap" is it?

According to the show's disclosure, Seymour doesn't own GE shares or options, and neither does anyone else on Wednesday's show.

No one is more knowledgeable about global finance or more prepared in general than Seymour. We don't doubt this is an honest opinion; traders (most notably Guy Adami) are often recommending stocks they don't actually own. This segment felt like it was carefully worded ... we're tempted to say "sanitized." Acknowledge what's been hindering the stock, cite the areas where it might have some growth, and quickly move on.

The fact Lee invited no other comments from the panel, and no other views were cited, is also telling. We found it interesting that Pete Najarian, who regularly pounds the table on the engineering stocks such as FLR for infrastructure potential and also alternative energy names, has not been mentioning GE and did not do so Wednesday.

According to Yahoo finance, and it's important to note that it's our impression Yahoo finance does not include every analyst note, the last rating issued for GE was Feb. 6 by Sanford Bernstein, initiated at "market perform."

The stock has rebounded since early March, but not to the extent of pure financial companies such as WFC, AXP, BX, the latter two being ahead in 2009.

Compared with the universe of stocks, and based on share price performance since 2000, there has been very little reason to buy GE this decade. In areas/times where it has done well, other stocks have done better. And given a thorough review of this one little "Fast Money" segment, one has to conclude that nothing about that scenario has changed in the minds of the traders.

Again, we don't doubt the sincerity of Seymour's analysis. We'll just say it came across as a little programmed, a little saccharine ... and, given the segment as a whole, not exactly a ringing endorsement for anyone paying close attention.

As always, we have no opinion on the stock's future direction, and wish the best for GE and CNBC.

At the top of the show, Seymour said he expected a bigger day in the Dow.

"I thought the data was fantastic, you wanna know the truth," he said, citing that important Chinese PMI number. "I was disappointed" in the market reaction, he said.

Guy Adami pointed to another oil reversal as a "very disheartening" for the markets and reminded that he doesn't trust the markets here.

Joe Terranova took it a step further: "Oil is not- does not sustain above 70 bucks, the rally in the equities market is over. I will make that statement emphatically."


Pete Najarian complained that there was "no conviction either way" and all kinds of "program trading" going on, but said he disagreed slightly with Terranova, that "60 could be that level" for oil that would be good for the markets.

Dennis Gartman at "Halftime," when not harping on the "absolutely shocking miss" by the U.S. corn acreage report yesterday, said "This is not good tape action in the energy market." However, he did say, "I still think the commodity trade is reasonably intact," and "the Chinese (PMI) number was quite good."

Seymour said his concern about Chinese stocks is that so many American investors have jumped in. "It's a very crowded trade," he said. He noted Yingli, STP, "these are things that people are piling into."

Najarian — it seems like the summer of 2008 — was thundering coal again. Chinese "imports are up 73% in the first five months of the year," he said, recommending a look at BTU.

Joe Terranova said the FXA is a play on Australia, which ships a lot of resources to China.

Mike Darda delivered a much more rosier forecast than what David Rosenberg offered yesterday.

"I'm at minus 450" in the jobs number, he said, explaining a consensus of 365. "I'm bullish on the stock market. I think you buy the dips here, I think we see a recovery starting in the third quarter."

Guy Adami just couldn't get over the AIG reverse stock split.

"This is sort of the death knell to me," he said on the "Halftime" show. "It's maddening to me ... I just for the life of me can't understand why anybody would do that, other than just to stay as a listed stock I guess because below a certain threshold you get delisted. But other than that, I have no clue why anybody would do that. You run for the hills."

Adami either didn't know about or didn't bother to cite the company's official reason, according to Bloomberg: "because a higher share price may attract institutional investors."

We wondered if this move would give people renewed chance to short it, but we don't know, and no one on "Fast Money" addressed that, which is kind of odd if they think it's such a sure bet to crumble.

"This is a sign of weakness," Tim Seymour said on the 5 p.m. show. "Totally inefficient." Pete Najarian was stronger: "They'll see it in the pennies again," he predicted.

One of these days we're going to do the CNBCfix analysis of health care. David Windley of Jefferies offered some possible stock plays, notably TEVA, for the shift to generics (a point made on "Fast Money" several times). Pete Najarian questioned if the stock had gotten ahead of itself, and Windley said it "will continue to have some good headlines."

Windley also singled out more reliance by big pharma on "contract research organizations" as a form of drug-discovery "outsourcing." He likes Parexel (PRXL) and ICON (ICLR). And he pays attention to the show, knowing Joe Terranova mentioned the XBI yesterday.

Windley is a CPA and CFA with a degree from Transylvania University (we liked that one; it's in Lexington, Ky.). He also has a master's from Vanderbilt. He worked at Bradford and Coopers & Lybrand prior to Jefferies.

Phil LeBeau came on to talk cars, specifically what he termed a "prepackaged bankruptcy" involving Lear. But then he got on the subject of Ford, citing good news and bad news. The bad? "Industry sales rate came in at 9.69, that's lower than last month, which was at 9.9," he said, adding the Street was hoping for 10 million. But then he noted the gains in Ford's market share and said "It's really new product," singling out the Flex, hybrids, and "the Fusion is doing very well right now."

Guy Adami at "Halftime" said "I think Ford is a true turnaround story," but then at 5 p.m. returned to what would've been a great pick of his if he wasn't constantly telling people to sell and take a gain, BorgWarner (BWA): "That stock defies logic."

Adami was feasting on YUM all day. "Upgraded today at Goldman, $40 price target ... think YUM can go to 40," he said.

The whole panel took up the fast food thing at 5 p.m., specifically the new McDonald's Angus burger that will cost $3.99. "Feels like they're forcing this thing out there because they've been working on it for, for two and a half years; I don't know why it takes that long to unveil a burger," Tim Seymour said. Choosing between YUM and MCD, Seymour and Adami mentioned YUM; Najarian said MCD.

Adami said of ORCL on the "Halftime" show, "I'll still think that's a short unless we close above 22." He said he thinks the Intel upgrade is a bit late (there were estimate raises from Morgan Stanley and Broadpoint AmTech) and the price action surprises him a bit and he thinks the multiple is high, near 20. He said the one tech name he really does like is his recent Fast Fire, Red Hat, but that others might be in "nosebleed territory."

He seemed stunned by the gains in Oshkosh (OSK), telling people "I would be taking quick profits in this. Quickly!!"

Pete Najarian returned to one of his favorite recent sectors. "People are chasing these dividends, where are they going, they're going to the utilities sector," he said. (Again, remember that when Pete first went off on this last week, Melissa Lee was so interested she ran an underwear-model fashion show tape during Pete's point.) But more emphatically than that, Pete was touting Elan (ELN) because, you know the drill, where there's smoke there's fire in the options. "August 7 calls extremely active today," he said. Pete said NVO, an occasional favorite of his, got a Goldman Sachs upgrade to buy, "latest drug showing unbelievable results." He said MYGN fell on "multiple downgrades."

It's not often that John Kosar of Asbury Park gets our attention, but he did on Wednesday. First he said, "Tech is getting overextended here ... risky bet here to be long." Then he said in terms of the VIX, "18 has been it." He said October 07 and May 08 represented lulls in the VIX during which investors became complacent, and look what happened. We don't know how significant that is, but it is interesting.

Joe Duran of United Capital Financial Partners didn't have a particularly scintillating outlook. He said people should be rotating out of some of the outperformers that have benefitted from the reflation trade and perhaps consider some consumer discretionary names instead. "We still like technology," he said, but can see a 10% correction coming.

Duran, a CFA, has a B.S. in finance and marketing from Saint Louis University and a pair of MBAs, from Columbia and Cal-Berkeley. He worked at Centurion Capital until it was sold to GE Financial in 2001, then became president of GE Private Asset Management before founding United Capital.

Patty Edwards said "I like RIMM at this point," but overall, "not feeling the love." However, she did call GIS a "perfect play at this point."

Greg Troccoli offered another forecast, saying something about "we need to break above the 475 region in this tech sector."

Seymour said NUE, Adami said YUM and Terranova, who suggested oil's decline might be an opportunity for the trade Dennis Gartman sort of mocked yesterday, offered natural gas for "Final Trades."

Jeff Tomasulo — who is regularly called simply "Tomasulo" by Melissa Lee — said "I definitely like Coca-Cola." But then he gave us yet another future SPYder number that isn't any good to anyone for a trade. "Right now I'm lookin' at, uh, 93.20 in the SPYders ... I'm being very selective," he said, but then conceded the lack of interest this week. "After 11 o'clock, I'm ready to go on the golf course." (So is CNBCfix.)

Tim Seymour at one point said, "A lot of people drink jug wine." Melissa Lee said, "I always wanted to be a weather girl." The Billy Mays commercial for Awesome Auger aired during "Fast Money" and apparently all day on CNBC (see our home page).

Amazingly, we got through a day of "Fast Money" without hearing about PALM.

Jeff Macke done at CNBC

The somewhat-predicted earthquake at "Fast Money" has happened, according to TVNewser. We don't know if he was fired, or if it was a contract expiration, or even Macke's choice. All they've got is this quote from CNBC spokesman Brian Steel: "Jeff is no longer with CNBC. We wish him all the best, and we thank him for his quality contributions."

CNBCfix wishes Macke the best, and looks forward to his own explanation at Minyanville of what happened.

CNBCfix turns 1, thanks readers

We're so busy at CNBCfix, we nearly overlooked something we consider as important as Guy Adami's "Final Trade."

Our birthday.

CNBCfix actually launched the last week of May 2008, though we didn't get much of a real home page going until early June. Our pride and joy then, as now, was the detailed "Fast Money" review (which we called "Fast Money Fix" at the time but quickly thought that sounded strange). We also did a nightly "Mad Money" review, but stopped that after a couple of months.

We coined the term "CNBCfix" well before partisan interests were clamoring to "fix CNBC." Occasionally we get lumped with that. We're not trying to fix anything, and we don't consider CNBC a controversial business entity. CNBCfix is for people who like getting their "fix" of CNBC every day like we do. (The fact it's a very short term and easily typable for a URL, um, didn't hurt either.)

The Web business is extremely humbling. Those who've tried it know what we mean. Site ideas that turn out shoddy. The complaints or shrugs. And perhaps the worst, the hopefully infrequent minimal traffic days. Sometimes it makes one wonder, "Why am I doing this?" CNBCfix does it because we think we have something to say. And we say it, like you see on every one of these pages, dedicated to the highest standards of journalism established long ago and still practiced by print newspapers and news magazines.

We don't know if we'll hit blockbuster traffic numbers. We do know that some very accomplished people are reading CNBCfix, in Englewood Cliffs, Manhattan and far beyond. We've heard from some, are aware of others. These are people well-versed in the issues of Wall Street, Washington, the national media, and the world, in some cases maybe even leading the discussion. And like anyone else, they like a good stock tip too.

In our earliest "Fast Money" review on record, May 28, 2008, we grumbled about the monotony of the show that week, complaining the panel "risked relegating their show to only-once-a-week-must-seeing." There was a large amount of MSFT-YHOO discussion (Tim Seymour finally helped stamp that out a few months ago), and Pete Najarian pounded the table on oil services. Stacy Gilbert came on to talk options, but the most interesting guest was Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who called Iraq's security situation "immeasurably better" than a year earlier and predicted a "functioning state" at peace with its neighbors and producing large amounts of oil within five years.

We're here because you are. As always, we're fighting for every click and appreciate the ones we get.

Now back to our "Fast Money" review.

Back to CNBCfix home

CNBCfix.com home

Fast Money review

FM archive: June 2009
FM archive: May 2009
FM archive: April 2009
FM archive: March 2009
FM Viewers Guide
Fast Money cliches

Why we don’t
review Mad Money

Movie review:
‘Wall Street’

Masterful Gordon Gekko

CNBC/cable TV
star bios

♦ Jim Cramer
♦ Dylan Ratigan
♦ Charles Gasparino
♦ Maria Bartiromo
♦ Lawrence Kudlow
♦ Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
♦ David Faber
♦ Karen Finerman
♦ Guy Adami
♦ Jeff Macke
♦ Pete Najarian
♦ Jon Najarian
♦ Tim Seymour
♦ Becky Quick
♦ Joe Kernen
♦ John Harwood
♦ Steve Liesman
♦ Margaret Brennan
♦ Bertha Coombs
♦ Mary Thompson
♦ Trish Regan
♦ Melissa Francis
♦ Rebecca Jarvis
♦ Darren Rovell
♦ Carl Quintanilla
♦ Diana Olick
♦ Anderson Cooper
♦ Neil Cavuto
♦ Monica Crowley
♦ Bill O'Reilly
♦ Rachel Maddow
♦ Susie Gharib
♦ Jane Skinner
♦ Kimberly Guilfoyle
♦ Martha MacCallum
♦ Courtney Friel
♦ Uma Pemmaraju
♦ Joe Scarborough
♦ Terry Keenan
♦ Chrystia Freeland
♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

♦ Bill Gross
♦ Dennis Gartman
♦ Diane Swonk
♦ Meredith Whitney
♦ Richard X. Bove
♦ Arthur Laffer
♦ Jared Bernstein
♦ Doug Kass
♦ David Malpass
♦ Donald Luskin
♦ Herb Greenberg
♦ Robert Reich
♦ Steve Moore
♦ Vince Farrell
♦ Joe LaVorgna
♦ A. Gary Shilling
♦ Joe Battipaglia
♦ Addison Armstrong
♦ Jack Bouroudjian
♦ Stefan Abrams
♦ Warren Buffett