[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — July 2012]
[Tuesday, July 31, 2012]

Ron Johnson says customers accustomed to ‘590’ sales found having just 3 to be ‘confusing’ (which is evidently why the strategy is ‘retrain the customer’)

First, we should say this about Ron Johnson: The (former) hype was not his fault.

Notice that people tend to dislike someone they don't know not because of any real impression, but because a 3rd party who tends to be annoying told them how great this other person is. (It's better to not be on the receiving end of the post-Election Day crowing, for example, which is probably the biggest reason why anyone cares that much about national politics.)

Had Johnson done media tours saying "I'm awesome," people could rightly say, "Jag." But actually, it was Bill Ackman and the yo-yos who bought up all the stock at the end of last year and into 2012 who irked the more conservative, skeptical investing crowd.

Anyway, Johnson granted CNBC's Courtney Reagan a rare interview aired Tuesday on the Fast Money Halftime Report ... in which the most fascinating part of the discussion was the utter lack of mention of any product people are seeking out in JCPenney stores.

"We thought going from 590 unique sales, where the price is changing every day, to 3 types of prices would be simpler. But people found that confusing," Johnson said, while tripping over himself to say it's his responsibility, a way of saying the right thing while conveying, "how can you blame me for trying that" while indirectly painting his shoppers as morons.

Here's a free translation: We charged too much for stuff people didn't want.

Johnson claimed he has straightened that out, and now, "The first price is the right price."

Boldly, albeit not shown in Courtney's clip, Johnson addressed Reagan's question about a "contingency plan" if the sales strategy doesn't work: "There isn't one."

Afterwards, Brian Nagel had to fend off the Fast Money JCP critics, starting with Judge Wapner, who kept using a double negative in saying Johnson wasn't guaranteeing this won't be a "throwaway" year. Nagel said it depends on your definition of "throwaway," but he doesn't see enough cash burn that would create a balance sheet problem this year.

Stephen Weiss, camouflaging a serious dis behind phony praise, told Nagel, "I admire the fact that you can- that you're, you know, astute enough to go behind the curtain and see something that nobody else has seen," and demanded to know how JCP can hit his goals and gain market share.

Once again, nobody said a word about any products JCP might be selling that would draw people into its stores, but in fact, Nagel said it's a move to "retrain the customer."

If that really is the idea, it ain't gonna work.

Weiss demanded Nagel identify a couple other retailers that have re-invented themselves. Nagel said Pier 1 imports and PetSmart.

Weiss says ‘disasters don’t happen overnight,’ but that’s basically what happened with COH shares

Guest Christian Buss on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report uncorked one of those most dreaded headline-writer cliches, calling COH a "tale of 2 companies."

Yeah, the U.S. growth is stalling, but China/EM is awesome, you got it, you understand everything.

Buss said COH is under pressure from 1 particular competitor; "It's like Michael Kors is trying to steal their market share," he said.

Stephen Weiss posited that maybe this is the end of consumers' elevated interest in Coach products. Buss didn't see it that way and said he doesn't infer that from Tuesday's selloff. Weiss insisted, "disasters don't happen overnight."

Weiss said he's actually short KORS because he finds that valuation "egregious." Josh Brown said it's a "rebuilding year" for COH and so stay away; "management just told you not to buy their stock."

Pimco’s stock market analysis stretches back 4 centuries

These Pimco lunches must really be thought-provoking, given the talking points that are produced.

Tony Crescenzi told Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime that one way to look at the growth prospects of the Western world — and it only takes "about 30 seconds" to explains this, he said — is to know that "400 years ago the people of China and Europe had about the same income," and then there was the industrial revolution, etc., leading up to the Model T, and the Chinese only started getting their act together in 1950, etc., and what does any of that have to do with IBM's road map to its 2015 EPS?

Crescenzi defended Bill Gross' commentary, saying "debt has been driving growth for a very long time," but that in the meager future of stock returns, the outperformance figures to be in the "technology area," and that instead of just expecting easy money, "put your Lewis & Clark on, and go exploring."

Guest Bill Nygren said "I think stocks are really attractive today," and that they're being punished because of a flight to safety. His 3 top holdings are COF, JPM and CMCSK, though he likes AIG and thinks industrials and financials are "really cheap."

Nygren said he was aware of Gross' letter but hadn't read it. That didn't stop him from disagreeing, under the notion that companies would just buy back shares to the point you had a historical imbalance between EPS growth and corporate earnings growth. (We think there's another term for that — "multiple compression" — but, whatever.)

Rachel Benepe was somehow invited to the studio for barely 90 seconds of discussion about gold. Judge Wapner, making sure he didn't run out of time, told Benepe she "obviously" likes gold and asked for her top 3 picks right away. Benepe said Agnico-Eagle, Goldcorp, and Anglo Gold, and that she owns the bullion as well.

Steve Cortes' Final Trade was to short COH. Josh Brown said long PFE, while Stephen Weiss said short JCP.

It was refreshing to see Cortes back on the show; let's hope we get a return of Patty Edwards & Zach Karabell soon.

Cortes: Meredith ‘correct,’
but ‘far too early’

Steve Cortes on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report extended the Bill Gross debate into the muni market — a popular subject of a certain blonde TV pundit.

"States and municipalities are in for a lot of trouble," Cortes predicted. "I think the municipal bond market is very much at risk ... I'm watching the MUB right now."

Judge Wapner pointed out that sounds a lot like what Meredith Whitney was saying a while back.

"My belief is that she was actually correct in her thesis but was far too early," Cortes said.

Cortes said he's not in it now, but if it rallies, "shorting MUB will make a lot of sense."

Josh Brown jumped on that with a useful Trade School. "Hey Scott I don't think most people should short MUB. That's a trade with a negative carry. When you short something that pays a dividend you have to actually be responsible for that," Brown said.

Josh Brown: This market
is a ‘secular bear’

Right now. Right at this moment in time. Are we in a bull market, or bear market?

It depends on who you talk to.

It's only semantics. But it's important semantics.

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report volunteered, without any prompting really, that "We're in the midst of a secular bear since March of 2000. If history holds, we exit at some point before the end of this decade."

This page doesn't know whether it's a bull market or bear. If you're a bear, it started in 2000; if you're a bull, it started in 2009.

But if you're of the belief of Brown, that it's bear, it's hard to understand owning stocks, given what happened in 2008; you had about 4 years from '03-'07 to post some gains and now we've already completed 3 years of the current window of gains.

Anyway, Brown disagreed with Bill Gross' assessment, saying his clients aren't interested in 100 years' worth of research but just want to know, "When stocks are good, what kind of returns can we expect."

Brown asserted that someday the returns of the '80s and '90s will "come at a certain point," because "stocks move in these long-term, 15- to 17-year secular bull and bear markets."

Stephen Weiss seems to agree, and not agree, with the concept of ‘absolute guarantee’

Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report called Bill Gross "one of the people I respect most in the industry" and said "I think he's right on the top line."

But Weiss predicted there will be gains to be made in stocks, especially considering yields. "The stampede from bonds to equities is going to happen at some point," Weiss predicted, just "not near-term."

Steve Cortes actually got it right, but used only 1 of the 3 reasons.

The "cult of equity" is indeed dying, Cortes said, because "the baby boomers are quite literally dying, they are aging."

It's "really about demographics," he added. "They simply cannot afford to take risk at this stage." That's why Cortes favors government and high-rated bonds, where "the return of principal is absolutely guaranteed," and that for Weiss to suggest dividend yields are the same is an "apples and oranges comparison."

Weiss protested, "I can give you practically the same guarantee that you can get for bonds."

"OK, practically. But that's the key word there," Cortes said.

"Nah, no, I'll give it to you absolutely," Weiss said.

"No you can't give it absolutely for a private company," Cortes insisted.

"That's a great point, because you can't give it absolutely for bonds either," Weiss said.

Pete Najarian sounded skeptical. "This is a bond guy and suddenly he's the guru of the stock market," Najarian said, but in case anyone was taking that personally, Pete assured, "I like Bill Gross a lot but he lagged 92% of the rest of the bond folks last year." Najarian pointed to all the interest in options and said "I completely disagree" that it's the death equities.

Cortes got it partly right. The outsized returns from the '80s and '90s came from the baby boomers 1) entering their peak earning years, 2) getting hooked on 401(k) accounts and told the only mistake is getting out too soon, and 3) the country's massive credit expansion that continues to this day on a government level. There's not a new baby boom in the works, 401(k)s aren't foolproof, and credit at least on an individual basis is going to be limited for a long time.

Unfortunately it sounds a little depressing. Stock buyers need to think of the '80s/'90s like the Steel Curtain — we're never going to have that kind of a record again, but it's still possible to have another Super Bowl or 2.

Michael Pachter is one of those who has come up short in the Facebook ‘bar fight’

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report pounded himself for owning FB.

"I am a shareholder stupidly ... I, I'm kicking myself ... this is a huge mistake on my part," Najarian admitted, but then his explanation got murky when he explained what he should be doing about it, citing someone who "bought the 20/15 put spread."

But why should Pete feel so badly? Michael Pachter on May 22 complained that "weak hands" were holding Facebook shares; "completely uninformed retail investors who don't know where to step in ... I've done my homework. The company's worth 44."

Anyway, Josh Brown said Tuesday, "This is an outright bar fight ... They brought a momentum stock public 6 months later than when the momentum was already petering out."

Brown also, in a bad tangent, said the social media shares that have tanked are all the "customer-facing portion of social media," while there's a "whole other component" including PANW, which was great except, "I'm not recommending the stock here."

Steve Cortes claimed there's a "macro problem" for FB in that, "If we go ask somebody who is 25 or younger, do you use Facebook, the answer is almost unanimously no." Stephen Weiss disagreed, saying his kids are early 20s, and "they're on it incessantly, actually way too much."

More from Tuesday's Halftime, including Ron Johnson, later.

[Monday, July 30, 2012]

Fast Money’s extended absences

It's summer, and a lot of people take long vacations, or just decide to get away from it all.

Hopefully, that's all that's going on here.

3 of the top panelists on Fast Money — and 3 of this page's favorite folks to quote — coincidentally seem to have taken the same month off.

Steve Cortes and Zach Karabell, according to our own unofficial search up and down this page, haven't made a Fast Money appearance since the last week of June. Patty Edwards, by our tally, last was on the show July 3, which was the holiday-shortened day.

Airtime for several others has increased; kudos to them, but quite frankly, we're getting LinkedOut, as in too much Stephanie Link on the Halftime Report. Yes she's a lovely woman and fine person, but this is the manager/custodian of Jim Cramer's account, and it's not like CNBC viewers need extra doses of Cramer every day.

This page has complained fruitlessly, and will continue to complain, that having 2 hours' worth of the same show/theme every day is overkill (#franklycantbelievewestillwatchitall); nobody's forcing anyone to watch. But viewers interested in stocks and the financial markets have been well-served by the judgments, and humor, of Cortes, Karabell and Edwards.

If they're not going to be on the show anymore, that's CNBC's loss.

Flash: Trader wants to sell his stock at a higher price than it’s getting now

Stephanie Link on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report sidestepped a call on F and GM by suggesting investors get better leverage to an auto recovery through the parts companies and that BWA is one to "take a look at."

Steve Grasso explained, "I'm long Ford personally," and that his plan is, "I wanna be selling this stock up around $10."

Guy Adami called F and GM "sort of no-touches right now" and said if you're interested in poor IPOs, GM is a place to look.

Today’s Ron Johnson Update

Guy Adami on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report seemed in disbelief that anyone would be buying JCPenney shares.

"I'm still hard pressed to believe how it can go up a couple dollars from here," Adami said, while reminding viewers that Bill Ackman actually claims he can make 10 to 20 times on this investment. "Clearly they've done extensive homework on this stock," but it's hard to know what they see and what others don't, Adami said.

Judge stressed, and Adami agreed, that even the greats such as Ackman can have a bad call.

If AAPL gets into social media, that’s your sign to sell

Guy Adami on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report had a really useful tip (#sarcasm) for AAPL watchers: You should've bought when it was $575.

Jon Najarian was almost equally helpful, saying there was "big unusual activity" in AAPL weeklies last week.

Steve Grasso started off just fine, saying, "When the average person looks at this it's all about the iPhone," only to claim the "the real game-changer" is actually Apple TV.

Toni Sacconaghi used the term "aggressive guidance" a couple times, suggesting that gives him some pause but also makes him wonder "what's the missing link," in other words are there new products coming, "could be 1 or more," and the blog report about the phone launch "certainly could be" true.

Judge said that's important for someone of Sacconaghi's "stature" to suggest they could miss the "aggressive guidance." Sacconaghi affirmed, "In the absence of new products, yes," which is like saying, "in the absence of any touchdown passes, the Steelers could lose their opener."

In brief talk about Apple possibly eyeing Twitter, Stephanie Link noted "they don't have the social strategy yet." Sacconaghi curiously said a deal with Twitter "creates more option value" (and we don't think he meant the weekly puts & calls at the CBOE). Jon Najarian correctly pointed out that the iTunes store is far more profitable to them than Twitter likely would be.

Adami: ‘Huge opportunity’ in CBI

Jon Najarian reported on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that, surprise surprise, somebody made a killing in the options before the CBI-Shaw deal. "Some people think the rules don't apply to them," Najarian concluded.

Steve Grasso was asked to opine on the CBI purchase, looked down at something, and admitted, "I don't have a comment right now."

Guy Adami actually had a trading suggestion, calling CBI a "huge opportunity" on the selloff.

Stephanie Link said, "I would buy Fluor actually," because of "better visibility."

Once the earnings come out, we’ll know what happened

Stephanie Link on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report recommended DD or the fertilizers more than DE.

But Steve Grasso said that fertilizers aren't the trade in the ag space; "you don't fertilize a dustbowl," and that will be the "next-year story." Instead, he said, he'd "still be a buyer of the protein companies."

Guy Adami called DE "interesting" and said the risk looks like 73/74 on the downside and 90 on the upside.

Jon Najarian suggested Agco as possibly better upside than DE.

Jackie DeAngelis was given the chore of Twitter-reading Monday (a feature only useful in that it provides a close-up of superfox Seema Mody) but the sound was so bad she might as well have been in a phone booth. The subject was HLF. Jon Najarian helpfully concluded that at this point it's too early to trade the HLF report and we'll have to wait closer to the earnings "to see what ends up happening."

Gemma’s commentary lags behind her smile

Judge Wapner welcomed a new guest on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Gemma Godfrey, who looked good and has perfect teeth but did nothing but waffle in saying of Draghi, "Now is the time for him to deliver … central bank action is no longer able to support markets."

Godfrey did use a term rarely heard on Fast, suggesting European stocks may be cheap, but there are a "helluva lot of risks on the horizon."

Unfortunately, Dan Fuss didn't do a whole lot better comparing bonds and stocks, saying these markets are "very very very thin."

Fuss said, "Some version of support for the bond market is probably coming forward," but stressing it's just a GUESS, said it could be "more support for the Treasury market itself."

"Longer term, I think rates will be higher," Fuss said.

Long GDX, likes GLD

Mike Harris said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "trends have gotten very bullish over the last couple of days" in gold and that the "market is starting to move higher."

Guy Adami said he agrees and pointed out the fiat-demise thing and observed, "I think people overlooking what's going on.

Steve Grasso uncorked some really curious philosophizing on the sector, saying, "I'm actually long GDX," but he likes the GLD, "counterintuitive to what I'm long," and that he's in GDX because it's a "cost issue for me" while assuring, "I'm leveraged."

Grasso said of coal, "This whole sector is due for a bounce," and if he had to buy any of them, it would be ACI. Grasso said nat gas looks "a little toppy at these levels" and said plants will switch to coal if nat gas hits $5.

Trader: Buying a stock at 34 rather than 36 is a better value position

In what could've been a more interesting dialogue, Judge Wapner on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report brought up Adam Parker's call that the market might expand multiples if Romney is perceived to be winning.

Steve Grasso rightly pointed out that a rising market would enhance the "wealth effect" that voters feel and actually be a positive for the incumbent, but then curiously said, "definitely agree with his premise as a whole."

Guy Adami said the most likely scenario for a Romney win is a "market collapse," and otherwise, "status quo, I think incumbent wins."

Stephanie Link said she took a "new position for us last week" in WFC.

Link also said you want to be owning JPM not at 36-37 but at 33-34, which is "much better value."

Guy Adami advised viewers not to chase ROP Monday. Jon Najarian said V is "hittin' on all cylinders," and that people had been buying a bunch of out of the money calls. Stephanie Link said to "keep looking at" PHM.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was long XLU as well as owning D. Jon Najarian said long MGM puts. Stephanie Link said VALE, and Guy Adami said PSX is "on fire" and he expects it will continue to burn.

Judge Wapner previewed his "Ripping off the Rich" special. (Tip: If you own a lot of pricy artwork, don't trust it with a con artist.)

[Friday, July 27, 2012]

‘You want the young man to stay in this country, and you want your daughter to be married’

Judge Wapner during Friday's Fast Money Hafltime Report decided to grill Joe Terranova on the cause of the week's rally, and frankly, by the time it was done, we couldn't remember if Judge was accusing Terranova of saying the macro was both strong and weak, or saying the macro is stronger when it really isn't.

But what does it matter? The market, like Nazorine the baker visiting Vito Corleone (incredibly, while we expected to find numerous images of this conversation and its awesomely awkward handshake, there apparently aren't any on the Web, so what you get above is a standard look at Vito during a random scene), simply wants 2 things: 1) Europe to kick the can down the road, and 2) QE3.

It won't always be pretty, will certainly be choppy, but quite frankly, they're gonna get it, because the powers that be "understand everything" … and just wait'll they see the cake they're gonna make for their daughter … Mr. Hagen, thank you.

Rewriting Zuck’s script (alt. title: What people learned from listening to Facebook’s CEO)

In a curious, although not unwelcome, twist to the top of the show, Judge Wapner on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report asked his panelists to draw distinctions between Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Joe Terranova, brilliantly we might add, picked up where this page left off overnight (hit PgDn a couple times) on Mark Zuckerberg with one of the best lines in recent Fast Money history: "On the call yesterday, he did sound somewhat like a student reading a book report to the class."


Airing portions of this conference call Thursday was one of CNBC's greatest recent public services.

No Web page can adequately convey the haphazard cadence, the stop-start manner of Zuckerberg's remarks on Thursday that could've received an even worse reaction from John Pleshette than Rocky Balboa's "smeel mainly" got.

Nor can printed words convey the utter lack of passion sensed in this call.

But as you'll see from below, it's clear this is a person wholly uncomfortable with what he's saying, way out of his league in this particular part of his job, unable to connect in the slightest with this ghastly ghost-written text penned by someone in PR who clearly was terrified that Mark Zuckerberg might be reciting his/her prose to the general public.

You can listen at CNBC.com, with Zuck's remarks beginning around the 3-minute mark. But consider the text alone:

"… today's call with a clear sense of the investments we're making to create value over the long term by making Facebook even more useful for all of the people who use our services worldwide."

Translation: "Long term," meaning, "ignore our short-term shellacking"; "worldwide" meaning "we're part of the global growth story"; "more useful for all of the people who use our services" = incredibly written in a stupor for such a big moment.

"Growing the network of people who use Facebook and expanding the social experiences available to them remains the foundation of our effort and the key to our future success…"

Translation: "Growing" and "expanding" would "remain," not "remains" … "available to them" is totally redundant filler … either "future" or "success" is totally superfluous.

"Overall, I hope my comments here give you a good sense of our priorities, around mobile platforms and social ads. We have a lot of interesting things going on here. There are a lot of challenges, and these are the types of problems that we like to work on. We're working hard to staff up across the company, especially in the technical groups, to make sure that we make progress against these goals…"

Translation: Get real, Mark.

"Lot of interesting things going on here" … "these are the types of problems that we like to work on" … did a high-schooler write this?

What kind of person seeks progress against his/her goals?

Yes, it's a conference call. We get that. You don't want executives winging it, especially ones who haven't done this very often. That's why most follow a script.

This script is beyond pathetic, something you'd expect to hear out of MagicJack as opposed to supposedly one of the world's most dynamic technology companies.

Be honest. If you had never, ever heard of Facebook, and were told, "Listen to this 28-year-old CEO talk about his company," you'd think this was a joke.

At best — at best — Zuckerberg is a Roethlisberger kind of QB … not big on film study or mechanics, but an incredible prodigy who's got it in his gut and wins you over (on the field) because he's gonna keep comin' at 'em and eventually make a play.

Roethlisberger doesn't try to play head coach, something Zuckerberg is pretending to be.

To that end, this is what Zuckerberg should've been saying: "We are going to be there. We are going to make our users happy and we are going to make money. And when the next trend comes around after social media, we're going to be there first. The reaction to the IPO was disappointing. We should've made sure the Nasdaq and the underwriters were better prepared. I'm not worried about that now. That's cosmetic stuff for the critics to complain about on CNBC. I own this company. My reputation's on the line here. We went from a dorm room to toppling MySpace. We've got 900 million people who like what we're doing. As long as we're there for them, we're going to make money …"

But no. This is cringe-inducing laughingstock. This guy isn't interested in the business world, and isn't thrilled in the slightest to have to appease Wall Street analysts.

You'd think the Harvard-educated world's youngest billionaire would have the confidence to say as much on a call, but this was like Rory McIlroy on Sunday at the Masters with a 4-shot lead.

Next time, hopefully, unlike Rocky, he won't need so many dummy cards.

Pete Najarian, like Mike Murphy, unable to give it up

Pete Najarian, who's still afraid of missing some kind of technical bounce on FB after he eventually unloads, expressed virtually 100% pessimism on the company's CEO on Friday's Halftime Report. "I don't think he's figured out anything and I don't know if he ever will figure something out."

"I'm long this stock from well above where we are right now," Najarian admitted. "I continue to think that maybe, they'll surprise me."

Najarian, like Joe Terranova, used the magic word of failure in today's tech world that we're also gonna be hearing with Marissa Mayer (that would be "monetize"), but Najarian actually went so far as to suggest Facebook might start losing talented people to other ventures.

Steve Grasso, who obviously has a heart, said it's "too early on Zuckerberg" to draw conclusions.

Josh Brown pointed to Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz and said, "I would love to see what one of these guys would do with Facebook," which is exactly why we keep saying that Zuck needs to hire Mark Hurd. Joe Terranova articulated an excellent point about how, even though Zuckerberg made an incredible accomplishment in his 20s, Schultz and Bezos have business experience that makes them better equipped to be CEOs.

‘True identity’: Gene Munster has identified a new metric for Facebook that he mentioned probably 3 times

Gene Munster conceded from the beginning of his Facebook chat on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that it's almost like a "punch line of a joke today" to suggest owning FB, but, "at the end of the day … this is a platform that really is creating true value, true identity."

Honestly Gene, that sounds like Facebook PR talking-point mumbo jumbo that even Mark Zuckerberg probably didn't utter on his conference call.

For a trade, sure. If you're stuck in a long holding period, fine. Honestly, after seeing this guy wear a hoodie to a roadshow in which they spent much of the time showing videos already available on YouTube, hearing they spent a billion on Instagram, learning that a founder renounced his citizenship, seeing those post-IPO wedding pictures, and listening to this guy talk, does anyone actually believe this stock is going anywhere but down?

Josh Brown challenged Munster to actually wait for "data, for actual evidence" of accelerating growth before endorsing the company on a drink-the-Kool-aid theory (that's our term, not Brown's). Munster made a sentiment rebuttal, pointing out "the negativity is pretty strong."

Pete Najarian asked Munster what he heard on the call that sounds positive. Munster said the fact that "57% of Facebook users access mobile," which apparently is great because Munster sees mobile as a "unicorn" right now.

Superfox Seema Mody briefly got in on the act with some Twitter culling, and by the way, who in the world who's seated over in her department at Englewood Cliffs could possibly concentrate on work when she's over there?

XOM being a great example of how companies prefer to do the opposite of breakups

Kate Kelly joined Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report to do a little waffling, explaining that Jamie Dimon was asked about Sandy Weill's comments but "refused today to jump into the fray" even though he said he agreed with Richard Kovacevich's complaint that the government's overregulating all the banks who didn't do anything wrong.

Josh Brown wondered what would happen if banks found it in their interest to break up and actually claimed, "Someone's talking about Morgan Stanley tripling," while asking Kelly who among the big banks is most open to that notion.

Kelly had no answer, saying, "Well that's a really good question."

Pete Najarian pointed to KKR and said that sector probably has "far more legs" than the XLF.

Bill Irving made the case for Treasurys, not for the yield, but "you own them for the insurance policy that they provide," and get a "diversification benefit."

Irving even claimed that falling off the fictitious fiscal cliff would be "good for Treasurys," and said if QE3 happens, it won't be till next year.

Sara Senatore makes it sound like SBUX’s plunge was barely more than a Flash Crash

Aside from FB, it was SBUX getting the most chatter on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, with analyst Sara Senatore touting the stock's "attractive valuation" after selling off on "strictly a macro, uh, a macro issue … at this price or lower I would be buying it."

Note no mention of a falling dagger.

Judge wanted Senatore to explain how things changed after they were reaffiming guidance with a "couple of weeks left" in the quarter. Senatore claimed the reaffimation occurred in the "first week of June," and it just so happened that the macro world got "substantially softer than what we saw in April and May … I don't think it's a credibility issue."

Pete Najarian questioned why, if WFM can do well in this environment, SBUX couldn't.

Jordan Rohan pounded the table for AMZN having 4.6% U.S. margin up from 2% of a couple years ago. "This sounds like Wal-Mart to me … online version of Wal-Mart," he said, adding that Europe wasn't awful.

Rohan said the company also downplayed prospects for same-day delivery in a lot of markets.

Josh Brown pounded the table for AMGN, saying there's "really no resistance ahead of it" and that XBI benefits from a "secular growth trend."

Steve Grasso said he's still long S and it's gone from "universally hated to universally loved."

Grasso and Brown knocked Joe Terranova's enthusiasm for the week's rally, with Grasso pointing out the leaders are "all defensive names … I'm still negative on this." Brown said with utilities being out front, "that is not a good sign."

Startlingly cute Kathy Lien called for a euro long at 1.2325, with a stop at 1.2250 and target of 1.2435 while seeking a "quick pop higher."

Joe Terranova explained he got out of NKE during the show. Pete Najarian said he agreed with that move.

Najarian's Final Trade was SBUX. Terranova said TCBI, Steve Grasso said FET and Josh Brown said TGT.

[Thursday, July 26, 2012]

We’ve just heard the most lovely 2/3 words: ‘2-week hiatus’

Shows will take a break, but the markets won't.

God bless the London Olympics, if for no other reason than reducing the often-highly-redundant Fast Money franchise from 2 hours to 1 hour daily over the next couple weeks as the 5 p.m. show will yield to NBC Universal's Games coverage.

So the pressure's on Judge. We've gotta think the brass will study these next 2 weeks and contemplate if, heaven forbid, the world can get by on just 1 hour of Fast Money a day, regardless of when it airs or who gets to appear on it. (#wishfulthinking)

This page of course will be keeping tabs on Judge's operation, and quite frankly, it's camp time, and we're gonna be talkin' about football.

Compared with some people,
Ron Johnson looks like Steve Jobs

Joe Terranova on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money came up with an interesting assessment of Facebook's struggles.

"They're experiencing fatigue," Terranova said.

What, are they tired of making money?

Terranova eventually got to the magic words, which were, "monetize mobile."

However, the most provocative thing he said was that "you will see a Facebook phone in the next 12 months." This page will take the other side of that opinion, and once again stress that the founder better hire away Mark Hurd quick — or at least Ross Levinsohn.

In a valid programming call, Fast Money allowed viewers to listen to Mark Zuckerberg's remarks, which caused pockets of dead air and choppy transitions, but the revelation that this character sounds like a shy high school sophomore reading text aloud for his English class is likely not going to help the stock's confidence factor. (#bunchofjokerswhogotlucky)

Keith McCullough proves at least 1 step ahead of Mike Murphy in the denial/acceptance thing

Mike Murphy, who has only been touting Facebook on Fast Money since about, oh, the low $30s, admitted on Thursday's 5 p.m. show that it was a "disaster of a quarter."

But, Murphy's in it for the "long-term story here."

Murphy told Melissa Lee, "I'll take Facebook over a LinkedIn any day of the week," based on the theory that, "I think LinkedIn could be gone."

Colleague Keith McCullough on the other hand, making his first Fast Money appearance in some time (which either means his book has been so weak he didn't want to discuss, or it's been so hot that he can't take himself away for an hour after work), refreshingly explained, "At the end of the day, I mean, I made this mistake coming right out of the box, I liked this stock coming into the IPO and the best decision I think I made was changing my mind. This has been a disaster right from the start."

McCullough even threw in a funny, rightly saying that if you're Mark Zuckerberg, "at a point, you just are publicly embarrassed ... and you have to start to react to that, unless you're just completely a non-human being in this case, which he may not be, I have no idea." (Well, didn't McCullough watch "The Social Network"?)

Mike Khouw said FB options were "staggeringly active."

Seema Mody, who did something new to her exquisite hair on Thursday, reads tweets far better than Mark Zuckerberg reads corporate data and said someone was making a bullish case for FB but only with an $18 entry point.

Guest Herman Leung started to say that Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg were identifying "top priorities" on the call (good that they're finally revealing those), then had to excuse himself, then returned to say guidance is "not provided."

But Leung insisted to Mel Lee that he's unfazed about the stock's afterhours debacle. "We have a buy rating on it, so we like the stock," Leung said.

‘Long-term’ CEO really keen on remarks made that day

Keith McCullough and Joe Terranova both revealed on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money having SBUX positions.

But while McCullough seemed to write off the stock based on growth concerns without saying so explicitly, Terranova indicated he wouldn't sell right now, but he would sell if it bounces back to $52.

Speaking of selling, Mike Khouw reported a big buyer of 20,000 PHM October 10 puts for 58 cents, "fairly substantial bearish bets."

Guest Jeff Pintar, whose company invests in sharply discounted "rapid-fire cherry-picking" housing primarily in Southern California but also the Southwest, had the win-win thing going as to the impact on his business of housing either recovering or re-sinking.

"Either side of the equation I think it does well for us," Pintar concluded.

Goldcorp chief Chuck Jeannes initially spoke about how long-term-focused his company is, then managed to mention that what Draghi said that very morning "should be positive for gold in more of the short term."

Mel Lee tried to hammer Jeannes on labor costs being a permanent headwind for his business because unlike energy prices, which are cyclical, labor has an "upward trajectory."

Brian Shactman noted that AMZN had quickly reversed course afterhours but that there were "no specific catalysts" for such a move (doesn't he realize that the Amazon multiple is like Rocky Balboa in A) both the Apollo fights, B) the 2nd Clubber fight, and 3) the Drago fight?).

Herb Greenberg reported that SBUX had said something about the GMCR brewer, one of his favorite subjects, but then quickly moved on to Starbucks' own product and called that a "game changer" and then "glossed over the Green Mountain."

3D Systems CEO Abe Reichental notably told Melissa Lee his company has "not seen any discernible difference in any of our European customers," and in fact used the term "discernible" twice. He said the company's "outlook is very optimistic about Europe."

Bobby Grubert of RBC said his company is proud to be "the title sponsor of the RBC Decathlon."

In the thankfully last installment of Fast Money/NBC-sponsored Olympics-related stock market picks, panelists predicted which companies would outperform. Joe Terranova said the U.K. FTSE, fair enough except Steve Grasso had to parse with the FTSE 250 as exemplified by the MCX. Keith McCullough said the Chinese, which Steve Cortes won't like to hear. Mike Murphy said the USA and the Russell 2000. Mike Khouw said it has to be Brazil (perhaps, if it's a supermodel competition).

Stephen Weiss and Stephanie Link must’ve backed their cars into each other before the show

Something about Stephanie Link was sure getting under Stephen Weiss' skin on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Weiss made a point at the top of the show agreeing with Brian Kelly and then disagreeing with what he said was Link's contention that earnings have been great.

Link immediately sensed tension, jumping in to say "It's a stock-picker's market Steve, you know that .. We're picking the winners."

Always better to be picking the winners than the losers.

But things really escalated over what else but Ron Johnson-land.

Weiss first claimed, "I had no idea who Nina Garcia was," then faulting Johnson for "one misstep after another," predicting an August earnings "disaster," calling the stock "way overvalued" and suggesting a "mid to low teens" destination.

Judge Wapner burnished Garcia's credentials, but then Weiss suddenly knew who she was, saying, "I think she's got a relationship with JCPenney No. 1," and more importantly, he read about its largest menswear vendor seeing sales fall 70% and thinks other retailers are rethinking putting a store within a JCP.

Link argued the stock is "absolutely hated" and "actually kind of interesting" given the selloff/valuation.

Weiss snapped, "Don't judge valuation based upon stock price moves otherwise you'd buy every dollar stock."

Link tried to rebut, "Well that's not true," but Weiss continued, "it's still expensive."

Finally given a chance to speak (hey, that's what happens in the designated Patty Edwards Amount of Air Time Space), Link defended Johnson, "I don't really know if every single move that he's done has been so bad so far," and meanwhile, "expectations are extremely low," and the stock is "overhated at this point."

Quite frankly, this page hates that stock, but Link made good points. It's about the trade, after all.

Brian Kelly summarized the exchange as "quite a back-and-forth there."

Link assured Judge Wapner after his possibly slightly patronizing comment as to whether she's OK (we're not saying it was patronizing, only that it could be) that she's fine; "Steve and I go way back" and are friends.

‘If … he’s doing something else, that’s fine with me’

Judge Wapner and guest Kevin Landis put on a production of who's s------- who on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Dennis Gartman got things started before the interview questioning "How can Zuckerberg not be on" the conference call, calling it "beyond the pale" if that's the case.

Brian Kelly said he agrees but that Zuckerberg has made it known he's not running the company for quarterly gains and that if you like the company you just want to put the shares in a drawer. Judge Wapner chided Kelly, "You're selling him a little bit short."

Then Judge welcomed Landis and immediately got off to a rocky start telling Landis that he apparently bought many of his shares around an average price of $31 and as an owner of FB Landis must hope "it does a little bit better for ya."

Well, uh, "We hope it goes up," Landis smirked.

"Yeah, well, no question about that," Wapner said.

Wapner then asked about the possible presence of Mark Zuckerberg on the call, and then came Landis' jaw-dropper: "If he decides that he's not the one to be on the call, and he's doing something else, that's fine with me."

"How is that possible?!" Judge exploded. "I'm mean you've gotta be kidding me."

"OK you have to be kidding me," Landis calmly rebutted. "The call is just, that's just optics. It's the substance that matters."

Dennis Gartman took Judge's side, saying if U.S. Steel or GM's CEO skipped the call, "the Street would go wild."

Landis said ZNGA matters, but not that much. "At the margin, that's not nearly as important," he said.

Judge ended it with courtesy, telling Landis, "It's good to have you on the show."

Mike Khouw said a "lot of people" have been buying the weekly 29, 30 and 31 FB calls.

Hate to say it but the Internet tax collection has been baked into this stock since about 2009

Guest Hal Goldstein, like many Amazon watchers, wasn't fazed by the multiple, saying "We're watching revenue growth" and not concerning himself more with margins that have fallen recently, which he chalked up to building more warehouses.

"Margins can drift higher," Goldstein said.

Stephanie Link though said "I think they really have to improve on margins" for her to start buying. Stephen Weiss didn't second that (no surprise) but instead cited the red flag of Internet tax collections.

Guest Chris Larsen said of Sprint, which used to be a boring regular mention by Steve Grasso but now has paid off in spades, "There is a big turnaround," and in fact "things look really good for Sprint right now." Larsen credited CEO Daniel Hesse with improving the image.

Larsen said T is a "fine place to hang out" but that the "upside's somewhat limited."

Dennis Gartman claims he has never been in a Starbucks

Brian Kelly said on Thursday's Halftime, "I am a buyer of Starbucks," but he wasn't convincing Dennis Gartman.

"Never been to one," Gartman said, and as an aside, "I've never owned a watch."

Stephen Weiss, probably anticipating that Stephanie Link wouldn't like it, agreed with Kelly, "I like the stock." But Gartman insisted, "Stock's breaking down."

‘Long U.S. stocks, short Europe’

Dennis Gartman said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he was compelled to cover his euro short after Draghi spoke and because "he looked stern, he looked resolute," though Gartman doubts that Draghi really is that resolute.

Stephanie Link, saying she's been buying SLB, BMY and WFC, said the news should "continue to put some sort of a floor on the market."

Stephen Weiss decided to masquerade as JCP plain-pocket jeans lover Tim Seymour, cautioning that "not everybody's so positive" on Draghi's remarks and that he "set the bar so, so high" that he's going to have to pull a "shock and awe" to carry it out.

Yet, moments later, Weiss claimed, "I think you can sort of buy the market here," in part because of the reversal in Spanish yields.

Brian Kelly, mostly on the sidelines Thursday, said Draghi applied a "tourniquet" to the markets and that you can buy dividend stocks, but Kelly's trade is "long U.S. stocks, short Europe."

When ‘calendar’ year can mean a couple different things

Gene Munster said on Thursday's Halftime Report he gives "little if any" credibility to the China report about a delay in the iPhone 5.

But Munster conceded there's a bit of confusion about the "year" QCOM was referring to in its own report.

Anyway, as for phone delays, the "probability of that is low," Munster said.

Munster complained AAPL shares were slumping and negative reports are being noticed because "people are looking for reasons not to be positive."

Stephen Weiss also doubted the report (though Stephanie Link didn't back it) because he said QCOM wouldn't reveal this, "They don't talk about their customers." Weiss predicted of AAPL, "They will launch on time … business as usual."

Link offered, "I think the stock is gonna take a pause here."

Guest Hal Goldstein said he continues "to have very high hopes about Apple."

Dennis Gartman said that if you own AAPL, you've "gotta be very very concerned" about Thursday's flat day on a big tape.

Soybeans not (yet) a lost cause

Kate Kelly repeated on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report the USDA news reported by the New York Times, that food prices are going up next year.

Dennis Gartman said his question for the Ag secretary (that's Tom Vilsack) is "where have you been," saying corn could lose 10 bushels an acre when it's at least 25.

Gartman said though that if it starts raining, "You can still make a soybean crop in the next 2 weeks." Brian Kelly mentioned JJG and DBA.

Stephen Weiss doesn't see an instant CMG bounce and would be "probably still short here."

Kelly: ‘Great place’ for USG

Guest Paul Richards told Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that "I never mess with central bankers Scott" and that Draghi has a "number of things he can do," and that Richards sees the euro having a 121.75 "base."

He didn't talk about it, but the screen implied Richards' trade is to buy the Aussie vs. U.S. dollar.

Brian Kelly said he likes long euro vs. the pound.

Stephanie Link said WDC being "20% in a day is a lot to chase." (Stephen Weiss didn't object.)

Brian Kelly noted the recent plunge in USG and said this is a "great place to get into that" without noting that if you followed the show's recent recommendations on that name from various people you took a hit this week.

Kelly's Final Trade was IBM. Stephen Weiss, undaunted, said he's "adding to Wellpoint" (there's another easy Fast Fire recently). Stephanie Link said FCX (Weiss didn't balk) and Dennis Gartman said gold in yen terms, a comment that's always priceless.

[Wednesday, July 25, 2012]

1,337: Here we go again ...
(as Whitesnake would say)

In case you've been wondering what the financial markets have accomplished in the last 12 months, take a look at the S&P 500's close on Wednesday ... and compare it to the close exactly a year earlier on July 25, 2011.

This page was way ahead of the curve on that (just PgDn a few times).

Of course, as Dylan Ratigan would say, it really doesn't mean anything except, "What's the trade?"

As far as we can tell, the "trade" is that last August's selloff was too steep, and this year's January-March run was way too effusive, and that's about as specific as it gets.

In other words, the global economy hasn't changed a damn bit in 12 months.

(Yes, GMCR, NFLX and HLF suck now, but that's between you and your shares.)

Deciding whether this 1-year coincidence is a plus or minus is like evaluating whether a baseball team is going in the right direction after 2 straight 81-81 seasons.

We'll certainly know by November, when voters decide whether to fire the skipper.

All Louise Yamada really says is that tech is better than financials

This page keeps using the term "wishy-washy," but good grief, how else would anyone characterize what's being heard on Fast Money recently.

Star guest Louise Yamada, always impeccably dressed, would only assert on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show that "technology is one of our structural leaders going forward regardless of the overall market environment."

Using bizarre terminology that requires more brain cells than we've got (for sure) to understand, Yamada wasn't ready to embrace the broad market, saying "We're a little bit query (sic, that's what it sounded like) of it." (Wouldn't "wary" suffice?)

Yamada also pointed out that financials are "still underperforming" and not at all a leader like tech is.

Guy Adami was the only person on the whole show, and for just one moment, offering a trade idea of significance, positing, "Take out 1,344 on the upside again, I think people will be surprised, the move that we're gonna see."

Is there actually an Internet company not hurt by the ‘transition to mobile’?

And Alabama tourism officials (and longtime residents) could only hope that so many people were moving to the real Mobile and not just the one encapsulated by their cell phone.

Jon Najarian said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "This Zynga report was miserable," and later said the problem with the company is that it "really is the emperor's new clothes."

Brian Kelly said, more seriously than he needed to, "I think in Zynga you stay away from this."

Kelly would add, "The only reason why you buy Facebook is you believe that Mark Zuckerberg is the next Steve Jobs" (we'll take the even money on that one), but said he might take a flier into earnings.

Julia Boorstin reported later on Zynga's call and stressed the problems of monetizing mobile at least a couple times.

For a change, Sandy Weill is actually being taken seriously

Brian Kelly shrugged off CNBC's semi-invented story of the day, the notion that banks are suddenly going to get broken up just because "Louis Rukeyser's Wall $treet Week" Hall of Famer Sandy Weill finally decided to go on TV instead of (chuckle) giving Gasparino an interview.

Kelly said, "You can't have a shock to the system on this," but it was CNBC's Wall Street Reporter (looking good in glasses) Kate Kelly who said, "I would be very surprised right now to see anybody embracing a bank breakup."

Tim Seymour channeled one of our favorite Wall Street trading cliches, saying that during the JPM debacle, "Guys were getting the tap on the shoulder."

Guy Adami said if banks were broken up, there'd be a "period of time where they'd have a lot of trouble retaining talent" (translation: They're gonna oppose that as staunchly as Dick Fuld and Mark Hurd (but not Meredith Whitney) remain camera-shy).

Jon Najarian agreed and said they're already "hemorrhaging talent ... to the hedge fund community."

Meanwhile, Kate Kelly reported that Morgan Stanley (which unlike BAC looks more and more like the real weak sister of big banks) is possibly going to sell 15% of its commodities unit to Qatar, but the deal is not finalized.

$10 target on JBLU

Guest Greg Smith was actually enthusiastic about V on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying the quarter represents "significant upside" on both the top and bottom line, and "we see no structural reason why margins shouldn't continue to expand."

Goodness only knows, however, why Mel Lee invited Barry Bausano to deliver a hedge-funds-not-as-bad-as-you-think sleep-inducing assessment in front of a needless chart at the Nasdaq.

Bausano claimed the overall returns don't reflect that credit and distressed asset specialists have been doing great, and that hedge funds will continue to do well primarily because of pension interests.

Otherwise, Bausano said hedge funds are concerned about the fiscal cliff; some think now's the time to buy, and others say wait.

Guy Adami praised former favorite WDC; "Just when you think they're commoditized, they're not," Adami said, pointing out that based on the latest results, the stock is still "extraordinarily cheap."

Mike Khouw noted the strong results from WFM but said "the valuation is a little bit scary to me here" and mentioned what happened to CMG while suggesting using call spreads to play it.

Khouw also identified a buyer of "over 6,000 September 15 calls" in OVTI, paying 50 cents.

Mary Thompson reported the AKAM beat, a reminder of the time more than a year ago when the Najarians pounded the table for this stock constantly.

Melissa Lee ran some clips of interviews with JBLU bigwigs and a tour of the planes. Guy Adami said he's a "big fan" of Dave Barger (how could he not be when Barger's on Fast Money all the time) and, "I wish the stock would go higher."

Mike Khouw said of JBLU, "We actually have a buy on this stock with a $10 target."

In the goofy Olympics promotion that Fast Money is forced to do to help support viewership of a huge NBCUniversal project, Tim Seymour suggested selling adidas, Guy Adami said buy GSK, Brian Kelly said buy GE, Jon Najarian said BMW, and Mike Khouw said buy DOW, and if you can identify a thread in all of those, you should be handling John Paulson's investments.

Seymour's Final Trade was TS. Adami said APH, Brian Kelly said CAT and Jon Najarian said GLD.

‘Amazon grew into the valuation’

Not since "The Muppet Show" (Beverly Sills? Dizzy Gillespie?) has anyone talked with their hands as much as Joe Terranova did on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report when complaining, "Netflix blames the Olympics for their problems."

Differentiating between perceptions of Jeff Bezos and Reed Hastings, Terranova actually claimed, "Amazon grew into the valuation."

Mike Murphy issued this stark pronouncement on NFLX: "You could see where in 6 months, the company ceases to exist, there's no longer a need for it."

Brian Kelly said of NFLX, "I would not be bottom-fishing here at all."

Oh, those banks’ book values

Sheila Bair, who basically when she's on CNBC says the same things that Larry Kudlow always says, claimed on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that she was "flabbergasted" at Sandy Weill's call to break up the banks, but that she basically agrees and thinks JPM, C and BAC are prime candidates.

But Bair said the problem of actually doing the breaking up centers on "more complexity than size." Mike Murphy made the case for "book value" again but said, "I think the market's telling you that they like this idea."

Judge Wapner actually brought up the old "unlocking value" theme. That prompted Joe Terranova to recommend TCBI, WTFC and CVBF.

Brian Kelly trumpeted regional banks, and refreshingly admitted in regard to Weill and Bair, "I'm a little confused about this whole notion ... As a trade, I think you buy the KRE."

JJ Kinahan stressed that any bank breakup "could take a couple of years."

Skeptics vs. Caterpillar

You can tell it's summertime in the stock market ("valuations are so cheap, but ..."), because analyst calls get wishy-washy-er by the day.

Steve Volkmann told Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that CAT is a good company for the long term, but it's the short term that concerns him because there's a "lot of uncertainty in the world."

Volkmann said the opinion of some is that CAT's own 2nd-half projections are too high, and so the market is trying to "cut a little out of the 2nd half."

Basically, it's "over-inventoried" and "over-optimistic," said Volkmann, who has an 85 hold.

Mike Murphy said, "China is leading these guys lower."

Joe Terranova boldly told Judge Wapner, "You're making a mistake here" in how Judge claimed the market used a double-standard for CAT and ETN. Caterpillar, according to Terranova, "was an options market trade over the last couple of days."

No hope for the Shack

Guest Michael Ward on Wednesday's Halftime Report shrugged off Europe concern with Ford, saying it "isn't really new news" and that the company is still "very profitable."

Ward has a $15 price target and said the company can get there as it finds ways to return cash to shareholders.

JJ Kinahan said he owns F but asserted, "They said it's a structural problem in Europe."

Kinahan suggested that TripAdvisor may set the bar low for Expedia. He also said he doesn't "really see a lot of hope" for RSH.

Brian Kelly said of RSH, "I would get out of it."

Joe Terranova said he likes EMC and BA on the list of most-loved-by-analysts stocks.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was GLD. JJ Kinahan said F. Mike Murphy said JCI, and Joe Terranova issed a laundry list including financials, CRUS and SWKS.

Mike Murphy gushes about
Jamie Dimon even more
than Karen Finerman does

For anyone who isn't that interested in God's Gift to Banking/Financial Markets, which would be JPMorgan and/or its CEO Jamie Dimon, Mike Murphy's commentary on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report was borderline nauseating.

Murphy first told Judge Wapner, "I think JPMorgan's a bank that you can look at here and talk about buying," saying it's "near its tangible book value."

(OMG! JPM near tangible book!!!!!)

"What are you waiting to see?" Judge rightly demanded. "I mean, you're telling others to take a look but you haven't done it."

"Definitely take a look; we haven't acted on it this morning we were sidetracked with an Apple, with a Caterpillar, lot of things going on, but, I don't think it's something that you have to dive into this second," Murphy stammered, before insisting he'd be buying in the 34 range.

Murphy later referenced Reed Hastings' infamous Facebook post. "I don't think you'd see Jamie Dimon making that type of error," Murphy said.

Expert realizes: Steve Jobs is no longer running Apple

Guest Darren Chervitz made a wishy-washy case for/against AAPL shares on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying, "This is not the first time they've done this" in a quarter, but this time it's a "little bit different."

It's different, Chervitz asserted, because of a macro situation that seems to be "disappointing," and more startlingly, "Steve Jobs is no longer at the company."

"You have to at least question and consider whether the vision is there to release the next, uh, big game-changing product," Chervitz said.

Hmmm. Apparently no one at the world's most celebrated company has a vision about the next game-changing product.

"Tim Cook is a fabulous operator," Chervitz backpedaled, but the "question is a little bit about the vision thing."

He said he's "very hesitant to sell at this point."

Chervitz also said he doesn't own FB but it might have "huge potential."

Tavis McCourt has lowered AAPL a bit to only his "2nd- or 3rd-favorite idea out of 15," and the thing from the call he found "somewhat alarming" was "iPhones being flat in Europe," an indication that Android might be "growing pretty substantially" there. But McCourt said there are now 225,000 apps for the iPad.

McCourt said Motorola Solutions (MSI) is now his only strong-buy-rated stock.

More from Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report later.

[Tuesday, July 24, 2012]

Brian Nagel actually issed an outperform on JCP

They spent much of the time on AAPL, shunning the shocker of the day.

Brian Nagel told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money he somehow put an "outperform" on JCPenney, apparently because it has "got quite a bit of time here" and "liquidity," even though "this turnaround's gonna probably stay messy for a while."

"Behind a lot of noise, we see a, a, positive story here," Nagel said, saying Ron Johnson's strategy is "gonna work well."

However, peppered with a couple of good questions from Karen Finerman about street estimates and valuation, Nagel admitted that the estimates/guidance collaboration is "frankly a mess at this point," but asserted, "that's probably baked into the stock."

Khouw on AAPL: ‘At some point, you have to wonder ... ’

Every so often, there's a rare quarter that gives AAPL skeptics potential validation.

Mike Khouw sounded the most skeptical of any of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money panel, saying someone put considerable coin in an August 525/520 put spread before offering a stark suggestion that the great AAPL glory days are over: "The party never lasts forever" for tech companies, Khouw said, and "at some point you have to wonder, uh, whether they're gonna be able to keep it up."

Dennis Gartman seemed to be chiding some of the other panelists, although we're not totally sure who he means by "everybody," in saying it "makes me very uncomfortable that everybody thinks it's that simple, you can look forward. You're talking 6 months before the next product comes out ... this is gonna cause problems for the stock market for the next several weeks ... I would not step up to buy this right now."

Joe Terranova, steadfastly positive on the stock despite predicting a lower move for a couple days, said the shares have been driven by "passive money," and it's a long-term story.

‘If Apple falls, the market falls’

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money wasn't just satisfied with knowing the fresh AAPL quarterly numbers, he went whole hog into Q3.

"Let me be the first to tell you that when you look for the next quarter, the iPhone's figure is going to be worse than 26 million," Terranova said, predicting 22-24 million instead and, much more timely, a "move lower over the next couple of days."

Nevertheless, "I am going to look to add," on the prospect of "historic" iPhone numbers to come later in the year.

Karen Finerman told viewers "I am long the stock," but assured them, "I'm not that worried."

Tim Seymour, beginning another dubious thread of commentary in which he managed to attack elements of several opposing arguments, said, "What is exciting is their emerging markets growth," but then qualified that by noting the miss. "This scares me," he said, in an "unbelievably crowded trade ... if Apple falls, the market falls."

Seymour later took issue with Joe Terranova's response to Dennis Gartman's concerns. "I guess I'm a little confused by whether we say this is an Apple problem or a macro problem. Isn't a macro problem an Apple problem?"

Karen Finerman jumped in to say, "One is a potential temporary problem, vs., is the iPhone over?"

"But are we calling this now a cyclical stock?" Seymour asked, in a fruitless semantical detour.

Terranova later claimed, "There is no reason to believe that they cannot continue to expand geographically," prompting Gartman to chuckle, "How many more countries are there to go to?"

Seymour capped off the round-robin of analysis by, after saying AAPL would weigh on all the markets, declaring "I think this is a great chance to buy ... Samsung."

Dennis Gartman certainly hopes the Fed doesn’t notice Apple’s quarter

OK, few things are more appealing on CNBC than extra camera time for Seema Mody.

But, surely there are better things for her to be doing than reading Twitter comments.

Dennis Gartman mocked one assessment on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the Apple results should prompt QE3. "I would certainly hope that the Federal Reserve bank does not respond to lower earnings on Apple," Gartman scoffed.

Tim Seymour said it would be "absurd" if the Fed did respond to that, but it's not absurd to recognize that the Fed cares about stocks.

Dan Ernst, perhaps drinking a bit too much of the Apple Kool-aid Tuesday, crowed at how iPad sales were "up 84% year over year" in a "mano a mano" environment.

Mel Lee said, "That's all great, fine and good," but the iPhone is the company's big driver, and will the iPhone 5 be able to make up for the quarterly dropoff. Ernst conceded there are no "guarantees," but said this is the first time the company has cited "rumors" of new products affecting sales, and the impressive thing about the iPad was that it entered a "clean" category with no history and did so well.

Gartman: How can Panera be going up after Chipotle?

Joe Terranova said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that owners of stocks like BWLD are going to "sell first, ask questions later."

But Dennis Gartman was much more pessimistic, saying input costs are going up for BWLD products, and "this will be ugly."

Gartman also questioned the gain in PNRA, asking, "Is Panera's management that much better than Chipotle's?"

Joe Terranova said buying R is like catching a falling knife.

Tim Seymour tried to sound poetic in trumpeting how great his CLF/steel-related shorts have been. "We keep wading back into the water at least lightly and dancing near the door," Seymour said.

Dennis Gartman, who spontaneously made sell euro his Final Trade, said "I think you're talking 1.10 or below."

Mike Khouw said a lot of NFLX options buyers "just got this one wrong."

We can't figure out what stock buys viewers were supposed to make based on the outlook of Steve Bodurtha, who told the panel he expects a "slow economic growth environment for some period of time" but is focused on "productivity enhancers" such as cloud computing and mobile names, as well as "top-end consumer goods companies" and "megabrands." He did tell Tim Seymour he likes SAP.

Tim Seymour made CPA his pick for both the goofy Olympic feature and Final Trade. Dennis Gartman said MAR, and Karen Finerman, who seemed to want out of the Olympic hotel calls, said "Expedia actually looked interesting to me." Joe Terranova said CCE, while Mike Khouw cautiously said PCLN call spreads.

Karen Finerman's real Final Trade was QEP. Joe Terranova just got in SWKS. Mary Thompson reported that onetime Strategy Session guest John Kinnucan is expected to plead guilty to something or other.

July 25, 2011: S&P closes 1,337

A year ago at this time, the S&P was just beginning a 2-week, 200-point drop.

Coincidence? Or annual event?

Guy Adami, in only a slightly better mood than a day ago, told Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that if the S&P falls any further, it's "critical that we hold 1,322."

Stephen Weiss asserted that the "macro situation continues to deteriorate," although Pete Najarian said he's not nearly that bearish.

Steve Grasso predicted traders would "lose their gut" if the S&P 500 should plunge through 1,332 (and if that's all it takes to lose a gut, then let's crash away).

Weiss called WHR a "proxy for the global economy and it's going lower." Guest Stuart Freeman talked about the 1,400 S&P level that he said would be achievable by an "amelioration" of negative sentiment, but that it won't be until later in the year that we "start to see a 2nd leg up." Weiss, though, scoffed at that forecast, saying it "sounds like an awful lot has to go right."

‘Short the hell’ out of NFLX pop

It's hard to say what was a bolder call: "Short the hell" out of a Netflix pop, or FB going up "immediately" simply if Mark Zuckerberg is on the conference call.

Those were the opinions of Michael Pachter on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report as Pachter spent considerable time likening NFLX to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The boost cited in the Reed Hastings post "clearly came from the existing subscribers," Pachter said, and the stock jump was a "perverse reaction."

But, "the media guys are gonna win," and so "I think the stock goes down hard."

Pachter said the scenario is that people "probably pile in" on earnings, and that's when you "short the hell out of it."

He said he expects an "in-line, maybe slight beat quarter" out of FB, and that the stock faces lockup issues going into the end of the year heightened by his belief capital gains rates "probably" go up.

Most importantly though, Pachter said, Mark Zuckerberg needs to appear on the call and say "I care," though, "I don't think Zuckerberg will answer questions … If he's on the call, the stock goes up immediately."

Pete Najarian said he basically agrees on NFLX, that there could be a pop, and if so, he'd short. Steve Grasso said the NFLX chart is enough to make one squeamish and he'd only play it with options in a "defined risk strategy."

Najarian said VMW's acquisition looks "very very bullish for VMWare" but the related selloff seems overdone for Cisco. Najarian said he's long FB and hopes to get a bounce.

Fast Money gang hopes AAPL plunges on some kind of totally irrational selloff

Apple buyers could use another Flash Crash.

Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report gang danced around AAPL's earnings like Fred Astaire, with everyone talking about how great the stock is but not really wanting to buy ahead of earnings but hoping it would plunge so they could buy it cheaper than they should be able to buy it.

Pete Najarian said he might try (God's Gift to Money-Making) the weekly options in AAPL. Guy Adami suggested waiting for a pullback. Stephen Weiss advised buying a little and then hoping for a selloff to really get long. Steve Grasso cautioned that he's not convinced the quarter will be a blowout.

Guest Steve Milunovich said "at the end of the day it's really about the iPhone," but said overall, the "guidance could be a little on the light side for the next quarter … I don't expect the stock to do a whole lot."

Later, foxy Seema Mody in striking aqua said that "Bud Fox" on Twitter just bagged the elephant thinks iPad numbers will be great. Pete Najarian concurred, "I agree with Bud Fox," predicting a possibly "staggering" iPad number.

Najarian talked up some derivatives, calling NXPI a "great name" and "part of the ecosystem," while saying he likes SWKS, INTC and QCOM.

Euro ‘grossly oversold’

Boris Schlossberg contended on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the "euro is so grossly oversold" and is prone to a short-covering rally, but there's still "nothing but bad news going forward … I would get short at 1.20," Schlossberg said.

Pete Najarian said UA's doing great in shoes but seems "very rich right now." Steve Grasso called gains in R "mostly a short squeeze" and said he would sell the spike.

Guy Adami said with a small amount of alarm that BTU is near December 2008 levels but said "18 and a half might be your bogey on this one" for getting in. Steve Grasso assured that he doesn't smoke and doesn't want his kids to smoke but he does like MO.

Jeff Kilburg spoke briefly about oil and China data but really didn't recommend anything.

Guy Adami's Final Trade was BX. Pete Najarian said CE, Stephen Weiss said WLP and Steve Grasso said MO.

[Monday, July 23, 2012]

1,600 S&P call basically gets chortled off the show

Barry Bannister ran into a mountain of skepticism with his 1,600 S&P 2012 call on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Bannister was focused on financials, apparently predicting a rally, and said an S&P climb to 1,600 "clearly has to be led by the financials at the top."

Guy Adami asked what earnings and multiple Bannister is looking at. Bannister merely said it would take/include a rise Treasury yields and GDP "traction" in the 2nd half.

Stephen Weiss first did a premature Brag Trade, saying every time he's heard a strategist make a multiple-expansion call, he's shorted it.

Josh Brown piled on, explaining that when you work on Wall Street, "Your email inbox is filled with '2nd-half recovery' from every strategist on the Street."

Then Weiss continued, cogently noting, "He didn't answer Guy's question, which was the best question."

But what if the S&P is at 1,385 while Spanish yields are at 6.98%?

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson, who now works for Bessemer Trust, tackled the Moody's European news at the top of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and said it means there are new risks to the euro, "at the end of the day," and possibly some movement now out of Germany's safe haven.

Patterson said 120/121 are big levels for the euro, and it's "more likely to break than not."

Mike Murphy said with a straight face that Moody's has "lost a lot of their luster," and said it still looks a "flight to quality" type of market but actually may provide an upswing in spurring a quicker remedy in Europe.

Larry McDonald said near the end of the program that his trading advice is, "1,380 on the S&P, Spanish yields above 7, you sell the rally."

CNB-Seema — Mody gets 3 hits in 1 hour of Fast Money

In a refreshing upgrade, Fast Money turned to superfox Seema Mody 3 times during Monday's 5 p.m. episode, including seated and standing, to talk about stocks that people are writing about.

Mody said someone calls MCD a short to 86 before it recovers. Guy Adami wasn't on board with that, shaking his head and saying, "I don't think it's a short," but the best trade is to wait to buy it if it reaches the low $80s.

Mike Murphy said he thinks it's appealing to "look at it here."

Josh Brown, as he was at Halftime, was much more enthusiastic about SBUX, saying if Thursday's report has a setback, "You might be getting a gift on Friday."

Dennis Gartman explained that we're getting "little bits of rain," but if corn falls 25-30 cents, and soybeans fall 50 cents/75 cents/maybe $1, he'd definitely be interested.

Mike Murphy wondered if the markets aren't ready to get past the corn debacle, which would put a ceiling on the price. Gartman said it's not that simple at all and will take a "long time."

Josh Brown recommended LNN as an irrigation play, and not just for next week. "This stock could work for a long time," Brown said.

Options buyers ‘afraid’
of the AAPL print

Josh Brown cautioned on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that AAPL's earnings will be a big driver of not just AAPL, not just the Nasdaq, but everything.

Stephen Weiss said he thinks "macro" considerations are more important than what Apple reports.

Scott Nations said people have been buying AAPL options because they're "afraid of the number" that's going to be reported.

Guy Adami said TXN "should be down more than it is," and the fact it's not under $26 might be a good sign. Mike Murphy said of TXN, "On weakness, I'd be a buyer here."

Josh Brown said rather than playing TXN, try QCOM, which is more levered in that sector; or perhaps BRCM.

Brown said he owns EMC and thinks that's the way to own VMW. Guy Adami said the VMWare is probably telling us something, "God-awful since May."

He sounded like Debbie Downer, but actually made several positive stock calls

Guy Adami said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that one takeaway from the Monday's plunge/rally was that "the financials led us out."

Adami, who was in a who-peed-in-your-Cheerios mode the whole show, proclaimed, "I don't bow at the altar of JPMorgan like some other folks," but the stock had an "outside day to the upside."

Adami said BX still works.

Stephen Weiss said estimates have gotten so low as to make for easy beats, and when markets do bounce back, "it's a relief rally ... I'm remaining cautious on the market."

Amid breaking news on PFE's Alzheimer's drug trial, Stephen Weiss said he'd look for LLY on a sympathy pullback, but Guy Adami, Josh Brown and Mike Murphy all said they'd be interested in PFE on a pullback on this particular news.

Weiss denounced the for-profit-education sector, saying, "The value to the student is just not there. They don't get jobs, they're just saddled with debt."

Scott Nations said someone bought 38,000 September 30 puts in XLI, counting on a price under $29.74.

Mike Murphy reiterated his bullishness on URI (we're still not sure if it topped on Monday the first level he called it at last week midday), saying the "upside here is still in the $35 range." Guy Adami said ETN presents interesting risk/reward.

In a dubious Olympic-themed feature on playing "metal" stocks, Stephen Weiss said to short AKS, Guy Adami extremely lukewarmly said to buy TCK, Josh Brown made the most enthusiastic case of the bunch, for Worthington Steel (WOR), because of an insider buy and its leverage to housing. Mike Murphy flat-out bent the rules in picking BTU, while Scott Nations said GLL, the "bearish play on gold ... it's just a shiny metal."

Nations' Final Trade was long JPM. Weiss said QCOM, Adami said ETN, Murphy said PFE and Brown said WOR.

Stephanie Link once again makes the ‘tangible book’ argument for JPM

The Fast Money Halftime Report on Monday shared notably differing assessments of JPMorgan's stock potential.

Jon Najarian, of course, explained how you already could've made gobs of money if you had just bought it lower earlier in the day, while noting that Jamie Dimon's stock purchase disclosed Friday is a good sign.

Josh Brown, though, suggested that the purchase amounts to almost exactly the level of some kind of compensation Dimon received, meaning the stock buy is maybe just a "wash," but issues about the company seem to be settling down, and perhaps "the stigma fades, and we can trade this thing at a bank multiple."

Steve Grasso cautioned that he thinks a 30 or 31 print is still possible. Stephanie Link said she was adding to the shares today, citing as her rationale "tangible book."

MCD analyst uses ‘procure’ twice during discussion on Fast Money

Monday's Fast Money Halftime gang sort of gave MCD the Caddyshack Trade.

Jon Najarian was most enthusiastic, suggesting the stock is appealing below $89 but might still fall a few dollars; "I'd be an aggressive buyer, down around 86 especially."

Josh Brown noted the arrival of a new CEO and predicted the shares would find support at 85. However, Brown said the company exemplifies what's been working in the market so there should be a continued bid for it.

Steve Grasso said there could be compression of MCD margins and that this might not be a plain-vanilla pullback in the shares. "I would be very careful here," Grasso said.

But then Brown argued, "A lot of the risk has come out of the stock."

Guest Rachael Rothman said she saw "significant event risk" ahead of the earnings report, but "today looks like a pretty attractive entry point if you're in it for the longer term."

Stephanie Link tried to ask about how MCD's competitors will do. Rothman basically didn't answer the question and just gave MCD a victory lap, prompting Link to re-ask the question. Rothman gradually conceded that MCD seems bent on winning the discount war with its rivals who don't have the economies of scale or the advertising budget.

Josh Brown sounded like he really preferred to talk about SBUX, noting how it's been giving back all of its 1st quarter gains, which would make him thrilled to jump in with a 1-3-year horizon. "I think I'm gonna see this thing in the mid-40s, mid- to high 40s," Brown predicted.

Grasso: Watch 1,335

Steve Grasso on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report pointed to 1,335 as a "big level" in whether this market bounces back.

Jon Najarian didn't sound that concerned, saying that a lot of Mondays have been down and Fridays have been up, but last Friday, "a lot of folks got spooked," and so it's carrying over.

Josh Brown pointed out that gold wasn't working, and actually it's one of those days where "Nothing's working today."

Steve Liesman said the market seemed to "give up the ghost" about the economy when the retail sales report came out, and said "the 2 has left the GDP forecast entirely here."

Josh Brown said that if QE3 happens, the plays are "gold, silver, corn, and you ladder it out."

Shocker: GameStop being shorted

Guest William Duff Gordon seemed to irk Judge Wapner on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report by starting off his limited time pointing out that shorting SVU has already been a good trade.

Gordon said SVU remains heavily shorted, and others include SWY, GME (if you haven't heard that before, you definitely only found this page completely by accident), plus Yelp and Netflix. Gordon said GME shorts continue to be patient and recognize the risk, "they've been waiting for the pop forever."

Another guest, Sam Poser, said he expects DECK to continue its slide; there are a "good deal of issues with the brand," and he doesn't think a buyback would help the company fundamentally (does any buyback ever do that?).

Poser said his top picks are FL and GCO. Stephanie Link touted NKE.

Superfox Seema Mody, who gave the camera a close-up for a change, said Twitterers were talking about a "candle chart" in HAL. Jon Najarian said he wouldn't fade Lee Cooperman but that he likes BHI more. Stephanie Link revealed, "We were buying some more Schlumberger this morning," later adding that she'd prefer WY rather than the "very volatile" homebuilder space. Steve Grasso mentioned USG.

Pete absolutely jacked one out of the park

Guest Michael James, like many have done on Fast Money, told Monday's Halftime Report that he really likes EBAY, "think it has a lot more to go" with a $55 target.

James, who had to protest to Judge Wapner throughout the conversation that he's not saying tech is immune from anything but that it's kind of the "best house" scenario, also likes JNPR and FFIV.

Dan Berenbaum said his top picks in the tablet space would be QCOM and BRCM, and mentioned how INTC will have to transition a bit. Jon Najarian said he likes BRCM, NVDA and INTC.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was X. Stephanie Link said GE, Steve Grasso said TSN and Josh Brown said XLV.

Judge Wapner noted Pete Najarian's utterly blockbuster call Friday on NXY, an instant Fast Money top 10 of the year. Josh Brown said if there's a trend, it's that China is looking to buy a North American refinery, so maybe ones that are not closely held are worth a play.

[Friday, July 20, 2012]

Dan Niles: Who’s going to buy a computer just before the Windows 8 rollout?

Dan Niles told guest host Brian Sullivan on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that you can't just make a blanket statement about staying out of all big-cap tech from here, but "you do have to be careful about the market in general … they can't escape the trends that we're seeing out there … this affects everyone."

Niles took sort of a middle ground position in MSFT, not really explaining whether Windows 8 will be a blockbuster but saying the touch-enabled is the company's biggest product since 1994 (seems like we've heard that claim multiple times), but "why would anybody want to buy a portable in front of that."

Joe Terranova asked Niles to opine on NXPI and the smartphone technology it's got. "I don't think it's going to be a big deal in the back portion of this year," Niles said, saying one of his favorite picks, GLUU, does have a lot coming out later this year.

Pete Najarian complained that Niles didn't like INTC more. Niles said, "smartphones and tablets, Intel doesn't really have a compelling play in either," and that the "world's kind of moving away" from Intel's PC wheelhouse. He also claimed Intel doesn't necessarily have the best processor design but just the best manufacturing.

Amid Jon Najarian's enthusiasm, Niles cautioned that Apple missed about a year ago.

Brian Sullivan thanked Niles for the "long interview."

Pete: ‘Absolute monster overselloff’ in CMG

Analyst Bryan Elliott on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report took the opportunity to crow about his sell-rated CMG, calling it a "classic cult stock" in which expectations got way ahead of the results.

Jon Najarian protested that the selloff might be overdone at 307, prompting Elliott to not really answer the question but rattle off a series of metrics and asserting they can't have "10% comps forever" before guest host Brian Sullivan redirected.

"We still think it's overvalued," said Elliott.

Joe Terranova demanded to know a price target. Elliott said he hasn't issued one for a while. Terranova suggested the last one was in the $200s. "That was some time ago; I don't think the stock has risk to 200 here," Elliott said.

Pete Najarian called the CMG damage an "absolute monster overselloff in my opinion."

Kilburg: 10-year could test 1.19%

Jeff Kilburg, usually spot-on with 10-year Treasury calls, said the once seemingly ridiculous possibility of hitting 1.0% depends on, "will we see QE3 before November 3rd."

Kilburg thinks the 10-year could test 1.19%, and "it's not going up anytime soon." He said 1.67 is the key dividing line; own the TLT below that and the TBT above that.

Jon Najarian said of the Fed, no matter what they call it, "They're opening the spigots up … that's happening already; it's in the market right now."

Steve Grasso warned, "You can't engineer inflation I don't care what anybody says."

Brian Sullivan apparently decides it’s too insensitive to ask whether theater chains or movie studios will take a hit after Colorado horror

Joe Terranova on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report shrugged off the tough day in stocks; "I'm not too concerned right here." Steve Grasso said 1,385 is "probably the lid on this market" but noted various support levels below.

Pharma watcher Barbara Ryan said the industry has "radically restructured" and is popular not just for dividends and buybacks, but "new product flow in the industry."

Ryan's top pick was BMY, but she also likes MRK and ABT. Ryan said that in general, "these stocks were so oversold" that there is a "lot of room for multiples to expand."

CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis looked good in reporting how many companies have beat so far; Brian Sullivan was surprised we've still got 380 companies to go.

Jon Najarian noted ISRG's selloff but said "this is nothing" compared with CMG.

Paul Richards said he thinks the euro can get to "at least 1.15" and said the stock markets "kind of took their eye off the European ball." He advises selling the euro at 1.22.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was HAL, but only after waiting a day or 2. Joe Terranova said SNDK. Jon Najarian said EBAY, and Pete Najarian said to get long NXY.

[Thursday, July 19, 2012]

It’s rare when someone on Fast Money tells the truth about tablets

Kim Forrest didn't make a call on AAPL on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but she sure did make a call on the usefulness of a certain type of product that Apple specializes in.

"I don't think that we're gonna be using iPads to write each other, you know, quarterly documents, and update spreadsheets. It just doesn't work. I have a tablet, and I am frustrated using this stupid keyboard that's on the pad," Forrest said. "You know, it's great for viewing stuff, terrible for writing stuff."

Precisely. Mobile phones are just as bad. This site predicts that the notion of human beings using their big fat fingers to punch out keyboard letters will be regarded in a few years like leg warmers or down vests.

Forrest, who had to correct guest host Brian Sullivan's intro that her fund has $1.2 billion (that's the firm's AUM), was on the show to discuss MSFT, which she said she would "absolutely" buy.

Sullivan complained that MSFT reminds him of a sign at his favorite pub that says "free beer tomorrow," which is never changed (get it?), a company that's always about to turn the corner. Forrest rebutted that "Windows 8 looks great ... it looks like a really great product," and said small businesses will like Microsoft's "subscription plan to deliver this stuff online" instead of having to "plunk down 500 bucks" at one time, and as a side effect, it actually makes these companies "kind of beholden to them."

Tim Seymour said of MSFT, "This is a cheap stock. .. this is a stock that people need to own." Guy Adami predicted it could get to $33.

Oil ‘very much a leading indicator for equities’

Tim Seymour on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money made a point that — if you believe it — is about several days late.

Oil, Seymour said, is "very much a leading indicator for equities ... in the last 3 years."

"I think technically it's got a ways to go," he added.

There's certainly a correlation — despite the bone-headed argument often heard on Fast Money that sinking gasoline prices mean so many stocks are going to go up — but we're not quite convinced it's a "leading" indicator, but maybe a "concurrent" one.

Jon Najarian said energy stocks have seen a "ton of money flow ... day by day, every day, it's a different energy stock."

Addison Armstrong agreed crude is strong but didn't seem convinced as to why. "A lot of it has been technical," he said, and it's "starting to look a little bit overdone to me in the short term here." However, he acknowledged, "I wouldn't necessarily short it here," and that it's "kind of hard to fight this move," but still, "the fundamentals really aren't there."

While Armstrong spoke, an open mike caught Tim Seymour saying "Addison's smirking a little bit" while Armstrong downplayed guest host Brian Sullivan's contention that the Strait of Hormuz doesn't mean that much anymore because there's another UAE pipeline, "at the end of the day."

Joe Terranova advised viewers to "stay with the refiners."

Seymour: GOOG deserves ‘corporate governance additional discount’

Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang spent an inordinate amount of time with a stock none of them actually cares about — GOOG.

Joe Terranova said investors "just needed an in-line quarter," and they got it, and the stock has "further upside potential."

Jon Najarian said "these were good numbers" but stressed again that there are hardware concerns that have made the company "so splintered," and, "people are coming around to that."

Tim Seymour complained about the company's "manageship" (later corrected) and noted Larry Page's voice-related absence from the call. "This is the latest I think in a mistake series," he said, which will give the stock a "corporate governance additional discount ... it is the management instability at the top."

Guy Adami said the stock can get to 620, 625, but remember that recently on Google earnings, "the initial move has been one to fade."

Mike Khouw was somewhat enthusiastic, allowing there "is some legitimacy" to the hardware complaint, but it's still an attractive stock at an "exceptionally cheap multiple."

Guest Jason Helfstein said GOOG had a "cross-your-fingers quarter" and still boasts a "pretty attractive price."

Helfstein told Tim Seymour that "currency matters ... at the end of the day you don't add currency back to earnings," but then again, when assessing whether a company is really improving, you "ignore" it. He said some of the gain in the stock is probably from short covering.

Analysts faulted for not being intense enough at beginning of CMG call

In a stark, candid assessment of the analyst community, Brian Shactman, listening to the CMG call on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, pointed out that 3 of the first 4 questions were about recruiting and even last year's buy one, get one free promotion.

"These analysts are really going soft on, uh, the company right now," Shactman chuckled.

Guy Adami said the selloff makes sense given the effect of comps on high-multiple stories, but "margins were actually better in this quarter." He said the stock will be a buy, but as of Thursday afternoon, it "ain't here yet though."

Joe Terranova advised waiting a few days for the stock to "settle out."

Mike Khouw said there were buyers of MCD August 95 calls, and the "options are exceptionally cheap," though he wasn't terribly enthusiastic. Tim Seymour mentioned ARCO. Joe Terranova suggested selling half of one's MCD position.

Seymour said that YUM is "executing on all cylinders," has "15% growth in China," and "you buy this weakness" because it will achieve GARP.

Expert: Wait for FIVE secondary

Francis Gaskins said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the FIVE Below IPO is refreshing because it "gets rid of the uh, Facebook backlash."

Gaskins sounded neutral on the stock, saying "people can't stay out of the stores," but even so, "it's overpriced," and that it's likely "they're setting up a secondary."

Gaskins pointed to Splunk having the same reaction and doing a secondary and concluded the "IPO market is really alive and well."

Joe Terranova said NXPI has been a bad trade, but "last 2 days, I'm adding."

Jon Najarian pointed out the WAG spike and said "it's really bad for CVS in the short term" (this writer is long CVS). Tim Seymour said of FCX, "this stock has room to run."

Without Melissa, show turns into old boys’ club of inside jokes

Guest Matthew Fine has 40% of his fund in European stocks, according to guest host Brian Sullivan on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, prompting Sullivan to ask, "Are you insane?"

Fine said his stock calls aren't based on macro Europe, which has all kinds of serious problems and "stopgap kind of measures."

But he said that Germany's delight at a lower euro is a "poorly kept secret," and he spoke enthusiastically about 2 companies: Daimler and Titan Cement, a Greek company that has strong non-Greek business.

A third name on the screen list was Nexans, and then Fine very eloquently handled Dr. J's questions about DB and BMW.

Fine said DB has "way too much leverage," and that BMW is great but has "walked on water for a number of years" and thus there's more upside with Daimler.

Brian Sullivan said of his panel, "All these pink shirts by the way, making me nervous ... bowl of Lucky Charms." Guy Adami said his was "purple," then said fuchsia or lavender was OK.

Maria Bartiromo, not clued in to the host change Thursday, said in the wrapup of Closing Bell to "take it away, Melissa."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was UNH. Guy Adami said JACK, Jon Najarian said MSFT and Joe Terranova apparently said MNST long because he just got stopped out, while the screen text called it a sell.

Did you hear Brian Sullivan turned 41 on Thursday?

Guy Adami apparently doesn’t know about Berkshire B shares

Stephanie Link said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that trading at 1x tangible book, JPM is "not expensive," and Dan Nathan's commentary from a day ago is even more deadly accurate.

Josh Brown reiterated that he plays the banks, namely WFC, via a "long position in Berkshire Hathaway," and the official CNBC.com satire reiterated that Brown doesn't disclose any position in BRK or the F that was the Trade of the Day he was "nibbling" at yesterday.

Guy Adami uncorked the head-scratcher of the day, following Brown on BRK by saying, "I can't get into a Berkshire Hathaway and I doubt most of the folks playing at home can."

But Adami noted USB is at a "4-year high," and he says buy BX, which was his Final Trade.

Another knock against GOOG management, another endorsement of YHOO

Darren Chervitz provided Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report with eloquent remarks about GOOG, and then provided it with a curious, likely contradiction that went unaddressed.

Chervitz said he's got a 4% GOOG position in his fund — only to downplay the stock's prospects.

"We have trimmed the position over the past year," he said, because the company faces headwinds from Europe, and because of this notable assessment: "We absolutely hated the idea of the stock split; I thought it was an affront to corporate governance, and something that uh, uh, that's when they obviously consolidated power among the top executives there."

Chervitz also said that mobile is a concern short-term, and even, "over time, search may also be at risk."

Josh Brown asked if GOOG can be anything more than a cyclical advertising play. Chervitz didn't answer directly but essentially acknowledged that perception, pointing out its multiple is "worse than almost any cyclical name you can think of out there."

None of that was the curious contradiction. That came when Chervitz revealed, "We own a lot of Yahoo." Because if you absolutely "hated" what GOOG management did to corporate governance, how can you not be thrilled about a dubious company hiring one of those GOOG executives?

Josh Brown gets the easiest question in weeks on Fast Money

Guest host Simon Hobbs asked Josh Brown if JCP investors can get the 15x value that Bill Ackman thinks he can.

"Are we talking about a $200 stock?" Brown asked, surprised at the question. He concluded there are "better places to be."

Stephanie Link called JCP a buy. Mike Murphy said he wouldn't be in the stock here, but would short at a higher price.

Link addressed the WAG/ESRX/CVS trade and said, "I suspect that Express Scripts got the better end of the deal," and that for CVS she was "buying this morning" (this writer is long CVS) and "would sell Walgreens."

Guy Adami downplayed a recent great call on AN, saying, "Today's absolutely the day to be taking profits."

CNBC needs to figure out if Delivering Alpha can be a live TV show or just a conference

A day ago the most provocative thing Kate Kelly said on Fast Money about Beau Taylor's Delivering Alpha crude call was that it's going "inexorably higher."

On Thursday's Halftime, viewers found out that Taylor is actually suggesting $200 crude.

"I think it's laughable. I think it's nonsense," said Dennis Gartman on Thursday's Halftime, advising viewers or anyone who heard it to "discount entirely and move on."

Gartman allowed that oil might still be susceptible to shocks, but "I suspect energy prices are likely to go lower, not higher."

Gartman actually called the prospects for a full-blown QE3 "relatively minimal" unless the jobless rate tops 9% again, and said "I think that corn likely continues to go higher."

Stephanie Link, who evidently gets most of Patty Edwards' former airtime now (and gets afforded far more opportunity to speak than Patty generally does/did), said she likes CVX and SLB in the energy space.

AMGN ‘double’ in 3-5 years

Jeff DeGraaf guested on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report and first complained about implications of his age that Simon Hobbs didn't even make before pounding the table for basically all of health care.

"The bases in health care are massive," DeGraaf said, explaining, "I get very few incoming phone calls about health care."

And how does one get an "outgoing" phone call? (Yes, one might "make" an outgoing call, but wouldn't "get" one.)

DeGraaf didn't name anything he didn't like but trumpeted AMGN as "likely to be a double over the next 3-5 years."

Josh Brown asked DeGraaf if a name like PFE ("we pulled the trigger on a long") is better or worse than biotech. DeGraaf indicated he likes both as part of the "general trend."

DeGraaf also made a currency call, "It looks to us like the dollar's gonna be stronger... double bottom in our view."

But what’s the tangible book?

Doug Sipkin waffled like l'eggo my eggo on Morgan Stanley on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, acknowledging a "challenging quarter" but lukewarmly stating, "I like the stock," the report wasn't "completely atrocious," while conceding, "you're gonna need to see, uh, better revenue and earnings to get people excited," even though the punishment of the shares Thursday was a "little bit of an overreaction."

So there you go.

Josh Brown said MS "trades with the European financial stocks," for better or worse.

Guy Adami seemed skeptical that MS is going to return to the glory days of the early 2000s anytime soon, if ever.

Stephanie Link asked Sipkin if Smith Barney could be a big driver. Sipkin didn't totally address that but indicated no, that the company's future hinges on "retail brokerage, investment banking."

Mike Murphy, who said MS is used by money managers as a hedge against long positions in other banks, asked if MS could sell itself. "I don't see that as a real distinct possibility," said Sipkin, who instead expects "a little more aggressive restructuring."

Someone is highly convinced by a sentiment indicator

David Riedel, who hasn't been on Fast Money for a while but usually always has spotted something interesting in China (lessee, CHL, PTR, ACH, etc.), told Thursday's Halftime gang that he's spotted "huge upswing" in Chinese consumer sentiment, which predicts "emerging market outperformance in the coming months," and a "more risk-on environment starting in October and November."

Riedel said multinationals that trade on China are actually too defensive for this thesis, and that he recommends something more aggressive such as SINA or even Tencent, the 2nd time we've heard about a Hong Kong play in 2 days on Fast Money.

Guest host Simon Hobbs seemed skeptical of the October/November thing, asking how Riedel can predict that now. Riedel argued that "after sentiment gets a shock," he has studied "how many months it takes for sentiment to rebuild," and come up with this thesis, and that it would be "very dangerous" to think about shorting emerging markets now, which is basically the Greg Peters call of a day or 2 ago.

Hobbs said China's macro outlook is a much bigger, and longer-term issue than 9/11 or Lehman Brothers.

Josh Brown advised people "not take single-stock risk" on this theme but perhaps an ETF such as DEM, which picks emerging markets companies based on dividends and thus includes a "higher-quality type of company."

Should’ve bought Murphy’s URI Halftime call on Thursday, not Wednesday

Mike Murphy, who said he thinks we go to 1,400 S&P, played catchup on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report with some of his recent calls, candidly addressing yesterday's Halftime bust of URI.

Murphy said that a day ago, he listened to the earnings call and it "seemed like a decent call ... we bought more of this stock today." With the stock still stumbling Thursday, he listened again wondering what he missed, and "I don't think I missed anything quite frankly."

Simon Hobbs questioned why Murphy would still try to catch a falling knife, but Murphy insisted it's not a falling knife. URI was his Final Trade.

By the end of Thursday's trading, Murphy was at least temporarily vindicated.

Murphy said Electrolux's report is definitely bullish for WHR but noted WHR has been surging. He said he got into EBAY under 40, and "I think it's a long-term hold."

On homebuilders, Murphy said he "added to our position in Toll, Lennar and Pulte this morning," and in a possible nod to Patty Edwards, said, "that being said."

Josh Brown suggested HD instead and said "US Gypsum looks really interesting."

Adami: Good above 1,366

Guy Adami on Thursday's Halftime Report praised the Fast Money franchise for identifying recent S&P levels that we're not actually sure have helped viewers too much, adding that viewers can be long using 1,366 as a reference and to get fully out below 1,344.

Willie Williams handled the Money in Motion end of things, saying, "I think you should be selling euro dollar" at 1.24, with a stop at 1.26 and target 1.20.

Stephanie Link said EBAY actually hadn't been trading well because of guidance fears and so the reiterating of the guidance led to a "relief" rally.

Josh Brown said of QCOM, IBM and EBAY that IBM is the "least exciting," and "the one that I'm in is Qualcomm."

Brown read the "grocery list" of issues with SWY, explaining, "there's almost nothing good about what they had to say today."

Brown's Final Trade was PFE. Stephanie Link said NBL.

[Wednesday, July 18, 2012]

How many iPads does JCP sell? Bill Ackman believes in Ron Johnson’s ‘startup mentality’

The things you hear on television.

Brian Shactman reported the most interesting Fast Money nugget by far Wednesday near the end of the 5 p.m. show, saying that Bill Ackman told the David Faber panel at the Delivering Alpha conference that he thinks he can make 10-15x on his investment in ... JCPenney.

According to Shactman, Ackman praised the "startup mentality" of Ron Johnson and predicted "comps will start to look extremely positive."

Karen Finerman was in utter disbelief over the 15x thing. "That just seems crazy to me," Finerman said. "I don't see anywhere near the leverage here."

Josh Brown, sounding either like Grandpa or the Hal Holbrook character in "Wall Street," cautioned, "These things take a lot of time."

Fast Money shows rain as often as possible, perhaps swaying futures traders

CNBC's Kate Kelly dialed into Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to report some commodity views from 3 people who were rattled off so fast, we barely got their names (Dwight Anderson of Ospraie, Beau Taylor of Taylor Woods, Jennifer Fan of Arbalet). Anderson and Fan are bullish on soybeans and corn, on the "fundamental story," some were "very skeptical" of China's GDP calculations that Anderson said could be "600 basis points inaccurate" ... and Taylor predicted crude oil would move "inexorably higher."

Guy Adami, who moments later in the show would discover that YUM is "a China story I guess for a lot of people," concluded after hearing Kelly that "these are long-term, long-term" and we're "definitely getting mixed messages" given what Wilbur Ross said the other day about coal on Fast Money, and pointed to the Shanghai index.

Karen Finerman opined on corn, "I really would love for us to see some ethanol changes. I mean it's ridiculous."

Josh Brown used the term "supercycle," first time we've heard that in a while, maybe since summer 2008.

Guy Adami actually calls shorting HPQ the ‘deep end of the pool’ ...

Mel Lee on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money revisited the Jim Chanos Halftime Report call on HPQ that produced botched programming (but she didn't mention why they cut away just before Chanos revealed the short and why Judge Wapner had to keep asking aloud if it was OK for him to mention it), calling Chanos a "noted, notable short seller."

Dan Nathan, in curious enthusiasm, seemed to be more impressed by Chanos tagging HPQ as a "value trap" than the fact Chanos is shorting the stock. "The guy knows what the heck he's doing picking the short. But I think it's really important that people don't get sucked into these value traps," Nathan said.

Guy Adami jumped in, warning viewers unbelievably soberly, "That's the deep-end-of-the-pool trade though for the folks playing at home. It's not one that I would advocate." (Why not? Whatever happened to that "gotta be able to skate forwards and backwards" trading advice?)

Karen Finerman threw up her hands and said she sold HPQ when it broke $20 because she lost too much money on it and doesn't care what it does now.

Mike Khouw curiously said, "I don't like it at all," apparently referring to HPQ in general and not Chanos's short, asserting the stock has tumbled but "there's still a lot left, that's a lot to go," and that bears apparently cheered Chanos, "they definitely were piling in there today."

... But Brian Marshall apparently wasn’t listening to Dan Nathan’s value trap advice

Dialing in to talk IBM (great service margins, oh joy) on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Brian Marshall was pressed into an assessment of Jim Chanos' HPQ short.

Marshall curiously alternated between his own bad call and how it's maybe not so bad, saying, "We've been on the wrong side of that trade, bullish," but it's still a "pretty cheap asset ... valuation's pretty attractive," but nevertheless was "probably my worst call of the year," but still only has "limited downside at this point."

Fast Money crew calls out perceived Blankfein brown-nosing

Karen Finerman on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said of Lloyd Blankfein's "buy America" op-ed in Politico (good grief, what is Lloyd Blankfein doing writing op-eds for Politico?), "I couldn't help but wonder if he was saying something nice about the U.S. so the U.S. would say something nice about him, which they certainly haven't been."

Even typical Blankfein champion Guy Adami admitted, "I think that's part of it."

USB at 4-year high

The Fast Money gang expressed skepticism/sadness about bank stocks before Dan Nathan and Mike Khouw slammed the door on the whole sector.

Guy Adami said if you're inclined to try bottom-fishing, GHL could make sense because "1 quarter could make such a huge change for these guys," even though he'd "rather be in Blackstone" and also saw that Fast Money Rushmore pick USB is at a "4-year high."

Karen Finerman admitted forlornly that she had higher hopes for BAC and was "surprised how much it traded down ... I didn't think it was that bad." (And maybe BAC will come through and elicit another Tommy Bradford Trade call from Steve Cortes.)

Josh Brown said of the banks, "If you listen to any of these calls, what is the catalyst," then explained, "We're playing Berkshire instead" as a "backdoor way into the banks." (And the key word there is "instead," because if you check out the show's official disclosures below, it really seems like he's playing the financials via JPM and XLF.)

Dan Nathan made the best point of the bunch on financials: "The only catalyst that I hear is valuation," Nathan said, and comparing bank results to the tech/semi gains of Wednesday makes him think the market is "giddy."

Mike Khouw said there are a "lot of bearish flows" in MS.

Ackman seems to be putting more of his money behind Bob McDonald than Ron Johnson

Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money cut in for live Bill Ackman commentary — the version that proved highly boring about how great he was able to effect change at CP — at the Delivering Alpha conference, and Ackman decided to shower the host network with generosity; "Let's give you a little news for CNBC," which was that his stake in PG is $1.8 billion, or somewhere around 18% of his fund.

Guy Adami said getting much of a return on that would require PG appreciation in an "un-P&G-like manner ... this is a pretty big beta play."

Dan Nathan speculated, "If he's taking that sort of size in the common stock, I have to assume that he's really got some juice to the upside where he's gonna get some leverage in the options market."

Mike Khouw unconvinced that big GOOG call-buy is a totally bullish bet

Guy Adami crowed on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that IBM's "margins were fantastic," but Karen Finerman questioned the revelation of the currency headwind.

"That should be in there already ... analysts should already know," Finerman said.

Dan Nathan observed, "There's no real sales growth" at Big Blue.

Brian Marshall said the IBM call was "pretty upbeat," so there must not have been anything about the Augusta National membership thing.

Karen Finerman said that at EBAY, it's "PayPal again delivering," but she'd actually be happier if the price hadn't gone up so much afterhours.

Guy Adami seconded the name despite some people's valuation concerns; "I think it still works."

Mike Khouw said someone bought January 2013 590 calls in GOOG, a thousand actually in a "very big trade" that would seem like a bull call, but another trade suggests it could just be hedging.

We hadn’t heard ‘Doritos’ and ‘driver of innovation’ in the same sentence for a long time

Josh Brown made a not-terribly-convincing case for Ford on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that didn't sound like he's put a whole lot of time into it.

"I took a look at this thing today, and I actually did some nibbling," Brown said, although that wasn't particularly convincing either, given that CNBC's running joke the official disclosures Wednesday at CNBC.com (see text above) don't say anything about Brown being long F, or even BRK-B.

(Like we always say, entertainment purposes only.)

Brown said Ford's chart has suggested a "massive potential head and shoulders top" but that it could be a "trap," and right now, "sitting on major support," there could be a "very fast reversal here," while conceding the stock is a "proxy" on whether growth crashes globally and so you'd have to be in "no" mind-set. He recommends a stop loss just below $9 a share.

Guest Jim Sanderson was asked by Mel Lee if the success of the Doritos taco was an "isolated" instance for YUM. Sanderson called it a "driver of innovation" for the company.

Karen Finerman asked a great question about corn's effect on YUM. Sanderson sounded a bit taken aback and hemmed and hawed before saying, "at the end of the day," it can't be dismissed, but it's happening to every food producer and this isn't the name at the top to get pinched; "everyone in the food chain" will experience pricing pressure.

Kayla Tausche reported on the Kayak IPO pricing around $22-$25. So that's your Kayla on Kayak report.

Mel Lee brought up MLNX's giant gain, but nobody said anything about it.

Guy Adami lamented that with some sort of Fed put seemingly in stocks, "It's painful to be of the bear mentality."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was the FLR October $52.50 calls. Dan Nathan said he'd buy August VIX calls. Guy Adami recommended long BX but only after the report. Karen Finerman recommended July 28 puts for FB. Brown stuck to F.

Actually, HPQ’s chart under Meg Whitman looks much like JCP’s under Ron Johnson ... (alternate title: Toni Sacconaghi measures the CEOs he evidently likes in years and the ones he evidently doesn’t like on their 10-month impossible tenure)

Toni Sacconaghi guested on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report moments after Jim Chanos' HPQ-short revelation and said, "I disagree with the call at this point."

But then Sacconaghi uttered the Magic Silicon Valley Scapegoat while conceding, "The company was remarkably undisciplined over the last couple of years and it cost former CEO Léo Apotheker his job."

(Let's clarify that: This company is/was a massive, bloated computer hardware company that was buying Palm under Mark Hurd and wasn't going anywhere in 2010-2011 even if Steve Jobs or Marissa Mayer had jumped aboard.)

Sacconaghi must be on the good side of Meg Whitman, because he refused to criticize an extremely dubious chart to Judge Wapner, claiming, "I think any CEO needs to be measured, um, over, uh, over years, not over months, so I think Meg needs 2 years."

(But he can draw that "undisciplined" conclusion about a guy who was on the job barely 10 months. #thisishowtheanalystcommunityworks)

Sacconaghi said there's at least one thing you can count on regarding IBM: "It hasn't missed earnings estimates in 7 years."

As Anthony Scaramucci explained, "They can always get the earnings through the share repurchases."

Looks like Jim Chanos doesn’t have as much sway with HPQ holders as Judge Wapner thought

In a semi-bizarre programming decision from the director/producer chair, Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report cut to a live clumsy, cumbersome, plodding feed of Jim Chanos' presentation in which Chanos kept looking over his shoulder at some kind of off-camera graphic ... only to cut away and miss Chanos cutting to the chase — he's shorting HPQ.

"They are hiding their R&D spending through acquisitions," Chanos was heard to say, and frankly, we don't know how that's a smoking gun of any kind, but whatever. The stock sucks, it's the Yahoo of hardware, it's the JCPenney of PCs, maybe it'll go up; maybe it'll go down.

Judge made a big deal of showing the — gasp — decline in the chart even though HPQ had actually remained positive for the day while Chanos spoke.

Mike Murphy opined, "I would've expected the stock to get hit a lot harder," and didn't share Chanos' enthusiasm for shorting, saying, "I don't see a huge downside in Hewlett-Packard ... I don't see a reason to short the stock here." Murphy had to explain to an agitated Judge Wapner that he was simply not playing it either direction, and that there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with a short and just staying away.

Anthony Scaramucci said he disagreed with Jim Chanos' call and, in a bit of a shocker, actually claimed, "This could catch earnings momentum, uh, and I would be betting with Meg Whitman here."

Scaramucci: ‘Macro guys’
down for the year

Judge Wapner opened Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report rattling off a list of Lee Cooperman's top picks, which included COF, GCI, HAL, KMI, QCOM, MET, WU, WPI, ESRX and what's apparently a Hong Kong company, AIA.

Brian Kelly said the first thing he thought when he saw news of the COF fine is, "Do they have to redo their business model." But Mike Murphy said "Halliburton under 30, uh, gets really interesting," and pointed out that Cooperman might be in GCI for the dividend play.

Maria Bartiromo paid a rare visit to Fast Money at the end of the program to explain why the show was so eager to report Cooperman's calls; "last year's picks were off the charts," Money Honey said, and the ones she mentioned certainly were, but then again there's that Research in Motion thing (not trying to zing the Coopmeister here, but like Hal Holbrook says in "Wall Street" and John Paulson probably says about every day in 2012, "Enjoy it while it lasts.")

"Everybody's looking for yield," Bartiromo concluded.

Anthony Scaramucci said that the pros are having a tough year. "The macro guys this year, en masse, down 0.5%. Equities are up about 4.2," Scaramucci said, opining that large-cap, low multiple growth stocks could be "coiled springs" in an improving economy.

Brian Kelly cautioned that there's a "tremendous amount of headwinds out there" and suggested the Dow's gain on Tuesday might be just "short covering."

Emerging markets: ‘Lowest risk point in 40 years’

Judge tried to claim on Wednesday's choppy Fast Money Halftime Report that they hadn't talked about Intel when Pete Najarian already had; Pete initially said some people didn't like the numbers, but "I actually thought they were outstanding."

Najarian later claimed, "Intel's probably one of the best cloud plays out there." Mike Murphy said he sees upside to both windows 8 and Intel.

For his part, Murphy scoffed at speculation about the JPM loss and declared, "When you got a peek under the hood, things weren't that bad." Najarian said JPM is a buy under $34.

Brian Kelly assured that IBM is "definitely in the cloud space."

Guest Nathan Sandler, forced to sit through a bumbling broadcast uncertain how much live speakage it should show, told Judge Wapner that, sort of like Greg Peters a day ago, emerging markets are at their "lowest risk point in 40 years," while developed markets are at their own "highest risk point, uh, in 40 years."

Sandler said China will be the "linchpin" of emerging growth and overall global growth, and of course ... you knew it would happen ... the screen text spelled it "lynchpin."

Judge thanked Sandler for being "especially gracious" amid all the cut-aways.

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was WYNN. Brian Kelly said VZ, and Anthony Scaramucci said PFE.

The day's worst call came from Mike Murphy, who touted CAT and then URI, predicting, "They're going to make a move higher," and then for his Final Trade touted URI again; "the stock's down over 5%, I think it's a buy here," as that "over 5%" turned into "13" by day's end.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

‘Core business is kinda dead ... but it’s a stock I think you can own’ (Why not; it’s going to be a daily deals/7-inch eReader/tablet play soon)

Karen Finerman on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money chastised herself, apparently, for jumping into YHOO a day earlier under $16; "I thought it would read much better this morning than it did."

Finerman said there was a lot of "hemming and hawing" in the morning as to whether Yahoo will be a media company or a tech company, and so the stock slid immediately upon the opening. "I should leave the Pete stuff to Pete," Finerman said.

For several consecutive episodes of Fast Money now there has been a Nutty Analysis of Yahoo's Hire®, and Tim Seymour, who talked too much as usual (though not about the plain-pocket jeans he buys under Ron Johnson's new non-discounted pricing plan), did the honors Tuesday afternoon, claiming, "Their core business is kinda dead, and I think the margins on display aren't looking good, uh, but it's a stock I think you can own."

Jon Fortt reported that Microsoft can get out of its Yahoo search deal after 5 years (which will pave the way for YHOO to focus on the new tablet it must be eyeing), and that Yahoo is "not going to give guidance this quarter."

So just because there's another new CEO, they suddenly don't know what they'll earn. (#sell)

Steve Grasso made an interesting set of remarks on how YHOO and GOOG traded afterhours a day earlier, suggesting people should've been buying GOOG, although from what we can tell on Google Finance (maybe it's different on Yahoo Finance and one can start arbitraging the research), GOOG only briefly fell a couple dollars Monday afternoon before finishing afterhours at roughly the same price it finished at 4 p.m.

Grasso said it's a case of "overallotments on either side, when people get excited" about a name such as YHOO, "pushing an illiquid market ... the person who has access to afterhours markets are (sic) usually the professional traders. There's not too many retail investors that really wanna take that- even if they do have access to it, they don't want to trade it."

Gartman: Buy weakness in corn (just not with fertilizer stocks)

Dennis Gartman said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the Drought Trade isn't done.

"I think corn might still go higher," Gartman said, while cautioning that traders will still react to the "threat of rain on La Salle Street," but that weakness in corn (however you can play it) should be bought.

But how you play it does matter, as Gartman shrugged off the notion of buying fertilizer on this trend as "nonsense. Fertilizer this year, nobody's gonna apply any more," and if you're buying fertilizer based on the corn price, you're making a "very bad decision, very silly idea."

Guest Ann Duignan predicted that farmers accustomed to upgrading their John Deere equipment at season's end this year are afraid they'll be writing checks for the corn they didn't produce and thus will "take a breather" and wait a season on the equipment upgrade, prompting her downgrade to a $78 target.

On a broader level, Duignan said this year's corn disaster will "call into question the real value of putting 40% of our corn crop into ethanol," which the politically inclined people on the Fast Money panel (there was really only 1) declined to address.

Stephen Weiss said he disagreed with Duignan on DE. "I think it's actually getting very close to trough valuation," Weiss said.

Guest claims people will sell U.S. stocks to buy emerging market stocks in the 2nd half of 2012 (which is right now)

Greg Peters made a far more controversial call than the Fast Money crew was willing to recognize on Tuesday's 5 p.m. show.

Peters claimed "Everyone dislikes China" and has sought U.S. stocks for safe haven, but "over the 2nd half, uh, that trade's gonna reverse."

We find that hard to believe, especially because U.S. stocks haven't exactly been soaring since May, but whatever.

Peters said 3 factors will boost China, including earnings being "readjusted" to a new normal, "policy traction," and valuation.

As for the "policy" part, Peters said U.S. stocks were up Tuesday because of Ben Bernanke's comments; "I don't quite get that," adding that China's more capable of controlling its economic destiny.

Meanwhile, "investors are all in on the U.S.," Peters claimed, which is actually sort of true, but if China rallies, they'll be even a lot more all in on U.S. names.

Stephen Weiss demanded to know which data Peters was looking at in citing strength in property plays in China. Peters said it's from equities in the property space. Weiss insisted, "The credit situation in China is a complete mess."

Tim Seymour then inaccurately associated Peters with a point he wasn't making. "I think Greg where you're going with this is 1, that first of all, emerging-market equities tend to bottom first," which might be true, except a bunch of people disagree as to whether the U.S. market's in an uptrend or downtrend.

Peters said you don't have to play China specifically, but "it's just broadly on the EM front," or as he put it, "EM and the entire Asian bloc." He conceded his call "might be early" at least relative to U.S. performance, but you "have to skate where the puck is going," the 2nd time we've heard that one on Fast Money (thanks Joe Terranova) in less than a week.

Seymour added, "Brazil is a proxy for China."

But will the Chinese continue going to Macau once they start getting all their iPhone stuff via China Mobile?

Guest Harry Curtis said the takeaway from the Wynn call was that Macau wasn't as weak as people feared, and that he thinks VIP gaming can rise 3-5% over 12 months, and "that would be considered a victory" from today's price levels.

Curtis though said among the casino names, he's "a bit more in favor of Las Vegas Sands," at least over 6-18 months, because it has more table space room to fill.

Our own amateur assessment finds that roughly 36 has held on that stock for the last couple years; in fact Jon Najarian recommended it around that level probably a year ago.

Steve Grasso said he too prefers LVS in the space, not just because it has Spain exposure, but because of the "provocative use of their money."

‘Shorts worried’ post-Bernanke

Apparently, he said more than enough.

Steve Grasso said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the day's market action hinged on the Fed chairman not saying anything shortable.

"I think it was all about Ben Bernanke," Grasso said, explaining the buy orders came in "as soon as he stopped talking ... lot of shorts worried."

Stephen Weiss said the market went up on "pure QE3 hopes ... I don't think we have a lot more upside."

Tim Seymour predicted, "Jack Hole is in play, September. That's when it's happening."

Analysts actually outduel company in growth forecast, according to analyst

Doug Freedman told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the reason INTC didn't sink afterhours is that "the Street stayed more conservative than they were," and if not, we "would've seen material cuts to numbers tonight."

Freedman said he now expects 3% revenue growth at Intel for the full year but said Windows 8 will have "very minimal impact" on the company while ultrabooks will be far more important.

Karen Finerman asked Freedman how he gets to his $33 price target. Freedman didn't exactly answer, other than pointing out, "Clearly the macro factors are worse than we have been factoring into our model."

Guy Adami wasn’t on the panel to bring up Whitney Tilson’s case against IOC

Mike Khouw observed on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "Somebody sold 13,000 Nov 30 puts" in FCX and used the proceeds to buy twice as many July 32 puts.

Khouw suggested that buyer was concerned about short-term turbulence but then will be short puts into November, a bullish outlook.

Tim Seymour revealed about FCX, "We went long the 34 calls into these numbers."

Steve Grasso mentioned a recent jackpot, S, saying it "started trading as an option itself," and it's up because "maybe M&A is still on the table."

Mike Khouw said it "might be time to hit the pause button on the homebuilders."

Stephen Weiss gave a nice explanation of the hierarchy at EMC and VMWare and said there was concern about the numbers Tuesday and so the stock staged a "relief rally."

Steve Grasso recommended IOC, because someone talked it up like no other in the energy space, and because of its "large gas find" in Papua New Guinea. This source told Grasso it could hit 90 or 95, something Whitney Tilson might question.

Melissa Lee said the Maria Bartiromo-Eliot Spitzer interview of last week "went viral on the Internet." But she didn't note that CNBC and Yahoo have a partnership to make CNBC things go more viraler.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was PBR, Stephen Weiss said WLP, Karen Finerman said to sell DIS and Steve Grasso said it would "just be weird" not to tout IOC.

Debbie Weinswig didn’t seem too well prepared for the questions she was going to get on JCP

Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime Report successfully pinned Debbie Weinswig into a corner on dropping her JCP price target from 40 to 24 while keeping a buy rating (hey, we don't make this stuff up, we only report what we hear); Weinswig said, "We wanna see what he can do," as if we hadn't seen anything yet, and there's "still a lot of upside here."

"I think that, (sigh), they've tried a few things, I think we're going to give them a few more quarters," Weinswig finally admitted, claiming that Johnson is making JCP "much more technology-savvy ... I wanna give them adequate time for a turnaround."

Weinswig is negative on retail, pointing to 3 months in a row of same store sales that missed her numbers and traffic in July that is "some of the weakest data in all of 2012." Then she said clearance items aren't selling, and "back to school has been weak."

Brian Kelly guessed, "Maybe we're at the bottom of the cycle here," and recommended TGT and M. Josh Brown said, "We're long Target, Wal-Mart."

Brian Kelly long stocks, long gold, long silver, long Treasurys

Steve Liesman said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report he's surprised by what he sees as the "lack of sophistication" by some "really smart Fed watchers" who apparently didn't realize that Ben S. Bernanke wasn't going to declare QE3 on Tuesday morning.

Brian Kelly sort of agreed, saying, "How much more do you want the chairman to say about QE3," and then curiously explaining he's dabbling in everything, long stocks, gold, silver, Treasurys...

Guy Adami questioned, "Can everything go up," but conceded, "They're forcing you into these risk assets."

Liesman said "I don't think the data's there yet" for a $500 billion QE3 but that could be the outcome if it gets there.

Josh Brown warned of the risk of shorting the market; "a move from the Fed could really hurt you here," but also said, "If you are long, the Fed cannot fix your economy."

When Theismann said he was ‘averaging down’ into Six Flags, Eric Bolling rolled his eyes and scoffed, ‘averaging, ugh’

John Stoltzfus spent most of his time on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report playing down the percent move it would take to reach his year-end 1,450 S&P target, but in a classic impromptu, started to rattle off the companies producing good earnings reports Tuesday before having to ask Judge Wapner, "Give me the 3rd one" (it was JNJ).

Stoltzfus' top picks, according to the screen chart, are CA, CVX and SIX, a one-time Joe Theismann pick under whatever symbol it traded then in the (very) early days of 8 p.m. Eastern Fast Money. Guy Adami asked why SIX made the list; Stoltzfus said because of the dividend, and because "people are looking for small luxuries." Which is always the argument by people recommending luxury and discretionary stocks during tougher economic times, that people actually don't give up things like $4 coffee because they view it as a "cheap" luxury.

Josh Brown said, "All of the large-cap tech names are facing serious problems with spending slowdowns."

In an effort to justify Julia Boorstin's presence at whatever conference EA chief John Riccietello was at, Riccietello told Boorstin that the Street doesn't fully get the EA story.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was GLD; Jon Najarian said PPL and Guy Adami said FRX.

Last week he said a non-Ross CEO would be ‘real negative,’ this week he says the non-Ross is ‘fantastic,’ but if she exceeded his ‘no way’ expectations, why isn’t he hiking his $22 price target?

We figured nobody would top Colin Gillis' logically loopy YHOO analysis on yesterday's Fast Money, but we didn't count on Eric Jackson revisiting on Thursday's Halftime Report his $22 YHOO call (based on Ross' tenure) of a week ago.

We will give Jackson credit for candor Thursday in addressing what he said Thursday (see below, extremely well-chronicled here, he said it'll be a "real negative") about whether it would be good if someone besides Ross was named CEO.

"I said no, because if you asked- if you had asked me then, uh, could they hire Marissa, I would've said no way, she's out of their league," Jackson told Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime.

Jackson said of Marissa Mayer, "I think she's a fantastic choice," and explained the sudden turnaround in his vision of the company's future, that under Levinsohn it "would've been a more media-focused company" but now is suddenly "gonna be more home-grown Yahoo products, uh, that are gonna be successful."

So in less than a day, he has concluded that this entirely unexpected leadership is going to produce "successful" products in a different kind of company than he was anticipating 24 hours ago, when his chief argument was that it will "monetize" the Asian assets.

Jackson said selling calls and puts while owning the stock has been the best strategy, and it "still works for the next 2 months." Jon Najarian rambled like Earl Campbell through the Rams' linebacking/secondary corps in praising brother Pete for the same strategy while not really making a point on Tuesday's show.

Jackson curiously didn't hike his $22-in-6-months forecast of a week ago despite suggesting this CEO hire is better than what he expected last week. (Figure that one out.) But he insisted Tuesday, "There comes a time when this thing does explode upwards."

Not to gloat, but this page stop congratulating yourself jag saw this coming last week (see below), when it said here that Jackson said, "no matter who it is (apparently even if it's Jeff Bezos or Sheryl Sandberg), it'll be a 'real negative'."

We weren't seriously thinking Bezos, but you get the point.

(A good question, so far unreported in the media as far as we know, is whether Sheryl Sandberg A) was offered this job, and B) regardless whether she was or not, whether YHOO outperforms FB from here.)

Josh Brown for his Final Trade was borderline unintelligible, saying "Yahoo, when it breaks 18," either "set the alert" or "set the low," and we have no idea what either one would mean; "alert" to short it, or start buying it only after it rises $2? (Which doesn't seem in the cards given that the stock was down Tuesday — actually down about 1% during the day — and Karen Finerman's prediction it will "read very well tomorrow" didn't pan out in terms of stock price.)

Much more from Tuesday's Halftime later (and wait till we get a crack at Debbie Weinswig's stumbling, bumbling endorsement of God's Gift to Retail Ron Johnson).

[Monday, July 16, 2012]

Sorry, but this is a bust
(Alternate title: How much did Bloomberg soar after landing Margaret Brennan?)

It doesn't feel good to say, because this site does actually root for people to succeed.

But Yahoo's (still) going nowhere.

Anyone paying attention has seen this movie countless times ... lessee, the Washington Redskins hiring the Cowboys' Norv Turner ... Bloomberg finally stealing away an up-and-comer from CNBC ... CBS plotting "The Suzanne Somers Show" ... etc.

Given some of the euphoria on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, you'd think Dan Loeb had landed Steve Jobs.

Yahoo, like any other company, needs to start making stuff that people want to buy.

There's zero indication the company's prospects in that regard have changed at all in the last 24 hours.

At the moment, no matter who the CEO is, it's about as relevant as "Frampton Comes Alive!"

See, the truth is, having people visit your Web site doesn't really mean it's worth anything, even if you've allowed Reed Hastings to plaster your readership with pop-ups. Any site, including somehow this one stop gloating, can get people to visit. The only way you make real money is selling music or dominating search. Anytime you hear "monetize," something we don't even fathom around here, you know there's trouble, and there are at least several Web giants far more significant than Yahoo for whom that term applies.

The funny thing about this hire being so widely acclaimed (much more below) is how controversial Google's leadership has been. The Dutch auction, the space program, poor capital allocation, the China backpedaling or appeasement (we can't remember which), aloof quarterly earnings calls, plunging into hardware, scanning books without authors' permission, offering $6 billion for Groupon, uneven shareholder structure favoring insiders, etc.

This page won't say it, because it would be too harsh ... even though we tingle whenever we can make a Ron Johnson analogy. This is not Ron Johnson. Not yet, and not unless the stock skyrockets within 3 months on merely a vague "plan" presented at a conference. Right now it merely looks like Meg Whitman 2nd-act-land. But it could get to Ron Johnson-land if the enthusiasm heard Monday has more than just fans on CNBC behind it.

Shares up 2% afterhours seems like a gift — to unload.

Translation: Hiring stung previous employer by surprise; unclear if years-old management agreement she signed still applies

Andrew Ross Sorkin told the Fast gang on Monday's 5 p.m. Marissa-fest, "My understanding is that she has a non-solicitation agreement," which means she can't immediately poach Google workers, but then Sorkin said he wouldn't be surprised if there's a lawsuit over that.

And on a show in which official disclosures of the stocks that traders talk about are a complete joke, Sorkin made sure to add a "quick programming note," that CNBC and Yahoo have a partnership (in which you can see video clips of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's trips to Athens under the Yahoo.com umbrella rather than just the CNBC.com umbrella), in case you felt compelled to weigh whether the people speaking were being candid enough about the subject.

Sure hate to disagree with Karen (especially when she’s wearing that foxy summer outfit with new hairstyle)

Leading the cheers for the questionable Yahoo decision on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was Karen Finerman, who claimed, "Clearly this is a trophy hire for them ... I think she's a great hire."

Finerman said, in oddly present tense, "I do buy stock tonight below 16," and then added this curious terminology: "I think it will read very well tomorrow."

Basically, there's a "lot of superlatives," Finerman said, dismissing Steve Grasso's argument that she just wants to hold this for the long term. "This is my Pete imitation trade," Finerman quipped, also making YHOO her Final Trade on this "great hire."

Scott Nations also used curious terminology, saying "this is earnings for this cycle" (apparently meaning, the numbers they report this time are irrelevant), before erupting into platitudes; "I don't know how this is not a great thing for Yahoo."

Let's turn that one the other way around: Why is it a great thing?

Guest Spencer Rascoff, the Zillow chief who's at yet another tech bigwig conference, said there was a "chorus of wow, holy cows" upon hearing the news, and "this is Yahoo sending a statement."

Colin Gillis indicates YHOO beat the deadline for success by 1 day ... and would you stick around if you were Ross?

Colin Gillis — and we should note, we root for Colin Gillis to succeed too — bumbled and stumbled his way through what can only be described as embarrassing Yahoo analysis on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying YHOO is his "top pick for special situations," then uncorking this head-scratcher: "The big important news for us is 1, the board has done their job and they've appointed a CEO and they've done that before the earnings call tomorrow night."

Then he went on to stress that things look good, particularly "if they can keep Ross" (all they had to do was give him the job), before conceding that this hire doesn't change his rating or whatever on the stock.

Joe Terranova on Twitter called YHOO "now a buy" and praised the "excellent choice" of CEO, interesting given what he thinks of FB in that monetizing department (see below).

Good news for Yahoo applicants — CEO comes from a place known for too much hiring

Quietly, or perhaps subtly is the best term, some on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money were notably circumspect about Yahoo's latest revolving-door CEO.

Jon Fortt said the Silicon Valley investor scene is saying, "This is awesome. This is great. Hit it out of the park," but analysts, on the other hand, are "a bit more skeptical."

Fortt said, "I expect her to tilt it a little bit more toward tech company" than media company, which means get ready for a competitor to the iPad/Nook/Kindle/whatever it is Google's planning.

Perhaps most telling, Fortt was asked if Google is taking a hit with this departure. "I hadn't heard a lot of that," Fortt admitted.

Pete Najarian was enthusiastic but urged caution regarding the shares. "I don't think you need to chase this stock now either. Because, she can't make an impact right now, next quarter, or the next couple of quarters," Najarian said.

Steve Grasso phrased his question to Colin Gillis in the form of a statement, suggesting GOOG will not sell off much on this news and thus be the real buy on this transaction, "the machine is too big to be buying this on a discount."

So even though a rival of Google is supposedly making a superstar hire from Google, nobody thinks GOOG shares should really go down.

Basically, Yahoo's getting someone who's bored.

Mel Lee at one point actually said, "We're gonna go to Dan Loeb," but all she meant was that they were airing a stale clip of Loeb's Yahoo comments.

Sounds like a reach (and not the JNJ toothbrush, by the way)

Nik Modi on Monday's 5 p.m. program unleashed one of the strangest rationales for buying a stock we've heard on Fast Money, explaining that he has researched results of companies in which Bill Ackman has taken an activist role and found that profitability gets better at the expense of sales, but it doesn't happen for a few months.

So, given what's going on with PG, Modi says to buy the bunny, not Playboy but Energizer (ENR), which is a PG competitor that should benefit from Ackman's influence on PG.

Modi told Karen Finerman this isn't about all activism, but "particular to Bill Ackman."

Mel Lee asked Modi, "At the end of the day," what's the most likely scenario out of PG. The chart listed several possibilities, but Modi said to count on "another layer of distraction" that will benefit PG's rivals.

Wilbur Ross visited the set to tell the panelists basically that coal sucks, for regulatory, cost and pollution reasons. Karen Finerman, desperate for a gung-ho recommendation on shippers, asked Ross to evaluate that sector. Ross said the headwinds come from all the capacity bought in 2007 that's now dealing with smaller loads, but that one will come around unlike coal because it's "simply a cyclical thing."

Ross said his top pick in natural gas is Exco.

If corn breaks through $8 it will continue its uptrend

Mike Harris didn't exactly go out on a limb in assessing corn on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying, "We're definitely seeing the supply situation deteriorate," but that while there's support at $7.32, it needs to get through $8 to extend the uptrend.

Meanwhile, Aluminum "will continue to go lower," Harris said.

Steve Grasso again said to look at TSN because "I think it's time to fade the ferts," a call several others already made last week.

Scott Nations identified a a "huge bullish spread" in EBAY; someone sold August 33 puts and bought the August 43 calls for a net-net total price of 1 cent, which Nations said is a "really neat way" to get long exposure in EBAY on the cheap.

We complained during her last appearance that Amelia Bourdeau could've done better with the hair; Monday was satisfactory as Bourdeau advised shorting euro vs. the pound at 78.40, with a target of 76.50 and stop at 80.25.

Pete Najarian hailed LLY, his Final Trade, because of its 52-week highs ... 11 P.E. ... pipeline ... acquisitions, but admitted he sold PFE to own it, and "I will be back in Pfizer tomorrow no doubt in my mind."

Spencer Rascoff, when not talking about the YHOO hire, said housing is a "very very local story" (translation: sector can still be a buy even while some places are the pits), and then insisted to Mel Lee that Zillow is not a victim of mobile Web usage, but in fact is a "huge beneficiary of mobile migration ... we monetize incredibly well on mobile." (See, there's that "monetize" again, even when it's used positively, it's trouble.)

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was XCO, while Guy Adami said LLY and Pete Najarian said PFE.

Joe Terranova on FB: ‘I just don’t get its purpose’

Over the weekend, we caught up with an interesting Fast Money opinion you didn't hear on television.

Joe Terranova several days ago on Twitter reported, "just had a 30 minute conversation regarding $FB w a frequent user, sorry folks I just don't get its purpose or how it will monetize."

Another guest talks up tangible book of a big bank, mentions twice in argument for buying C

Anthony Polini began his remarks about Citigroup on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report by noting the stock's trading at half of tangible book, then said the stock has decent long-term risk/reward prospects; "I don't think the hurdle is that high."

But, he conceded in a wholly unconvincing call, "the key with Citi is gonna be the macro outlook."

Stephen Weiss questioned "why would you even own the banks," with one concern being that Libor could be a "monstrous scandal."

Polini downplayed the likelihood of a collusion case. Weiss insisted he thinks Polini is "dead wrong" about the necessity of a collusion element. Polini repeated that Citi is trading at 50% of tangible book, a metric that basically hasn't been relevant for at least 4 years.

Jon Najarian irked Judge by launching into a Dimon-Diamond name game, prompting Judge to demand a "bottom line." Najarian said rather unconvincingly, "I think you can buy Citi here."

Najarian said at the top of the show that JPM was giving back (what happened to the "clinic … literally" that Jamie Dimon was putting on?) and that the boost banks got Friday wasn't really carrying through, but was "more of a relief lift" on Friday.

Simon Baker said "I'd be long Goldman Sachs," while Stephen Weiss said GS is not tagged by the Libor scandal.

Is there anything that doesn’t make the Fast Money gang think about Research in Motion?

Nicole Miller Regan bucked the grain on Monday's Fast Money by taking down PNRA to sell, apparently over management structure.

"Human capital trumps financial capital," said Miller Regan, who said the transition into what's apparently a co-CEO team is not necessarily bad, but "just different."

Judge said that when he hears the term "co-CEOs," then "the first thing I think of is Research in Motion." (Which means … what … stock should rocket for 10 years, then embarrasingly flame out only a couple years after Steve Jobs has entered the same business?)

Miller Regan would only say she's seen where it has worked, and where it hasn't.

Miller Regan spoke positively of Burger King (BKW) and said it doesn't need MCD to fail in order to succeed, but that MCD is a stock to play now if you're in the "safety defensive zone." Simon Baker said those fast food stocks have a lot of fans, so "kudos" to Miller Regan for going against the grain.

10-year to 1.25%

John Brynjolfsson told Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the stock market is pricing in Fed action, but he doubts that Ben Bernanke is going to provide that this week and will only "speak in generalities," with the QE3 (Brynjolfsson actually indicated he wasn't sure which number we're at) bazooka coming "later in the year before the elections."

Brynjolfsson said it's hard to believe, but he sees the 10-year reaching 1.25% because the "slowdown is upon us and will continue to accelerate," and that the world is in a kind of "financial repression."

If nothing else, Brynjolfsson's presentation, though substantively similar, was a bit bottoms up in the hyperbole department compared with, say, Nouriel Roubini.

Stephen Weiss was the only panelist overtly embracing the gloom scenario, saying during the broadcast he's got low exposure in stocks, is looking for lower markets, and that the Fed is "still a ways away from QE3" though the data suggest the gap is closing quickly.

FB back to being bunch of jokers

Stephen Weiss said on Monday's Halftime that FB was falling for "no discernible reason," and it seems like the "catalysts are all gone."

But weren't they buying all kinds of calls in 4 out of the last 5 5 out of the last 7 trading days?

Jon Najarian said he would buy INTC going into earnings. Simon Baker though said he had talked to Herb Greenberg about IBM and thinks it "could be in a little bit of trouble," and selling IBM was his Final Trade.

Baker also scoffed that no one's buying the Nokia phones.

Stephanie Link said "Dell actually bothers me."

Guest Rob Carroll said the "trajectory is positive" for Mattel, that it and Hasbro have some winners, and that 80% of toymakers' products sell for under $25, and it's not a place people generally cut back. Stephen Weiss tried to make a toy joke about Simon Baker but it fizzled.

Simon Baker actually suggests buying a stock near its 52-week low

Simon Baker said on Monday's Halftime Report, citing short interest but also the fact it's near a 52-week low (not typical buying criteria heard on Fast Money), that you can buy ACI with a $5.40 stop.

Stephen Weiss said he actually is kind of interested in coal himself but not ACI or ANR, but possibly a CNX or BTU.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was long BTU calls. Najarian said OSK and perhaps NAV too are Carl Icahn's version of JCP (in case you've ever lamented your own trading decisions).

Najarian, in a bit of a backhanded dis, issued "kudos" to Simon Baker for an earlier call on HD (we'd have to look back for specifics but basically the entire cast of the program was recommending the stock through April) but pointed out that WMT has totally outperformed it for 3 months while HD has been flat.

Stephanie Link said she sold ABT but put the money in BMY and was taking profits Monday.

Stephen Weiss warned viewers to stay from CMI because upcoming data will show it's really not that cheap.

Kate Kelly promoted CNBC's upcoming Delivering Alpha conference by retracing some of the calls from last year, saying Dan Loeb's YHOO activism has been a success, up about 8% with "some chips on his side of the ledger," although how being an entrenched YHOO long is considered a success is beyond this page. Bill Ackman has had minimal gains from his Hong Kong dollar play, Kelly reported, and while Kyle Bass' dubious Japan's-implosion-is-just-around-the-corner thesis hasn't played out yet (and his Greece one hasn't been fully realized yet either), to her they seem "directionally quite sound," whatever that means.

Stephen Weiss' Final Trade was ESRX long, while Stephanie Link said long IP.

Joe knocked it out of the park; now the pressure’s on Brian Kelly

If you ignored Joe Terranova this week, you missed some fast money.

Terranova lauded the banks, and on Wednesday predicted the JPM/WFC earnings "will be a catalyst for the market," probably the top Fast Money call of the fortnight (we're just using terms like that to impress CNBC's stealthily cute Beccy Meehan, who's got an appealing chick-chat thing going with Kelly Evans on CNBC's London broadcast). (Incredibly, Meehan claims on Twitter that no one responded to her on-air appeal for a new husband (though "existing spouse" is relieved).)

Not only that, Terranova nailed refiners on both Wednesday and Thursday, and for several days correctly was skeptical of the fertilizer trade that Simon Baker touted.

Yes, his "I think you buy" call on DF was a bust.

Guy Adami, after a week's worth of waffling on S&P if-thens, proved fabulously correct that the S&P was going to move 15 handles Friday (though it would've helped if he had firmly identified the direction).

Jeff Kilburg totally outdueled Brian Kelly on the CORN trade, saying on Wednesday, "I think there's more room to run here" after Kelly asserted "the momentum has been lost"; Kelly even recommended waiting a couple weeks to buy JJG (which climbed both Thursday and Friday).

Maybe most importantly for next week, Kelly said on Thursday's Halftime Report that if the banks were to surge on Friday, he'd be a "seller on any pop."

[Friday, July 13, 2012]

Stephen Roach slams basically what Stephen Weiss was saying a day earlier

For whatever reason, Fast Money decided not to devote an entire hour to JPM, and so Friday's Halftime Report was able to feature China expert Stephen Roach.

Guest host Brian Sullivan asked Roach if the people who see a "superbubble" in China are wrong.

"Well there are some people who you guys have on your show all the time who make ridiculous statements like uh, that- that support views like that," Roach said.

Too bad Stephen Weiss (or Steve Cortes) wasn't around, given that Weiss just said Thursday (see below) that China is sitting on a "disaster."

But Roach seemed to be pointing the finger at Jim Chanos, who has only been on Fast Money once to our knowledge, saying, " 'China is Dubai times a thousand is a refrain' that I've heard from some unnamed China bears ... Be wary Brian of these generalizations of people who are talkin' their own books."

Roach's own assessment is that we're "near the low point in China for this cycle right now," and that there's a robust list of "project approvals by the state planning agency."

Jon Najarian opined that China is "beginning to lift that foot off the brake," and once it re-accelerates, it figures to be "somewhat dramatic."

Mike Murphy shamelessly turns a feature on big mistakes into a Brag Trade

Fast Money came up with one of its best ideas on Friday's Halftime Report, which was, in honor of Friday the 13th, having the traders describe their "scariest" moments.

Pete Najarian refreshingly told a story — too quickly to be absorbable, unfortunately — about getting caught in MU.

Joe Terranova sincerely revealed a short-gasoline trade in 1994 that went awry when a pipeline broke and took him a week to exit, and then missing a lottery jackpot by one number.

Mike Murphy, though, who apparently has never lost money on a trade, decided to tell viewers how he made a monster call on WHR in December, and then went the other direction only to be challenged by Pete Najarian, then doubled down on it and showed Pete how it's done.

Jon Najarian was deemed exempt from this feature because he had already been given a 2-month-old Fast Fire on GRPN, and by the way anyone talking about stocks the first 2 weeks of May has a Fast Fire on the books. Najarian explained Friday, "It was a bad trade, and I'm out of it," but it's been so low recently, "I think you do take a look at the stock again."

Brian Sullivan makes
a smart time-saving decision

Goodness only knows whether James Dix was recommending GOOG or not on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Guest host Brian Sullivan pointed out that he hadn't read all 98 pages of Dix's latest GOOG report but wondered what Dix really thinks about the stock.

Dix said he's got a "640 price target" over 12 months, so he's not saying it's horrible, just that "there is increasing competition," from names such as AMZN, AAPL and FB "over time."

Dix and Sullivan talked about an oversupply of the online advertising market, but Dix insisted that's a bigger problem for YHOO than GOOG because it's in display and not search.

Jon Najarian said his problem is the "infatuation Google has with hardware ... I quite frankly don't understand."

Joe Terranova pointed to Dec. 31, 2009, saying GOOG was higher then than it is now, whereas AAPL was in the $200s, and how that helps you trade on Friday, we don't know.

Pete Najarian said Intel has been "absolutely crushing it" and will give Wall Street a "great read on the PC demand."

Oh joy — another chance for Fast Money to talk about how awesome JPMorgan is

Joe Terranova did most of the obligatory pompom-waving for God's Gift to Business, Jamie Dimon, on Friday's Patty Edwards-less (again) Fast Money Halftime Report, but virtually none of the cheerleaders offered anything concrete in the way of what to do at $36 that might help viewers.

Fred Cannon started off on the right foot, saying "it was a good quarter," and hinting (that's our inference not his implication) that there could've been a low-expectation-setting leak to the NYT, adding, "$5 billion doesn't look so bad if the headlines are gonna say it's 9."

But even Cannon started drinking the Kool-aid, saying the results show we're "starting to see the resurgence of U.S. commercial banking."

Cannon's bigger call is GS, which he said can still repurchase shares.

Jon Najarian said there's "a lot of egg on the face of the New York Times" for suggesting the London Whale trading loss could be $9 billion. But then Najarian said DB has sold off too hard and he'd take a break from the long-JPM/short-DB trade.

Guest host Brian Sullivan told guest Greg Zuckerman that in the London Whale office, "Some people cooked the books there. Right, they lied about their numbers."

"Uh potentially, yeah," Zuckerman said, explaining that not only did they let it get too big, but they "let it get mismarked," and the biggest revelation is that protocol in this London office isn't going to change as much as people might've thought. Zuckerman, unlike Jon Najarian, wasn't even taking victory laps against the New York Times, admitting it's "really hard to say" if the loss truly is capped at $6 billion.

Starry-eyed Mike Murphy, however, claimed "I think you can trust Jamie Dimon," and that the London Whale problem is a "1-time situation to me." Joe Terranova said he's long JPM because you have to skate to where the puck is going.

HOV to $5; possibly ‘aggressive’ with LXK on Monday

In one of the boldest calls of the day, Mike Murphy said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he sees a "lot more upside from here" in HOV, and mentioned the $5 level.

We figure things can't be that good there because Ara never comes on Fast Money anymore.

Jon Najarian hailed MRK and cautiously said that if LXK could hold $20, he'd be "pretty aggressive at that level on Monday."

Joe Terranova said NXPI is a "lousy trade right now," but "still think the stock rallies" as iPhone 5 details emerge.

Mike Murphy said "We're long Cummins," but he's not so high on CAT, even though, "long term, Caterpillar is going to be great." He also said to watch FCX for a possible pop next week.

Pete Najarian said CAT's estimates make it a $130 or even $150 stock over the next couple years, but he's not in it because he hasn't seen the institutional buying. Joe Terranova protested that if someone thinks CAT is going higher, why wouldn't they pick JOY instead, which would have more upside, and Pete said he agreed with that.

Walter Piecyk said Sprint has "fundamental positives that are going on." Jon Najarian said, "I would buy some real cheap calls on this one."

Willie Williams advised buying euro/Aussie at 119.50, with a stop at 1.18 and target 1.24.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was long MDR. Joe Terranova said avoid the falling HPQ knife. Mike Murphy said IP, and Pete Najarian said LLY.

[Thursday, July 12, 2012]


CNBC duped by Google Images

Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was talking about the Navistar trade and not really saying anything new or significant, until this revelation about the CNBC graphic (top image above):

"That is not Mark Rachesky. That is not him," Finerman cut herself off to say.

Some simple sleuthing easily reveals what happens when you search for "Mark Rachesky" under Google Images — you get a Hollywood Reporter entry that shows a mugshot of someone with Rachesky's name underneath it (left image above), only to find, clicking on the link, that the photo is part of a Reporter index page of Lions Gate articles, and that particular photo does not go with the Rachesky text, but a different article mostly featuring Jon Feltheimer (right image above), who presumably is the gentleman pictured.

But as Karen always says, Google is just such a great operation.

Karen said it's not clear whether Icahn and Rachesky are allies in NAV and pointed out the significance of the 15% level. The problem, she said, is that "the business seems to stink right now."

Stephen Weiss said Navistar is a "complete mess" that will take a "long time to play out." Mike Khouw said "the open interest has really spiked" in NAV options.

Mel wins day’s highly competitive fashion crown but reveals she had dinner alone

We spent much of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money thinking, "Whoever gets to take Melissa out for dinner is in for a treat," given that Mel's sizzling snug puffy-shoulder white top (um, we're not really fashion experts here) bested some of the toughest competition CNBC can muster for top outfit of the day, including Jane Wells, Karen Finerman, Kayla Tausche, Jing Ulrich, Alexandra Lebenthal (who has a new haircut) and even, if you count the Halftime Report franchise, flirt-monger Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who more than held her own.

But then Lee somehow revealed that last night, "I was at home, eating by myself."

There's some kind of disconnect going on there, but whatever.

Why should we doubt someone who went whole hog with JCP last year?

Karen Finerman wasn't terribly impressed with Bill Ackman's PG investment, saying on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "this one's kind of a head-scratcher to me," that he can't do much with a company of this size, and that the stock does not seem "strikingly cheap."

Mel Lee asked guest Linda Bolton Weiser how many points PG would rise if Bob McDonald were ousted. Bolton Weiser chuckled at the question and said there would be "operational disruption" if that happened, and "no obvious replacement," and so "indeed this may not happen," and there might not be a good result if it does.

Mike Khouw said you can play PG with cheap options because it's one of those stocks people view as kind of an "inflation-adjusted bond."

Karen doesn’t get it; they’re not doing anything because the truth is they don’t think they need to do anything

Karen Finerman said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that she finally witnessed the whole "dog and pony show" of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson thanks to Thursday's Squawk Box and pronounced the spiel "frustrating. You know, they've already done all the hard work of pissing off both sides," and now there's no "leadership ... I mean that's a ridiculous hope" for getting these recommendations "done," and if not, "it will only get worse."

Oddly enough, the official CNBC.com disclosures show that Karen is long stocks such as JPM, WMT, GOOG, M, CMI, even (yes) NFLX.

If this Bowles-Simpson stuff is so important, and it's being ignored, why is there any bid on those stocks at all, and why would Finerman own them? Why isn't the S&P well below 1,000?

Which is it — either shunning of Bowles-Simpson is going to be catastrophic, in which case you wouldn't want any stocks ... or it really doesn't matter, in which case, why complain about lack of "leadership" on TV?

Jane Wells reported that it's kind of grim in San Bernardino, although a muni expert told her that the city has about $72 million debt, which is "minuscule in the $3.7 trillion muni market."

Alexandra Lebenthal, with a new haircut, visited the set to say what she always does, which is that the muni market is healthy and robust no matter what select cities are doing. "They're looking at each of these cities as specific issues," Lebenthal said.

No ‘large-scale stimulus’ in Beijing

Jing Ulrich on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gave viewers another uncertain outlook on China, saying, "The data basically are mixed bags so far" while conceding a "substantial slowdown" in Chinese retail sales.

"We don't think there will be a large-scale stimulus program," Ulrich said.

Stephen Weiss said China's sitting on a "disaster" of a property bubble that will make the U.S. debt bubble look like a "walk in the park."

Weiss admitted, though, that he bought CAT for a bounce, just a "very small position." Guy Adami was hard-pressed to recommend CAT (even though he has before) given that disastrous chart; "if you believe in global growth ..." Adami shrugged.

How many times this week have you heard Guy Adami mention the Tuesday outside reversal?

Joe Terranova opened Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money saying he was "surprised" at the market's resiliency even though "I think we should be lower."

Guy Adami virtually guaranteed stocks are going 15 S&P handles one way or another on Friday.

Karen Finerman said she's "fatigued" by this market, you can't get a handle on it, which we agree with, and there's "more shoes to drop out there."

Guest Charles Bobrinskoy said JPM's valuation is appealing on a historical basis, but he's not that interested because it's "not nearly as cheap as some other names that we like more, like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley." Bobrinskoy argued with the panel that JPM isn't as different from GS and MS as people think; "it's really an investment bank."

OMG — Tim Cook walked down a sidewalk with Jack Dorsey

Guest Jim Bower had little more than a big "if" to share with Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money crew, saying that if the weather for the next 4-5 weeks is like the weather of June, "we could be faced with a protein shortage worldwide in the months to come ... it will get very, very wild."

Mel Lee questioned what a lot of rain at this point could do for corn. Bower said corn's story is mostly done, but the last 2 weeks of July and first couple weeks of August are critical for soybeans.

Joe Terranova, as he has said several times this week, zinged the ferts, saying "the trade there has passed," and instead touted TSO, WNR and CVI.

Stephen Weiss recommended Wellpoint; "with ObamaCare out of the way, and only upside to come." Mike Khouw prefers UNH.

Among the handful of annual business events we can't stand on CNBC is the Sun Valley tech/media mogul conference, in which you tend to get "fun facts" like how Warren Buffett and some Twitter co-founder are both from Nebraska. Kayla Tausche did the honors this time, showing rich guys in casual clothes.

Khouw's Final Trade was put spreads on LVS. Guy Adami actually said long SVU for a trade, which prompted Karen Finerman to preempt her own long MHP and say she'd take "the other side" of Adami's. Joe Terranova's Final Trade was LNKD.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera more interested in ‘studs’ than stocks on sexy edition of Halftime Report

When you got it, flaunt it.

Standing, sitting, or just leaning, guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera struck one show-stopping pose after another while flirting with the ridiculously buttoned-down all-male panelist corps of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Not only was Pete Najarian the "Armenian stud," but Brian Kelly got every possible Burger King entree thrown in his direction, and Mike Murphy got quite the eye (above) when asked to explain his ZNGA Fast Fire.

Murphy, way too seriously, didn't get MCC's Zynga-related "bet the farm" joke and compared ZNGA to FB, which he said is "going back up to 38," and said ZNGA is looking for the same type of bounce.

Guy Adami at least tried to chide MCC for referring to Murphy betting "the farm."

Fast Fire for Eric Jackson coming in January

Lessee ... FB way under the IPO, GOOG having a lousy year, GRPN in free fall ... but YHOO is about to set the world on fire.

That seems to be the opinion of Eric Jackson, who actually told Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there are "real catalysts on the horizon in the next 6 months that I see taking it to $22."

Those "catalysts" started with "monetizing" the Asian assets, which guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera rightly pointed out we've been hearing forever.

Jackson said he's held the stock for 18 months. Mike Murphy asked Jackson about the patent "dispoot" (sic that's how he pronounced it) that YHOO settled with FB on Friday. "I think it could be huge," Jackson said. "It's a big deal."

Guy Adami said he too is enthusiastic about this name but the reality is that it's been flat, and asked Jackson what the risk downside is. Jackson said that in the event of a European repeat of 2011, "this thing goes back to $11."

Jackson said, "I'm a big Ross fan," but Pete Najarian asked if Levinsohn is not named the permanent CEO, who's the best of the rest. Jackson refused to even answer the question, saying that if not Silicon Valley's latest version of pre-2012 Ron Johnson Levinsohn, then no matter who it is (apparently even if it's Jeff Bezos or Sheryl Sandberg), it'll be a "real negative."

Speaking of Ron Johnson ...

Rick Snyder, who seemed to have a convincing JCP thesis down pat yet still seemed to be looking at notes during his appearance on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, told smokin' guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that the company is facing a looming cash crisis because it's not making enough income to offset cash in the last year used for buybacks and capex (and what in the world was JCP spending capex money on besides Tim Seymour's plain-pocket jeans ditching the daily discounts?).

Snyder invoked a tiny bit of Brag Trade, insisting he didn't think the Johnson plan would work from the beginning, while sidestepping criticism of Johnson, because he thought "these numbers don't add up, it's happening too fast." Caruso-Cabrera said when she typically hears about a cash crisis, it means someone is suggesting a company's stock could be going to zero or eventually looking at bankruptcy. Snyder said, "In an extreme case that's very possible."

And remember less than a year ago when Whitney Tilson was crowing about how Johnson had all these long-term stock incentives that don't pay off unless he does a great job? (#effective)

Mike Murphy, on the other hand, said JCP is temporarily oversold, and that the "whole kitchen sink has been thrown onto (sic) the company ... I don't believe JCPenney's running out of money anytime soon."

Kelly: Treasurys are ‘single best trade in the market’

Guy Adami sputtered around at the top of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report in saying he's encouraged by the S&P's bounce off 1,325, and Mike Murphy chimed in that "there are opportunities in this market" despite the recent spree of down days.

But Brian Kelly said he likes the TLT, which he called the "single best trade in the market."

Pete Najarian scoffed at that, saying Treasurys are "just too boring for me" and that he likes big pharma because, (why else), someone sold 33,000 December 20 puts in MRK and someone also bought December 24 calls.

Mike Murphy claimed that when the fictitious "fiscal cliff" is "resolved," the market will "have a huge move higher." Guy Adami was closer to the truth in suggesting the "fiscal cliff" sounds a lot like the Y2K of the late '90s.

ESPN got mentioned in the graphic but not in the conversation for a change

Marci Ryvicker, who has plowed through Judge Wapner's questions before like nobody's business on the Halftime Report, told Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Thursday that DIS has the "most upside" for the next couple quarters or years of the media names largely because of its park segment, which is improving and raising prices. "Parks seems to be the biggest driver for the stock," Ryvicker said, pointing to potential of operating income.

Ryvicker told the panel that in times of recession, "attendance actually holds steady" at the parks, though ticket prices can weaken.

Mike Murphy said the time to buy the shares is after a movie bust like "John Carter." Pete Najarian basically agreed, wait for a pullback.

Herb says if CMI is warning, that’s trouble for the whole sector

Herb Greenberg told Thursday's Fast Money Halftime gang that nobody knows if Mark Rachesky and Carl Icahn are working together on NAV, and after saying "going forward," Herb said there's a question as to, "could they do a split-up?"

Brian Kelly said "I would stay completely away from this," but that you could try shorting Paccar.

Guest Philip Weiss had little to offer on CHK other than advising viewers to "not go head in, not stay totally out of" the stock. Mike Murphy said there's a "lot of value here."

Brian Kelly wrongly claimed that by owning CHK, "You're making a bet on natural gas"; that's a portion of the equation but you're really making a bet on a unique oversold headline condition regardless of the company product.

A clinic? ‘Literally’?

Pete Najarian said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he likes JPM going into earnings, though Brian Kelly, whose Final Trade was TLT, said he'd be a "seller on any pop."

Mike Murphy though said, "The risk is to the upside ... Jamie Dimon has been putting on a clinic, literally."

Guy Adami revealed again "my wife works for Merck," but said while the shares have been strong, "today's not the day to buy Merck" and that he likes LLY instead. Pete Najarian said he'll continue to own MRK and won't sell it.

Adami said SVU is in free fall but with so many shares trading, you "could have a capitulation bottom for a trade." Pete Najarian said he's in no hurry to jump into TSN, the Steve Grasso trade of a day ago.

Mike Murphy said he's been holding Lennar and Toll for pretty much the whole year and thinks they'll "continue to move up into the high 30s."

Boris Schlossberg recommended buying euro against Aussie dollar at what he said was 1.2150 or 1.2140, but the screen text said 1.2050.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera thought TXI was really TXN, but Mike Murphy corrected her and said to "take some profits."

Pete Najarian said if coal is bottoming, then the rails have a "lot more upside." The Armenian stud's Final Trade was NSC. Guy Adami lukewarmly said he'd pick KSU over truckers.

Brian Kelly waffled on silver and gold but said you could take a "1/3" position right now (in which one or both, we're not sure).

Mike Murphy's Final Trade was JCI. Guy Adami, amid MCC's flirting, said AN. Mike Murphy said in general, there's a "lot of pent-up demand" in the stock market that's providing a floor.

[Wednesday, July 11, 2012]

Jeff Kilburg: The best
of the Fast Money roster?

Slowly but surely, he's kickin' ass.

Jeff Kilburg isn't always right (recent gold calls have looked a little spotty), but whenever you go against his Treasury-commodity wheelhouse that recently included a successful crude debate against Steve Grasso, you do so at your own risk.

On Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Brian Kelly said, "It looks like perhaps the corn trade, for the time being, the momentum has been lost," and that it "might take 2 or 3 weeks," at which point you buy JJG.

Kilburg, though, talked up the CORN ETN and said he disagreed with Kelly, "I think there's more room to run here."

Kilburg also suggested irrigation plays with PHO, TTC and VMI that farmers will surely consider because of this summer.

Mel Lee and Brian Kelly agreed CORN is too small to get fully comfortable, so Kelly suggested RJA instead. Kilburg acknowledged that consideration and suggested DBA.

Tim Seymour said fertilizers are beginning to top out and so it's time to "begin to fade that trade." (This writer is long POT.)


Shout-out: Charlie’s Angels

Guest Mike Greene told the gang on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that FBI background checks serve as a "very good proxy for firearm sales," and so he sees "still significant upside" in SWHC and maintains an $11 price target.

Karen Finerman asked a great question, how much of gun sales are the "anarchy trade" and how much are due to other reasons.

Greene rattled off a few reasons, one being a "growing social acceptance of firearm use" based on the rising numbers of women buying guns.

That could be a permanent tailwind, or it could just be a fad.

Brian Kelly said RGR is "another high-caliber play," but we can say from experience, that one started sucking a couple months ago.


Guest Bryan Gildenberg on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money made a positive case for Burberry actually, the strenth being that it sells its own brands, as opposed to other high-end kingpins such as SKS and Neiman Marcus, which generally sell other companies' brands.

Gildenberg praised "Nordstroms" (sic), explaining that women's shoes are a key driver of its traffic and that it met the online challenge from Zappos.

Despite all the high-end talk, Gildenberg mentioned TJX as a low-budget winner, because even though it's selling discounted goods, there are "Mercedes and BMWs" in the parking lot. He said Toys R Us is in the toughest spot given Amazon's competition.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was TGT.

Guy Adami said DECK could rally again on Thursday. Adami pointed out that his JCP bounce-back trade of a couple months ago "worked out in the very short term" and that people are supposed to know that their stop should be the low on the capitulation day.

Adami also said that Jimmy Choo runs narrow.

Adami on S&P 1,340:
‘We’re definitely not staying here’

David Rosenberg, as he normally does (we're still waiting for that recession of 2009 2010), painted a gloomy scenario on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying he was sticking by his contention of 3 more rounds of Fed easing at some point; "there's no need for my forecast to change."

Rosenberg told Karen Finerman that the market lift from the next announcement of easing would likely be "measured in days," and in fact, they ultimately might not stop at 3; "it could be even more."

Tim Seymour complained, "The Fed minutes are very important," because the market's in a "perverse state of, 'give me weakness, therefore, give me strength'."

Josh Brown said the market is having lower highs and lower lows.

Guy Adami said we're right at the midpoint of the recent S&P range, but "we're definitely not staying here," and while he leans lower, if we get through 1350, then there should be no stopping the market from getting above 1366.

Dick Bove likely to be on CNBC Friday

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that, "You gotta believe that given all the headlines we've seen, JPMorgan's still gonna probably pull a rabbit out of the hat" on Friday.

Josh Brown agreed with Adami that WFC is a better play right now than JPM, saying, "housing is absolutely on the upswing."

Mike Khouw said people buying JPM on the "cheap" have been burned recently, so they're using calls now rather than trying the equity again, which generally doesn't move much on earnings.

Guest Bill Irving said Treasurys have been the great "diversifier" of portfolios because they go up when everything crashes, and that 10-years and 30-years "still make sense." Tim Seymour said we're in the 4th decade of Treasury strength and a lot of folks have been burned.

Brian Kelly recommended the TIP as a "great place to be" because it can't go below par.

Karen: Long GOOG, short FB

Josh Brown said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that GRPN is going down because basically nobody wants the stock.

Brian Kelly said to "stay away from" ELY, while Tim Seymour was warming to FXI; "I could stay long this chart."

Mike Khouw reported a big buyer of XLI July 34 puts. He also said there's a "pretty tenuous situation there" at DF.

Guest John Ehrhardt said a new regulation (if we understand this properly) will allow companies to lag even further on their pension contributions, but apparently this is just a short-term reprieve unless the markets bail them out. He said newspapers and automakers will be the most affected by the new rules.

Karen Finerman wasn't pounding the table for CMI but did suggest most of the bad news is priced in. Josh Brown said it's OK to own it here, and Tim Seymour said likewise.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was SPY puts. Tim Seymour said sell TUR, Guy Adami said CHD, and Karen Finerman offered a rare pairs trade (long GOOG, short FB).

How come nobody complained about Virginia Rometty not getting an Augusta membership?

Apparently, the outrage has subsided.

Herb Greenberg on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report tackled the subject of IBM, but it wasn't about why the CEO isn't a member of Augusta (see, that was a few months ago; now we've moved on), but rather that ridiculous 2015 EPS road map.

Herb apparently just figured out that the company has laid out this ambitious expectation with meager revenue growth, and that buybacks are part of the equation, and he says the stock has become priced to perfection.

Stephanie Link said "I don't disagree with a lot of what you're saying" but then, like so many, went on to cite the metrics the company likes, such as margins, free cash flow, transitioning out of hardware commodity, etc.

Greenberg said yeah, sure, but "a whiff of a miss" on that 2015 forecast, and look out below.

Later, guest Steve Milunovich acknowledged the revenue pace and various headwinds, but said it's still a story of "substantial cash flow improvement ... that's real, that's fair." Milunovich said he expects the company to experience "probably weakish revenue, but continued ability to manage the earnings line."

Simon Baker said he didn't get a chance to ask but was surprised to see Milunovich is touting EMC.

Whatever happened to ‘price is truth’?

David Strasser on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report made clear he's drinking some of the Whitney Tilson Kool-aid on BKS.

Strasser said the valuation could be pegged in the "low 30s," and actually even claimed that could be viewed as "a convervative investment. It doesn't take into account anything really going all that right."

Strasser shrugged off Judge Wapner's opening concerns about insider selling, explaining that those holders had big stakes, so trimming was "probably somewhat prudent."

Strasser also shrugged off Simon Baker's contention that he barely even knows what a Nook is because nobody has one, insisting the Nook's niche is "Midwestern women ... they have a female demographic," and their advertising includes "Glee" and "Janet (sic) Lynch."

Baker countered that the iPad must be the choice of "Midwestern men."

Joe LaVorgna gives himself quite a range on that 10-year prediction

Joe LaVorgna explained that his Deutsche Bank shop took down its Q2 GDP forecast a whole point, from 2.4 to 1.4, because the recent data has been "weaker than what we thought."

Stephanie Link didn't think LaVorgna's cut was that big a deal because "he was one of the optimists out there."

LaVorgna suggested the 10-year rate should be "somewhere between 1.25 and 3."

For all those who purchased Ensco shares on May 3 ...

Goodness only knows what the purpose was for showcasing CVX watcher Faisel Khan on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, given that Khan 1) first recited consensus-sounding crude expectations, then 2) cut his estimates for CVX while maintaining a buy rating on the stock and pronouncing it a hold for "3-5" years.

Stephanie Link questioned why Khan didn't take down estimates for the whole industry.

Steve Grasso said he's long VLO and LNG. Joe Terranova, just to be different, mentioned WNR, TSO and HFC.

Stephanie Link was given a Fast Fire for recommending ESV way back on May 3 but said Wednesday, "I still like the deepwater market very much."

A difference of opinion
in the fertilizer space

Guest Ric Deverell said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he thinks it's a "cyclical dip" for commodities, rather than the beginning of the end, but that the days of those robust gains of the mid-2000s aren't coming back for a while.

Deverell also warned that if the Fed disappoints (i.e., no QE3 or not much of it), gold could "fall quite heavily."

Curiously, Deverell said corn's weather issues are "probably all in the price at the moment," but then said that once USDA data comes out in August, there could be "very big moves."

Simon Baker touted ag names AGU, POT and CF (CF was his Final Trade) and asserted, "Those are in play and continue to be strong." (This writer is long POT.)

Joe Terranova said the ferts have actually been underperforming recently amid corn's rise, which is "telling you to avoid the space." Stephanie Link said "I kinda like CF," and Steve Grasso made a total 50/50 case for Tyson, that it seems overdone but he's wary of getting into it, only to later make it his Final Trade with a $16.50 "bailout level."

Terranova: Buy DF

Joe Terranova brimmed with confidence at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report in asserting that the JPM and WFC earnings "will be a catalyst for the market," and that he recommends a position in PNC with a 58.70 stop as one of his bank longs.

Stephanie Link revealed that she "trimmed a little bit of SunTrust," but later said "We continue to own JPMorgan," though she wouldn't be crazy about it if rallied into the print.

Steve Grasso predicted a "sideways" market until Friday.

Joe Terranova mentioned a downgrade of DF without saying who made the downgrade but then took the other side, suggesting, "I think you buy."

Terranova's Final Trade was CHD, while Stephanie Link touted NWSA.

[Tuesday, July 10, 2012]

Analyst cut estimates ‘literally’ 5 minutes into a meeting

This one sounds like it was a done deal.

AMD/INTC watcher Chris Danely told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he recently lowered estimates practically for the whole group including AMD and INTC "literally 5 minutes into our first meeting in Asia."

Which begs the question: How long does it generally take a company to explain, "We're looking at a tougher quarter"?

Danely told Karen Finerman — who refreshingly, thankfully, didn't ask for clearance to ask the question this time — that his INTC price target is $25, and that the problem for PCs is both tablet cannibalism and China.

One of the wishy-washiest episodes of Fast Money in recent memory, but at least Mel and Karen treated viewers to stoplight combo

Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, more parched than those south-of-I-80 cornfields this month, kicked off Tuesday with panelists unsure about how bad it really is for CMI.

"I wouldn't add right here," said Karen Finerman, stressing, "this is bad," except it was still good enough to get a mention as her curious Final Trade that was some kind of hybrid good-stock-but-don't-buy-now.

Tim Seymour (he had several gems Tuesday) said the CMI selloff is intriguing, but it's "not the 2-feet-in opportunity," but he'd still rather own CMI here than CAT.

Stephen Weiss said he was able to short Paccar on the CMI news. "I actually think there's a bigger issue here, and it's complacency," Weiss said, predicting estimates will continue to come down.

Tim Seymour actually suggests viewers go long a European fertilizer maker that trades on the Frankfurt exchange

Normally the Fast Money Ag Trade is not very complicated; it's "people gotta eat" and "there's all these people in China and India moving into the middle class who want meat in their diets and once they get that they never go back," etc., and the buy recommendations are always POT and AGU and CF and maybe MON or DD or ANDE or ADM. (This writer is long POT.)

On Tuesday's 5 p.m. show, Tim Seymour actually pounded the table for European fertilizers Syngenta and, of all names, K+S, because it's "almost the perfect storm" with drought-like conditions, and there's a "demographic fundamental underpinning" to this trade (i.e., people in China just getting used to KFC for the next 10 years should cause the stocks to rise right now).

Karen Finerman, on the other hand, was much more conventional, telling Seymour "I think though these are really trading stocks though" (sic 2 uses of "though"), and revealing she got "out of CF and out of Potash," and that the momentum's over in the short term.

Stephen Weiss tried saying something about the chicken and the hen house that we didn't get and presumably didn't make any sense.

‘Deeply underweight equities’

Guest David Bailin was very comfortable on the Nasdaq set of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, where he seconded Anthony Scaramucci's midday notion that long-short funds are underperforming, and only near the end got to a relevant stock call for viewers.

"We're deeply underweight equities, deeply overweight fixed income," Bailin said, adding he expects that scenario "for the next year or more."

Melissa Lee asked Bailin about direct lending for farms, and while Bailin gave an articulate explanation, it's still way beyond the deep end of virtually any viewer's trading pool and the type of suggestion that belongs with Tim Seymour's Frankfurt-traded European fertilizer maker.

Another guest, Paul Baiocchi, clearly knew his stuff but spent more time than was needed exlaining that Pimco's BOND ETF has been outperforming the Total Return mutual fund because "structurally it's different," for example can't own derivatives, and one of its strengths is likely size, "the fund is a lot more nimble."

Flash: Stock with 181 P.E. might be in trouble in a recession

Dan Nathan, mostly quiet on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money (despite saying all kinds of words about AAPL that in the end amounted to nothing), warned that AMZN could take a pounding if there's a slowdown in consumer buying of electronics that appears to be hitting hhgregg.

Nathan said of AMZN, "They're already not making money on most of the products they make" (and we didn't know they made anything besides a Kindle), and that "this thing could be in for some trouble in a recessionary environment."

Stephen Weiss called the notion of Best Buy's founder launching a bid for BBY "pure folly" and claimed JCP is in a "death spiral," and, "I'm still short."

Tuesday's show was so weak that Dan Ernst was brought on to say there's a "compelling case" to be long RIMM, and frankly, who really gives a (bleep).

Tim Seymour suggested being long AAPL against an S&P short might be a smart move, though Dan Nathan said he doesn't want to buy AAPL on a spike heading into a volatile event.

Stephen Weiss insults one of Tim Seymour’s dogs

Guest Jeff Kauffman on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money sounded like he's really taking those "wanna get away" commercials to heart, saying LUV has underperformed based on the belief that it did too much hedging with higher oil prices, but "the reality is they were very low hedged in 2Q," and that now, "Enough's enough," and it's time to declare this positive fuel leverage is being missed by investors.

Stephen Weiss probably didn't realize he was getting on the bad side of Tim Seymour when he claimed, "I don't know why anybody owns gold miners," which prompted the expected rebuttal from Seymour that GFI has a 6% dividend yield and trades at 4 times earnings and typically has traded much higher and it doesn't matter whether you're selling doughnuts or whatever, that's appealing ... sort of ... because he can't fully pound the table because it's a "very complicated mining trade right now." (We warned you; this episode stank mightily.)

Mike Khouw reported that there was a big buyer of WMT January 75 calls.

Stephen Weiss' trade of the day (we're about to stop making a distinction for that) was VZ. Tim Seymour did recommend "stay short Brazil" (though that's hard to do if you weren't short already), Dan Nathan said he's continuing to short HOG, and Stephen Weiss said short steel.

Netflix: ‘The future of television,’ says analyst who doesn’t care how material info is disclosed

In a curious analyst call that was met with little to no counterpunching from the tepid (to say the least) Tuesday Fast Money Halftime Report crew, Andy Hargreaves hailed the growth prospects of NFLX.

"First of all, it's PacificCrest, not ThinkEquity," Hargreaves corrected Judge Wapner, who hitched him to the wrong shop in the intro, before proclaiming, "This is, in many ways, the future of television."

Hargreaves said NFLX has "substantial room for growth," and that the next big headline will be the Q2 earnings report.

Hargreaves said the Reed Hastings Facebook post was "a little bit odd," but he didn't bite on Judge Wapner's rightful skepticism that an analyst should be OK with this. "I'm not on Facebook," Hargreaves said; "whatever, that's up to them."

Someone on the panel mumbled something about NFLX being a "hype" stock, but the best they could do was a question from Anthony Scaramucci as to whether it's a growth, value, etc., stock. "I would consider it a growth stock," Hargreaves said.

Shock: ‘Sense of arrogance’ at FB

Both Mike Murphy, who revealed, "We've been adding to the Facebook position both yesterday and today," and Jon Najarian, who said upside call-buying in FB has now persisted for "5 out of the last 7 trading days, were optimistic on the stock on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

But that wasn't exactly the view of Mark Mahaney, who finds the stock because of mobile uncertainty and pending lockup end "fairly valued around here" with a $35 hold.

Most important was Mahaney's contention that "there's a sense of arrogance that comes out of Facebook to advertisers that the company needs to solve."

Which is basically the whole stock story. People already knew who these characters were going in — and, to be honest, we thought they enjoyed a greater business reputation than they apparently do, which is why this page basically agreed with Steve Grasso's "par" suggestion — and they got a chance to see them in 4 notable circumstances; 1) showing up for the road show in a hoodie to play a video already out on YouTube, 2) knucklehead co-founder renouncing citizenship, 3) pumping the fist with Greifeld and 4) getting married.

And, since then, with $38 as the benchmark, people have been voting whether this crew is the next Steve Jobs ... or the next Ron Johnson.

Judge Wapner noted that Murphy and Najarian getting excited about the shares maybe hitting the IPO price is a sign "times have changed."

What free shipping (either on orders over $25 or trial of Amazon Prime) can do for one’s image

Speaking of business reputation, Anthony Scaramucci said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Jeff Bezos' star isn't fully priced into AMZN; "you give him a little bit more time, he's gonna go into the Steve Jobs pantheon," Scaramucci said, and yes, we had to look up "pantheon."

Incredibly, Scaramucci said that not only has the "deification" not started yet, but once it does, "this multiple's gonna be a lot wider than people expect."

So what would that make it — 250?

Scaramucci, like David Einhorn, hailed AAPL but cautioned it's a beta stock now and "will be susceptible to drops." However, Jon Najarian claimed buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S3 are "wildly unhappy" because they're not getting iPhone-like support or a genius bar, and that the providers will continue to be "dis-tri-BEAUT-ing" (sic that's how he pronounced it) the iPhone.

And. Who. Cares.

Mostly devoid of ideas, Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report resorted to the old CNBC standby, Research in Motion.

And the discussion actually produced a howler, as guest Mark McKechnie, who refers to the stock as a "salvage value-type name," admitted a hold hasn't been the strongest opinion; "obviously a sell rating on a stock that's gone from 140 to 8 might- would've been the better call."

Anthony Scaramucci suggested the company do a deal with AARP, because "the only people using this thing are above 50."

Flash: This market sucks

In the understatement of the season, Anthony Scaramucci reported on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "long/short is not working in this environment."

Precisely. This market's a disaster; not only can people not agree on whether the S&P should be 100 points lower or higher, they don't have any conviction as to whether it will rightly or wrongly reach either level in a week, and until the QE3 stabilization occurs, nobody's going to make money.

Brian Kelly claimed "the fiscal cliff," which is just slang for keep-the-Bush-tax-rates-and-restrain-Medicare-and-Social-Security, is "not quite priced into this market."

Jon Najarian, who's probably the only one making money since May 1, crowed about selling at the day's top and then tried to claim it was someone else's call, and then said he could do "some nibbling" given how far the Dow was off its lows.

How many more people are capable of shorting the euro?

Guest Bill Carcache showed on Tuesday's Halftime Report he's got the Fast Money lingo down pat, saying "at the end of the day" twice while touting American Express, first painting a picture of low credit card balance expectations then saying AXP is mostly connected to spending and fees for its revenues as opposed to balances.

Judge Wapner questioned the impact of a slowdown in the high end. Carcache conceded AXP is not immune. Josh Brown said AXP has a 14 multiple on 5% top-line growth, and "I don't get it."

Josh Brown said "this is the wrong part of the cycle for semiconductors," but Jon Najarian said at this point you do "pick up" some QCOM, and maybe look at SNDK and BRCM. "I would not throw the baby out with the bathwater."

Brian Kelly said he's long euro, but it's "more for a trade," using a version of the incredibly dubious argument of John Williams a day earlier regarding V and MA, "how many more people can short the euro here?"

Kathy Lien advised selling euro/yen at 98.25, with a stop at 99 and target of 97.

‘Big bet’ on FXI

Jon Najarian said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that FXI is seeing some options activity; "somebody's making a big bet that this thing may have bottomed."

Josh Brown cautioned to "stay far away" from JRCC.

Brian Kelly said he doesn't like the fact that Beazer is selling stock rather than doing a buyback. But Anthony Scaramucci said he expects a "much stronger back end of the year in the housing cycle."

Brown cautioned that the unwind of the corn drought tends to "actually take a quarter or 2." Kelly suggested that if we get any kind of rain, shorting Tyson and going long JJG.

Kelly admitted a bungled call on ADM; "I'm out of it ... this is a no-touch now."

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was CNQ; Brian Kelly said TIP, Josh Brown said CREE and Anthony Scaramucci said VIA.

[Monday, July 9, 2012]

Gartman: ‘Worst is absolutely over for Chesapeake’

Dennis Gartman said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I suspect we could get up to $4, maybe $4.50" in natural gas, but that there's still a lot of supply coming on and not a good way to export it, which got Gartman backpedaling from LNG backer Steve Grasso, who claimed a monopolistic advantage.

But Gartman's call on CHK was bolder, asserting, "Oh I think the worst is absolutely over for Chesapeake," a reminder that this page suggested a month or 2 ago that Whitney Tilson start buying under $16 (he probably didn't; thanks for nothing).

WTR chief Nicholas DeBenedictis was supposed to talk about the water business but managed to say "I think in 10 years, natural gas is gonna run our economy."

Steve Grasso, who said earlier in the show that nat gas is "stifled" at $3, pointed out that the stock is moving on the company's ability to supply fracking sites with water, and "anyone who talks about the stock, they only wanna know about this," even though that business is "incremental at best."

Karen Finerman said to DeBenedictis, "It's Karen let me ask you something," which was, is the company at the end of a capex cycle, and she added "going forward." DeBenedictis didn't really answer the question but indicated financing is no problem, they're not issuing stock to get it, but "we're using retained earnings to do most of our capitalization."

Karen impressively borrows one of this page’s lines but botches the gag

Around here, we always say the Fast Money gang has complete permission to use during the broadcast any of the shockingly few punch lines on this page that somehow are actually funny; goodness knows the show is desperate for better material than "gotta leave it there," "at the end of the day," "the data doesn't matta," "at this point in time," "always good to see you," "the reality is," "be that as it may," "giddyup," "going forward," etc.

So we were heartened to hear Karen Finerman announce at the end of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, while Scott Nations' mike was somehow disconnected, that "it's the Marcel Marceau trade."

Except the correct term is the "Shields & Yarnell Trade," because we're partial to '70s pop culture, and can be traced at least to February 2012, when Steve Cortes got the silent treatment over an Apple-Cialis comment (you'll have to look up the entry to get the background).

Shields was from L.A. and Yarnell, who tragically died a couple years ago watching television (aneurysm), was from Inglewood, not far from Karen's own childhood stomping grounds.

It's really an impressive love story, although admittedly Yarnell was married 4 times. Nevertheless there is overachievement here; we're talking about veterans of "The Mac Davis Show" who ran into the "Laverne & Shirley" headwind.

Anyway, Nations was recommending NOK for his Final Trade because of some options activity. Steve Grasso said LF, Guy Adami said WLK, Karen Finerman said MHP and Pete Najarian said VOD.

Meanwhile, Karen set to invoke the Bob Seger Trade on HPQ

Karen Finerman said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that she's getting "ready to throw in the towel" on Hewlett-Packard, even though it's purportedly cheap, after a while you just get sick of waiting.

In a bit of comic irony, Finerman, likely the wealthiest of the Fast Money crew, called Dollar Tree "a little rich for me."

Guy Adami said SAM would be a "tremendous opportunity" at $110.

Scott Nations singled out a buyer of 7,000 of the August 26 puts in INTC, which require a price of $24.99 by August to break even, and then said the buyer also loaded up on some 23s. Pete Najarian said he'd consider adding to his Intel position if it's oversold on Tuesday.

Nations scoffed at FB's gains, saying "it's 1999 again" and "gonna be the new hotjobs.com" for its supposed jobs-listing endeavor. Pete Najarian didn't defend the stock, but according to the show's official disclosures (and you know how reliable those are), he owns it.

Pete Najarian credited Mel Lee for questioning how reliable Boeing's 20-year forecast is early in the day.

David Faber, touting yet another cyber-security documentary on CNBC (which have basically zero visuals, are always chock-full of experts warning how nobody gets it, how this is a potentially trillion-dollar situation, how companies aren't prepared, and what in the world are you supposed to do about it, take your computer to the Geek Squad), told Lee, "no company seems to be safe right now."

It hurts to say this, but Amelia Bourdeau, who (virtually) always looks good on television, should've done something with her hair on Monday. Bourdeau said she'd short the euro at 1.24, but her actual trade is to sell Aussie/yen at 81 with a target of 78.50 and stop at 82.35.

‘The penetration-of-payment story is intact’

John Williams spoke to Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about his downgrade of V and MA, based largely on macro conditions and diminishing incremental buyers, but it was his response to Karen Finerman's question ("It's Karen let me ask you something") about whether the trend toward cash-less payments would be enough to offset a slowing global economy that probably elicited a guffaw or 2.

"The penetration-of-payment story is intact," Williams assured, and if you flip a few of those words around, well, uh ...

Williams concluded, "Everybody owns the stocks, and really, who's left to buy?," which quite frankly sounds like a ridiculous argument, but whatever.

Williams told Guy Adami, who suggested the call was accurate, that there's "about 10% downside or so" in the stocks, prompting Adami to say of MA, "around this 390 level or so, I think you load the boat."

Pete Najarian wasn't impressed, scoffing that Williams was "neutral before" as the stocks soared.

Somehow, nobody called it an ‘option with no expiration’

Guest Jamie Townsend made something of a controversial call on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money — bullish on NOK.

That's even though Townsend admitted the takeout theory for both RIMM and NOK is "probably misguided," but that the conversion from Symbian to Lumia looks promising, and thus "I think the opportunity for Nokia is still internal."

Pete Najarian, who pounded the table for the stock a couple weeks ago in the mid-$2s, admitted Monday "I'm underwater in this name" but insisted, "I think this Lumia product looks fantastic." Steve Grasso wasn't convinced, saying he "still wouldn't be a buyer."

In another sign of how much of a bust the Trade of the Day feature is, Pete Najarian recommended a stock (VOD) he doesn't even own.

What Joe Weisenthal was trying to say was that the world is good at kicking the can down the road

Scott Nations reported on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money — with the help of an excellent chart for a change — that there were 2.3 to 1 puts for every call in the SPYders on Monday (vs. typical 1.7 to 1), and that "every single one of the 20 biggest option trades in SPYder today ... was a put."

Pete Najarian argued that it's not people who are bearish on the market, but just people scooping up cheap protection.

Guy Adami said that if nothing else, the report from Alcoa "wasn't a train wreck," and it's worth a buy with an "8½ or so stop."

Joe Weisenthal, who was on the set for reasons unclear (likely either 1) they're planning a new feature on the week ahead, or 2) Weisenthal's trying out for a permanent gig on the network), said that in Europe this week "there's basically nothing scheduled," and that he's not quite as bearish on the global outlook as "Nouriel" is because somehow the world always gets through these crises.

Extension of all current tax rates into 2013 is a done deal

Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report was interrupted for about 15 minutes by remarks from the president, who wants only those under $250,000 to keep the same tax brackets next year, but concedes, "I recognize that not everybody agrees with me on this."

Which means, all the brackets are being extended.

Stephanie Link got the wrong notes for Adam Parker’s appearance

Adam Parker did a guest sandwich of President Obama's remarks on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, predicting "less upside" this earnings season and reiterating "our target's 1,167 for year-end," and that investors "shouldn't pay a high multiple for corporate earnings."

Simon Baker asked Parker if we're nearing or at the point when so many such as Parker are bearish that it becomes a contrarian bull indicator. Parker said those calls have been "romanticized that they're a contrarian bull" but it's "still early" for that.

Stephanie Link then apparently bungled her question, telling Parker, "Adam you're- you're defensive, but yet you're recommending being overweight materials and also technology."

"Yeah, actually that's not true, I'm not sure why you said that," Parker said, saying he's only overweight utilities and health care.

‘Pretty close to a bottom on these coal stocks’

Brian Yu on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report spoke in generics about AA, but it was coal call that found disagreement from the Fast Money gang.

Judge Wapner asked Yu "what's your outlook going forward" (as opposed to going backward) on thermal coal. Yu said there have been "pretty sharp production cuts across the board," and thus, "I think we're pretty close to a bottom here on these coal stocks."

Simon Baker pointed to ACI and grumbled that the "easy money's been made." Joe Terranova said, "I don't like anything about the coal space," or steel space. Stephanie Link suggested SWN or DVN instead.

Yu said the "key area of concern for us" with Alcoa is the "upstream business." Jon Najarian said there has been "mildly bullish" options activity in AA the last 2 weeks.

We think he meant ‘holding’

Ken Usdin, like sooooooo many others before him, made the case for WFC during an appearance on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying the stock has "both offensive and defensive characteristics," which should raise alarm bells as that gets into Karen Finerman's classic how-can-gold-be-great-in-inflationary-and-deflationary-environment and how-can-high-and-low-gas-prices-both-be-good-for-Wal-Mart refrains.

Usdin actually called WFC a "great core portfolio holdout."

Stephanie Link spoke for so many when she said, "I feel like everybody likes Wells." Joe Terranova said he's in PNC and TCBI instead because of "expense management."

Simon Baker said at the top of the show that WFC and the do-it-yourself builders are a way to be "very safe" in this market and not a "hero."

Baker: Play momentum in DLTR

Jeff Kilburg said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there's a crop divergence on either side of Interstate 80, and predicted "$8 corn and $18 soybeans are coming."

Nicole Miller Regan, whose connection or at least dialogue with the crew was choppy, said if you play GMCR expect a "very bumpy ride," but the stock has been, "on the downside, probably overdone." But there's "no catalyst" for the recent move, she said.

Simon Baker said "I think we're close to a bottom" in the name. But Miller Regan suggested Starbucks instead.

Baker halfheartedly named Symantec as his play on David Faber's cyber special airing Monday night, which Judge Wapner awkwardly referred to when it looked like they were going to commercial.

Stephanie Link said she's transitioning from BA to CVS. Simon Baker said DLTR remains a "momentum" play that figures to "still go higher."

Jon Najarian reported "good upside call-buying" in FB in 4 of the last 5 days. However, his Final Trade was JNPR.

Simon Baker's Final Trade was WCG. Stephanie Link said long DD, and Joe Terranova said Marriott will beat.

Gary Kaminsky roars back from Europe with full beard

It hasn't been seen since the early days of Dylan Ratigan:

The CNBC beard.

Hair is a curious subject at CNBC and on TV in general, so it was a bit unfortunate that this site posted its Mount Rushmore of CNBC hair before Gary Kaminsky returned from his month-long Africa hike/European vacation; suffice it to say, if the beard passes muster with the network honchos and stays, we'll have to do an update.

(The camera provided a nice close-up Monday ... but how come it doesn't do that with Seema Mody on the StockTwits reports?)

Kaminsky told Mel Lee on Squawk on the Street that "Euro bonds will not happen."

[Friday, July 6, 2012]

Doug Kass clearly doesn’t get what kicking the can down the road is all about

Doug Kass, who has about 3 or 4 reasons behind every purported position he advocates, was given more than ample time by Judge Wapner on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report to talk his way out of that short-Treasury "investment," but it was in regard to European policymaking that he unleashed this howler:

"I thought that the Eur- that Europe would understand the severity of the problem and indeed they did not," Kass said.

What exactly kind of "severity" did he expect them to "understand"? It's the same "severity" of Japan's problems (oh yes, the Japan demise is just around the corner) and virtually every U.S. company's pension and the "fiscal cliff" (translation: I want my politicians to cut Social Security and Medicare) and if it's really so "severe," how come everyone said the same thing last August-October and stocks then went to the moon through March?

Anyway, Kass' most provocative statement was his assertion that if an Obama victory looks more and more likely, there's "certainly risk to the downside" in the stock market.

Kass said we're in a range-bound market of 1,280 to 1,420. He told Judge Wapner that his short Treasury call of a couple months ago was an "investment" and not a "trade."

Pete Najarian got in a bit of a dis afterward, saying, "Dougie tends to be a little bit more reactive I think than I do as far as some of the news of the day."

But guest Boris Schlossberg actually claimed "Dougie Kass was right" regarding European inertia. Schlossberg said the euro could go to 1.20, but his trade is to buy the Aussie vs. the U.S. dollar at 1.03 with a target of 1.0450.

Listen to enough people on the banks, and ya gotta conclude, they suck

Judge Wapner welcomes Brad Hintz to Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report to apparently discuss banks, though by the end of about 5 minutes of commentary, Hintz, who twice noted "it's not a pretty picture," admitted, "I'm not certain any of these banks are a buy."

Rather, his top picks are ICE and CME. But he did point out that MS and GS can be winners in the Libor scandal.

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian said he's not in JPM because it doesn't have "mojo" now, or more accurately, as he later noted, because it hasn't had the options action (which is basically the basis for nearly all of his trades).

Guest Chirantan Barua also conceded an enduring Libor headwind, but admitted, regarding Deutsche Bank, "I was a little surprised with the way the market took it," and that it amounts to "no new news."

Steve Grasso, who earlier in contrast to Mike Murphy said "I'd be a short seller" of the outperforming XHB, said he thinks a WFC long against the builders is an interesting trade.

Pete’s convinced Yahoo has finally got the right guy for the unlocking process

One thing they don't seem to address at business school is all this "locked up" value in the business world.

Maybe they should, because listening to CNBC, one gets the impression some companies would thrive by making new products people want simply by dialing a locksmith.

On Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Pete Najarian pronounced Jason Kilar a "great name" for YHOO to "unlock that value," even though he admitted he thought Carol Bartz was going to do just that.

Jon Najarian was afforded an opportunity to brag about his 1,700% return in NFLX options. Which does viewers a lot of good, given that Najarian revealed, "I am out of Netflix completely here."

Brian Marshall told viewers that AAPL "continues to be one of our top ideas here," and that, "at the end of the day," he expects a smaller version of the iPad this year, though it might not be called an iPad. Meanwhile, "EMC's our top multi-year pick," Marshall said.

Judge suffered a setback when he tried to wing it about 10 minutes into the program in a desperation move at identifying a winner Friday, saying, "last I checked, Apple shares were actually positive," as the screen chart clearly showed it down for the whole day. "I think you were talking about Amazon, Scott," said Jon Najarian.

Grasso: Short XHB

Steve Grasso said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that given the 50-day moving average of the S&P, 1,339 is "probably where we're heading."

Steve Liesman said that in his opinion, the "biggest story" of the jobs report is the "confirmation of the deceleration." But Liesman said the economy isn't dead, more like "zombie," and the Fed isn't necessarily inclined to hit the QE3 button, but the bar has "gotten a little bit lower."

Pete Najarian demanded Liesman explain how economists arrived at 100,000-plus jobs growth; "where did they expect to see these gains?" Liesman explained that some don't forecast specific sectors, but merely plug various numbers into the models.

While Mike Murphy touted builders on a pullback, Steve Grasso singled out XHB and said "I'd be a short seller there."

CAT ‘off to the races’?

Mike Murphy said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, "I think CAT gets very interesting here," and even, if China cuts rates, it could be "off to the races," a term that should give anyone pause.

Pete Najarian insisted, "If the options bring me in here I'll trade Caterpillar with the best of 'em," but he doesn't see a quick flip, however, "right now I look at this as an absolute investment opportunity."

Jon Najarian pointed out that MMR is up "50% in 30 days." But he didn't say if it would go up another 50% in the next 30 days.

Steve Grasso wasn't sold on AA; "I still wouldn't be a buyer." Mike Murphy said COG and LNG are good ways to play the strength in nat gas and even made LNG his Final Trade.

Grasso said long LF with tight leash was his Final Trade; Jon Najarian said KMI and Pete Najarian said (Zzzzz) STX.

Herb Greenberg complained that Carl Icahn isn't saying anything about Navistar.

[Thursday, July 5, 2012]

Somebody’s taking this fiscal cliff stuff way too seriously

Sometimes, you hear the darnedest things on Fast Money.

Brad Lamensdorf, making the short case for COL on Thursday's 5 p.m. program, said the shares have benefitted from tax rates and buybacks.

But then he threw in, "Government's also gonna be cutting back."


Lamensdorf talked up (actually down) 3 names for shorting, starting with JCOM, which he said also benefitted from lower tax rates (we see a theme here in how earnings quality is judged by his model) and will see margin compression; he "actually just put on" a short position.

He also said FOSL is shortable even after that monster haircut this year in part because it hasn't risen with the market the last 2 weeks, which Lamensdorf called "pathetic."

Mike Khouw said he reviewed the options activity in those 3 names and found "investors are no longer interested."

Guest picks worst possible moment for touting STX on Fast Money

Marc Chaikin probably should've sought a postponement of his appearance on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Chaikin was touting his indicator model, which he called "highly predictive and, uh, very useful in earnings season as sort of like a GPS."

And it just so happened that this "GPS"-like model put STX in the solidly bullish camp, even though Fast Money traders spent the top of the program discussing its afterhours plunge.

"Seagate's a very interesting stock at this point," Chaikin said with a straight face, seemingly a few hours late with that one.

Mel Lee protested that it seems like rather than avoiding land mines, the indicator model hit one smack on the nose in this case. Chaikin protested, "The reaction actually is not that bad," and claimed that the stock reaction is better than what might've been expected for this type of report, and thus it's not a land mine.

Tim Seymour sounded like a greenhorn (in plain-pocket jeans) in asking Chaikin what has him excited about eBay.

Chaikin's strongest recommendation actually was about WYNN, which he called "very vulnerable" and one to exit.

Tim Seymour said Macau growth is returning to earth, and "What was a miracle for a year and a half is really pulling in."

How many people watch 8 million hours of TV?

Pete Najarian took a moment on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to tout God's Gift to Trading (because nobody apparently ever loses money on them), weekly options, as they pertain to this week's surge in AAPL.

But the conversation kicked into high gear when NFLX was brought up, with Tim Seymour pointing out that superstar analyst Rich Greenfield has found that Netflix's "online audience exceeds all that of cable and TV audience combined."

Melissa Lee cut in, actually saying, "8 million hours per subscriber" (sic, that's what was heard; the closed captioning actually showed "80 million hours").

Sometimes even equations such as "x+2=4" are too tough for this page, but we did do some calculations and discovered there are 8,760 hours in a given year ... and so Netflix only needs its subscribers to live 913 years — constantly streaming the whole time — to meet that lofty goal.

Mike Khouw said someone long 1,000 September 77.50 NFLX calls sold those and used the proceeds to buy twice as many in the September 90/95 range.


Scott Mushkin at one point during his 5 p.m. Fast Money chat on Thursday indicated they could debate forever whether food inflation was good for certain producers, and it's a good thing he said that, because we frankly had little to no clue whether he was talking about a bullish or bearish environment for food-related stocks.

Mushkin said he's bearish on GIS and K, but his picks, according to the CNBC chart and his own comments, were HAIN, WFM, UNFI and SWY, though he was lukewarm at best on SWY, calling it an inflation "flier."

Joe Terranova pounded the table for WFM; "I think you're gonna see a hundred-dollar print there."

Notice the CNBC graphics crew failed to run spell-check (above) and ended up with a couple goofs on the description of Marc Chaikin.

‘More likely’ Fed acts in September

The Fast Money gang was doing a lot of the Caddyshack Trade on Thursday's 5 p.m. show regarding STX.

(Quite honestly, few stocks sound as utterly boring as this one, though it does move; if you've traded it well, congrats, but it's just a boring name.)

Joe Terranova said the afterhours selloff means you'll get "potentially" an "excellent point of entry."

Pete Najarian said, "I would definitely look to start adding to something in Seagate. I'm not in there right now," but it's nevertheless looking like a "great opportunity."

Meanwhile, Terranova also surprised Mel Lee by recommending RL and mentioning YUM, while adding, "Nike traded incredibly well." And, Terranova said to "stay with" the UNG.

Steve Grasso said he was troubled by "a little bit of a selloff here" at the close of Thursday's market, and "I would be fading this rally." Tim Seymour said "more lubrication" is probably needed for the Chinese economy.

Michelle Meyer, The World's Cutest Economist (see below), was asked by Joe Terranova what the Fed's "line in the sand" is in terms of jobless data spurring stimulus. "To me I think it's more likely they act in September," Meyer said, though Dennis Gartman is on record as saying that's too late in the political process.

Pete: Go long FCX

Diana Olick, she of the chiseled biceps, told Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the apartment vacancy rate has reached its lowest level since 2001, and that it's under the 5% "major benchmark" level only seen 3 times in 31 years.

Joe Terranova said his trades in that regard are AVB and PPS.

Tim Seymour actually did a nice feature on whiskey that unfortunately offered little in the way of a trade. Seymour mentioned strength in BFB and STZ but seemed to lobby against buying the stocks right now, saying, "People get a little drunk in the story if I may," but, "at the end of the day, this is not going away."

Seymour claimed "I was drinking a Budweiser" at the WXOU Radio Bar while college kids come in seeking Maker's Mark.

Seymour's big Trade of the Day, and Final Trade, was actually CBD, with no major catalyst except what he called a setback from a "shareholder battle."

The Fast Money gang chuckled over the term "dissipated."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell LMT. Steve Grasso said buy WTR on a pullback in the 25 range. Joe Terranova said LPX with a 10.65 stop, and Pete Najarian said long FCX.

Econ superfox Michelle Meyer
visits the Nasdaq

The Fast Money franchise, after a stale Halftime Report on Thursday, suddenly got a jolt of life at 5 p.m. Thursday when gorjus Michelle Meyer, The World's Cutest Economist, actually showed up on set to talk about (what else) the jobs number.

"We're sticking with a hundred thousand," Meyer said. "I do think there's upside risks to that number."

Steve Grasso complained about consensus numbers representing only "negative setups" and that we really need "3, 350" to establish a "true recovery." TWCE said "that would be great" if it happened, but Grasso cut her off to re-stress what's, um, as much a political point as stock-market point.

"I think this could be the strong payroll print for the rest of the year," Meyer said.

Dan Greenhaus thinks it takes an academic to predict response to QE3

You can tell it's a holiday week.

The star guest of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report was Dan Greenhaus, who advised viewers with little more than a bunch of macro if-thens.

There are good and bad kinds of lower rates, Greenhaus said, explaining that they're a "symptom of some underlying problem."

Greenhaus said that given inflation expectations, "the bar for QE is high."

Then he claimed you could make a "pretty strong academic case" that $3-$4 trillion of QE3 would bring a "considerable bang for the buck" to the stock market, but his "over-under" — if it happens — is actually "somewhere around 750 billion."

Greenhaus revealed, "I am personally long the GLD ... I thank Peter Boockvar for getting me involved in the name to start with."

Stephanie Link happened to ask Greenhaus, "Don't you think this global easing is going to be- sets us up pretty well for 2013 and beyond?"

To that, Greenhaus answered, "With all due respect, I don't really know what you mean."

"Well just that, just that, it stabilizes the, the, the declines," Link stammered.

A year ago it closed at $289

Simon Baker said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that NFLX is on the "right side of the cycle to start buying it again ... I think you can buy the stock here."

Josh Brown singled out what he said was 26% short interest and declared, "I would not make that much of the gains today."

Brian White, credited with identifying the iPad mini before anyone else, predicted a fall announcement paired with the iPhone 5.

AAPL has room, White said; "I think there's plenty of upside."

White said July is AAPL's "2nd-best month," then claimed October is the 2nd-best month.

Jason Raznick said RIMM's demise is good for AAPL. Stephanie Link cautioned that the stock has a lot of good stuff baked in.

Liz Dunn is not asked about JCP

Judge Wapner brought in Liz Dunn for a retail chat on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report but this time there was nothing about LULU or other notable stocks Dunn follows.

Rather, Dunn defended M, "I think they have multiple levers to, uh, pull," and called COH "very reasonably priced."

Dunn said "the low end continues to be weak." Stephanie Link said she likes TJX but got into NKE because the latter seems beaten up. Josh Brown said, "I would not be anywhere near high-end anything."

Link said she's adding to CVS. Simon Baker touted Arch Coal at the top of the show, and Josh Brown said he likes COP. Link touted DVN, SWN and EOG as nat gas plays.

Stephen Weiss dialed in to say he's getting into WLP, that there "couldn't be more negativity on it." Jason Raznick countered that he doesn't "exactly" agree with that call, citing lawsuits by Michigan against Blue Cross and the prospect of other suits leading to lower prices causing a "negative headwind." Weiss rebutted that "Wellpoint would love to see costs lower."

Maybe not the 1937-38 scenario, but sounds like the 2011 scenario

Thursday Fast Money Halftime Report guest Bill Greiner veered a tiiiiiiiiny bit into Brian Kelly territory when he predicted weakness in the next 2-3 months, "probably another period in front of us where weakness in the market wouldn't be suprising to us," and then a more robust end to the year.

Greiner likes Murphy Oil (MUR), which has "good solid prospects going forward" (as opposed to the solid prospects going backward that NKE has) and "looks very very cheap."

Greiner also said AFL is a Japan play, and there are "decent volumes" there.

Josh Brown asked Greiner what his clients are saying about the economy. Greiner credited Brown, "Very good question by the way," and said those clients are "frozen at the stick as they say" because of the "huge uncertainties" in the global economy.

Euro to 118.50

Dennis Gartman said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that you've "gotta be long" corn, or at least, "weakness is to be bought," even though he cautioned that when traders see it raining on La Salle Street, they think it's raining everywhere and prices can suddenly sink.

Josh Brown recommended COW (which he said bugs him because it's an ETN) and CORN. Stephanie Link predicted DE could reach the upper 80s.

Paul Richards said of the euro, "I do think it's going lower," he would sell at 1.2650, and that his 6-month target of 118.50 might be "conservative."

Seema Mody mentioned Twitter talk about MT. Josh Brown said, "You cannot own these stocks" even if you got lucky with a day trade because they have "no business momentum." Mody also mentioned RIMM, which prompted Simon Baker to say "stay away."

‘Huge day’ tomorrow

Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report was (sorta) marked by the debut of new panelist Jason Raznick ... who proceeded to say little and recommend practically nothing.

Raznick called the XBI a "secular play that people just can't enough of."

He claimed "tomorrow's a huge day" regarding the jobs number and that he has forecast 129,000.

He did stress regional banks over big banks, but that merely launched Stephanie Link into a go-round with Simon Baker, as Link said she sounds "like a broken record, I know," but JPM at 33.40 tangible book has been great historically. Baker said it's an "emotional market" and so investing based on tangible book "doesn't make any sense to me at all."

Josh Brown said if there's an upside jobs number, "it'll be really hard to contain the bulls."

Simon Baker pointed out that "the former, uh, chap" (that would be Bill Greiner) suggested moments earlier putting money on the sidelines now and seconded that because it's tough to trade the jobless numbers. Baker did tout the new car sellers SAH and AN, and was the only panelist allowed a Final Trade, which was SAH.

[Tuesday, July 3, 2012]

On the verge of going 2-for-2

We can't figure out why Kyle Cooper was on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

But the chart produced for his TV hit was priceless.

Cooper was asked why oil is going up, and he went to the old standby, Iran belligerence, while acknowledging they're not really going to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Joe Terranova tried to ask if U.S. refiners aren't the best investment in a rising crude environment. Cooper misunderstood the question as a statement and declared the U.S. is "the premier location of refining."

Patty Edwards recommended CBI, which prompted Judge to remake the most unfunny "tunnel" punchline for the 4th or 5th time.

See, all that really matters, for oil, stocks (which are the same trade) or anything else, is those first 2 lines of Cooper's chart, particularly the top line, which is still a bit in flux, whereas the kicking-the-can-down-the-road of No. 2 seems in the bag.

So are we going up, or down?

In a total momentum-stock-day edition of the Fast Money Halftime Report on Tuesday, Judge Wapner spent a chunk of time with Christine Short, who's seeing negative growth as a whole in the top 10 S&P sectors for the first time in 10 quarters.

"The 2nd quarter might be a turning point for corporate earnings," Short said, saying the best results are likely from industrials, IT and consumer staples.

Goldman Sachs seems to have trouble figuring out which end is up

Introductory comments on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report basically illustrate how you can get whatever market you want.

Josh Brown said that in the last month or so, "Everyone got way too bearish, us included," in fact there was even more bearishness on the Street than in the tech bubble or in 2008, and so it's a great contrarian indicator.

Meanwhile, Jon Najarian said there was a "huge roll" in the OIH, someone turning over from expiring 37s to 38, and so "there's a bet that this does continue in energy."

Pete Najarian chipped in that XOM was participating in that, and "I think it's going a lot higher than that ... we've never seen stuff as this (sic) hot right now as we have in the last 5 days."

So, hot energy trades are a sign of more hotness, but gloomy S&P forecasts are a sign of a U-turn.

Or perhaps the key term (hint: its first 2 letters are "mo"), as Brown also conceded, is that "you also have to look at things like market internals and momentum," and recently the "appetite to sell was gone," which is why we're at 1,374 instead of the equally believable 1,274.

Brown said he's been doing some "Russell Index stuff, we did some S&P stuff."

Joe Terranova concurred with the contrarian theme. "The Street here is leaning the wrong way," Terranova said, even later declaring "there is not credibility in the content of the call itself," but he revealed, "I'm taking off that energy trade today into the strength ... global SPR release potentially on the table."

Patty Edwards said things have become "a little bit more risk on," and recommended WD40.

A whole bunch of travel-site names get mentioned while no one actually admits they’re plunging in

Herman Leung on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report said without the strongest amount of conviction that "we still like Expedia," as Q3 is the online traveler's Christmas season.

Jon Najarian first said, "I love the online travel space," including TRIP and EXPE, and then adjusted the metaphor a bit saying "this is their Super Bowl" and even threw in PCLN, only to eventually close the conversation admitting "I'm waiting for a little bit more of a pullback" in those names while congratulating Leung for being "spot-on ... he's been good when he's come on the program."

Patty Edwards asked Leung if FB helps TRIP. Leung said, again without the greatest amount of enthusiasm, that "it does drive a little bit more engagement."

Nobody apparently ever loses money in weekly NFLX options

While CNBC's radiant-in-gray rising superfox Seema Mody reported Twitter interest in NFLX on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Jon Najarian used the moment as an opportunity to tout God's Gift to trading — weekly options.

Najarian said weekly 70 calls and 72.50 calls in NFLX had just skyrocketed; "these are the best things ever for trading."

Mody said there was also chatter about FSLR crossing averages, and SINA and BIDU. Joe Terranova pronounced the latter 2 the "deep end of the pool."

Herb Greenberg, in an excruciatingly redundant assessment of Research in Motion, said the company is falling apart but the insiders "don't really see it happening," and Thorsten Heins is "fully not in touch."

Pete Najarian stressed caution with MU, "I would not be chasing at these levels," while Jon Najarian cheerily reported upside call-buying in AAPL.

Soft drink/potato chip makers get a breather on this year’s July 3 edition

Tuesday's pre-Independence-Day Fast Money Halftime Report was chock-full of suggestions of U.S.-centric companies and recreational names we've grown to expect year after year of watching this particular episode.

(The best call was a few years ago when Pete Najarian nailed a potential Hilton buyout the first week of July and it happened a day later or maybe even later in the afternoon, but then there are times like last year's pre-4th episode, when Patty Edwards explained, "We're spending a lot of time just talking people through the market.")

Joe Terranvoa touted DKS, HIBB and CAB, but at least he didn't say "I like Dick's," as Stephen Weiss did recently.

Pete Najarian touted HOG; "they're doing everything right right now." Patty Edwards suggested PKG, which has a nice dividend, as well as some cookout plays, BGS, WFM and KR.

For those who invest based on Dan Loeb’s reported positions, it’s like flipping a coin

Pete Najarian took his LULU Fast Fire in stride on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, insisting, "I put on a call spread just today. I think this stock goes higher from here."

Najarian said it's not like NKE and argued that the company's not-as-hot-as-people-expected outlook isn't a big deal.

Patty Edwards cautioned that YUM gets 45% of sales from China, and that's where all its recent growth has come from.

Kate Kelly delivered breaking news on Dan Loeb listing CHK as one of his top 5 positions.

But nobody knows if it's long or short, or whether it's equity, debt or derivative.

Other than that, trade away.

Joe Terranova said natural gas' price is the reason buyers are finding CHK.

Herb Greenberg had to be prodded off RIMM by Judge Wapner to address NAV, in which the "b" word, Herb said, "still remains a credible option."

Guest Ron Carson said his top picks for the summer (which according to Judge's intro began with sell in May) are POT and DE. (This writer is long POT.)

Kathy Lien is another one of those Money in Motion-ites who doesn't realize that Judge only wants a 15-second soundbite and then a trade. Lien said to sell the pound vs. Aussie at 1.5325.

Jon Najarian at one point predicted euro to 1.30.

Judge didn't issue Final Trades on Tuesday, but did report that Meredith Whitney has downgraded JPM.

[Monday, July 2, 2012]

Brian Kelly probably thinks DiMaggio is going to lead the Yanks to the pennant

The Fast Money traders are in the business of forecasting financial markets, in whichever time frame they choose, but Brian Kelly managed to turn such a science into a King's Island roller coaster on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Kelly, who claimed the data "just doesn't matter right now," tangled with a few of his colleagues while asserting what's next is "some kind of hope rally," but not really that much of a hope rally because "I'm looking for 5% at best upside," but then look out in a few months because "I'm still using the 1937-38 time frame as my model for this market where you see a significant decline in the fall."

Meanwhile, on the more bearish side of the ledger was Kelly's colleague Dan Nathan, who said we're past Europe and that "this is very much a U.S. story," and according to the data, "that looks pretty bad." But Joe Terranova was more optimistic, saying the market traded well on Monday and insisting it would have to take multiple contraction to get to Goldman Sachs' 1,250 prediction.

Somewhere in between was Pete Najarian, who said he's a trader. "Who cares if Goldman Sachs thinks we're going to 1,250. I could give a rip," Najarian said, advising some trimming of positions now, but "Do you go short? Absolutely not."

CHK ‘a little bit reminiscent of ImClone’

(Sigh) Every time Carl Icahn visits with Fast Money, we've come to expect the same thing.

They've been rewarding themselves for destroying shareholder value ... If they're so concerned my offer's a bad one why don't they let the shareholders vote on it ... You know I'm not going to tell you if I'm going to increase my offer ...

Thankfully, Icahn's takedown of FRX on Monday's 5 p.m. program included some fresh material, including the assessment that Howard Solomon's son, "who's got only 10 years experience, is in charge of corporate, uh, corporate development and strategy."

And with those types of qualifications, why should we doubt his ability to run an airline?

Icahn's big beef seems to be with the dubiousness of Solomon's stock sales prior to full clarity about Lexapro going off-patent. Yet, "I've talked to Howard ... we talk sort of cordially on the phone," Icahn said, but apparently not cordially enough to keep the Carlmeister from reaching out to Fast Money to rattle Solomon's and his board friends' cages.

Icahn praised Aubrey McClendon as a "very bright guy" who bought some great assets, which was really bright given that "they couldn't afford to buy some of 'em," which has led to a "cash gap." Nevertheless, Icahn is bullish on the stock, calling it "a little bit reminiscent of ImClone ... I would not sell it at all now."

Pete Najarian waffled and rambled about CHK, saying you can buy call spreads when it's around $17; "this thing has value."

Joe LaVorgna is bullish

Joe LaVorgna, as many folks are doing these days, decided on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to only care about the numbers that support his thesis.

The problem with the ISM, LaVorgna said, is that it's "very sentiment-oriented ... really a Europe-based report" that's looking backwards, while the U.S. economy has tailwinds that will power it ahead in the 2nd half of the year.

Dan Nathan disagreed. "Joe LaVorgna, real smart guy, but, the argument that I heard is that he's telling us that the U.S. hard- housing market has decoupled from everything else around the world that is getting weaker. And I don't buy it," Nathan said.

Um, kinda sounds like Steve Jobs was speaking a little over the top

Brian White has a $1,111 price target on AAPL (isn't that a nice poker hand of numbers), but that isn't what he was asked about during a head-scratching conversation on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

White merely restated news that Mel Lee had already mentioned, plus older news, that Samsung is as much rival as partner to Apple and that Steve Jobs really meant it when he spoke of thermonuclear war on Android. (Luckily, Tim Seymour wasn't on Monday's panel to explain how he wears JCPenney plain pocket jeans awesome Samsung is.)

White pointed out that Apple is the biggest tech company and "they've been very very successful," which is why "they're under the microscope" on China labor practices, which he doesn't think are actually bad.

Pete Najarian said, "I think it's time to get out of Micron." Scott Nations reported that some big buyer bought an ORCL December 23/28 put spread for $1.09.

What did corn do in 1937-38?

If you ever wanted to hear both sides of a stock story, you should've heard Mark Newton on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

"Yum's in a short-term downtrend as part of an overall uptrend," Newton said. "Overall, I like buying the stock down near $61," and then realizing low $70s in the 6-8 months.

Newton referred to NKE as oversold but still said it could find $76 in 3-5 months and "increasingly is a concern for long investors."

He called WMT "quite overbought on multiple time frames," but he wouldn't mind buying it around $64/$65 and then seeing it shoot past $70.

Scott Nations said NKE is "certainly oversold ... the whole China thing as far as Nike is concerned is, is overdone."

Dennis Gartman for some reason was summoned to report that — did you hear? — farmers are experiencing a drought problem, and that if corn doesn't get rain soon, it's going to be a bad crop with higher prices. Meanwhile, "I'm afraid that oil prices could continue to deteriorate," and there "continues to be at contango in WTI."

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks great on TV and had new hairstyle Monday, said she'd short the pound vs. kiwi at 1.9510, with a target 1.900 and stop at 1.9770, though Amelia talked a bit long, prompting Melissa Lee to cut in with the actual trade.

Scott Nations' Trade of the Day was KO, based on India; there wasn't enough time for Final Trades from everyone, and we don't watch Web Extra.

Saks’ NYC store revenues now called 30-40% of company’s total

Chuck Grom, whose negative WMT call on some September Thursday last year has been trumpeted by Guy Adami multiple times, said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that DLTR has simply gotten toppy, and "it's a pretty expensive stock."

But Grom explained to Stephanie Link that he recently upgraded COST because the "operating margins of, of Costco got a lot of room to grow."

Grom said there are places to be in both the high end and low end, but it's the middle that's tough, where companies such as JCP are finding a "quogmeer" (sic that's how he pronounced it).

Steve Grasso said to maybe try to get into WMT around 65, but "once it pops over 70, you better get on board."

But Grasso said, in the universe of retail, "I would stick with Target," because it's "poised to go a lot higher."

Guest Laura Champine said she likes TIF because if this is 2008, it's fairly valued, and if it's not 2008, it "has a lot of upside."

Stephen Weiss disagreed, saying "Asia is the issue," and that he likes ANF instead, prompting Judge Wapner to rightly question why he wants exposure to Europe.

Mike Murphy, in one of those examples of twisted trader logic you sometimes hear on CNBC, said of BBY that if you were smart to get in under 20, "you'd be selling it today." (So if you bought it below $20, the stock will go down, but if you bought it around $25, apparently you should hang on for the move higher.)

We always get a chuckle out of the range of numbers heard on Fast Money regarding the percentage of SKS sales that come from the flagship NYC location. Monday Stephen Weiss claimed "30-40% of their revenues come from the New York store."

‘Fair’ price for Amylin

Dr. Mark Schoenebaum said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that it's a "good question" as to whether BMY paid too much for AMLN, but he pronounced the deal "Fair. I don't think they got a steal. But it's fair."

Schoenebaum said the biotech sector has been moving higher based on takeovers and "binary," one-off events, and doesn't see a "thematic reason" for strength, so he cautions those playing the sector as an outperform.

"In large-cap biotech, you know, I like Gilead quite a bit," Schoenebaum said, and also VRTX and UTHR.

Stephanie Link said she likes CELG.

AZPN to 30

Whether you believe him is up to you, but guest Zack Shafran delivered a treasure trove of stock calls on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Praising MU, Shafran said, "We actually love this deal ... we think the stock's probably headed north of 10."

But Shafran also likes Alliance Data (ADS), saying it's more than a credit-card concern; "they're all about data." He thinks a turnaround at Aspen Technology (AZPN) means the "stock's poised to go to 30." And he thinks ACI Worldwide (ACIW) is on the right track now; "their management was awful."

Stephanie Link agreed that "Aspen Tech is actually kind of interesting ... it's actually quite interesting."

Steve Grasso said his (boring) play is Amazon, and would "nibble here" but be warned the stock could be hit by macro concerns.

That's even though Grasso admitted, "No one buys a big TV on Amazon, and here come the tweets." Stephen Weiss contributed a zinger, and then Judge called it off, with Grasso making an excellent boxing reference, "Mills Lane jumps in." Grasso later issued a "RIMM shot" (pun intended) to Weiss.

‘QE3 is back on the table’

Stephen Weiss on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report hailed the Barron's call on China, with a back-handed dis of Jing Ulrich's lowered 7.75% growth prediction.

"I'm glad she's comin' around," Weiss told Judge Wapner. "I think the Barron's article is right ... if you get to 6%, that's disastrous."

Mike Murphy revealed that traders are saying that "QE3 is back on the table," which means bad numbers being reported aren't actually bad. (But remember Dennis Gartman said they can't do anything after July because of politics.)

Murphy said if not for the holiday-shortened week and the QE3 hopes, stocks would've given back a "huge portion" of Friday's gains. Both Murphy and Stephanie Link said the homebuilders look to be an area of strength.

Stephen Weiss said he likes nat gas and thinks energy may be oversold, but doesn't like the broad market, "I would pare back positions."

Steve Grasso said the June 21 Philly Fed number "should've been the canary in the coal mine" for Monday's data. Stephanie Link said she's buying CLX and GIS.

Watch WTR

Brian Rehling on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report issued one of the more provocative Treasury calls, pointing out the 10-year was 2.40% in March, and that he expects it to "reverse out some of those perceived risks" and hit 2.5% in 2012.

Stephanie Link predicted upside for banks because "there's a lot of bad news baked in ... I do think you're gonna see loan demand."

Link mentioned JPM and said "I like SunTrust," and then in the understatement of the day, "I like USB; everybody likes USB," before adding she also is interested in AIG, "if it falls below 30."

Herb Greenberg bumbled and stumbled through a teleprompter reading of the judge's ruling on for-profit education, something about the gainful employment condition, but it's "too soon to say" what this means for the sector.

Steve Grasso mentioned WTR and said it "lowers the environmental impact" of supplying water to frackers, which is just one thing it's doing with a great chart.

Grasso's Final Trade was MO. Stephen Weiss said UAL, Mike Murphy said FB and Stephanie Link said ETB.

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