[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, March 2013]
[Thursday, March 28, 2013]

‘Just buy health care’

Chris Verrone told viewers of Thursday's Fast Money that if you're troubled by the notion of health-care leading such a robust rally, "just buy health care."

Verrone touted BSX and said the notion of health care or staples leading the market is not a bad one. "When JNJ broke out in 1995, it went up for 15 of the next 19 quarters," Verrone said.

In quite the momentum call, Verrone pointed to MOLX and the persistent higher low and said, "We think this one is worth 38 or 40."

Tim Seymour questioned if Verrone's chart saying the S&P is fine right on up to 1,600 doesn't go back far enough and address the triple-top concerns. Verrone pointed to the volume of stocks ahead of 200-days right now vs. 2000, and added, "No one knew it was August '82, until August '84."

How many people does Brian really know who switched from BBRY to AAPL then back to BBRY then back to AAPL?

Ehud Gelblum visited Thursday's Fast Money and seemed a bit hunched over on the corner end, but proceeded to make an interesting call regarding BBRY and the phone space.

Gelblum flat out dismissed the impact of subscriber loss and said what drives the stock is "gross margin," and in BlackBerry's case it's "going the right direction."

Brian Kelly made a skeptical argument based on anecdotal evidence, if anecdotal evidence is how you'd like to trade one of the most overanalyzed sectors in the stock market.

Brian Marshall twice said "at the end of the day" that HPQ will go up if the numbers are up and down if the numbers are down, but he argued most of its businesses are declining and so he wants to be on the sidelines. Mike Khouw detected a big buyer of May 24 puts.

Tim meets his quota, mentions Samsung and Chess King

Tim Seymour informed viewers of Thursday's Fast Money, "I am not terribly excited."

Guy Adami, in an overly dramatic, overcooked and over-the-top statement, assured viewers "the market doesn't give you this long to sell the top," and then said in Q2, "gold's gonna wind up working," but viewers heard nothing about instantly putting in the high for the year in stocks as they were constantly hearing in late February/early March.

Enis Taner, whose top trade was long FXE puts and who has potential for this program but needs to sharpen the edges, revealed, "I was long Amgen. I sold it earlier this week."

Tim Seymour said to buy Brazilian ETFs. Brian Kelly said to short the EWY, and then Tim Seymour managed to ask about Samsung, which Kelly said he's negative on.

Seymour: Told ya so on CLF

Just after Melissa Lee on Thursday's Fast Money read a tweet as saying AAPL hit "740" and reversed, Guy Adami made a curious bull call, telling viewers that it may be painful, but you have to own it until it breaks the downtrend (which would then be more painful).

Tim Seymour wasn't impressed by the PF IPO, saying, "I think actually Mondelez has been the driver for this entire sector," but it's overcooked and now the "place where you start to take some profits."

Seymour said transports look overbought on the charts but they're really not on fundamentals and said it's OK to be long CLF. And for good measure, he threw in his emerging market plays, EBR, THD, TUR.

Guy Adami said of DECK, "actually think it's worth a shot here." Adami said to stay with HD but that CAT can trade lower still. Enis Taner prefers AMGN on a pullback to CELG.

Mike Khouw had the most provocative Final Trade, sell GOOG. Tim Seymour said EBR, Enis Taner said COP, Brian Kelly said TSN and Guy Adami said APH.

Investing great Laszlo Birinyi lets cost basis guide his decisions

For Laszlo Birinyi, Thursday's Halftime Report was one Brag Trade after another.

But he didn't stop there. In fact, Birinyi indicated that much of his portfolio is doing The House's Money Trade, a philosophy that really makes no sense and earns the description of "ridiculous" from Karen Finerman.

"Apple's been a sore point. Fortunately we have an extremely low cost base and clients do not want us to, to bail, because we've done very well," Birinyi told Judge Wapner.

So in other words, they want their money in a dog, simply because it would take 2 more years of dog-ness to actually lose money on the trade.

Birinyi couldn't even admit that there are legit growth/product concerns about the company, insisting the stock fall is related to "too much noise" coming from unknown experts; "you never heard of these people ... who's so and so?"

He explained that MCD is still in his portfolio because it's "just one of those things we've held for a long time," having been bought "around 60," and finally approaching a semi-credible thesis, saying, "I don't think there's a whole lot of downside."

Then then there was CRM, with Birinyi revealing he bought it 2 years ago "when it was everybody's favorite short," with a high P.E., but it didn't go down, which was "intriguing," and "it fades once in a while but comes back smartily (sic)."

And then News Corp, of which Birinyi said, "We bought it when it traded down to 13," which if true was quite a trade because it only spent a couple days below $14, but regardless, at least he made a valid point, that it was slammed on emotion.

Ideally, Karen Finerman would've been around to challenge this approach. But Karen doesn't do Halftime, and only Stephen Weiss on Thursday's show saw fit to seriously quibble with what was being said, although Weiss got hung up on other Birinyi remarks (more on that below).

Don Yacktman evidently had better things to do on Thursday

It seems like every time Don Yacktman guests on Halftime Report or Fast Money, it's a mistaken booking.

Sighing at the opening question of Judge Wapner, who ran into a pile of molasses as his guests on Thursday, Yacktman backed off market calls, saying, "We just think very different, we're not traders, we're- we're investors."

But like Laszlo Birinyi, Yacktman is playing The House's Money Trade, pointing to cost basis in making a stealth mean-reversion argument.

"We have 2 holdings in our portfolio that have a loss," he said, referring to HPQ and APOL, and telling Wapner that HPQ has already rebounded, while he expects APOL to do the same.

Otherwise, Yacktman mentioned PG, NWS and PEP. He rather obnoxiously told Wapner that the DELL outcome he favors is the "best price."

If he wants to be a stock picker, why did he begin by pointing out how broad the rally is this time?

The goofiness of Laszlo Birinyi's commentary on Thursday's Halftime Report didn't start, nor end, with his AAPL cost basis.

He first got seriously tangled up in simply trying to define what kind of a market this is, rather than the best answer, which is The Barry Bannister Market® (remember, after 1,600, you're on your own).

But in fact, Birinyi actually called this "one of the broadest, strongest markets" and then, seemingly contradictorily, claimed the "story is not sectors," but it's a "story of stocks."

That unleashed Stephen Weiss, who rather ambiguously asserted, "I think it is about stocks, I think it is about sectors."

Judge Wapner then rushed to Birinyi's defense, saying Birinyi's "broad point" is that "you have to pick stocks."

Birinyi stammered that he would avoid materials, but "I wanna be a stock-picker in this market."

So basically he began with 2 contradictory observations, then when challenged, disowned the first one.

But Weiss wasn't done. Birinyi went on to tout PCLN because it "beats earnings almost every time" and said Europe's turmoil hasn't hurt it, and then the kicker: "I believe in market forecasts."

Weiss asked if Birinyi was talking about company forecasts or market forecasts.

Birinyi actually said "The nice thing about picking stocks I think is the market is less important."

But then he answered "the company," which prompted Weiss to ask how a stock picker can gain any value from just relying on company forecasts.

"Again it's not company forecasts. I'm looking at how a stock trades, how it acts, I'm looking at the flow of funds, how it reacts to bad news."

(News flash: How it "trades" and how it "acts" and how it "reacts to bad news" are all the same thing.)

So he cares about the "company," but not the "company forecasts," but he does "believe in market forecasts."

Josh Brown asked a good question, whether Laszlo would buy a stock on technical reasons if the fundamentals weren't there. "I am probably the most anti-technical person on the street," Birinyi said, which — based strictly on the rest of his commentary — is utterly false. "Flow of funds is the ultimate fundamental," Birinyi said.

But that wasn't all.

Birinyi likely saved the best for last, defending his bull call on SHLD (yes, that's correct, a bull call) as "sort of a backdoor real estate play" and because Eddie Lampert (who is seemingly always buying his own shares) bought the stock for his personal account.

"You don't have to look at the balance sheet," Birinyi said, before getting to his real argument, which is that the stock is "up 20% this year," and that's "the metric that I look at" (so much for believing in market forecasts).

Weiss said if you're in SHLD, you should "take your money and run."

So basically, we have a momentum trader, who is just watching the tape, and not making an ounce of sense in trying to pass it off as anything else.

If more people are working out, why is the nation’s first lady on an anti-obesity campaign?

Rich Ilczyszyn on Thursday's Halftime Report said that if gold has a close below 1,590, every trader he knows says we retest the lows of 2012.

Anthony Grisanti said "the shorts keep adding to their positions," and if another robust jobs report happens in April, we'll see "gold down 3 quarters in a row."

Laszo Birinyi, who is just watching the tape though he tries to spin it as belief in "market forecasts" or "the company" or something else, crowed, "Our biggest shorts are the gold miners," which in his opinion are the "worst-managed companies in the world," but he has bought "gold numismatic coins that have "done well over time."

Josh Brown said that for the market, it's "critical that technology gets off the mat." Stephen Weiss expressed caution in that the utility ETF is at an all-time high, not something you see with raging bull markets. Stephanie Link chided Brian Kelly's ridiculous Dennis Gartman-style I'm-gonna-be-a-contrarian bear call, saying, "you can't point to PMI as being a negative."

Stephanie Link argued that NKE is a play on the appealing "fitness industry" in which "more people are working out," and also, "gross margins are starting to improve."

Steve Weiss said at 23 times, NKE is too expensive, and you'll be able to "get it at a much better price," and that the run has been fueled by "short covering."

Josh Brown said, "I agree with both of them." Laszlo Birinyi said he likes the bear case; "I think it's a crowded space ... same price range for a very long time."

Stephanie Link called CBI "one of the cheapest E&C stocks." Stephen Weiss said he'd be a buyer of PVH, but Link cautioned, "I think jeans are the problem." Josh Brown said he wouldn't chase BIIB, but "I don't see any reason to sell it," a completely contradictory point (as Karen Finerman would say).

Brian Kelly said if you're in LUV, take profits. Stephen Weiss said he bought BBRY at 14.82 in the morning. Laszlo Birinyi said "we own Amazon" but admitted the multiple is scary.

She Of The Perfect Teeth In London Gemma Godfrey said Cyprus fallout could consist of cracks in the EU and Slovenia problems.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was HES. Stephanie Link said ACN, Steve Weiss said TBF, Brian Kelly said sell YCS and Laszlo Birinyi said Hermes, which we doubt many viewers are playing.

[Wednesday, March 27, 2013]

Fast Money panelist tells CEO guest he’s being a little ‘disingenuous’

Goldcorp chief Chuck Jeannes, a fine CEO, was obligated on Wednesday's Fast Money to supply excuses for the underperformance of miners and didn't disappoint, faulting trading on a "momentum basis" and "operational issues" (that are now behind them) and finally rising mining costs and then asserting "we're looking at historically low valuations" that are drawing "new interest" and "focus" in the equities (some of which, ahem, are still in free fall since September).

Josh Brown said it's "disingenuous" for Jeannes to argue that gold equities are a hedge against the type of events we're seeing in Cyprus.

Guy Adami, as always, didn't criticize Jeannes, but gave him the courtesy of making GG his Final Trade.

Scott Nations said there was a big buyer of May 35 FCX calls. Tim Seymour said that may be a level he covers, but "risk/reward this stock does not scare me to be short."

Tim Seymour defended CLF, which he said he actually got long around 23, saying iron ore is in a "near-term range" but it's at least not going to 60; "I think there's an opportunity here."

Flash: If they issue ‘healthy’ guidance, the shares will go up

Bill Greiner, one of the few CNBC guests wearing a bowtie (lessee, Peter Morici, Jim Rogers, Jim Grant, Michael Crofton ...), said on Wednesday's Fast Money that he likes emerging markets, specifically Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Latin America, as places where the investment train hasn't already left the station. His picks were AAXJ and GML.

Greiner also said he likes EPB because for energy transporters it's about volume, and "we like energy a lot," as well as "certain raw materials."

Meanwhile, Eric Jackson, who spoke as though he was on the premises but was never shown, said he's "still very long" in BBRY via long-dated options, and said if the company returns to "forward" guidance (as opposed to backward) and that guidance is "pretty healthy," it would be "very bullish" for the shares.

Guy Adami said he thinks there's risk to the upside in this name, up to 7-8%. Josh Brown agreed but said "this is gonna be binary," and said he's staying out of it.

Not sure we’ve heard the 90=100 argument on Fast Money since the days of Jeff Macke

Wednesday's Fast Money gang struggled to identify a theme or near-term direction for stocks, with Josh Brown contending the day's trading was "minimally related to European contagion" and Tim Seymour opining that the dollar is going higher.

Seymour said he sold puts on Paris' CAC, something viewers no doubt were eager to do. Guy Adami said that on a "benign tape ... JNJ goes up."

Josh Brown pounded the table for APC, once again seeing no resistance (though he didn't say that this time), saying it "trades like a wildebeest" and that stocks like this around 90 "tend to gravitate toward a hundred." Naturally, APC became his Final Trade.

Brown said DSX is "tough to chase here."

Guy Adami said airlines are doing great but JBLU "is where you wanna be." Tim Seymour said JPM is a stock that "looks like it could go lower."

Host Michelle Lee doesn't seem particularly interested in Cyprus, gold or island reversals but uses the hour to fawn over Beekers/Beeksies/BK/whatever it happens to be, whose top trade was TLT, said "I think you stay long" in HUM, and recommended shorting gasoline against a nat gas long.

GOOG head and shoulders?

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Fast Money warned against being long MO and T because rising short interest indicates the dividend story might be getting tapped out.

Brown said some people are telling him that GOOG's chart is a "potential head and shoulders setup," but assured longs, "I don't agree."

Tim Seymour said of WMT, as Jane Wells reported from the West Coast in that heavenly sweater, "looks like it's got upside."

Guy Adami admitted that when it comes to BBY, "I still don't get the story."

Brian Kelly said he won't be buying USG for a while, maybe around 23, and said MON as his Final Trade. Tim Seymour's Final Trade was TUR.

DELL solves enterprises

"Large holder of Dell" Bill Nygren sounded on Wednesday's Halftime Report like he's been drinking a little bit of the company Kool-aid, claiming that when the shares were under $10, the market was not giving the company enough credit for the "excess liquidity or for all the acquisitions that they've made."

More importantly, he said it's not so much a PC maker anymore, but "more of an enterprise solutions company."

Sure. And JCPenney is a mall REIT.

On stocks, Nygren reiterated his "we're looking 5 years out" refrain and predicted no one in 5 years would remember today's Cyprus problem.

He called the stock market "pretty cheap," said Capital One is a "big holding" and said he likes INTC, TXN, MSFT and AAPL. He also said FDX "has become underappreciated."

The JCP bull case: Nobody knows ‘what they’re gonna earn’

Have to admit, it was one of the best Halftime/Fast Money moments of the year.

Mike Murphy lost the debate, but nevertheless, Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime wisely stepped back and allowed a lengthened, spirited, frank discussion among the panelists as to whether JCP has any hope.

It started when Enis Taner was Fast Fired on a bullish JCP call, claimed he was selectively edited, and said, "I wouldn't touch the stock here."

Murphy then jumped in, saying sentiment is driving down the stock without a clear estimate of earnings, things like the Ron Johnson "Toastometer," but the reality is "they're not going to zero."

But pressed by Wapner to identify the bull case, Murphy struggled for an answer, asserting "it's more in the overall psychology of the trade."

Pete Najarian piled on, demanding a catalyst. Murphy could only argue that it's "very similar to Best Buy."

Stephen Weiss correctly pointed out that BBY is the dominant name in its space.

Murphy also tried to make the REIT case. "That's not gonna happen," Weiss said, pointing to Vornado's exit.

Murphy more or less got the last word, telling Weiss, "You don't know what they're gonna earn."

If not stocks, then what?

Andres Garcia-Amaya on Wednesday's Halftime Report raised the important question, if you take profits in stocks what do you put the money into, but then allowed, "I do think the beta play is running out of a little bit of steam."

Pointing to the banks, Garcia-Amaya claimed that for each .1% rise in the 10-year yield, we're getting a 1% rise in the financials.

But he tangled with Mike Murphy over whether financials were a better bargain than homebuilders, with Garcia-Amaya calling the builders "frothy."

Stephen Weiss basically agreed with Garcia-Amaya and said banks are better on valuation. Murphy insisted "it's a completely different argument" and said if banks had the same fundamental story as the builders, they'd trade at a higher valuation.

Mike Murphy said Cyprus won't cause a pullback and a pullback won't happen until the S&P breaks the record. Pete Najarian said "there's still some upside right now." Steve Weiss said he was "more lucky than smart" to take profits a couple weeks ago. Enis Taner said "I still like health care" and said it's the top-performing sector of the year.

It was billed as ‘Big Data Download’ but seemed like a run-of-the-mill interview

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report made a tepid bull case for BBRY, citing demand for its security infrastructure and margin potentilal; "I think there's actually upside."

Skeptic Mike Murphy pointed to the competition and said the new BlackBerry can't even get a Netflix app.

Steve Weiss, who had prejudged the case, picked Najarian's argument because "short interest is so high."

Weiss for the umpteenth time crowed on Wednesday's Halftime Report that he's short BHP, VALE and RIO, and said BTU is in a "terrible sector."

Weiss called the CBS arrangement "great for Lions Gate." Mike Murphy said to take profits in AOL and said LULU is ownable at today's levels. Enis Taner sees 785 as support for GOOG, and Pete Najarian said SAIC (SAI) is "going higher."

Courtney Reagan, who looked stunning on camera, introduced her new big data feature with guest Paul DePodesta, billed as the guy who executed the Billy Beane strategy. DePodesta helpfully said that they try to separate a player's success that is skill rather than luck because "skill is much more repeatable than the luck."

Enis Taner's Final Trade was BIDU. Pete Najarian said PBF, Mike Murphy said HTZ and Stephen Weiss said KORS.

[Tuesday, March 26, 2013]

Break out your Fast Money
Magic Decoder Ring

If someone had asked this page prior to the airing of Tuesday's Fast Money what the definition of "pause" is, we likely would've said something about something not moving.

According to Alison Deans and Melissa Lee, it actually means "correction," in the form of 5-10%, Deans believes.

Deans predicted near-term volatility in stocks and said it would be news events that trigger a decline and not just seasonality.

We didn't realize when we hit the pause button that the music actually goes backward, but no one said it's a perfect analogy.

But the trend of Tuesday's guests not being clear was just beginning. Dani Babb told Lee that she does think there will be a "hiccup" in the housing recovery, for 3 reasons: "Buyers that are looking for bargains," sellers waiting for a better time to sell and restricting inventory, and investors "buying like crazy" and "eating up inventory."

We're just the knuckleheaded amateurs, but it would seem that 2 of Dani's points are strongly bullish ... which implies anything but a "hiccup."

Anthony Scaramucci played Mr. Nice Guy. "It's an interesting contrarian call," Scaramucci said; hopefully he was referring to the call being contrarian with itself.

Melissa Lee twice committed a redundancy, on the S&P and LGF, by mentioning a "new record high."

Pete also said it was a lot of johnny-come-latelys in the stock but at least didn’t pin it on non-wash sales (because they’re really gains)

Anthony Scaramucci on Tuesday's Fast Money asserted — with a little more gravity than the situation required — that "there is an internal debate going on at Apple," because of outside shareholders pushing for bigger dividends and capital allocation, and Scaramucci said he hopes Tim Cook remains true to the vision of Steve Jobs.

But at one point, Scaramucci said GOOG is the next AAPL which is the next MSFT, and you have to wonder about Steve Jobs' vision in regard to that.

Josh Brown asserted that AAPL is not a story of whether the dividend is 2% or 3%.

Pete Najarian, as expected, was detected saying AAPL is a "2nd half" story.

Well, it’s bound to reverse sometime

Jim Rollyson was basically accused of bottom-picking on Tuesday's Fast Money while defending his upgrade of BTU, and frankly he didn't say a whole lot to dissuade that notion.

"It's more that things have stopped getting worse," Rollyson admitted.

Guy Adami admitted this is one of the 7 stocks he owns (this page tackled that subject a long time ago; it's hardly the sexiest portfolio you've ever seen) and said "it's an interesting call," but "nothing has indicated to me that it's ready for a turn."

Josh Brown was more skeptical, saying if he played it he'd have to use a $19.80 stop.

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of May 151 puts in the GLD for $1.30.

Actually, it’s how do we not get there

Tuesday's Fast Money gang was unanimous in scoffing at Tony Dwyer's newfound 1,760 S&P target.

"I'm just not sure how we actually get there," said Pete Najarian. Anthony Scaramucci also doubted Dwyer's number and reminded viewers that the market sold off sharply last May. Josh Brown said systemic risk "rears its ugly head whenever it wants to."

Guy Adami concurred but at least admitted his "bookmark" of yesterday's trading was useless.

In his pro-defense-stock thesis, Guy Adami sounds like he thinks Barack Obama is starting his first term

Pete Najarian said at the top of Tuesday's Fast Money that his top trade was OKS, because sure enough, there were some hot options.

Guy Adami, sure enough, said THC. Anthony Scaramucci predicted PM would go "through 100 bucks" despite a high multiple.

Josh Brown, as he is prone to do, implied another of his favorite stocks can go to infinity, this one being HCA, "basically an Affordable Health Care Act thesis," because "there really is no resistance."

Somewhere out there, there's always resistance.

Brown also claimed, with an incorrect choice of words, that PFE is just getting started; "I think 30 bucks and higher is literally right around the corner."


Melissa Lee at least corrected herself on "fewer" and "less" regarding S&P point moves.

Guy Adami again trumpeted LMT and, evidently assuming people haven't been aware of who their president has been for the last 4 years, predicted a defense catchup when the notion of "Gandhi in office" fades, saying "People are gonna be surprised by how powerful the rally."

He also likes old favorite COL, "again a name I think is gonna break out," even though there's really no more reason for a breakout here than in BTU.

Pete Najarian said he prefers ATK to BA.

Guy Adami said STX and related names "seem to be on the upswing," but "be careful" with these. Pete Najarian expects MCP to trend lower. Anthony Scaramucci said BBY may have lost some of the potential Schulze deal premium, but "look for opportunity here."

Guy Adami made a good joke about Jane Wells being 32 (she's actually 29).

Guy Adami's Final Trade was JNJ. Pete Najarian said BMY, Josh Brown said PFE and Anthony Scaramucci said MA.

A Brag Trade in AAPL

AAPL quite frankly has stunk for 6 months, but many are still claiming victory.

C.T. Fitzpatrick said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that he's owned the shares for a couple years (that's a hint at cost basis) and then claimed, "When the stock was at 705, we reduced our weight in the company" because the price had gone up faster than value, but then actually came out ahead because the value continued going up while the price was going down. "We find it very attractive right now," Fitzpatrick said.

Stephanie Link said the stock "can rally" when Apple announces its capital allocation plans.

Fitzpatrick acknowledged "the market has gone up a lot" and he wouldn't be surprised by a pullback, but longer term, "we feel very good about things." He paid Parker Hannifin (PH) is attractive for "secular and cyclical" reasons.

Joe pays closer attention to Brian’s calls than Brian bargained for

Pete Najarian admitted on Tuesday's Halftime Report he's "puzzled" by financials, but he's adding to LLY.

Joe Terranova said he thinks the market will "continue to move higher" because negativity still prevails; "it's a rally that no one trusts."

Brian Kelly, who tries to be a contrarian to the rest of the panelists as often as possible, claimed "Europe is not fixed. It is a big, big problem." He said he's short S&P and that you can even "probably short housing here" in the form of XHB.

Joe Terranova, bringing his A game, demanded Kelly explain what changed since it was just a week ago or so when Kelly was insisting he wouldn't short the S&P until it cleared the old highs. Kelly stammered that he's now focused on "trailing P.E." and the "7% swing in the European bank stocks."

Joe said GS is still a favorite stock of his and that it's merely taken some "fallout from the stress tests" the last few days.

Steve Liesman reported results of a survey that actually compared HD to LOW. Joe said that people keep talking about LOW reversion but it hasn't happened. Pete Najarian predicted it will. "I would own Lowe's instead of Home Depot right now, for the beta," Najarian said.

Watch gold 1,589.70

Anthony Grisanti said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "as long as the dollar remains strong, gold will not." Rich Ilczyszyn curiously said "every hundred dollars Jackie is gonna be an inherent level," then said bears could "take command" if gold closes below 1,589.70. Brian Kelly said he's long gold.

Stephanie Link argued the growth has not gone away in DG, and "gross margins have stopped going down." Brian Kelly said "they don't have growth in revenues," that Dollar General's customer is subject to Washington wrangling, and the company has provoked Wal-Mart.

Mr. New World ruled in favor of Link.

Joe Terranova said regarding coal, "a bottoming is a process." Brian Kelly said he "would probably buy" DELL at current price.

Sam Isaly trumpeted some picks in health care stocks, saying patent issues are fading and research production is accelerating. He likes Roche ("for their cancer position"), Bristol Myers, Sanofi, Pfizer and Gilead.

Dr. New Land mentioned THC and BMY and threw in Allergan and HRC. Brian Kelly said the safe play is XLV. Stephanie Link said at the top of the show that Cramer initiated a position in MRK and JNJ, then said Cramer owns ABT and predicted multiple expansion for BMY.

Pete Najarian said of HUN, "I think this stock's goin' a lot higher." Joe Terranova said NFLX is getting late-stage upgrades so be careful, but "use 169 as your point of reference." Brian Kelly said he loves MON. Stephanie Link said of PLCE, "I'm not buying on the weakness."

Kelly said he's been wrong on FB since the IPO but that he thinks you can buy it here. Pete Najarian said he keeps selling upside calls in FB every week.

Pete Najarian said there's minimal downside in BIDU. Joe Terranova said to stay with SBUX. Brian Kelly likes RIG. Stephanie Link said to hold BA.

Pete's Final Trade was BX. Stephanie said ORCL. Joe said MAR. Brian Kelly said EPV.

[Monday, March 25, 2013]

Just think, BBY didn’t even have to give Buffett an 8% preferred

David Strasser told Monday's Fast Money that Best Buy shares have been climbing for 3 reasons, first being management that people believe in, second being "really significant cost cuts," and third being the "not going out of business trade."

But Strasser, like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, went a little overboard, first assuring Melissa Lee "there's so many opportunities online" to convert Best Buy browsers to buyers, and then escalating his earnings estimates with every sentence he uttered to Guy Adami, even saying, "You can start to get a $40 stock."

Scott Nations scoffed, stating that with the Richard Schulze deal, a buyout is off the table, and meanwhile there was a big buyer of June 15 BBY puts. Pete Najarian said that could be someone just covering, and he thinks the stock is a buy on a pullback.

Guy Adami said WFM isn't done; "I still think it's sort of interesting." Simon Baker agreed, actually calling it a Buffett-type name. "I'd be buying on the dips," Baker said.

Guy reads big books

Guy Adami issued a rare kind of Brag Trade on Monday's Fast Money, declaring, "I read Moby Dick," and this was relevant to Monday's stock market because he was "bookmarking today" as one of those days we might recall down the road (we probably won't, but whatever), particularly if we close below 1,535 (but what about that "high in for the year" we were just hearing about).

Brian Kelly said he didn't like the market action and got short. But Simon Baker trumpeted the limited risk of a shortened holiday week and asserted "the Cyprus thing can be a good thing."

Pete Najarian told Kelly to stuff it and said he agrees with Baker, and he really likes the refiners.

Guy Adami said, "Yahoo to me still works."

Barry Sine called for "about a 10% correction," because he said the market is trading on sentiment and not earnings, and eventually it will catch up.

‘Some catalysts’? Like what?

Robert Frank, CNBC's likable "wealth editor" who looks something like a movie character, reported on possible destinations for formerly-Cyprus deposits, such as Latvia and Malta, a decent but not scintillating report.

But Frank did better than Steve Englander, who didn't really add much more than the prepared material about how the Cyprus deal might scare more of the continent into bank runs.

Guy Adami advised taking profits in DG but said COST, on a "benign tape" or good tape, does well.

Brian Kelly said to sell SAN. Simon Baker said to hold JNJ, while Pete Najarian said to hold VZ.

Guy Adami dismissed as "punditry" the notion that Mark Hurd could go to DELL; "It doesn't make a lot of sense to me." Adami said ORCL may have a bit lower to go, but "you can buy it cheap right now."

Pete Najarian doubted a higher price for DELL; "I don't think it happens."

Brian Kelly made a comment about AAPL that went unchallenged, "There are some catalysts out there," and while saying he wouldn't plunge in at this price, he thinks you can be long, "I'd say above the 450 level."

Pete Najarian said if BBRY should pull back below 14, "I think it's definitely a buy."

Pete Najarian said he transitioned from NOK shares to options. Brian Kelly said he's not so high on HFC and said to wait till about 48. Simon Baker called WAG a low-beta, high-quality name you should own. Guy Adami said not not short BMY but it's OK to take profits.

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was LLY. Brian Kelly said to short XHB. Simon Baker said "gold looks pretty good." Guy Adami said MYL.

Todd Wagner: Michael Dell is only concerned about his ‘legacy’

Todd Wagner, the star guest of Monday's golf-centric Halftime Report, was asked what the Dell takeover offer means for Michael Dell.

"This is not about the money," Wagner actually said, but the "legacy" and "name" of Michael Dell.

Well, he's at least half-right.

The "legacy" merely involves removing it from the embarrassment of the single-digit stock price appearing in the daily ticker. The "money" is all about this being about the last chance to tap the golden goose by levering up a big loan that can still be sold off to outside investors.

It is, by the way, a fine company; no argument there. But it's an obviously declining, commoditized business, and we might as well be honest as to what's going on in a leveraged buyout.

Wagner said AAPL merely ran into the "law of some big numbers" and several times noted it would be a real "interesting" question as to what the company's next big product is.

He said it's "too early" to evaluate where Facebook is going.

He actually claimed that for Yahoo, this is "kinda their last stand to decide what it is they stand for." (That would be higher and higher analyst assessments of the worth of the Alibaba stake.)

Stephen Bodurtha said his firm's recommended equity weighting, for a "moderate risk investor," should be 50-55% of the portfolio.

Stephen Weiss said he noticed that in regard to the new BlackBerry phone that it "doesn't seem that AT&T is fully behind it." Weiss also said, "I'm still short iron ore."

Nice day for golf

It was like a Money in Motion make-up call for Friday's plug-pulling.

Judge Wapner as promised hosted Monday's Halftime Report on location from Tavistock and proceeded to spend most of the intro quoting Joe Lewis (not on camera) on currencies.

Paul Richards, who served as Judge's 2-man panel with Steve Weiss, said he disagrees with Lewis' contention that now was the time for the Eurozone to cut Cyprus loose. "To let 'em go now would've caused almost an avalanche," Richards cautioned.

But Weiss even one-upped Lewis, arguing Greece should've been let go.

Lewis, Wapner said, believes the euro is overpriced and really worth 1.10-1.20, and insists shorting yen will work longer than people think.

Weiss said he'd buy TM, but "I'd actually be a seller of the U.S. autos."

Judge said Lewis thinks it's "onwards and upwards" for U.S. stocks.

Richards said he really liked the Cyprus deal when he saw it last night but allowed that in the aftermath, "Right now we've got uncertainty."

Weiss noted the euro declined and he's concerned there could be a "flood of capital" out of European banks.

"I did buy a little Citi this morning," Weiss said.

Weiss said the good thing for the Blackstone/Icahn (purported) DELL offers is that Michael Dell apparently would be willing to be a part of them, but that the ride is about over. "It's not so easy to find people to run these companies, but I'd take my money and run," Weiss said.

See, the thing is, Michael Dell in college was selling people a product that was just beginning a massive growth spurt, and now the same product isn't really in a growth spurt anymore, and given that, how could anyone else possibly run this company? (That last part is a bit of sarcasm.)

More from Monday's Halftime and Todd Wagner's appearance later.


And Crown thy good ...

Normally when this page catches an outfit even as hot as what Karen Finerman wore on Thursday's Fast Money, it's a one-and-done, move on to the next day and other things, etc.

But in fact, it came to our attention over the weekend that Karen was comparing notes with a tweeting admirer over the dress' resemblance to something Rene Russo wore in the remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair."

Evidently — and new to us — Russo's depiction in this picture is famous, given that once you start Googling "Rene Russo Thomas ...," you get "Crown Affair" and then plenty of suggestions for "wardrobe" or "dress." Enough so that it was not hard to find a blog somewhere featuring Russo's attire from the film and what's obviously the outfit in question.

Presumably, someone in Finerman's position actually knows Russo or met her once or twice; note Karen's first-name response to the tweeter: "I know the dress!!! Love that movie. Renee was at her best."

(Except she botched the spelling of Russo's name, but whatever.)

It's a bit surprising that the "Thomas Crown" remake, while a good film, still has traction. (We had even completely forgotten that Ben Gazzara was in it.) The original was in 1968, the sweet spot for the anti-hero era. In 1999, we didn't have anti-heroes, we had Internet stocks.

[Friday, March 22, 2013]

Money in Motion
apparently folds

In a stealth press release issued Thursday, CNBC explained that Fast Money is returning to Fridays for a half hour at 5 p.m. Eastern, followed by Options Action.

The key words are "Beginning this Friday," which strongly indicates Money in Motion is done as a TV show (translation: sponsor(s) pulled the plug), though apparently remains an active compartment of CNBC.com.

Notably, there was no Money in Motion currency call on Friday's Halftime Report.

No way. Not in the contract.

The last thing this page is going to do is embrace a Friday afternoon restart of Fast Money, which couldn't possibly have too many commercials and on Friday couldn't even figure out whether tweets or Final Trades should occupy the all-important final 3 minutes.

Steve Grasso sold Micron and stressed 1,576 as the key S&P level and said NKE has more room. Guy Adami said he likes AMGN for its dissociation from the S&P and backed BX and said 29 would be a good bottom for ORCL. Brian Kelly said to buy IWM and made the incredibly tired euro-as-deutschmark point again and said MON.

Axel Merk said people have realized "Cyprus is not contagious." Tim Seymour complained Merk was taking the possibility of a Cyprus exit too lightly. Francisco Blanch said there's still downward pressure on coal globally but more support for metallurgical coal than thermal coal. Tim Seymour said "I think emerging is overdone" and "I do like Russia here" and touted THD.

Sounds like Stephen Weiss really hadn’t thought through those 3 reasons for AAPL’s climb

Joe Terranova, who discouragingly is back to predicting the daily moves in AAPL, told Judge Wapner on Friday's Halftime Report that "Apple is actually the place right now to be" in the tech space.

Judge Wapner, rightly skeptical, asked the panel if Friday's tiny AAPL jump is nothing more than "continued guessing-slash-betting."

Mr. New Land insisted, "It's not guessing," but in fact people are making solid buys based on a "well-defined point of reference" from 434/437.

Stephen Weiss then made virtually no sense in linking the recent uptrend to 3 reasons: 1) Samsung's phone not being a game-changer (that made sense), 2) the jury still being out on BlackBerry's phone (that didn't make sense), and 3) the notion people have of "Dammit, I should've bought it at 430" (if that makes sense it's a good reason to short).

Happy bailouts

Judge Wapner allowed the remaining Bear Stearns entity of JPMorgan, in the form of Barry Sommers, to praise Jamie Dimon and drum up some business on Friday's Halftime Report.

"Been a helluva 5 years," said Sommers, who seems like a decent fellow, explaining that Jamie Dimon sends the memo of encouragement not just this year but every year at this time.

Sommers further explained that JPMorgan approached this takeover with a lot of heart, keeping 7,000 of the 14,000 employees, and "the employees who weren't offered jobs were offered outplacement services."

Which is nice and fuzzy, and this page doesn't dispute that, or wish anyone ill here.

But it's important to acknowledge that much of the country, upon hearing Sommers' comments, might say, "Great that this firm of 14,000 employees got so greedy it sank our housing market and then used my tax dollars to 1) keep half those folks employed and 2) pay for the other half to find a new job."

Stephen Weiss said JPM's ability to retain so many of those accounts was "absolutely huge."

Hot new tech pick: GLW

Mike Santoli, the new big get for Friday's Halftime who, to our knowledge, doesn't actually manage money, once again played the mild-contrarian role on Friday.

Or maybe it's major contrarian, given that Santoli likes Corning, which "might be the most neglected of all" of the big legacy big-cap tech stocks.

Santoli's argument was based partly on how big pharma names went sideways seemingly for an endless time, and have recently regained some mojo; perhaps names such as INTC, TXN and GLW can do the same with dividend as a catalyst.

Santoli admitted that other than GLW's boost from the fiber bubble, "they've done nothing for years."

Mr. New World gave the most tepid backing of GLW, saying it might work, but declared, "Intel I don't like."

Pete Najarian of course defended INTC, citing its 4% yield.

Santoli told Judge Wapner, "It doesn't look like the S&P is gonna go powering through the old high, uh, in the very short term."

‘Ben Bernanke vs. Cyprus’

Joe Terranova said at the top of Friday's Halftime Report that "the macro is getting very confusing" but that he bought AXP and KORS.

Jon Najarian was equally enigmatic in defending his recent "they're just trading down" call, saying "Nike brought that home in spades."

Stephen Weiss said he's staying away from materials, but "I love the financials."

Pete Najarian asserted "it's Ben Bernanke vs. Cyprus," and you want to bet on Bernanke. Pete also said Delta Air Lines "absolutely stole" the refiner it bought.

Chuck Bath, dubbed the "ultimate stock picker," said he likes TJX for "topical" reasons involving JCP, finds AIG "quite compelling" on valuation and ability to raise property & casualty prices, and pointed out the stock market "hasn't gone anywhere for 13 years."

Mark Mahaney convinced Dr. J

Pete Najarian made on Friday's Halftime a bull case for TIF that centered largely on the notion that "luxury items are the beta area" in this market.

Stephen Weiss had a good line about giving Pete a concussion test, then contended in an over-long way that "you've gotta have a big hockey stick ... for them to make their earnings this year."

Joe Terranova, who had prejudged the argument, waffled on the winner, saying TIF faces a currency headwind and emerging-markets inflation, but you can ride it to 73 and then "jump off."

Jon Najarian issued a mea culpa on his Netflix skepticism. "Clearly I've blown it," Najarian said, explaining he's been out of the stock since 155, but "I think it does go higher." Dr. New Land said the time to exit NFLX is when Carl gets out.

No, getting to the ‘private markets’ is the last chance for Michael Dell to make anything resembling a big score in this name

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report expressed skepticism over the prospects for a competing DELL bid.

"This won't go without Michael Dell," Najarian said, and then flipping on his secret-investment-banker hat, embarrassingly claimed, "Getting to the private markets rather than publicly traded markets is what Michael Dell needs to do to retrench, I think he's gonna do it."

Can't wait to see what "retrench" they come up with, once the stock no longer appears on a ticker.

Stephen Weiss questioned a Peltz pop in PEP; "I don't know how he can influence a company like Pepsi."

Mr. New Land said nat gas is the right play but SWN, which he owns, isn't the best vehicle; try CXO, PXD and COG.

Stephen Weiss, making very little sense actually, claimed Nike's results proved it "can push through" despite weakness in China.

Pete Najarian said MU options holders scored an "84% gain overnight."

Joe Terranova said don't be long BP and in fact "sell it." Stephen Weiss said KORS is too expensive for a fashion company and ribbed Pete Najarian's TJX twice on Saturday.

Pete Najarian said NVDA doesn't have as much upside as INTC. Jon Najarian said to cover ISRG if you're short.

Mr. New World twice stressed WDAY as an alternate play on CRM, predicting it will be bought out in 18 months (but no one else issued the usual disclaimer of how you shouldn't buy stocks strictly on takeout speculation).

Pete Najarian backed R, "This name's goin' higher." Stephen Weiss said to stay on the sidelines of HUM.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was TCBI. Pete Najarian said BMY, Stephen Weiss said to short BHP and Jon Najarian said EA.

[Thursday, March 21, 2013]

What’s this? Karen letting cost basis affect her judgment of a stock?

Set aside for a moment that Extremely. Gorrrrjus. New. Outfit. that Karen Finerman was wearing, with dynamite new hairstyle, on Thursday's Fast Money.

Finerman, in fact, seemed to contradict her own assessment of the merits of cost basis when she handled a tweet as to whether PLCM is a buy.

Instead of making a call as to where the stock is going, Karen — the champion of "irrelevant" cost basis — merely griped about not getting out of the name at the top last year.

"Sold it in disgust, and haven't really looked at it since," Finerman said Thursday, while allowing it has a "good balance sheet," but faces competition from CSCO.

So the issue apparently isn't where PLCM is going ... but where Karen bought and sold it.

It’s the first 4-for-1 split
since the last 5-for-1 split

Despite some iffyness on cost basis, Karen Finerman was in fine form (astoundingly fine form if you're talking appearance) on Thursday's Fast Money on the subject of stock splits, specifically the 4-for-1 that CRM declared that Melissa Lee said is the first since CME in 2012 even though that wasn't quite the same (but whatever).

Pointing to CRM's pop, Finerman said, "It just sickens me, that it is up on that news ... astounding to me ... I accept that it happens ... nothing happened, nothing."

Meanwhile, Guy Adami praised Christine Day for making headlines with the whole bend-over yoga pants thing. "This is marketing genius ... she's CEO of the year," Adami said.

Flash: Jeremy Siegel bullish

Hardly a big surprise, Jeremy Siegel told Thursday's Fast Money crew that he's bullish.

"I actually think this is a short-term buying opportunity," Siegel said, with neat 1,700 and 17,000 targets for the S&P 500 and Dow.

Karen Finerman said a thesis based on multiple expansion doesn't strike her as the most solid, but she wondered if sentiment is a part of the call.

Siegel said yes, "the average person is still scared of stock," and more and more they'll be taking money out of low-performing bank accounts.

Jon Najarian said he agrees with Siegel's bullishness but not with 1,700 by Dec. 31.

Mahaney: GOOG to 950

While much of Thursday's Fast Money amounted to mailed-in giggles, Mark Mahaney was stoic and on message while issuing a provocative bull case for Netflix.

He said with the subscribers it's getting, perhaps blowing past HBO, it's a "very different business model," and sees possibly "80 or 100 million households that could sign up for Netflix."

It's just a positive view of the same metrics everyone's been debating for years, but there's a notable typical business school story unfolding here, the old one in the case amounting to, if Netflix had just 1 subscriber, the cost of the service per subscriber is enormous, but spread really not a whole lot more cost over 100 million subscribers and it's a whole new ballgame, so you do the math ...

For a change, no one brought up Hulu, or whatever Amazon's doing.

Mahaney's top 2 picks are actually GOOG and PCLN. He likes GOOG to 950; "people have less concern now about this mobile bear thesis."

Guy Adami also asked about YHOO. Mahaney said there's "2 ways to win," the first being, "Yahoo stock will not go down when there's a pending Alibaba IPO," but if you're expecting the "fundamental turnaround," then "you gotta wait 2 years," so he's sticking with 24.

Jon Najarian, out of the blue, said in the Internet space, "Apple is the pure winner here."

Guy Adami, who last said we’re about to put the high in for the year on March 12, says gold’s put in a bottom

Keith McCullough actually made one of the most intriguing points on Mel Lee's Laff-a-lympics on Thursday's Fast Money, suggesting the S&P is now range-bound from 1,530 to 1,560, and the VIX is too, from 11 to 14.

McCullough said he was selling the S&P 500 on Thursday but would "like to buy it back."

Jon Najarian said he's a buyer of XLK and said the VIX will fall if there's a deal as reported by "Michelle Cyprus-Cabrera."

Karen Finerman rather meekly said her top trade, also her Final Trade, of the day was AAPL, in an "attractive place" valuation-wise.

Guy Adami declared, "I think gold's put in a bottom," and said the GLD, his Final Trade, makes more sense than the stocsk, because "being long the miners puts you into market."

Karen doesn’t get
the horse-meat controversy

Allow this page a chance to perform a public service.

As Melissa Lee reported on Thursday's Fast Money about Ikea's insistence that it will no longer have horse meat in its cafes, Karen Finerman professed innocence on the subject.

"I don't understand why it's OK for it to be cow meat but not horse meat. Why- I mean, why has that caused such an uproar," Finerman asked her colleagues.

Melissa Lee said horses are raised with different chemicals that might be less safe for humans than the chemicals in cows.

But that's not the issue.

The issue — and keep in mind this post is for reporting purposes only and this page has no opinion on the matter and doesn't want an opinion on the matter — is that some, if not many, Westerners consider eating horse meat an abomination, akin to eating dogs perhaps, and want nothing to do with the practice, and don't feel the same way about cows.

Jon Najarian said there's mad-cow disease but not mad-horse disease, so "horse might be safer."

More commercials, please

While viewers of Thursday's Fast Money had to endure another moment of publicity giggles for Regis Philbin's new show (on another channel, to boot), Jon Najarian managed to inadvertently make an interesting point that he didn't actually make on his triumphant Nike debate with Simon Baker, that perhaps Nike outperforms during the 3 weeks of March Madness.

Whether it does, we really don't know.

Indiana Pacers boss Kevin Pritchard tried to impress the Fast gang by citing a "higher PEG ratio" of QCOM or MSFT, the latter winning the ridiculous Fast Money Madness matchup as another day goes by where Melissa Lee won't tell viewers exactly what the panel is voting on (lessee ... Oracle was just deemed the winner over INTC, then the loser against Google because of its quarterly report ... but if the Madness is about how well a stock performs from this day to year-end, then it has more upside today than yesterday, but whatever ...)

Mike Farr suggested 70% stocks and 30% bonds for a retirement portfolio and utterly couldn't answer Keith McCullough's savvy question about timing the bond market.

Guy Adami credited Fast Money for the YHOO upgrade; "clearly the analysts out there are watching the show." Jon Najarian said private equity is clearly stalking BMC now. Karen Finerman said the REIT jump is over for JCP and now it's back to the horrid fundamentals. Mike Khouw said lower margins for FDX might last a while. Keith McCullough indicated the homebuilders will keep rolling and cited them as evidence of Cyprus being overblown; "if there's a crisis, somebody better tell the homebuilders."

Mike Khouw said someone made a curiously short bet on SAP by selling April 72.5 puts, buying April 90 calls and shorting the stock.

Keith McCullough said to stay with PHM, but said of his negative call on KMB, "we think it's a good short from here."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was an AAMRQ buy-write with LCC options. Jon Najarian said UA.

Keith McCullough said, "short Dick's."

Money manager saluted by Barron’s uses cost basis as rationale for being long

This is really getting good.

As Karen Finerman's recent scolding of people who care about cost basis continues to reverberate everywhere on sites that follow "Fast Money," guest after guest seems to point to cost basis as to why they like a particular stock.

And so this page is left in that twisting position of 1) defending Finerman's point that one's cost basis has zero relevance to where the stock is going, while 2) asserting cost basis, for other reasons, is still important.

Thursday's Halftime provides an opportunity for 1), as Carol Pepper told Judge Wapner why she's not as troubled by AAPL's post-September slide as Judge assumed AAPL longs would be.

"Our entry point wasn't at the high point. We entered Apple several years ago," Pepper said, which is another way of saying the money she's got in the name now is house's money and thus not as real as regular money and not as subject to heightened discipline, an argument that really doesn't make an ounce of sense ... but whatever.

Jon Najarian bellowed that they're "buying and opening new positions aggressively right now in Apple." Josh Brown contended that "you really need growth investors to come back to this stock," but then allowed that this name has "been as hated as it can get" and has actually become a "non-correlated asset to the S&P ... I think that Apple works."

Pepper said the U.S. stock market is strong and that those awaiting a 5% pullback won't get it. "I think this is a long-term strong market," she said, touting GIB, QCOM and SPG, and not really answering Simon Baker's question as to whether she's moving clients out of bonds and into stocks.

David Rosenberg demands
Judge be more specific

Jon Najarian curiously opened Thursday's Halftime Report insisting "people are trading down," to the point an exasperated Judge Wapner demanded to know if the market was going down.

Josh Brown said "you really don't have a great global-growth picture," and asserted "there really is no such thing as decoupling."

Simon Baker had a dish of humble pie, and not the Peter Frampton band, regarding FDX; "I got delivered a really nasty package by them."

Guest Mike Ryan though contended "there is momentum in the U.S." and predicted it continues, with a price target somewhere "about 1,600."

Then, in a rare Halftime Report swimming analogy, said the Fed would be tapering just like a swimmer before a big event, which is fine.

Ryan said the dollar's effect on stocks is OK for now but maybe not if it soars. He said his tech overweights are semis and hardware (translation: he didn't get burned by Oracle).

Meanwhile, David Rosenberg, dubbed "David Rosenbear" by Judge (who's just now catching on apparently to Rosenberg's shtick), said he's skeptical of continued strength in housing unless the natural buyers come back; "the natural buyer is the first-time buyer."

Furthermore, Rosenberg balked when Judge asked how the "overall market" was doing, pointing out "when you say overall market" that could mean anything, bonds, etc. Judge clarified he means U.S. stocks, which Rosenberg called "fully valued."

Steve Cortes: ORCL quarter
a sign global economy is weak

Wavering on ORCL to the extreme on Thursday's Halftime Report, Josh Brown said "I really like this stock" but admitted "I don't think there's any rush to dive in today ... the stock can't have a great movement until they get closer to the next quarter."

Later in the afternoon, viewers who once watched Steve Cortes on the Halftime Report got a treat when Cortes and Enis Taner "debated" (at least that was the idea) ORCL on Closing Bell, with Taner asserting "I think it's dead money here," and Cortes seeing something worse.

The ramifications beyond Oracle "might be broader," Cortes said, referring to tech capex. "I think it's a sign that the global economy is weak."

Cortes also said the Oracle sales staff is likely not playing hooky today to watch basketball games. Taner said he actually agrees with Cortes.

Nothing about work-from-home bans

Andrew Ross Sorkin during Thursday's Halftime broke news on DELL, reporting "Blackstone is probably not gonna be coming into this transaction."

Simon Baker said "I'd stay away" from this one.

Brian Kelly said he'd expect the stock to slide on the heels of Sorkin's report; the previous notion of a bid floor, "that's all changed now."

Jon Najarian said that Carl Icahn got into it seeing a buck worth of upside, 20 cents of downside, "that's a Carl deal."

And in a presentation in which far more was promised by Judge than was delivered, Jason Helfstein defended his YHOO upgrade, saying things are better in Japan, something about the Google toolbar, and oh yeah, they're raising their Alibaba estimate, which has basically been the entire case for the stock for the current $8 since last fall.

Josh Brown asked the clumsiest question, first astutely noting the upgrade seems to hinge on the Alibaba increase and then wondering if this is a bull call for China. It was too much for Helfstein to dicker with line by line, so he said, "it's not any type of stratospheric multiple."

Dr. J’s best argument for NKE
is LeBron James

The Halftime Report debate over NKE basically boiled down to guessing whether it beats this quarter, with Jon Najarian hanging the shakiest of bull cases on LeBron James.

Najarian also cited improving margins and Foot Locker's new stores.

Simon Baker said for every LeBron there's a Lance Armstrong or Blade Runner. "Nike is priced for perfection ... gotta short this stock, and buy it at a cheaper price," Baker said.

Najarian admitted, "If they miss, it's gonna be ugly, but if they don't, it's gonna go through the old highs."

Josh Brown, waffling all day, said, "I like Doc's argument but I fear that Simon will be right."

Dr. J shorts LGF

Futures Now just picked up a CableFax award, which brought smiles to Jackie DeAngelis (who was positively beaming during her LULU reports on Thursday) on Thursday's Halftime Report as she posed the oil question to Anthony Grisanti and Jim Iuorio.

"I'm actually liking crude a lot," Grisanti said, while Iuorio said "I only mildly like it."

Jon Najarian questioned Simon Hobbs' notion that Europe might lead U.S. stocks, saying of France and Germany, "Over the past month, they're outperforming."

Jon Najarian said SCHL was taking a hit on "Hunger Games" sales and so, "because of that, I shorted LGF as well today." Simon Baker said GES' commentary was drilling the stock. Josh Brown scoffed at JBL, "This is not a stock I wanna be anywhere near." Brian Kelly flat out said of CLF, "Do not buy this stock."

Kelly said to "take profits here" in STI, Baker said of IBM, "I'd be buying it here long term," and Najarian endorsed WFM. "I think they're gonna outperform overall for this year ... I like this one a lot."

Josh Brown's Final Trade was SPLV. Jon Najarian said JNPR, Simon Baker said SLX and Brian Kelly said GLD.

[Wednesday, March 20, 2013]

Dump NBC Universal,
take down the Dow

In journalism they call it a story without an angle, and that's sort of what Tom McClellan had in pointing out copper's lag on Wednesday's Fast Money.

Generally it parallels the S&P 500, McClellan said, but recently it hasn't ... and so his conclusion is NOT that the S&P is crashing, but merely that there are "signs of suffering elsewhere."

McClellan also claimed that "GE is a great bellwether for whatever the Dow is going to do" and "tends to top before the Dow does," which apparently is happening now, which is curious, because the night Fast Money reported the Comcast-NBC Universal deal barely a month ago, people gushed about how this was a good move for GE to get its focus back.

Brian Kelly rightly asked McClellan for what this means. McClellan indicated the markets are toppy by saying people are "a little bit too much invested emotionally."

Tim Seymour, who a couple times in the last 2 weeks has advocated a short of Freeport McMoran, now says, "I think the move in miners is overdone ... I think you actually have a shot here."

John Rogers doesn’t make convincing enough bull case for Brian Kelly

The best thing about investing great John Rogers' appearance on Wednesday's Fast Money is that he wasn't asked to make a call in the Fast Money Madness "tournament."

Rogers said if the Fed did start tapering QE in the 3rd quarter, it wouldn't change his outlook, and it "would actually be a good thing" for the economy.

Rogers called IGT still "bargain-priced today" and predicted there will be slot machines "literally all over the world," a grand contribution to society from our governments.

Rogers told Brian Kelly that MHK can continue climbing; "I still think we're just getting started." And he likes MSG because of the "extraordinary land" and the notion that the teams will eventually be back in the "winner's circle."

Rogers told Melissa Lee that big gainers since 2009, RCL, CBG and MDP, aren't done. "We still think they're good long-term core holdings, but we have lightened up," Rogers said, asserting there's "really a lot of room to run in Meredith."

Brian Kelly said he's really not sure about that MHK call.

Tim Seymour thinks Belmont once made the Final Four

In a new reason to avoid Fast Money, panelists spent about 5 minutes of Wednesday's program comparing stocks in the ridiculous Fast Money Madness tournament in which Melissa Lee still won't reveal exactly what the panel is supposed to be evaluating.

Nor does it make an ounce of sense to compare unrelated stocks to each other, kind of like sitting around a tavern and speculating as to whether the Green Bay Packers are better than the New York Knicks.

Regardless, the foursome split on AIG vs. Goldman Sachs, with Tim Seymour notably picking GS because "the days of the, the Belmonts of the world getting to the Final Four" in his mind are over.

RIG was deemed a better choice for this undetermined time frame/goal than VLO, but rest assured you can buy or short them both if you like.

This one cries out for
Jeff Gundlach’s response

Aneta Markowska visited the Nasdaq on Wednesday to tell the Fast Money crew that the Fed will be easing the gas pedal sooner than people think.

"I think there's a good chance that they'll start tapering sometime in the 3rd quarter probably closer to September," Markowska said, predicting a "good chance" of 3+% GDP by the 3rd quarter.

Not impossible, but it's worth noting there are many who think the "E" in "QE" stands for "endless."

Markowska concluded, "In the 3rd quarter, the Treasury, on the 10-year, can back up as many as 50 basis points."

Dr. J: Market bigger than Oracle

Guy Adami basically threw up his hands over the ORCL report on Wednesday's Fast Money; "they missed all over the place."

"This wasn't just a miss; this was a colossal miss," said Brian Kelly.

Tim Seymour insisted it's not a macro story, but a "software story."

Jon Najarian said ORCL has been "late to the cloud" and we'll see if Hurd and Ellison can play catch-up, but he thinks the market can still chug toward the S&P record on Thursday, it "still has enough gas to get past that."

Brian Kelly said his top trade Wednesday was TLT, a "great time to buy some more." Tim Seymour said to buy RSX and MBT. JJ Kinahan touted HAL and Guy Adami touted RJF.

Tim did connect on BBY

Brian Kelly said on Wednesday's Fast Money that "there's really no reason to go shop at Best Buy anymore," and if he was in BBY, "I would be out of this thing very fast."

But Guy Adami pointed out that Tim Seymour correctly called this rally recently and even underestimated the price (actually 17) being around 19 (it was Feb. 19).

We don't actually want to rain on Seymour's parade, as it took a couple weeks from that call for this to really pan out, and quite frankly, his specialty is emerging market (particularly Russian) sectors, not distressed suburban retailers, so it maybe wasn't the most convincing call of all time.

But the shares have continued to rally, so a good call it was.

Mike Khouw said the "only positive" with JCP is the 41% short interest.

Guy Adami said there's more upside in BBRY. "I think the stock's clearly in play ... further room on the upside," Adami said.

Tim Seymour said FSLR figures to benefit from the bankruptcy of a Chinese solar company. Guy Adami actually claimed that COP went up Wednesday because it was finding oil. Brian Kelly said prices are rising faster than costs at LEN. JJ Kinahan suggested selling puts in the June time frame to buy DE. Mike Khouw said steel looks dicey; "this is a sector I'd stay away from here."

Fast Money lauds dead deer

Mike Khouw reported on Wednesday's Fast Money that someone was buying the April 60 puts in LULU.

Brian Kelly is backing dollar stores such as DLTR, "time to be long 'em again." Kelly admitted he was wrong in gis, and "I would not be short it here."

JJ Kinahan advised waiting for DHI to sell off and buy below 25. Guy Adami said there's no reason to buy FB, Brian Kelly said if you're in TEX, "you have to take some profits here," and Mike Khouw called the purchase of 40 puts in HRL a "very nice play."

Khouw's Final Trade was taking profits in BLK. Brian Kelly said long DBA, JJ Kinahan said long SBUX, Guy Adami said long GLD, and Tim Seymour said sell MSG.

But we’re getting close to another go-round of why Virginia Rometty isn’t a member of Augusta

Wednesday's mostly flat Halftime Report featured Pete and Jon Najarian squaring off over LEN, with Pete arguing low rates and backlog favor continued strength; "I think it's going higher." Jon Najarian said longer term he agrees it's going higher but not short term, because "homebuilder confidence" is in a 3-month slide, and input costs are rising.

"The problem for homebuilders is supply," Jon Najarian said.

It wasn't hard to figure Mike Murphy would back LEN; Murphy said "the backlog is what you wanna focus on."

Mike Murphy then pointed to the CEO looking out to 2015, possibly the first time we've heard the 2015 argument in any stock besides IBM (and actually we haven't heard about that one for a while).

Meanwhile, Simon Baker dialed in to claim he said "it might be a soft quarter" after his FDX debate yesterday. Baker said he's been a holder for a while so he didn't buy more but long-term buyers should grab it on the dips.

"It's still a great company," said Baker, who managed to trumpet his winning LULU call.

A guest’s refreshing honesty

Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report asked Lewis Kaufman why now is the time to be buying emerging markets. "To be honest with you, I'm not sure that it is," Kaufman said, pointing to a "lot of disappointment" in the biggest emerging markets.

But he does like Southeast Asia as a potential surprise and said it's "21% of our portfolio." He likes Mead Johnson and Prada.

"This has been a liquidity-driven rally around the world," Kaufman said, adding that the indexes are led by "value traps" including PBR. "Every BRIC market in dollar terms is down this year," he said.

Jon Najarian agreed that "one big one" such as PBR "can skew all the results," but he never produced an actual question for Kaufman.

Ilczyszyn: Beware gold sub-1,590

Perhaps following the lead of Keith McCullough (who wasn't on the show), Wednesday's Halftime Report mostly glossed over Cyprus.

Gemma Godfrey, She of the Perfect Teeth in Europe, was the recipient of an overlit studio space and contended that talk of a deal is a "bit of a game-changer," but we weren't sure exactly what she meant except perhaps this one will be over soon. Godfrey argued that Cyprus is actually "crucial" for determining where to put investment money, specifically choosing between stronger and weaker banks.

Simon Hobbs tried both "peripheral" and "periphery" of Europe in his market summary.

Jim Iuorio said Cyprus "could be a flashpoint" in gold but then turned the focus to the Fed and said gold "could rally" on what Ben Bernanke says. Rich Ilczyszyn said bulls will want to see a close over 1,620 and that if it closes below 1,590, to get short the market.

Here’s to Ben

Wednesday's Halftime Report didn't feature Josh Brown and/or Stephen Weiss at the top saying the rally will continue; in fact, Mike Murphy warned against a Fed letdown.

Murphy said the market might've priced Ben Bernanke to perfection, and "if Bernanke disappoints, we will roll over."

Jon Najarian said Europe's reaction to Cyprus was a positive sign for markets, and Pete Najarian said "the housing is telling us a story."

Pete also said big pharma, including MRK, is an appealing safe option.

Enis Taner though was skeptical and said he's "much more cautious" because of CAT and FDX results. "It's not a total bull market here," Taner said.

Joe LaVorgna, who hasn't been on Fast Money/Halftime for a while, predicted "we will" get the green light from Mr. Bernanke, who will keep policy "ultra-accommodative," and LaVorgna would be "stunned" if it was anything but.

Can BX beat FB to the IPO price?

Mike Murphy on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he has never been big on playing airlines, but "the prices that the airlines are getting" are indicative of "more upside" in the stocks.

But while Murphy argued there's not really a fundamental reason to own them, Pete Najarian thundered in that consolidation is a reason, along with Delta's refinery purchase.

One thing's for sure, airline shares at the right moment can be instant money, but when they go south, oh my.

In a nice nod to journalism, Jon Najarian credited Kate Kelly with reporting the Delta refinery news.

Meanwhile, Kelly surfaced later in the program to report that shares of the private equity giants are serving as a "cheap call option" for those playing the P.E./buyout scene. Mike Murphy said "I do like the entire space" but called BX "head and shoulders above the rest."

Jon Najarian backed BX; "a lot of the things on their books are just starting to bear fruit." Enis Taner said "Blackstone looks cheap." Pete Najarian mentioned strength in STT, BX and FIG.

Pete sees BBRY near 20

Pete Najarian said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that ADBE is "doing everything right" but suggested waiting for a pullback. Enis Taner said CHK is "one to stay away from." Jon Najarian said there were "aggressive" buyers of APC calls this week. Mike Murphy said there "could be an opportunity" in CTAS.

Pete Najarian said the real news on BBRY is the margins, "I think this name is going higher ... towards 20."

Enis Taner called GIS a "hold," saying he'd prefer an AMGN, ABT or MRK for dividend reasons. Mike Murphy called GIS a "great name" to own, however. Pete Najarian called GIS "priced to perfection" and would wait for a pullback. Brother Jon, however, said GIS is buyable here, albeit a bit scary one.

Mike Murphy said it's a "great opportunity" to buy EBAY on the pullback it's had.

First time we’ve heard SNE seriously discussed

Mike Murphy said on Wednesday's Halftime Report not to bother with ORCL because it's in a tight range. Jon Najarian though said "I like Oracle" and said "pent-up buying" has been occurring this quarter. Pete Najarian also backed Oracle because he says big-cap tech is working. Enis Taner said if it gets past 36½, it could take off.

Mike Murphy called GS "a name you wanna own" and predicted it "trades a lot higher in the near term." Pete Najarian called SNE an "interesting stock" but admitted he's "not really sure what Sony's doing."

Enis Taner said DBA is in a long-run, "secular bull market" but is stung by dollar strength. Jon Najarian said he likes HFC.

Enis Taner's Final Trade was ABT. Pete Najarian said BX. Jon Najarian said STT and Mike Murphy said IR.

[Tuesday, March 19, 2013]

Sell the stock, Karen

Usually when Joe Terranova dabbles in daily moves of AAPL shares it's just the beginning of a fresh wave of bottom predictions, and sure enough even Guy Adami was jumping aboard that train on Tuesday's Fast Money.

"I think the stock is flush to a point now where at least against 420, which in percentage terms is not that big a deal if your reward is north of 500 ... maybe Apple makes sense for a trade," Adami claimed, while conceding it didn't actually have an outside reversal.

Dan Nathan by contrast said that there are "guys gaming" the 1-year anniversary of the dividend announcement and advised not chasing at 460.

Jon Fortt was summoned to deliver a breakdown of Apple's cash pile and did a fine job. Essentially Fortt simply pointed out that not even a third of the cash is in the U.S., so to make the big dividend boosts that some are clamoring for, the company might have to take out a line of credit; in any case, it's "not quite as straightforward" as some think about the $137 billion.

But Fortt, as we knew would happen, unfortunately became the target of Karen Finerman's frustration over not making even gobs more money in the stock, as Finerman first said "that cushion is big, they could do it for a while" and then said a line of credit would be a great idea also, cloaking this point of outrage under a "why don't they do that" question that was beyond the scope of Fortt's reporting. Fortt indicated he's not advocating why they should or shouldn't do something, only the math behind the dollars.

The first couple years,
it was always AAPL

Evidently, it's designed to get you to go to the Web site.

Tuesday's Fast Money featured the seemingly every-other-year Fast Money Madness tournament in which traders pick "winners" in a 64-stock bracket.

Except it didn't make an ounce of sense, as Melissa Lee never said on Tuesday's show exactly what the traders were picking: the best performer (including dividend) through calendar 2013, best performer for the next 12 months, or best performer through the NCAA tournament, which ends in 3 weeks.

We think it's probably Door No. 1, except Guy Adami muddied the waters when he said HPQ has done the equivalent of winning the Preseason NIT and now it's in the big dance.

Furthemore, it makes no sense to pit 2 stocks against each other, as the general public could surely buy both.

Tuesday's panel unanimously picked AAPL over HPQ but split on eBay vs. Home Depot, punctuated by Keith McCullough's observation that "eBay looks like hell to me."

Melissa Lee said the Twitter crowd made eBay the winner.

And we'll start caring once we're told exactly what's being judged.

Actually, we still don’t know if he meant pricing at 15/20 dollars, or 15/20 times earnings

Sam Hamadeh sounded like the Pinnacle Foods underwriter on Tuesday's Fast Money, telling Melissa Lee it's his favorite IPO of the year because "the brand portfolio's just star power."

But his ridiculously effusive call was utterly bungled when Hamadeh appeared to be making no sense about the pricing, first saying, "this is pricing at 15, there's a lot of room to go up from there frankly," and then admitting to Karen Finerman that he got the numbers mixed up and he didn't mean it could start at 15 and go to 20, but start at 20 and go to 25 or 26, maybe even the mid-30s.

Hamadeh also said Model N and Marin Software were held up by the fiscal cliff and will be biggies this week.

Adami: Buy JACK

Keith McCullough, on a roll since dusting Dennis Gartman's ridiculous bearish call of late February, told Fast Money viewers on Tuesday that Cyprus is little more than noise; "the reaction to this stuff is basically nothing."

McCullough said his top trade for the day was buying the S&P 500. Dan Nathan said he too bought the S&P but to cover a short. "At the end of the day, S&P could be a flight to quality," Nathan allowed.

Guy Adami said ADBE is an "extraordinarily volatile stock" if you want to try to hit it big, but he prefers ORCL. Adami's top trade was JACK, because "this multiple makes sense," they're "knockin' the cover off the ball."

Karen Finerman said she sold some Realogy because the "valuation is really getting stretched," and, in a question that made her pause a bit, she told Melissa Lee she'd buy more at "probably 45 or lower."

Nathan: AMZN cracking

Paul Hickey on Tuesday's Fast Money offered 3 stocks he dubbed "warning season winners," starting with AZO, because its U.S. focus and the fact the average age of cars on the road is so high.

He also likes DVA, in a "high-growth sector, unfortunately," and RJF, because they have "no baggage from the financial crisis; they have no baggage in Europe."

Meanwhile, Dan Nathan said that LULU and WFM are U.S.-centric names that have actually cracked, and offered 4 more he thinks are going to crack, AMZN, PCLN, EXPE and CRM; "these are names you wanna avoid," because if the market drops 5% they'll drop 10%, Nathan said.

To that list Keith McCullough added UA and pointed out that savvy traders could've done very well just going long of high-short-interest names "for 4 months straight."

How can you get to 20% without factoring cost-basis into your exit plan?

Jon Hilsenrath, who basically resembles Judge Reinhold at that pirate seafood place in "Fast Times," told Tuesday's Fast Money that not only will the Fed not say anything bad, "I think they're gonna be waving the green flag to the markets."

Keith McCullough wondered if Ben Bernanke might do some chest-thumping to assert QE is working to help the economy. Hilsenrath said no, that it's "really a bifurcated economy," and this conversation got really loopy when traders were speculating seemingly in both directions as to whether more negative commentary would make stocks go up more than more positive commentary.

Dan Nathan said not to rush into LULU, "let it shake out." Keith McCullough said KSS could bounce and you could "probably buy it on the open." Karen Finerman called HAIN "too expensive for me." Guy Adami said to look for NFLX in the low 170s. Mike Khouw advised not catching the falling knife in EA.

McCullough said "Goldman made a good call" on iron ore. Guy Adami said DE's run isn't over; "I still think there's some upside left ... sort of favor buying the dip." Dan Nathan said the JNPR selloff may be an opportunity to pick up early cycle on the cheap.

Mike Khouw said he "saw some buyers of the June 17 calls" in LCC.

Khouw said "I'm not really crazy about the newspaper business ... I'd stay away." His Final Trade was to sell UPS.

Keith McCullough said of SBUX, "I like it a lot." His Final Trade was NSM.

Karen Finerman's Final Trade was to sell BAC calls, while Guy Adami said long K.

Dan Nathan's Final Trade, like many things on this program, made no sense, to buy XCO on a pullback, but "after 20%, you can take some profits."

Once again, the cost basis that Karen Finerman so dislikes surfaces prominently in a stock call

Toni Sacconaghi told Tuesday's Halftime Report that he's skeptical of a bigger offer for DELL, because "this is a humongous deal," and something of this size is "difficult to pull together."

But things really got interesting when Sacconaghi said much of the stock has turned over since the announcement of the buyout, and the deal would likely be approved with a price bump to the mid-$14s or $15, because "the cost basis of most investors is likely in the 13 to $14 range."

Which apparently, if we're reading between the lines correctly, means that longer-term holders who bought at 18 or 19 might've demanded more, and people who bought around 9 might demand more, but those parties are already gone.

Isn't it funny how even pro investors don't seem to take Karen Finerman's advice.

Speaking of Karen Finerman complaints, Sacconaghi predicted that in 0 to 3 months, "Apple will announce that it's returning more cash to investors." Oh joy.

Chris Leavy tells ’em
what they want to hear

Chris Leavy was the life of the party on Tuesday's Halftime Report, drawing nods of agreement with every stock pick he made.

"In the very short term, we are overbought," Leavy said, but he made a long-term case for banks, saying that "business will actually improve" with higher rates.

Leavy likes BAC and USB in particular.

He also said the airlines are enjoying an "emerging oligopoly," and said "UAL has margin catch-up potential."

Finally, he likes GOOG, for the "15% revenue and earnings growth, at least."

Stephen Weiss freely admitted, "I own the airlines ... and the banks also. It's almost as if I paid him to come on."

"I think he's right on Google," said Josh Brown.

Simon Baker said he likes the names Leavy mentioned but that Leavy failed to mention a housing name. Joe Terranova added PNC to the list.

Baker: Looks like
‘game over’ for LULU

Simon Baker, whose mega-short LULU call recently already looks pretty good (although the stock seemed to recover early Tuesday), crowed on Tuesday's Halftime that "I think you continue to put a short on."

Baker said that with a business that charges "100 bucks for a pair of pants ... a little bit of a breakdown and it's game over."

Reaffirming the day's emphasis on cost basis, Josh Brown showed how smart he was by noting, "I've been in the stock since 10 bucks, I've liked it, but I actually think Simon is right ... I would be on the sidelines at this point."

Stephen Weiss stands up
for his golfing partners

Author Simon Lack joined Tuesday's Halftime Report to express doubts about hedge funds' ability to deliver, only to run into the brick wall of Stephen Weiss.

"The industry's overcapitalized," Lack said, explaining too much pension money goes into hedge funds. "It's not gonna end well I think for a lot of these pension funds," he said, asserting there is "too much money in the industry overall to achieve the objectives that people have."

Pointing to the 2 and 20 (and sometimes more), Lack said the "fees are just wrong."

Weiss eventually jumped in. "I couldn't disagree more," he said, claiming that in 2008 the market was down 36% and hedge funds were down 16%. But Lack, unfazed, said the hedge fund industry has gone from touting "absolute" returns to "uncorrelated" returns, and in fact in 2008, "hedge funds lost more than anybody reasonably expected."

Lack cheerily agreed with Simon Baker that the funds of funds erase even more value. "On average Treasury bills have done better," Lack said.

Next time, Netflix

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, Simon Baker battled Josh Brown, who's always trying to outdo his own previous negativity in these features, on FDX, which Baker called a "great growth story" that will continue because it's past the "hiccup" of last quarter, oil is down and it's kicking UPS' butt.

Brown started off with, "I disagree with almost all of that," other than the UPS story, and argued that the results stem from cost-cutting, and the "trade's already been made."

"You missed the trade," he told Baker.

Curmudgeon Stephen Weiss said they were "both sort of blase arguments" and he would actually own both FDX and UPS, but he's only a "very strong neutral."

CAH below 40

Stephen Weiss declared on Tuesday's Halftime Report not exactly a new position; "I'm short BHP, I'm short RIO, I'm short VALE. Iron ore capacity is growing at leaps and bounds."

Joe Terranova dismissed X, saying steel has "fundamental weakness, no ETF, don't touch it."

Anthony Grisanti said the outlook for copper isn't great in China. Jeff Kilburg pointed out, "We've seen a doubling of inventory."

Stephen Weiss said NSC will benefit from more crude being shipped by rail.

Simon Baker said of CAT, "I'd hold off right here," and said he's long BAC. His Final Trade was shorting LULU.

Josh Brown predicted lower for CAH, "I have a feeling this stock sees below 40 unfortunately ... I wouldn't buy it yet," but said he likes USG. Brown's Final Trade was buy VLO.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was short AMZN. Stephen Weiss said stay short BHP.

‘It’s not Cyprus, it’s China’

Looks like we were due.

Viewers who may be getting annoyed at hearing Stephen Weiss and/or Josh Brown say at the top of every Halftime Report that the rally continues got a double-barrel dose on Tuesday.

Brown said the market is doing "exactly what it should be doing."

Weiss wasn't actually so effusive, pointing out Adam Parker is now up to 1,600 and suggesting there's a bigger worry that people aren't realizing. "It's not Cyprus, it's China," Weiss said. "They've got disastrous banking over there."

Simon Baker simply said "the market continues to go higher."

Joe Terranova curiously said he's "actually getting stopped into further protection" but he doesn't think the "overtly dovish" Fed will change the dollar's upside trend, or will move rates or gold.

While everyone always likes the big banks, Judge Wapner asked Josh Brown if he'd be buying them today. Brown said he'd be "hesitant" about MS and JEF, because when Europe flares up, "Those are the 2 stocks that tend to bear the brunt of it."

Mr. New Land took a couple opportunities to re-emphasize what Judge's question was and stressed he was not buying banks on Tuesday, because "there's a real chance that Cyprus will default."

Steve Liesman contended that Simon Baker and Joe Terranova were wrong, but we couldn't figure out exactly why, and it wasn't worth extensive study.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Monday, March 18, 2013]

Yes, Pete said AAPL is a 2nd-half story again (but Grasso stopped short of revealing his concern of buying GOOG at $800)

We had to figure after seeing Monday's Halftime and hearing that Joe Terranova is once again making daily trades in AAPL that the Fast Money gang would also have to opine on this incredibly average stock that nobody really needs to care that much about anymore.

Sure enough, Melissa Lee oversaw a debate punctuated by Tim Seymour's bull argument based on "the news that Tim Cook is ready to make an announcement" and claim that a dividend hike "will get a lot of people back in the stock."

Pete Najarian correctly pointed out that "a lot of this might already be built in," and then, you guessed it, "this is still a 2nd-half story."

Seymour then added, "It's actually dancing with the 50, this is a place where people are gonna come piling back in the stock."

Melissa Lee interfered, as she has recently begun taking sides in this feature, insisting the stock has reached a "pattern where it doesn't trade down as hard."

Brian Kelly sided with Seymour. "This is actually a 1st-half story," Kelly said.

Brian Stutland reported a big buyer of April 515 AAPL calls.

Surprising that Dennis Gartman didn’t re-predict Greece will leave the euro (probably because Tim’s question threw him off his game)

We figured with the Cyprus headlines on Monday that Dennis Gartman would surely find his way onto the Fast Money/Halftime franchise, but we didn't figure he would take a pass on 1) mentioning owning gold in yen terms and 2) assuring viewers that the eurozone will eventually fall apart.

Instead, Gartman chided European banking authorities for picking on the guys who got dusted by Matt Damon in "Rounders" with the "egregiously bad" decision to tap bank account holders, who he said in Cyprus tend to be Russians.

"You don't mess with the Russian mafia," Gartman said. "I think this is very stupid."

Tim Seymour, as he is prone to do, made a scattershot point about how his impression is that Russians keep most of their money in Switzerland and that the initial European move wasn't so crazy and then found himself forced to cough up some sort of question, which became "why is it a surprise."

Gartman, correctly, didn't really seem to understand the relevance of the question but managed to say it "caught everybody off-guard" (without ever really answering the question).

Brian Kelly said he's still going to hold onto euros. Seymour said, "I would stay cautious on Russia."

Paul Donovan said the ramifications of Cyprus are that "if another country gets into difficulties in the future, the cost of dealing with that will be a great deal higher."

Brian Kelly asked Donovan if the euro won't become the new deutschemark as weaker countries fade away. Donovan said to forget that notion, that if one country leaves, "very quickly you will get bank runs spreading." Donovan said once countries decided to form an economic zone, "the costs of exit go up disproportionately highly."

Flash: Fracking works

In one of the most overhyped CNBC interviews in recent memory, Melissa Lee practically promised that Continental Resources chief Harold Hamm was going to tell viewers what happened to Amelia Earhart, when in fact all Hamm really said (after a clumsy, overly long, Seymour-esque question from Lee) was that horizontal drilling has allowed oil exploration companies to get the "immobile" oil as well as the "mobile."

"I see natural gas prices beginning to improve," Hamm added.

Steve Grasso asked a question that utterly made the head spin about whether onshore crude or ethanol mandates being a bigger deal for refiners and had to restate it because it made Hamm's head spin too. Hamm eventually said there's no need for an ethanol mandate.

Pete Najarian hailed both COP and MRO, reporting "upside buying" in calls and saying he "jumped in there."

Brian Kelly hailed gold, saying it's a "great time to buy it here." Later in the show that was backed by Tim Seymour, who said buying the miners is the best play and that much of the pro-gold argument is based on Europe, so after a day like Monday, why wouldn't you buy.

The Garo Yepremian trade

Brian Kelly spent a couple of the prime minutes at the top of Monday's Fast Money concluding that we don't know enough about Cyprus to do anything with the markets (other than be long gold).

Scott Black said Cyprus' economy is smaller than Vermont. We're not sure what the connection is, but he likes OHI and CVS.

Tim Seymour complained that the market reaction to Cyprus is "total complacency at its finest" and recommended selling volatility.

Steve Grasso said he's glad he didn't trade Monday because he "would've got sucked into selling stocks today."

Grasso told a twitterer who wondered about the sell GOOG/buy AAPL trade "it's happening," but it's unclear if Grasso meant that the 2 move in opposite directions daily or whether he was claiming the longer-term trend of GOOG pulling ahead is still intact (and Mel didn't bother to straighten that one out).

Grasso said DIS is buyable here, to only play CNX with a tight 33 stop, and made MU his Final Trade.

Pete Najarian said EA is "not overpriced," for what that's worth, though he thinks BBY goes higher, QCOM is "too cheap," and BlackBerry's Thorsten Heins in attacking AAPL is taking the "smart way to go." Pete's Final Trade was NSC.

Tim Seymour said STZ "probably has topped here." His Final Trade was AVP.

Brian Kelly warned against buying or shorting HSP; "I would stay away from this one completely." Kelly said of DDD, "actually love the stock here," but PSE doesn't excite him much. His Final Trade was DG.

This page ahead of the curve: Fast Money finally brings up Gary Kaminsky move; Joe makes exceptional point

This page reported last week that CNBCers had been notably silent about the ramifications of Capital Markets Editor Gary Kaminsky's move to Morgan Stanley. On Monday's Halftime Report, Joe Terranova not only brought up the subject but unleashed the most provocative bull-bear debate argument in months.

Making the case for MS, Terranova cited tangible book valuation and James Gorman's approach to fixed income, for whatever reason saving the most compelling rationale for last.

"No one's even talking about it," Terranova said, which implies that this page doesn't really count (but whatever), "the hiring of Gary Kaminsky, our Gary Kaminsky," before contending that this hire is about Morgan Stanley doing "something dynamic, something interesting ... It's a tremendous positive."

And then, the clincher:

"Gary is not gonna go to an entity in which he believes the stock of that company is gonna fall."

It's a phenomenal angle this page hadn't even pondered.

People recommend stocks all day on CNBC, sometimes even ones they don't own.

But what about when a savvy investor freely elects to hitch his livelihood to a company?

This is no ordinary hiring. Kaminsky is a celebrated money manager who wrote a book about stock picking. He already enjoyed an elevated prominence on television and presumably, according to Charles Gasparino's reporting, didn't need to go anywhere.

Consider that Judge Wapner recently hung Dan Niles (in absentia) out to dry on Niles' bullish call a while back on GLUU.

If Niles recommends a name like GLUU on television, you say, "Hmmm, OK, maybe."

But if Niles actually goes to work for a name like GLUU, you REALLY say "Hmmmm."

Certainly there could be, and likely are, several reasons for Kaminsky's move. Gasparino, who never fails to take legit shots at his former employer, indicated Kaminsky had no dissatisfaction at CNBC nor vice versa.

It can only be concluded that this is a big-time money manager deciding — in the most affirmative, ultimate way actually — that now is a decent (at a minimum) time to be affiliated with a Wall Street bank.

That opinion could still be wrong but has 9 months of robust stock activity on its side.

Meanwhile, Mike Murphy argued Monday that "Morgan Stanley is the one that I would stay away from," largely because of its correlation with Europe, a fair point. He said it's "sitting precariously right on top of its 50-day moving average."

Stephanie Link said Murphy won the debate because Morgan Stanley's emphasis on global wealth management brings "a lot lower returns," and "I think Goldman Sachs is the way to go."

Viewers, by the end of the program, went the other way, deeming Joe the winner. "Gary Kaminsky must've voted a lot," Terranova cracked.

Katy Huberty gives Meg
free pass on selling things

Guest sexy Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was so excited on Monday's Halftime Report about the rare TV appearance of Katy Huberty, she briefly talked over poor Katy a few times despite the fact there was no satellite delay.

Huberty, in a controversial point that the Halftime gang didn't seem to think was very controversial, suggested cost-cutting is enough at HPQ for now. "I don't think they need to grow revenue in the next 9 months," Huberty said, explaining the story is "about earnings, and free cash-flow recovery."

But that wasn't the only curious comment, as Huberty twice referred to the CEO as "Meg," stating that "under the direction of Meg," the company is in the process of "healing" the cost structure, the brand and the morale.

What in the world is she "healing" in a Hewlett-Packard printer?

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera told Huberty that "Joe Terranova bought Apple this morning" and said Mike Murphy did not and asked Katy to opine. Katy did not say "Coulda swore Joe was just saying he's not doing this anymore." Once again the communication was botched, but once Huberty understood, she said, "I do believe that Apple is approaching a bottom," and predicted Apple will surprise with a "killer app."

Later in the program, Murphy congratulated Dr. New Land on the buy, saying, "it looks like it's reversing its downtrend here." Dr. New Land said there was a "nice price gap that happened from Thursday into Friday" and there's now "a point of reference with low risk."

Stephen Weiss said AAPL is "still right now a product story."

Cyprus is ‘low-quality fear’

We figured it wouldn't take much for Monday's Halftime Report crew to dismiss the importance of Cyprus, which to be honest is probably the right call.

Keith McCullough shrugged and declared "Fear is to be faded" and in fact this is "pretty low-quality fear. McCullough said he likes the dollar rising and oil falling and cited "lower lows in the VIX ... higher highs in stocks," and so "buy more." Mike Murphy managed to look down the entire time the camera was on him asking McCullough a question; McCullough said not enough people are into the housing story.

Mike Murphy said it's not so much a "Goldilocks" market, but more "like the boy who cried wolf."

"I think there are places where you wanna buy on weakness," said Stephanie Link.

Stephen Weiss, who said Cyprus is an "isolated incident," called this a "very good thing for the euro" and for markets, "the risk is that people in other areas" such as Spain or Italy could suddenly try their own run on the banks, but he'd still recommend that stock investors can "get in, because there's no selloff."

The most curious advice came from Joe Terranova, who said, "You access the derivatives market," because, "I don't think this ends tomorrow."

When was the last show when someone actually didn’t recommend BAC?

Tobias Levkovich evidently couldn't resist an utterly dreaded cliche regarding Europe on Monday's Halftime Report, telling the panel "it's deja vu all over again."

Levkovich said that while the focus has been on European sovereigns, "corporate credit continues to be very, very tight" on the continent.

He conceded that in the U.S., "there are a lot of good things going on here," and suggested that "sell in May" might not apply because the real weakness might happen in the summer.

Meanwhile, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera noted that nobody on the panel likes European banks; apparently feeling some obligation to issue a trade of some kind, Mr. New World actually suggested buying puts on Russian bank VTB.

Meanwhile, the Halftime gang is overjoyed about U.S. banks regardless. "We love Bank of America here at these levels," said Mike Murphy. Stephen Weiss said the U.S. financials are in a great place. Stephanie Link touted U.S. regionals and pointed to China as a place to watch, "a lot of bad news is already priced in."

Change the name, Ron

Mike Murphy said on Monday's Halftime Report, "I think JCPenney was looking for a reason to rally," (in other words the REIT talk is no big deal), but allowed it could be the same type of story as BBY.

Stephen Weiss congratulated Murphy on a "phenomenal call" for previously suggesting a JCP bounce, but said if the REIT story really had legs, Vornado would've been aware of it, so this is a "great opportunity to sell."

Mike Murphy said you "can look at a long here" in HP (that's correct, HP, not HPQ, but do what you will with such a tepid endorsement). Stephanie Link wasn't impressed by SLB, saying Cramer sold it a couple weeks ago. Stephen Weiss said he'd buy ISRG but only on a pullback. Joe Terranova suggested if you're interested in BTU, "For a quick trade, go knock yourself out."

Stephen Weiss said KORS is "kind of expensive for me." Stephanie Link endorsed CSCO; "we've been buying it." Mike Murphy said there was "just a rumor" that IBM is looking at RAX, but "there is value" there. Mr. New World sidestepped useful advice on China/FXI, suggesting the FXI components aren't really what he wants to play, but actually the Chinese recovery.

Stephanie makes the SPLS argument Karen has already disowned

Steve Weiss took a notable stab at market-timing on Monday's Halftime Report, suggesting viewers could short gold Monday and cover Tuesday, which became his Final Trade.

Mike Murphy agreed in a way; "I would fade this rally." Stephanie Link shrugged and said "I'd rather own silver." Joe Terranova said platinum.

Dr. New Land probably went a little overboard in declaring that "long overdue" mini options are "actually a great educational tool for the younger generation." He said he sees "nothing but upside" to this product.

Mike Murphy cautioned that there's downside to a name like RIG if Carl Icahn exits.

Steve Weiss said he missed BBY, but "still think you wait for a pullback."

Stephanie Link said SPLS is the winner of the ODP-OMX merger.

Mike Murphy reaffirmed he doesn't like GPS here.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was HTZ. Joe Terranova said ONNN. Mike Murphy said F.

[Friday, March 15, 2013]

Fast Money gang again
discusses banks without
mentioning Morgan Stanley hire

You've read, on this page, an assessment of CNBC Capital Markets Editor Gary Kaminsky's move to Morgan Stanley.

If you were expecting to get an assessment from people actually on CNBC, you had to be seriously disappointed, as an opportunity for a fascinating in-house discussion was utterly blown.

Friday's Halftime Report crew opened the program with positive comments on big banks.

"I think Bank of America could double easily in the next year," said Pete Najarian.

Brother Jon Najarian said he was hoping JPM would break through 49 so he could buy some.

But curiously, as the banks remain a hot topic on virtually every episode of CNBC's Halftime Report/Fast Money, no one has opined, favorably or unfavorably, on their colleague Kaminsky's hiring as vice chairman of wealth management at Morgan Stanley.

Searches of CNBC.com (we don't see every minute of the 16 hours of live programming daily) indicate the network has devoted no significant time to a panel discussion of this move. On Tuesday, when Kaminsky delivered a farewell address, the afternoon agenda included Jack Bogle, general market observations, AAPL, tuition relief, Bob Iger, sugary drinks, Paul Ryan's budget and of course, Marissa Mayer's telecommuting edict.

Surely Ron Insana, Kate Kelly, Jim Cramer, David Faber, Herb Greenberg, Larry Kudlow, Karen Finerman and others have opinions on this notable hiring of their colleague that would above all make for intriguing television.

Were he just going to another network, no big deal. Kaminsky's move would seem to be significant for 2 reasons: It is a high-ranking Wall Street position (Fox Business' Charles Gasparino reports that Kaminsky is instantly 1 of the 5 most important people at the firm), and it is a slightly unconventional hire, not a bureaucratic lifer at the firm but a high-profile commentator who has even critiqued management on-air.

Morgan Stanley of course is far more than just 5 people. But according to Gasparino, Kaminsky will be involved in firm decisions that will make news and perhaps move the stock price.

Furthermore, there is the question of whether other big banks could've or might've acted or whether they too plan to begin "playing offense" as MS and C have clearly done. Kaminsky's CNBC farewell on Tuesday included a reference to his interview with highly sought Lloyd Blankfein, a coup for CNBC that will be difficult for a new capital markets editor — if CNBC appoints one — to replicate. Citigroup changed leadership in October. Gasparino reported that before agreeing to join Morgan Stanley, Kaminsky had "fielded offers from large money management firms."

It is understandable that a TV network would not wish to draw attention to a departure. But this particular move has Wall Street ramifications. This site has been unable to determine if a gag order was issued to CNBC hosts regarding Kaminsky's exit.

Kaminsky on Friday told the Benzinga trading Web site that he aims to "break some glass" at Morgan Stanley and notably said, in an interview that otherwise mostly featured typical refrains of starting a new job, that he wants clients and wealth advisers to "regain some trust."

Bloomberg apparently reported the story via press releases without mentioning on-air. So far, the only informed commentary on the move on business television has come from Gasparino, who calls this "a big story" and says Kaminsky's job will be keeping the considerable amount of broker-linked business in-house. Yet, reinforcing a problem with Fox Business' lack of stature, that discussion spiraled into silly cheerleading commentary from Liz Claman about how Fox would treat Buffett disputes differently.

It has been this page's opinion (see below) that the move is a refreshing corporate endorsement of media criticism, that there is virtually no downside to Morgan Stanley here, and that the only downside for Kaminsky is the interruption if not squelching of a promising media career that gave him an unusual level of prominence that even many longtime CNBCers don't have. Of course, if the banking environment were to suddenly head south again, which no one on-air seems to expect in the near to intermediate future, that would be a risk for Kaminsky as well.

Most high-level Wall Street executives shun media appearances. It is unknown if Morgan Stanley may be considering Kaminsky's comfort level on television as a factor in future marketing campaigns.

Maybe most importantly to CNBC pros, and what would be a juicy topic for a CNBC panel discussion: It is also unknown whether his roughly 3-year recent tenure as a CNBC host and commentator elevated Kaminsky's stature in the eyes of Morgan Stanley, or whether the same move and position would've been possible for him on the strength of his Neuberger Berman resume alone. That will likely never be known. The opinion of this site is that Kaminsky's experience at CNBC made him a decidedly unique option for the firm.

Change the name, Ron

Some people take this stuff a little too seriously.

Jonathan Salem Baskin on Friday's Halftime Report trumpeted Ron Johnson's original "no sale" doctrine and actually claimed, "It breaks my heart that he hasn't implemented it."

Baskin stated that the reason we live in a discount world is because consumers "don't like regular pricing."

He said JCPenney's big launch "has Apple written all over it ... the problem is that Joe Fresh isn't the next iPhone."

To say the least.

Baskin said he sees the same kind of merchandise in the windows at Sears and Target and asserted, "JCPenney has lost control of the message."

He said his advice to Ron Johnson would be, "Stop getting ahead of the game ... stop making big promises," and even said Johnson should "start looking at his reputation."

"His reputation is already shot," scoffed Judge Wapner.

Jon Najarian said he's interested in buying, "if it gets down to 8 ... creating a Joe Fresh brand doesn't do anything to bring in new folks." Najarian said if they brought in someone like "Izak Mersai (sic)," that would be different.

Joe Terranova said it's a "branding issue that's completely broken," but didn't go far enough, or went the wrong direction, pointing to Johnson and asserting, "the guy needs to be removed from his position."

There are indeed some structural questions here as to whether this company should be as diverse as it is, hair salons, photography services, etc. But this is a company that should be no worse than KSS but it is worse, because its brand is not an asset and hasn't been for years or decades, even though it's a venerable retail legacy; the name's actually a stigma, totally unlike TGT, and it's never going to be an elite name until Johnson or Ackman changes it.

Joe makes a mistake

It was Dr. J vs. Dr. New World on GRPN on Friday's Halftime Report.

Jon Najarian called the stock a buy because "they fired Mason" (Najarian said Mason turned down a $6 billion offer from "Groupon" (sic)) and that there are "28 million shorts in this name ... I think it goes higher," he concluded, citing institutional buying as the stock clears $5.

Joe Terranova flatly declared, "Institutions are not gonna buy Groupon. There is no way."

Pete Najarian said "I think Joe actually helped me go with Jon ... I think in the short term you do have a Best Buy on your hands ... the ride isn't over yet."

Around here, we're horrible stock pickers, but in terms of risk/reward, in the short term, the Najarians are absolutely right, this has suddenly become one potential train you don't want to get in front of.

Pete rolling on FCX

Stocks are roaring, people are making money, everyone's happy.

Or, not necessarily, according to Joe Terranova, who issued a rather grim assessment of certain money managers on Friday's Halftime Report.

"Some of the longer-term money right now is in trouble because they're underinvested in this marketplace," said Mr. New Land, who predicted the S&P will take out its October 2007 high.

Mike Santoli, an affable chap who hasn't really won over the hearts of viewers accustomed to seeing The Straw That Stirs Bellevue's Drink on Friday's Halftime, once again issued his mild contrarian call, predicting emerging markets and emerging markets-related names such as CAT will play catch-up, as "Stocks are cheap relative to a lot of other stuff that everyone thinks is very expensive."

Pete Najarian crowed about dusting Tim Seymour in a recent FCX bull-bear debate, calling the stock an "absolute steal" at 30 and predicting "I think it's going towards 40."

Enis Taner reaffirmed he doesn't like materials. Taner said "I think you definitely trim" BA positions, and said QCOM hasn't rallied because "people are concerned about smartphone saturation as a whole."

Joe Terranova said he likes GS, KR and CI. He advised BBY longs to "pare back the long position."

Gerard Cassidy called JPM "a buying opportunity" and asserted that despite the stuff that Washington was complaining about, "these problems have been fixed."

Cassidy's top pick though was PNC, basically, according to what he said, because it's been a laggard and is getting a new CEO.

Joe Terranova said, "I like Regions Financial."

Interesting concepts:
‘Value without growth’

Herb Greenberg played a role he knows all too well, curmudgeon, on Friday's Halftime Report, noting the plunge in ULTA and cautioning against plowing into VHC, "patent fights are just difficult."

Greenberg hinted at something sinister in the Intuitive Surgical data; "there's something going on here." Jon Najarian said the stock can be traded, but "I don't think it's a long-term hold for any of us."

Pete Najarian backed CNP but said it's run far and recommended buying on a pullback under 22.

Jon Najarian said of CCL, "They're killing their brand." (How about reviving "The Love Boat"?)

Mr. New Land said Friday provided an ideal "moment to get out of DirecTV."

Enis Taner said KLAC represents "value without growth" and 54 is resistance.

Boris Schlossberg said to buy the euro at 1.3150. (And honestly, it's usually only 1 line of these reviews, but we've really started to wonder, do we even need to post this feature? We wish we could get into currency trading, but honestly, just not feelin' it.)

As Judge Wapner still managed to sneak some Twitter calls in post-Cramer gushing, Pete Najarian called BIDU an "absolutely buy," Jon Najarian called BBRY a "hold," Joe Terranova said to play oil equities and not oil, and Enis Taner said to hold NOV.

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was TRN. Jon Najarian and Joe Terranova curiously both said SWN. Enis Taner said SODA.

[Thursday, March 15, 2013]

Buy now, drill later

Guy Adami made one of the most long-term bull cases we've ever heard when backing COP on Thursday's Fast Money.

Getting long COP is a bet that it will come up big on the $35 billion it is spending on exploration, and "I think they can" catch up in the Canadian oil sands, Adami said.

Brian Kelly contended, "There is plenty of oil, there is tons of oil out there. Not only that, gasoline demand is decreasing."

Mike Khouw, backing Kelly, not only called XOM and CVX "better managed" than COP, he said, "I don't really see why you would be chasing this stock when oil isn't really going up."

Steve Grasso said he agreed with Kelly and said the play is either the refiner space or the E&P space, and he's long PXD but also likes COG (his Final Trade) and EQT.

Grasso also said he's "still long" LNG.

But Carter Worth says 525

We've been afraid that with Samsung issuing something or other, we're looking at 2-3 days of more AAPL or AAPL-related coverage on CNBC, but thankfully it was mostly kept to a minimum on Thursday's Fast Money with Brian Marshall doing the honors.

Marshall said the smartphone market "is big enough to support multiple vendors," and "I don't think it's gonna change the outlook for Apple."

But, throwing in a few "at the end of the day" observations, Marshall noted that AAPL has lost nearly $300 in price, and so it's "probably difficult to get in front of the stock in a very material fashion" at this time.

Mike Khouw reported a big seller of March 15.5 calls in BBRY.

Flash: Guy Adami says
market top is coming

Kayla Tausche on Thursday's Fast Money talked about modeling — unfortunately it wasn't the sexy kind, but the version that JPM has prepared for the Fed that apparently needs some kind of redo or re-evaluation.

Bank updates marked Thursday's show, as Karen Finerman called the dividend raise the best part of the JPMorgan news and said the stock is appealing around 50. Steve Grasso said "this is a closure event" for banks. Guy Adami trumpeted BX.

Guy Adami was prompted twice to repeat the quickly-growing-stale endless forecast that the market top is just around the corner; "I think you'll know it when you see it." (Unlike Pete Najarian's "Apple is a 2nd-half story," this is one we unfortunately might keep hearing well into the 2nd half.) Steve Grasso said to hang around until at least 1,600, and that this is the type of market where he would pay up for GOOG, something he didn't do in the past.

Tony Dwyer, often a Halftime staple, visited the set to reaffirm 1,650, or higher, based on low inflation, accommodative Fed, and a 15 multiple on earnings estimates below consensus. Dwyer said his position is overweight tech and financials.

Brian Kelly pointed out S&P pullbacks after 100- and 130-point gains, and suggested if that trend continues it would be somewhere between 1,585 and 1,600.

Kelly also critiqued Jack Lew's comments to Steve Liesman about stocks not looking overhyped. "Of course he's gonna say it's not a bubble," Kelly said.

Double down on CLF?

Brian Kelly said on Thursday's Fast Money his top trade of the day is FXE.

Steve Grasso said MU "still has more room to go" and hung a $13 target on it.

Karen Finerman said she was selling some CFX after a nice run, and also mentioned MDY put spreads as a hedge, which became her Final Trade.

Finerman said she had "no love" for ARO, and indicated she was "taking some off" of FNP ahead of Kate Spade investor day. Finerman pointed to the bond yields in JCP vs. M and even tossed in an ethnic joke related to TGT pressures on JCP's selection for cooking, "which as a Jewish girl I really don't much."

Steve Grasso said ARO has "no management team." But if that sounded bad, consider his assessment of DDD, claiming there's "a sect of the investing community that thinks this company is a sham."

Grasso revealed "I'm in Google now" and not Amazon, advises holding onto CAT with an 87 stop, and said of WY, "I probably wouldn't be in the name" as Karen Finerman wondered if he could "surround" the trade.

Todd Gordon said to buy dollar/yen at 96.00.

Mike Khouw said a Twitterer who wondered about going long WLT and CLF and selling puts is really making a bull-bull call known as a "Texas hedge," and "no, I would not do that." Khouw's Final Trade was to sell call spreads in AMZN.

Guy Adami said the tape is the truth for CAT, not able to rally in this market. Adami's Final Trade was RJF. Brian Kelly's Final Trade was short EWY as a Samsung play. Melissa Lee wished sister Amy a happy birthday.

Still has enough cash
to buy Goldman Sachs

Porter Bibb, the Ronald Reagan of media who is one of this site's favorite Fast Money guests, chided Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report, almost like a "there you go again," for previously only bringing up the AAPL upgrade.

"You guys missed, in your stock picks a few minutes ago," mentioning Samsung, Bibb said. "I don't know why Samsung doesn't put an ADR on the market here in the U.S.," he added, declaring it "like a house of fire."

The Portermeister issued several stark pronouncements as to the future influence of AAPL gadgetry. "Apple's already lost," he said, pointing overseas saturation; "Samsung will become the market leader here as well."

Bibb also opined that Android is going to "completely blow away the low end of Apple products."

But he doesn't think AAPL is necessarily a disaster. "They're gonna have a plan to dividend-out a lot of that, that cash," he said, adding, "Apple is a stock to rent, not own."

Judge pointed out that no one in the discussion had mentioned GOOG. "You hit the nail on the head," Bibb said, saying Google is actually the premier name.

‘Hold your nose and buy it’

Perpetuating the extremely tiresome regular opening of the Halftime Report, Judge Wapner once again asked Josh Brown (some days it's Steve Weiss) to tell everyone stocks will keep going up with a minor correction opine about market direction.

"I have no idea when this ends," Brown said.

Jon Najarian observed that it's not a parabolic move, but "really crawling along very slowly Judge."

Mike Murphy said you can pick selectively here and suggested financials. Stephanie Link advised, "Sell some of the defensive stocks" and said Cramer is rotating, selling PG and MDLZ and buying UPS and HIG.

Anthony Grisanti admitted he's been a little too skeptical and now he's "not gonna fight this anymore" and sees 1,600 within a couple weeks. Jimmy Iuorio said, "If your time horizon is short, you can hold your nose and buy it."

Larry McDonald was brought in to be the skeptic, saying there is still systemic risk in Europe and we're "seeing warning signs of that now," and observing that U.S. banks are outperforming European ones.

"Nobody wants to buy European stocks," concluded Josh Brown.

McDonald also warned, "At the end of the day though, we have had elevator-shaft drops the last 2 years." He said given its underperformance that emerging markets have "much better value" than the S&P 500.

Cost basis relevancy (cont’d)

In the category of who do you trust — as well as the category of Karen Finerman’s skepticism of cost basis — Mike Murphy on Thursday's Halftime Report said of EBAY, "We actually stepped in and bought this name this morning, about 52.20."

The screen chart, though, said $52.36.

Remember, the purchase price is irrelevant, the question is where it's going.

Murphy argued, "A lot of the sellers are out of the name now."

Josh Brown said he never saw any reason for the stock to experience a selloff in the first place. But Stephanie Link said it rightly sold off because of softness in sales, and "I think it could underperform."

"I like it," said Jon Najarian.

Murphy said he'd pick EBAY over AMZN. Najarian said he still likes AMZN.

9.6% in 2½ months just the start

Jeremy Hale told Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that he sees equities, the dollar and Treasury yields all higher through the summer.

But, Hale said, "I'm a bit of a heretic on the great rotation idea."

He added, "Equities are the asset of choice now."

He predicted 3% GDP in the 2nd half of the year or maybe for the year as a whole.

Jon Najarian said he likes EMC and STX. Mike Murphy said he bought EMC today. Stephanie Link said WY and JCI, "There's plenty of names to buy here." Link said she did like the upgrade on KO as a laggard but called the stock "not cheap."

No longer do they have to say ‘parent company of this network’

Stephanie Link on Thursday's Halftime Report argued the bull case for the seller of NBC Universal, saying, "I like the GE story because it's a restructuring story ... margins are stabilizing and poised to go higher."

Josh Brown started off with "don't hate it," but can find "no reason" to think it will outperform and thinks a basket is better. "I have no idea why it's getting a premium," Brown said.

Link rebutted, "This is the kind of industrial you want," because it's "shrinking GE Capital."

"I'm not sure what drives the next leg up," Brown shrugged, unconvinced.

"I agree with Steph," said Mike Murphy.

Link: PBI buyable

Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report seized on the retail story of the day, JCPenney's credit default swaps, while qualifying for seemingly 10 minutes how the swaps themselves are speculative.

Larry McDonald pointed out that swaps signal moves in stocks, such as the recent drop in MS.

"I think the jury's still out on JCPenney," said Mike Murphy.

Later, apparently annoyed by Judge bringing up this subject on the show, JCPenney isssued a "we don't talk about rumors" response.

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on television, recommended selling euro at 1.2970.

Mike Murphy said of LSI, "can own it here," though he doesn't own it himself. Jon Najarian said he's not in ADM, "but I do like the story." Stephanie Link said "I actually like Pitney Bowes," though she cautioned against owning it for the yield.

Josh Brown said PANW has only made a round trip but is in a lucrative space with potential.

Link's Final Trade was NOV. Brown said LULU, Murphy said EMC and Najarian said STX.

[Wednesday, March 13, 2013]

Big week for Gary Kaminsky

For the longest time, this site's role model for career movement was Mr. Fox Business, who barreled around CNBC like a bull in a china shop and then gleefully galloped into an obviously more lucrative position, not to coast, but actually stoke his already impressively competitive juices, which in fact came into play rather significantly regarding the next paragraph you're about to read.

Now, there's another contender, in the form of Gary Kaminsky, who just this week has gone from "editor" to "vice chairman," and you can believe this page, that is a positive change in title.

Erin Burnett? Hate to say it, but no. 18-hour days, spouse never gets to see her, traction in this niche of the field is too difficult. CNN primetime in any years beginning with "2" is about like AAPL shares post-September 2012, and while clearly a move up from "Street Signs," this is like the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder reaching the Finals, the type of accomplishment you almost don't want to achieve.

Dylan Ratigan? If the goal is strictly to have your name on the show, you'll find yourself on the Keith Olbermann channel before too long.

Trish Regan? Sadly, going the wrong direction.

We know what some of you are thinking — hopefully Gary won't be going from interviewing Jeff Gundlach and Lloyd Blankfein (in 2 of CNBC's most-watched moments of 2012) to urging grannies to keep their 10-digit inheritances in JNJ and MRK. The gut feeling here is that MS is not the same behemoth it might've been pre-2008 (as if that's really in dispute) and has been searching for footing/identity of sorts since John Mack's nudging, and Kaminsky — who according to Charles Gasparino is now 1 of the 5 most important members of the firm — will bring astute market assessments and instant positive combustion to the decision-making processes.

The press releases have noted CNBC is retaining Kaminsky as a contributor. In a happy example of winging it, veteran CNBC viewers will recall that Kaminsky was asked last year to critique James Gorman's first post-FB-IPO interview, with Maria Bartiromo, and spared nothing (you can see partial transcript on this site's home page) in commentary that was pointed, but honest and informative, not surprising from someone who, unlike most at the major financial news networks, as Gasparino noted, has freely questioned whether some of Berkshire Hathaway's (an undeniably great business and business leader) often-trumpeted professed doctrine is occasionally subject to change, prompting one recent response from Warren Buffett that frankly seemed petty for someone of Buffett's stature.

The fact Gorman decided that this person has something to offer Morgan Stanley suggests 1) that the firm is refreshingly playing offense, and 2) honest, informed criticism can and should be highly regarded, even by the people it's directed at.

So if NOK is Tim’s girlfriend, perhaps TEO can be his fake girlfriend

Jeff Rosenberg told Wednesday's Fast Money that if you're hoping to get anything out of fixed income, you have to "change the risk mix ... towards credit risk, currency, sovereign, emerging markets risk."

"You have no more price appreciation in high yield," he said, though he contended you can get income around 7%. According to the screen, he advises being underweight agency mortgages, inflation protection and Treasury/agency, and overweight bank loans and securitized assets.

Jon Najarian trumpeted CACI, HRS, MANT and LLL as security plays. Guy Adami advised letting the volatility in refiners play out a couple days. Mike Khouw suggested doing August 13/15 risk reversals in DELL. Brian Kelly said to use a 150 stop on GLD, which he likes.

Tim Seymour was asked to recommend a Latin American stock, and actually said TEO.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was calendar spreads in VIX futures. Jon Najarian said CHRW, Tim Seymour said ETFC, Brian Kelly said to short USO, and Guy Adami said IRM.

It’s not just the bigger question, but really the only question, every day

Brian Kelly, like many on Fast Money when the data doesn't meet their expectations, asserted on Wednesday that "something's wrong" with the retail numbers because of the big gap between seasonally adjusteds.

On the other hand, Jon Najarian said the numbers look good and show there's "not as much of a headwind" on the consumer.

Then came a gorgeous treat for viewers, The World's Cutest Economist® (this page is announcing right now that it will gladly donate $100 — the budget here is unfortunately low — to Melissa Lee's favorite charity if she will use this term on the air), Michelle Meyer, who revealed, "We were looking for a weak report and we were surprised by it ... tailwinds are maybe a little stronger than we had thought."

Meyer said rhetorically, "The bigger question is, what do you do going forward."

Oh joy — being the person who buys AAPL at 525

Carter Worth let slip an interesting line during his appearance on Wednesday's Fast Money.

Analysts "typically follow price action," Worth said.

But isn't that precisely what Carter does too?

Worth pointed to what he calls long-term bullish-to-bearish reversals in PBI, DECK and HPQ, trying to stress this theory enjoys the quality of diversity because the first 2 are heavily shorted but HPQ is not.

Brian Kelly said that out of those names, he would look at HPQ, apparently because of the fundamental story.

Guy Adami said that "something scares me" about PBI, perhaps a dividend cut.

Worth used AAPL's horrible-looking chart to predict a bounce, possibly all the way up to 525, and actually claimed the company would outperform if the market gets rough.

Mike Khouw did seem to endorse the bottom theory, suggesting selling out of the money puts in AAPL and buying call spreads.

Tim Seymour, who met his quota of speaking about Samsung (very popular with U.S. investors) at least once per program, said "they are on top of the heap," but then he said that's not necessarily good, witness AAPL, and Samsung shares are "not cheap."

Jon Najarian said the issue with Samsung is whether the "eye scrolling" is enough to get people to cancel existing phone deals and switching, and we actually thought he meant "iscrolling" at first, as though someone had put an "i" in front of that too.

SEC put to the test again

Disrupting the top trades at the beginning of Wednesday's Fast Money was none other than a report about ... BlackBerry (or is it still called Research in Motion?).

Jon Fortt said the 1-million-phone order is a "good vote of confidence" for the company, but fellow "Jon" Dr. J was more interested in the confidence of the people who bought BBRY calls and stock "more than a minute ahead" of the announcement.

"Somebody had this just before it came out," Najarian asserted.

Guy Adami shrugged and said "I think the stock continues higher."

Meanwhile, Brian Kelly said "my top trade was TLT." Najarian said he tried GT (that one's over now, in case you were looking for help) and then transitioned into ATVI.

Guy Adami conceded it's hard to buy Lions Gate on a day like this but "I think the momentum is firmly behind LGF."

Tim Seymour insisted he's right and that "this was all about the dollar ... the dollar is going higher."

Web sites with zero ads —
what a quaint idea

Rich Greenfield sounded a cautionary tone about FB on Wednesday's Fast Money, suggesting the previous quarter blunted a little momentum and that ad revenue "might actually be down sequentially," which the Street would not like.

Furthemore, Greenfield complained that a lot of ads atop Facebook's news feeds are "suggested ads," or "unrelated ads that are being sold," which apparently aren't as high-quality as other ads.

Melissa Lee, almost unbelievably chipper the entire program (perhaps it stemmed from realizing how good that green dress looked on her), asserted that the issue is, "They've gotta figure out how to get me on Facebook."

Guy Adami said "LinkedIn is the trade" in social media.

At least there was a ‘benign tape’ sighting

Fast Money is so hard up for bull-bear debates, they had to put ORCL to the test on Wednesday.

(Nothing wrong with it, been fine since April, just a boring name.)

The best case Guy Adami could make was, "Oracle's just going higher," based on a "great recurring revenue stream." Oh, and it's the "best M&A firm on the planet," so he likes it, "even on a benign tape."

Brian Kelly argued that ORCL is at risk to "any hiccup in the global economy," which would curtail capex spending.

Mel Lee, like we said, unbelievably chipper in hot green, scoffed that Kelly's argument is something that could be said for all companies. Kelly weakly protested, "I'm not into that many stocks," and that's why he likes TLT. Tim Seymour said Kelly is right about the 36 headwind in ORCL but that it does have a "recurring cash stream."

Somebody bought JCP 17 calls

About the only stock more talked-about on Fast Money these days than AAPL or GOOG or HLF is ... drum roll ... CLF, which got another go-round Wednesday, with Tim Seymour opining that it will have "trouble breaking this downtrend."

Jon Najarian said bears "feasted" on RAX.

Guy Adami likes LMT and said there's a "huge amount of catchup in the major names."

Brian Kelly said of MAS, "I think it's a sell, use this as a gift."

Mike Khouw said it was "not very good news" for EBAY. Khouw observed a big buyer of May 17 JCP calls but cautioned that the same buyer was apparently selling the July 20s perhaps in hopes of recouping something.

Kayla Tausche reported that private equity giants are lowering their standards making attempts to attract more mainstream investors with lower minimums (although apparently not lower minimum net worth) and said it will be interesting to see how Carlyle does letting people into its buyout funds. Tim Seymour said it's great for hedge funds to find Main Streeters but advised simply buying the stocks of BX and KKR.

It was reported that Men's Wearhouse has hired Jefferies, and Tim Seymour chuckled, "You will hate the way this headline looks."

Jane Wells ushered in a segment called "Who'd You Rather" (and no she didn't follow that with Melissa Lee, Mandy Drury, Jackie DeAngelis and herself uh oh gonna get in trouble for that one) and frankly served up Dow vs. S&P analogies that didn't quite make a ton of sense, such as the Beatles and the Stones.

Wells also said "Alexis vs. Crystal." Dr. J said "Dallas," prompting Wells to say "long both," which we first thought was "Love Boat," minds on a new romance.

"Nobody talks about the Dow," shrugged Tim Seymour, and actually, on Fast Money, he's right.

Tepper: 20% in 2013

Anyone who might be a little jittery about this market was surely comforted on Wednesday's Halftime Report when Kate Kelly reported that no less than David Tepper is "extremely bullish on the markets and thinks the S&P could see a rise of 20% or more by the end of this year," citing cash on the sidelines.

Bull Vincent Reinhart, who revealed he sits in the "office next to Adam" Parker (but apparently can't convince him of anything) joined the program later and contended that politicians are in the "process of getting out of the way."

Reinhart said we're in the middle of a stretch of 3 quarters in which GDP will average a "little bit more" than 1%, but then things will pick up.

Steve Liesman went further than that, predicting 2-3% for the 1st quarter.

Pete Najarian said everyone is playing weekly options now and asserted "I'm gonna be long the market in very short terms."

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson said Tepper's call is "not impossible" though she's maybe not quite that high; she sees cash going into stocks if not bonds, and "I don't think it's all baked in."

Patterson said she's trimming high-yield exposure in favor of large-cap equities.

Josh Brown said "I'd pull the trigger" on energy. Jon Najarian said he thinks refiners are going higher.

Mark Travis later in the show recommended 4 names, MANT, BBG, NFX (he said to the low 40s) and PAAS.

Hulu only exists so that
Fast Money panelists can cite a reason against Netflix

Pete Najarian took on brother Jon on Wednesday's Halftime Report regarding NFLX, neither produced any kind of catalyst in the slightest.

Pete, the bull, said it's going over 200 because 1) "Reed Hastings has learned his lesson over the years," 2) it's not JCP, and 3) streaming subs will skyrocket.

Jon Najarian's best bearish argument was the price of "House of Cards," saying, "I think it's a great show, but I think they're overpaying," and oh by the way had you heard, Hulu and Hulu+ and the cable companies are providing competition.

"It's just gonna go a lot higher," Pete insisted.

Josh Brown said it's not his cup of tea but "Pete did a really solid job ... I would go with Pete."

High end is fueling retail spending, so try TJX

Jon Najarian said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that the retail numbers were "twice as good as anybody expected," and for whatever reason, Najarian cited "unusual activity" in GT.

Steve Liesman said, "I think the retail parade is sort of cloudy to partly sunny right now," and suggested the numbers are mostly reflective of "high-end and medium-to-high-end purchases."

Pete Najarian touted TJX, which he likes a bit more than ROST, and WHR. Stephanie Link also backed TJX and mentioned JWN and TTS.

Josh Brown was rather iffy in observing "the market is not reacting boisterously to this beat;" the screen graphic said he likes KORS, HD and LOW. Brown said the KORS consumer is generally not affected by things like the payroll-tax-cut expiration.

Pete Najarian predicted EMC would burst through 30. Later in the program, Stephanie Link took it up as though Pete had never mentioned it, saying Cramer went overweight tech recently and that this is promising because data storage is growing faster than I.T. spending.

Pete said he's long PEP because his son talked him into it, but it might be time to sell around 77. Josh Brown said it "looks like the next leg up is starting" in DFS.

BA fix was in

Stephanie Link said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that BA has been strong because "people knew" there'd be a 787 battery fix, but she still prefers the suppliers, UTX and PCP.

Josh Brown said that as a speculative name, FIG "looks really good."

Jon Najarian, referring to the ticker symbol SMSN.GB that of course all Americans play, said the issue is, "What's their next item," which Judge Wapner thought might be a Freudian slip for a competitor's name.

Pete Najarian thundered again, reaching Steve Grasso-I-almost-feared-I-missed-GOOG-at-800 level, that "this is a 2nd-half story" for AAPL. (At least by the end of the year he will no longer be able to say that.)

Josh Brown said QCOM is the play for both and that the appreciation in the shares is not "commensurate" with the growth.

Rich Ilczyszyn argued "the dollar puts the skids on all commodities including oil," though it had been "deeply oversold" and so is experiencing a "capitulative bounce." He said he'd look to get short at 94. Jim Iuorio said "I think it tests that 90 level again sometime soon."

Josh Brown said HLF is not his style and so he's "watching more than trading." Stephanie Link observed it's not trading on fundamentals. Jon Najarian said it was "cheap" at 26, is around fair value at 40, and that if it drops $5 he'd buy, and if it goes up $5 he'd sell.

Jon Najarian said LO makes "most of their money from menthol" but to "stay away" until there's a ruling of some kind. Najarian's Final Trade was CTSH. Pete Najarian said BX, Josh Brown said IEO and Stephanie Link said SYMC.

[Tuesday, March 12, 2013]

Another pro brings up cost basis, and this time Guy Adami bungles it

Dan Morgan, who apparently is an AAPL bull, was the star on Tuesday's Fast Money apparently because he's the only one on the panel (including Karen Finerman despite protestations) who really likes the stock.

But Morgan hit Finerman's trip wire when he told the panel that "our cost basis is so low ... so we have a much different perspective" on the stock than people who trade it daily.

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," Finerman said, explaining to Morgan that holding a stock every night is equivalent to buying it new each day, and so how does his cost basis really make his judgment on the stock different than anyone else's.

Unfortunately, Morgan doesn't get it, and first said that because of AAPL's growth in recent years it has taken on outsized position in portfolios, and "cost basis has a lot to do with that," and oh by the way, "fundamentally Apple isn't a terrible stock to own going forward."

Karen let that go, but Guy Adami attempted to pile on, predicting that given how much money AAPL made for so many people for so long, "This will be a stock that'll cost people money." Then he blew it, saying, "it doesn't matter where you're long, it only matters where it's going."

(Sigh.) Once again, we have to point out, your cost basis (as Finerman says) has no bearing on what direction the stock is going. It does, however, "matter," in ways we shouldn't have to explain.

Morgan told Guy Adami that he would change his mildly optimistic view on AAPL if it started to experience a RIMM- or NOK-like slide. Josh Brown had an equally good question for Morgan, asking how one could detect this slide quickly enough, since those stocks took a long steady route down. Morgan scoffed that it's not backward-looking earnings reports; "what else can you look at other than market share data."

Morgan even chided the crew for negativity, saying, "You guys spend a lot of time kinda, you know, ditching Apple."

That brought a feisty rebuttal from Melissa Lee, who said, "The only reason why we spend so much time on Apple ... is because, since the high, we have been on this stock, and the stock has only gone lower. So that's why we talk about the stock ... there's no other reason."

Josh Brown was clearly unimpressed. "It always amazes me how you could love a stock but pay zero attention to the chart, for risk management."

Dan Nathan called AAPL "a financial engineering story," but Karen Finerman insisted it's "a momentum, out-of-favor story." Nathan predicted "capitulation" with a 3-handle.

Adami: THC keeps going

Guy Adami said at the top of Tuesday's Fast Money that "we're dangerously close now to the highs for the year."

Josh Brown actually said "let's pray for a correction" and said on average there are 3 corrections a year of 5%, and 1 a year of 10%, and threw in an "at the end of the day" while saying he's emphasizing megacaps.

Brown also touted PFE, his Final Trade, predicting support at 27, "this is as textbook as it gets."

Dan Nathan said BA trades on orders "at the end of the day," and before Dan Morgan even came on, predicted AAPL is "going to 400 or possibly lower," and thus he likes a QQQ short and said for his Final Trade, don't buy AAPL.

Karen Finerman insisted she's not an "agile trader" but said C has been working and maybe gotten a little ahead of itself, so time to trim a little. Guy Adami said of THC, "I think the run will continue here."

Fast Money crew still unwilling to ask TD Ameritrade exactly what its sentiment index measures

TD Ameritrade's Fred Tomczyk visited the Nasdaq on Tuesday's Fast Money to say "bond flows are still very strong," and that sentiment of the retail investor is at 5.15, or "increasingly bullish."

Karen Finerman, who had already observed a guest unable to answer a good question of hers, asked Tomczyk to describe exactly who the retail investor is, how much money, etc.

Tomczyk could only say that they count people with one transaction in the last month, and arrive at a "median number" of some kind to indicate sentiment.

He insisted there is no great rotation going on. Josh Brown said wealth managers will base decisions over how assets have performed over 3 years, and so stocks keep looking better and better to them.

Fast Money gang sure is
intrigued by CLF

Anthony Scaramucci told Tuesday's Fast Money how hedge funds are getting only 3% year-to-date and asserted in this market it will be very difficult to play catch-up.

He said names that quality managers like are GM, AIG and "Bank America (sic)," and also suggested "Google could be the next Apple" as more hedge funds dig it. Josh Brown questioned if that's not trouble brewing if so many managers like it. Scaramucci said that's what Gary Kaminsky was arguing a couple weeks ago and then made a seemingly unrelated rebuttal as to how SkyBridge isn't big in the long-short funds.

Brown said that on the list of highly shorted names he found RH "surprising." Guy Adami said CLF sticks out to him but there's no reason to pile in. Karen Finerman said she's "sticking with" the JCP short.

Mike Khouw said STX has had a good run but you have to wonder if the bear thesis will play out. Josh Brown said he doesn't trust the VLO pop. Dan Nathan said people could take profits in NKE. Guy Adami said to wait on RHT.

‘Benign’ retail sales

Josh Brown argued on Tuesday's Fast Money that people interested in TOL just "got an opportunity." Dan Hates Everything Especially AAPL Nathan though said "I think these stocks are priced for perfection," and brought up the 2006 P.E. ratio, a cliche approaching the Steve-Grasso-CBO-scoring-fiscal-cliff-deal level.

Brown insisted this is "Securities Analysis 101 ... we're not looking for low P.E. ratios in a cyclical sector." Nathan insisted "I think 30 makes a whole heckuva lot of sense" in this name.

Mike Khouw also questioned the valuations and said "I'm absolutely with Dan."

Steve Kernkraut told the crew "the bottom line is that the retail sales tomorrow should be fairly benign," maybe even "lousy."

Josh Brown said in retail it's always something, but he likes HD and now LOW.

Dan Nathan suggested selling ZNGA puts around 3.50. Guy Adami said TEVA is fine but he likes CELG more. Dan Nathan said BBRY is "prone to squeezes" and so you "have to really be careful here." Karen Finerman said you can split the difference in CB, "sell some, hang onto the rest."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was DDS. Karen Finerman said FL and Guy Adami said NEM.

Limited Brands would find more investors fascinated by the stock if the ticker were BRA (which is available)

A day after getting the chance to say Simon Baker likes Dick's, Stephen Weiss revealed he does too, on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

Weiss, whose name was spelled "Wiess" on the screen, blamed the Dick's quarter on "unseasonably warm winter" that befuddled the inventory manager and said the stock is "still relatively inexpensive."

One wonders, if Dick's listed on the Nasdaq, would the ticker be DICK or DIKS?

(Yes, we know they can do less than 4 letters now; it's a throwback joke.)

Weiss said DKS has the advantage of being the "only major player out there," and opined that "Sports Authority is not a great shopping experience."

Mike Murphy suggested Cabela's as strength in the space. Mr. New Land said DKS experienced "capitulatory price action."

Joe: Gold argument
‘not gonna work in 2013’

Anthony Grisanti said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that he won't be convinced of gold's strength until there's a breakout; "we're still very range-bound," he said.

Jim Iuorio sort of agreed and said "I think there's different ways to look at it," that he could see "short-term, short squeeze," and maybe 1,616 or 1,617 before heading lower.

Brian Kelly flat-out stated, "I think it goes higher."

Joe Terranova shrugged and insisted, "It's not gonna work in 2013," and with a healthy dose of chutzpah even brought Barry Knapp back into it, suggesting Barry as an example of someone who is citing a "lot of the data" that actually "really isn't relevant."

Honestly, has AAPL’s lack of a cash allocation affected the stock in the slightest?

Aswath Damodaran, who frankly is probably our favorite professor on CNBC, told Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime Report he's "not surprised" that stocks have reached these levels because they're in the "sweet spot."

Damodaran conceded that "stocks don't look overpriced on any conventional metric" but that there is a worry about rates being this low. Stephen Weiss got Damodaran to agree that the only real worry with rates is not that they rise, but rise too fast.

Damodaran said the thing that bugs him about Tim Cook is not what he's actually doing with the cash, but that Cook seems to think he doesn't have to address the situation. "I want Apple to tell investors what they plan to do with the cash," Damodaran said.

Mike Murphy called Carl Icahn a "different animal" in the activist world.

1,600 on the way

In case you were afraid that Bob Doll was going to stumble down the Dennis Gartman path on Tuesday's Halftime Report, relax.

Doll assured viewers that the "path of least resistance continues to be higher," and that at most he could see a "few percent" pullback in stocks.

Doll said he likes BDX and RTN, and SYMC. Stephen Weiss, damning with faint praise, called BDX a "nice conservative name" and said he prefers hospitals instead, "they'll keep going because of ObamaCare."

Mike Murphy said "Raytheon I think is really interesting." Joe Terranova endorsed SYMC and added CTXS and BMC.

Stephen Weiss suggested at most the market correction will be a "3, maybe 5% pullback."

Mike Murphy said it remains about the Fed, there's no major negative European headlines right now, so "stay long the core names that you wanna be long."

Brian Kelly scoffed that the market doesn't seem to care about anything bad, including possible ramifications of QE, and if it really did work this magically, we'd "never have to worry about the business cycle again."

Dr. New World, in the most curious analogy of the day, spoke of a hedge fund bigwig who says you better be prepared in case you find a robber in your house, so have a "protection plan in place" just in case. Terranova recommended SCCO.

We can’t remember who won when Josh Brown and Pete Najarian tangled on this

Mike Murphy contended on Tuesday's Halftime Report that with "the worst being behind YUM," the stock can move into the mid-70s.

Stephen Weiss argued that Murphy gave the company too much credit in what's a highly competitive industry, and doubted growth prospects in China.

Murphy said the competition comes into play in that, when KFC is down, Pizza Hut is up.

Brian Kelly said he's with Weiss, saying the stock went up just because of recent improvements in Chinese data, and advised holders to "take your profits."

Actually, Weiss was right — Judge didn’t realize that C not so long ago had Joe & Pete constantly saying, ‘Once it holds $5, all those institutional managers will get in ...’

Steve Grasso volunteered to opine on a couple pharma names on Tuesday's Halftime Report, saying MRK is "running into major resistance" and adding it would be "extremely responsible to take a profit."

No. 386 said PFE has a "much more reliable chart," and "for me I'd own Pfizer."

Stephen Weiss suggested THC, one of 2 or 3 times in the program.

Mike Murphy said BBRY was experiencing a "classic sell the news event" and advised not rushing into the name.

Joe Terranova said to "take some profits" in BBY and look to 16 or 17 to buy; "I don't like it here."

Stephen Weiss said if he were the CEO of a company the last thing he'd want to see is the stock rallying on his departure, as is the case with PAY. "I think it's gonna pull back, you get a better chance."

Mike Murphy said to buy C on a pullback. Stephen Weiss said "I own it ... I think you own it here." Brian Kelly said it's time to "start taking profits" on financials.

Judge hangs a bust on Dan Niles

Credit Judge Wapner for the best zinger of the day on Tuesday's Halftime Report, pointing out that Dan Niles (who wasn't on the show) was a GLUU man (we think when it had a 5 handle, but Judge didn't say that).

Brian Kelly said GLUU and other junky stocks have popped on these ridiculous online gambling votes but to get out of them and enjoy the pop.

Mike Murphy said you "need to let the dust settle" in DMND. Steve Weiss said of RSH, "This is a company that's going away."

Paul Richards said to buy the pound against the dollar at 1.4850. Mike Murphy called UUP extended but backed UNH.

Joe Terranova said he had to get out of half his MJN stake, even though he'd love to still have the whole thing; "you have to risk-manage the position."

Mike Murphy said use can use 30 as a stop in DDD, but he was fairly enthusiastic, saying you're looking at a double if it catches on.

Brian Kelly likes the UNG though not really for longer-term holding. Stephen Weiss said GOOG is "likely due for a pause." Joe Terranova said the overdone stress test is the "boogeyman in the room" for GS.

Mr. New Land said if he owned VLO he would "take profit right now," but then absolutely gushed about DK, "I will buy that selloff." Mike Murphy suggested NTI and Stephen Weiss likes CLNY.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was VSI. Mike Murphy said F, Steve Weiss said LCC and Brian Kelly said GLD.

[Tuesday, March 11, 2013]

Fresh off predicting S&P correction, Dennis Gartman suggests AAPL bottom

Dennis Gartman first refreshingly told the gang on Monday's Fast Money that "I'm gonna stay upon the sidelines" despite his spectacular flop at picking S&P direction and conceded, "Let's not mince words, I was wrong getting out."

Then, it got silly when he insisted he cares more about gold, commodities, etc., while stressing the number "3%" about as often as Bill Gross appears on CNBC.

Far more provocative was when Gartman revealed he "bought some Apple, quite a bit of it," seeing the stock "perhaps having made a bottom," and that he curiously is shorting S&P against it as a hedge.

Tim Seymour actually scored serious points here (except he didn't clarify it well enough), telling Gartman "I'm confused" because his stock call apparently implied strength in the yen.

Dennis never fully answered Tim's question or addressed the issue, only saying, "I would never have bought the yen," apparently implying he would get out if he thought something was extended in any direction but wouldn't think he's smart enough to fully flip direction for the short term. (Even though that's basically what he did with his stock call.)

After Dennis signed off, Pete Najarian said hedging AAPL vs. the Nasdaq "definitely" makes more sense than how Gartman is doing it, and then added, "buy some puts ... that's your real hedge."

Gartman said one reason he's doubtful of stocks is that people at the "country club" are talking about them, and "now everybody wants to buy them."

Pete, Scott Nations forget to compare notes before the show

Karen Finerman said on Monday's Fast Money that "I don't own" DELL, but "the more I think about it ... I think there is a floor there."

That's when things started to get a bit loopy, as Pete Najarian explained that in the initial days of the Dell buyout people were buying 14-strike calls, but now he's "not seeing anything" in the 15s.

Evidently he wasn't looking hard enough, as Scott Nations reported moments later that there was a big buyer of DELL April 15 calls for 10 cents, though Nations thinks that's "1 strike price too far."

Tim’s grasp at FCX redemption involves pairs trades that make little sense

Before they could clash over NOK on Monday's Fast Money, Pete Najarian and Tim Seymour picked up where they left off on last week's FCX drubbing.

It started Monday when Seymour asserted at the top of the program that the "dollar recovery is definitely on," but it requires pairs, which means he's "selling Walter, buying Consol," and "selling Freeport" while buying Teck Resources.

Najarian said he would "completely take the other side of Tim right now" in FCX and contended, "I think this is a name that's actually gonna go a lot higher."

"You're making a directional call on commodities," Seymour claimed, though Pete argued that the company's newfound diversity is a plus and that traders think the stock has bottomed.

And by the way, "I won" last week's debate, Pete noted.

Karen: ‘I have been
tired since 1997’

OK ... (gulp) ... opining on this one is gonna be trouble.

Melissa Lee on Monday's Fast Money put together a little coffee klatsch (now we've done it) with Karen Finerman and Alexandra Lebenthal to discuss Sheryl Sandberg's hot new book that addresses the subject of women in the workplace. Frankly, it was kinda cute (enough already).

Actually, the 3 sounded like Steelers fans, complaining about everything that businesswomen do wrong (Stop. This. NOW.).

"A lot of times it's women getting in their own way," Finerman said.

"Women don't ask for as much," Lebenthal said.

Instead of men applying for jobs that might be above them, "women wait till they're a hundred percent qualified," Lee grumbled, pointing out it's not "women pointing fingers at men."

"I think she's right," Lebenthal said of Sandberg, "we have stalled."

Women "do themselves a disservice" in presenting business ideas by starting with the downside whereas men start with the upside, Finerman said.

Lee asked Finerman about working for big firms and then starting her own, majority female, apparently expecting commentary on the glass ceiling; Finerman merely said "I thought I could make more money."

Tim Seymour qualified his question by saying he was going home to mop the floor, and that "my wife is much smarter than I am," and then pointed to Finerman's large family and asked "how have you made these choices."

"I am exhausted all the time. I have been tired since 1997," Finerman said, but credited at least part of her success to her "overly organized husband."

But how can it be a value trap when no one sees any value in it?

This one could be payback time, sport.

Pete Najarian on Monday's Fast Money took on Tim Seymour over NOK and, setting aside the fact we can't see anyone terribly eager to play this either long or short, seemed to fight to a draw.

Najarian claimed NOK management "finally have figured some of the things out," and get a tailwind from Windows, China and emerging markets.

Seymour insisted, "They have nothing to differentiate this hardware," and called the stock a "value trap."

Najarian rebutted, "They own Africa."

Seymour's best ally was Melissa Lee, who skeptically pressed Najarian on Nokia's sliding market share in China.

Karen Finerman decided, "I'm gonna go with Tim on this one." Steve Grasso pointed to the chart and said it's too hard to short at that level, so he's with Pete.

In 2012, Pete stumbled with this one at least once or twice before it fell below $2 and then paid off in spades. The odds are probably against him here.

Mel fails to demand her panelists answer an excellent question, will AAPL see a 3-handle

Pete Najarian said on Monday's Fast Money that people were buying 150,000 AAPL options, but "I really don't care about these rumors," which apparently involved a hedge fund stake.

Nevertheless, Najarian suggested AAPL might be "getting close to the bottom."

Tim Seymour jumped in to opine that the chart is broken, there must be a lot of big funds getting out of this for 3 weeks or months, and "nobody wants to own it."

Perhaps that swayed Pete, who was decidedly skeptical of Carter Worth's chart call (in absentia as related by Melissa Lee) that AAPL is going to bounce off its breakout support level. "There's a lot of charts at the bottom of the ocean," Najarian said, scoffing that money managers should stop being in denial about this name, "you were wrong, 'fess up, and move on."

CEOs can take wide artistic license in describing their business prospects

Karen Finerman said at the top of Monday's Fast Money that the boost in PAY is "not totally shocking," and she still thinks the stock is in no-man's land.

Tim Seymour challenged her, saying the "risk/reward seems like it's to the upside."

Steve Grasso backed MU, saying, "DRAM prices look like they're moving higher," and made it his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman's top trade was FL, while her Final Trade curiously was FINL, which she told a tweeter is "exceptionally cheap" and her top value pick. She said she bought FL on Friday and Monday, and "I think it's overdone to the downside here."

Seth Masters said he likes stocks because the "fundamentals are incredibly good." Karen Finerman asked Masters what would happen if retail investors were out. Masters contended "the retail investors have nothing to do with the fact that the S&P is up 130% since March of '09."

He said now's not the time to chase the high yielders; "things that are perceived to be less safe are actually quite attractive."

Tim Seymour said UNH is making Brazilian headway and "I would take a bite." But he said YUM has "priced in a lot of great news now" and "this pop is something you fade."

CREE chief Chuck Swoboda claimed "we have an LED bulb that actually pays for itself" and that his company is the "only vertically integrated player" in the space and it's getting traction because retail customers go to work and they ask their bosses why they don't have these lights at work (notice nobody on the panel asked him to provide supporting documentation for that statement).

Seymour said to stay on the sidelines with CREE. He mentioned GXG twice, including as his Final Trade.

Steve Grasso said BRCM has had higher lows.

Pete Najarian said EMC backers were rolling up to May 26 calls. "I think it's goin' higher," Najarian said. His Final Trade was BBRY.

Melissa Lee had trouble keeping her Courtneys straight (but could've noted that Courtney Reagan appeared in a show-stopping dress).

‘SanDisk is white hot’

In the category of promising more than is delivered, we have Kim Forrest.

Forrest told Judge Wapner on Monday's Halftime Report that her bull case on SNDK (as well as a few other names) is based on "nerdy metrics but I think your viewers will really like this."

We're not really sure what viewers were supposed to like, except that Forrest said DRAM prices are up "something like 82% since December," and "these prices are on fire."

Forrest said tech has lagged because of the "tremendous advertised slowdown of capex spending in the 4th quarter." She said OpNet was her biggest winner (something about cost basis of 8 being sold at 41, but like Karen Finerman always says, cost basis is irrelevant), and she likes CA and IBM.

But she said "SanDisk is white hot" and made it her expected biggest winner of the year, also she likes INTC.

Simon Baker, a rather skeptical bloke, said Barron's was writing about semiconductors, but "certainly the first quarter or two she's missed it."

Mr. New Land didn't address' Forrest's picks but suggested PANW.

Stephen Weiss questioned how Forrest is high on both SNDK and INTC which have different cycles and prospects and said he likes SNDK, but "I'd rather buy it on a dip."

Forrest explained to Judge Wapner that she doesn't own AAPL or GOOG because she's more into the "business to business" model, which means there's at least one hand in the room that won't go up the next time Jeffrey Gundlach asks who in the room owns AAPL. (Or is it, who in the room doesn't own Apple?)

Judge Wapner got off on the wrong foot when he asked "whether or not the rally continues," when of course he should be saving precious seconds and teleprompter space by dropping the redundant "or not."

Too much great thinking

Looks like it's Barry Knapp vs. Barry Bannister.

Judge Wapner on Monday's Halftime Report welcomed Barry Knapp, who is actually pinning his case for a market tumble on the U.S. consumer.

"Weak consumption will likely trigger a pullback," Knapp asserted, and then, pointing to TGT and WMT but not using the most precise jargon, actually said, "we think the consumer spending stuff is gonna be really weak.

The fact is, observers who have watched these types of discussions before must've instantly noted that Knapp's thesis took 1) too long to explain and 2) too much effort to explain and 3) thus must be considered more like grasping for a theory and putting the cart before the horse, rather than doing what Barry Bannister does and recognizing the obvious and shrugging off everything else.

Dr. New World, who coolly and professionally ran roughshod over this one, in a pair of questions wondered if the risk isn't to the upside and if Knapp can dismiss the ISM and labor report numbers that seem "incredibly relevant." Knapp in a long-winded answer conceded "it's gotta be about consumer spending if we're going to get the correction."

Terranova said he likes MJN and SJM. Stephen Weiss, playing good cop for a change, said "Barry is a great thinker," but agreed with Joe and called consumer credit a "dated number."

S&P 500 up 13.5% in last 12 months; how hard can it really be?

Judge Wapner couldn't have picked a softer opening for Monday's Halftime Report, eliciting nothing but unanimous support that this market's going higher and disavowals of any meaningful pullback.

"I don't think we're gonna see one of any meaningful size," said Stephen Weiss. "I still think the market goes higher."

In fact, Weiss even suggested that worrying about a correction and trying to time it in this market is probably going to cost people profits, "sort of playing with fire."

Joe Terranova also doubted a serious correction. "I just don't see it. There's no evidence currently to suggest it," Terranova said.

Jon Najarian affirmed that "the cards aren't telling you that it's going to be a big correction."

Simon Baker said, "You have to be long this market."

Gemma Godfrey seems bright and is certainly pretty enough for television, but we're not really sure why Judge deems her a star guest (not that those qualities — especially the latter one — aren't significant) when her commentary is at best generic; "the markets aren't yet overbought," Godfrey admitted, but Europe remains a risk, and a correction is "desperately needed" and "healthy."

The only eye-opening remark came from Mr. New World, who provocatively said, "This job is hard enough in terms of trying to make money."

High beta: Simon Baker tends to be either extremely right — or extremely wrong — in these discussions

Joe Terranova put his fashion sense on the line on Monday's Halftime Report when arguing the bull case for URBN.

"The turnaround story continues," Terranova asserted, declaring, "I think it goes to 45."

Simon Baker seemed to question nothing more than valuation. "Stock's up 40%," Baker said. "At 16 times earnings why wouldn't you buy a Gap or a Limited."

Terranova shrugged and actually said "I'd love to see it miss" so that he could get in a bit lower.

Stephen Weiss cautiously decided that "Joe's story makes sense" but warned that this is another fickle retail name, "I'd just advise not staying there too long."

Jon Najarian, who tends to take the easy way out in these discussions, once again said he agrees with the bull case but thinks a short-term pullback is more likely.

Baker: LULU could fall 25%

Kathleen Kelley on Monday's Halftime Report lamented the lack of women in high-finance positions but saved her most intriguing commentary for, of all things, the gold market.

Referring to the "gold ETF," Kelley said many people are underwater and she predicted a "lot more liquidations to come out of there."

Oh, regarding women in finance, "It's not an easy problem to fix ... for every 20 resumes we probably get 1 for a woman," she said.

Simon Baker made a rather stark case against LULU, which is bound to offend the likes of Scott Nations. "It's time to short this stock," Baker said, explaining it succeeds when opening stores in L.A. or San Francisco or Chicago, but it's "very different when you start opening stores in Kansas City, places like that ... this thing could be down 25%."

Baker said he'd be selling BBRY, but endorsed GNW in his 2nd Barron's reference of the day, "buy it." Baker said to avoid BA until the 787 battery fix is permanent.

Unfortunately, Baker's mumbled Final Trade was so unintelligible, we have no idea what it was.

Jon Najarian said BBRY puts were being sold "with abandon," and that ZNGA options were trading "10 to 1 calls to puts."

Najarian, like brother Pete sorta picking bottoms with onetime Pete favorite CLF, predicted a possible "washout" around 23.50 and said, "I think this one is nearing a bottom." Najarian said the trading in HOT was interesting and made FCX his Final Trade.

In the line of the day, centering on DKS (as soon as we saw that sucker falling we knew this was coming), Stephen Weiss told Judge Wapner, "I'm not as enamored with- of Dick's as Simon is," and said the quarter was hurt by "very warm winter," though he wants to see the impact of gun sales.

Weiss said DELL's upside is limited and "I would not own it from a fundamental standpoint." He said to play housing by avoiding the builders, and made OI his Final Trade.

Joe Terranova said C "I truly believe heads toward $50." He said to move to neutral on refiners such as VLO except for DK.

Dr. New Land admitted that KORS so far is "not going my way but I'm willing to stay with it." He made BX his Final Trade.

[Friday, March 8, 2013]

Stephen Weiss missed
the wake-up call

Few stocks in recent memory seem as much at a crossroads as DELL, so the bull-bear debate on Friday's Halftime Report figured to be significant ... except Stephen Weiss was so far behind on the facts, it's a wonder he even showed up.

Weiss asserted, correctly, that there are smart people on both sides of the trade, and "If this bid goes away, I believe there's limited downside in the stock."

All well and good, except he claimed Jim Chanos — whose appearance on CNBC Thursday was trumpeted up and down the network — is not short.

"I can see 20 on the upside," Weiss argued.

Pete Najarian explained that Chanos is short and argued there is little upside left. "If it falls apart this stock could very easily return to 9, I think on the upside, where we gonna go to?" Najarian asked.

Weiss insisted there's permanency to Dell's business. "It's not going to iPads in, in major corporate America," he said, but Najarian indicated that might not be a safe conclusion.

Joe Terranova, who prejudged the case based on his exit of the shares at 14, said that says it all, "I obviously believe the value is full in Dell right here."

‘Not sure JCPenney can be saved’
(JCP can’t, but the same building with similar merchandise and staff can)

Former Sears Canada boss/now professor Mark Cohen not only admitted that the outlook for Sears is bleak, but things got downright apocalyptic when he spoke about JCP.

Ron Johnson has been an "unmitigated catastrophe" and is incapable of turning it around, Cohen said.

Judge Wapner suggested that cutting Johnson loose right now would only make it worse. Cohen said the question is whether it goes under in the short, medium or long term.

"I'm not entirely sure that JCPenney can be saved," Cohen said.

Pressed on Sears, Cohen said he disagreed with Edward Lampert's direction and predicted it "eventually will fail," but argued that JCP "could fail, uh, very very quickly."

Mr. New Land said JCP's struggles are reason to be long GPS and KSS.

Josh Brown said SHLD only goes up on short squeezes and called it "one of the worst stocks I've ever seen."

Weiss: We’re ‘due’

Not even Mike Santoli could liven up the utterly humdrum jobs-Fed-stocks discussion on Friday's Halftime Report.

"We can probably continue to dribble higher," said Josh Brown.

Stephen Weiss predicted the market "continues to go higher," though we're "due" for a 2-3% pause.

Joe Terranova said, "I still think the market goes higher."

Steve Liesman joined the crew and said he was dismayed to find the traders "too rational."

Santoli, the new star guest of Friday's Halftime since they stopped issuing invites to the pride of Bellevue, agreed there's been an "outbreak of rationality" but contended that before things really do get rocky with the Fed, the market will be "too early" to worry.

Santoli also predicted — though what he deems the outcome to be, who knows — that companies would use the sequester as an excuse in the next reporting period.

Steve Grasso, who's apparently no longer worried about missing GOOG around 800, said the market has given traders a "little bit of time to take some profits" and that it's "really, really in no-man's land," but needs to hold 1,535.

Stephen Weiss said the thing that worries him is something he doesn't know about right now, but "always the unknown." He predicted by year end $120 earnings on the S&P.

Carl on fire

Josh Brown said on Friday's Halftime Report that "Transocean looks the most interesting" of the recent Carl Icahn plays.

Pete Najarian agreed, saying, "I think he can get things moving in the right direction."

Stephen Weiss warned against NAV, saying it's come "too far, too fast." Joe Terranova said the siganl to get out of NFLX is when Carl gets out.

Josh Brown said he likes P. Pete Najarian said HRB is rising because "people see the big picture at the end." Stephen Weiss backed SFD; "This is one I think you stick with."

Pete: Dump MCD

Pete Najarian not only was convinced about Dell's risk/reward on Friday's Halftime Report, he was equally certain about MCD.

"It's time to sell it," Najarian said.

Josh Brown said MCD has been drawing the "chicken-hawk bond people." But Najarian said he'd much prefer INTC at this price over MCD.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't see MCD topping its "102.20ish" high and advised selling the equity and buying upside calls. Mr. New World suggests PNRA and JACK.

Stephen Weiss wasn't high on MCD. "I think the space is much too competitive," he said, but at least he didn't offer up Chanos' position (if any).

Joe doubts 2008-09 redux

Fred Cannon, arguing that big banks have a sort of permanent capital ceiling, didn't realize what he was getting into with Dr. New World on Friday's Halftime Report.

Cannon said GS, JPM and MS got roughed up in the stress tests, and because there will be limitations on the amount of money that can go to shareholders, buyers "have to be somewhat cautious on those names" (as opposed to highly cautious).

Joe Terranova was practically aghast, saying that type of mentality basically believes Nouriel Roubini's right about the end of the world. "I just don't see the return to '08-'09 happening again," Terranova said.

Cannon suggested better value in AXP, DFS, STT and BNY. Terranova trumpeted PNC.

Josh Brown reminded viewers that he said to avoid making decisions based on Italy.

Willie Williams said to sell euro around 1.30.

Pete Najarian chuckled at BBY's outperformance; "I still think this is a dying business."

Stephen Weiss said of CP; "I would sell at this point." Josh Brown called CZR a candidate for a "legitimate breakout" but cautioned it has a "huge debt load."

Joe Terranova said to be long TGT with a stop at 64. Pete Najarian said at this price in LNKD, "I think you'd have to sell."

Joe Terranova made IBM his Final Trade with a 220 target. Pete Najarian said KSU. Stephen Weiss said AIG, and Josh Brown said DXJ.

[Thursday, March 7, 2013]

Steve Grasso calls YouTube ‘undiscovered’

Mark Mahaney on Thursday's Fast Money made what sure sounded like a bullish upgrade on his 840 GOOG target, even though it was under the guise of how he's still considering the situation.

Mahaney said he's merely "open to the argument" of hiking the target, and then proceeded to make enough argument for a $1,200 price, saying "you could see some multiple improvement," that there's a great "enterprise play" here, and of course there's YouTube.

That came after Steve Grasso, who for once was able to talk about GOOG on Fast Money without explaining how he was concerned that he missed it around $800, talked about the "undiscovered gem" that is YouTube, and "still so many things that Google has its hand in that has the potential to be blockbuster."

Melissa Lee pointed out that the same could've been said about AAPL. Brian Kelly referred to the Jeff Gundlach story about all the hands going up in the room when asked who owns AAPL, prompting Kelly to question, "who's left to buy."

Karen Finerman admitted that the notion of GOOG already being owned by most funds "concerns me."

Karen’s stunning backpedal:
‘I kinda blew it’ on SPLS

It's always refreshing when a Fast Money panelist admits a mistake.

But it's rather startling when one withdraws a purported long-term position, after making several days' worth of arguments for it, before the bull case even has a chance to unfold.

Karen Finerman said at the top of Thursday's Fast Money that she "sold our Staples," apparently because of "very disappointing earnings" and a sudden lack of confidence in OfficeMax/Office Depot tailwinds that now have her thinking more Best-Buy-post-Circuit-City (which actually was fine for a while, but whatever).

"I kinda blew it there," Finerman told viewers. "I got too excited about that merger."

Finerman notably recommended the shares on Feb. 20 and 26, when they were north of $13.

Oh well.

Brian Kelly said his top trade is UNG. Steve Grasso complained about the time it took Kelly to deliver that and offered LVS while others talked over him.

Guy Adami said ASH, while Kelly countered, "I would not be long specialty chemicals."

Karen Finerman challenged Kelly on that position, suggesting if nat gas is rising, it would suggest a healthier economy. Kelly insisted it's demand from new sources, "it's not the same demand increasing."

No. 386 actually thinks the public is keeping a scorecard on the stress tests

It's hard to believe guest Charles Bobrinskoy answered Steve Grasso's question on Fast Money Thursday with a straight face, and even harder to believe Grasso could ask it with a straight face.

Grasso wondered if there would be "public outcry" toward the fact that derivatives weren't included in stress tests of American banks, unlike in Europe. (Yes. That's seriously what he asked.)

"I don't think there's gonna be a public outcry. I don't think the public understands these stress tests," Bobrinskoy said.

(Or, he could've just said, nobody really cares.)

Bobrinskoy said banks can be held but they're "not as ridiculously cheap as they were a year ago."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," Karen Finerman told Bobrinskoy, pointing out a lot of big bank returns during this rally have been "quite underwhelming." Bobrinskoy said they "will never earn 20% returns on equity that they did in 2007," but they're still good businesses and cheap.

Guy Adami asked if rates or Europe were the biggest risks. "Europe imploding is No. 1," Bobrinskoy said, saying slow-rising rates would reflect strength, but "if they go up quickly, we've got a problem."

Brian Kelly said if you're long financials, you "probably should start taking some profits," and selling XLF was his Final Trade.

Kelly and Karen Finerman said they'd rather see a stock buyback from Citigroup rather than a dividend hike.

‘Heads I win, tails I win’:
(Otherwise known as the
Barry Bannister Market®)

David Rosenberg, the 2009-10 fierce bear who has thrown in the towel, told Thursday's Fast Money that the jobs number would "probably have to clear 200,000" to jolt stocks further upward.

Rosenberg sighed that it's a Fed-driven market and when there's bad data, the "market just shrugs it off," a "heads I win, tails I win sort of a marketplace."

It's "a rally being led by a higher multiple," Rosenberg concluded, and it "doesn't really matter in my opinion what the number does tomorrow."

Guy Adami predicted the number would cause stocks to "spike higher early, spend the rest of the day drifting lower." Brian Kelly said it would take a "massive number" to make the Fed back off of QE. Steve Grasso took it even further, saying, "First of all, it's gotta be a prolonged good number."

10-year not done

Bonnie Baha explained on Thursday's Fast Money how Jeff Gundlach became prompted to dabble in the 10-year again, asserting that even at 2%, "in a diversified portfolio there is a place for Treasury securities."

Baha told the panel that DoubleLine, with "20% in Treasurys," also has a "small weighting in high-yield corporates," and some weighting in MBSes.

Baha said "quantitative easing really hasn't worked very well to spur economic growth," and then suggested that while everyone fears inflation, "we've never lived in a deflationary environment."

Melissa Lee borrowed Jeff Macke's nickname (that would be "Lone Wolf") and bestowed it upon Gundlach for his bond calls, at least compared with Warren Buffett.

Guy Adami predicted the 10-year yield could reach "the 160s if not lower."

The CEO seems to spend a lot of his time threatening to move the company to another state

Steve Grasso, who quite frankly crushed one against Karen Finerman a couple weeks ago on MHP (predicting a hold at 42), on Thursday's Fast Money argued that the case against CAT (specifically China) is all baked in.

Grasso for some reason said both his argument and Guy Adami's bear case would take 12 seconds, prompting a crack from Adami, who then pointed to weak dealer stats from mid-February that the market ignored, said the "4th quarter wasn't great," guidance weak, and if it hasn't rallied with the rest of this market, "when is it going to rally."

Grasso insisted this is all in the stock, and the shorts are "running out of ammo." He advised using an 87 stop.

Brian Kelly said, "I'm in Guy's camp on this one." Karen Finerman agreed, "I've gotta go with Guy on this one."

Grasso as expected made CAT his Final Trade, but got a boost from Mike Khouw, who suggested CAT calls.

Karen: P ‘sort of reminds
me of Netflix’

Steve Grasso told Thursday's Fast Money he got out of his P position and missed Thursday's move.

Brian Kelly told viewers, "I think this pop is a gift if you're still in it."

Karen Finerman had the most interesting take, saying the company "sort of reminds me of Netflix though," popular, dicey earnings and barriers to entry, but big short interest.

Brian Kelly said he likes SFD. Steve Grasso said PETM has room to go up but he wouldn't buy at Thursday's levels because it seems to be making lower highs.

Karen Finerman said "I would wait" to get into ROST, that this could be a 2-quarter thing.

Guy Adami said GPS will be "interesting if we get to 37-ish" and that viewers "can still own the name."

Mike Khouw said JDSU is up on a possible "inflection point" in the business.

Courtney Reagan reported that the judge apparently wants to punt on the JCP/M/Martha Stewart case and that Terry Lundgren and Martha Stewart have spoken for the first time since Terry hung up on her.

Karen Finerman suggested that what Carl Icahn, who added to HLF, has up his sleeve is "I think he's got poking Ackman with a stick up his sleeve."

Guy Adami, rather soberly, said Ackman in the long term may be right, and "I hope Carl's got an exit strategy."

Mike Khouw said of the S&P, "We're reaching a little bit of a top here," and he thinks there are maybe 15 handles left while others say 50. "Certainly if you get to 1,600 in the S&P, I'd be a seller," Khouw said.

Khouw said someone actually bought a load of FB 20 puts for January 2014 for $1.04 (so take that, Zuck).

Brian Kelly, who apparently because he was in Tim Seymour's seat felt compelled to say exactly what Tim Seymour says, claimed Brazil is "starting to trough" and recommended the EWZ, "I'd buy it right here," using a 54 stop and 65 target.

Karen Finerman's stated Final Trade was being out of PAY on either side, though the screen said she likes FINL. Guy Adami said JACK.

If JCP would just change its name the stock takes off; Brian McGough makes very little sense in arguing Ron Johnson is the only thing between Chapter 11

There actually is a decent argument for keeping Ron Johnson around at JCP.

Brian McGough just didn't make it, or come anywhere close, on Thursday's Halftime Report.

He started off provocatively enough: "If this board wants to declare Chapter 11, I think probably the fastest route to get there is to fire Ron Johnson."

In that case, McGough said, JCP would go back to being "just about the worst retailer in America."

So, it sounds like McGough is endorsing Johnson as an above-average retail executive.

But then he got utterly loopy when declaring, "About 80% of his failure so far has absolutely nothing to do with what his plans are on a go-forward basis."

So the guy who's about to strike out on a high fastball can probably blame 80% of his previous strikeout on the curve.

Or whatever.

McGough didn't even mention Johnson's biggest lapse, which is maintaining the JCPenney/JCP (same thing) name, when that name alone is a huge stigma to even middle-middle class shoppers and everyone on up.

McGough contended it would be a "pretty irresponsible move" for the board to fire Johnson now. But actually, it was the Halftime panel questioning if McGough isn't the one being irresponsible in associating JCP with Chapter 11.

"I actually agree with your point," said Josh Brown, who nevertheless wondered if it's too early to draw that analogy.

McGough insisted, "I don't think it is irresponsible," but that the company is "half pregnant," and by firing Johnson, "a couple of very big vendors would back out."

So, maybe if he'd been given another 10 minutes, McGough would've come around to the sensible argument, which is that Johnson's actually a smart guy, so much of life is trial and error, and that he'll probably do better in the next 12 months than he has in the previous.

1st inning of housing boom: Ivy Zelman makes a quality point (even if she sounds a bit like a Chicago Cubs fan)

Who would've thought that Thursday's Halftime Report would provide dating advice.

"It's tough to date when you're 30, living at home with your parents," cautioned Ivy Zelman, during an interesting assessment of the U.S. housing market.

Now, whether that means people are going to start paying you more than what you spent on your condo in 2005 is for you to decide, but Zelman did assert, "I think we're in nirvana for housing."

Her argument was based on low inventories, low rates, coupled with rent inflation and general confidence in the market, which frankly are kind of hard to argue with, although it seems like there's going to be a permanent ceiling on banks getting carried away with mortgage lending.

Zelman said this is only the "1st or 2nd inning" and predicts prices could go up for 4-6 years.

Zelman even claimed, "There's Realtors blanketing neighborhoods, asking people to sell their homes."

Pete Najarian said he was even more excited about WHR now than before the show and thinks it "still trades extremely cheap." Josh Brown said the world is finding out about AOS, LII and AAON.

Josh Brown really taking his lack of GOOG position hard (better keep him away from Steve Grasso)

Kate Kelly reported on Thursday's Halftime that Dan Loeb got lucky.

Up 6% for the year, somehow, he saw VMED as an opportunity and "bought shares before Feb. 5"

There was buzz about Virgin Media beforehand, Kelly said, but regarding the timing, "for all we know it was old-fashioned due diligence as well."

Pete Najarian doesn't have the same designs on AMGN but calls it "very attractive on any kind of a pullback."

Pete also likes DIS, though wanting it a "little cheaper," and JPM.

Mike Murphy said he'd like GS on a 5% correction, and GOOG if it should fall 40-50 points, and of course, LEN, and we don't mean the grumbling Netflix short Len Brecken (who's never on Fast Money anymore).

Josh Brown (hopefully facetiously) claimed he's "borderline suicidal that I'm not in Google" and touted PFE and LOW.

Pete Najarian piled onto Brown's lamentation, saying if you're disappointed at missing GOOG, well, "you missed Yahoo then big-time."

Stephanie Link argued for best of breed, which in her opinion is TOL and TKR, and claimed she's been "pounding the table on industrials for about 8 months now," and of course likes JPM.

Pete Najarian sees more potential for the jobs report to move stocks than others do. "It absolutely could be a catalyst," Pete said.

Microsoft apparently gave FB something of value

Mike Murphy said on Thursday's Halftime Report that the good thing about FB is that it hasn't run up ahead of an announcement this time, and he thinks it's still "gonna print 38 this year."

Pete Najarian said FB has "shown us something in mobile." Stephanie Link pointed out that Facebook acquired Atlas from mighty MSFT.

Link said Boeing's stock strength is actually "better news for the suppliers," such as UTX and BEAV.

Jim Iuorio said he thinks the 10-year yield will get to 2.10% but that it's a "garden-variety risk on" market. Anthony Grisanti said he'd pick stocks over bonds right now.

Mike Murphy said at NAV, "the turnaround is intact," and "I wouldn't fade" the move.

Todd Gordon said to buy euro/yen at 123.50.

Pete Najarian made a bull case for HRB, saying "I don't feel like they're stretched" and that there's "actually more upside."

Mike Murphy said the key for HRB is competition, essentially the Internet, and that the stock is "extended here," especially given that "revenues are declining." Stephanie Link said "I do tend to agree with Pete" and advised looking for the stock on pullback.

Pete Najarian predicted NVDA is "going higher."

Stephanie Link said PSX has risen so fast that it's "really hard to be buying it here." Mike Murphy said to "take some profits here" in TSLA. Josh Brown called 175 "very important" for NFLX.

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was his favorite shoe, CROX. Stephanie Link said SAP, Josh Brown said LOW, and Mike Murphy said HTZ.

Brian Shactman was chipper but didn't ask the greatest questions of "Moneyball" subject Billy Beane, who seems like a great interview subject actually were the questions stronger. Beane said "we're even more quantitative" than in the early 2000s, and that putting together a roster is "a little bit like a mutual fund." He also said "at the end of the day" more often than Dan Nathan normally does.

[Wednesday, March 6, 2013]

Tim Seymour plowed under
in bull-bear debates

Of course, around here, despite what it seems at times, we always actually root for the folks on Fast Money to succeed, or at least accomplish something mildly constructive, and try not to take any glee in any particular misfortune.

But when Tim Seymour gets trucked in back-to-back bull-bear debates, you can glee away.

First, it was just a week ago, when Tim actually claimed COH (closed $47.53 on huge volume) "almost feels a lot like JCPenney" — and proceeded to get dusted by Karen Finerman, to the tune of roughly 5% upside.

Then Monday, the Washington Generals of Fast Money's bull-bear debates got what proved an instant manhandling from Pete Najarian while attempting a bear case on FCX, which closed $31.40 then and is up a robust 4.6% in just 2 days.

It's enough to give one the impression that Tim can't even pick a 1 seed to win a first-round NCAA tournament game.

Tim's not backing down though. Without referencing these embarrassments, he told Melissa Lee on Wednesday's Fast Money "we shorted this pop today" in FCX.

Host lapse: Mel fails to ask Dennis Gartman about show’s most embarrassing call of the year

Believe it or not, someone on Fast Money is actually colder than Tim Seymour.

But somehow, that information was kept from viewers on Wednesday.

Melissa Lee summoned Dennis Gartman to opine about the Venezuela-crude situation — all the more curious because Dennis' last notable opinion on Fast Money/Halftime wasn't exactly one that viewers should've pinned their 401(k) on.

See, Dennis actually told Judge Wapner on Feb. 21, at S&P 1,502, that "I think this could be a very serious correction, at least 7%," and was "quietly a little bit net short."

And how'd that work out.

Keith McCullough, who was actually a gentleman about this one, took to this at the time like the Alabama offensive line took to Notre Dame's defense, and, while we actually disagree that McCullough's dollar-vs.-commodities reasoning is the real cause for 50 points, nevertheless knocked Dennis' net short about 350 yards down the middle of the fairway.

Anywho, Gartman told Lee — who startlingly never bothered to bring this up and allowed Dennis to sign off with no grilling — that Venezuela will be "stabilized faster than we believe."

Tim Seymour, never shy about teeing up contrarian indicators, actually suggested viewers could play the Chavez death via the "Colombian ETF."

Brian Kelly decided, "You don't wanna be shorting oil because of this."

Several pockets of dead air in conversation with Barbara Marcin

Even though she's been a Fast Money guest before and has long known the demands of television, Barbara Marcin decided on Wednesday's program that she had time to outline her 5-point plan for "choosing individual stocks," which is based on 1) how much of a cash generator the company is, 2) current dividend, 3) how much it can grow cash & earnings, 4) how it's trying to manage balance sheet and cash, and 5) sells at a relatively cheap valuation.

We're just the amateurs who aren't smart enough to figure out how much different 1, 3 and 4 really are; you know what they say, a team with 2 starting quarterbacks is really a team with no starting quarterbacks.

Marcin actually claimed that one of her top picks, IP, has a "relatively good multiple here," based on the criteria she described.

Karen Finerman asked a good question, how much does interest rate movement factor into Marcin's valuations. Marcin insisted she's not just looking for high yielders, that these are great all-around companies and so they won't be hurt disproportionately by that.

Brian Kelly asked for picks in a less-riskier portfolio than the S&P 500. Marcin said IP, PFE, COP, JPM and BLK.

Tim Seymour said his favorite pick of Marcin was one she didn't even mention, DEO.

Anthony Scaramucci was just saying he ‘got outside of my comfort zone’ with FB

This one might break the streak.

Having taken his lumps on the bearish side of FCX and COH recently, Tim Seymour decided to take a crack on the long side with FB — and his curious bull-bear opposition on Wednesday's Fast Money was Karen Finerman's GOOG-outperform call.

Finerman started it off, saying she's not advocating an FB short, just a GOOG long, because GOOG is cheaper and stronger on "every metric," and has a "way more seasoned management team" and even a "much more seasoned shareholder base." (And you can't get any more seasoned than Steve Grasso, who, if you haven't heard, traded it around his vacation and wondered if it was too late to get in around 800, and who is also still waiting for the CBO to score the fiscal cliff deal.)

Seymour argued that the fears of FB lockup selling are sort of a rear-view mirror story, and the bigger issue is that "they are starting to monetize."

And of course, given that Seymour invests in emerging-market stocks, and regularly dismisses high-P.E. stocks in his commentary, surely this one is right up his competency field.

Guy Adami revealed, "I'm in the Finerman camp." Brian Kelly claimed "it's a tie I guess," and reiterated for the dozenth time that you buy FB if you think "Mark Zuckerberg is the next Steve Jobs." And who knows, he said, "it could turn out to be MySpace."

‘Sell siders are tools’

Michael Pachter, seen by Melissa Lee in the flesh for the first time at the Nasdaq, told Wednesday's Fast Money that he has a "sell" on NFLX; "It's deja vu all over again."

"This is a worse company today than it was a couple years ago," Pachter said, asserting they "destroyed their DVD business" and are "chasing windmills overseas," with way too much subscriber value priced into the stock.

But the most startling opinion of Pachter was that "sell siders are tools," and that NFLX is getting upgrades because "everybody likes momentum."

Pachter said BBY's gains are a mystery; "I don't get that one at all."

Karen doesn’t really explain very well why she bought JCP calls

Tim Seymour admitted at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money that "we're buyin' dips here" in the miners such as RIO and BHP.

Brian Kelly shrugged that he would "mine for profits someplace else," and asserted that "FXI's the trade."

Karen Finerman said her trade Wednesday was buying "out-of-the-money calls" in JCP, which is "not in any way a bullish JCPenney bet at all," but apparently some kind of hedge, because "it wouldn't be so shocking" to see a snapback.

Finerman said the Martha Stewart trial could be the "last straw" for Ron Johnson, but she seems to doubt that, saying this is an important time for retailers to plan back to school inventories, and then Christmas, but "6 months from now, totally different story."

Guy Adami hailed AMGN and even LNKD, which he said has "another run to the upside." Tim Seymour said of MBIA, "I think there's more to go here." Brian Kelly was down on ZNGA and said, "I would sell this one with both hands."

He was a hurricane too

Karen Finerman on Wednesday's Fast Money was skeptical of some purported idea of Carl Icahn to get DELL to issue a $9 dividend; "I'm not in it," Finerman said>

"Yes, I'm a buyer," said Brian Kelly, asserting a floor in the stock at the Michael Dell buyout price.

Karen Finerman said PAY is in "no man's land" right now. Guy Adami advised not to get long JCI on Thursday. Tim Seymour said AVAV's in a serious slump and "tough to see it breaking from here." Mike Khouw said "I'd still stay away from" FSLR. Brian Kelly said you can play FCX but get out below 30.

Tim Seymour hailed the cautionary predictions of Tom DeMark, who recently assured Fast Money the AAPL bottom was in at 483. Guy Adami noted that DeMark's S&P reversal warning is "exactly the opposite of what Louise said last night."

Tim Seymour thought he would impress Mel Lee by making a "Viking" reference to Chuck Foreman.

Karen doesn’t mention that she gave MHP the eskimo spinoff a little too soon

Guy Adami, never one to shy away from a bullish gold call, told Wednesday's Fast Money that NEM is a great levered way to play gold, as "gold is going higher."

Brian Kelly argued that the euro falling won't be bad for stocks, and he even issued a Money in Motion trade, saying to buy euro at 122.25 vs. yen.

Mike Khouw said it might seem like there's a lot of bullish positions in MSFT, but in fact he detected a lot of selling of March 28 weekly MSFT options.

Jane Wells said a lot of retail investors aren't sold on the stock market but keep filling up their 401(k)s with stocks.

Guy Adami said to fold HSY. Karen Finerman said WAG is "OK to own." Tim Seymour said there's an "opportunity" now to "get longer" in the pipeline plays.

Melissa Lee asked, "Who would want to buy Time Inc." Brian Kelly brought up eskimo funerals. Karen Finerman said Time Inc. would be an "eskimo spinoff," but "sometimes those things work."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was taking profits in HD. Brian Kelly said DBA, Tim Seymour said ITUB, Karen Finerman said OCR and Guy Adami said NEM.

Allen Questrom calls Ron Johnson ‘delusional,’ says he should be fired without actually saying it

Judge Wapner spoke at the end of Wednesday's Halftime Report with former JCP boss Allen Questrom, who insisted, "The board has got to take some action, they can't be delusional like I think Ron is."

Judge sought to clarify if Questrom is calling for Johnson's firing right now. The response was basically a "yes" but rather cryptic: "The sooner they act, the better," Questrom said, citing the employees.

Questrom also said, "Martha Stewart is not somebody I put a lot of, put a lot of credibility into, whatever she says."

‘85% of the S&P currently above its 200-day average’

The curious disconnect on Halftime Report/Fast Money as to whether this is a "stock picker's market" or a basically-everything's-going-up market continued on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

At the top of the show, Stephen Weiss asserted in one of the more startling pronouncements recently that it's "more of a stock picker's market now than it ever was before."

Really. More than ever before.

Stephanie Link actually agreed, saying Weiss is right; "You have to be selective."

But later in the show, Chris Verrone predicted 1,580 or 1,590 is well within reach, partly because "we're doing it with 85% of the S&P currently above its 200-day average" while in 2007, it was only 50%.

Verrone said "we think the pain trade here is still higher" and said he likes AXP to 75 and BMY to 45 or 46 and insisted he views charts from "the bottom up," which may explain why other chartists are more skeptical.

Weiss actually debunked his own stock-picker contention, predicting that if the jobs number is over 200,000 "then the market explodes upwards."

Link said Cramer sold EMR and SLB last week, bought ORCL and HIG Wednesday and STI on Tuesday.

Enis Taner predicted it won't be as easy to take out the S&P high as it was the Dow. Jon Najarian said "I bought put spreads" as "cheap insurance." Najarian said the fact names such as CCL and BA have bounced back "are positive signs."

Weiss calls Nasdaq’s flirtation
with private markets ‘an OK thing’

David Greenberg was tapped to be the lead Nasdaq-private-exchange critic on Wednesday's Halftime Report, saying ICE-NYSE have put "tremendous pressure" on exchanges, but "I just don't see this being the answer."

Those secondary markets are "thin," and "I believe that they can be manipulated," Greenberg said.

Jon Najarian groused that it was an "abomination" for the SEC to approve SharesPost and SecondMarket and said the trade prices reported are actually negotiated ahead of time, and then the public chases.

Enis Taner agreed with Greenberg, "I think it's a terrible idea" and "endorses" the notion this is like the public markets.

Stephen Weiss was the lone backer, saying we don't know what disclosure requirements would be and implying people grow up about letting others do what they want with their money. "Have to be adults about it," Weiss said. "I think it's an OK thing."

Have OfficeMax and Office Depot figure out who the CEO is yet?

Picking up where Karen Finerman left off, Stephanie Link argued the bull case for SPLS on Wednesday's Halftime Report, saying it's not based on Wednesday's quarter, but the Office Depot/OfficeMax merger, in which "the corporate clients are going to leave."

Bear Stephen Weiss first argued, in a good line actually, that the biggest problem is they sell iron ore, but then complained that at Staples, "they sell commodity products pure and simple."

Weiss added that he talked to a senior manager at Office Depot who complains that every day it's about price, there's no room to invest in service.

Jon Najarian, who had prejudged the case, said the concerns here are WMT, COST and AMZN, so, "sorry Steph, I gotta side with Stephen."

Weiss apparently disagrees
with ‘Bond Bubble Babble’

Guest Ron Sloan was effusive enough about the stock market on Wednesday's Halftime that Judge Wapner wondered if it's the sign of a top.

Sloan predicted a "much much much better capital spending environment" as part of his pro-capex thesis. His top picks were select industrials, GE, FLS, UNP and DOV.

Enis Taner complained, "I don't like materials at all" and cited the purported Chinese property bubble.

Stephanie Link said to look at VALE and FCX. Steve Weiss complained that VALE is "an iron ore company predominantly." Jon Najarian didn't want Taner to get mad but advised people look at OC and FBHS.

Weiss said he's been thinking about getting into MSFT for a while, but "just haven't been able to do it," largely because other names are better. Enis Taner prefers CSCO to MSFT, for those doing comparisons.

Jon Najarian said it's "tempting" but he's not in XOM.

Guest sexy Michelle Caruso-Cabrera identified 4 risks to the market including an economy that's not really that great, the Middle East, the Chinese transition and sequester, but there were no risks at all to her green sweater.

Stephen Weiss argued much of that has already been priced in, but predicted more inflows into equities with the "bond bubble bursting."

Stephanie Link said she "would actually fade" the move in BIG. Jon Najarian said AVAV might be a buy in a day or two, "I like it down here around that 18, 19 level." Stephen Weiss said TFM is good for consumers but not for business (this writer owns that piece of garbage stock) and Enis Taner said BAC is moving up in "anticipation into the stress tests."

Jim Iuorio said generally oil would spike if the leader of an oil-producing nation were to die but it's "almost the opposite" in this case because it's not a particularly popular guy outside his own borders. Iuorio said oil is "trading similar to gold." Jeff Kilburg agreed with the premise that oil could be sending a warning to stocks, though it wasn't one of Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's 4 risks, "I think it's a big red flag," and advised protecting gains.

Stephanie Link wasn't high on GM, citing "overhang of the government still" and a European overhang. Dan Akerson gave a numbing interview to Sharon Epperson in which they spoke of fuel-efficient vehicles.

[Tuesday, March 5, 2013]

Don Yacktman for some reason dials in so he can refuse to make a market call

Don Yacktman sounded on Tuesday's Fast Money like whichever CNBC producer dialed him up had gotten the wrong number.

Melissa Lee innocently asked Yacktman what inexplicably proved to be a major curveball, whether sidelined investors have missed the rally.

Um, well, Yacktman stammered, "I'd like to see lows rather than highs," opining that he's seeing "values evaporating as the market goes up."

Yacktman made a curious bull case for PG, likening it to a AAA bond and arguing "everything looks good relative to long-term Treasurys."

Guy Adami asked Yacktman to define, on a scale of 1 to 10, the level of "danger" he sees in the market. Yacktman backed off and merely said "this is getting to be less and less of a bargain" but that stocks could keep rising.

Adami said "I think Procter & Gamble is rich" and that JNJ is more interesting.

Dan Nathan wasn't satisfied with Yacktman's PG argument, saying "I don't really understand what Don was saying there."

Dan Nathan, preoccupied with PG, just refuses to let it go

Viewers of Tuesday's Fast Money hoping Don Yacktman's less-than-peppy discussion of the stock market was the last they would hear of PG were disappointed when Dan Hates Everything Especially AAPL (even though he's saying buy it now) Nathan got another crack, saying to "fold 'em."

Nathan, dubbed Debbie Downer by Mel Lee, also said to "fold" FDX.

Steve Grasso said 24 is the next resistance for YHOO and said to "hold this stock." And, he said "the chart looks impeccable" for AXP.

Guy Adami said CELG "wants to go higher," so hold it. He said DVA remains a hold at least on a "benign tape."

Jon Najarian, making the obligatory reference to KSU while talking about another rail name (CSX), backed the latter, "I think this one's got room to run." But Najarian said "I would fold" TWX and buy it $4-$5 lower, because it's "too much too fast."

Dan even picks a fight
with Louise Yamada

Louise Yamada began her visit on Tuesday's Fast Money asserting the Dow Theory is signaling a buy, arguing "we do have momentum confirmation."

Yamada curiously said there's a "very high level of new highs," and the "breadth" of the market is a source of strength. And here we were already indoctrinated into believing this is a "stock picker's market" by Mike Murphy and a market where you have to be "selective" by Stephen Weiss on the Halftime Report. (Guess they're wrong.)

Yamada conceded there will be a pullback, but the "question is, from what level."

She pointed to "a breakout in Disney" that she thinks will continue and stated, "The longer the base, the higher in space."

Dan Hates Everything Especially AAPL Nathan grumbled, "I don't like the gradual breakout," and insisted the market is only going higher on Fed "shenanigans," and "I think equities are very precarious."

Steve Grasso has now told viewers at least 7 times (seriously) that he’s been in and out of the GOOG trade around 800

Steve Grasso, assuming some Fast Money viewers only watch once a month (which might well be true), explained on Tuesday's Fast Money that he's been "in and out of the trade" in GOOG around his vacation, and sort of was afraid he'd missed it, (you know how this goes), and "I remain bullish on the name; I'm still staying long."

He likes this subject so much, he brought up later in the program that "It's so difficult to buy a stock that has outperformed," but that's what he did. (Translation: I'm really proud of myself for making money on this one.)

Dan Hates Everything Especially AAPL Nathan, either trying to save face or signaling that the bear act is somewhat pretend, revealed, after about 5 tries at "at the end of the day," that "I'm a trader too ... I own stuff that's going up," but he likes the idea of puts in CAT and MS, the latter being his Final Trade

Nathan made the most tepid case for uninspiring tech names, AAPL, CSCO, EBAY and QCOM, because they "haven't gone parabolic yet."

Guy Adami reminded everyone he's been touting CERN for years, a legitimate great call, and said it's time to start looking for a reversal day in the S&P when it opens higher, "maybe it's tomorrow," but who knows.

Jon Najarian said there was huge buying in CSCO calls and noted that the market's record day was significant in that, in the final hour, "We didn't get the selling."

Dow hits record; Fast Money
schedules INTC debate

Goodness knows why Jon Najarian and Guy Adami were dragged onto the Nasdaq floor on Tuesday's Fast Money to argue about INTC, but the pay's the same, ya gotta think.

Najarian said he'd buy INTC because of "credibility, technology, experience."

Adami said "price is truth," and "maybe they missed the whole mobile world."

Najarian rebutted that they've got an "Atom chip."

Adami made an argument for Najarian, saying around 20 it does seem to have a "decent double bottom."

Dan Hates Everything Especially AAPL Nathan questioned, "Was that a Street fight or a love fest," and then decided, "I agree with Guy here." But even Steve Grasso agreed he "wouldn't be a buyer of the chart."

Nathan said one catalyst could be if the successor to Paul Otellini shakes up the place.

Heaven-sent: Chavez happens to die when MCC is in the studio in brown sweater

The death of a human being, even an agitator, is at best a solemn occasion, but it's hard to argue that Fast Money viewers didn't get an incredible treat when CNBC's Chief International Correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera just happened to be available to announce the news (we tried to get a smile but that wasn't possible with this brief full-frame shot).

Addison Armstrong unfortunately didn't have a clue as to how oil was going to react, but MCC pointed out that Chavez's successor won't have the same iron grip on the country and "I think political instability is a very, very big possibility."

Mike Harris said gold holders' stops are going to hit and so we'll "probably see increased selling." Harris also sees continued strength in the Brent gap.

Steve Grasso said refiners will continue to benefit from that spread and questioned whether stock owners should move into gold when Bernanke stops the music.

Guy Adami insisted that in the currency race to the bottom, "Gold is the ultimate winner," and while it might keep falling, "I don't think much lower." Harkening back to last year's most widely missed trade, Adami predicted a "2 handle on gold" next year by this time.

Jon Najarian said spot VIX has shown "the fear is shrinking." Dan Hates Everything Especially AAPL Nathan said "there remains a level of fear."

Najarian said he likes transports, heavy equipment makers such as OshKosh and MTW, and also said he likes AIG, though it probably "goes sideways for a bit." Najarian's Final Trade was ETN April 65 calls.

Scott Nations said someone bought 500 May 60 calls in WYN for $2.90, a way to play the stock in no-man's land.

Guy Adami said he thinks the S&P might get to 1,585 but that 1,565 will be an early level to watch for a reversal. Adami offered CE as his Final Trade. Dan Nathan cautioned against using SDS. Steve Grasso said to stay long JPM with a 47.60 stop, and said MU for a Final Trade.

17-18% return not enough
for Mike Murphy

Carlos Kirjner, who doesn't make many TV appearances, Judge Wapner told viewers about 3 times on Tuesday's Halftime, said "mobile is good for Google" in defending his $1,000 target.

"I think it's unlikely that we'll see Google charging licenses in Android. I think it does monetize Android indirectly by ensuring growth in mobile search," Kirjner said.

Mike Murphy seemed to doubt the risk/reward if not the price target; "I wouldn't jump in here at these levels Scott just for that final 17, 18% in the name," Murphy said, but would "wait for a pullback."

Jon Najarian said to play this, "you buy the calls."

After starting 2013 getting out of market for first time in 31 years, Dr. J’s account is at high for year

Tuesday's Halftime Report crew was positive, but not euphoric, about the stock market.

It'll keep going up, said Stephen Weiss, but you've "gotta be more selective ... we still are due for a 2-3% pullback."

"This is a stock picker's market," agreed Mike Murphy.

Suggesting he was going to make some point with a grand flourish, Joe Terranova began by telling Judge Wapner, "I want to put this in the context of what we've seen over the last 13 years if you allow me to," only to have Judge crack, "The show's only about 59 more minutes," only to have Joe's 13-year context amount to stocks being fairly valued now vs. being "expensive" in 2007.

"Yes, the market moves higher," Dr. New Land said.

Jon Najarian said "I think we move higher," then provided viewers with a personal update. "My account's at the highs of the year right now," Najarian said.

Wonder who on the team gets less respect than others from Joe

Judge Wapner spent basically all of Tuesday's Halftime Report asking the same question of everyone (where do we go from here), which is basically the same question to ask everyone every day no matter what's going on.

Apparently sensing the need for a critic, Judge summoned Dan Hates Everything Especially Apple Nathan on the Fast Line. Nathan said he sees the bull argument, "all those arguments make perfect sense. But I'm not sure on what planet it makes a ton of sense to buy stocks at all-time highs in the Dow."

Nathan even warned, "We've had 10% drawdowns in almost every year ... we're gonna have one again this year most likely."

Joe Terranova then dropped the most provocative comment of the show, telling Nathan, "You are one of the members of this team that I respect more than others," a remark utterly unpursued by Judge Wapner.

Terranova told Nathan that stocks figure to go higher because even critics "have to buy the market every day."

Nathan actually said "I'd look at an Apple" because it's washed out, that he likes QCOM, and scoffed at PG's valuation.

Stephen Weiss said he likes QCOM and financials and agrees with Nathan on PG. Mike Murphy said he too agrees on PG and likes financials and warned about being in AMZN and LNKD at these levels "especially with your retirement funds."

Later, bear Gina Martin Adams — who on Jan. 24 insisted she was "still pretty bearish" in a buffoonish debate with Stephen Weiss and Judge over the percentage of earnings beats — tried having it both ways, calling this a "really fascinating market" and actually claiming "our sector strategy is working perfectly" of featuring consumer staples and health care; "defensive sectors are working well," prompting Steve Weiss to get her to admit she's making a bull call and just picking certain sectors.

The Ilchmeister, Rich Ilczyszyn said the Dow has moved in 1,300-point increments, and "I think the momentum potentially continues." Anthony Grisanti said 15,000 is "certainly possible," while arguing, "we need a correction in this market."

John Stoltzfus said stocks have a "good opportunity" to rise "a bit higher," and then he expects "some kind of a give-back," suggesting news out of Europe as a possible catalyst.

But Anthony Scaramucci
probably still hates it

Mark Mahaney told Tuesday's Halftime Report viewers that NFLX can sustain subscriber growth and has legs, and "you wanna buy the stock here."

Jon Najarian concurred; "I think this continues to work," and asked Mahaney if it can't do better than his 210 price target (the screen said 292 for best case.

Mahaney said if it continues to capitalize on tablets and new devices, "there's upside to that 210."

Joe calls AAPL too ‘complicated’

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime said AXP will reach its previous high of 65.89 and to be long, but "use 60 a stop."

Jon Najarian predicted HD "carries on for a good 2 quarters."

Stephen Weiss said "I bought Macy's back," but isn't so high on Caterpillar, which he said is too high in estimates, "I don't see them recovering soon."

Weiss told Judge Wapner that "hell yeah," banks will return to pre-crisis highs and that he's long BAC and C. "I own financials," said Joe Terranova, saying they're all about Hensley Meulens, er, "potential."

Kate Kelly reported that John Paulson's gold funds are down 10% largely because of his investments in the miners, but that he has no intention of closing. Stephen Weiss cracked that Paulson might be "having his G5 repossessed."

Mr. New Land coolly explained, "I stopped following what John Paulson does many years ago."

Mike Murphy made a bull case for CLF, allowing he's "not gonna say that this is the greatest company out there," but "you don't sell this name down at 23, 24."

Weiss said Murphy is "laying down with dogs" and will get "fleas," because "this stock is going lower," thanks to extra capacity and the fact iron ore is "gonna reverse."

Joe Terranova, who had utterly prejudged the case, said Weiss won, you don't want a 75% dividend cut, and "I think they're topping out" in iron ore prices.

Stephen Weiss said "I shorted more this morning" in JCP and pointed out Vornado is a real estate company who should know if JCP is a real estate play. "This stock is going to single digits," Weiss said.

Mike Murphy said this was an old stake for Vornado, and advised people not "read too much into it."

Stephen Weiss said of Ron Johnson, "Even if he leaves it doesn't matter."

Joe Terranova insisted the AAPL story is complicated, and "I want no part of it."

Mike Murphy said WEN "sets up nicely" and could take off over $6.

Jon Najarian said to sell rallies in FSLR, "this is not ready for prime time." Stephen Weiss called PVH "a little expensive" but good name.

Andy Busch said to sell euro at 1.3075.

Najarian's Final Trade was SWN. Joe Terranova said add to KORS, Murphy said URI and Stephen Weiss said S&P puts for protection that he hopes lose money.

[Monday, March 4, 2013]

C’mon, Karen, what exactly is a ‘lowest common multiple’ for stocks?

Maybe when it's 35, Tim Seymour will stop being so proud of himself for utterly nothing.

Seymour on Monday's Fast Money squared off against Pete Najarian on suddenly spiraling FCX and managed to buffalo Melissa Lee out of a quality question but otherwise made no bear case for the stock.

Najarian said he likes the newfound diversity of the company from its purchase of oil assets and thinks the news is "overblown with China," and then got to his best argument, that the stock has held 30 in the last couple years on "3 or 4 separate occasions."

Seymour, referring to the old news of the oil buys, insisted "the capital discipline is gone," and that this is a "very, very challenging place to get involved."

Najarian calmly responded that the time to buy is when there's "blood in the streets."

Melissa Lee asked Seymour if the creation of copper ETFs would actually provide an "underlying bid" for a copper miner such as FCX. Seymour twisted that into "that would be hurting Freeport," because it's often traded as a copper ETF.

"I was thinking there'd be more demand for copper," Lee acquiesced without pursuing.

Karen Finerman, who has long since prejudged this case, said, "I gotta weigh in with Tim," saying it's no longer a "pure play" but one that will trade at the "lowest common multiple," a useful phrase in math but one that makes utterly no sense in describing stock valuation and didn't make an ounce of sense the last time she mentioned it either.

Guy Adami correctly decided, "I'm sort of in Pete's camp," then mentioned the Phelps Dodge acquisition, probably the 2-dozenth time he has mentioned that on the show.

Surely these must be recommendations of the Rule Breaker portfolio

Wasn't it odd that Monday's Fast Money welcomed someone from Motley Fool, Rick Munarriz, to favor AAPL in a first-to-$1,000 race with GOOG.

Odd, because it's entirely possible on any given day's worth of financial Web surfing that you'll stumble upon the Motley Fool teaser that says Steve Jobs "revealed a stunning betrayal — and told his biographer, 'I will spend my last dying breath ... and every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank to right this wrong.' What was it that made Jobs so irate ... Click here to find out — before it's too late."

(Thankfully, we've never done so, but this blogger went through the motions and reports that the ending sales pitch has nothing to do with Steve Jobs or who made him "irate" with the "betrayal," but is a subscription sales pitch.)

Munarriz wasn't nearly so cagey on Monday's Fast Money, stammering through a series of predictions with no real merit that it's "definitely possible" for AAPL to reach $1,000 before GOOG does; "I think the company is very cheap right now," and that PCLN could also do it because it has a "lot of various Web sites," and that BIDU has been a "a 33-bagger" (as opposed to the 10-bagger of GOOG since IPOing) and trades at "just 13 times next year's earnings."

Pete Najarian reiterated for at least the 8th time that AAPL is a "2nd half of the year story" but that Priceline is the most interesting of those names because of its "very impressive" P.E.

Brian Stutland later noted that "continued bearish bets" are being made in AAPL options.

Sounds like Guy Adami might argue that YHOO will get to $1,000 before GOOG

There is Motley Fool, and then there is the Greater Fool, as in the theory about the burgeoning worth of Yahoo's Alibaba stake as expressed on Wall Street on Monday.

Guy Adami seized on this upgrade as evidence the stock "continues to work," which means it's just going to keep going up until it stops going up.

Later, Adami got to expound, insisting the "trend is clearly your friend," although given Monday's run-up on phony information, "tomorrow's not the day to go piling in."

Pete Najarian declared "$26 is not out of the question at all."

‘Beware of those guys with Ph.D.s’

Stephen Roach told Monday's Fast Money he was "hugely disappointed" in the "60 Minutes" assessment of China's real estate issues.

It's been his favorite show as long as he can remember, Roach said, but Sunday's program left a wrong impression about the ghost towns and the percentage of real estate in China's economy; "this is not gonna bring China down."

Tim Seymour recited Roach's resume for viewers and asked Roach what the "biggest misperception" about China is. Roach said "Ph.D.s are pretty dangerous," then claimed Chinese thinking is more progressive; "they've got a plan to convert the economy from exports and investment into one driven much more by the middle class and internal private consumption ... much more strategic than we are."

Seymour said "the hard landing is bunk," but he sees headwinds for the miners and has "cut back on Rio."

Doug Kass is given
a victory lap

He's had some tough breaks health-wise recently, so it's refreshing to hear Doug Kass chipper and rarin' to go to Omaha for a 6-question session with Warren Buffett as a designated bear.

In revealing how he was chosen, the key words Kass uttered were "Whitney Tilson," whom this page has actually speculated could possibly be the designated Berkshire successor (however they've divvied up chairman/investment CEO/non-investment CEO mystery whatever) and nobody knows it.

Karen Finerman bravely asked Kass "where would Warren's death be" in your lists of risks; Kass acknowledged that Buffett is a 1 of a kind, and according to actuarial tables he has "4 to 5 years of life expectancy."

Guy Adami said it's a "benign market" and asked Kass what the price for BRK-A should be. Kass said, "I'm not gonna spill the beans."

Karen’s never going to figure out that $16.40-$16.60 range

Monday's Fast Money enjoyed a promising start with breaking news of a JCP ditcher.

Karen Finerman speculated it was "very likely Vornado" (later confirmed) and that such a sale of 10 million shares is not a "ringing endorsement."

Finerman also said that with the Martha Stewart case ongoing, it'll be "very bad news for JCP if Macy's wins." But she said the only risk to shorting JCP is that it's getting pricey to do so.

Guy Adami declared there's "no compelling reason to be in JCP."

Tim Seymour, apparently waking up after an entire year asleep, claimed "I think people are questioning Ron Johnson period."

Tim shows off his smarts (but forgets about the Auburn football player with the same name)

Fast Money on Monday welcomed Ed Yardeni, who actually began by calling this "the Rodney Dangerfield of bull markets," and then explaining why he calls it the Rodney Dangerfield market, and when someone stoops to that level, we don't have to write anymore about it.

Pete Najarian said his top trade Monday was GNW, he jumped in because of "extreme activity to the upside" in options.

Tim Seymour, without really making a trade unless we're to believe the screen graphic on the Aussie dollar, said he's "concerned by the move in the dollar." Karen Finerman suggested April 40 puts in M, a really exciting trade.

Finerman said TGT might've moved strictly on a Sterne "Ajee" or "Egg-ee" upgrade.

Tim Seymour insisted it's "Ajee," like "Tommie Agee the baseball player."

Seymour said CLF "can still go lower" and that he'd be "cautious" at 50 in LVS. Guy Adami called SSYS "a stay away for me." Karen Finerman, without mentioning that Simon Baker thinks it's overdone, said PAY still has a "lot of explaining to do" and "we are still short half."

Guy Adami, referring to Jeff Gundlach's Treasury buy, said "I do think yields are going back lower." Tim Seymour predicted 83.50 on the dollar and said HMY for a Final Trade.

Pete Najarian praised DAL for buying a refinery and said of airlines, "I think these stocks are goin' higher." DAL was his Final Trade.

Guy Adami said he'd "much rather own Intel than Rambus" and made LNKD his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman called BBY a "value trap" and said AIG for Final.

Steve Cortes: Yahoo
‘is the JCP of tech’

In the category of compelling television, he's outdoing the Fast Money/Halftime gang, even though he's not on the shows.

Steve Cortes on Monday afternoon took on Carter Worth in a bull-bear debate over YHOO on Maria Bartiromo's Closing Bell.

Worth said people have been "caught offsides" by YHOO's run, which he said is "not likely to be ending anytime soon."

Cortes pointed out what YHOO trades for now vs. 1998 and insisted, "This is a very poor model," before the clincher: "I think this is the JCP of tech."

Joe starts the clock:
The Tim Cook Watch is on

We were wondering when it was going to trickle in to the discussion, and now it has.

Joe Terranova opined on Monday's Halftime Report, "If Apple is where it is right now at the end of the year I think you have to begin to have the conversation about, is Tim Cook the right man to lead Apple. Just my opinion."

Anthony Scaramucci didn't go nearly that far but asserted, "They need to reinvent their innovation story."

Steve Grasso made absolute mush of a GOOG-AAPL comparison, eventually only making sense in saying he's in GOOG, and "I'm staying long the name" unless it breaks 785.

Jon Najarian hailed SSYS, saying "they're a major disrupter" in the printing world.

Joe Terranova said for a tech alternative, "I would take a look at IBM ... great defensive technology play," predicting a breakout above 208.

Terranova also touted a beleaguered retailer. "I think Best Buy continues to move higher," he said.

Not exactly a warm welcome:
Joe bashes bearish guest

If stock market bear Walter Zimmerman thought his invite to Monday's Halftime Report would be warm and friendly, he was probably surprised to get the bum's rush from Mr. New Land.

Zimmerman claims the S&P chart has "formed a big bearish rising wedge." He sees 1,480 "as critical support" and acknowledged that level has held, but called 1,590 the "best case" before the market collapses on euphoria.

Joe Terranova wasn't buying any of it, explaining, "I utilize technical analysis," but demanding Zimmerman explain where he gets his "statistical evidence" of market euphoria.

"This is really a short squeeze on pessimism itself," Terranova concluded.

Zimmerman responded that "you have leveraged length in funds now for the first time since 2007."

Terranova insisted, "You're talking in generalities."

Zimmerman reiterated, "Funds are getting leveraged long now," and shouldn't people wonder, "Isn't it a little late to be arriving."

Terranova scoffed. "To suggest that funds are just getting now long is completely incorrect," he said, finally getting to what's by far his best argument: "Easy monetary policy."

Dr. New World opined, "All the evidence suggests that you do wanna be in the market," though he wouldn't be in energy or materials, but rather utilities and staples.

Baker: SWY rally not done

Simon Baker make a lukewarm (at best) case for SWY on Monday's Halftime Report (and, as we just discovered, that's one helluva chart).

Baker said the company has momentum and could "unlock shareholder value in terms of the REIT."

Jon Najarian was unconvinced, saying "Unfortunately they've got Wal-Mart ... Wal-Mart and Whole Foods are gonna start hurtin' these guys even more."

Baker pointed to a 30% squeeze and predicted the stock could pop on earnings.

Joe Terranova, completely having prejudged the case and utterly ignoring the debate, said the stock "could rally into that" but said over 3-6 months it should trade $15-20.

Joe looks up the number of Bakers and Najarians in the U.S.

Any thoughts this page might've had of minimizing Joe Terranova's role on Monday's Halftime Report (we'd never actually consciously do that) would've been quickly quashed when The Liquidator proceeded to run roughshod over Judge's set practically from beginning to end.

Joe said that he likes RIG, "in the low 50s, I think you buy it."

Furthermore, "I like a Monsanto, I like a Bunge, I do not like Potash, I do not like Intrepid Potash, I do not like CF Industries," Joe added, but he does like AGU.

Joe also said, "I would own Hess," and mentioned APC and OXY.

Jon Najarian said he prefers MRO over WNR as a catchup trade but likes both. Najarian also shrugged off the hit to China-connected growth names; "I don't think that this is more than a couple-day move."

Anthony Scaramucci made the case for materials, but Joe bristled at Scaramucci's contention that Joe only dislikes them because's he a short-term guy. "I think materials are set to underperform for the entire year," Joe retorted.

Joe said he'd stay on the sidelines with CMG and advised taking HPQ profits for Final Trade.

Anthony warns against getting ‘hung up’ on stocks you really know nothing about

Gemma Godfrey, She Of The Perfect Teeth Overseas (Who Always Has Little To Say At Halftime), told Judge Wapner on Monday's Halftime Report that "global concerns are resurfacing, and any retrenchment is healthy."

Godfrey claimed staples have run too far and cyclicals will be possibly attractive.

Guest Steve Quirk, an acquaintance of Jon Najarian, told Judge that retail investor sentiment is the highest since June 2011 (uh oh, remember that summer) but that they are limiting their downside now because "retail traders have become very nimble ... they know how to use options to protect themselves."

Dr. J agreed, saying this sentiment indicator is valid because it's people who have "skin in the game" and are smartly using options.

Anthony Scaramucci questioned the investment results of Buffett's manager picks, conceding he too is a "longtime lover of Visa" but wondering "are they using leverage, or are they not using leverage," and finding these purported results "very contradictory to me."

Scaramucci also admitted he got carried away in January with FB momentum. "I got outside of my comfort zone" of fundamentals and valuation, he said, offering a "message to viewers: You can get yourself hung up if you get out of your comfort zone."

Jon Najarian said he likes FB but has no position, but crowed that Pete does and has been profiting by writing options against it.

Simon Baker declared, "I like Facebook."

Baker said he'd sell DAL and buy LNKD instead, a curious pair. His Final Trade was EXP. Anthony Scaramucci said of FCX, "I would sell here, it's too linked to China." The Moochmeister gave MS "2 thumbs up" for his Final Trade.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was STX, citing April 35 calls.

Top credit on ‘Hotel California’
belongs to Don Felder

"History of the Eagles Part One," a 3-hour documentary of the band (not the football team) released in January, is airing on Showtime. While 3 hours is too much for this subject — the music was great but they weren't particularly interesting — it succeeds because virtually everyone involved agrees to a candid interview, even the ones holding grudges (which is practically everyone).

A notable passage is the discussion of "Hotel California," almost certainly in the top 5 "biggest" songs of the 20th century ("biggest" defined as a subjective assessment of sales, requests, times heard, pop culture references, etc.) and one likely to find its way not only into the iClouds of Guy Adami and Tim Seymour but also Patty Edwards and Joe Terranova.

Don Felder explains that, while "sitting on a sofa in Malibu at this rental house that I had on the beach," seeking something he and Joe Walsh "could play off of each other," he developed the haunting intro.

Not surprisingly, one of the Big 2, Glenn Frey, has to dis this discovery. "Don Felder used to send Henley and I instrumental tapes, song ideas. 95% of 'em were cluttered with guitar licks, and we would, you know, listen to these things and go, well, where do you sing."

Then, Frey admits this particular Felder tune happened to be "interesting."

Don Henley concedes, "That one really jumped out at me."

Frey says, "We set out to write a song to that progression," implying the "song" hadn't really been written yet.

Just to make sure the glory is concentrated, Frey adds, "I'm pretty sure it was Henley's idea to have a song called 'Hotel California'."

As Frey tells how "Don and I" put together the lyrics and Henley dubs it "a song about a journey from innocence to experience," the song plays on, and the documentary moves on to the making of the rest of the album.

Given this description, and Don Felder's very limited songwriting resume on other Eagles albums, it comes as a major surprise at the end of this film when the credits roll for each song and one discovers that Felder, under this (mostly) benevolent 2-man dictatorship, somehow managed to score top billing on the "Hotel California" credit, followed by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, almost equivalent to discovering George Harrison wrote "Yesterday" (he didn't) or Brian Jones wrote "Satisfaction" (he didn't either).

But that's not the end of the story. Next came the snit over "Victim of Love."

"Victim of Love" is only the 3rd-biggest song on the "Hotel California" album ("Life in the Fast Lane" must be given its due) and is not a prominent fixture of the Eagles' catalog heard today on classic rock stations.

But it's an undeniable butt-kicking track, which is likely why Don Henley and Glenn Frey are somehow still perturbed to this day that Don Felder happened to write it.

"'Victim of Love' was not brought to the band as a complete song," Henley insists. "It had no title, no lyrics, and no melody. Glenn and I and J.D. Souther all sat down and hammered out the rest of it."

Manager Irving Azoff reveals, "My job was to take Don Felder out to lunch or dinner while they went in the studio and put Henley's vocal on it."

Felder is philosophical about this, insisting he was "promised a song" and that it seemed like Henley was "taking that song from me," and then, in a Machiavellian-esque argument, conceded Henley had the best voice in the band, and in an apparent dig at the others who did get singing credits, "there was no way to argue with anybody's vocal in the band compared to Don Henley."

Henley adds, "Felder demanding to sing that song would be the equivalent of me demanding to play lead guitar on 'Hotel California.' It just didn't make sense."

Despite having "no title, no lyrics, and no melody" when presented, "Victim of Love" is credited first to Felder, then J.D. Souther, before Henley and Frey get their due.

So, what conclusions do we draw ... that Don Felder is underrated? Perhaps, but not really. It's more about competition and ego creating success, however messy. The least-liked and most-expendable member of a spectacularly successful unit wanted to write and perform his own songs. Fluke or not, he happened to deliver 2 masterworks of the group's signature album. The greats of the band realized this person had limitations and, also pushed by dislike or jealousy, blatantly co-opted his work, undoubtedly making it better. Society was well served.

[Friday, March 1, 2013]

‘Incomplete corrective
pullback process’

Michael Santoli, the new star of Friday's Halftime Report who unlike previous star Patty Edwards doesn't actually manage peoples' money, lived up to his reputation Friday with the wishy-washiest of market calls.

"I definitely see this whole setup we've had in the last week and a half as a, sort of incomplete corrective pullback process," Santoli said. "I'm a little skeptical of up and away from here."

He went on to assert that stocks are "much more of a 2-way market right now."

Stephen Weiss assured that it's not all about financials; "you don't need them to hit new highs" for the market to keep roaring.

OPEN for business

Henry Ellenbogen, not a bad guest actually, sort of spoke about swinging for the fences on Friday's Halftime Report.

Ellenbogen said he's interested in smaller stocks, under $3 billion market cap, that are capable of an "Act II."

But, finding such a candidate is far from easy. "An entire decade, in 10 years, there's only 30 companies in the whole market that go up 10x," Ellenbogen said.

"We really like OpenTable," Ellenbogen said, as it transitions from "high growth to durable growth." He also singled out Concur (CNQR), which Stephen Weiss backed as a "good name."

Ellenbogen acknowledged owning Twitter but said that because it's privately held, "we'll leave the comments about them up to them." He said he doesn't own GRPN and declined at first to talk about Andrew Mason, prompting dead air as Judge smiled, but then made a general comment about leadership, which Judge congratulated him for being thrown a curveball and having "managed to actually hit it out of the park."

Jon Najarian said he likes OPEN but he likes YELP too (a free-labor giant) and thinks "Yelp is the one that I'd buy."

Stephen Weiss said "small caps lead you up, and small caps lead you down," so it doesn't sound like a bad strategy.

Joe Terranova singled out Avis (CAR), WNR, LGF and even JACK. Pete Najarian said NFLX is interesting and wondered if it's entering its 2nd act.

‘Trying to cut all of the holes out of themselves’

The Najarian brothers squared off on Friday's Halftime Report over BBY, with Pete making a bull case completely devoid of a catalyst, other than price-matching success and closing some stores.

"But losing's not winning," said Jon. "There was no profit," but there is "$2 billion in debt," and with Christmas and football over, they "just had their Super Bowl."

Pete insisted, "They realize the mistakes, they're trying to cut all of the holes out of themselves." Jon actually suggested they should lobby the "president" about Internet sales tax collections; "the showroom thing is not overblown." (That's just what the public wants to hear, that Barack Obama has raised the price of their Amazon purchases to save Best Buy.)

Stephen Weiss, who already prejudged the case, decided, "I'm going with Doc on this," asserting that Richard Schulze "knows what's going on there," and "he could not even put together a bid ... I would sell it."

Which notion of sequestration is most troubling to you?

Friday's Halftime Report had to cough up its first 20 minutes to the president's press conference, after which CNBC's John Harwood said with a straight face that "the next step is a continuation of this public relations campaign."

Joe Terranova, perhaps a bit too immersed in data this week, pointed to ISM; "I think that's what the Street is focusing on," and that investors are looking at "anything that looks like a bond on the equity side."

Pete Najarian grumbled, "The president addressed apocalyptic. And it's not apocalyptic."

Jon Najarian chipped in, "The sequester is not a big deal. This was all about political theater folks." But he said the most promising thing the president spoke about was getting Democrats on board.

If it’s the ‘who cares stock,’ why does Fast Money care about it twice a day?

Judge Wapner noted the struggles of AAPL Friday on the Halftime Report and said it's becoming "the who cares stock."

Stephen Weiss pointed to the Leap Wireless comments about 50% of budgeted iPhones unsold that Jane Wells brought up a day earlier and said it's a key indicator for how lack of subsidies will work in China.

Jon Najarian suggested OVTI could get hurt in AAPL fallout.

Scott Cohn reported on the questions/surveys being asked/taken about ISRG. Jon Najarian helpfully told viewers the stock was a "buying opportunity yesterday" in the last 5 minutes, and "I didn't take advantage of it."

Boris Schlossberg said "I wanna be short euro" if it cracks 1.2950.

In another moribund Futures Now episode, Anthony Grisanti said crude is being affected not just by dollar strength but Europe, weak U.S. incomes and Cushing supply. Jim Iuorio pointed to support at 89.40.

Mr. New World, who had a disappointingly quiet show, asserted, "I would not go out right now and overweight oil. I wouldn't overweight the coal names. I wouldn't overweight the precious metals names."

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was BMY. Joe Terranova said TRV, and Stephen Weiss said VZ.

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