[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — March 2017]
[Friday, March 31, 2017]

Weiss implies Democrats would be willing to make deals with Donald

A week of crisp stock assessments sorta ended with a thud on Friday's Halftime Report as the panel tried to put forward an everything-but-our-favorite-tech-stocks-reverts-to-the-mean prediction.

Stephen Weiss said the market's "OK" but in a "narrow trading range," then tried to drop this dubious pearl of wisdom that we only hear about, oh, once a week on this program since its inception: "You've really gotta be careful in your stock selection moreso now I think than at any time over the last 5 or 6 years." (Translation: Invest only with Tepper or the really elite pros who are friends of Weiss, who incidentally golfed with Tepper on Sunday.)

Jim Lebenthal said financials will regain their "mojo" but agreed "one has to be disciplined." (Wrong. It's an animal spirits market, and almost everything goes up.)

Josh Brown, to his credit, acknowledged the forest ahead of the trees and noted, "We've barely seen any pre-announcements."

The howler came from Steve Weiss, who actually said of Trump, "He could switch to the middle and bring the Democrats into the fold, and I think that would be the smart move."

Weiss said when he was rising through the ranks of Wall Street, Bernstein was the "quintessential research house" and now wants to go only partly into the quant space.

Weiss even bored Judge discussing qualitative and quantitative strategies.

Jim does a fine job, but making the same long-term value-stock calls on every program gets old

Neither Judge nor the panel seemed terribly excited on Friday's Halftime about the new Snapchat feature, but Jim Lebenthal actually said with a straight face, "Artificial intelligence is a wave for the next 10 years."

Stephen Weiss said, despite Jim's claim, that he's not sure IBM is at the "vanguard" of artificial intelligence.

Josh Brown hailed AMD again and made it his Final Trade, while Jim offered INTC.

Sarat Sethi said he remains all aboard FB, up 13% since his Jan. 13 bull call. Josh Brown called 150 a "magnet" for the name.

Josh insisted he knows nothing about IBM beyond what everyone knows, but he's sure it's going up.

Jim Lebenthal pounded the table for QCOM. He was still standing behind his long-forgotten bad bull call on VZ from January.

Karen: Buy EEM

Josh Duitz of Alpine Funds on Friday's Halftime told Judge he likes AMT and CP as solid plays on the slow-developing infrastructure story; he mentioned the spectrum auction.

But another stock he likes is TMO, and Stephen Weiss said he doesn't get how the spectrum auction factors into Duitz's AMT call. Duitz didn't really answer the question except to say he's looking for opportunities today rather than waiting for longer-term opportunities. Weiss said he still doesn't know how TMO fits into this.

Weiss said the rental-car companies have struggled to raise prices and that he can't remember the last time he rented a car when traveling; he always uses Uber.

Jim Lebenthal doubted Judge's suggestion that maybe CAR and HTZ are due for a pop, decrying "all these things they slip in" to the bill.

Sarat Sethi said to "keep on buying" AAL.

Kevin O'Leary reiterated that he sold all his regional banks and cut his financials exposure to 9%. And, if we have to hear that one more time, we're going to stop watching the program. Not because we have any strong feelings about it, but because we're sick of hearing it.

O'Leary cited Wilbur Ross' comments as motivation for some kind of rebalancing he did.

Weiss trumpeted TBF at the end of the show.

Karen Finerman, in dynamite new hairstyle, touted EEM of all things on Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

[Thursday, March 30, 2017]

Chip Wilson: Under Armour ‘built on a deck of cards’

By the end of the conversation, we weren't sure whether UA or LULU was supposed to be worse.

Chip Wilson chatted with Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report and said LULU's numbers were actually "quite good."

However, Wilson faulted the purported lack of vision and the "archaic, staggered board system that Lululemon has."

Judge mentioned Wilson's "very public fight" with the LULU board; Wilson said the company "worked perfectly" through 2010, but into 2013, he thought the CEO was taking the legs out from under the company by "artificially making the stock high."

Judge said the company's had 33 straight quarters of revenue growth and 12 straight quarters of double-digit revenue growth and wonders how it's not performing as Wilson claims.

"Well I think you just have to look at the stock," Wilson said, adding the company's missing a "vision" that can elevate it above a commodity product.

Judge mentioned Wilson taking out bus-stop ads suggesting LULU should buy UA and questioned if LULU shouldn't be bought by someone. Wilson said, "I think you missed the picture," stating the ads were a "joke" about LULU vs. the "inferior wholesale model" of UA.

Judge questioned Wilson's assertion of UA as a "weak company." Wilson said "it was built on a deck of cards," or a "wholesale model," and a couple times cited the demise of Sports Authority.

Steve Weiss said UA would've "sunk the stock" had it bought LULU but wouldn't take a stand on whether Wilson is right about UA. Joe Terranova said he doesn't believe UA "was built on a deck of cards."

Weiss tries to blame color choices for LULU’s stumble

Making excuses for a bad call, Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said Jim Cramer said everyone was "bushwhacked" on LULU.

Insisting the results were fine; "Every part of the problem really was the guidance," Pete said.

Stephen Weiss actually started to say with a straight face that color might be part of LULU's problems. Judge said "there's gotta be more to it than that." Weiss agreed and said Nike and others are creeping into the space.

Weiss said you wait to buy LULU.

Joe Terranova questioned the buzz about LULU (even though the 1-year chart isn't so great) and said, "I'm not sure where I see the excitement." He called it just a "trading stock."

Jim Lebenthal, who made it to NYC for a remote but not Englewood Cliffs, asserted, "I think the stock's going lower here."

He added, "This is a very dangerous stock right here."

Pete Najarian said LULU is not a buy today or tomorrow; he wants to see it get through 54 first.

Joe said maybe athleisure has lost pricing power, pointing to LULU's "online warehouse sale."

Analyst Oliver Chen said he's still on board with LULU because of the "new looks fabric" and the "align pant."

Chen also mentioned the "naked sensation" and "sports bras."

"We see this as temporary," Chen said, but he nevertheless put the stock in the "penalty box" (Drink).

He said it's not as much of a demand problem as a "supply-chain problem." (At least he didn't blame colors.)

Judge asked Chen why he doesn't downgrade to neutral. Chen said there's great international opportunity, and he doesn't think athleisure is dead.

Joe suggested LULU could be an activist target.

Weiss said it's "tough" for activists "because they've been burned on retail a lot."

Pete said maybe the website needs to "be more functional." But Weiss called the website "great."

Ackman personally gave Weiss his best tip

Addressing Bill Ackman's apologetic letter on Thursday's Halftime, Judge welcomed not Ackman nor Carl but author William Cohan.

Cohan said the VRX loss is "potentially devastating" for Pershing Square, though "it's nice" that Ackman is apologizing.

Cohan called Ackman "a high-beta investor."

"If I were a Bill Ackman investor right now, I'd be really p----d off about Valeant," Cohan said.

Stephen Weiss said Ackman had a "really good long-term record before this occurred," however, he should probably stay away from retail.

But Weiss said CP was a "phenomenal" investment for Ackman and that Ackman "personally" told him to buy GGP at 50 cents.

Cohan said Ackman "completely lost his way" on VRX but that Bill is an "incredible optimist."

Scoring points with the home team for sure, Cohan said Judge "oversaw one of the most incredible moments in business television ever."

Analyst actually claims bad Congress could sink stocks 30%

Judge on Thursday's Halftime made a point of Oppenheimer's 3 risks to financials (euro dissolution, incapable Congress and trade war) that could send the whole market down 30% and banks down 40%.

The panel chuckled.

"We're all in Back of America," shrugged Joe Terranova, adding that debt offerings get "gobbled up" immediately and that he's back into RF.

Steve Weiss mentioned LUK again while praising the refreshing "tunnel vision" of analyst Chris Kotowski (who says an incapable Congress could sink banks 40%) (snicker).

Pete Najarian mentioned that the White House tackled health care first (Drink), "the most difficult of them all."

Judge gives panel break from having to deal with the BlackRock active-management issue

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime noticed he was wearing the same shirt as in the January Quicker than the Ticker call on MRVL.

Pete said he just took it off (the stock, not the shirt and tie).

Stephen Weiss predicted CAVM keeps going. Joe Terranova said to stay with SYK, and he touted MCK and PKI.

Weiss got Fast Fired for SXL; he said he's "long gone" from the name with a "minor loss." Pete got Fast Fired for COST; he said he still likes the company.

Anthony Grisanti said crude seems to have a little bit of legs. Scott Nations said crude has a bit more room to the upside.

Pete said 6,000 April 14.5 calls in AMD were bought and that someone sold 17,000 downside puts.

Joe said Adidas goes above 100, though the graphic showed the German shares trading at 177. (Actually we think Joe's referring to ADDYY, which traded around 95.)

Weiss touted the TBF, citing the 10-year trading range from 2.3% to 2.6%. Pete mentioned WDC; the stock took off shortly afterwards.

[Wednesday, March 29, 2017]

Rob Sechan fails to convince Judge that BlackRock’s move isn’t a big win for passive investing

CNBC superfox Leslie Picker on Wednesday's Halftime Report explained BlackRock's new "active/passive hybrid" and said analysts expect competitors to follow suit.

Rob Sechan asserted, "This is not a move from active to passive. This is incorporating technology … to focus on artificial intelligence factors (snicker) and identifying things that value managers and active managers have traditionally used to pick stocks."

Sechan insisted to Judge that the move, "at the end of the day," is merely "creating efficiency" and is not a "repudiation" of active stock-picking as Judge suggested.

Josh Brown, like Sechan, twisted semantics into San Francisco's Lombard Street (that's a nod to Sully), stating "the media has completely missed" the story, it's not active vs. passive nor factor vs. market cap, "it's systematic vs. faith-based investing."

"Faith-based investing." Hmmmm.

Sensing the mounting pile of b.s., Judge blurted that if the BlackRock active funds were doing well, "we wouldn't be having this conversation!"

Sechan concluded that the problem with models is "they work until they don't," and the advisor provides the "subjective component" of figuring out what works "prospectively."

Nobody mentioned the best argument of the other side, that a fund of funds run by a recent guest on the program recently sold for a much higher than average multiple.

Whew — Halftime Report unlike the rest of CNBC spares viewers from another day of hearing pundit state, ‘They should’ve done tax reform before health care’

Wednesday's Halftime Report unfortunately opened flat, with praise for the tech sector; Jim Lebenthal said "there's something for everyone" in the space.

Rob Sechan said the "main message" is that "technology is changing the world more than people think."

Euphoria for AMZN once again bubbled over (even though no one but Steph Link owns it), which is fine, although nobody noted that a year ago, when it fell from upper 600s to upper 400s, people couldn't unload it fast enough, and it was down for the year in calendar 2014.

Stephanie Link struggled to make a serious comment about GOOGL amid chuckles from the rest of the panel about Josh Brown being overweight; Link said she'd be "cautious" about the quarter.

Judge said EBAY doesn't get enough "convo" on the program. Pete Najarian said he owns it.

Jim Lebenthal said it's been a "totally quiet pre-announcement season," which bodes well for stocks.

Iuorio: Oil could reach high 50s

Judge wondered on Wednesday's Halftime Report why no one talks about SBUX's leadership transition the way they do DIS. (See, if they could get Sheryl Sandberg, that'd be soooo awesome.)

Steph Link said the presence of Howard Schultz will remain "very instrumental" in driving the growth. Judge questioned if Schultz just has to be "physically in the building." Link insisted Schultz is "still part of the leadership." Josh Brown said it's not like Eric Trump is running the Trump organization.

Link said she hasn't been involved in SBUX for a long time, but she likes it now on a pullback for China exposure and digital innovation. (And if Howard is "physically in the building.")

Judge said Goldman Sachs cut DNKN to a sell. Josh Brown said that's a "reasonable call" and that the company's results have been "spotty."

Pete Najarian said he likes MCD and YUM.

Josh Brown was rightly hailed for his great call a couple months ago on AMD. He said he owns it and will stick with it.

Jim Lebenthal said NKE fell to 53.92, and "stupid me," he had an order in at 53.50 and missed it.

Stephanie Link likes EL and said she has been adding ETFC.

Pete Najarian said he still wants to own DIS, stating the focus has come off of ESPN.

Anthony Grisanti said crude needs a lot more than extended OPEC cuts to get beyond 50. Jim Iuorio said he thinks technicals are more important than fundamentals now, and it could get to the "high 50s."

Mel apparently getting rich in real estate, trading up ‘all the way’

Jim Lebenthal on Wednesday's Halftime was forced to defend his JCP long but admitted the stock is "hugely volatile."

Josh Brown warned that if JCP hits 5, 4 might be likely. Jim said he doesn't think it's going to 5.

Pete Najarian said he likes LULU into earnings on China and men's and children's growth. But Jim Lebenthal pointed to NKE and predicted a bad quarter.

Rob Sechan advised buying XLF and XLE. (But not because of the "artificial intelligence factors" (snicker).)

Jim Lebenthal reiterated TIF is at the top of his sell list, "but not until it stops goin' higher."

Stephanie Link added to PH.

Josh Brown touted SCHW.

Pete Najarian said TPX May 50 calls were popular; "this thing's going higher."

The most intriguing comment of the afternoon came from Melissa Lee on Power Lunch, talking to the guy on CNBC's new "The Deed: Chicago" show about house flipping and revealing, "I've always looked at the home I bought as an investment and have traded up all the way."

[Tuesday, March 28, 2017]

David Einhorn never once mentions an actual GM product

Who in the world wants to buy a General Motors capital-appreciation stock?

No one, of course. But that didn't stop David Einhorn from trumpeting the idea on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

Einhorn said he's got the "right plan" for GM because the stock is "confronting a very unusual dynamic." That being, it trades at the lowest multiple in the S&P 500 despite a yield over 4%.

So he thinks some investors care about the dividend and not about the earnings, and vice versa, and there should be a stock class for each.

Judge said GM rejected the idea as "unprecedented" and "untested" and claimed it would lead to a credit rating cut. Einhorn said his move would better optimize the cost of capital and called the credit rating claim a "red herring." He said the company appears to have asked agencies about this with the enthusiasm of a 7-year-old boy looking at a plate of raw oysters.

Einhorn said that for his plan not to increase value, "the P.E. would have to contract dramatically on the capital appreciation shares." Um, yep. There's the problem.

Jim Lebenthal said he's "still pounding the table" on GM and pointed out how GM resisted Sergio Marchionne a while back. Jim said he "would" vote for Einhorn's plan, "but I'm not gonna lose sleep if it doesn't pass."

Jim said the problem is, "People don't believe the stock is growing. That's the problem right there." (What about: Nobody ever talks about the products this company makes, so why should anyone get excited about owning it?)

Jim, unfortunately, stated, "It is, I've said this before, the Rodney Dangerfield of stocks. Nobody gives it respect." (Last 4 words, no no no. Please not again.)

Josh Brown said that Einhorn's argument is that if the lack of respect continues with the capital-appreciation security, it can be bought back as almost a private equity play by the company itself. But Jim said, "This shouldn't be what moves the stock higher," suggesting "more buybacks" instead. (What should be moving the stock higher are new products that people are buzzing about. Not sure that's happening.)

Joe Terranova asked if GM can increase its buyback while issuing "upwards of $3 billion" in debt for GM Europe.

"I just don't see how it dramatically increases the, the multiple on the growth side because it's still a car company, it's still got the same issues that it had before," said Stephen Weiss. Weiss said he also isn't sure about the argument that the cost of capital would come down.

Weiss said it's much easier for Einhorn to propose this idea than for GM to accept it. If it doesn't work, "He can move on to the next stock," Weiss said, adding GM can do a buyback or a convert instead.

Pete Najarian like everyone else didn't want to talk about GM cars, but he hailed Einhorn's "view on the economy itself."

Pete nevertheless said he'd be a buyer of Einhorn's plan, citing the "enthusiasm" behind the idea. Joe said he likes the plan; Weiss said he'd buy it because it's a "free option." Kari Firestone said it wouldn't be one of her top names but would be OK, but you'd have to be "patient."

Jim insisted GM hasn't underperformed over the last year including dividends. Judge said "most of that gain is from the election until now."

Einhorn's analogy of swirled ice cream should've noted that the capital appreciation flavor isn't vanilla, but raw oysters. He's a smart guy with a lot more money than we've got, but this idea's downright loopy and pointless. Instead of recommending financial engineering, he should be pointing out how GM can build better and more exciting cars. Then his shares will take off.

4 years? Assuming John Kerry loses 388-150, consider 8

Jim Iuorio on Tuesday's Halftime Report said "a little bounce would be appropriate" in crude, and a sliding dollar would give it a boost.

Jeff Kilburg said if crude settles over 48.60, it might reach 51.03 "in 2 shakes of a lamb's tail."

Pete Najarian said June 150 calls in AAP (that's correct, AAP and not AAPL) were popular. Pete said he's in the stock and selling calls against it and will probably be in the name through June.

Kari Firestone said you can wait for a better price to buy TSLA.

Steve Weiss said there's "pent-up demand" (Drink) for tech spending and he thinks "you've gotta buy" AMZN.

Weiss said biotech will come back.

Joe Terranova still likes GT (even if Pete doesn't like the short-interest strategy).

Kari Firestone likes SHW.

Mel opened Power Lunch with another "tale of 2" (groan) teaser.

Steve Grasso and Dan Nathan haggled for the 2nd day in a row on the 5 p.m. Fast Money over whether the administration is going to sink the market. Nathan on Tuesday predicted "a full-blown political scandal in Washington in the not-too-distant future."

"It's gonna be a long 4 years for you," Grasso told Nathan.

Josh: EEM ‘just getting started’

In a show impressively chock-ful of stock calls, Steve Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime said he was in the "minority" last Thursday when he predicted the market wouldn't sell off if health care fizzled.

"Everybody was so poised to buy the dip that the dip never occurred," Weiss said.

Weiss said NFLX is still a great story.

Jim Lebenthal said TIF is "at the top of my sell list," he's just waiting for 2 down days in a row.

Jim also would sell MKC. Chef Judge thought he was being cool talking about spices.

Joe Terranova thanked INTC for listening to his call on MBLY; he said his pro-MBLY call was "lucky" but that it's an appealing company.

Joe got flagged for THC; he said it just can't get out of its own way, adding, "Run for cover, get out, penalty box (Drink)."

Joe said to take off some DRI but he likes the name.

Josh Brown said he thinks EEM strength is "just getting started," a "massive mean-reversion situation happening."

Brown got flagged for HBAN; he said "the intermediate-term trend looks great."

Brown said FB is making things "very, very competitive" for SNAP.

Josh hung a $100 on JPM if the bull market continues.

‘We’re gonna have a flat curve’

Chris Whalen on Tuesday's Halftime Report called financials a "tough story" to justify the valuations; he predicts another 10-15% giveback given where they were in October.

Whalen also said Yellen and her colleagues "don't understand the bond market," and he predicted "we're gonna have a flat curve."

But Pete Najarian said "the fundamentals and the facts" justify strength in banks, and the fundamentals don't suggest JPM is "way overpriced."

Whalen said "cost-cutting was the biggest part of the story" for JPM's last quarter.

Whalen contended the pricing of loans "is as tight as I've ever seen it."

Steve Weiss said if pricing is tight, that means the economy will pick up with more loan growth. Whalen shrugged that Yellen has simply "goosed" the asset class. Weiss said Whalen should be worried about "all the direct-lending companies." Whalen said he totally agrees on those.

Whalen said New York City is "so overbuilt."

We can definitely buy the notion of a stall in banks, but not the 10-15% pullback that Whalen suggests; this is an animal spirits market hell-bent on going higher.

Judge showed a sector chart while Whalen spoke listing "Industirlals" (sic).

More from Tuesday's Halftime, including the David Einhorn interview, later.

[Monday, March 27, 2017]

Kevin O’Leary: Regional banks
are ‘radioactive waste’

Monday's Halftime Report produced an impressive array of divergent opinions about the stock market.

Kevin O'Leary raised the most eyebrows calling regional banks "radioactive waste" that will tumble at least another 10%, then kept saying 15%.

Jim Lebenthal on the other hand said he completely disagrees with O'Leary's forecast, stating "it's hard to see downside from here."

Ian Winer said there's still a "ton of money" looking to buy financials.

Josh Brown suggested rates and deregulation are to blame for banks' slide, but he said sell momentum is slowing and GS is starting to form a "beautiful hammer."

Joe Terranova, who regained momentum with a crisp show, said he agrees that regionals have "lost momentum," but he doesn't agree they're "toxic waste."

Joe said banks haven't recovered from Tuesday's wipeout and because S&P companies are in the "blackout window," he doesn't think now's the time to buy.

"At the end of the day (Drink)," O'Leary said, it's about earnings and deregulation and tax relief.

But late in the program, Josh said O'Leary's comments on regional banks "might represent the bottom."

Ross Levinsohn wouldn’t be surprised to see SNAP $160 a year from now but would be surprised to see SNAP $5 a year from now

Scott Devitt on Monday's Halftime said SNAP, which he initiated at 24 hold, is a "great franchise" with a lot of potential.

"We're a fan; we just think being patient is the right approach to take right now," Devitt said.

(It seems to us that SNAP started to catch a bid last week once both Najarians started gloating about getting out of it.)

Judge wondered if Devitt's view is "colored" by Twitter's struggles. Devitt said Twitter played a role "not at all" and that SNAP has focused on product while Twitter grasped at monetization.

Josh Brown wondered about appealing and troubling metrics for SNAP. "I do think that users are the key," said Devitt, citing user growth and time spent as drivers for the franchise.

Ian Winer said he thinks SNAP could run to 30. Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't know what metrics to look at but said it'll be a "heckuva short before too long."

In $81 million settlement, Gross gets room named after him

Ian Winer on Monday's Halftime Report said we're in the 7th inning of the rally, and the problem with the health care legislative bungle is that we're somehow "a lot less likely" to get tax reform now.

Winer insisted to Jim Lebenthal that if the tax reform is not revenue-neutral, which now appears the case, it'll need 60 votes in the Senate.

Nevertheless, Jim's bullish, even predicting an S&P surge out of the red during the program. "I'll bet you by the end of the show, it's green," Jim said.

Josh Brown dismissed Judge's warning about rate moves. "Rates are inherently (sic useless isn't nearly as important as it's supposed to sound) volatile," Josh told Judge.

"Oil is a problem right now," said Joe Terranova.

Joe said "sometimes the best trade is no trade," and that's where we're at now.

Later in the program, Jim said to buy stocks because people are worried about missing the rally.

Sully delivered breaking news about Gross settling with Pimco for $75-$100 million, all going to charity apparently. (In the category of Lawsuits You Didn't Know Still Existed But At Least The Lawyers Got Paid.)

Najarians take a day off, someone knocks AAPL services

Rod Hall of JPMorgan on Monday's Halftime said AAPL is still "underappreciated," and he finds Street numbers "significantly too low."

He said there's "a lot of evidence" that the new iPhone is good.

Hall told Ian Winer that services isn't driving AAPL, stating people "still have a lot of questions around it."

Jim Lebenthal said it's "easy to see" AAPL reaching a $1 trillion market cap. But Judge said Hall's take on services is one of the most "sobering" we've heard.

NFLX is in ‘buckets,’ and one of those is HBO (or something like that)

Carping about a Barron's call, Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime complained there's a "long road to go" in VIAB before making a 40% move.

He said if you want that kind of move, play options and "buy" (sic) the Najarians' book. (Someone pointed out it's free to the first 300 callers.)

As Judge began a curious series of quarterly updates on panelist calls, starting with Joe and ADBE, Joe admitted he "sold the stock too soon" but said the takeout factor has diminished given the growing market cap. (Still a great call being bullish regardless.)

Josh Brown said it's "weird" that producers are judging his DE call since Jan. 24 when he's been bullish on the stock for at least a year. He said he's still long.

Jim Lebenthal still likes MSG.

Jim said DOW and DD are both fully priced in; he likes CC and CE instead.

Josh Brown said SBUX isn't interesting until it gets over 60.

Ian Winer predicted AMZN can hit $1,000 this year.

Joe said he likes ALL. Ian Winer said to short KMX.

[Friday, March 24, 2017]

Wait’ll they find out tax reform isn’t so easy either

Sully took the helm of Friday's Halftime Report as D.C. sausage-making continued to run off the rails. (This review was posted after the market close.)

Jim Lebenthal shrugged off the possibility of a health care legislative bungle. "You'll get a selloff; it'll be short-lived," Jim said.

Josh Brown said he sometimes feels like he's in an "alternate universe," suggesting there was a big down day this week and White House people being investigated for possible treason and yet stocks were hanging in there; this could be "the strongest, most resilient market I have ever heard of."

Dubravko Lakos said the health care vote only has "marginal" impact on the stock market. John "thousand-point drop" Harwood said there's "zero enthusiasm" for Trump's health care bill but there's "tons of enthusiasm" for tax reform. (Yeah, sure. Right now.)

Jim Lebenthal and Sully tangled over what kind of infrastructure "proposals" are actually out there.

Pete Najarian said that even though Needham downgraded AAPL, "they went from 150 to 165 on the price target (sic last 4 words kinda redundant)."

Jim said MU's "upturn" cycle should continue.

Josh Brown said, "I'll pay you $20 a month to use Tweetdeck."

Lakos called financials the "best sector to own at this point in time" (sic last 7 words kinda redundant), and he'd be adding on the weakness.

Showing off his geography, Sully mentioned "Lombard Street in San Francisco."

Sully introduced Gene Todd, then constantly interrupted Todd as Todd was trying to make a point about health care, which eventually was, "at the end of the day (Drink), it's not gonna matter."

Todd, who did a great job in his first performance, said "a couple days ago," the Atlanta Fed came out with a Q1 growth model that calls for "less than 1%." If that happens, he said, stocks will go down.

Dubravko Lakos said the "biggest value" globally is actually EM and Europe. Lakos backed India, China and Brazil, but Todd is "nervous about China."

Kari Firestone said that aside from the stuff in Washington, GDP is most important for stocks.

Pete said there was aggressive buying in April 37 ETP calls. He also said May calls in ETE were popular.

Jim Lebenthal said to wait for UA to bottom rather than catch a falling knife, "you don't need to be a hero here."

Pete praised PVH, but Josh said he'd rather take a shot at UA, saying the stock's been cut in half on "nothing terrible."

Pete said he gets "hassled" on Twitter for not bringing up SKX, but he likes the margins.

Dubravko Lakos doesn't like retail and thinks the headwinds persist.

Anthony Grisanti actually told Courtney Reagan (in very cute striped top), "I think the health care plan gets done."

Jim Lebenthal backed TRN, suggesting it will have a negative lawsuit verdict overturned (that sounds like Bud Fox and BlueStar Airlines).

Dubravko Lakos touted energy services. Pete Najarian touted CRUS. Jim likes QRVO.

[Thursday, March 23, 2017]

Judge needs to get to the point: There’s nothing to do

Legislation wasn't in the mix, but howling was, on Thursday's Halftime Report, courtesy of CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood.

Harwood said that according to one congressional veteran, it's not September 2008, but (hee hee hee), "Members are thinking of it that way."

"This member said to me, 'If this goes down, we could lose a thousand points off the Dow,'" Harwood actually claimed with a straight face.

Weiss said he doesn't believe the thousand-point thing; "that was said solely to scare people into uh, his fellow, uh, members of the House, into voting for the bill." (Yes. And thanks to Mr. Harwood for being the messenger.)

Weiss said if the market does sell on this, it's a "major buying opportunity" because they'll "double down" on tax reform.

Jim Lebenthal for once told Weiss, "I agree with you completely."

Judge needs to cut through the b.s. and tell viewers the facts: There's nothing to do, and this fellow was certainly not elected to pass legislation; he's there to entertain us.

Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Joe says ‘Carl Icahn’ 4 times in 1 soundbite

Judge on Thursday's Halftime said Elizabeth Warren's reported concerns about Carl Icahn are "not unexpected."

Joe Terranova then proceeded to uncork a doozie, making sure everyone knows whom he's talking about: "Has she ever met with Carl Icahn about her concerns. Before you publicly criticize Carl Icahn, why don't you set up a meeting with Carl Icahn, have a conversation with Carl Icahn about the EPA, about the regulations, then make a determination that you're gonna go public and vilify the man," Joe wondered.

Jim Lebenthal opined, "Senator Warren has done damage to our economy. Our economy would've grown a lot faster without her specific regulations that hindered bank lending. Period."

"But she's so much fun," snickered Steve Weiss, maybe the best line of the day (if you don't count what Joe cooked up), cracking up the panel.

Joe says ‘macro’ 3 times in about 10 seconds as Pete sends mixed messages about whether the market’s going higher or lower

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime said he doesn't know that the markets "absolutely implode" if there's no health care legislation. (Translation: According to Pete's body language and manner of speaking, he finds this whole thing irrelevant.)

Joe Terranova said, without a great deal of certainty, "I don't believe Pete is a macro trader, and that's probably to his benefit, but I think if you are a macro trader, this is your first macro event that you get to trade around."

Joe said he was "incredibly surprised" at how well technology held up a day earlier.

Erin Browne said "a lot of guys" consider the Obamacare vote as a "barometer" for whether Trump can do tax reform.

But John Harwood said, "You can write it in Sharpie: Rates — business rates are not going down to 20%." (Is that before or after the Dow falls 1,000 points?)

Harwood said the border tax is "going nowhere" in the Senate (that's one we agree with).

Stephen Weiss noted how X has fallen and claimed the Trump trade has "unwound to a very large extent."

Joe Terranova questioned why government leaders would schedule an embarrassing legislative defeat on a Friday. "You wanna have this vote, if you think it's gonna be a no, on a Monday or Tuesday," Joe explained.

Weiss brought up the 35-40% cash thing again (Drink) to Pete; Pete said last week he took off a "huge number of positions." But "not because I'm negative" (snicker).

Wow — airlines are selling gobs of extra miles to banks and don’t even want the Street to know they’re making good money

In what quite frankly proved a head-scratcher for us, Joe Denardi, who has a 95 on AAL, claimed on Thursday's Halftime Report that AAL has a "marketing company within, within itself" that is "fundamentally misunderstood by the market."

Apparently Denardi believes that American has a lucrative side business selling seats to banks as opposed to flying customers.

He told Joe Terranova (careful, Joe might say the same term 500 times in the course of a question) that the pessimistic Morgan Stanley airline analyst "probably isn't aware that American Airlines is earning roughly 2 billion dollars from selling miles to Citi and Barclays."

Hmmm. Guess bankers are doing a lot of traveling these days. (Or they're just selling/distributing the miles to fliers who otherwise would be buying them from American directly.)

Denardi said there's an "information disconnect" because airlines don't "properly disclose" these revenues.

Hmmm. Even more interesting. Airlines making gobs of extra revenue selling miles to banks … but don't want the Street to know about this revenue stream.

Denardi insisted airlines are "intrinsically (sic unnecessary and always a red flag in stock opinions) mispriced" right now.

Steve Weiss said Denardi's argument "overstates it," because in some ways American is just taking share from other airlines.

Joe briefly runs into a brick wall trying to chide Pete for not endorsing his short-interest strategy last week

Jim Lebenthal on Thursday's Halftime Report said automakers are the "Rodney Dangerfield of sectors."

Even though that's a very tired cliche, we'd be OK for it, except Jim followed with, "I mean, these stocks just can't get any respect."

(No, Jim. No, Jim, no.)

Jim said automakers are cheap because of the perception of being beyond peak auto. But Steve Weiss said the stocks haven't done anything in 2 years since people started talking about peak auto. Then Weiss and Jim haggled over GM's performance of the last 2 years; Weiss concluded it's down and has lagged the market, though not down as much as Ford.

Weiss said the only time GM sold at a high multiple was 10 years ago when it was going under.

Pete Najarian trumpeted GT.

Joe Terranova took note and said he was talking about GT last week and its short interest and that his "Armenian giant" (Pete) didn't agree as it relates to short interest.

"That wasn't me," Pete insisted, shaking his head before realizing, "Oh, I did disagree on that. I hate that strategy," then insisting GT's gain "has nothing to do with that strategy."

Erin: ‘Great time’ for retail

Gorjus Leslie Picker on Thursday's Halftime said Eric Mindich made the "difficult decision" to return investor capital.

Joe Terranova asked Weiss about Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. Carl Icahn. about the "macro," the "macro" if hedge funds have struggled for not employing quants. Weiss said they're either quants or they're not.

Pete Najarian gushed that DIS' free cash flow "almost covers" all the buybacks and dividends each year. (Oh joy.)

Joe retraced the PVH chart but didn't really make a call, until he finally said it's a buy at $98.

Erin Browne suggested now's a "great time" to buy retail with the border tax fading away and recommended XRT.

Weiss credited Goldman Sachs for its sell on FEYE that has now become a buy.

Pete said someone was buying CSX April 46 calls and selling twice as many at 50.

Joe asked Pete about Carl Icahn. if the buildout of oil pipelines will hurt rails. Pete said that's a valid point for the future, but this options trade is only through April.

Jim Iuorio said the move lower in oil is "real" and is all about supply. Anthony Grisanti said oil could be "a lot lower" if gasoline wasn't so strong.

Pete and Judge shared a final trade of MAR. Weiss said buy the airlines. Jim touted TIF and Joe touted V.

[Wednesday, March 22, 2017]

Judge helms coverage
of Parliament attack

Wednesday's Halftime Report was preempted by developing news of the attack on British Parliament. Stocks were generally flat midday.

[Tuesday, March 21, 2017]

Rich Greenfield throws in the towel as far as waiting for FB pullback

Rich Greenfield, who on Nov. 3 sought a better entry point in FB (and Feb. 9 touted TWTR), on Tuesday's Halftime Report said FB seemed to have "incredibly high expectations" last year but "is still crushing it."

So now he has a 175 target.

Judge "Duke hater" Wapner asked how closely Facebook is priced to perfection. Greenfield contended "it's not an expensive stock" and with Instagram Stories has a "meaningful new growth leg."

Jon Najarian said "Snapchat has already rolled over in terms of engagement."

Still nothing about the iPad subscription plan that supposedly needs to happen

Toni Sacconaghi told Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report that AAPL is still "very inexpensive" and has a "significant" iPhone 8 cycle ahead, so he upgraded his price target to 160 (that's correct, not as high as Rich Greenfield's FB target).

Jim Lebenthal suggested AAPL longs might be "borrowing those gains" ahead of time in the iPhone upgrade cycle.

Sacconaghi told Josh Brown that Augmented Reality (snicker) "presents a revenue opportunity in and of itself (sic last 4 words redundant) (Drink) for Apple."

Josh notes his cost basis

Jonathan Krinsky, like all the other analysts making upgrades on Tuesday's Halftime, really had no catalyst but just seemed to think his stock (NKE) was doing well and will keep doing so.

Krinsky said NKE is still down 18% from its highs, and "the trend has now finally turned."

Krinsky said "there's a lot of bifurcation (Drink) among the whole retail and consumer discretionary space."

Instead of just saying he's interested in guidance, Joe Terranova said, "Fundamentally Scott, I want to listen very closely to this call and see what their guidance is going to look like as it relates to not only North America but globally, future orders."

Jim Lebenthal said this quarter isn't the most important quarter for NKE. He said he wants to see a miss, because "I don't own enough of it frankly."

Josh Brown used air quotes to show he got long NKE at 50 the last time it "disappointed."

Judge rounds out his routine, catalyst-free round of upgrades with Anthony DiClemente on DIS

Anthony DiClemente was on Tuesday's Halftime Report in a grand slam of analysts (sic not the Denny's Grand Slam®), and whaddaya know, he hung a 125 on DIS … basically because things seemed to be going well.

Josh Brown asked if DiClemente was forced to be "drifting your multiple higher" along with the market. DiClemente conceded the market multiple is "important."

DiClemente told Joe Terranova, "I think we're out of the woods on traditional cord-cutting," but he's "incrementally concerned about" ESPN (Drink) advertising because "SportsCenter" ratings have "really rolled over."

Doc said "very smart traders" were selling ARNC 26 puts. He also said people were selling 9 puts in VALE.

Scott Nations said the euro's move suggests Europe "is about ready to start increasing rates themselves," also he said it speaks to inflation. Brian Stutland indicated he'd much rather buy than sell the euro now.

Jim Lebenthal said he just sold BA and might buy LMT.

Judge said he takes a "beating" for being a Washington Capitals fan, then asked Ted Leonsis about Adam Silver's letter to "all league owners" (sic "league" redundant) about resting players. Leonsis said he responded immediately to Silver, telling him to put the Wizards on TV.

Leonsis said he's "disappointed" in Twitter, and "I'm concerned for the company right now."

Leonsis said the most valuable company in the world is "Apple Computer" (sic).

Doc said he's looking at TSCO. Jim Lebenthal endorsed WGO, Josh backed JPM under 90 and Joe backed WYNN.

‘SportsCenter’ ratings rolling over

Addressing Tuesday's stock-market meltdown, Josh Brown said there were "a lot of overbought charts," but he said the VIX is still a "total snooze."

Jon Najarian pointed out that regional banks were getting killed.

Joe Terranova, who had a quiet show, said, "For traders, for money managers, for hedge fund managers (sic that's just about everyone), today's move is a little bit more consequential as it relates to a possible correction."

Jim Lebenthal said, "I don't think that this is the big selloff correction."

(Sigh) We totally agree; there are still animal spirits running rampant in this market.

"Yes it's Washington, but it's a lot of other things as well," Jim said.

Judge threw in an "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink).

Joe noted, "Oil should be rallying as the dollar is falling."

Paul Richards said there's "disappointment" about the Fed; he said "half of the dollar's fall" is related to Thursday's health care showdown.

[Monday, March 20, 2017]

Judge ‘hates’ Duke,
cheers tourney exit

There was some congressional hearing of some kind taking place around the noon Eastern hour; CNBC opted to knock out the entire Halftime Report.

But CNBC viewers learned early Monday morning that Judge apparently enjoyed a big night Sunday.

Joe Terranova, visiting with the Squawk Box crew, explained that Judge is a "very good friend of mine" and, "He also loves that Duke is knocked out of the tournament. He hates Duke. Hates Duke. He just doesn't like Duke."

Got it. Judge is no fan of Duke.

Becky Quick said, "Joe Terranova made the mistake of showing up in his jacket."

[Friday, March 17, 2017]

SNAP $160 wouldn’t surprise,
but SNAP $5 would

Ross Levinsohn, star guest of Friday's Halftime Report, said the "loser" in the evolving television landscape "is the cable channel today, I won't name one, that has a prime-time audience of 0.0. That's their prime-time audience. And that company today makes $30 million in EBITDA. And you go, 'How is that possible?' Well, they're part of the bundle, and they get paid 3 cents a sub, and there are 80 million subs, and you just go, like, 'That can't go on.'"

It's a great point about the system. But as far as we can see (and as Levinsohn sort of indicated), there are always going to be bundles, whether skinny or not.

Levinsohn said he sees NFLX in "buckets" and thinks of NFLX as HBO.

He also said Snapchat has 31% of social media users and 2% of the ad dollars. (Which tells us that it's never going to monetize, but Levinsohn seems optimistic about this disparity.)

Jon Najarian questioned if advertisers will embrace SNAP. Levinsohn said, "100%."

Levinsohn credited SNAP for "flawless execution" in the IPO and twice mentioned that Facebook's IPO had troubles.

Levinsohn pointed out that NBC Universal is an investor in SNAP and said he "wouldn't be surprised" if SNAP was 160 a year from now, but he would be surprised if it's $5.

Nevertheless, Steve Weiss said at the end of the program that he'd be short the name.

Meanwhile, Levinsohn said Jack Dorsey needs to pick a home; "I just don't think you can run 2 companies."

He said Donald Trump has "really provided an incredible boost to the newspaper industry."

Judge asked Levinsohn a bunch of questions about TRCO; Levinsohn said "it's been reported" that Sinclair has approached Tribune Media; "I don't want to end up in jail, or the SEC calling me," he told Judge.

He didn't answer Judge's question as to whether TRCO would be "open" to a transaction, rather, he said reports that entities are interested in the business are "accurate."

Levinsohn told Judge that the TRCO board has "responded" to Jeff Smith, it's in the public filings.

Judge wonders if someone is ‘wavering’ about calling a 5% gain in the S&P

Jonathan Golub on Friday's Halftime said Europe looks even better than the U.S. right now.

Erin Browne agreed Europe's the place to be, but she thinks it's all about timing, and "you're gonna get a better entry point."

That sounds good, but it reminds us of Karen Finerman's recent comment about the whole better entry point thing, that you need to correctly call both the time to be out and the time to get back in.

And Josh Brown asked Erin if maybe a Le Pen win, like Brexit and Trump, would actually be a "buy the news" event, which is frankly quite possible given how crowded the sell-the-Le-Pen-win notion seems to be.

Erin insisted it wouldn't, because it would disrupt "the entire sanctity of the European construct."

Doc made a good point, that Erin's situational trade would have more oomph if the Dutch elections hadn't turned out the way they did.

Judge asked Golub if he's "wavering" on his 2,500 S&P target. Golub said if he's wavering at all, it's that the number isn't even bigger.

Golub suggested Trumpcare is "probably dead on arrival."

Steve Weiss said he wouldn't be in VRX and offered reasons for why Ackman might've sold.

Josh Brown said FAST is experiencing higher lows and said there really aren't sellers over 52.

Doc said there was an aggressive put buyer in ADBE; he thinks maybe that buyer was just hedging a long into earnings. Josh Brown was touting ADBE at the top of the show. Doc said he's going to stay long LB while holding his August 45 puts.

Doc said someone was buying April 40 CFG calls "with abandon"; he got in and plans to hold for a couple weeks.

Doc likes NVDA; Josh backed the VGK.

Josh: AMZN ‘coiled’

In a tepid opening to Friday's Halftime, Josh Brown said the "supreme irony" of the rally is that it's being led by tech, not by "Trump trades."

Judge referred to the SMH, "in and of itself" (sic redundant).

Stephen Weiss said he's not sure that tech is the "anti-Trump trade," that repatriation and a better consumer help.

Weiss touted AAPL and CAVM.

Josh Brown said AMZN is "coiled."

[Thursday, March 16, 2017]

Klaus Kleinfeld, ‘use if needed’
(isn’t it Arconic?)

Klaus Kleinfeld has been a regular CNBC guest, but he couldn't have been too thrilled with the graphics gremlins on Thursday's Halftime Report. (Looks like someone confused the description box with the caption box.)

Judge mentioned the Elliot fight against Arconic and tossed in an "in and of itself" (Drink). In a clumsy exchange with the Najarians about both AA and ARNC options activity as well as Paul Singer's initiative, Pete said AA 36 calls expiring April 7 were being bought in the morning, so he jumped in.

Meanwhile, in a curious bullish rationale, Doc suggested buyers of August puts in LB were simply hedging a long position.

Kevin O'Leary said there are "3 forces in play" in the market, including deregulation, tax reform and protectionism. O'Leary reaffirmed he dislikes regional banks. Kari Firestone made a case for regional banks. (Zzzzzzzzzzz.)

Joe Terranova brought up the SPR and said pipelines are the opportunity in energy, because of "corroding" storage; he said that's a problem for names such as HES, "highly sensitive (sic not 'tethered' this time) to the price of oil."

Joe said DG "still has not recovered from the August selloff," when he "lost a bunch of money."

Kari Firestone said ORCL was "much hated" on the Street; now it's a "love affair" and the chart has broken out. Pete said he had to take off his position because of the gain.

Pete also said he had to take off his LOW stake.

Doc said the short interest in GPRO is "massive," but he doesn't think job cuts are enough and doubts the stock gets much over $9.

In some kind of theme-stock-picking, Pete mentioned the builders including BZH. Kari Firestone mentioned CHTR and Doc touted C and BAC.

Pete praised Elon Musk for getting ahead of the money-raising story.

Jeff Kilburg said he's still bullish on gold; "there's more room to run." Scott Nations said over 1,260 would be "very bullish."

Doc touted NTAP. Kari Firestone endorsed TJX. Joe said he likes LUV on Trump's plan to privative air traffic control.

Joe defines ‘trading’ for Judge

It seemed Thursday's Halftime crew was missing the forest through the trees, as this market seems to be in no-man's land.

No question, this is raging animal spirits, but right now, we're in pause mode, and there's nothing to buy, evidenced by the lukewarm commentary on the Halftime Report.

Mohamed El-Erian on Thursday said there was a "technical reaction" to the Fed's move, and "there's an ongoing transition in Fed policy"; he even claimed it's a "more confident Fed" that will "lead markets rather than follow them."

Richard Fisher said there's an "orange swan" effect, but Yellen has taken "just the right tone."

Mike Farr was also on the show.

Joe Terranova told Judge, "You have to have a strategy," which is, finding stocks with "negative sentiment, strong outperformance relative to the S&P, and then high short interest." He suggested WYNN, GT, TIF, IRM, DLR.

Pete Najarian said you don't have to look at short interest, but "fundamentals" and "growth."

Eventually, Judge told Joe, "You were short, uh, S&Ps!"

Joe responded, "No, what- what I had was probably a 4-5-day period that I talked about it, where I thought the market was gonna correct. It did. And that's called trading."

Kari Firestone said the market's been driven by a small number of large stocks, and there is "catch-up" opportunity in small- and mid-caps.

Richard Fisher pointed out the dollar hasn't taken off since the Fed began hiking.

Mike Farr asked Richard Fisher if the Fed is behind the curve. Fisher said "it doesn't matter," that's a "theoretical argument" (snicker).

Doc said people were "aggressively selling" March SPY 239 calls and buying IWM puts, but they only want "2 days of coverage."

[Wednesday, March 15, 2017]

Tom Lee is still promoting the dumbest stock acronym of all time

Wall Street analysts and strategists are always looking for a hook to make their research stand out.

Fair enough; that's competition.

But few ideas are as loopy or tiresome as Tom Lee's CRAP trade, which gets about a weekly airing on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Not only is it a dumb choice for an acronym, but it doesn't even stand for the sectors Lee is recommending.

He said on Wednesday's Fast Money, "The C is tel- technology, computers, right, which is old tech, which would be an example like Oracle, Microsoft, Intel, automation."

Interesting. None of those 3 stocks even begins with a "C."

"R is for resources, which is energy and basic materials," Lee continued.

A bit of a reach, but better than the "C."

Then there was, "A is American-based banks."

So think "American," but buy something actually beginning with a "B."

"And the P is for telecom carriers, phone carriers."

Really. The "P" apparently stands for phone, but not iPhones.

We hardly know anything, but when it comes to stuff like this, these Wall Street hotshots are actually the amateurs and should turn to experts for how to do this right.

So basically, Lee recommends categories he calls "Computers" and "Phones," but he doesn't recommend AAPL.

Lee should've recommended Semis, Housing, Infrastructure and Telecom and called it a day.

This is when knuckleheads sitting at home can listen to Lee's CRAP and watch Ackman take VRX from 250 to 10 and say, with actually some degree of truth, "I can do as well as these guys."

Gundlach: Carter does a great job

In a series of eloquent comments on Wednesday's Halftime Report, Jeffrey Gundlach touted a regular on the 5 p.m. Fast Money/Options Action.

Gundlach said "everybody loves the dollar," but "There was a good tech- technical, uh, case made on Fast Money, uh, yesterday, that technical guy, I think his name is Carter, I might have it wrong, I apologize if I do … he does- he does a great job, I like watching him, and he pointed out, that it's just not true, historically, when the Fed hikes, that financials outperform."

Gundlach said you'd have to be on "Mars" to think the Fed wasn't going to hike on Wednesday. He said we may be looking at "sequential rate increases" and asserted that talk of a steepening yield curve is "just dead wrong."

He said the bond market is "set up for a rally" in weeks ahead, stating there's a "massive short position" against the bond market. He called 2.60, 2.65, if it holds, "a great technical spot for a rally."

"We just don't see a recession coming at all," Gundlach said. But he said the U.S. is "very expensive" based on Robert Shiller's CAPE ratio, so take the opportunity to diversify globally.

Gundlach told Josh Brown he's not interested in REITs. Gundlach told Doc that any negative-yielding bonds such as the 2-year bunds will eventually be seen as a "historical mutant."

"I continue to think Chipotle's a good short," Gundlach said, adding he's "made a fortune on it."

TWTR: the worst tech stock

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the market's "begging" for a hike.

Stephen Weiss said the market is ready for "firmer language."

Rick Rieder said the inflation description will be "interesting."

Josh said he bought SCHW and JPM in the morning.

Diana Olick said homebuilder sentiment surged to a 12-year high. Josh said "we called these breakouts in the builders in real time on this show, about 3 weeks ago," pointing to ITB and saying the XHB is just breaking out now.

Bob Iaccino said he's going to sell rallies in crude around 49 or 50. But Anthony Grisanti is "gonna buy the dips."

The Najarians gushed about AAPL services and potential repatriation. Weiss said repatriation isn't a catalyst for buying AAPL, because "they issued as much paper as they want at 25 bps, so bringing it back here means nothing to them essentially."

Josh Brown said the AAPL RSI is 76 after being 90.

Weiss said he agrees with the notion that TWTR's the worst stock in tech, "and SNAP may be behind it at some point, by the way."

[Tuesday, March 14, 2017]

‘Thesis creep’

On Tuesday's weather-impaired Halftime Report, Josh Brown, on the phone, assured "the market gods" that he wasn't taking joy from Bill Ackman's VRX disaster.

Jon Najarian, from Chicago, told Judge, "I'm not gonna rip on Ackman, um, I feel bad for him."

But then David Maris dialed in, gloating that VRX was "a big fat pitch. It was easy to see … people just didn't have the courage to call it for what it was."


Maris bluntly said he disagrees with panelists' comments, apparently because they failed to say Ackman didn't take enough "responsibility" for the investment.

Maris said Ackman's VRX debacle stems from "thesis creep."

Judge said Ackman thinks VRX might double. Maris scoffed that those who would "script" such remarks would probably say exactly that, pointing out that if Ackman really thought it would double, he would just sit on it. (Of course, Judge pointed out, as he had for about the last 20 hours, that Ackman exclusively told him the VRX position was simply "taking too much time.")

Doc explained that Ackman could've hedged his position and eased the pain, then curiously stated that Carl Icahn in HLF did "exactly the opposite" of what Doc was just suggesting for Ackman. (Sort of like a different point within the point one's trying to make.)

Josh Brown admitted, "It is, a really really bad loss. It is a debacle of a stock."

Karen Finerman said on the 5 p.m. show that Ackman can't be "wildly optimistic" about the stock.

Book is called Even the Odds, can read excerpts here

CNBC superfox Leslie Picker on Tuesday's Halftime Report said some see Ackman's VRX gambit as "kind of a deja vu of JCPenney," even though the dollar amount this time is much worse.

Pete Najarian asserted that at the Najarian shop in Minneapolis, they avoid disasters like this because "5% allocation is the biggest that we will go."

Kari Firestone trumpeted Bill Ackman's record, asserting, "This is one trade among mony." Firestone added, "I wrote a book about risk-taking," which apparently Bill didn't heed during this experience.

Kourtney Gibson, who peppers her comments with "at the end of the day" (Drink) and did so 4 times (sic Quadruple Drink) on Tuesday within about 90 seconds, said the message is, "Be disciplined."

Sensing a trend, Leslie Picker even threw in her own "at the end of the day" (Drink).

Josh Brown said it wasn't just Ackman in VRX, that it was one of the most crowded hedge-fund hotels he's ever seen, stating Sequoia was in it too and pointing out this wasn't an overnight collapse but one that took years.

David Maris said VRX stock on Tuesday was feeling the effects of the market recognizing that an important insider is walking away. He said the fair value of VRX is $10-$13, but you'd want to buy it below that to give yourself a "pretty big margin of safety."

Probably overstating things a bit, Bethany McLean on Power Lunch said that when Ackman came on CNBC and said Jim Chanos' VRX analysis was wrong, it was a "great moment in, in, in history and a great moment in TV."

Seema makes it to Englewood Cliffs, wears royal blue

Michael Morris on Tuesday's Halftime said "sure," he feels a little late on his DIS call; now he's "incrementally enthusiastic" on the stock.

Morris said investors haven't gotten over the "ESPN overhang" (Drink), which is what makes the stock appealing.

Jon Najarian called DIS a buy, even mentioning Zika (first time we've heard that on the show in many months).

"Free agent" Mike Mayo, offering some goofy "pi" theory (but at least he made it to Englewood Cliffs unlike everyone else), had mike trouble; Judge deftly filled airtime before Mayo could make the case for rising net interest margin.

But Mayo said there could be a "speedbump with the Trump bump" in bank stocks.

Pete Najarian, from Minnesota, asked Mayo if C has "the most torque" now. Mayo said it's still trading below tangible book, but "I don't think Citigroup is moving fast enough."

Kourtney Gibson said JPM "has a tremendous way to go still."

Judge brought in weatherfox Angle Lassman, who was a volleyball recruit at Florida Institute of Technology and enjoys the beach and fashion in her spare time, for an update on the big Northeastern storm.

Doc said April 6 calls in WFT were popular; he speculated that the buyers were "betting on a quick pop out of crude." Pete Najarian said DAL has pulled back from the Buffett Bump, but the June 50 calls were being bought.

Brian Stutland said oil's plunge figures to have shaken some people out, but it has to hold $46 to maintain the uptrend. Jim Iuorio said he's looking for a short-term bounce to 49 or 50.

Doc said you might get a chance to buy FDX at 185.

"Nike, the marketing machine is back," declared Kourtney Gibson.

Pete Najarian agrees with Bank of America's pro-WMT call, citing ecommerce.

Doc's Final Trade was DLPH. Pete said JPM even though he doesn't own it. Kourtney Gibson said she bought XOM just before the show.

[Monday, March 13, 2017]

Josh: 50 ‘easy’ for SCHW

On the Feb. 24 Halftime Report, when the stock was 47, Andrew Left announced a short of MBLY.


Judge of course never mentioned that on Monday's Halftime, preferring to sleep while his panelists haggled over whether there's a mean reversion with non-U.S. markets.

Pete Najarian called MBLY a "great fit for Intel." Sarat Sethi said to watch Delphi.

Judge questioned if MBLY got a high enough price. Stephen Weiss said he's looking into it. Sarat Sethi suggested the price reflects a "peaking" auto cycle.

Everyone being asleep at the switch, the forest was missed through the trees, specifically 1) how this deal reflects the animal spirits of this market and 2) this deal might account for Doc's unusual call-buying in INTC recently. (Note: The announcement didn't do much for INTC.)

Meanwhile, Meg Tirrell explained why people like the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to run the FDA.

Weiss said he's heard Gottlieb on the air, "he cuts right to it, he's very commercial, and no politics when he talks."

Pete Najarian suggested Gottlieb might be good for big pharma. Weiss joked that people should buy the Russian XBI, actually one of the show's best lines in months.

Weiss said if the Fed doesn't hike in March, the 10-year yield will "collapse."

"Anything with banks would get killed," said Sarat Sethi.

Josh Brown said 50 is "easy" for SCHW.

Joe Terranova said NAV has "stabilized the rate of decline."

"Boeing's just a market stock at this point," Weiss said.

Sarat Sethi said to own MSFT and keep owning it.

Pete said October 11 calls in ECA were popular while people were selling April 10 puts. (No one said a word about the all-important oil plunge.)

Joe likes the buy-MRVL call. Sarat Sethi said to look at the macro situation as well as the stock. Josh Brown said the stock is at resistance, so it might take a pause, but the longer it consolidates here, the better it looks.

Joe touted BX and said Judge didn't like his tie.

Weiss likes XBI. Brown likes AMD, and Sethi likes semis, specifically QCOM, INTC and NVDA. (This writer is long NVDA.) Joe likes V over MA. Josh likes both. Sarat Sethi has been selling MMM as it hits all-time highs.

The show would've been a disaster (see below) if not for the double-presence of Seema Mody in cream/beige slacks combo, including hand in pocket.

Someone persuaded Judge on MBLY deal day to spend 20 minutes on EM catch-up scenarios


The only positive was that this didn't happen in the presence of Tim Seymour.

In authorizing an uninteresting, pointless and quagmire of a conversation about non-U.S. equities, Judge demolished the always-crucial opening 20 minutes of Monday's Halftime.

At the end of the program, he admitted he let the panel "go unabated for like 6 (sic) straight minutes at the top of the show."

Joe Terranova curiously said, "I think everyone's kinda behind the curve here on these geographic allocations."

Sarat Sethi said you can get "huge emerging markets" and international exposure from companies such as Nestle, Novartis, Diageo.

Josh Brown was the one who got carried away, stating Europe stocks have had a "lost decade," fair enough, but contending that ultimately, laggards such as Europe will outperform, and S&P players should prepare for that.

But Stephen Weiss said it takes catalysts to move stocks, pointing out Italy and Spain haven't grown for a decade. Josh said earnings are accelerating. Weiss the reflation trade hasn't happened in Europe yet and won't happen until Draghi takes his foot off the gas pedal.

Sarat Sethi said, "If Europe goes up, so do we."

Josh said "there's no right way" to gain emerging market exposure and pointed out that over time, a lot of the returns stem from currency, and it'd be a shame to get the stocks right but the hedging wrong.

Joe insisted there's been a "monumental shift in fiscal policy initiatives in India."

Josh haggled with others multiple times over stocks vs. "revenues."

[Friday, March 10, 2017]

Richards: A year without
big corrections

Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime Report said he thinks we'll get a correction, because of the 10-year, but not more than 7%.

Tony Dwyer, who's been defying Karen Finerman's logic in trying to call a correction, noted a lot of enthusiasm but said not to abandon long positions; if you're "levered long," come back to a normal position; he actually claimed he wants the VIX to be over 20 before buying.

Nevertheless, "The animal spirits are alive," Dwyer admitted.

On the other hand, Paul Richards stated, "I really love big corrections in markets. This is a year we're not gonna get them."

Richards added, "As long as we can get through France in May, we should be absolutely fine."

Richards also suggested now's a good time to buy Europe.

Josh Brown said one of the worst things you could've done in the last couple years is getting out in anticipation of corrections.

Brown said MAN is having a "flawless uptrend."

Jon Najarian explained why the rate hike is "priced in," which makes him think yields aren't breaking out to 3.0%.

Seema Mody electrified the program in new black ensemble with a Kensho Stats update.

‘This is a buy in oil’

Sounds like Friday's Halftime gang wasn't having John Kilduff's $42 crude prediction nor Joe "40 is 'where it possibly is headed'" Terranova's warning from a day earlier.

"This is a buy in oil," Paul Richards said Friday, suggesting the Saudis won't allow a crash.

Doug Terreson told Judge we're "pretty close" to a short-term crude low and said he'd put "real money" into Shell and CVX as well as COP.

In a curious presentation that sorta suggested oil's plunging and that oil might've bottomed at the same time, Jon Najarian said April 45 puts in WTI "were just exploding," but then the volatility cooled off on Friday.

Even Tony Dwyer said he's getting "warmer, not colder," to energy as oil falls.

On Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman pointed to the Saudi Aramco deal and suggested a "concerted, huge effort" to maintain "some sort of floor on oil."

Josh Brown nonetheless said WTI is "what's bothering the market." Doug Terreson agreed with Jim Lebenthal's suggestion that refiners, some with high valuations, are being priced with "more of a hybrid-type valution."

Liesman: 55 ‘perfect’ for oil

Steve Liesman on Friday's Halftime said the jobs report would've had to be a lot weaker to derail a Fed hike.

Liesman said the market and Fed are actually "pretty much on the same page" for a change in rate-hike outlook.

He also stated 55 crude is a "perfect number" and suggested the Fed won't be too concerned around 49.

Josh Brown said he's been waiting for YUM to take off; maybe Evercore's Friday upgrade will do the trick.

Jim Lebenthal completely disagrees with the WGO downgrade.

Jon Najarian said MTN's strategy of buying up smaller resorts is working.

Josh Brown said he still likes NVDA "for all the original reasons." He suggested setting a stop just below 95. Doc said what NVDA is doing with MSFT is just "amazing." He likes NVDA but likes MSFT "even more." (This writer is long NVDA.)

Brown also touted AMD.

Judge suggested again that Tepper's comments have kept SNAP afloat.

Jim Lebenthal retouted GM.

Doc touted CSCO on the strength of July 36 calls.

[Thursday, March 9, 2017]

If oil’s going to 40, shouldn’t we be buying airlines?

The monstrous week (actually just a couple days) of crude oil was front and center on Thursday's Halftime Report.

Unfortunately, things got off to a sluggish start when Joe Terranova spent minutes explaining why it shouldn't be a surprise before finally addressing Judge's question as to whether it affects the stock market: "Yes it does if you get below $40," said Joe.

Actually, we're just the amateurs, but if oil slides to 41 over the next few weeks, the stock market isn't going anywhere.

Jim Lebenthal backed Joe's comments about this not being a surprise. Sarat Sethi said "the band of 40 to 60 still works."

Stephen Weiss seemed to think crude and growth are not tied at the hip, stating you'd have to be living in a cave for the last 6 months or a year to believe the U.S. economy is not improving.

Then came CNBC longtime oil expert John Kilduff, who said crude's slide is "confirmatory" (sic) that long speculators have "thrown in the towel," and we'll see the November lows of $42. (Actually, if they've already "thrown" it (past tense), it's probably a buy.)

Jon Najarian, who along with Steph Link was rattling off oil plays a couple days ago, said oil's slide will be a "catalyst" for some of the smaller names to get rolled up.

Judge asked one of the best questions but didn't ask it well enough, whether we're going to have more of those high-yield concerns like when oil began to slide in 2015. Weiss said the high-yield markets are familiar at dealing with this, so no. (Judge didn't ask whether Texas banks or other Texas plays will take a hit if crude reaches Kilduff's level.) (Or whether some dictator might create a "geopolitical incident" to goose the price.) (Or whatever happened to the $250 "supershock.")

Sarat Sethi touted refiners, but Joe and Jim suggested that in the short term, they might not be so great.

Joe said he "wouldn't get too excited" about natural gas' climb. But Kilduff says he likes it now.

Curiously, you'd think that if crude is falling to Kilduff's level or Joe's possible 40 while Weiss' great economy is still intact, you'd think airlines would be a screaming buy. Sarat Sethi said he'd buy AAL at these levels but predicted upside in the sector only starting in the 2nd quarter.

Anthony Grisanti, who just a week ago predicted crude will hit 60 by early summer, said people bought gold when Trump was elected fearing a bad economy, but that's not happening, and he doesn't see a reason to own gold. Jeff Kilburg noted the technicals but warned of tension with China over South Korea.

Panelists would rather talk to Toni about AAPL than TSLA

Toni Sacconaghi, who initiated TSLA with a $250 target, joined Thursday's Halftime to talk about that name rather than his staple, AAPL, and said he likes the electric-car market long term but thinks a lot has been priced in to TSLA. (But he didn't mention a subscription model.)

Toni said SCTY adds "incremental risk" to Tesla but then said with a straight face that Tesla "wants to build an integrated environmentally friendly home where you'll have Tesla solar panels, you'll have Tesla energy storage that will- will capture that, uh, the energy from that storage, and it'll charge your car. And you can return that energy back to the grid. That's a compelling vision."

Ah. The stock is discounting everyone building solar-panel homes and using the energy collected from them to charge their electric cars. (Remember when Steve Cortes used to call the solar space a joke?)

Steve Weiss shrugged off TSLA as "too expensive" and said it'll take years to grow into its valuation. It didn't sound like anyone on the panel owns it or wants to own it.

Jim: Beware ‘point of no return’ of rising rates

Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime affirmed, "I stand by what I said the other day" about "plenty" of hedge fund managers being "uniquely qualified" for this market a social media correction. He said FB is the one name he'd buy on a pullback.

Stephen Weiss knocked the UBS analyst for putting only 10% upside on REGN. He said most of the recommendations were "generic," but he'd "dig into" the BIIB sell recommendation a bit more.

Jon Najarian said there was a "huge surge" in HIG March 49 calls. He said they bought April 55s too.

He said SPLS was "not an exciting stock" on Thursday.

Jim Lebenthal said the SIG-TIF story, "a tale of 2 companies," has "absolutely reversed" in the last year and a half, and SIG is now "very cheap."

Jim said he likes QCOM rather than MU.

Weiss mentioned CAVM.

Joe Terranova endorsed the TBT. Weiss (again) (Drink) mentioned OA. Jim said he's going to buy MSG because he doesn't think he owns enough of it. Doc said he likes WFM April 30 calls.

Jim Lebenthal suggested "there's gonna come a point of no return" (sic different than Day of Reckoning apparently) if rates keep rising to 3%.

[Wednesday, March 8, 2017]

Best calls of the 2017 market (besides Seema’s scorching olive green)

On Wednesday's Halftime, Judge reported that Carl Icahn reckons the market might have "run ahead of itself."


Judge didn't explain whether Carl is as hedged now as he was in August … when he really thought the market was ahead of itself.

Judge also reported David Tepper's comments from Squawk Box about not liking bonds but liking stocks at least to some degree.

Stephen Weiss said that what Tepper and Icahn said is not "terribly dissimilar." But the question, unasked by Judge, is why Carl's forecast is any more relevant than Marc Faber's.

"Financials I still think have a lot of room to go," said Weiss.

Jim Lebenthal insisted a rate hike doesn't matter and assured viewers they shouldn't try to time a correction, which brings us to an important observation: The 3 (or 4) most relevant comments about the 2017 stock market.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money just recently cross-examined Tim Seymour's over-commentary on preparing for a pullback, with Karen noting that to play a pullback, you have to guess right on the timing of both the pullback and the time to re-enter, which seems very hard to do.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money has repeatedly stated the old axiom, "The market doesn't give you this long to sell the top." That's been absolutely true since the election, and when some folks have panicked on the few bad days, there's actually been no reason to exit … anything.

Around the inauguration, Steve Grasso pointed out that everyone was talking about the buy-the-election-sell-the-inaugural trade, and stocks' performance on Inauguration Day confirmed the market was only going higher.

Finally … most importantly of all … it's been said by a few people from time to time, including Kevin O'Leary, but not as well as Jon Najarian said it on Wednesday's Halftime, asserting Mark Cuban is "so wrong, because the animal spirits that were bottled up for 8 years are loose."

Like Wade Garrett put it in "Road House," exxxxxxxxxxxxxxactly.

There's a level of giddiness about the stock market not seen in this century, people excited about doing ANYTHING in this market, chasing the leaders, the laggards, the longs, the shorts, it's like if Cincinnati Reds fans were seeing a redux of the 1976 season.

Things will go up and things will go down, but the stock market is going to be the place to be for a while.

Kilburg: Crude’s $50 backstop

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime dismissed Judge's notion that David Tepper might have "reset the narrative" in SNAP, stating the stock has temporarily run out of sellers and it still has to deal with decelerating growth.

Jon Najarian said SNAP is making the "same kind of claim" as GoPro did about becoming a media company. Doc said Tepper bought SNAP "because it's defensible because nobody can sell for a year. I mean of the insiders."

Steve Weiss said Tepper bought it "for the reason he buys everything, OK. Because he thought it was going up." But Weiss said SNAP can't possibly move the needle for Tepper given the size of his stake.

In the day's major development, Jeff Kilburg said crude's move is a "big deal thing" and said the move is "flushing a lot of weak longs."

But he thinks the range is intact. "I think they protect $50," Kilburg said.

Brian Stutland said 51 crude is time to "maybe step in."

Jesse Drucker of the New York Times eloquently explained how a professor believes that Caterpillar intentionally has been repatriating cash and avoiding taxes to boost its stock price.

Josh Brown made a good funny about CAT; "spoiler alert, they'll pay a fine, no one'll really have any serious problem. The stock price maybe hiccups back into that gap."

Doc said INTC May 39 calls were being bought in big numbers.

Josh Brown pointed out the XLV is having a good year.

Josh said to watch the IYR ahead of a Fed hike; he'd be buying at a 4% yield.

Jim Lebenthal said AAPL is becoming "more of a market stock." He owns it and won't sell it but can't call it cheap.

ADDYY watcher Erinn Murphy said the company has "resurging brand momentum"; she likes it better than NKE and has a 51 target on the latter.

Murphy said the presence of NKE and ADDYY "crowds out" potential growth for UAA.

Jon Najarian said he loves ADDYY. Jim Lebenthal said he has a half-position in NKE and wouldn't mind a 10% discount to pick up the other half; he said a 21 P.E. for the name is cheap.

Doc said he's not in SWKS despite its big year. Weiss mentioned ESLT, "an under-the-radar name." Doc said to watch BCRX, "exploding to the upside."

Judge referred to the push-pull of the Trump presidency "in and of itself" (sic redundant) (Drink).

Jim Lebenthal said he's selling his firm, Lebenthal Asset Management, to South Street Securities. Congrats to Jim. Judge didn't ask if the multiple is higher than what SkyBridge got.

[Tuesday, March 7, 2017]

Joe says ‘plenty’ of hedge fund managers are ‘uniquely qualified’ for the current no-vol, straight-up market

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Leslie Picker noted, "It's fun to hate hedge funds these days."

Agreed. Which is why SkyBridge Capital's sale at 7.2 times normalized EBITDA when the going rate is 3-5 times earnings is all the more impressive, but somehow the numbers haven't even been mentioned in nearly 60 minutes of Halftime Report interviews over the last 2 months.

But whatever.

Picker on Tuesday reported on how a Delaware judge wrote about not liking activist funds.

"It's probably more gray than it is black or white," said Josh Brown, who called the article "extraordinarily one-sided" and said it "probably is not backed up with data."

Joe Terranova then proceeded to wade into a hornets nest, trying to defend the "plenty" of hedge fund managers who are "uniquely qualified" for today's market.

Brown was having none of it. "There's probably a couple of hundred out of 11,000," shrugged Josh, asking if Joe can identify those in advance and is it worth the cost to identify them and can people even get in to the ones that are identified.

Josh said for a $3 million household to set aside $500,000 to find the next David Einhorn is "laughably hilarious." Joe said he's talking about folks with $20 million or $25 million. "The data says they can't do this either," Josh said.

But both agreed that Carl Icahn can do it.

But neither explained what's happened to the "Day of Reckoning."

Joe suggests social-media rollover is on the horizon

Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime the way he's opened most of them since late November, stating there are "some" people (sic unclear who, perhaps Day of Reckoning types) "calling for a bigger pullback in the weeks ahead."

Jon Najarian said he thinks we'll just get a "softening."

Joe Terranova said the rallies that used to extend late in the day aren't doing that anymore and are no longer taking us to new highs, "we haven't seen that in a while" (sic actually occurred Wednesday). He said the rate hike would be OK, though it's possible the Friday print could make the market "really, really uncomfortable" with it.

Joe suggested the big pullback could come unannounced, based on something overseas, where people "wake up in the morning" and the plunge has already happened. (Sounds like a Day of Reckoning.)

Doc said he's "completely out" of SNAP and knocked the company's paltry revenue. In another eyebrow-raiser, Joe offered, "I think the bigger question is, at what point do all these social media companies begin to roll over." (LNKD can't roll over; it already got bought for $26 billion.) (This is what the hedge fund managers of $20-$25 million households earn their money for.)

No takers for PBR

Jim Iuorio on Tuesday's Halftime Report said he thinks crude goes "probably higher." Scott Nations said oil's in the middle of a "gently upward channel."

Sully spoke with the Petrobras chief, Pedro Parente, who said the company's implementing its strategic plan. (Zzzzzzzzzz.) Parente said the company's working on a 50-60 crude range for 3 years (unless he said 2 years; we're not totally sure).

Josh Brown said PBR is "not a well-run company" and attributed its gains to finally no sellers being left.

Stephanie Link, who said at one point she's looking at energy for "laggards" and that this is the seasonal time for energy, suggested CVX and APC and EOG and CXO and WFT with its "game-changer" CEO.

Joe Terranova said he'd rather try CHK than PBR.

Doc noted WFT's big day (Judge rightly noted Doc calling this one weeks ago) and said he likes COG and ESV; he made COG his Final Trade.

Doc: This BUD’s for a trade

Sam Isaly on Tuesday's Halftime Report began his remarks stating that health care is a big part of the U.S. economy and then suggested investors should be looking worldwide.

Isaly likes ILMN and REGN.

Stephanie Link likes MYL.

Joe Terranova said he's been talking about life sciences for 6 months. He called PKI a "solid company" and mentioned TMO (again, though it's been a few weeks). (He didn't mention "Palo Alto.")

Stephanie Link said you'll have to be patient in DKS.

Joe Terranova said he'd consider buying CSX because it could get to 55.

Josh Brown said the shorts have "absolutely nailed" the SIG story.

Jon Najarian said DISH upgrades were a case of "great timing."

Doc reported that BUD May 110 and 115 calls were popular.

CNBC superfox Jane Wells made a welcome re-appearance, reporting from Vegas that DE is chasing CAT. Steph Link argued that CAT's end markets are troughing. Longtime DE fan Josh Brown, who has made a great call in the name, credited DE management for navigating the weak market, and now things are looking up.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was CRM, another name Doc called just a day ago before an afternoon pop (Doc said he's out of the stock now but into the calls); Steph Link said CL.

[Monday, March 6, 2017]

From ‘most presidential he’s been so far’ to ‘a little insane’ in 4 days

On the heels of the president of the United States' strange eavesdropping allegations, the S&P 500 on Monday tumbled down to a level not seen in … 3 days.

Nevertheless, Judge was asking at the top of Monday's Halftime, "How much longer the Trump rally can last." (Which basically is the question for every minute of every program until there's a bona fide correction, but whatever.)

Jim Cramer said there's a "lull" in earnings and suggested the market thinks "the tweets are a little insane."

"I don't think the market's going down 35%," said Joe Terranova, who contended Thursday was a "very euphoric type of day" even though last Thursday he said it didn't look like new money was entering the market on Wednesday's big climb.

Stephen Weiss on Monday said it's a "Damn Yankees" type of market. "We're seeing that remorse," Weiss opined, stating the tweets suggest people are wondering about how long the GOP "coalition" can hold together.

Jim Cramer cringed over the thought of "Nixon"-like allegations.

Former CNBCer Kate Kelly, now with the NYT and lookin' great, joined the program to interview Jeff Currie to say 9 out of 10 hedge funds are "skeptical" about the rally (perhaps except for the "very euphoric" Thursday), given that all the legislative headwinds appear stalled. "We don't have any details" of tax or other plans, Kelly noted.

Kevin O'Leary said the tweets are merely Trump "style." Josh Brown asked O'Leary if it's really "style" to tweet about Barack Obama conducting supposedly illegal spying. (But Josh didn't ask about the status of the special prosecutor for Hillary's emails that previously shocked the stock market.)

Brown said there's virtually a "1 to 1" correlation between the S&P and Donald Trump's weekly approval ratings. Which apparently means all that he has to do is skip the tweets and meet CEOs to drive the S&P higher.

"Where is that tax plan," Brown asked, stating it's 2 weeks past due.

"Tweeting is now a policy tool," said Kate Kelly.

"We shouldn't say it's just a tweet," Josh insisted.

In the show's most startling call, Jim Lebenthal asserted, "The presidency is losing its relevancy under this administration."

Given that, "Today's move is just noise," Jim said.

What about tweets that sank the pharma sector for 18 months?

He certainly doesn't need this page to fight his battles for him.

But we're getting tired of Weiss and Judge needling Jim Lebenthal and are looking forward to Jim hopefully dispensing some verbal forearm shivers.

Weiss again on Monday's Halftime hectored Jim before he could enunciate a point about presidential tweets, with Jim finally stating that if George Bush did the same tweet, the market would be down 5, 6, 7%.

"I don't care anymore," Jim said.

Pressed by Weiss, who claimed Jim is always gonna be long, Jim said he's been 50% cash "sometime in the last 6 years" and said he sold BA on Friday.

In one of the best observations of the day, Jim Cramer pointed out other countries' stock markets have been better than ours recently.

Mike Santoli touted his CNBC Pro article asserting that investors are OK with market multiples because $131 earnings seem doable. Jim asked Santoli where the marginal buyer is given the sentiment levels. Santoli agreed there's "fluff" but doesn't think sentiment is at a "climactic peak."

Jim Cramer bluntly said a 3% pullback would be a "gift."

Joe Terranova said the algorithms "could (sic) care less" about sentiment.

"You guys were talking about a half percent down today like it's the end of the world," Jim Lebenthal scoffed at select colleagues.

Joe said that NVDA has fallen about 20% in a month without a single fundamental change and warned the whole market could do the same. (This writer is long NVDA.)

Kevin O'Leary said nobody wants to buy bonds. Joe twice demanded to know what that has to do with NVDA.

"What's he talking about? Fixed income's seeing inflows," Joe scoffed.

Josh Brown said there's a "graveyard" of analysts who were timing the S&P on valuation.

Cramer on ‘buy side’ of DB

Judge on Monday's Halftime brought in Mike Mayo as a "free agent" analyst.

In a weak go-round on European banks or something to do with Europe, Mayo said "better late than never" for DB to raise capital; U.S. banks did it 7 years ago (but right now they've NEVER been this strong before and LeBron James is the JPM of basketball yada yada yada).

"My incinlation is to be on the buy side of Deutsche Bank," said Jim Cramer.

Kevin O'Leary demanded a royalty from every use of "easy peasy." "Think about what's going on in France," O'Leary said, suggesting Marine Le Pen has a 50/50 chance of winning. "I'm going long Europe."

Mayo said there could be a "bump in the road" over the next 2 months.

Jim Cramer touted KEY, insisting it won't go back to 12.

"Sure it goes back to 12," said Kevin O'Leary, adding, "I don't care what Trump tweets anymore."

Cramer said O'Leary previously called for a sell on banks under the notion that Elizabeth Warren would be running them.

But nobody explained whether ESPN is already priced in

Jim Cramer on Monday's Halftime Report said the NFLX upgrader needs to explain why he's missed so much of the run.

Joe Terranova said if you're long NFLX, this call doesn't have to shake you out of it.

Josh Brown said the NFLX chart is a "really ugly candle" right now. "This is a very extended run," Josh asserted.

Kevin O'Leary said NFLX has always had an "artificial" bid that DIS will buy it.

"If Disney tries to buy this company, I'm shorting Disney," said Jim Lebenthal, forgetting that the company is always going to make more money than analysts think with "Star Wars" and Marvel franchises.

"I don't think there's a chance Disney buys 'em," said Stephen Weiss, pointing to "cable cord-cutting" and lots of good content. Weiss said it was a "b.s. upgrade," and the analyst is compelled to do the highest price target.

Weiss stated AAPL is "the only likely buyer" of NFLX.

Cramer said you have to buy the notion of SNAP as MTV to justify the valuation. "Crummy place for ads," Cramer agreed with Josh Brown.

But Josh said if "somebody big" wants into SNAP, the stock will go a lot higher.

"No one likes Twitter at all here," Cramer observed.

Joe mentions Palo Alto

Jon Najarian on Monday's Halftime Report said there was someone buying CRM May 90 calls and selling 75 puts. He also said someone's buying big AAPL 145 calls. "I'm in both," Doc said.

Jim Cramer said Alphabet "needs" Salesforce to get into enterprise.

Jim Lebenthal questioned if GRMN has the "moat" anymore.

Josh Brown touted FAST. "There aren't any natural sellers," Brown said.

Jim Lebenthal said GM is a "perfect" price. Stephen Weiss, who had a quiet show, touted airlines. Joe Terranova mentioned a onetime favorite he used to mention all the time, "Palo Alto" (Drink).

[Friday, March 3, 2017]

Entire show takes place without reference to AAPL

The star guest of Friday's Halftime was Andy Chase (for performance), the Barron's legend who once remarked that even the folks at Stanford couldn't explain negative interest rates.

Chase opined that the market has room to run. "My guess over the next couple, 3 years is another 50% or something like that. … I think there's a long way to go," he said.

But that didn't rankle anyone like Chase's suggestion of a 25 market multiple.

Steve Weiss said "it's kinda ludicrous" to talk 25 P.E. given that stocks couldn't do that with rates at 1%. Chase said we last saw a 25 P.E. around 2000 but said the 10-year then was 6%.

Kevin O'Leary scoffed at the idea of a 25 P.E. while the Fed is raising rates, "not on this planet."

Jim Lebenthal grumbled that there's "such a dispersion" among stocks in any sector; he can find ones to sell and ones to buy on any given day.

Josh Brown though said "there's never been a bull market in history that's stopped because we've reached a certain P.E., uh, level," nor has a bear market ended for the same reason.

Judge for whatever reason mentioned the negative guest who was on Thursday but isn't worth mentioning or even having on the show. Chase said it's not a Trump rally but something that's been "pent-up."

Chase said Yellen could throw speed bumps into Trump's goal of revving the economy by hiking rates, in fact, it "could be kinda fun to watch."

Kevin O'Leary said Trump's speech was "the most presidential he's ever sounded." (Judge said the other day it might be a "turning point.") But O'Leary said he didn't hear about a Dodd-Frank repeal in the speech and thinks it has lost momentum; also he senses that even tax reform is getting pushed back, which makes him not like the financials as Chase does.

Regional banks are "toxic waste," O'Leary said.

Chase said bank valuations aren't scary and twice said they've been in the "penalty box" (Drink), and he also mentioned "penalty box" (Double Drink) for health care.

Weiss disagreed with Chase as to whether "everybody's so negative … that's not true."

But Chase said over time, people panic about things. "My grandfather built a bomb shelter in the '60s," Chase said.

Regardless, "I think the euro's gonna go lower. I think the yen's gonna go lower," Chase said.

Doc indicated it's far more likely that regulation will be rolled back in the U.S. rather than in Europe, so like Chase, he likes banks.

Jim Lebenthal touted VZ and GOOGL.

Carl Icahn works with a guy who was awarded a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant

Regarding the stock of the week, Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime said he sold his SNAP Friday after Pete Najarian sold Thursday.

Doc suggested it might not cost much to short SNAP starting Tuesday; Stephen Weiss suggested you can't even short it now.

Pointing to SHAK, Josh Brown said the "artificial scarcity" can drive stocks to dizzying short-term heights.

Kevin O'Leary said he didn't want to own SNAP with a 90-day lockup.

Jim Lebenthal said he's getting calls from people to buy SNAP. Weiss said it was "well-managed" by the Morgan Stanley syndicate desk.

Meanwhile, Jim Lebenthal quibbled with Phil LeBeau over whether GM was throwing in the towel on Opel. Jim said they were actually throwing in the towel on "politics in Europe" and asserted that Opel was "right on the cusp of making money." Phil said he's heard that a lot in the last 20 years.

Jim insisted the notion of peak auto is "off the table."

Doc said if the Fed doesn't hike now, "it's a mistake."

Doc said ESV March 10 calls were being aggressively bought; he'll hold "for at least a week."

Josh Brown said MCD is addressing technology, which is fine, but "they're not doing enough about the quality of the food." Steve Weiss said "you don't go there for quality; you go there for convenience."

Judge finally acknowledged the death of the original Judge Wapner and tried to make an excuse for not mentioning it Monday.

Judge said Joseph Wapner was "no relation, by the way."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera unleashed a dynamite outfit as guest host of Friday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but despite her best efforts, the show was flat. MCC said on Options Action that "women wore jackets in the '80s."

[Thursday, March 2, 2017]

Before we move on to some dude’s regular gloom prediction, shouldn’t we deal with Carl’s ‘Day of Reckoning’?

Joe Terranova bluntly declared on Thursday's Halftime Report that SNAP is "indicative of some of the euphoria that we're seeing in the market."

Josh Brown cautioned that what SNAP does on its IPO day has no relevance to what it will do afterward. He said he uses the product, but it's "convoluted."

Jon Najarian said 88% in his Twitter poll said to "dump" SNAP, but he's going to keep it.

Pete Najarian though said the SNAP valuation is "ridiculous" and "ludicrous" and announced at the end of the show that he ditched his stake.

Meanwhile, Joe Terranova said Wednesday's rally didn't look like "fresh money" coming into the market; "to me that looked like institutions" and those who "bet against" some of the economic fundamentals and Trump's growth prospects.

Steve Liesman said, "I think they're gonna hike rates in March if that uh February jobs report is solid."

Liesman said Wednesday's rally was like a running back who's not only fast but tough. He also said the market "could (sic actually meant "couldn't") care less" about whatever kinds of headwinds are out there.

CNBC's Morgan Brennan showed pictures of automobiles in front of the Caterpillar building in Peoria, Ill.

Joe said of CAT, "Anything below 90, I'd get out of it."

Addressing KR, Joe said food prices have declined for 14 straight quarters, something that hasn't happened since the '50s.

Doc said there was big buying in ANF 12 calls late Wednesday.

Josh Brown predicted easier comps ahead for SHAK.

Pete Najarian hailed AVGO and the others in the AAPL chip space. Pete thinks there's "upside" in MU and it could hit 30 but he thinks there are "better names." Josh Brown likes the MU chart though.

Josh said to ignore Thursday's volatility in AMD.

Doc said XLV (Zzzzzzzz) June 72 puts were being aggressively bought. Pete said he likes XLF (Zzzzzz) April 26 calls.

Judge held up sheets of paper of the Pimco note about getting out of banks (snicker). Pete said GS could "easily" get to $300. Doc said he doesn't agree with the note because rolling back regulation is much easier for the administration than something like repealing Obamacare.

Anthony Grisanti said he's "still betting" that crude hits 60 by early summer. Brian Stutland said he'd be a buyer below 53.

Joe said viewers should have a "sell discipline." Doc said there might be a "washout" in gold stocks.

Judge brought in a CNBC staple to predict another stock-market crash and gave him far more time than most guests get, but this individual's forecasts are so worthless, we don't report on him anymore.

[Wednesday, March 1, 2017]

Stalled Presidential Initiatives (cont’d) (a/k/a Judge asks if Scaramucci will have role in the administration but doesn’t clarify extent of Scaramucci being a Trump ‘confidant’)

Given that he enjoys the hedge fund world and asserts himself as the industry's spokesman on the Halftime Report, you'd think Steve Weiss would've been interested in asking Anthony Scaramucci on Wednesday's Halftime how Scaramucci managed to get 7.2 times normalized EBITDA for SkyBridge's fund-of-funds business model when the going rate is 3-5 times earnings and the industry isn't exactly without critics.

But no. Neither Weiss nor "Judge" Scott Wapner was interested in that.

Weiss did ask Scaramucci if Trump's Tuesday speech will mark an end to all of Trump's Twitter ranting that is "detracting" for many. (See, there are questions in which the asker already knows the answer and knows the listener is not going to provide that answer but asks anyway.)

Scaramucci said it may be "detracting" for Weiss but maybe not the "disaffected" people that Trump is "messaging" (sic verb) to.

Scaramucci — it wasn't made clear if he was speaking in any kind of semi-official capacity even though he spoke of hoping to land a position in the administration — predicted a "crystalization" (snicker) of Donald Trump's policies in 90 days.

Weiss pointed out that the previous president marched into office vowing to close Guantanamo, and it's still open. "We had no economic policy; we had no foreign policy," Weiss grumbled.

But the Moochmeister asserted, "We kicked the can down the road 3 times during the Obama administration" on taxes.

Weiss admitted, "Pete and I were sittin' on a lot of cash." (Yes. Either 35% or 40%, depending on which broadcast one's referring to.)

Scaramucci called Trump a "communications czar" and said Trump's bodyguard Keith has actually seen Trump "sink 10-foot putts" and that Trump even makes free-throw shots with a "full trench coat on."

Someone tells Judge the market might be getting a little bit overheated

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report actually suggested Donald Trump's speech might even have been a "turning point" for the administration.

But the greatest hyperbole was reserved for Pete "35 or 40% cash" Najarian, who said of Trump's management team, "I don't know how you could've assembled a better one than what he has done so far."

Pete said it's "probably some of the smartest minds financially ever to be involved in a presidency."

Actually, we can't disagree with that because we really don't know, but we do know that the 2 previous administrations claim Paul Volcker, Lawrence Summers, Hank Paulson, Larry Lindsey and Dick Cheney, so there are plenty of egos staking claim to this particular throne.

Anthony Scaramucci claimed Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn are in "harmony" with Paul Ryan but more modestly than Pete, likened the Trump team to the "Rubin-Summers era." But Scaramucci conceded Trump is a "polarizing figure."

Meanwhile, assessing Tuesday's performance, Jon Najarian offered, "The tone was terrific … exactly what the market wanted to hear."

Scaramucci said Trump is a "statesman" that we're gonna see over the next 4 years.

Grandpa Eddie Perkin, who likes dividend-paying stocks now, said we're still waiting for "evidence" that these policies really will happen. But Stephen "40% cash" Weiss said there was no "expectation" of details last night, so it was a "perfect speech," and "even the New York Times had problems picking a fight with it; that's how good it was."

Jim Lebenthal tangled with Judge over whether it's "easy" to push through a $100-billion-a-year infrastructure package for 10 years; then Judge decided to pick on Jim for the hour, even carping about his own failure to ask Scaramucci about the sale of his firm over whether there was a "debate" about rates on Monday.

Judge said someone (unnamed) told him we're "starting to knock on the door of euphoria" in the stock market, which means "someone" is catching up with this page from weeks ago.

But Jeremy Siegel said he was "blown away" by Trump's speech; "it was a thousand times better than I expected."

Siegel said he thought the rally was on "real thin ice," but after the speech, he doesn't think so.

"The Democrats (were) even standing up and clapping," Siegel claimed.

Judge mentioned the tribute to the Navy SEAL and said "in and of itself" (sic redundant).

2-&-20 vs. S&P up 32 in a day (cont’d)

On Wednesday's Halftime Report, CNBC superfox Ylan Mui reported that the Labor Dept. wants to delay the onset of the fiduciary rule by 60 days.

Judge pointed out that Anthony Scaramucci, who was still in the guest chair at that point, wrote an op-ed about the fiduciary rule. "That was a high-risk op-ed because it was 4 days before the election," Scaramucci chuckled, noting there were apparently "a lot of sore people on the other side of that." (But at least he didn't bring it up with some guy from Russia.)

"That rule is a disaster," Scaramucci continued, echoing an occasional if infrequent unanimous beef from Halftime Report regulars.

Steve Weiss chimed in, "That's one of the dumbest rules I've ever seen by the way."

Not sure lacking genius-grant associates has hurt Carl over the years (but we are wondering whatever happened to the ‘Day of Reckoning’)

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report was enlisted to cross-promote Sidney Torres' new CNBC show, "The Deed."

The most interesting thing Torres, who wore shades for the interview, said was that he got canned as Lenny Kravitz's personal assistant. "He fired me back in 1996," Torres said.

Meanwhile, Jim Lebenthal said he disagrees with the INTC downgrade because of not just PCs but data centers and cellphones. He said it's fine not to want to own it, but to sell it is "crazy."

Judge said the analyst note's headline is, "The first stage is always denial."

Jim admitted, "You can draw that conclusion" but insisted he gave a "cogent" explanation for owning the shares.

Pete Najarian said data centers are sluggish, and INTC is spending to get into autonomous cars.

Meg Tirrell said "a lot of people have been trying to parse" Trump's comments on drug pricing.

Tirrell said Richard Mulligan is "probably one of the only folks to work with Carl Icahn who has won a MacArthur genius grant."

Pete said the LOW report and guidance was a "home run," but he said the stock is "ahead of itself."

Jim Lebenthal said BBY is at a "safe price" to start buying.

Steve Weiss said WTW guidance lifted the stock, but he called the stock "way too volatile" to play, and he doubts the takeout angle.

Jon Najarian, who had a quiet show, said Macau results were robust.

Jim Iuorio said it seems like the market "granted permission" for the Fed to hike in March. Scott Nations said we've violated the downtrend in 10-year futures. "The Treasury market does not look good," Nations said.

Doc said he "sold a lot of puts" in SCHW, ETFC, AMTD, "all of 'em big winners today."

Pete said there was "huge activity" in ROST calls. Doc said KR too.

Weiss mentioned OA and Jim mentioned GM.

Scaramucci returns, and bygones are bygones — including the stuff they talked about in January

Wel … come … back … (You'll have to hum the opening notes of that sensational television ditty.)

About 6 weeks after a chat in D.C. that broke the 2-year ice, Judge hosted onetime CNBC contributor Anthony Scaramucci at Englewood Cliffs for half of Wednesday's Halftime Report.

Judge even labeled Scaramucci on Wednesday as a "confidant of President Donald Trump."

The funny thing is, one of the subjects of the last chat, on Jan. 18, was Scaramucci's apparent new title, "Assistant to the president, director, office of the public liaison."

The inauguration hadn't even happened yet. And days later, according to The New York Times, "Mr. Scaramucci was left out of the group of about two dozen White House aides who were sworn in on Jan. 22."

Within 2 weeks, the title and post were apparently dropped.

This went virtually unmentioned on Wednesday's Halftime until Judge asked Scaramucci, "Are we going to see you in a, in a role within the White House?"

"Time will tell," said Scaramucci, explaining, "Unfortunately I got a very complicated business called SkyBridge Capital, uh, which I've sold, uh, unfortunately it takes about 90 days to get that transaction to wind down, but I've had terrific conversations with chief of staff Priebus and Steve Bannon, both of which (sic) I've known for many years, and I'm extremely confident that there will potentially be a role for me within the administration."

The issue, as Scaramucci hinted, was said to be the sale of SkyBridge, but for a reason he didn't mention, that it was bought by a Chinese conglomerate with ties to the party and might well be interested in cultivating White House influence.

However, it also came out that Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn't exactly happy about Scaramucci's performance at Davos in January (talk about a busy month).

Instead of asking Scaramucci how "presidential" Donald Trump appeared Tuesday night, Judge could've asked Scaramucci about a far more relevant topic to the show's viewers: Why a fund-of-funds asset manager in today's hyper-competitive passive-vs.-active environment could get $230 million, or 7.2 times normalized EBITA, in a sale, "a rich valuation for a fund-of-funds transaction" according to one observer quoted by Bloomberg who says buyers typically pay 3-5 times earnings.

But … Judge evidently didn't find those details newsworthy.

Nor the fact that in the last 24 hours, Scaramucci is taking flak for mentioning Democrats in a tweet about anti-Jewish hate crimes.

One of the curious angles of the Scaramucci-CNBC split is that it all started when Scaramucci a few years ago bought the rights to "Wall Street Week" and announced it during the SALT Conference, supposedly angering CNBC brass who weren't happy about a contributor delving into the TV business.

Now, Scaramucci, as with SkyBridge, is recused from "Wall Street Week," which is on Fox Business, where a series of anchors talk far more about politics than profits … and Scaramucci is back in the CNBC guest fold.

He may be in White House limbo.

But he's a headline machine.

More from Wednesday's Halftime later.

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