[Friday, May 29, 2009]

Fast Money Review: K-Fine
jams from the free-throw line

Quick thought on Jeff Macke: It's a week and a half since his (forced?) "timeout." Our gut feeling? If he's not back on Monday, forget it.

Friday belonged to Karen Finerman. Start manufacturing those K-Fine action hero dolls they showed on "Fast Money" several months ago. She gradually took over the show in a manner similar to what Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes engineered in the Steelers' last Super Bowl drive.

Most eye-opening: "I think the Dow is well on its way to complete irrelevancy ... if it's not already there." Then she repeated it.

We basically agree — honestly, until we started watching "Fast Money," it never occurred to us that seemingly every trader is operating under S&P 500 technicals, though even the likes of Dennis Gartman and Jon Najarian occasionally cite round Dow numbers as key levels.

Anyway, it was interesting to hear Karen so effusive on this point.

Dressed snappy as always, Karen was we think, the only panelist to mention the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index and expressing bewilderment as to why the market would overlook such an "awful" number.

She noted the poor day on the TBT (this writer exited, fast) but defiantly declared she's "not at all bullish" on Treasuries.

She also took down newcomer Steve Grasso in a big way on his suggestion (for the second day) that Aetna could replace GM in the Dow, explaining Aetna is about HMOs, not traditional insurance, and when Melissa Lee brought up replacing GM in the S&P 500 with potentially a solar stock, Karen complained "Why not Solarfun?"

(Note: No cougar talk today. We have no idea why Karen associated herself with this word — she has mentioned having a "trophy husband" who happens to be older than she is and will be celebrating a milestone birthday in October — but apparently it's good for some "Fast Money" gags. After all, we actually write about it.)

Joe Terranova wasn't as dominant, but has hit somewhat of a groove this week. We do single out his flaws (namely: repetition), but what can we say, he's feelin' it now and has brought some life to the show in the absence of Jeff Macke. (Yes, sigh, he said "we consolidated the gains" again in "Word on the Street," but we'll let that go.) CNBCfix has always said Terranova seems like a guy who was just handed a $10 million account to invest as he pleases. He's starting to bolster his unbridled market joy with more precision analysis.

We noted yesterday he did a great job of persistently questioning guest Dan Greenhaus on Greenhaus' bearish call. Today he re-energized the is-oil-too-high fracas with Pete Najarian and Karen Finerman and (even though we agree with Pete & Karen) successfully held his own on a day when K-Fine happened to be off the charts. He also acknowledged the day's defeat in RIMM but said he's still long. We wish he had followed the trail recently blazed by Tim Seymour in trashing some of these "Fast Fire" calls that date back more than, oh, a week or two that totally look like some hapless researcher was sent sifting through hours of past tape just to find something so there would be a "FF" for every panelist this Friday. Terranova was singled out (incredibly) for an April 6 negative call on gold. Friendly note to John Melloy and Susan Krakower: Let the CNBCfixes of the world (there's only one) expose the hideous trades (one sample: Guy Adami advising "chasing" FIG in the $7 range and then chuckling with MLee during the "Fast Fire") and give the panel a break, though we do like watching their faces when the bad trade is read to them. If people are still making trades this week based on something Terranova said on April 6, they're in serious short supply of a critical commodity and it isn't oil.

For whatever reason, Terranova did pronounce "Monsanto" as "Monsonto" a couple times. Perhaps he wants the show to sound a little more European or something?

Steve Grasso, despite the Aetna takedown, is picking up the "Fast Money" learning curve quite well in a short time and starting to actually get kinda good at slinging the b.s., an important element to the show. He said "Government doesn't tell us anything," then changed "anything" to "everything," and we were intrigued, would've liked him to continue down that path (even if we don't necessarily agree) that Tim Seymour (politicians in Michigan are basically labor leaders) and Eric Bolling (um, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton's 27% tariff on China may not exactly be a good idea) have traversed before.

If the others weren't clicking so well Friday, we would've used this occasion to do a thorough analysis of Jared Levy of Peak6 who is someone you're practically now guaranteed to see in some "Fast Money" clip at least once a day (yes, that's including the "Halftime Report" that we sort of view as illegitimate, except Dennis Gartman is on a lot and Dan Fitzpatrick, who apparently has upended Carter Worth as the show's go-to chartist, has had some good calls recently).

Levy knows his stuff — apparently too well. He needs to jettison the roids and relax. And learn to deliver a soundbite. Every question he's asked, he's drafting a War and Peace response and you sit there wondering, what the heck is he saying? Usually the script at the bottom of the screen is necessary for translation. Friday we think he said "sell some out-of-the-money puts" and was suggesting in some fashion DBA and/or DBC. Maybe it's not War and Peace, but The Sound and the Fury. Just the Cliffs Notes, please.

Brian Stutland is kind of in that same role, albeit a little more understandable, but as Dylan Ratigan would say, "What's the trade?" Stutland said the "run in oil is running out of steam."

Emily French of Consiliagra (we keep wanting to unload some Tom Hagen jokes when we hear that title), despite sporting an eye-catching hairstyle, also gave us overarching analysis that's best suited for "Squawk Box." Melissa Lee finally just said, so what does a regular joe out there do, and the response was "Nov 09 soy futures" and "Dec 09 corn futures." And the screen showed a graphic of DBA.

So there you go. ("Tom, I never thought you were a bad consigliere. Sonny, rest in peace, was a bad don.")

Here's an appearance that was really bizarre ... Mark Mahaney of Citigroup, a fairly common guest, was shown a few minutes before his time, awaiting his segment, for about a half-second during an inadvertent screen cut. When his segment occurred, something was strange about his hookup with Melissa Lee. Instead of the delay that often accompanies these conversations, it seemed like Mahaney knew what Lee had said before she was done asking. His second response to her did amount to an answer to her question, but was phrased as though he had taped the answer hours earlier. But then someone (we think Grasso) asked him a follow-up question, so clearly he must've really been on the show live.

Pete Najarian cracked us up in two places. First he referred to the company as "Keefe Brunette." Second, he started going off on how some "guy" from IBM is being wooed or already hired by Dell to run some part of the company or something, a curious angle that should've been left to the Web Extra (which we don't cover, sadly, unless it's a birthday celebration ... watch it a few times and you'll see why).

Jon Najarian said at "Halftime" the TBT could test $50.

A final eye-opener: Melissa Lee did a promotion for "Meet the Press," despite the fact there were no "Fast Money" or even CNBC panelists on it. We read somewhere that "Meet the Press" has flagged a bit since the election; hopefully it's not reliant on the "Fast Money Final Call" for a ratings boost.

"Carlo, you grew up in Nevada. When we make our move there, you’re gonna be my right-hand man..."

OK, enough already.

[Thursday, May 28, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Consolidate,
Macke, and some cougar talk

Jeff Macke is still hanging around, if only by a thread.

His profile remains on the "Fast Money" Web site, though that's not really indicative of anything because Web sites are notoriously under-maintenanced, and Dylan Ratigan's profile is probably still tucked away there somewhere.

Thursday, as "Fast Money" cut away to its first commercial break at the 21-minute mark, Macke's face appeared — for less than 1 second — in a promotional spot for the show that featured, however briefly, the four regular panelists (though Karen Finerman and Pete Najarian have missed so many days in recent months, there really is no set four-person lineup).

So he's not gone yet, and maybe he'll even return, though if so we don't expect the show to summon Dennis Kneale for any "Takedown" or "Take Your Position" segments.

Karen Finerman, in chic pink ruffled top, noted Thursday that Bank of America apparently finished its fund-raising. Let's hope Macke got that call, press release or statement from the BAC people that made him so edgy a week ago.

Joe Terranova again proclaimed the market is "consolidating the gains of March and April." We can't wait until it "unconsolidates."

Terranova and Pete Najarian engaged in a good little debate over whether $70 oil is good for the economy. Terranova insists it is because $25-$35 in his mind shows the economy is terrible. (Why it can't be somewhere in between, like $40-$50, is a mystery and the reason he loses this silly argument.) Najarian said he's been declaring for days or weeks that oil over $60 is bad bad bad, because money that would've gone for retail shopping is going to buy gasoline. Finerman weighed in mostly on Najarian's side, saying if the price is $70 purely on demand that would be a positive for economic growth, but if there is speculation involved, not good.

Finerman said "I actually sold a tiny bit of TBT today," perhaps her most famous call on "Fast Money" for being a wild success in the two or three months since she promoted it. (This writer is long TBT.)

Dan Greenhaus of Miller Tabak said of the markets, "I do think it's a sucker's rally." This segment was interesting only because Joe Terranova — who quite honestly should be considered a potential long-term host in place of Melissa Lee — asked better, persistent questions than Lee usually does. He asked Greenhaus what will make this market go down, and Greenhaus' answer was, "resumption of weakness."

Steve Cortes of Veracruz, off to a very good start as a "Fast Money" semi-regular, suggested shorting financials through the KBE because of "two major headwinds facing banks here," specifically mortgages and government intervention ("can't get a little bit pregnant," a "Wall Street" line, or something like that). He also downplayed the steepening yield curve that others had gushed over earlier in the show. There's "not enough lending going on for the yield curve to matter," he said.

Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics had virtually nothing to offer on the housing market, saying first it'll bottom in the summer, then by year-end. "The housing markets don't bounce, they splat," he said.

Curiously, Melissa Lee at one point showed a chart of company performance in the first 100 days of government stimulus, but General Electric ("parent company of this network") was not listed as one of the stimulus-heavy companies despite the fact CEO Jeff Immelt constantly talks about the total stimulus dollars coming down the pike for alternative energy products that are a prime focus of GE.

Either the stimulus isn't a big deal to GE ... or it's yet another example of CNBC personalities not really wanting to talk about the parent company.

Karen Finerman said the OIH is "a little bit heated." Mike Huckman returned to the show, and — you guessed it — he and Karen traded "cougar" jabs.

[Wednesday, May 27, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Just buy
gobs of RIMM and AAPL

Jeff Macke is absent another day, and the world continues to wonder if he has been fired.


Melissa Lee announced Wednesday that she owns and uses a BlackBerry. "I've got mine here," she said.

Joe Terranova bought a stock (RIMM) trading at $77 today, then announced Wednesday he thinks it "gets well back over a hundred."

Brian Kelly of Kanundrum delivered an investment "thesis" that sounded a bit dubious, to be honest. It's called the "triple-R bull market," based on "reflation, recapitalization, retail." He said we're in recapitalization and once we get to retail, he likes — take a big, big guess — RIMM, AAPL, AMZN. He said he's negative on coal because of "oversupply." (Kelly does have a good sense of humor and can talk well in soundbites, but seemed a little discombobulated and disheveled this time.)

Mike Abramsky of RBC discussed his positive call on — who else — Apple. He said AAPL is not in a struggle with another darling, RIMM, but gaining at the expense of "incumbents" in the phone space Nokia, Motorola and Samsung, and that momentum is strong.

In the halftime report, Jeff Tomasulo of SMB said he sees "real good strength" in technology because, here's a shocker, RIMM and AAPL have "exploded" in recent days.

Even Dennis Gartman, author of The Gartman Letter, said "I think we're actually coming out of recession ... I loved hearing, uh, owning AAPL and RIMM, it's two of my largest holdings in my fund."

Only Guy Adami doused a bit of the AAPL enthusiasm, saying it might trade well ahead of a conference in early June, but "if you're just jumping in now I think you're a little late."

In non-RIMM/AAPL news on "Fast Money" (there wasn't a whole lot), David Faber reported Art Samberg's Pequot Capital "will be winding down," providing Joe Terranova another opportunity to use his favorite term, "consolidating." Terranova said "consolidation in the hedge fund space is actually a good thing." Fewer sources of capital, good for markets. OK.

Adami has been preaching a constant theme for a couple weeks, that this market is tired and heading for a tumble. Thus anyone buying virtually any stock at this point is "probably a little late to the game," whether it's AAPL, BWA or gasoline spot price.

Adami did say Red Hat could be a target for IBM because its performance "really defies logic" in recent weeks. He and Terranova agreed that you can buy gold, but should avoid the gold miners.

Pete Najarian pounded the table again on engineering stocks, Fluor, Foster Wheeler, Siemens, plus Guy Adami tossed in McDermott.

Ongoing bull Zach Karabell, who, if he were to be waterboarded would likely admit he doesn't actually believe there's been a recession, only an overreaction by credit and stock markets, predicted the recession would end Aug. 31 at 2:37 p.m. He likes MTW, HON and UTX.

Newcomer Steve Grasso was mostly quiet Wednesday but did disagree with Kelly, saying "I think you've gotta buy the coal stocks." Grasso also made an interesting comment that Aetna might be the replacement for GM in the Dow because it needs an insurance boost. Najarian scoffed and wondered why it couldn't be Cisco. And within a few years, will there be any difference at all between the Dow and the Nasdaq 100?

John Kosar of Asbury sees the markets at an "inflection point."

[Tuesday, May 26, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Silence
deafening from Macke’s corner

Jeff Macke's absence spoke louder than anything heard on "Fast Money" Tuesday.

Is he fired? Doing a forced leave of absence? Merely being "evaluated" by "Fast Money" and CNBC brass?

We've seen enough of the "Macke is done but maybe not" daily stories that supersede each other on otherwise fairly respectable Web sites to stop citing them. (TVNewser had the scoop that "Fast Money" producer/co-creator Susan Krakower "watched closely" during the Wednesday May 20 show a day after the Macke meltdown. So the show's boss was paying close attention a day after one of the panelists had an on-air meltdown? Who woulda thought it.)

We're not TV bosses by any means, but chances are, the CNBC honchos are trying to figure out whether Macke's rants are an embarrassment, or a net positive. So they will evaluate "Fast Money" ratings without Macke, plus the e-mail, etc., and see if there's a difference. All evidence suggests the network likes Charles Gasparino's frequent on-air clashes and occasional unfortunate terminology. But Gasparino arrived at CNBC with significant journalistic street cred, and consistently makes sense. Macke is one of many traders appearing on the network and while he's funnier than the rest, doesn't have much of a gaffe cushion.

Traders Tuesday sounded like they were working under a pall. Barely a joke was heard, though Tim Seymour took a dig (with the others, as we expected) at the street-squatters on Times Square: "Looks like the barrom scene in 'Star Wars' out there." Guy Adami was again Mr. Grim, saying "I wouldn't get too far ahead of myself at these levels." Seymour warned of homebuilders, and Adami concurred, saying those stocks are like "lottery tickets."

Karen Finerman scoffed at how a consumer confidence report could possibly lift the market so much. Then she made another insightful point that has elevated her game recently, pointing out that oil rising on a higher consumer confidence number is actually "circuitous logic" that doesn't make any sense, and Seymour agreed. "Oil is trading at $62 with strength and conviction ... it continues to point higher," Joe Terranova said.

(By the way. What does it mean for a market to "consolidate its gains," Mr. Terranova?)

Guy Adami pointed to Intel yet again successfully testing the $15 (or so) barrier, calling the stock a "day-trader's dream." Terranova saw "significant support" for gold at $935 and said "no reason to jump off this trade just yet," but "not the miners though." Dennis Gartman made a market call to basically say if the Dow holds above 8,500, it's impressive.

Karen Finerman has been red-hot on Treasury bonds vehicle TBT, and Tuesday the show had a neat little segment on Treasurys. Michael Pond from Barclays said, "From a longer-term perspective, we think rates will continue to head higher." He recommended TIPS. Asked about the TBT, he didn't know what it is, but nevertheless said "we think that's a great play."

Barry Ritholtz, one of our favorite longtime Larry Kudlow guests who hasn't been on "Fast Money" nearly as much as we'd like (same for Noah Blackstein), decided to take a chance on defining the credit/housing crisis by baseball terminology again, calling housing's situation in the "7th inning."

Jon Najarian said on the "Fast Money Halftime Report" that traders bought the homebuilders because the news was so incredibly bad, they think it must be the bottom. Whatever.

Greg Troccoli of Opalesque, who bragged on "Fast Money" several weeks ago that he called the bottom for his clients on March 6, says he's concerned about a "double top" in the S&P.

Jared Levy said he's bullish on XHB but thinks AAPL might not rev up again until back-to-school time.

[Friday, May 22, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Gartman
likes Canada, Australia currency

Dennis Gartman offered a mildly bearish "sell in May" argument on Friday's "Fast Money."

"I'm short in my own account, I'm short in the funds I run. Am I aggressively short? No. I am skewed toward the short side," Gartman said, after Joe Terranova pointed out "sell in May and go away" didn't work in 2003.

Gartman also said, "I think the beneficiaries of the weak dollar ... I think Canada, I think Australia, I think New Zealand," he said.

"FXC, FXA," Tim Seymour added.

"I think you have to like the grains at this point," Gartman also said. "People do have to eat. ... I hesitate to trade the gold market, I'd much rather own copper if I have to own a metal."

Pete Najarian touted the MOO as a good way to play the ag trade, which he thinks remains bullish.

Of course we knew earlier when Cougar Biotech got bought that "Fast Money" folks would spend decent time making "cougar" jokes.

And we weren't disappointed.

"For some reason it's been attached to Karen Finerman," lamented Melissa Lee (sort of), who said Karen is "in my opinion, way too young to be a cougar." "It depends how old the guy is," said Tim Seymour.

Dave Barger, CEO of JetBlue — the company whose execs appear on "Fast Money" more than any other — says "malaise in the economy" is keeping a lot of people home. Joe Terranova offered a tribute to a 25-year military pilot who brought Joe's JetBlue flight in safely recently in bad weather.

Steve Grasso got a "Fast Money" nickname Friday: "The Governor."

Michael Darda of MKM Partners delivered a bullish macro picture. "Risk aversion is receding, that's a good thing. ... I think the market is probably higher substantially so in six to 12 months."

CNBC beauty Jane Wells, one of the network's top correspondents, delivered an uncharacteristically dry segment on the success of private label grocery brands, specifically Treehouse and Ralcorp.

She also introduced a new product: a "Fast Money" cereal, called "Najarian Nuggets," which have "twice the fiber, half the hair."

Yuk, yuk.

"I'd be a buyer of that one, I gotta tell you right now," Pete said.

Joe Terranova took about half an hour to make a joke about "Transformers" star Megan Fox.

Tim Seymour actually got Fast-Fired for recommending Toyota on April 9.

Seymour gave UNG as a "final trade," Grasso offered V, Terranova singled out MVL and Najarian said "get yourself a BlueCoat" (BCSI).

Dan Fitzpatrick of StockMarketMentor.com, who has quickly supplanted Carter Worth as the "Fast Money" go-to chart guy, said "buyers are more aggressive" in homebuilder stocks, though he didn't call a bottom there. He also liked "integrated" types in oil but not the typical names: "I'm really bullish on that stuff" like Apache, Anadarko, Occidental.

[Thursday, May 21, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Grasso
passes the test in debut

Lots to catch up on, from a Thursday show that started dreadfully, then gained some interesting momentum...

First: A big tip of the cap to profootballtalk.com boss Mike Florio, who responded to a query we floated (below) about Joe Theismann sporting "two Super Bowl rings" on "Fast Money."

Florio points out it is "common" practice for NFL conference champions to receive rings even if they lose the Super Bowl. We found the mysterious 1983 Skins "Super Bowl ring" on Google Images.

If you click on the side view, you'll see there is an "XVIII" with "SUPER BOWL" scripted over it.

So, does Joe Theismann possess two rings with "Super Bowl" on them? Yes. Does he really possess two "Super Bowl rings"? No.

He possesses one Super Bowl ring, and one NFC Championship ring. A cynic might think Joe is trying to quietly elevate himself to the same stratosphere as Ben Roethlisberger — not gonna work here.

But is it a surprise that Melissa Lee might've gotten this terminology a little incorrect? She's so excited about Theismann, she repeated this "rings" fiasco again Thursday.

Anyway: Thanks again to Mike Florio, and if you somehow have never checked out the profootballtalk.com rumor millquite possibly the most informational site on the NFL in the world — give it a look. You'll thank CNBCfix.

Second: When we noticed Jeff Macke was gone, and Steve Grasso of Stuart Frankel was in as a newly ordained member of the "Fast Money" team, we started to wonder if Macke might've been "benched," if only temporarily.

His name was mentioned a couple times by Melissa Lee, so obviously he's still a part of the show. And Guy Adami and Karen Finerman were also off, so it's obvious the regulars are getting an early start on the holiday (recall in its early days, "Fast Money" ran "Mad Money"-esque reruns or timeless, i.e. wastes of time, shows as holidays neared or occurred).

More Macke: We've seen some extended clips of the Dennis Kneale fracas. Admittedly, it's weirder than we thought in our appraisal below (just page down if you haven't seen it). The reference to the Bank of America non-call or press release from the earlier "Fast Money" was just bizarre. Nevertheless, we won't call for his firing or question his sanity or accuse him of quietly favoring Google stock. Maybe someone on the show chided him for complaining about BAC on "Fast Money" and he was delivering on-air rebuttals or something. (Not very good thinking for a Dartmouth guy in our opinion, but everyone's entitled to an off night.)

Grasso, whom we've seen many times from the NYSE floor on other CNBC shows, started slowly, often talking over other panelists when they weren't expecting it.

But he got better as the show went on and looks like he's got a small amount of flair for the show, unlike, say, JJ Kinahan, who despite resurfacing on the "Halftime Report" exhibits all of the personality of a wet towel.

Grasso is confident in his calls, but just needs to get comfortable slinging the b.s. with the others, and talking a bit better in soundbites.

Pete Najarian rather enthusiastically pounded the table on three names: WMT, MCD, HRL. WMT intrigues us the most (this writer has no position now) because Karen Finerman has been waging a stealth campaign on its behalf in recent weeks while Jeff Macke scoffs.

While it wasn't much of a tip, Tim Seymour said something about gold beyond what he normally says (he has predicted $2,000 at some point in the future). He claimed that unlike other assets, such as houses that have mortgages, "there's nothing against gold, there's nothing against it."

Nothing — except the possibility that its mysterious demand will suddenly crater for reasons nobody can fathom. Actually, we tend to agree with him it's probably due to zoom past $1,000 at some point, but not really on board that there's "nothing against it." That's what a lot of folks said about oil north of $140.

When Pete Najarian sorta challenged Seymour, Seymour declared "put that takedown away," referring to the tiresome but sometimes funny graphic.

Grasso started this by declaring hedge funds are creating a "bubble" in gold. We don't really share that view either.

Melissa Lee showed a crazy chart called "Sell America." It took a couple glances to realize this was merely a one-day chart on stocks, bonds and the dollar. Steve Cortes, another newly minted "Fast Money"-ite who is a plus for the show, said "I believe this is a sell America moment" because he thinks the debt financing is out of control. Other panelists didn't say anything we absorbed about the U.S. AAA credit rating.

Dan Fitzpatrick, who mistakenly called Tim Seymour "Jeff" and got a Cialis-West-Coast-thing joke in exchange, said "I'm bearish right now."

Grasso declared the S&P is not in big trouble unless it starts to "fade" below 850. He declared "oil is going to 85," then recommended "stocks that are levered to oil the most." Those stocks, according to Grasso, are PBR, OXY, SU.

What's odd about that? We swear we've heard Joe Terranova mention at least a hundred times, "Hess is tethered to the price of oil." We can't say he says "most tethered," but it's the only name he regularly declares as "tethered." We found it a bit odd he didn't add in his $.02 to Grasso's "most levered" oil stocks.

Grasso also didn't mention the airlines as a possible short in that scenario.

He did, though, make an interesting case for ICE over CME.

For some strange reason, Lee briefly singled out TBT as a Karen Finerman pick having a great day. There was no reaction and Lee quickly moved on to something else.

Najarian also trumpeted HNZ and NTAP, while Seymour (yet again) touted SWC and TAP.

Mary Thompson delivered an update on another bank failure, and looked great.

[Wednesday, May 20, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Theismann
features horde of the rings

Does Joe Theismann actually wear a losing Super Bowl ring?

Theismann came on "Fast Money" Wednesday and wowed the gang, who didn't bother to ask about his true investing credentials or what his returns have been for the last 12 months. (If they're anything like that 1-yard punt against the Bears, look out.)

What intrigued us though was host Melissa Lee twice mentioning the "two Super Bowl rings" of Theismann, even modeling both of them at the end of the show. Pete Najarian (whose NFL career, um, was not quite as good as Joe Theismann's) also clearly mentioned "rings" (plural).

Theismann only won one Super Bowl, XVII. A year later, an overrated Washington offensive machine stumbled back into the Super Bowl, in Tampa, and got utterly shellacked in a manner that has to rank as one of pro football's most embarrassing games ever given the credentials going into that game of the 14-2 Skins, who played like Hofstra.

It still hurts to watch the highlights of XVIII on the NFL Network.

Most sports teams only talk about "the ring" as a championship. It's not at all clear how many franchises issue rings just for being conference champions.

But one thing is clear: no athlete we've ever heard of shows off a "Super Bowl ring" from a losing effort.

Except, apparently, for Theismann. (Report continues below.)

Incredibly, Joe admits that in 1976 — because the Skins players of the time were "all over 40" — he actually wanted to play for the expansion Tampa Bay Yuccaneers, who went 0-26 before winning their first game.

Other than that, he was actually one of the best "Fast Money" guests in recent memory. He rattled off the stuff he likes and sees in the market and, not surprisingly given his longtime role as TV analyst, "gets" the concept of a soundbite.

And oh yeah — oh, yeah — we could've watched those NFL Films highlights of his Redskin days for the whole hour, particularly back in the day with the mustard yellow pants before Joe Gibbs adopted the strictly red/white thing. (Would've liked to see footage of him returning kicks, but no biggie.)

"To me this is a trader's market," Joe said, no argument here or anywhere else. But then it got more interesting. "The stock market to me is just one huge crap game," he said. He said he likes to play LVS and reminds everyone, you can go long, or you can go short. (In other words, Charlie Brown or John Riggins.)

We recall that in one of the very earliest "Fast Money" episodes, Theismann guested on the show and mentioned buying Six Flags because former ESPN honcho Mark Shapiro was involved. No issue there, except the stock was flagging (not a 15-yard penalty, just a declining share price) and Theismann pointed out how he was happy to be "averaging in" to more shares.

"Fast Money" original kingpin Eric Bolling smiled and grimaced, shook his head and said, "No averaging, no."

So we wondered if any traders Wednesday would ask Joe if he had been "averaging" in to LVS since it soared above $100.

No one did.

OK. Maybe that's a bit harsh. Just a joke. We hope he's successful. He said "every night" he watches "Fast Money," so hopefully he reads CNBCfix.

Whitney Tilson, another semi-legendary guest, from T2 Partners, didn't have a banking bombshell to drop. The crux of his point apparently was "We are short the regional banks in large part because of their exposure to commercial real estate."

Caution ruled the day among the panel, Guy Adami repeatedly insisting, particularly in names like GPS and POT, that it's just too late to chase anything. Jeff Macke made a couple emphatic points about Apple and Goldman Sachs, suggesting their struggles around $130 and $140 respectively were a bad sign.

Pete Najarian said a lot of technical mumbo jumbo about the VIX, and we don't have the foggiest idea what he meant. He did note, as did Joe Terranova, "coffee has absolutely been on fire."

Tim Seymour, who donned a sport coat as merely a guest Wednesday, recommended gold miners ABX and NEM. Macke had a curious chuckler about BJ's Wholesale, saying "they're filthy stores and they're not a very good stock here."

Bahram Akradi, CEO of Lifetime Fitness, won Jeff Macke's heart because membership hasn't declined and neither have club fees. Something seemed fishy, like Macke flipped too easy for this one. Maybe his Dennis Kneale spat (below) is causing him to be Mr. Nice Guy? Akradi did acknowledge the "macroeconomics are going to be tough."

We saved perhaps the best for last. Margaret Brennan delivered a report on Old Navy's effect on GPS results. "To see top-line growth is an exciting thing," she said, in a report that unfortunately was a bit dry to last as long as it did.

Looks like she's got a chic new hairstyle, with very professional navy-purple jacket. Jeff Macke was the lucky panelist who got to ask her a question — why does GPS declare a dividend? — which drew the response, maybe they're trying to get people to buy the stock.

Jeff Macke report: Gawker
notes ‘on-air meltdown’

CNBCfix is getting inquiries — a small trickle at first, then a few more — about Jeff Macke's "bizarre" behavior that allegedly occurred Tuesday during segments on the "Fast Money Halftime Report" and early evening "CNBC Reports" with Dennis Kneale.

First, we didn't see either incident live. (Yeah, the site is "CNBCfix," but c'mon, we've got other lives too and don't actually see every moment on the network live as it unfolds.)

Second, we didn't detect any kind of "breakdown" or "bizarre" behavior, other than he was unusually harsh with Dennis Kneale.

Here's the deal with Dennis Kneale (don't you like how that rhymes?).

We like Dennis. He's a good egg.

Now is he a ridiculous market cheerleader? Yes. Is that annoying to pro traders who live and die with market swings like Macke or investigative journalists like Charlie Gasparino who are more in touch with the dirt of the world's financial capital than Kneale is? Yes, we would assume.

We think people like Macke and Gasparino have legit reasons to carp at Kneale, even though we find the guy entertaining.

Kneale is, underneath the rah-rah nonsense, a highly credentialed journalist. But if you're gonna wave Dow pompoms, you have to expect frosty moments with people like Macke.

John Cook of Gawker put together a nice feature on Macke's day Tuesday, even though we tend to doubt his conclusions. Cook's most important nugget is "CNBC executives are concerned about Macke's health, insiders say. He is in the midst of a contract dispute with the network right now."

We didn't know about the contract. The "health" thing sounds like a management negotiating ploy.

He continues to be, based on his and the show's disclosure of his trades, the most regularly accurate "Fast Money" panelist on short-term market moves.

His daily stock and market calls on "Fast Money" remain top-notch and articulate.

His sense of humor has an edge, but is off the charts. When he's on, he can make you fall out of your chair laughing for a whole "Fast Money" episode.

Our guess for what Jeff Macke might be feeling right now: 1) "Fast Money" is a dying show, its excellent host (Dylan Ratigan) and original kingpin (Eric Bolling) are long gone, and it takes a serious time commitment, but the network may not be offering him other gigs and Fox might not be hiring now. 2) The demands on him and other "Fast Money" panelists have expanded with this silly "Halftime Report," which either features less confident traders filling space or the "Fast Money" regulars phoning in from somewhere. We think his so-called "crazy" Justin Timberlake remarks were just a dig at the producers for making him do this.

Also, it's occurred to us that one or more "Fast Money" traders might be upset the show didn't tap them, not an outsider like Melissa Lee, to replace Ratigan. Macke would make by far the most sense; he is the only original other than Guy Adami still left, and unlike Adami he's spent a lot of time guest-hosting other CNBC shows. We think he's better with a host feeding him alley-oop passes, but maybe he disagrees.

Anyway, Macke's day Tuesday might've been a bit weird, but until we hear something other than the great market calls he's been making, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

[Tuesday, May 19, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Bored
to death on BAC offering

"Fast Money" spent most of Tuesday's show playing newshound over the purported Bank of America $8 billion stock offering.

All the speculation got a bit old.

So did Melissa Lee constantly citing different percentages for how low the stock was trading, and repeatedly mixing up the sale numbers Karen Finerman was providing for her.

Finerman did recommend the stock by the end of the show, citing the size of the raise, and guest David Trone of Fox-Pitt Kelton, practically blindsided by the news during the segment, said BAC is a "good long-term buy here."

Most interesting was an appearance from analyst Nishu Sood of Deutsche Bank, who said, "We think housing continues to decline from here." Jeff Macke basically offered that the bullish case is based on a lot of unknowns.

Brian Kelly of Kanundrum offered three suggestions — we're not really sure what the theme was. His segment started a little clunky, then actually got interesting. He likes base metals (DDB), which is a standard pick, but mentioned World Fuel Services and started to have an interesting chat about drybulk and shipping in general before he had to move on to his last pick, UGA, because gasoline is in backwardation.

Tim Seymour ran off the same old laundry list, that's correct, Cemex, CVRD, BHP, Rio, you know the drill.

Too much of the show was spent dwelling on inside jokes and Guy Adami's beard, but Seymour once again delivered some articulate points, suggesting that DE is going to benefit from TALF stimulus. (He also said "The Ambassador cuts his own grass.")

Another day on "Fast Money," another live Twitter report on a computer company from Silicon Valley chief Jim Goldman. As always, it's about the guidance. Today it was HP. Zzzzzzzzzz.

Guy Adami like Seymour also touted one of his favorites again, BWA, but said "that trade has gotten a little bit ahead of itself." Karen Finerman jumped on that, saying it's gotten "way ahead of itself" and that BWA's car-sales forecasts are overly rosy.

Adami said "I think JNJ makes sense ... 60 handle easy."

Jared Levy of Peak6, the "Fast Money" sidekick, talked so fast about steel and X, we really didn't understand him. "I'd be looking for the pullback," he said at one point. Jeff Macke asked if it meant he was bullish or bearish. We think he said he'd be short the put spread which would make him long.


[Monday, May 18, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Dick Bove
declares Goldman $200 in 2009

It seems like someone must be reading CNBCfix.

The highlight of "Fast Money" came just before the show actually started — when Margaret Brennan delivered the CNBC "News Now" segment in that brown dress in which she looks staggeringly beautiful, a point to our knowledge first made by CNBCfix.

(Yes, this site claims not to do appearance critiques, but the fact is, we get a lot of inquiries about Margaret Brennan's beauty. As far as we know, she is single. And hopefully has security to fend off her fans when she takes her limo ride home to Manhattan when she looks like she did today. So there you go.)

OK. Highlight of the actual show was an appearance by a Wall Street legend and CNBCfix favorite, Richard X. Bove.

He spoke on the phone, and we liked the picture icon of him on the left of the screen, game face on.

His calls may be right or wrong — and let's face it, the "once in a generation opportunity" on Citigroup last year when it was in the teens and 20s wasn't one of the better ones — but his credentials are sound.

We like how he got into a court battle — we have no idea whether the plaintiffs have a case, but we like how he puts his name out there with an opinion and rocks the banking world from time to time. For analysis he's legit, and he can also sling the b.s. quite well in an old-fashioned CNBC bull-bear street fight.

Hopefully, he reads CNBCfix.

Monday he outlined the most spectacularly bullish case we've heard probably on CNBC (other than the "Fast Money" guest dissed by Guy Adami and Jeff Macke who gave Google a $600 price target). He said earnings are going to soar, loan provisions have at least in some way been overdone, and "the TARP money isn't worth spit."

Most startling: "We think that Goldman Sachs is a $200 stock this year, a $250 stock next year."

Jeff Macke tried to challenge him, and we did get a chuckle throughout the show of Macke's skepticism of the banks. He said it comes down to whether the dilution of banks is bullish; today apparently the answer was yes.

But Bove and anyone's bullish/bearish case is only dependent on the economy, summarized by guest Andy Kessler's "armageddon's off the table." Kessler believes it is, but thinks this is a sucker's rally propped up by the government and is unsustainable.

Between Kessler and Bove, different market outlook, but both views are dependent on "armageddon's off the table."

If it's not, look out below.

Karen Finerman stressed a couple of times that she wasn't compelled to chase the rally by the end of the day.

Tim Seymour sort of gave a polarizing outlook on India's big jump. He said it's a case of the world's largest democracy endorsing a more supply-side economic philosophy. We liked Macke's explanation better: "This was a crazy move," and spikes like this don't happen in real markets.

Seymour touted GFI again, saying he's "said this, probably 40 times in the last month." Yep.

Jared Levy is more or less a "Fast Money" regular, or at least a sidekick. He's more polished than Joe Terranova, but lacks any kind of likable chutzpah, but merely reciting trading positions. Delivering a soundbite is the name of the game. We quickly lost interest in whatever he was talking about and defending Monday.

Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford Bernstein said of HP, "I think the stock is very inexpensive at current levels." (Note: the last three words of that sentence are redundant and unnecessary.)

Colin McGranahan of Sanford Bernstein said of HD, on the heels of the positive Lowe's news, "I think the stock will go up tomorrow as well."

Melissa Lee mentioned a charity effort that sounds like a great idea to us, so we mention it here: the BTIG Commissions for Charity Day. Look up the details here.

Maria Bartiromo (by phone) was the special guest on the "final trade," but talked too long and had to be cut off by Melissa Lee. It was another example of Lee's most tired cliche, "Got it." (Bartiromo's, of course, is, after a correspondent signs off, "[so-and-so] with the latest there.")

[Friday, May 15, 2009]

Fast Money Review: MLee
can’t stop the giggles

Friday's "Fast Money" was a throwback to everything that has gone wrong since Dylan Ratigan bolted.

Melissa Lee had been steadily, if slowly, improving as host. Friday again she was an embarrassment, inadvertently telegraphing to Susan Krakower and anyone else paying attention, "Get me out of here, quick."

She has perhaps the worst laugh on television — not really her fault, but that stuff matters on TV — yet forces it all the time. She regularly cites inside jokes on-air and poses for the camera as it cuts away from her like kids in the Best Buy video section.

Friday, when she wasn't overtalking and leaving dead air during the "Word on the Street" opening, she was giggling her way through the rest of the show, including the "Fast Fire" segment that revealed some pitiful trades that actually might've lost people some money.

"He got all wet with his Dryships trade," Lee chortled through Tim Seymour's mea culpa.

"Somethin' in the water here tonight," Lee said at one point. Maybe, it's just lousy hosting.

Lee is a great contrast with Karen Finerman. Finerman, in her first six months to a year on the show, was not comfortable, not good with a quip, repeating her own cliches, overly reserved. CNBCfix even suggested she should leave the show before 2009.

Instead, the market tanked in 2008, and K-Fine found her voice, a steady, reassuring presence to nervous stock buyers, pointing out market trends beyond the obvious, delivering better and better sound bites. Something happened: She's actually really good at this. Now, we couldn't imagine her exiting the show.

Lee is clearly going the opposite direction.

Guy Adami for the first time in days looked refreshed. He's still short-term bearish but said the S&P closed in "no-man's land," so no market conviction either way yet.

Pete Najarian somewhat agreed, saying "Panic might actually hit some of the financials this coming week. I'm not saying it's going to."

Tim Seymour and Karen Finerman were of the opposite opinion, though, making for what could've been a decent debate in the hands of a competent moderator like Ratigan. The week's drop was a "very insignificant pullback," Finerman said, to which Seymour (we think) was barely heard saying "amen." Seymour said the market held up reasonably well given the data that came out, a bullish sign.

"I'm still long things like energy, oilfield services," Finerman said, acknowledging it was not a good week for them, and Seymour also again trumpeted similar sectors and suggested the pullback represents a time to buy.

Jeff Macke — who was absent — appears to be the only panelist with conviction that Target is about to best Wal-Mart. Pete Najarian called WMT "awfully cheap" and said he's a buyer; Finerman said she was "all this week, buying Wal-Mart; against that we're short the XRT."

Seymour made an articulate case as to why paying back the TARP might be a "downside" for banks. Adami said of Goldman Sachs, "next 10 to 15 dollars should be lower."

Defense analyst Brian Gesuale of Raymond James (anyone newly named "top analyst" somewhere is going to be on "Fast Money") made what we think is his first appearance on the show and got to the point quickly. "FLIR ... you buy it here," he said.

Youssef Squali of Jefferies discussed his $445 price target on Google. "Searches on Google in April were up 45%," he said, but other times we've heard skepticism on "Fast Money" about Comscore data. Traders spent more time questioning an earlier guest's $600 Google call.

In one of the week's most tiresome discussions, Jim Delaney of Saratoga Capital was the latest to talk about the government's plan for CDSes. We could barely figure out the point of this, other than it will affect CME and ICE, a trade theme that was only made about, oh, four days ago.

Gregg Fisher of Gerstein Fisher came on to talk about muni bonds in a "sexed up" segment according to Lee and the panel. Honestly, there probably are a decent number of "Fast Money" viewers with muni bonds, but it's hardly a topic for making fast money unless you're in the pits. Fisher warned about inflation but said munis would be a decent hedge against rising taxes because the total return would improve against other assets. He recommended investing in "multiple states, general obligation bonds," but also suggested gold and foreign currency/bonds as hedges against inflation.

Sounds a bit too complicated for making "Fast Money."

Lon Juricic of Streetinsider.com talked about something, and honestly, we don't recall what. TARP & TALF? Maybe. we did hear Tim Seymour ask him "How relevant is this data for investors to look at?" So that pretty much says it all.

More on the cougar, and you can bet Giggling Melissa Lee will bring it up every day. Karen Finerman reminded, "Yesterday Mike called me a cougar."

[Thursday, May 14, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Gartman
reaffirms sell-off prediction

So far, it's Steve Cortes 1, Jeff Macke 0.

Macke called banks in general a "short" yesterday "until further notice," while Cortes said some banks are worth buying, including GS.

GS was up $4 Thursday.

Karen Finerman has a snazzy new hairstyle. (Side note: CNBCfix got many inquiries after yesterday's show was over as to whether new panelist Cortes, sitting in Karen's chair, was a permanent replacement for K-Fine. There was no indication of a Finerman departure, and chances are Cortes was added because 1) he's good at what the show requires, 2) another sub is either out or scaling back (that could be JJ Kinahan, who we haven't seen in what feels like years, Quint Tatro, same reasoning, or Zach Karabell, who was far more prominent in December-January than recently).

Anyway, the fact Karen was on the set Thursday — with her snazzy new hairstyle — should extinguish any doubts that she was just replaced by Steve Cortes.

Dennis Gartman, seconding his comments a day ago on the "Fast Money Halftime Report," said despite today's gains, the market is going lower.

"I think yesterday's move was, uh, the beginning of a big correction," he said. "I think today's move on lesser volume was, was nothing more than correcting the correction. ... I think we're probably gonna head lower for a while. I wanna believe that this is a bull market. I wanna believe that the lows that were made over the course of the previous several months were indeed the lows for many years to come. But when you go up 35% in that short of span of time, you're going to get some correction. I think that started in the past several days, today was just a bounce after being down 180 yesterday."

"I've been long 'basic stuff.' I've been long of agriculture. I still think you want to own copper and those sorts of things ... and then I hedged them by getting short the rest of the broad market. I had fun with the banks, I'm out of the banks for a while at this point. ... I think agriculture is gonna be the leader coming out of here."

"I think that run is just beginning" he said of natural gas. "I'm long of energy, I'm long of crude, I'm long of nat gas, I'm short of the gold market, one against the other, the same thing I've done in agriculture, I own the grains and I'm short the gold market against them."

Guy Adami remains Mr. Skeptic. "Encouraging day, but you know what I'm not all that convinced ... I think tomorrow's a great tell for everything."

Macke said that, aside from the financials (and later, AGU and the fertilizer names), everything was kind of a dog.

"Buckle your seat belt," Pete Najarian said, predicting big swings every day.

"The S&P between 875 and 900 matters," Jeff Macke said.

Najarian warned about the presence of naked short selling, which Adami and Macke described as scary and untradeable.

Adami delivered some version of what's become a daily sentence about IBM, you know, "put a 12 multiple on it and you've got a $120 stock." Apparently, the rest of Wall Street doesn't see it that way.

Now, does Adami make the IBM comment more often than his Intel-at-$15 comment? Tough call. Today he said of INTC, "at some point it's not going to work."

Kindle lover Jeff Macke said, "I don't want a Sony Reader because I can't buy books." Later he said, "You can buy some."

Adami said $116.75 will be resistance for Potash. He said when FIG prices its secondary, "buy it." Great advice, after a week ago insisting this is one you could "chase" in the $7 range. (It's about $5 now. This writer is long FIG.)

Dan Fitzpatrick of StockMarketMentor, who is doing well on "Fast Money" and whose recent pick of FCL was a good one (this writer owned it), said, "I think we've hit the high ... I wouldn't be buying now," he said, citing the Dow transports. "Things are still looking OK, but I just think we've defined the trading range for what could be the rest of the year...I'm really looking about 930 on the upside and the magical 666 on the downside for the S&P."

Mike Huckman, ASCO ... OSI Pharmaceuticals has really emerged as a potential headline-maker this year, CGRB, EXEL, ALTH, GHDX.

Eric Schmidt, the top-ranked Cowen analyst (not the Google CEO), "my top pick would be Alexion, ALXN, these guys are gonna mint money for a very long period of time." I'm actually not a fan on OSIP...(on CELG), I don't wanna be there." "Fast Money" is obsessed with the term "cougar" and has been for a long time.

[Wednesday, May 13, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Gartman
warns Dow could hit 7,900

The best "Fast Money" tips Wednesday came on the "Halftime Report."

Dennis Gartman said the market got "extraordinarily overextended ... the market was overbought, it needs to correct, it may be a rather serious correction. ... I would not be surprised Melissa if we saw the Dow trade back to 7900, that would be readily within ... normal corrective activity ... sell in May, go away."

Chartist John Kosar of Asbury agreed. "In our view this is just the beginning, I think the pullback is gonna be more serious than people thought it was," he said. "Maybe we could give back a third or more of this move from the March lows."

Jeff Macke on Wednesday declared "we broke a lot of technical support today ... the banks are short until further notice."

Guy Adami, Tim Seymour and new official "Fast Money" panelist Steve Cortes of Veracruz were all more willing to see bright spots in the market.

Adami, reminding everyone of something he said in recent days which is something he does all the time now, pointed to the "huge reversal" Thursday and said at S&P 875, we'll "see what happens."

Cortes was smooth in his first appearance and a welcome addition to the show. We don't know whether he's right, but he's got an opinion.

He said "I'm a buyer of Goldman Sachs" in contrast with Macke, who doesn't like it at this level, disagreed with Guy Adami (who's bearish) on oil, and warned against "very dangerous" casino stocks and tech stocks and dismissed Caterpillar.

His only clunker was a lousy Goldman Sachs joke (It's the Michael Bolton of Wall Street, the "soul provider") that looked like he was searching for a cue card when he said it.

Seymour gave another spiel about PBR (buy around $33) and emerging markets in general ("not a fad, they are not done"), trumpeted Gold Fields (sorry, we bought that one before right around this price in fact) and expertly set the table for Richard Repetto on the exchanges. Seymour said BHP Billiton's a great company on a great run, so he'd buy it 10% lower.

One stock did get a rousing recommendation — from Macke, of all people.

It was Ford.

It was essentially the same trade offered by Pete Najarian a day ago, going long F under $5. We find Macke's enthusiasm for the stock puzzling — he says they won't build any silly electric cars (we doubt that) and that he can buy them 30% cheaper than just two days ago. Well, Liz Claiborne can be bought 30% cheaper than a couple days ago and you don't see people rushing in to that.

Gaming analyst Esther Kwon of Standard & Poor's was downright glum on the casino names, "still very highly leveraged" with an "immense supply of rooms" emerging in Las Vegas by year-end. We couldn't figure out which specific names she was talking about (MGM perhaps), but she doesn't have any buys on the sector.

Deborah Weinswig gave a nice little talk about WMT that provided absolutely nothing of use to stock traders. It was a total discourse on how Citigroup arrived at its Wal-Mart earnings estimates. Yawn.

Oddly, the Dineequity CEO Julia Stewart appeared on the "Set the Record Straight" segment. We don't recall anyone on the show trashing the company recently, so we don't know how what record she was there to set straight. It was just a glorified CEO interview. Sounds like things are going well, but a plus-100% gain is something to be careful about.

Richard Repetto of Sandler O'Neill followed up Tim Seymour's exchange analysis by agreeing that CME and ICE "stand to gain" from derivative moves by the government. "I am bullish" on the sector, he said.

Gene Munster said the iPhone's being delayed until late June or early July and Steve Jobs won't be at the next conference, but it's OK, AAPL is still a great stock to buy.

Guy Adami cited the Neil Young song "Cortez the Killer" in helping to announce Steve Cortes. Not bad. If only Guy could give us some trades that we could profit from "like a hurricane."

Adami also said look for a WFC entry point at $22.

The ongoing coverage of Jeff Macke's broken Kindle is interesting. He says he sold his Amazon stock, something he foreshadowed a day or two ago. But the fact his Kindle is broken makes us wonder if it's seriously a brittle device, or whether it's just another "Fast Money" sight gag.

[Tuesday, May 12, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Macke
says, leave options to the pros

Two interesting comments Tuesday were just throwaway lines.

Karen Finerman said of solar stocks, often touted by Pete Najarian, "I don't like the supply and demand dynamic at all."

Jeff Macke had this to say about options: Pete Najarian spends 12 hours a day researching them, so either he's wasting his time, or it's an art that's best left to the pros.

He's got a point.

Najarian said he thinks the reduction in burn rate means Ford might've turned the corner, he "bought a little today" and is looking for a sub-$5 price.

CNBCfix is happy to be the first (probably) to point out to "Fast Money" honchos Susan Krakower and John Melloy that doing live reports during various big company meetings and/or earnings reports is a waste of time.

Today it was Intel's turn. First Jim Goldman didn't get the hookup when he was supposed. Then he had nothing more to add to what is ALWAYS the Intel story — good quarter, but guidance is what matters, yawn.

Anyone who wants to invest in INTC, fine, we wish you the best. CNBCfix thinks it's a stock that never goes anywhere, doesn't understand why anyone bothers trading it, and thinks it's vastly overrated by CNBC.

Mike Huckman came on to discuss an analyst report on Pfizer-Wyeth. If it didn't impress the traders, it's not going to impress the viewers. Then he mentioned an upcoming pharma conference and how a bunch of companies could move on the results.

Not much of a trade there.

Kevin Fitzsimmons of Sandler O'Neill was articulate about the banks, but hardly said anything earth-shattering. All you really needed to know were the words below his face on the screen: "TOP ANALYST: BANK STOCKS HAVE RUN UP TOO FAR TOO FAST." He said he liked First Horizon and Whitney, but "I'd be looking for a lower entry point."

Melissa Lee ran a segment from Abby Joseph Cohen about S&P projections, then Lee asked Najarian, "Pete, what did she say?" Tip: If the host doesn't know what guests are saying, the viewers won't either.

Jared Levy's appearance sounded like way too much of a kiss-up to the traders. Asked about Intel, he changed the subject (who wouldn't, actually) to IBM and said "That's the pick, actually," then thanked the "Fast Money" traders for helping people realize gains and not lose it all back.

In a new wrinkle, Lee teased a Twitter question across a commercial break, and it was a good one. K-Fine's TBT pick has paid off beautifully (which is also what one could say of her striking outfit Tuesday) ... a Twitterer asked her if it's still a buy. She said yes, and that her firm has added.

Macke was challenged by the rest of the panel why he likes Target over Wal-Mart now. He said consumers are once again, if only barely, starting to elevate themselves to TGT, and he likes the stock "because they're due." Finerman cautioned, "Wal-Mart is not falling apart."

Finerman said, "We're short BPO," though real estate stocks have enjoyed a good run recently. Tim Seymour said, "Get long the drillers."

Macke actually referenced "Fast Money" co-creator Susan Krakower by name, calling her "the producer of this show" who "told me to take a look" at Fossil (FOSL).

He didn't, until Tuesday's "Pops & Drops."

[Monday, May 11, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Seymour
gives TSL a big bounce

How can we not begin with the latest "rising star" pop courtesy of a "Fast Money" mention?

If you were lucky enough to own TSL ($16.25 at closing) when Tim Seymour discussed it approximately 5:36 p.m. Eastern time, you enjoyed a nice pop to $17.39 within eight minutes — a 7% gain, which is in the typical "Fast Money" bounce range. It closed out the afterhours session at $16.77 — not the Seymour peak, but a 3% boost from 4 p.m.

"I like the stock, I own the stock," Seymour declared. Disclosure backs him up; unlike a previous situation with SWC. Pete Najarian followed a moment later by discussing YGE. That one jumped from $8.94 to $9.40 after the mention, capping the afterhours at $9.30. It's "one of those names that I'm gonna keep an eye on for sure over the next couple of days," Pete said, and disclosure reaffirms that he doesn't own it.

Traders opened the show with a healthy discussion as to whether the market has peaked short-term. Not surprisingly, grim Guy Adami was leading the bear brigade: "I gotta tell you, the action on Thursday was very bearish ... I'm still very skeptical," he said (this writer is only long, no short positions).

Others were not ragingly bullish, but not convinced of armageddon either. "You can still be bullish, and wait," Jeff Macke said. "I don't think you react to today in any major way," Tim Seymour said.

Jeff Tomasulo of SMB Capital talked a little too fast again, and offered too many if-then/woulda-coulda-shoulda scenarios. "I'm gonna look for market leaders pulling back to certain key levels," he said, mentioning (again) Visa, "It's one of my favorite technical plays out there ... we accumulated some at $65." Of IBM, he said, "If the market can continue on its upward trend, IBM above 106.50, this is a stock I'd be getting aggressively long."

Doug Cliggott of Dover Management was even less hopeful in a tired appearance on bank stress aftermath. "They told us no one being tested is gonna fail the tests," he said. "We're hunting around looking for new short opportunities," he said, without really elaborating.

The most humorous part of the show was the traders taking a crack at Nouriel Roubini while Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly" played. " 'Learning to Fly'? I've read about him," Guy Adami said. "Believe me, he knows how to fly, that cat, just FYI."

"If you're two years early on any idea, what you are mostly is dead. You're a professor, as opposed to a trader," Jeff Macke said, cracking us up.

Diane Irvine, CEO of Blue Nile, gave a very professional-sounding description and outlook for her company — but it still seems like a trader magnet and "flippin' a coin" (as Guy Adami put it) for anyone who wants to buy it. Macke made us chuckle by trashing Barron's again.

Steve Liesman, who is getting pretty good at reporting news while fending off the barbs about the news by his CNBC colleagues and guests, discussed what Ben Bernanke might say about the stress tests. Liesman didn't necessarily defend the stress test but adequately, in our opinion, pointed out why the markets should care about them. "I trade the market I have, not the one I want," Macke scoffed.

Macke said he "made a little profit" on PCLN.

Seymour claimed at one point, "the debate on china is over." He touted PBR, RIG, TKC, MBT, while Pete Najarian trumpeted FLR, MDR, and Adami spoke again of INTC at $15.

Craig Berger of FBR said he thinks Intel will be "cautious" and "positive" at its meeting; and "I think the longer term bias on the stock is higher." Brian Belski of Oppenheimer said "We think the time is right currently to add to your health care exposure."

Earlier on the day's "Halftime Report," Jared Levy said "The retail traders are now jumping in ... it's always the retail traders that are last to the party. ... I think by the way 800 is the new 700. ... I like Amazon."

Bill Strazzullo said, "If you can buy around the 900 area, you wanna do that. we still think on the upside you can get to 950, 970, as high as the thousand area. The rally off the early March lows is still intact."

Pete Najarian said "I think you can get IBM under one hundred." Joe Terranova declared, "I'm short oil, I'm short naturas gas as well right now."

One highlight: Near the end of the show, that beautiful, sophisticated woman in the pink/red top reappeared in the Rosetta Stone commercial. Her name is Lesley Ann Machado, she's 35, and hails from New Jersey.

[Friday, May 8, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Grim
Adami is panel’s lone skeptic

It was 3 against 1 Friday on "Fast Money."

Or at least 2 against 1.

Guy Adami — who was remarkably grim all day — opened the show sounding glum.

"This move today is encouraging, but not as good as it would seem ... tech completely underperformed," he lamented.

"But you have to be impressed with the follow-through. The secondaries acted amazingly well," said Jeff Macke, who said he once again got long WFC.

"This is a very impressive tape," agreed Karen Finerman. "There is a virtuous cycle in that, if these banks can issue equity now."

Joe Terranova kind of took middle ground. (We could call it a wishy-washy position if we were a tougher critic today.) Shorts "have hung in there ... They got burned," he said.

"This is the ninth consecutive week higher. You'd have to be dumb as a box of rocks ... to short this market for eight straight weeks," Macke argued, saying of those sticking with the short trade, "That's the kind of persistence that gets you a restraining order. ... The fight is fixed, folks. It's fixed for the longs."

In an extremely guest-heavy program that made up for Thursday's clunker, Jeff Lindsay of Sanford Bernstein came on after boldly giving Google a $600 price target. "We're seeing what looks like the end of the deterioration," he said.

When Jeff Macke — who said the three industries he doesn't want his kids to enter are adult film, typewriter ribbons and selling advertisements — questioned the call as expected, Lindsay argued, "Google's sales model is completely new and different from most of the sales models," citing a "real-time electronic auction." He added, "If the economy starts to improve, Google will be among the first to know about it." Adami and Finerman also questioned the multiple.

Steve Grasso of Stuart Frankel said the short squeeze on financials is ending, but the cycle is perpetuating itself as banks raise money, and investors will "go back into financials." Jeff Macke asked for a "harbinger" showing when GS and WFC and other financials might be done. "Unemployment rate," Grasso responded. "As Jeff said, the trade is still higher, I think we're going to 950 easily."

Finerman warned of the "next problem" faced by the White House, which she sees as weak Treasury auctions signaling rising inflation.

Finerman also questioned some energy spikes. "This natural gas move is enormous," she said. Joe Terranova claimed the Obama administration might get preemptive on gas prices if they soar, by tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Obama "would be very quick to release oil if we get above $60, very aggressively," he said.

Whitney Tilson of T2 Partners briefly discussed financials avoiding the "armageddon" scenario, and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway stock holdings. "We figure he's back to about even for the year" on the BH stock portfolio, he said.

Dan Nathan of Phoenix Partners was the last guest. He was on the show to promote Melissa Lee's options program that runs a half hour Friday nights. We're sure he probably knows what he's talking about, but he delivered little more than rambling gibberish about a company (AMAT) most people couldn't care less about. According to the line on the screen, Nathan thinks the options market is overpricing the move on AMAT. If that line wasn't there, we wouldn't have the foggiest idea what he said.

Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics added comments that have been heard on "Fast Money" only about, oh, 500 times. Unemployment is a lagging indicator, looks like many things have bottomed. "Clearly seeing some signs of a return to stability," he said.

Stifel Financial CEO Ronald Kruszewski made a remote appearance. We're not sure why. He offered a lengthy agenda for fixing the financial system that's been heard on "Fast Money" about, oh, 500 times. Raise capital, put "too big to fail" in the dust bin, improve short-selling disclosure, etc.

Traders once again scoffed at the "Fast Fire" segment, this time Macke questioning aloud why he would be singled out for telling people to ignore Viacom, which gained a whole 6 percent in a couple weeks. "Fast Fire" operates like most chart analysts, stretching the call back to whatever date is needed to justify the hypothesis. Unless "Quicker Than the Ticker" and "Fast Fire" are done whenever merited — which would be daily or every couple of days — they are worthless segments and an affront to the show's "transparency" and usefulness.

[Thursday, May 7, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Macke
declares: ‘Buy the news’

The first 40 minutes of Thursday's "Fast Money" should've put just about anyone to sleep — or at least forced them to change the channel.

Running commentary about stress test results isn't exactly scintillating television, and at least one of the correspondents (Mary Thompson) looked rather annoyed at the whole process.

But then things got interesting.

Jeff Macke, apparently ailing at home, phoned in with this tip: "My take is three words — buy the news," he said, declaring a major cloud lifted off the financials. Pressed for specifics, he offered WFC, C, GS and warned not to get too speculative. (This writer is long BX and FIG.)

Then there was the resignation of New York Fed board chief Stephen Friedman. Karen Finerman trashed the "incestuous" relationship between Goldman Sachs and the New York Fed at least three times, calling it "absurd," "ridiculous" and declaring of Friedman's resignation, "That should happen."

Guy Adami, though, actually lamented Friedman's exit. "That's a great mind," he said, somewhat sadly.

Then Jim Cramer (doesn't he have his own show just a few minutes later?) was brought on to comment on Friedman. Cramer says Goldman is wrongly singled out for conflict of interest issues with government because it's the firm most devoted to public service and impresses the notion of it upon its employees.

Then Adami congratulated Cramer for also choosing "public service" over a bigger paycheck. "You do an incredible job," Adami said.

The first 40 minutes, the only small amount of excitement was K-Fine sporting those light-bulb-shaped earrings. Jeff Harte of Sandler O'Neill said of the stress tests, "There really aren't a whole lot of surprises here," and he said while stocks may flatten, he doubts "the sell-off a lot of people have been waiting for is gonna materialize."

Gerard Cassidy of RBC Capital discussed regional banks. Shocker: He said "No major surprises" in the stress results. More interestingly, he said he thinks commercial realty woes are already priced into the stocks, and he doubts there will be much consolidation at these prices. Finerman disagreed, saying "stock for stock" transactions could happen between weaker banks and more powerful suitors.

Nasdaq chief Bob Greifeld (Melissa Lee got his first name right this time) showed up on the set. Our guess is that the "Fast Money" contract for producing the show on-site calls for a Greifeld appearance at least every quarter. Thursday, Greifeld was able to point out that 98 companies have filed with Nasdaq to go public, something companies don't do lightly, and that his options business has grabbed 20% of the market up from 15% but the whole pie is getting bigger too.

[Wednesday, May 6, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Leaks from
stress tests annoy traders

"Fast Money" on Wednesday mocked the steady leakage of banking stress test results — all while regularly interrupting the show with updates on said leaks.

Mostly, the running commentary on banks made for a dry show.

However, Jeff Macke made the most of the opportunity for humor, saying "If I'm short the banks, you know what I'm doing tonight? I'm taking a bath with about eight toasters."

Macke also unloaded on Phil LeBeau's report on Ford's electric car initiative. "Do they have any evidence that America is just dying to buy a glorified golf cart to stick their family in so they can get squished on the freeway by the first SUV that comes buy?" he asked LeBeau. "It all hinges on gas prices," LeBeau replied.

Christopher Zook of CAZ Investments made some interesting comments on the rally, but nothing that isn't regularly spoken by "Fast Money" guests these days. "We're starting to see a little bit of panic buying, which leads me to believe that this rally is almost finished."

Dan Niles of Alpha One predicted the CSCO earnings report would have "something for both the bulls and the bears." Sounds exciting.

Mark Mahaney of Citigroup discussed how the subject of avoiding government attention will come up at the Google shareholder meeting. He said he's somewhat bullish on the stock but mostly would prefer to buy in around $350.

Yesterday, Jim Suva of Citi predicted big things for RIMM, saying "We think RIMM's actually going much higher. We think it's going to a hundred dollars." RIMM had another good day Wednesday. One update that would be useful is Steve Cortes' recent call for shorting the FXI.

[Tuesday, May 5, 2009]

‘Fast Money’ crew gushes praise
on CEO it ripped over pay package
— once he gives show interview

          Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The CNBC "Fast Money" crew is not to be confused with "Meet the Press."

Tuesday, host Melissa Lee and the panel "confronted" Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon on the phone about receiving a $112 million pay package despite overseeing a stock (CHK) that cratered in 2008.

This pay package included a $75 million one-time bonus ... and the company paid him $12 million for his map and watercolor collection.

First Lee asked him about the economy. Then the hard-hitting journalism began with Guy Adami: "Mr. McClendon, you know we're a huge fan of yours, and we've been a huge fan of the company but we would be remiss if we didn't bring this up: Optically, the pay package you're gonna receive does not look good in this environment. You wanna comment on that? I mean I think you can understand how people can be somewhat upset, given what's happened over the last year or so."

"Huge fan" ... "Optically"?

McClendon's response: "Uh, sure I understand that, and uh, sure I understand your all's perspective. I heard some commentary you made on it not too long ago. Uh, I tried to address it a little bit on this morning's conference call. We have, uh, filed, uh, certain documents with the SEC that explains the board's rationale. Uh, unfortunately, um, this whole situation is subject to some litigation and I'm not allowed to comment on it. But you're right, I would love to address it, and I would want to talk — like to talk more about it, but we can only do so in filings with the SEC, so unfortunately I have to refer you and others to those."

Lee responded: "You can't comment on it. But are there any plans in perhaps, giving any of it back?"

"Um I can only limit my comments to uh, what was filed with the SEC," McClendon said.

Lee asked the panel: "What do you guys think?"

"That's fair, I mean—" Adami started to answer.

"I mean it's fair," Lee interrupted, "he said he's in litigation, can't comment on it, but $112 million? That's a lot of money."

"Being caught in legaldom is no friend of anybody," said Jeff Macke. "I think he's a good CEO who basically never saw it coming on the sell-off ... he's rebuilding both his business and his personal finances, and all the credit in the world for him to hanging in there and to coming on the show and talkin' about it ... to the extent legally possible."

It gets worse on the show's official "Fast Money" recap at CNBC.com: "Many CEOs would retreat in the face of such negative news, but not McClendon. He joined us for an interview. ... He told us candidly he's eager to address this issue."

What's newsworthy about the softball treatment is that twice recently, as details of the pay package emerged, "Fast Money" panelist Karen Finerman — an activist investor and hedge fund giant — had no trouble denouncing the compensation, including this segment March 30 in which Finerman mulled a creative term coined by the Chesapeake board:

"Gretchen Morgenson did a great piece in the Times on this very issue and shareholder activism. This is outrageous, and it should be to any shareholder. Just to quote the employment agreement exactly so I don't get it wrong: They gave this bonus as a result of the executive's extraordinary contribution to the joint venture transactions that were consummated by the company during 2008 and inceas- increased the company's intrinsic value by 10 billion, at least 10 billion dollars. What the, what is 'intrinsic value'? It is very different apparently than 'shareholder value,' because we saw that a lot of shareholder value was destroyed during that period, so that's not what intrinsic value is, we're very unclear what it actually is. Basically what it seems to be from a skeptical outsider is, he lost— such as myself for example — he lost a ton of money on his very levered margin stock position and had to sell at the bottom. That's unfortunate, however, all the other shareholders do not enjoy this same bonus, because they weren't perhaps involved in creating the intrinsic value, but this is just ridiculous to make him, I don't know that he's whole, but to make, to sort of say, you know what, we'll bail you out! It's his own TARP, all the other shareholders don't get a TARP.

"The other thing is, this is an extension of an employment agreement; he already has an employment agreement in place. This is his job as CEO — to create value. So the fact that he did it doesn't mean he should get a new contract and 75 million dollars that's not exactly cash, I understand that, but this is just outrageous to shareholders, people wonder why Wall Street is you know, people, shareholders (unintelligible)..."

Adami jumped in: "Karen's spot-on ... Aubrey, he's a friend of this show, he's been on this show, he's a friend of the network. I mean, you would wonder, that he probably has to step up at some point and say, 'you know what, no thank you,' frankly. I mean I think he'd get a lot more gravitas if he said you know what, thank you, but no thank you, and move forward from here, I'll work on a 'as the company goes I'll go' basis, but this one is just a bailout frankly."

Then on April 28, there was more commentary from Finerman on "Fast Money":

"Well it's really outrageous, I mean, you know. I, I, feel badly for the guy, he made a big bet on the company, he had to sell his stock, we all saw it, the bottom last fall, when he was forced out by margin calls to sell his stock. However: This pay package is absurd. One of the things in there was the 12 million dollars that the company paid for his map and watercolor collection. It's ridiculous. Now his own appraiser, his art appraiser, valued it at 20 million. so in fact they were getting a really good deal apparently. But just the, the appearance of this, it's ridiculous. I don't know how compensation committees can feel comfortable doing this kind of thing. They, they said that he created unique opportunities. That's his job, he's the CEO, what else is he supposed to do, why else pay him? So to give him these kind of benefits, it's ridiculous. I don't know how compensation committees aren't feeling worse about what they do, and feel like nobody's gonna look. People are watching."

Adami added: "It just gives the look that they're trying to pay him back for that, you know the trade that he put on, they're trying to make him whole. Whether that's the truth or not, it doesn't matter but that's what it looks like."

Chesapeake stock opened 2008 at $38.67 and finished at $16.10, according to Yahoo finance. It peaked intraday at $74 July 2 and bottomed at $9.84 on Dec. 5. McClendon, well known for buying massive blocks of his own company's stock, owned 33.5 million shares as of Sept. 30, according to Bloomberg, nearly all of which were unloaded by Oct. 10.

The "Fast Money" crew regularly says, evidenced by Finerman's comments above, that McClendon was forced to sell "at the bottom." In fact, in disclosing McClendon's stock sales after the market close Oct. 10, the company would not disclose prices, saying it would "file forms" showing prices received, according to a Bloomberg story by Steven Bodzin and Dan Lonkevich. That day, CHK hit an intraday bottom of $11.99 before closing at $16.37.

McClendon is actually reported by Yahoo finance on Oct. 8 as selling 4.6 million shares at prices ranging from $22.68-$23.28 — well above the bottom. On Oct. 9 he is listed as selling 11 million shares at prices ranging from $17.56 to $24 per share. Finally, Oct. 10, he is listed as unloading 15 million shares at prices ranging $12.65 to $16.16.

Terrible prices for someone who bought high — but not "the bottom."

McClendon's compensation package for 2007 was $18.7 million, according to the Bloomberg story.

CNBCfix put in its usual e-mail to CNBC for comment and expects the typical automated response. Some might wonder if former "Fast Money" host Dylan Ratigan would've handled the McClendon situation differently than Lee's panel did. Ratigan left the show just days before news of the McClendon pay package broke.

Finerman is as impressive as it gets as an investor and TV market pundit. The fact she had the day off Tuesday while McClendon gave an interview suggests either the show or McClendon himself wanted to give a response to her criticism, and the parties involved figured it would be a perfect thing to do when Karen was off.

And the deal crafted by Chesapeake's board sounds like, when a CEO invests in his own company, there really is no risk for him or her, because the board will just make him or her whole or nearly whole a year later thanks to the "intrinsic value" created.

So weeks ago, when McClendon is not on the "Fast Money" program, his pay package is called "outrageous" ... "ridiculous" ... "his own TARP" ... "bailout" ... "absurd" ... "ridiculous" ... and "people are watching."

Tuesday, McClendon gives "Fast Money" an interview, says absolutely nothing about his pay package, and we hear: "huge fan" ... "That's fair" ... "Being caught in legaldom is no friend of anybody" ... "I think he's a good CEO" ... "he's rebuilding his personal finances" ... "all the credit in the world for hanging in there" ... "He told us candidly he's eager to address this issue" ...

Finerman was right: People are watching.

Bottom line on "Fast Money"?

Go long the trades.

Short the journalism.

          ©2009 CNBCfix

[Monday, May 4, 2009]

Fast Money Review: An open
letter from Karen Finerman

There was gushing about commodities on Monday's "Fast Money," and little else.

Pete Najarian crowed about coal, and suddenly bullish Tim Seymour trumpeted names like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and CVRD. Even Dan Fitzpatrick of StockmarketMentor.com jumped on the bandwagon, saying there is still upside for coal names including Foundation Coal.

On the other hand, we got this from Guy Adami on yet another big day in the market: "I just don't think it can sustain itself."

Karen Finerman questioned why the VIX was down (it didn't seem surprising, given a big market jump on light volume) and suggested it means a lot of people still don't believe the rally.

Media expert Rich Greenfield of Pali Research has long been a good "Fast Money" guest. He was bearish on DIS, another stock we don't understand why "Fast Money" constantly wants to discuss given that it never really goes anywhere. We don't know if he's right, but he made a lot of interesting points about ESPN's link to truck advertising.

Jeff Harte of Sandler is often a good guest, but had nothing to offer this time, essentially saying that if things go well for the banks, then they'll go well, and if not, then, well, you probably don't want to own them. He thinks names such as FIG (liked by Guy Adami and Pete Najarian) are basically going wherever the market's going.

Gregg Fisher of Gernstein Fisher made what we think was an inaugural appearance on "Fast Money" and came prepared with almost a speech about how "diversification is critical right now." He mentioned gold, commodities and emerging markets but mostly it seemed like an advertisement for buying water stocks — something Eric Bolling tried a couple years ago on "Fast Money" that was a giant dud, to say the least.

One of the more bizarre "Fast Money" segments in recent memory occurred when Karen Finerman read a "letter" to Dryships CEO George Economou — only to have colleague Tim Seymour practically call the stock a buy despite the fact he supposedly agrees with her point and thinks it's a tremendous point. (Looks good on you though, Judge Smales.)

K-Fine never seemed comfortable throughout the show and got a strange, reassuring pat on the back from Pete Najarian at the end. This open letter might be a "Fast Money" feature that needs to be deep-sixed.

[Friday, May 1, 2009]

Fast Money Review: Another
sub-$5 stock jumps on mention

Guy Adami opened Friday's show by repeating the traders' recent mantra (now starting to sound a bit tired), that there's not much to trade because the market is due for a pause or pullback. He said it's "very hard, if you're a trader, to get long, an initial position, at these levels."

Tim Seymour is now seeing data signs that back up the bullish case. "If we hadn't risen 30 percent over the last month, I think people would be diving in here."

Whitney Tilson said, in a taped segment, he thinks Berkshire is a buy because it has underperformed the sectors it's invested in.

Emily French of Consiliagra said "absolutely" she was a buyer of grain on pullbacks from swine flu fears, and mentioned "China, China, China" as the source of great demand.

Karen Finerman predicted a GM bankruptcy by or around June 30.

Maynard Um of UBS made an interesting point about lost BlackBerrys being replaced by old ones in IT closets, but eventually those stockpiles will run out, and he sees a boost for Research in Motion by 2010. Guy Adami noted RIMM has doubled since March, and that it's hard to take a long position right now.

Becky Quick reported from Omaha where she's covering the Berkshire Hathaway meeting, and Adami asked the question about Warren Buffett that CNBCfix thinks was one of the dumbest points made on "Fast Money" in recent memory, that investors are deliberately selling off stocks reportedly owned by Berkshire because they're trying to sink Buffett. "Did he feel like the market was trying to run him in?" Adami asked. Quick had no idea.

We thought it was kinda neat for Karen Finerman to recommend a stock she owns with a symbol of KFN. Sure enough, once she mentioned it, approximately 5:26 p.m., the stock jumped from $1.76 to $1.94, per Google finance, a 10% pop, and ultimately exited afterhours trading at $1.90.

Two traders — Seymour and Finerman — balked at the "Fast Fire" segment, which has always been pretty useless because of the timing involved. Seymour griped, correctly as far as we can tell, that his short of FCX was correct for a three-day trade (and the show supposedly is about trades, not long-term investing). It seems the show feels compelled to manufacture "fairness" and report both a winner and loser for each trader, and thus gins up trades that didn't really happen by extending them well past the duration (i.e., to tonight's show) suggested by the trader. Finerman's beef was even more basic and alarming, they said she said to buy CELG when there was no proof she ever did.

Michael Morris of UBS came on the show to discuss Disney. "I think this quarter is gonna be soft," he said. CNBCfix wonders why DIS and this ridiculous "Fast Money" collection of names such as YHOO, INTC, TXN and sometimes JNJ are constantly mentioned on the show despite never moving in about, oh, a decade.

Jim Delany Saratoga Capital came on the set to discuss homebuilders and CDSes. He was the epitome of the ultra-prepared guest. As soon as MLee turned him loose, he unleashed a speech that went over CNBCfix's head something fast and furious.

Guy Adami and Tim Seymour did battle over U.S. Steel. These "Friday Night Fights" (such as last week's between Jeff Macke and Pete Najarian over ACI) tend to involve one half-hearted participant who isn't actually bullish at all. Seymour was basically on target this time, "There's global steel companies around the world that are dumping steel on the markets," and that's continued trouble for X.

Joe Terranova made a short little comment that was actually informative to anyone who has a mild interest in bankruptcy but doesn't know much about it. Terranova said the Chrysler case is troubling because of the "legislative precedent" for which creditors get paid first. "Senior secured debt goes top of the capital structure," he asked Finerman, who concurred, but as Melissa Lee quipped, "used to be."

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