[CNBCfix Fast Money Review archive, May 2010]
[Monday, May 31, 2010]

CNBCfix.com review

"I can't stand when people don't give it to me straight," writes Anthony Scaramucci.

We try to do just that in our review of Goodbye Gordon Gekko.

Thank you, veterans

Thank you to America's veterans — for all that you've done, and all that you stand for.

[Friday, May 28, 2010]

Anthony Scaramucci:
Debbie Downer

Anthony Scaramucci sounded hard-pressed to find anything he liked on Friday's Fast Money.

Acknowledging a "very sloppy market," Scaramucci essentially told Steve Grasso to get that (stuff) outta here when Grasso was suggesting BP. (This writer is long BP.)

Grasso said it's impossible to call a bottom on BP, but the lost market cap is well beyond the spill cleanup/punitive costs. "I think it's a PR battle with Washington," Grasso said.

"What's gonna cause the catalyst for this to go back up," grumbled Scaramucci, basically rhetorically.

Grasso said once the hole is plugged, "could see an 8 to 15% pop in the stock."

Scaramucci grimaced sort of like Tim Seymour did yesterday with John Tabacco, and said grudgingly, after it's capped, maybe a "dead cat bounce." But he insisted there is "so much uncertainty" in the situation, even though there really isn't.

Melissa Lee said in her opinion, it wasn't very smart for BP to put a camera on the ocean floor.

Patty Edwards defended her recent BP purchases but insisted it's a small part of the portfolio and she was only "nibbling at it."

Government looking for
Goldman ‘scalps’

Anthony Scaramucci said Friday he wasn't optimistic about a quick Goldman Sachs settlement.

Scaramucci said the government is looking for "scalps," and the GS board and executives don't want to start firing people. As a result, "I think this is gonna drag on a lot longer than people think."

Joe Terranova said the summer looks like a "baseball season of frustration" for the overall stock market.

Guy Adami talked about how Steve Grasso is nailing all the key technical levels, and "I think we're at the top end of the range."

Brian Kelly said he bought STD, which brought the obligatory joke from Guy Adami, and that once the euro reaches "126 or so," he'd start selling.

Kelly touted Sprint. "If you can buy it lower, it's a great name to get into," he said.

Adami speculates China might
do more than tap on brakes

Joe Terranova graciously admitted defeat in the USAir short he put on. "Gary Kaminsky absolutely creamed me on this trade in November," he said.

That brought only a scoff from Anthony Scaramucci, who said "The airlines are roach motels."

Patty Edwards, very indirectly, offered another possible explanation for the "this" that some people on Fast Money keep referring to. Perhaps it actually means the nuclear subs in the Strait of Hormuz. Edwards said she is "absolutely holding on to that volatility index," and in her opinion, for the broad market, the "path of least resistance is down."

Guy Adami invoked what's presently the favorite Fast Money China cliche, saying there's a "very good chance" that instead of just a "tap on the brakes," China will "stamp on the brakes."

Guest Richard Kang said he's not fazed, that he likes PetroChina, Petrobras, ICICI, Banco Bradesco and China Life Insurance.

Melissa Lee wore black, with a tiny red buttoned top.

Market turns to ratings agencies for guidance

Zach Karabell suggested on Friday's Halftime Report that people who may subscribe to "sell in May and go away" might this time think about reloading instead.

"I have a feeling this is not going to be a time to obey that old canard, that this is a, a bad May that's flushed out a lot of prophets of the last 6 to 9 months," perhaps leading to a summer rally, Karabell said.

What's more, Karabell was questioning the Friday morning selloff over, of all things, a ratings agency downgrade. "This is all bizarre kabuki," said the Zekemeister, questioning the sudden "validation" of ratings agencies while deftly handling a way-overlong question from Melissa Lee. "I am not putting a lot of emphasis on this particular news event."

When the ratings news hit, "You definitely heard chaos on the floor," said Steve Grasso, "even though everyone expects it."

Grasso pointed to an S&P range of 1,086 to 1,104 and warned, "If we break to the downside, it could get ugly."

Brian Kelly agreed with Karabell that the ratings-triggered selloff looked bogus. "You might actually get a long trading opportunity here," perhaps in American banks that might've been oversold on purported European counterparty risk, said the Beekster.

Depends what the definition
of ‘this’ is

Yesterday we noted (see below) that Guy Adami said "I don't think this is going away anytime soon," without ever actually defining what "this" is.

Steve Grasso offered one possible definition when explaining that the beginning of next month, in a short week, could prompt a short-term rally.

"Let's also remember North Korea," Grasso said. "If North Korea headlines escalate, those are the ones that can kill the rally."

Wonder what those headlines might be ... "North Korea pushes China to tap harder on the brake pedal" ... "North Korea balks at Greece's restructuring provisions" ... "North Korea says oil spill worse than estimated" ... "North Korea warns of pending refinery attacks by Nigerian rebels" ...

Joe Terranova said he was a bit troubled by the lack of buying in gold given the market selloff. He also said of overall volume, "it's not that heavy."

Terranova said, "I own American Express, I'm going to add to my American Express."

Steve Grasso reiterated he thinks bank selling has been overdone. "I would buy Citi, JPMorgan, Bank of America, all of which I own," he said.

Jimmy Iuorio said the VIX had the "obligatory knee-jerk reaction" to the ratings-agency nonsense in the morning. He said, as Tim Seymour suggested a day ago, to look at other oil names that have been punished with BP and RIG, pointing to "big call traffic on Occidental today."

For BP and RIG, he said, "the punitive damages coming down from the government are gonna be huge and the public backlash is gonna be huge."

[Thursday, May 27, 2010]

John Tabacco: Only non-smart shorts were covering

Tim Seymour and John Tabacco were mixing like oil and water Thursday. (Is that so untimely an analogy that it's insensitive?)

Tabacco evidently is a draw for Fast Money, because he's probably been on the show at least 4 times in the last couple weeks, a frequency afforded few guests.

Seymour, who might've been juiced up by the load of Starbucks he had nearby, didn't seem eager to roll out the welcome mat for the next Tabacco visit.

Tabacco first said he didn't detect a large amount of short-covering; "not many carried out on their sword today."

Guy Adami said he agreed with that, and that he is actually less bearish because he doesn't think there was enough short-covering to set up a new leg down just yet.

Then Tabacco said Thursday's market action was mysterious, to say the least.

"Everyone's scratching their heads," he said. "Tell me 1 good thing that happened today other than China admitting that they can really really control what happens in our markets."

"I don't agree with that at all," Seymour responded, before noting positive global trends. "First of all I think a ton of shorts were covered today ... to say that people didn't cover on a day like today..."

"I didn't say they didn't cover, Tim," Tabacco said. "I said that some guys covered, but the smart guys still feel there's a fundamental short- reason to be short at this time."

Then Joe Terranova jumped in, saying shorts could face a problem with "potentially very bullish data points in the 1st week of June."

"That's good, Joe," responded Tabacco, "but when I started this dialogue with your producers back at the end of April, the market was at 11-2, and the shorts felt that that was a time to double up."

Seymour, noticeably raising eyebrows and fighting a smirk throughout this discussion, asked what happened to shorts in March. Tabacco admitted "They were getting carried out in body bags last March."

Seymour persisted: "You were short stocks in March?"

"I don't short. We don't trade," Tabacco said. "You can look at my disclosures and you'll see that we're not a trading company. We're just a data company, Tim."

At that point, Seymour mouthed "OK." Tabacco chuckled, "All right."

Perhaps Seymour thinks Tabacco's analysis is bogus, or perhaps these 2 crossed paths somewhere and it's an inside joke of some sort. Whatever. On this end, we can't figure out 1) how Tabacco knows whether any random short-covering is by a smart guy or dumb guy, and 2) how just knowing the level of short interest is enough for anyone to predict market direction.

The answer to 1) can only be this: Tabacco talks to dedicated shorts he believes to be smart guys and, like any other person, ignores others he thinks aren't particularly smart. On any given day, he asks the guys he talks to if they were covering. If they say no, he reports that the "smart" shorts weren't covering.

Whatever. It's decent television.

Too big to fail, oil-style

Joe Terranova said something on Thursday's Fast Money that probably explains a lot of stock market movements.

"There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty with what's going on down there in the Gulf and how to invest around it," Terranova said.

We couldn't disagree more. There's virtually no uncertainty. (Stop us when you disagree.) Eventually the leak will get plugged. Reports will surface saying BP or perhaps RIG or HAL or someone else cut corners somewhere or ignored warning signs. Evidence will emerge that far more oil was spilled, far more birds were drenched, far more fish were killed than originally estimated. Congress will demand more hearings. Doubtful drilling projects will be shelved. The president will talk about how important it is to have solar, renewables, etc. BP will pay a lot of one-time cash. When a couple lawmakers start clamoring for offshore moratoriums and cause oil prices to climb, the president will quietly cool everything down, and BP and everyone else will go back to quietly pumping oil from the seabed and everywhere else they can find it and contributing to whichever politicians they feel are most sympathetic to their cause. (This writer is long BP.)

(Sigh) That's a minority view on Fast Money, apparently. Tim Seymour claimed, "Politically, BP's gonna suffer as bad as anyone's ever suffered because this has hurt our country and there's a lot of people that are angry."

BP isn't a politician. Who cares how much it "politically" suffers.

Seymour argued that other integrated oil companies (obviously, you know, Total, his favorite) have been punished almost as much as BP and thus are better buys. Fair enough.

Joe Terranova made the darnedest recommendation for Suncor. "It's environmentally unfriendly, it's costly to get the oil out of there," he said, but he likes it and said Gary Kaminsky does too.

Guy Adami, on the other hand, thinks BP might indeed be a good trade. He said he thought Thursday might've been a "lot like that Toyota moment," and the stock "could easily go up 10 to 12% in a 2- or 3-day period given any good news."

Adami said a name people might consider is Oceaneering International. "We actually had a bit of a triple-bottom here," he said.

Patty Edwards again cited the "dividend yield, trading at 7 times" as reasons to be very bullish on BP. Edwards drew parallels to the Valdez disaster and how Exxon recovered; "by the way that happened on my birthday in 1989." She concluded, "This should probably play out for BP fairly decently."

Karen Finerman said it's impossible at this point to have any confidence in worst-case cost estimates for BP, but by playing the stock with calls, she can absolutely measure her risk.

Hard to imagine it being
a negative

Melissa Lee and Patty Edwards talked up an explosive subject on Thursday's Fast Money, a hypothetical so explosive, we're embarrassed to say we didn't go quite that far ourselves on the same topic yesterday.

The issue was whether Steven Ballmer should actually get fired. (Er, "retire.")

"I think that Ballmer is fighting for his life at this point," Edwards said. "He threw out uh, Robby Bach — I'm sorry, Robby Bach retired, as the head of, uh, the entertainment division. And they have promoted someone in, Don Mattrick, who is just 3 years or so into Microsoft out of Electronic Arts. They have got to get back in front of the consumer."

Lee asked Karen Finerman, "If Ballmer were out, would that be a positive for the stock or a negative?"

"That's a great question," said Finerman. "I'm thinking maybe it pops on that ... not a ton though."

Doug Kass watches
‘American Idol’

Tim Seymour, who spent most of Thursday's Fast Money defending a bullish or semi-bullish outlook, cited an interesting piece of evidence.

Seymour quoted Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill as saying, "The whole EU mess is complete emotional, subjective nonsense."

Melissa Lee later brought on Doug Kass to "connect the dots for us," and Kass seemed in line with O'Neill's opinion.

"Like the Bee Gees sang on 'American Idol' last night, uh, in the words of a broken heart, it's just emotion that's taking the market over," Kass said.

He added, "I think that the high-frequency trading community has so screwed up the market that you can throw out all technicals." But then he prescribed a technical range, saying he expects S&P between "1,080 and 1,180" through the summer.

Adami recommends stock he doesn’t own over stock he does own

Guy Adami sounds like he doesn't have much use for anyone known as commander in chief.

"The last time somebody said 'Mission Accomplished' in the market or anywhere was a president with basically a pilot's suit on," Adami said Thursday.

Adami also said, "The next test to me is 1,110 ... getting back in the VIX at these levels makes a lot of sense because, I don't think this is going away anytime soon."

So, it depends on what the definition of "this" is ... a month ago, "this" meant the devastating fin reg. A couple weeks ago, "this" meant the incredibly bad Greece problem. Then it meant the oil spill. But in the last week or so on Fast Money, based on preponderance of wary comments from people like Brian Kelly, "this" has come to mean China tapping "too hard on the brake pedal" (sorry, they invent the clichés on Fast Money; we just report them).

Whatever it is, it's not going away, apparently, anytime soon.

Adami did note of WLT, "I think it bounces from here ... if you believe in the tape." He added, "I'd rather be in BAC than letter C and I happen to be in letter C right now. Good for me."

Who knew a 7% move
could be so exciting?

We haven't known Dennis Gartman to be someone who regularly talks in superlatives, but that's sort of what happened Thursday.

Gartman declared "The past month of May has been astounding," and "I've seen a lot in 35 years of doing this."

"It is very, very hard to be bullish of the stock market at these prices with these sorts of trend lines having been devastated," Gartman said. "I do think we're seeing, uh, window-dressing going on."

Pressed for a long position, he said natural gas suppliers, but not nat gas itself, are interesting. "I might own some natural gas trusts," he allowed.

More on Patty’s trip

Patty Edwards, on the West Coast Prop Desk, once again saluted JCG, which was a great call of hers going back to November, though the stock at this point has returned to around that same level.

"They are doing everything right," Edwards said. "There's virtually no one better than Mickey Drexler."

Edwards said "I actually met with Tiffany management" during her recent trip to New York, and even though management cited volcano headwinds, they still had a great quarter. She also said they reported that the "aspirational" consumer isn't really there yet. We were hoping she'd mention some of the more amusing details of her Big Apple visit revealed on Twitter, such as the guy trying to get dates by posing as one of the Jacksons, having terrible guacamole, and not having DVR in the hotel room.

Terranova: We’ve bottomed

Joe Terranova announced at the beginning of Thursday's Fast Money, "I kinda feel like I'm not long enough."

"I think you're long enough," said Guy Adami.

Terranova said "I do believe that the market has found the bottom," and he credited Tim Seymour for "phenomenal analysis last night about what is going on in China."

David Riedel on Thursday said China is impressive; he was recently there. "There's a lot of great things going on there."

Brian Stutland suggested a way to play GOOG with options: a June 510/530 call spread. "I wanna buy the 510 call and I wanna sell the 530 call at the same time. Net-net, I'm gonna pay about $4 for this trade," Stutland said, saying it would have a "4 to 1 payout" that could make $16.

‘Fundamentals are improving
at Microsoft’

Analyst David Hillel astonishingly decided to upgrade Microsoft.

But, he sounds pretty level-headed about it.

"We're not trying to make comparisons to the great days of Microsoft," Hillel said Thursday on the Fast Money Halftime Report. "It's underperformed 700 basis points just in the last month vs. tech peers, when actually fundamentals are improving at Microsoft because of this product cycle."

Recent underperformance can be an excellent basis for a call, but honestly, we can't imagine any scenario (and haven't really since about 2001) where, if MSFT actually does go up about, say, 8%, that dozens of other tech companies don't go up about 20%.

Melissa Lee might've looked good in pink T-shirt, but her intro question to Hillel about Europe was so long, he ended up arguing against MSFT before he argued for it.

Currency risk, Hillel said, "is going to be a headwind really for all global IT companies." He told Lee he's projecting "increased weakness out of Europe, but I wouldn't call it a meltdown."

Sometimes, we nail it

In reporting on Wednesday's Halftime Report (see below), we posted this entry on this page: "(This writer is long C, and so is Steve Grasso, for the next 5 years or something like that.)"

Sure enough, during the Citigroup discussion on Thursday's Halftime Report, Steve Grasso said he owns C, and "I'm looking 5 years out ... it's in my retirement ... to buy it underneath $4 is an exceptional opportunity."

Adami: Possible reversal at 1,110

Steve Grasso said on Thursday's Halftime that "1,086, that remains the uh, the focus point of this market."

He added, "Before I start to get long this market, we have to close above 1,100 in the S&P."

Guy Adami first conceded, "You have to allow for the tape," and he predicted there might be a test at 1,110. So, "the VIX might be the place to be."

Adami ultimately concluded, "I think the next big leg is down once again."

Grasso too warned of bulls jumping in here and having their "face ripped off." That's a term we've come to like, and one of these days we're going to try to figure out who introduced it to Fast Money several months ago.

The only thing we'd say about Grasso's point is that we'd be equally if not more concerned about face getting ripped off in the upward direction, since that's happened a couple times around here in the last 12 months when the market seemingly fell in the tank and looked hugely shortable but it was only a head fake.

Patty Edwards said she "did not like the action at the end of the day yesterday."

Jared Levy said "I would be long of oil here but just slightly."

Guy Adami said even though Citi's had a good couple of days, "Frankly, I think there are better places to be." He said he expects "tremendous headwinds" in banks for a few weeks.

Adami also took a dig at the White House and the whatever the latest speech is going to be on fin reg, complaining, "Just tell me the rules of the game."

Levy, Edwards bullish on BP

Jared Levy said Thursday he likes BP, for its high dividend yield and "high volatility in the issue." Levy suggested a covered call play of buying the stock, getting the dividend, and selling a far-out covered call perhaps in December. (This writer is long BP.)

Levy also drew parallels to Exxon's cleanup costs with the Valdez. There is potentially one big difference, that the Alaskan region of the Valdez spill was very difficult for crews to access, unlike the Gulf. But all anyone can do is hope it works out better this time.

Patty Edwards, who had previously trumpeted BP a few dollars higher, said "There's a lot of risk you can build in at 7 times ... even if it does nothing you get paid to wait."

Kaminsky really on fire

The Business Insider speaks with David Faber about the new lunchtime show, "The Strategy Session," and includes this paragraph: "We also hear CNBC created 'Strategy Session' to seize on an opportunity to spotlight Faber's co-host, contributing editor Gary Kaminsky, during its early afternoon roster. Kaminsky is the big shot former $13 billion managing director of Neuberger Berman, a valuable asset for a show focused on capital markets and investment decisions."

[Wednesday, May 27, 2010]

Steve Eisman thinks he’s found the next subprime situation

Melissa Lee, who looked great in another prominent belt Wednesday, continually interrupted Wednesday's Fast Money with breaking news (that's a bit of a reach) on certain investors' positions revealed during the Ira Sohn conference.

Lee reported that Jeremy Grantham was calling bonds "grotesquely" overvalued and said he likes timber, emerging markets and big-cap blue chips.

Lee said Steve Eisman was shorting Apollo Group.

That comment became much more intriguing after we saw this Barron's post on the subject by Tiernan Ray, who notes Eisman titled his presentation "Subprime goes to college."

Ray writes that, according to Eisman's presentation, for-profit education companies are "literally trolling bus depots and casinos" for students. The industry has 10% of all students, but collects 25% of aid disbursed. Now that's a deal.

Ray says Eisman also is down on Washington Post, for its Kaplan test-prep business.

Lee also noted during Fast Money that David Einhorn is still shorting the ratings agencies.

Steven Ballmer:
Good or bad?

One thing Brian "Beeks" Kelly is quite good at is getting into a debate with his Fast Money colleagues over the condition of some economy or industry.

On Wednesday, his clash with Jon Najarian over Europe seemed to hinge on the credibility of Steven Ballmer making macro-economic judgments.

Kelly claimed Ballmer is warning about Europe being a significant problem because no one's buying MSFT products. Dr. J said "I think Ballmer's padding his quarter, and he's looking for a scapegoat."

Dr. J continued, "Ballmer right now, there's a lot of people that doubt his leadership there quite frankly. I am one of them." Then he accused Ballmer of not being aggressive enough at the plate. "He's making all the little half-swings, he's not taken a full cut at the ball."

There are things like Zune and Vista. But you would think share price would be the ultimate scorecard. Ballmer became CEO in January 2000. According to Yahoo finance, the adjusted price for MSFT in January 2000 was in the mid-$40s.

The perfect time to buy C

Wednesday's Fast Money, sadly, delivered virtually nothing in terms of trades.

But when in doubt, there's always Citigroup. (This writer is long C.)

Discussing the sale of some Treasury shares, Karen Finerman, noted that the price was $4.13 a share, which she said is "exactly book value" and pointed out that if book value is the parameter, there could be a ceiling in the stock. Finerman also questioned if the investing public is getting all the information it needs, saying she wonders if Citi has more of a "necessary obligation to disclose than they seem to be doing."

Joe Terranova said that when the government gets around to unloading its last billion and a half shares, everyone on Fast Money will want in, because "That's the greatest trade out there."

Peter Boockvar: China’s tough

Peter Boockvar seems on board with this notion, expressed by some on Wall Street, that China is the real Master of the Universe, and it's only a matter of time before the U.S. and rest of the world are doing its bidding.

"China's going to enforce discipline," Boockvar said Wednesday on Fast Money. "They're gonna enforce discipline on us one day."

Maybe in the meantime they could enforce some discipline with their friends in Pyongyang. Or is that just a principled stand of some sort ...

Boockvar and Brian Kelly and Tim Seymour debated inside baseball on European economics that kinda went over our heads, but eventually Boockvar admitted, "China is somewhat screwed," and he recommends in all this global turmoil "hard assets."

Brad Hintz: What’s not to like about Goldman Sachs?

Brad Hintz said one reason Goldman Sachs looks good is because when a company's on its back, the only place it can go is up. That actually hasn't been the case recently if you're BP, but whatever...

Hintz said he's calculated that if Goldman settled the Abacus case, payments would probably amount to $1.05 a share, which Karen Finerman called an excellent outcome.

Jon Najarian pointed out he got in GS recently under $135.

Analyst hikes AA to $18

Macquarie analyst Curt Woodworth discussed raising his Alcoa price target from $17 to $18 on Fast Money Wednesday.

Woodworth said there's already been a "20% correction" in aluminum prices, and the stocks have been hit harder than that. Tim Seymour seemed skeptical, pointing out China production.

Melissa Lee asked Woodworth about the possibility of an aluminum ETF. Woodworth said there's a "good chance that that could happen."

Anthony Scaramucci delivered a less-than-inspiring Hedge Fund trade of the week, saying it's time for "comfort foods," and thus the pick is Kraft. "This is gonna be a growth stock," he said.

Mike Khouw suggested buying the September 104 put for $5.15 and selling the September 87 put for $1.70.

Steve Liesman complained about Europe, "Labor's not mobile ... capital's not mobile."

Karen Finerman was wearing a pretty new outfit we haven't seen before.

Analyst: RIG to $85

Analyst Waqar Syed of Macquarie joined the Fast Money Halftime Report on Wednesday to discuss his $85 price target for RIG.

According to the contracts, Syed said, "It is the well owner's responsibility for any pollution coming out of the well. So Transocean is indemnified against the pollution coming from the well. So at the end of the day, it's not going to be Transocean writing the check."

He added, "We see significant value in the stock." He said the company has revenue backlog of $28 billion, and any cost increases "are going to ... pale in comparison to everything else that the company has going for it."

Citi beta: 2.77

Whenever in doubt on the Halftime Report, there's always Citigroup.

Anthony Scaramucci said Wednesday, on reports that Qatar might be interested in buying some of the U.S. government's stake in C, that it could be a "sign of another bottom." (This writer is long C, and so is Steve Grasso, for the next 5 years or something like that.)

Jon Najarian examined Disney's stock action after recent earnings reports and suggested that people with access to the information in advance probably would've tried to trade on it, and not gained anything, and thus would've had motivation to sell it instead.

Brian "Beeks" Kelly said the market has undergone a "huge sentiment shift," although he insists, "I'm in the camp that we're in the eye of the storm." He pointed to CLF: "That's your risk-on trade."

[Tuesday, May 25, 2010]

Cortes: China is outperforming

Steve Cortes, who seems like he's got some mojo lately though we haven't actually scrutinized many of his recent calls to know if they were actually correct, delivered on Fast Money Tuesday an interesting bit of information that has apparently flown under the radar.

"China has been underperforming; uh, previous to last couple weeks, China was underperforming the U.S. market for 6 months," Cortes said. "That has changed in the last couple of weeks, in May I think that is a monumental shift. ... You want Chinese-related shares ... anything China-related." Of course, that always means FCX.

Cortes didn't look quite like Danny Noonan when he drops by Judge Smales' yacht club, but his jacket and kerchief drew attention. Gary Kaminsky joked that "Nobody sent Steve the memo that the SALT conference in Vegas was actually last week."

Kaminsky said he disagreed with Brian Kelly, who proclaimed the day's recovery was mere short-covering. "You did have actual buying," Kaminsky said. "I don't think it was short covering this afternoon, I think it was defensive buying."

Kaminsky cautioned, "We have not solved the problems that caused this downdraft," and "defensive buying does not have conviction."

Tabacco smokes Kelly

John Tabacco's recent calls have been so provocative, they keep inviting him back to Fast Money.

On Tuesday, Tabacco immediately lined up against Brian "Beeks" Kelly.

"I gotta agree with Gary Kaminsky, I did not see any significant shorts covering at the end of the day," Tabacco said, though he said the dedicated shorts still see a "potpourri of overvalued situations."

"One trader told me today that Goldman Sachs is the new Dow Jones industrial average," Tabacco said.

Beeks mined every word of Tabacco's analysis to bolster his case. "I don't know about you guys," Kelly said to the panel, "but I hear, day-traders, changing their strategy to go short overnight, to me I say short-covering rally."

You’re outvoted, Brian

Brian Kelly ultimately faced an avalanche of short-term buyers on Tuesday's Fast Money.

"I think tomorrow's Turnaround Tuesday," announced Tim Seymour.

"The system is flush with liquidity," said Joe Terranova. "You have to step in and buy some stuff here."

Jon Najarian was apparently saying the Goldman Sachs chart looks like a V.

Guy Adami declared "the world is still an extraordinarily scary place." But he said his recent call of 1,040 being a key if not the key level in the S&P proved to be "literally the low of the day," and after the bounce, now you can think about trading it. "I'm not getting crazy giddy," he reassured bears. "I still think the world is a bad place."

Kelly, for his part, said "I thought the news was awful this morning ... I still think the world's a terrible place." But he admitted he had to cover some shorts, out of respect for the market.

Perhaps in an example of overdramatizing things, Kelly warned there's a "fundamental change" in the world financial system, and "things are very different than they were in the past."

Steve Cortes said "I really do like Goldman Sachs." He also said crude is "extremely oversold technically" and "global commodities are a buy here." He added, "Dogma is for theologians. We are traders."

Guy Adami, referring to Cortes' clothing, said, "What time's the lounge act tonight after you're doing Fast Money?"

How to get to 950

David Rosenberg certainly is prone to the unwanted monologue. But we've grown to like hearing Rosenberg on Fast Money, if only because it's a good way to hear every angle of the ultimate bear case.

Rosenberg offered this trading tip Tuesday: "I think what you wanna do is just take what worked last year and assume it's not gonna work in the next, uh, several quarters, and uh, what uh, didn't work last year is gonna work."

Melissa Lee noted that Rosenberg had a "crystal ball" back in 2007-08, but at least she didn't pluralize that into the same old joke this time.

Rosenberg was refreshingly candid. "I didn't think we were gonna rally 80% off the lows," he said. But for those thinking it's only going up, "I don't think you wanna stand in front of this train right now."

Rosenberg claimed a lot of pundits seem to think everything is back on course, when in fact it takes "6-7 years sustainable expansion."

That reminds us of original Fast Money kingpin Eric Bolling constantly pleading the case that "commodities run in 14-year cycles, and we're not even halfway through this one."

Lee said Rosenberg has put a target of S&P 950, which Tim Seymour said is an "aggressive call."

Seymour made a pitch for larger companies. "You wanna be in liquid names ... you don't wanna be in small-cap at this stage of the rally."

Risk — one thing that wasn’t
happening in Vegas

Anthony Scaramucci, fresh off the Skybridge SALT conference that has not only rapidly become a must-be-there hedge fund gathering but gave Vegas a boost, interestingly said top money managers are predicting more downward stock movements, but aren't actually betting on it.

"Hedge funds are de-risking," Scaramucci said. "They're cutting both long and short exposure, and most guys are expecting further correction on the S&P 500, something like 5 to 10%."

Scaramucci said the funds are concentrating on staying in business and playing it very conservatively. "We do not want a 2008 redo if you will," he said. "Most of these guys are in a relatively underlevered position."

We sort of half-joked — but it was only half a joke — that maybe all the market needed to turn bullish last week was for the SALT gathering to end. Who knows, maybe when a lot of big-money honchos get together coincidentally during a market downturn, all the talk happens to be negative, because it can't really be anything else, and the gloom sort of feeds on itself.

Or, maybe we have no better clue than the next guy.

Tim Seymour congratulated Scaramucci on a "fantastic conference last week."

Guy Adami again hailed Scaramucci's Goodbye Gordon Gekko. "Since Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker, that's the best thing I've read about Wall Street," Adami said.

Standing up for the
Options Action guys

We've recently found the daily Options Action segment on Fast Money to be a prime target for carping, for what are actually a few good reasons.

Options talk tends to be boring for those who don't trade them (sorry Pete), the suggested trades always seemed to get dissed by the Fast Money panelists, and maybe most of all, many of the trades seem like an overly complex way to take a simple bullish or bearish position.

Karen Finerman sort of rounded all those bases a day ago when she suggested just going long oil instead of trying to grasp Mike Khouw's way of betting on a rebound in beaten oil names.

All of that said, we're starting to have some empathy for the Options Action guys, at least over these Fast Money clips. No, we haven't gotten any complaints, or any menacing visits from CBOE 16-inch softball goons.

Rather, we've found it's difficult to absorb all the details of these options trades without listening to the tape 2 or 3 times. The security, the month, the strike, the price of the strike, maximum gain/loss, whether it's put/call, etc. And we're just on the listening end. Given that the pros have about a 30-second window of rattling this stuff off, making it sound sensible, being prepared to take questions about it from their Fast colleagues, all while trying to avoid making any blunders that will bring snickers around their trading floor the next day, we'll readily concede, this isn't easy stuff.

Scott Nations on Tuesday offered this trade for jittery S&P 500 watchers: "I wanna buy the July 97/107 put spread. I can pay about $2.65 for that spread ... that's my max loss," he said. He added it could bring a "max profit of $7.35, that takes place at $97 in the SPYder and below."

Nations said if he were to just buy the 107 put, "I'd pay almost $5 for it," thus he prefers the spread.

Sounds reasonable.

Gillis: Beware GOOG quarter

Colin Gillis on Tuesday suggested it may be a bit early to dive into GOOG.

"The June quarter is historically Google's weakest quarter," Gillis said. "In fact it's traded off for the last 4 years in a row in the June quarter."

Gillis, however, said not to bail on tech just because of the current market tumult. "There's no reason to have excessive concern about this sector," he said.

The last thing we'd ever, ever want to do is zing Karen Finerman. But in this case, it's sort of fair to note that Karen rarely if ever pounds the table for a stock, and when she did just that with GOOG in late 2009 and early 2010, it was basically the top — by an increasingly wide margin.

DeGraaf on the fence

Tim Seymour said Tuesday that the steel sector is "well oversold," and he started pounding the table for Mittal, on its "turnaround intraday."

Seymour, however, said BP is facing a lot of bad news and to absolutely avoid it. (This writer is long BP.) Worse, he said there's really nothing anyone else can do about the spill. "The government doesn't have the technology to stop this," he said.

We were hoping for exciting things from chart great Jeff DeGraaf, but he sort of lost us at the beginning when he unveiled a graph of the "advance-decline ratio divided by the advance-decline volume ratio."

He mentioned "neutral" a few times. In summation, he said, "Tactically you're a buyer of the S&P ... potentially being short the TLT."

He also said he thinks the yield curve needs to flatten a bit; this steep, it "is a death knell."

Brian Kelly suggested a trade in the GLD: "Sell the 135 December 2010 call for $3.70."

Perhaps Melissa Lee singlehandedly turned around the market Tuesday with her sleeveless navy ensemble, highlighted by belt, which she wears probably better than anyone on CNBC.

Movie of the week:
‘Return of the Jedi’

The original "Star Wars" (we think it's officially something like "Episode IV") remains perhaps the most glorious film ever made for a theater, even though Guy Adami claims to have never seen it. Its sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back," though lacking any kind of mission for its heroes, is a very good film.

Last weekend, the Spike channel put together a "Star Wars" marathon. On the small screen, these films are effective, but lose the magic, like Roy Hobbs swinging a regular bat instead of the Wonder Boy.

"Return of the Jedi" is one of history's more controversial films. That's unfortunate, given that the scene of Vader tossing the emperor over the railing should've gone down as one of the greatest in cinema. Unmistakable, however, is what appears to be the jump-the-shark moment of the franchise: When the heroes, who have successfully been battling Death Stars, emperors, sith lords, enormous monsters, nights outdoors in subzero weather, etc., are carried in, hog-tied, by cuddly little Ewoks, for a feast honoring the "god" C-3PO, and are supposedly on the verge of being nearly torched before Luke causes the chair of C-3PO to levitate and fully convince the Ewoks they must listen to him.

Does GS $140 matter?

Jon Najarian declared on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that if Goldman Sachs can reclaim the $140 mantle, "this is going to be a very big moral victory for the markets."

We try not to disagree with Dr. J because he's usually right on these things, except for AK Steel but that gets covered below, but this time we have to differ.

The gut here is that GS is so linked to these SEC and potentially other cases, it's not going to trade on fundamentals or technicals for a long time, but rather random news, the type of news that could suggest a $180 target or a $110 target.

Najarian spoke about AAPL. "I'm looking at 230 right here" as an entry point, he said.

Patty Edwards said that even though she's been talking about scooping up AAPL on the decline, she's "just not feeling that love." However, she said, "I am looking at GLW, Corning, at this point, trading at 8 times forward earnings, are you kidding me?" She also likes HPQ for similar reasons.

Jeff Tomasulo needs to hire a humor writer for his lines

Jeff Tomasulo on Tuesday's Halftime described the market of recent weeks as "Holy volatility, Batman." He said "I do not feel comfortable" getting into any financials, and most of all, people should "not be a hero" in times like this.

Carter Worth, whom Jon Najarian referred to as "Charter" Worth, pointed to the euro's crumble. He said entities making those rapid moves to old levels "typically respond to that reference point." Thus, in the euro, he would "look for a little bit of day-to-day rebounding, really."

Jon Najarian hopefully asked Worth about AKS, the worst pick (by far) Najarian has ever made on Fast Money.

Maybe Worth was being helpful. The chart of AKS, he said, "It's so bad that it's good," and there seems to be minimal risk left after an "unrelenting week-after-week selloff."

"Unrelenting" — you got that right.

Patty Edwards expressed caution about Europe. "Thailand was pretty small when we had the Indonesian-Asian contagion," she said. She added that she was "nibbling at some more platinum today" and continues to hold gold.

"There's a liquidity problem and a solvency problem," insisted Brian "Beeks" Kelly.

Good news for Jon Meacham:
Newsweek still has value

Jeff Tomasulo explained on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he finds value in those daily print news magazines.

Contra-value, that is, and we don't mean the Nicaraguan guys.

Tomasulo noted that Newsweek in its international editions splashed the headline "Death of the euro" on its cover.

"When news magazines do that, it's usually a sign, it's a sign of the bottom here," Tomasulo said.

Melissa Lee challenged Tomasulo as to whether he really got long the euro based on that cover. Tomasulo admitted he's taking a bath so far. "I'm feeling a lot of pain right now; I put it on almost 2 Fridays ago," he said.

[Monday, May 25, 2010]

Guess the Gartman short

Dennis Gartman on Monday played Name That Stock with Fast Money viewers.

And not just the viewers, but the Fast Money panelists.

"My biggest short is a, a maker of telephones that we all carry in our pockets and quote, get our quotes from. But I can't mention it on television," Gartman said. "If you look at that chart, it's just a terrible chart."

Brian Kelly botches one

Until Monday, we had no idea what kind of phone Dennis Gartman carries. But Gartman said 2 things about his mystery short that set us on the right track.

First, probably no one would describe Apple first as a "maker of telephones." Certainly, that's something it does. But if AAPL were this particular company, it'd be described as "a computer company in the phone and music business" or something like that.

So presumably he's talking about either RIMM, Nokia or Motorola. However, nobody on the show talks about owning devices of the latter 2 names, and every financial bigwig uses either an iPhone or a BlackBerry.

Then, the mention of the chart ... AAPL just hit an all-time high a few weeks ago. Clearly it's been a rough month, but that is not a disaster. RIMM's chart, on the other hand, has been wretched for a long time.

None of that apparently occurred to Brian Kelly, who, referring to AAPL, blurted out, "I agree with Dennis Gartman, I would be short this name."

Gartman had to make special mention later in the show: "I am not short of AAPL."

Karen not torn over ACL

Karen Finerman spoke Monday about extraordinary spreads in the M&A world and reiterated her interest in ACL.

"My favorite one is Alcon by far," Finerman said of brewing deals. "A-plus quality buyer."

That's all well and good, but she also liked it weeks ago when ACL cost $160. (This writer is long ACL.)

Finerman also touted Airgas. "I think you could have more than 1 buyer there," she said.

Consumer staples: It’s that time of the market again

Occasional Fast Money guest Jeremy Zirin was squeezed into the show's penultimate segment on Monday, and proceeded to deliver far more words per second than a typical pundit.

But whether it was interesting is a tougher call.

Zirin reported his firm adopted the exciting stance of "neutral" this quarter. And at this point, he thinks consumer staples — the sector, not specific names — have underperformed.

Karen Finerman also mentioned JNJ early in the show. One pet theory we're working on is that once TV pundits start recommending JNJ, the market is bottoming. (But in fact, we recall them talking about JNJ in September/October 2008, and the market didn't really bottom then, so...)

Kaminsky: SALT guys like tech

Gary Kaminsky told Fast Money viewers on Monday that if the financial system is able to "stabilize," then he expects "relative outperformance" in tech, which is what he said SALT conference attendees were constantly talking about.

Melissa Lee asked once or twice, and at some point made a beat-the-dead-horse reference, about the meaning of stabilize, "to those guys who are sitting out there at home," which presumably includes this site, unless we pay a visit to the Nasdaq marketsite to see the gang in person. Kaminsky noted IPO prices as one factor.

An assist from Dr. J

Dr. J, Jon Najarian, earned kudos from colleague Karen Finerman on Monday's Fast Money.

Najarian recommended selling at-the-money AAPL calls. He claimed it would provide "6% to 9% downside protection" with "just a 26-day-out June call."

At least, we hope we got that right. Honestly, we really didn't have a clue what he was talking about. We think this was advice for people who are presently long the stock. But he also sounded as though he was talking about scooping up AAPL if it falls further.

K-Fine said thanks for the tip; she didn't know volatility was that high.

We’ll be hearing this
for the next 5 years

Every Fast Money trader has his/her own collection of clichés. Guy Adami's includes Freeport stealing Phelps Dodge, Pfizer's consumer brands division ... and of course the IBM EPS projection.

Recently, Sam Palmisano extended that projection to 2015, which Adami has now cited at least twice on Fast Money.

Adami said if the company does indeed earn "at least" $20 by 2015, then the stock is cheap. But presently, he's concerned about the $121 level.

Cleaning up on the spill

Mike Khouw on Monday suggested an options tactic for playing those beaten-down oil names.

Khouw suggested selling the July 25 put in HAL.

Someone asked Khouw why not just go whole-hog with BP. Khouw said BP was the first one he looked at, but "You simply cannot get in front of that."

Karen Finerman asked if it wouldn't be better to just buy oil instead. That way there's no risk of legislation, anger or accidents with specific companies. Her colleagues didn't seem too bullish on oil. Khouw said there's a lot of near-term supply.

Tilson’s housing cliffhanger

Whitney Tilson showed up on the Fast Money set Monday, but didn't say anything nearly as provocative as in recent moments on the show when he called BUD an eventual double and said HPQ got hoodwinked into buying PALM.

"We think the housing market's really on a precipice," Tilson said.

But he said he doesn't know which way it's going to fall.

So he said he remains "short the homebuilders," which he thinks works either way.

"8 million people, right now, aren't paying their mortgages," Tilson said, Zzzzzzzzzz.

Pressed later by Melissa Lee, Tilson said the top 3 hedge fund kings he follows are David Einhorn, Bill Ackman and Seth Klarman.

Grapes of wrath,
starring Brian Kelly

Dennis Gartman was as gloomy as it gets on Monday, calling the late market reaction abysmal.

"I think there's more on the downside," Gartman lamented.

Karen Finerman seemed to think there's still value in the banks, including her favorite, Bank of America. But she said the 2 catalysts she's identified — fin reg and Q2 earnings — are a little ways away.

Brian Kelly actually was heard to say delinquencies are tracing the same path of the 1930s. Kelly said he's short CME, on the expectation of "trading volume being lower."

Tim Seymour pointed to Total, as he does about every day, and the integrated oil names. "I love the story," he said.

On Monday Melissa Lee opened Fast Money with a new tactic, going around the table for an individual call from each panelist. Mike Khouw, first up, apparently didn't get the memo.

Kaminsky’s new show
starts June 7

The New York Times might have somehow left him out of the headline. But CNBC announced Monday that Fast Money star Gary Kaminsky and celebrated reporter David Faber will co-host "The Strategy Session," launching June 7 at noon Eastern and running a half-hour.

For those keeping score (and who really is besides us?), we believe the original scoop, though light on details, went to Henry Blodget at The Business Insider June 7. The New York Post had more details April 18 on the expansion of the Fast Money Halftime Report, as well as the reduced 1-hour Power Lunch.

Congrats to Kaminsky, and Faber, and others in the Fast Money sphere whom we look forward to seeing in the new show.

Mahaney: GOOG to $640

Tim Seymour on Monday's Halftime first spoke of the bad things about Google, then said, "valuation wise ... you can get very excited about" the stock here.

Mark Mahaney's comments on GOOG, which he upgraded to top pick with 35% upside to $640, seemed to raise even more questions than answers, which Melissa Lee didn't have a whole lot of time to explore.

Mahaney said Google is awaiting a "macro recovery" in the "rest of world markets," as well as "materiality from these new revenue streams."

Mahaney then went on to say that a recovery in continental Europe is "quarters away, not years away," a comment that would likely draw a response from Brian "Beeks" Kelly and Dennis Gartman, but neither was on the Monday Halftime.

Grasso bought more BP

Renowned China-watcher Zach Karabell said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there's something of a show going on in Beijing this week.

"Whatever's gonna happen today and tomorrow has already been decided in the past couple weeks," Karabell said, but he allowed that certain policy announcements give the U.S. a "modicum of victory."

Tim Seymour said comments from China are "very bullish for commodities ... I think a lot of these stocks have a bounce in 'em."

Steve Grasso said "I added to my BP position today." In fact, we sort of feel like Steve Grasso adds to his BP position every day. (This writer is long BP.) But he remains Debbie Downer on the broad market.

"We're doing a lot of work around the 1,086 level," Grasso said. He pointed to Mutual Fund Monday and said he thinks any surge "could be a head fake" because the market's going lower.

"Zeke" Karabell, on the other hand, countered that maybe Mutual Fund Money was never such a great thing to begin with. "Flows from domestic U.S. equity funds have been negative all year and continue to be negative," he said. "So, you know, if anything, that's been a drag on the market."

Karabell joked about Morgan Stanley maybe being a little late to the AAPL party. He said he likes the stock but isn't plunging in here and credited Patty Edwards for calling various levels. "I'm comfortable holding what I own here," he said.

Jon Najarian said the price action in Goldman Sachs was discouraging to him. But he did report heavy buying in AXL June $9-$10 calls.

He’s no Melissa Lee, but ...

CNBCfix.com observes whether Scott Wapner is ready for the big time in our review of his CNBC obesity documentary that premiered this week, "One Nation, Overweight."

[Friday, May 21, 2010]

Maybe the SALT guys should’ve hit the craps tables instead

It seems like maybe the only thing the bulls were waiting for was the Anthony Scaramucci Vegas hedge fund conference to end.

Suddenly, Fast Money viewers on Friday were hearing an avalanche of buy recommendations from all kinds of segments, GS, C, AXP, BP, JWN, FINL, M, RSX, BX, RIG, EMC, BBY, mortgage insurers, etc. (This writer is long BP and C).

And we heard no one pounding the table for gold.

Brian Kelly and Steve Grasso, without Guy Adami and Gary Kaminsky (who, it's fair to note, might've changed their minds after Friday's activity) to back them up, gamely tried to hold up the bear case, but Kelly's argument sounded weak and Grasso conceded Citi looks like a buy, which is a bit like saying Mo Rivera is going to have an MVP-caliber season but the Yankees are still going to stink.

What restaurant wouldn’t
save a table for Dr. J?

The most refreshing voice on Fast Money Friday, in our opinion, was Dr. J, Jon Najarian, who sounds just about as tired of this consumer-is-strapped nonsense as we are.

"All year long everybody's been telling me that the consumer's dead, they have no money, they can't tap," Najarian said. "Where's the money coming from that they're spending here? Do these guys have some magical formula? NO! There is money, and the consumer is spending!"

We don't doubt some retailers might be ahead of themselves, and we're not about to attempt to call a market bottom because we suck at that.

But listen to the Good Doctor here. The American consumer isn't about to fall off a cliff and never has. Maybe in the 1930s, for a brief time. Baseball games are sellouts, moviegoers scramble for 3-D tickets, iPods fly off shelves or wherever they're generally sold from. Dennis Gartman says all economics is is a study of people's propensity to do something, and one thing Americans do is shop.

"Ya gotta look forward 12 months," mumbled Brian Kelly. "I think you use any rallies to sell."

Najarian reminded his colleagues he was just in Europe a week ago. "They were spending like crazy over there," he said. "Same thing here in New York this week. I mean, I go out, I had to go to 3 different restaurants last night to get in! ... It's not stopping 'em from going out and living their lives and it shouldn't stop us either."

Steve Grasso’s day of negativity

Brian Kelly was up in arms Friday over Jon Najarian's contention that Germany and France are fine. "How is Greece hurting Germany?? It's not just about Greece," Kelly thundered. "Where do you think this money's gonna come from?!??"

Actually, probably the U.S. in some roundabout way, in our opinion. But that's just an amateur guess. We've been saying for a while, why not just force Goldman Sachs to ship some cash to Greece and solve 2 austerity measures at the same time?

Anyway, Dr. J pointed to the test of the flash crash low — "we got there in spades today" — and the reversal. "In that final hour, guess who lost out? The bears," he said.

"That was a short squeeze," grumbled Steve Grasso.

Joe Terranova said to expect some tailwinds now that "we've taken out the 1,056 flash crash low." Terranova pointed to AXP, BBY, EMC and TER as names to embrace in this market.

Yeah, but "Will the next 6 to 12 months look like the last 6 to 12 months?" asked Kelly.


"It's still about jobs at the end of the day, and we don't have them," Grasso said. "Gone is long-term buying and hold (sic)."

There's an old saw among doctors that goes something like, if a patient says there are more than 2 things wrong, then really nothing's wrong.

In the span of a half-hour program, Grasso was arguing there are 1) too many jobless; 2) nobody will hold investments for a long time anymore; 3) (and we hadn't heard this for a while but he mentioned it twice) employers are afraid to hire because they don't have clarity on health care costs; 4) "everybody on this desk, in a couple of months, is gonna be paying higher taxes"; and 5) the only reason anybody bought on Friday was a short squeeze.

"You gotta be shorting the consumer names," Grasso insisted.

Doug Kass wasn't buying it. "Give me a break, Steve," Kass said, pointing to the RTH. "You wanna short 'em down 9?"

"Where's the consumer gonna get his money from?" asked Grasso. "Eventually you have to run out of money."

Does Melissa Lee really look
like Michelle Caruso-Cabrera?

Doug Kass didn't exactly get off on the right foot Friday by calling Melissa Lee "Michelle," but Mel, who looked ready to skip out for a Friday night on the town in that sparkling red dress, seemed in a forgiving mood.

"I think that the last 48 hours or so was very important," Kass said. "It's clear that China's gonna have a softer landing than expected," he argued, and he said the financial reform package will be "less onerous" than many thought.

Kass said he's been doing "channel checks," and he's found that "the domestic expansion is alive and well." To play that, he said, "selective financials are very attractive." He mentioned E-Trade and rattled off too many stats about it that made it seem like he came overly prepared to tout it, "and I love the mortgage insurers."

Steve Grasso, who presented at least 5 other bearish arguments in the rest of the show, came up with a 6th, the implication that people who have been wrong are getting bullish.

"At 1,020 in the S&P, a while back before we rallied aggressively, you said the highs were in," Grasso challenged Kass. "Why would I trust your market timing now?"

"Because I was wrong," Kass laughed.

"Dan Koss, thank you," Melissa Lee closed in a not particularly original dig.

Cortes scooping up
more Goldman Sachs

We often don't find ourselves agreeing with Steve Cortes' contrarian calls, but this week, we think he's gonna prove spot-on.

"I added to the position today" in Goldman Sachs, Cortes said. "I am very bearish on Treasurys for the first time in many weeks," he added, mentioning a "sore index finger from clicking the sell button on Treasurys today."

"The bottom is in for Goldman Sachs," agreed Joe Terranova, who also touted RSX, for its "exposure to Russia."

Where we'd differ with Cortes and others such as Guy Adami is this notion that there will be a bounce, but then the market's headed further downward. Maybe, but we've seen selloffs in January and last June, and once everybody piles into the short side, it's face-ripped-off land in the opposite direction. Governments around the world, especially in the U.S., have never been as engaged in stock prices as they are in this era. It's hard to see any selloff as anything more than a buying opportunity.

New way to buy American

Michael Block of Phoenix Partners wasn't given a whole lot of time Friday (who is?) to make his case, but it's an interesting one. "The offensive strategy is made in the USA," he said. "I am looking at U.S. retail."

Block listed 6 names and their percent of sales in the U.S. Sounds like he likes them all:

Macy's 100%
Finish Line 100%
Nordstrom 100%
AutoNation 100%
Ross Stores 100%
Urban Outfitters 90%

Melissa Lee pointed out that some of these have already moved, and maybe it's become a mature trade.

Terranova likes BBY

Traders seemed to be watching and waiting during a lackluster Fast Money Halftime Report on Friday.

Jeff Tomasulo, not much of a Fast Money regular these days, pointed out how traders can make money in a hurry in something like the VIX, because things are happening fast. But he thinks equity buyers need more clarity before jumping in. "I think you have to be really patient right now," he said.

Steve Grasso was only thinking 1 direction: down. "I think we'll probably sell off or wallow around" by the end of the day, Grasso predicted.

JJ Kinahan said buyers were selectively nibbling. In a name like Citi, "they're just outright buying the stock."

"I added to my Citi position today," Grasso concurred, despite his overall gloom.

Joe Terranova said a few names look good. "Steel Dynamics, I bought that today," he said, as well as Peabody. Terranova also said he'd still be a buyer of gold between 1,150 and 1,175, and he called Best Buy a "stock that gets north of $50 at some point later this year."

Jon Najarian reported "about 12,000 calls changing hands" in Ciena early in the morning trade. He said he's gotten "no response" from the company.

Did Melissa Lee really say "What a difference 24 hours makes" at the beginning of Friday's Halftime? Unfortunately, she did.

Barry Ritholtz recaps
the Skybridge conference

Barry Ritholtz, on his blog, put together a nice summary of Anthony Scaramucci's SALT conference.

Ritholtz's evaluation of the amount of people in Vegas is sharply at odds with the comments of Gary Kaminsky this week. Ritholtz writes, "I walked through the casino, and was stunned at the people there. Imagine an entire industry built upon the innumeracy and stupidity of Humans. (I guess you can say the same thing about Wall Street)."

[Thursday, May 20, 2010]

Kaminsky on fire

Gary Kaminsky is finding so many things wrong with the stock market these days, he's not even getting enough time on Fast Money to mention them all.

"The clear message here is that buy and hold is dead," Kaminsky said Thursday from the SALT conference in Vegas. "The credit markets are hurt. The credit markets are injured ... I don't feel a bounce anywhere in the near-term."

Yes, he's been nailing it. "How many times last week did I say you wanna stay long volatility," Kaminsky rhetorically asked the panel and viewers. "It feels like, a bit like September/October/November in 2008."

Now, did Gary sound a bit like he had one too many cans of Red Bull on Thursday? Yes, Gary sounded a bit like he had one too many cans of Red Bull on Thursday, perhaps when he got a little too grandiose about spurning technicals over Karen Finerman's perfectly good question about what would change his mind.

Eventually, he settled on this: "What I want to see is, I want to see a functioning capital markets (sic) that is able to reprice debt at the appropriate levels, and companies that need to access capital are able to access that capital in a fair- and, and, and the price discovery is proper."

That Kaminsky seemed to enjoy harping on Guy Adami's prediction yesterday of a 1-day or short-term bounce, we found entertaining.

Pressed for a long name by Joe Terranova, Kaminsky grudgingly offered Clorox and Walgreens, though not with a whole lot of enthusiasm. Interestingly, for his Final Trade, Kaminsky said, "I would own Suncor here."

Kaminsky at one point went to great lengths to point out he's not subscribing to any "bear" or "short seller" label; rather he's just being realistic about the way things are.


We did happen to note that the spelling gremlins at CNBC.com's Fast Money section managed to come up with both "Kominski" and "Kaminksy" on Thursday.

Grasso: Designated market makers under selling attack

If Gary Kaminsky wasn't enough on Thursday to convince you this market sucks, you might wanna try Steve Grasso, who talks these days as though he couldn't fill out those sell orders that Bud Fox used to give the runner guys fast enough.

"If you ever wanna know what it feels like to be in a financial foxhole, come down to the floor of the NYSE," Grasso said.

(Um, we're guessing that might be kind of difficult, because we're under the impression they don't let regular Joes hang out on the floor of the NYSE. Supermodels, yes. Fast Money viewers, no.)

"There's only one level: it's 1,065. That's the flash crash low," Grasso said.

And apparently there's no place to hide. Grasso said the Australian tax "takes the whole commodity play off the table."

Dan Niles’ best short play

There once was a time when things said by Dan Niles could make Intel move about $50 a day, or so it seemed.

On Thursday, Niles offered Fast Money viewers some fairly one-sided advice: "Being long only in this environment is completely stupid."

Niles scoffed at a number of stocks he considers "GDP plays." He predicts troubles for 3 to 6 months stemming from Europe, and a "dramatic slowdown in demand."

Those eager to go negative will be interested in the type of table-pounding short rarely heard on Fast Money (although John Tabacco sort of did it the other day with VALE). "The biggest opportunities by far is (sic) semiconductors," said Niles, claiming those stocks are pricing in massive growth this year that won't happen. He predicts a "big shakeout" in the sector.

Cortes buys Goldman Sachs

Someone on Fast Money Thursday was actually buying.

Ever the contrarian, Steve Cortes told viewers, "Right here at least for a trade it makes sense to actually be long risk assets."

Cortes said "technicals particularly are telling me we have reached such extreme oversold levels." As a result, "What I did was, I bought crude ... also bought some Goldman Sachs."

Mark Hulbert, at the end of the show, said he agrees that this might be a time to catch a beaten-up stock, only because he's seeing "one of the fastest shifts" in market sentiment from bull to bear in years. "The blood is running," he said; money managers who were exceedingly bullish in April, rather than clinging to that, have caved, Hulbert said.

Carter Worth at first sounded like he was going to make a profound point about market direction. Then he was noticeably grinning while only saying the 2010 chart so far is "Just like 2004," a comparison he's been predicting for about 9 or 10 months.

Peter Boockvar was congratulated by Gary Kaminsky for being early and right on the market headwinds. But asked to explain if this is September 2008 or March 2009, Boockvar would only say, "We're probably in the middle."

Yes, it is legal to buy
shares this week

Actually, Steve Cortes wasn't the only Fast Money panelist/guest suggesting a buy on Thursday.

Pete Najarian, for the 2nd or 3rd day in a row, pointed to Visa. "A $26 move, that is huge in a matter of weeks," Pete said. (This writer is long V.)

Karen Finerman admitted, "We did almost nothing today." Finerman told Melissa Lee though that, while she still hasn't jumped in C, "it is on my watch list." (This writer is long C.)

Patty Edwards said one name worth a shot in this environment, which still should be hedged, is Campbell's, for the P.E., dividend and beta.

Brian Stutland suggested selling the July 105 SPYder put. Oh, joy.

Here's the thing. The market feels like crapola, no question. And this site couldn't fathom a guess as to what stocks people should buy now.

The only issue with getting all gung-ho about a short play, such as Dan Niles suggests, is that old face-ripped-off problem, which we sort of felt happened in late January. We haven't spent much (i.e., any) time with the folks at the Vegas SALT conference, but the feeling here is that the market's just as liable to go up 700 points in a day as it is to go down.

Nowadays, wouldn’t the boss
just send an e-mail?

One reason we like Fast Money is for the clichés, and recently we've been hearing one that hasn't really been prominent on the show since Eric Bolling departed in late 2007.

That was the "tap on the shoulder" cliché, which Bolling used often in spring of 2007, when China had something like a 9% drop overnight and people suddenly feared the worst, only stocks recovered in about 2 weeks. Bolling would duly note that all these young turks managing money would get a "tap on the shoulder" from the boss telling them to unwind their losing positions they were fighting to salvage, which of course would just further push prices down, apparently into some sort of irrevocable black hole of selling.

In the last couple of weeks we've heard it more than once. Joe Terranova did the honors on Thursday, with a twist, suggesting that at the Vegas SALT conference, you had the bigwigs at the conferences, and the "minions" in another room watching CNBC for the latest market details, then rushing into their bosses' room and "tapping them on the shoulder" to alert them of the latest market crises.

Grasso: Unload while you can

Steve Grasso seemed to be saying on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that if you happened to walk off the NYSE floor on Thursday actually owning a stock, you're clueless.

"Wherever they had a gainer, if they had 'em, you're selling 'em," Grasso said. "There's no such thing as a bad sale. A hedge fund manager just told me that, and it's the truth."

Unblinkingly, Grasso asserted, "We're gonna go down to 1,065 ... watch out below."

He questioned why anyone would get long this market; it would be like playing "leapfrog with a unicorn."

Gary Kaminsky
as Debbie Downer

It sounds like if you happened to be in Vegas this week for Anthony Scaramucci's investor conference, you'd be having a lot more fun at the blackjack table.

Gary Kaminsky said at Halftime not to expect things to get any better soon.

"This is the movement of the market. I continue to believe that this is the beginning of the problems there, not the end," Kaminsky said. Then, referring to Guy Adami's call Wednesday about a likely 1-day bounce, Kaminsky noted, "I said we were not gonna have a bounce today."

But Kaminsky didn't want anyone to think he was reveling in this opinion. "I ran long money for many, many years, billions of dollars. I am just trying to be a realist here," he said.

Terranova: Oil might
trickle to $60

We haven't seen that much of Jon Najarian lately. Dr. J reported on Thursday's Halftime Report that "This is a very dangerous time to be buying protection."

He said "most of the big players have protection on right now," so be careful with the VIX.

Joe Terranova said oil "could go to 60 bucks ... this could get real ugly on a headline level." But Terranova insisted July's contract is the one to watch. Jon Najarian said there's no reason anyone would sell crude down to $65 unless they need to raise cash.

Patty Edwards noted she was interested in AAPL on the dip, but now is "not feeling the love," and thinks it "could go to 225."

Brian Kelly, Beeks, said we're seeing some "massive moves" in currency trades, a sort of "global de-risking." He concluded, "I think we go through that May 6 low."

[Wednesday, May 19, 2010]

John Tabacco makes gobs of predictions, all negative

You've gotta give John Tabacco some credit. He keeps coming back to Fast Money proclaiming the meltdown is imminent — and even suggesting that the infamous trading "glitch" (remember when Matt Nesto was reporting it was a Citi trader who typed "billion" instead of "million"?) was actually a correct market reaction to today's troubled times.

Wednesday, Tabacco insisted, "There's a lot more downside here." He said the market's response indicates "we must retest those lows" of the May 6 flash crash.

"It's just the beginning, it's not the end," Tabacco asserted, "and 2010 could be a replay of 2008 even for U.S. banks. ... I said a couple weeks ago I thought there would be 1,500 more points to the downside and I stick with that."

Tabacco says short sellers are telling him that "9,000 is a healthy level" where people could start looking to get long again. Tabacco said he sees "National Bank of Greece as still an overvalued stock, the technicals and fundamentals look bad in solar, and for casinos, "those credit fears are still out there, people have no money."

He concluded, "I wouldn't say there's a stock out there that's close to a short squeeze." But he singled out VALE as one with more room to short, saying "the stock could be $16 in a week."

But this time, they’re probably really worried

Anthony Scaramucci on Wednesday said something about top money managers that you might've heard once or twice before.

"These guys are very worried about public policy discussions that are happening in London, Berlin and Washington, D.C.," Scaramucci said. He even said, for the first time in their careers, amazingly, they're worried about "macro-economic intervention. This is affecting their analysis on stocks and bonds."

Probably the first time we heard about an elite money manager expressing doubts and worries about Washington activity was, oh, maybe 4 or 5 decades ago, probably on "Louis Rukeyser's Wall $treet Week" or something like that.

Scaramucci reported that "People are very focused on lower-multiple names." He also said Kenneth Griffin is talking about "more liquid investing," as opposed to the less liquid variety that didn't work quite so well in 2008.

Scaramucci also said he's got "4 hedge fund Hall of Famers" on hand who seem to think bigger is actually better in terms of growth now.

Guy Adami said that Goodbye Gordon Gekko is the "best Wall Street book since Liar's Poker."

John Carney: Hedgies getting
catty about Goldman Sachs

John Carney, newly hired by CNBC.com (we think that's some kind of corporate distinction), praised by Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on-air once for (in her opinion) being about the only blogger in the world worth a damn, and now making his first appearance on Fast Money, reported from Vegas (where else) that the hedgies he's talking to aren't exactly big fans of the Lloyd Blankfein machine.

Guy Adami wondered how that could be, given that many of those people used to work at Goldman Sachs (just like he did).

The people believe "Goldman has changed since they were there," Carney said. "They really think that there's been a change in the culture of Goldman Sachs."

Karen Finerman shrugged. "I clear through Goldman. It is a great product. I don't know where else people are really gonna go."

People at Vegas conference
are watching Fast Money

Watching Fast Money, it's fairly clear that Jeff Harte and Gary Kaminsky aren't on the same page ... and maybe not even on the same planet.

Harte said on Fast Money Wednesday that the failure of the cloture vote suggests banks might end up getting a far "more friendly" regulatory bill than people have been expecting.

Harte said he also sees a "big discrepancy" in the market's treatment of big money center banks vs. the regionals. With the big banks, he said, there's "fear that their business model's gonna be broken," and he sees a buying opportunity.

Gary Kaminsky, out at the SALT conference in Vegas, said afterward, "The people that were listening to that here, at the conference, were sort of shaking their head. ... The corporate credit markets have been basically shut now for 2-3 weeks. ... So I kinda hafta scratch my head on that."

"Don't do that Skee, you're gonna lose the remaining hair that you have," joked Guy Adami.

One person who wasn't having any hair problems Wednesday was Melissa Lee, who looked svelte and chipper in bright red top and black skirt.

Kaminsky did note that "Jeff's a good analyst." (Or as Rodney Dangerfield would say, Looks good on you though, but we're not saying anyone is "the Rodney Dangerfield of" anything, you know, the ones who get no respect...)

Other than that,
how was your day?

Traders spent the beginning of Wednesday's Fast Money sort of predicting doom and gloom for civilization.

Just not right away.

"Pete was shaking like Paris Hilton taking the SAT," said Guy Adami. But Adami thinks, with "that 1,110 level holding once again," that the market "should bounce now."

Karen Finerman admitted "The action makes me nervous." That said, she thinks Bucyrus is very intriguing, after "an astounding move in 3 weeks." She added, "That prices in a lot of fear, and a lot of contraction ... south of 50 that does get pretty interesting."

Gary Kaminsky joined the gang from Vegas. "Maybe it's the fact that I got 2 hours of sleep," said Kaminsky, but "I thought the action was terrible ... we're melting down."

He said there's fear that the 2008 disaster "has now become the same credit crisis of 2010."

"The trend is down," he said. "We're hearing from every institution here that they are taking risk off," and he expects trouble through the summer.

In case that weren't enough, Kaminsky said some think the world's current financial trouble "is much deeper, globally, in the corporate credit world, than anybody believes right now and that this is not gonna be a quick fix."

"The problems in Europe don't go away," agreed Brian Kelly.

"I think the market's headed significantly lower," said Guy Adami, but look for an immediate bounce this week.

Gartman sees almost
a boomerang in gold

Dennis Gartman, gracious as always, said not to pat him on the back too much for a great call in gold just a day earlier.

"Let's call it nothing other than luck," he said. But then he said, the drop in gold in terms of the euro, 60 in 36 hours, was maybe an "unprecedented decline," to the point he wondered if he should maybe jump right back in and own it.

Guy Adami asked Gartman to translate to dollars. Gartman said the price of gold would have to hit "1,150 before the long-term trend is broken." He said it's now assuming status as the "penultimate reserve currency."

Gartman tried to clarify comments by Mark Fisher on the Halftime Report, saying he doesn't think Fisher was claiming oil is going to be the next reserve currency, just that oil, compared with so many other measures, is cheap.

MGM chief Jim Murren described a legal situation over City Center liens or potential liens we didn't care much about. But then Gary Kaminsky, after congratulating Murren on his stay at the Bellagio, asked if Murren anticipates having to cut room rates to reach occupancy levels this summer.

"Room rates fell over 30%, 3-zero percent, last year, in 2009, they were down in the 1st quarter as well," Murren conceded, "but here in the 2nd quarter, our room rates are actually starting to move up."

What’s happening in Vegas?
Apparently not a whole lot

A fairly well-hyped Fast Money Halftime Report Wednesday featuring Mark Fisher unfortunately didn't deliver much in the way of trades.

If this is as exciting as it gets in Vegas this week, then it's not surprising that Gary Kaminsky's cabbie is seeing a shortage of rides.

Mark Fisher said he thinks people rushing into gold as a safe haven have it a little bit "backwards," saying, "I think that the ultimate currency long-term is gonna be energy and crude oil."

Gary Kaminsky concurred on the gold angle to that. "Gold has unfortunately become this idea that that's a safe-haven trade," Kaminsky said. "I continue to believe the VIX will go up here," he added, and his trading advice is to "stay long the VIX."

Joe Terranova maintained a bullish stance on gold, saying we're "seeing weak longs move out of the market," but it's still a "diversification tool" and "I would not short gold."

Kaminsky said it's good to stay long some of the financials despite current markets because of the "closet indexes," but he reiterated a point from yesterday, "the yield curve trade can't get any better than it is."

Fisher, a renowned trader who according to CNBC rarely does TV interviews and doesn't always look particularly comfortable, would only say of the yield curve that it's "one of the biggest bailouts there is ... the taxpayer's footing the bill."

He said there's been a typical divergence in stocks and bonds, "as equities decline, bonds have been bid up," but warns that if bonds go south, the only thing left will be the "ultimate currency" of oil and energy.

Kaminsky also said "Europe is going into its seasonal slow period," and recommended investors "stay small."

Fisher spoke briefly on the trading glitch, apparently a favorite subject of his. "The answer to the question is very simple. Slow everything down," he said.

Anthony Scaramucci, who unfortunately didn't have much to offer the show but is rather busy in Vegas this week, said "This is not a cookie-cutter situation."

[Tuesday, May 18, 2010]

Gartman: Gold has hit
an ‘obscene’ level

CNBC viewers saw teasers during the day, including at the beginning of Fast Money, about hearing Dennis Gartman's explanation for his remarkably negative call on gold.

And then, after an hour of Fast Money, they never got it.

But there it was, on the Web Extra.

"It's gotten to be a very, very crowded trade," Gartman said. He said he's motivated to exit when he sees that "obscene number, the number that you just can't believe." He thinks gold at 1,000 euros is the obscene number.

Melissa Lee asked if we could "connect the dots" and interpret this call to suggest a currency bottoming. Gartman said no. "I think the euro breaks apart," he said.

Pisani: White House believes
in unified circuit breakers

Bob Pisani told Fast Money viewers on Tuesday, "The Obama administration has bought into the idea that unified circuit breakers are a form of investor protection."

Pisani said that, somewhat surprising to him, he's finding broad-based support for a "unified circuit breaker" that spans all exchanges. But with a caveat. "I do think there's a very small group of people who you might call libertarian traders who don't want any kind of, uh, circuit breaker at all on any exchanges," he said.

Pisani said, as he understands it, the SEC plan in the works would enact a 5-minute delay on any "change in price" of more than 10%. Guy Adami asked if that change in price went both ways. Pisani said he believes that's the case, and that the NYSE's existing circuit breakers also function in both directions.

"I like this decision," said Dennis Gartman.

"I agree," said Karen Finerman.

Back to the drawing board

Guest Peter Boockvar sort of scoffed at the value of a 5-minute circuit breaker. Melissa Lee asked for clarity, what would Boockvar want, 10 minutes, 2 minutes, etc.?

Boockvar seemed to think it wasn't really needed, arguing with Gartman over whether the May 6 incident was a "real market" or not.

We'll say it again. The "glitch" was important and needs to be investigated by someone somewhere. The real problem was that it happened to take the market down. That's why it's getting attention. This is inside baseball for the Steve Grassos of the world. As far as planning your next trade, it's just noise.

Pete Najarian tried to make a comment about Verisign before Melissa Lee cut him off with an uninteresting Fast Money graphic skit about circuit breakers shutting off the power everywhere.

Adami says S&P 950
might be in the cards

Guy Adami seemed to think Tuesday he's finally on the verge of getting that market whoosh he's been predicting for weeks months a long time.

Adami said he could see the S&P 500 "easily" tumbling to 1,040. Then, "the whole move sets us up for a move back down to 950."

Karen Finerman called HPQ "ridiculously cheap" and said "we did buy some PM," as well as more HPQ.

Pete Najarian said he started buying call spreads a day ago in V, starting around $74. (This writer is long V.) Finerman said she bought some V for her own account, not for her firm because she hasn't studied it, but because the drop in the franchise seems unmerited and enormous.

Guy Adami pointed to the volume in Visa, calling it a "staggering move for a name like this." He said it's worth dipping a toe into right now, as the Fast Money graphics guru repeatedly showed the text at the bottom saying something like "VISA -- IS IT EVERYWHERE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE?"

Anthony Scaramucci — who's kinda busy in Vegas this week running the Skybridge SALT conference — made a rather tired, or repetitive, recommendation of BUD as the hedge fund trade of the week, on the heels of Whitney Tilson's provocative double-in-2-years claim a week ago. BUD is a "very cheap stock with a low multiple," Scaramucci said, with "major cost savings, major synergies."

Gary Kaminsky says ‘It’s not gonna get any better’ 5 times

Gary Kaminsky, from Vegas on Tuesday, had trouble selling the Fast Money gang on his contention that the banks' own "carry trade" on the steep yield curve is done.

"The banks have made a boatload of money over the last 18 months on their own carry trade," Kaminsky explained. "The talk here Melissa is that the banks have had a free ride here, and that's gonna end soon as well. ... A lot of that 'proprietary trading' isn't actually trading. It's borrowing from the government and going out and buying paper and making money. That's considered trading. That's not really trading."

All of that raised the eyebrows of Karen Finerman, who protested, "This is the steepest yield curve we have ever seen."

Kaminsky's (multiple) response? "It's not gonna get any better."

Melissa Lee and ‘pool’
in the same item

Tim Seymour, who said Gary Kaminsky looked "very Vegas," took Karen Finerman's side in the bank-carry-trade argument, saying the yield-curve environment remains exceptional for banks to make money.

Dennis Gartman didn't seem fully convinced with Kaminsky's thesis but agreed with him that the curve is probably not going to get any steeper.

Melissa Lee was skeptical of Kaminsky's argument, first suggesting "didn't we know that already," then gamely attempting to frame his point in terms of banking comps facing too high of a bar.

Then Lee concluded, "Go back to the pool. I know that's where you're going. I know it. I know it, Gary."

Viewers learn where
Karen shops

Saks CEO Steve Sadove visited the Fast Money set and spoke, among other things, of Europe being a "mixed bag."

More importantly to this site, Karen Finerman revealed, "I shop there, and we own it."

Melissa Lee asked if Sadove was going to open a Saks Fifth Outlet in New York. Apparently there aren't any plans for that yet.

Scott Nations channels
Meat Loaf, not Woody Hayes

Scott Nations, delivering the Options Action trade, said he would sell the GE June 17 put for 50 cents.

Nations said it's like the forward pass in football, where 3 things can happen and 2 of them are good.

The Najarian Reaction© for this one was so easy, even we could've delivered it, but thankfully Guy Adami took care of it on the show. The actual slogan is, "There are three things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad."

Melissa Lee wrapped up Fast Money with a remarkably humorous eyebrow-raise.

Pop culture business item
of the week: The Farrah poster

The Biography channel is loaded with golden nuggets, and we don't mean the stuff in the GLD.

Remember that famous 1970s Farrah Fawcett swimsuit poster? They sold anywhere from 5 million to 12 million of those things (the estimate is apparently disputed). Fawcett got 10%.

This article notes how a couple of Ohio brothers, Mike and Ted Trikilis, had been selling black-light posters to hippies at Kent State. Then, very savvy, they started hitting up Hollywood agents. They landed The Fonz, and sold 250,000.

Ted Trikilis had never heard of Farrah Fawcett. He happened to hear from a neighboring college kid that male students were buying up women's magazines to get pictures of Farrah, then the Wella Balsam girl. In one of those spectacular instances of entrepreneurism, Trikilis dialed up Farrah's agent Rick Hersh, who found the idea of a pinup poster selling no product to be odd. But he agreed to pitch it to Farrah. She found the idea "cute" and sent her favorite image — the one that undoubtedly ended up on Pete Najarian's wall.

It will probably be the last time a pinup ever made someone a megastar.

Fawcett didn't debut on "Charlie's Angels" until age 29. According to Biography, Lee Majors explained why he told Farrah to quit the show after 1 year: "We make $55,000 a week in this family and I make 50,000 of it, and I'm not gonna wake up in the morning with Farrah not being here to make my breakfast or just not being here."

Gartman: Euro in free fall

Dennis Gartman, on the Prop Desk, said Tuesday that "Europe is in trouble, and it's getting worse." He chastised talk about naked short-selling rules and said the chart looks terrible for the euro. "Where are we going? We're still going lower," he said.

Gartman said the whole concept of a European common economy is "utterly incomprehensible."

"Europe's a disaster right now," said Tim Seymour.

Kaminsky: GLD feels like
Nasdaq of 1999

Gary Kaminsky, beaming in from Vegas, told Fast Money Halftime viewers Tuesday that the GLD chart is starting to resemble a Y2K disaster.

"If you look at that chart, and what's happened with the retail investors, the money that's been put in there, and you overlay that with the Nasdaq pre-2000, uh, I know I'm gonna get a lot of hate mail about this, but the facts are the facts and you've gotta look at that," Kaminsky said. "I feel that retail is going into this gold trade very, very late."

Kaminsky reminded viewers that the subject of gold had come up at the Anthony Scaramucci book party last week and people who weren't long gold felt left out of the conversation (that kind of sounds like that New York Times TV ad, where you're supposed to subscribe to be part of the conversation).

Melissa Lee snickered at the recent "big box" store promotion of having customers bring in gold for an appraisal, which Lee said seems like a "top of some sort."

Patty Edwards noted that Sears Holdings is the retailer behind that at its Sears and Kmart stores, and "I don't think that's the consumer that's actually got the gold." Patty said, "We've been scaling out of our gold position, actually going into platinum."

Analyst: AAPL to $300

Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh said on the Halftime Report that today's price on AAPL is a "good entry point" for a company that he says still has huge growth ahead of it.

"We are not seeing a slowdown especially in Apple's products," he said, adding that "in June, iPad goes international, that should be a catalyst." He said macro headlines are a concern, but not really China exposure just yet; the "proportion of iPhones in China is very small."

Gurka: Look to short oil

Probably our 2 least favorite clichés are "deja vu all over again" (because you never hear someone say it without the "all over again"), and "the Rodney Dangerfield of ..." (because the person saying it for some reason always feels compelled to remind everyone what Rodney Dangerfield is famous for not getting).

Patty Edwards said Tuesday that TJX "is kind of the Rodney Dangerfield of stocks right now." OK, fine, and we thought we were clear. Then she followed with, "Uh, they're not getting the respect." If people don't know that the Rodney reference is to not getting the respect, then it's not a usable cliché in the first place.

Edwards said WMT is "kind of like Microsoft, they are not going to ever be a huge grower at this point."

Gary Kaminsky said "Retail as a sector will continue to do relatively better because that will be the place where people wanna hide for the fear of higher interest rates."

Mike Gurka said "I would definitely get short crude oil on any rally." But he said not to let the Australian taxes cast a cloud over miners; "valuations seem to be properly set in."

[Monday, May 17, 2010]

Flash: CEO backs deal
he just engineered

Bill McDermott, SAP co-CEO, granted Fast Money an on-location interview Monday from Orlando to talk about Sybase. He downplayed the implications of Oracle customers. And he wasn't lacking for confidence.

"We don't need $1 of cost synergy to make this work," McDermott insisted.

Guy Adami said the stock is a bit more expensive than Oracle but might be a buy after this selloff.

Still 1,745.40 to go
for John Tabacco

John Tabacco of Locatestock.com rocked the CNBC world on May 7 by insisting to Guy Adami that his models had indeed forecast that crazy 1,000-point drop May 6 that maybe wasn't so random and also predicted that day the Dow had another 1,500 points lower to go.

On Monday, Tabacco made 2 arguments for his negative-banks call that sounded rather dubious.

First he said his conclusion happens to "agree with Meredith Whitney, agree with George Soros." Any time you're citing others' opinions as evidence of the strength of your analysis, why bother to do the analysis yourself, just tell us what the others think.

Then, Tabacco referred to the "stress test last year" and how 10% unemployment was considered too high (or something like that) ... how last year's stress tests could not already be factored into the share price, we have absolutely no idea.

It's fine for Tabacco to be negative on banks. He might be right. The evidence he cited seems about as convincing as the Mets' offense.

Sneaky segue

Melissa Lee, in smooth midnight blue dress, put together a great outfit on Monday.

That gives us a chance to wonder why we couldn't hear some comments from Lee and Karen Finerman — who did manage to pepper Guy Adami with "brass set" questions — about the Miss USA pageant Sunday night, e.g., did the right contestant win, what about the apparel choices, the Q&A, etc.

Surely they watched?

Take it from us, there was precious little news going on in the world Sunday night. These ladies being able to show off their poise, perspective and great bods after months/years of work is a happy event. People who instead preferred to immerse themselves in day 26 of this dreadful oil spill need to rethink their priorities.

Who cares

Quite honestly, while we understand it's newsworthy, one of our least favorite segments on Fast Money is the quarterly 13F filings of various bigwigs that somehow constitute "breaking news."

Reduced this, added to that, is out of this, Zzzzzzz.

Joe Terranova actually said "Warren Buffett is going to have to become a little bit more of a Fast Money trader. Remember, he has a big derivatives bet on right now." Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't; aren't these things only filed quarterly?

Tyler Mathisen, handling the breaking news, referred to CNBC's apparent "ace watcher of Buffett, Alex Crippen."

Kelly backpedals on
flippant recommendation

Steve Cortes got the lion's share of the gold discussion Monday (see below), but Karen Finerman managed to stick it to Brian Kelly a bit for Kelly's nonchalant no-matter-what-happens-gold's-going-up argument from last week.

Finerman asked Monday if that's a sign of a troubling trade, when you can't think of any reason it won't work. Kelly protested that the clip aired was sort of a tongue in cheek type of statement. He said gold could drop $100, but "I don't think it drops below a thousand."

One of Cortes' arguments against gold was that only the precious metals have rallied recently, not other commodities. Joe Terranova said, with all due respect to Cortes, he thinks it's "ludicrous" to short gold at this point with global currencies fading.

Karen Finerman pointed to something else, that "copper just got annihilated today." Guy Adami noted that FCX traded around $66, which gives traders a frame of reference for the stock.

A developing trade
that’s worth a look

Paul Hickey, with the help of a couple good graphs, made some interesting points Monday on Fast Money about the divergence of Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper, and Altria and Philip Morris, in recent weeks as stocks with more international exposure are taking the hit.

Karen Finerman asked the perfect question, is it too late to get into this trade; is there a mean reversion now waiting to happen?

Hickey said he doesn't think so, that trends like these are "measured in years."

Mike Khouw said he'd buy the July $55 puts in Target for $3, and then sell 2 of the July $50 puts for $2.60. Pete Najarian wasn't given an opportunity for the Najarian Reaction©.

Rick Santelli made a wide-ranging, not-particularly-focused point about deflation/inflation/something like that. He said he does not see the dollar "not being the favorite midget in a room for a while."

Ananda Baruah said HPQ has "makable estimates" with the euro at 1.23 that justify a $60 price target, and he defended the Palm deal. "It's a nice option on the smartphone market," he said.

Karen Finerman told Guy Adami, "I love when you wear your investor hat."

Steve Cortes: Sell gold

Many people have trumpeted gold on Fast Money recently.

Steve Cortes is not one of them.

Cortes said Monday, "I'm emptying out the galleon," saying gold has "reached a bit of a mania" and that "prices are unsustainable."

"So I'm short both gold and silver," he said. "The gold price has gotten so high, that if the Wise Men were around today, I think they would skip bringing the baby Jesus gold, they would only do the frankincense and myrrh."

Guy Adami chuckled and said Cortes had been working on that line all day. "I'm with you, man, but you know, I get hate mail all the time about why don't you like gold," Adami said. "I, I just say, it's one of those things that ends badly."

Cortes insisted, "Technically, objectively, anecdotally ... it seems too crowded."

Now’s a great time
to catch a cab on the Strip

It'd be a blast to run into Gary Kaminsky at a Vegas blackjack table. It's entirely possible someone is going to do just that, given that Gary is in Vegas this week for the Anthony Scaramucci conference.

Kaminsky reported on the Fast Line Monday on visual consumer evidence.

"As you know, when you rely on the research of others, you only know what they know," Kaminsky said. "Let me give you an idea about what's happening with the U.S consumer. The driver who took me over here said, two years ago he was doing 10 runs a day back and forth from the airport. He's lucky right now to do 3. Everybody- these casino stocks, and everybody in Vegas, has talked about a major rebound. They are pay- they are basically paying people to put beds, heads in the beds. And I'm looking outside the window right now at City Center, and this thing looks like it is, it is vacant."

Back on the set, Guy Adami, conceding Vegas is a "great barometer," nevertheless said "You can't make the casino trade based on what he's seeing in Las Vegas." Adami said Gary's cabbie might be on an upswing: "3 trips a day, it's probably up frankly from maybe zero or 1 trip," he said.

Kaminsky weighed in on the market. "I was surprised that the market was not stronger this morning," he said. "I don't think there was much strength in the late-day rally. We should've had a much stronger equity market."

Karen Finerman disagreed. "With oil, with China, I thought today's market action was pretty impressive," she said.

"I thought we were gonna be looking at a bloodbath this morning," said Brian Kelly, who admitted covering many of his short positions.

Kaminsky saluted the way people communicate around the world, including how people occasionally read this page. "Gotta talk about modern technology," Kaminsky said. "It's amazing that I had conversations with everybody there on the desk today via e-mail from the plane."

Dr. J: Americans more worried
about Europe than Europe is

Jon Najarian made an interesting comment on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

He said he just returned from Europe, and "I did not see the fear level over there that I'm seeing here in the States."

Tim Seymour, who said Friday he was structuring his book for a big "whoosh" early this week and seemed surprised Monday that apparently didn't happen, said, "I think it's amazing that there's not a greater level of fear in Europe ... I'm surprised we rallied back as high as we did" off the morning's lows.

Seymour admitted, "I think the euro is clearly oversold," but he wasn't exactly pounding the table about getting long it. Not surprisingly, he concluded, "I think the rest of the week's challenging."

Dr. J stressed, "This is option expiration week ... look for the next couple days to be volatile" before evening out later in the week.

Amir: CREE to $90

Lazard analyst Daniel Amir told Melissa Lee on Monday's Halftime Report that, despite a P.E. of 68 and a forward P.E. of 43, he thinks CREE is a buy given its recent 20% selloff.

With the company "growing 70% top line this year, and earnings as more than doubling, we feel that you have a long-term prospect of the LED industry, and we're just taking the opportunity of the recent pullback in the stock of about 20% to tell people to own it right now," Amir said.

Lee said Amir has a $90 price target.

Grasso was up $10 in WMT

Steve Grasso made an interesting remark Monday about WMT.

"I'm not in it anymore," Grasso told Melissa Lee, "because I was up $10 and I got forced out with a profit, unlike what's going on with my Citi and my BP right now."

"Up $10" is what got our attention. Presumably he did not mean he only made a total of $10 on the trade, but that the shares had gained $10 since the time he bought.

WMT, according to Yahoo finance, has a 52-week range of $47-$56. So, no $10 gain in a year. WMT traded around $46 for a few days in February 2009. Before that, you have to go back to January 2008.

Selling WMT up $10, Grasso accomplished a Fast Money rarity: a long-term gain.

Grasso on Monday was pointing to the broad market numbers. "I think we can go back down to 1,100, which is the 200-day moving average," he said.

"That will be around full correction territory for the S&P and the Dow; we're already there in the Nasdaq," said Zach Karabell.

Najarian: Watch DKS

Jon Najarian said Monday that the movers and shakers are no longer unloading BP. "Institutions are not selling now at this level, it's the retail selling at this level," he said.

He also said DKS is a popular options bet before earnings. "A lot of bets being placed this morning, big block trades," he said. "I am long Dick's."

Zach Karabell spoke of the ties between China and Europe but said China's got a plan. "If the export market sags, they will again re-spend even more in terms of domestic stimulus," he said.

Yahoo finance rocks

Every so often, someone on the Yahoo finance message boards citing a Fast Money call will link to this page.

Recently John Roque's Fast Money call of $80 on Newmont Mining prompted a link at Yahoo that has sent a decent amount of traffic to this page over the weekend. (That link didn't come from this site, honestly; we're not that clever.)

Anyway: 1) Thanks much to the person behind the original post and to all the new visitors. 2) Unfortunately we're not sophisticated (er, popular) enough to catalog each Fast Money entry we make on a separate page, so you either have to hit PgDn several times or search the page for "Roque" or "NEM" to get to the Thursday (May 14) items to find the Roque reference. 3) But because of the interest in this particular call, we're reposting the Roque item right below this one (see below).

Whether you agree with Roque or disagree, we wish you the best of luck with NEM. Like they say on Fast Money, you can and should do any trade you want. Just make sure you have an exit strategy.

John Roque: NEM to $80

Chartist John Roque pointed to charts going back to 1928 and said gold still has legs to the upside. And, he likes the miners.

"We think Newmont's gonna break out of this big base range and we think it's gonna get to $80," Roque said.

Brian Stutland said those bullish on silver could play SLV by buying the June 18 call for $1.50 and measure their risk in case gold and silver diverge.

‘Home-country bias’

Zachary Karabell writes of his favorite theme, which goes something like U.S. & Western World economics and economic assumptions vs. China and select emerging markets economics and economic assumptions, in this global risk (re-)assessment analysis in upcoming Time.

One sentence is remarkably thought-provoking: "People everywhere suffer from home-country bias — the belief that one's own society is safer and more comprehensible than others'."

The most thought-provoking word in that passage is "suffer." We'd be curious what the experts from Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, etc., think of that one.

[Friday, May 15, 2010]

The most negative 2% gain
we’ve ever heard

A week ago Friday, the S&P 500 closed at 1,110.88, according to Yahoo finance.

This week on Friday, it closed at 1,135.68.

Nevertheless, certain Fast Money types — um, Karen Finerman, Tim Seymour, Gary Kaminsky, apparently Joe Terranova — suggest heading for the exits, for those who haven't done so already.

Terranova scoffed at the week actually being up, chalking it up to "significant short covering."

Finerman admitted she was worried last Friday, but is about equally worried this Friday.

Seymour said first he's "praying" for a big "whoosh" down on Monday or Tuesday because he's net short, then clarified it to "hoping."

Kaminsky said there's been a "dramatic shift in sentiment" recently. "This is the reason why you have to watch this show every night," he added.

That brought a pat on the shoulder from Melissa Lee, in her electric blue party dress, who told Kaminsky she was "proud of you" because he "cheesed us."

This page is often
late to the rally

Gary Kaminsky on Friday recommended, for the 3rd day in a row, being long the VIX.

Indeed, this has been his Final Trade for the last couple of days, he's been nailing it, and for whatever reason we hadn't noted it yet (we used to always single out the Final Trade but not so much anymore).

Only problem is, sometimes when this page starts noticing a trade, it's the top. That's kind of what happened recently with Visa (this writer is long V), which Melissa Lee mocked in a spoof Mastercard commercial Friday and which prompted Joe Terranova to dismiss, "A lot of people were long those names."

We would never call
a dress ‘crappy’

Patty Edwards, for the 2nd day in a row given about 90 seconds to report from the Fast Money West Coast Prop Desk, said there's "not a chance" the consumer can save the economy.

More to the point, Patty offered this mall-walk gem from store managers about the women who used to buy 3 or 4 items on impulse: "They'll buy 1 good blouse and leave it at that."

Mel Lee, perhaps emboldend by her electric blue party dress, chipped in, "Not 3 crappy ones." Then she had the audacity, after Tim Seymour (can you tell he grew up in the '70s) mentioned Chess King, to declare, "Let's keep it clean tonight, it's Friday."

Joe LaVorgna plows into
a Tim Seymour thesis

Joe LaVorgna reappeared on Fast Money on Friday to defend his call earlier this week that the European bailout would work.

"I said weeks, not days," protested LaVorgna, ignoring like the others the fact the S&P is up 2% a week later.

Tim Seymour, grasping for further rationale for his praying/hoping short position for Monday-Tuesday, claimed LaVorgna sounded "defensive" this time.

Even without the glasses,
Karen sees clearly

You'd think in a shortened half-hour version of Fast Money, the show would go bang-bang-bang to zip through all the commentary and arguments it can cram in.

Melissa Lee, in her electric blue party dress, spent so much time hailing what a great analyst Simon Leopold is, it's a wonder he had any time to speak.

Leopold says he likes Commscope, which makes antennas on cell towers, just because everyone including the Fast Money gang has wireless devices in front of them and likes using them and there's "phenomenal traffic growth."

He said CTV is followed by both networking and industrial analysts, and those on the networking side such as himself see "big-picture trends around networks."

Leopold also said the Cisco selloff was overdone and he'd buy, with a "multiple below the S&P."

Karen Finerman for some reason spurned the glasses on Friday, but to be honest, when the camera caught her in close-up saying she just might take a look at CTV, she looked just as good as yesterday.

Terranova: Mr. Excitement

Analyst Michael Block had an interesting little debate with Tim Seymour (guess what argument Seymour made) over the euro trade.

Block recommended names that produce sales in dollars and costs in euros, specifically SAP, TS, AIXG and ASML.

Joe Terranova recommended some rather stodgy picks, PFE, COST and KSS.

Ron Insana should read this page before going on air

Ron Insana opened Maria Bartiromo's Closing Bell at 3 p.m. Eastern on Friday discussing Giselle Bundchen's finances.

"You'll recall in November of last year she said she wanted to get paid only in euros," Insana said.

Insana also cited Jay-Z's interest in the euro at that purported time, even declaring it in a rap video. "At the time we said, that had to be a top in the euro, and it also marked it to the day," Insana said.

We actually noted on this page a couple days ago (see below), Bundchen made this demand in November 2007. Jay-Z's embrace of the euro surfaced in November 2007 also.

And in fact, according to this Yahoo finance chart, the peak was around July 2008.

It wasn't the first time this page was ahead of the dialogue on CNBC this week. But we're not ones to crow.

Hey Steve, that’s
our department

Yesterday, we discovered on the Web Extra, Karen Finerman's new glasses look was drawing so many viewer e-mails, Fast Money commissioned a poll.

Friday, Mandy built on her Thursday momentum with a purple top paired off against Erin Burnett on Street Signs.

But Melissa Lee on Friday joined the fray in flashy electric blue that was most certainly screaming "summer."

"Can we discuss your dress at all at the end of the show," said an impressed Steve Grasso on the Halftime Report. "I'm a seller of the market, I'm a buyer of that dress."

Lee indicated there wasn't going to be discussion of the dress but that Grasso's comments were appreciated.

Whatever, just buy it

Scott Valentin made virtually no argument Friday for buying Visa and Mastercard on the dip, even though he was robustly pounding the table. (This writer is long V.)

It's the "underlying trend moving from cash to plastic," Valentin said, an observation made, oh, on probably the first episode of Fast Money 4 years ago.

"We have a $300 price target on Mastercard, and a $115 price target on Visa," said Valentin, unfazed by Friday's selloff.

Zach Karabell said these are names with great stories getting caught up in Europe/regulation/any other market fears, allowing a "good opportunity to deal with the fundamentals." He said the notion of a "10% dip" in the names, "that's interesting."

Onetime Visa long (who said he sold higher) Steve Grasso wasn't convinced. "Political risk, I think that's a problem," Grasso said. "Probably stay away at this point."

Gordon: Watch euro at 1.22

Todd Gordon said on Friday's Halftime that the euro, incredibly, might be due to go up, and he said he'd consider buying around 1.22.

"The yen is definitely the safe-haven currency alongside the U.S. dollar," Gordon said.

Joe Terranova said he likes Yahoo in part because of Caris initiating a buy rating with a high price target. "21 and a half, that's rather aggressive," Terranova said, calling it a "low-beta type of technology name."

Referring to Europe, Terranova said he's reminded of the "Jaws" line by Roy "Schneider," the one about "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

Zach Karabell said he's of the same mind-set as a week ago, that there's a lot of "forced selling" going on, which is artificially whacking some quality names. He also explained why companies with huge cash positions are appealing: "The reason why that's attractive is because they're either gonna buy back their shares as they dip or they're gonna acquire some really accretive acquisitions."

The Zekester, who should be getting Halftime overtime pay this week for his 5th appearance in 8 days, said he's skeptical of regional banks because "They are much more economically sensitive" but indicated Goldman Sachs is one of those top names getting hit far below what fundamentals merit.

"I don't really sense panic just yet; I sense fear," said Steve Grasso, suggesting eager buyers sit Friday's action out. "Heroes are for movies, not for markets." Grasso did admit, "I did add to my Citi position, and BP." (This writer is long C and BP.)

Tribute to Bruce Wasserstein:
‘Pac-Man defense’

The other day, somebody outside the CNBCfix.com community posed the question, "What's a Pac-Man defense?"

Of course, someone started to rattle off something about hostile takeovers before realizing, "Um, gulp, you know what, I'm familiar with the term, but I don't really know."

That's why Wikipedia exists. "Pac-Man defense" is simply when a company targeted for hostile takeover buys up shares of the hostile bidder. It was coined after Martin Marietta counterattacked against Bendix in 1982. The strategy was recently considered by Rio Tinto and Cadbury but apparently not employed.

If you're a Wall Street pro or savvy amateur, you probably already knew all that. We didn't. Now we do. Honestly, we don't think the term is a perfect match; though Pac-Man did eat the ghosts when he could, his real goal was to scoop up the dots and dodge the ghosts. But that's nit-picking. It's a helluva pop culture description linking 2 legends of the '80s: Pac-Man and LBOs. The term (not the tactic) was invented by a 3rd legend, Bruce Wasserstein.

[Thursday, May 13, 2010]

Karen’s smokin’

We made the point earlier Thursday that seeing Mandy's blue outfit on Squawk Box was going to be our CNBC high point of the day.

We wuz wrong.

Incredibly, Karen Finerman topped it on Fast Money with her glasses debut.

Yow. Za.

She complemented the new specs with a black sweater, and did something new with her hairstyle.

While others on the panel acknowledged the revamp, Bob Pisani, sounding a bit like those geeks who used to try to date Marcia Brady, actually said "nerdy look, very hot!"

"Nerdy?" Bob just doesn't get it.

Your move, Mandy.

Channeling Guy Adami
& Gary Kaminsky

We were pumping the CNBCfix.com fist (a fist-pump, not the fist-bump that Mel Lee and the panelists do heading into every commercial break) on Thursday when Guy Adami and then Gary Kaminsky backed up a point we made earlier this week about this ridiculous finger-pointing investigation about those Thursday trades.

Bob Pisani was brought on the show to explain the results of the hearings/probes, etc., rattling off so much mumbo-jumbo we were ready to change the channel.

Enter Guy Adami, who asked, "Bob, if the market rallied a thousand points on Thursday, would we even be having this conversation?"

"Absolutely not," chipped in Gary Kaminsky.

"We would!" chipped back Karen Finerman.

Pisani eventually said, "Rational people should be asking why that would happen."

Kaminsky persisted afterwards. "Guy, Guy, the hearings would be scheduled for September," Kaminsky said.

"I totally disagree. Totally disagree," said Finerman, who said that after short sales in financials were banned a couple years ago, the stocks opened 100% higher the next morning, and those trades were tossed.

Pisani missed the point, the second thing he missed during his brief appearance. Adami was not asking whether this should be checked out. What he obviously meant was whether this would be considered such a big deal by a few frenzied folks that we would actually be devoting a segment of Fast Money to it a week later. That's why Kaminsky had it right, that there would be hearings, (and we would expect some kind of inquiry when market orders apparently are being filled at below-norm lows), but they would be in September and nobody would care. This is inside baseball, an important subject (maybe) for the Steve Grassos of the world, clearly not the worth the time to worry about and analyze for the retail audience that watches Fast Money.

Does that mean we disagree with Karen Finerman? We are not about to disagree with anything to do with Karen Finerman on Thursday.

This is getting ridiculous

On the subject of those May 6 trades, Melissa Lee read another hard-luck letter Thursday, this one from David in New York.

David wrote that he owned AAPL but had a "stop sell order at $225," and after coming home that night, realized his shares were "sold at $220."

Guy Adami had the right reaction. "This is gonna sound really insensitive and I don't mean it to," he said, but "it's not an easy game frankly."

This segment smells. First of all how does anyone know whether any of this information is true. Maybe David in New York is a pro trader angry about high-frequency trading who never even owned Apple. Or maybe David in New York is really Diane in Sacramento playing a Fast Prank. There's a reason Jim Cramer's Mad Money regularly says "Caller's results not verified."

Again, we're not pros, in fact lousy at trading, but even so we don't "get" why David would have a sell stop at $225; he was telling the market to unload his shares in a falling-knife type of situation only after they would've already plunged $30, which, while very rare thankfully, is the type of thing that could easily happen on some bogus rumor or report of terrorism, etc.

Things went from dubious to downright confusing when Tim Seymour got in on the act. "A limit order is not a, not a riskless order," Seymour said. He said there can be a "wild swing and you get hit," and that's why it's risky to have a "loose bid or offer out there."

Seymour needs to better explain the risk to a "limit" order. We thought he actually meant "market." If you put in a limit order to sell XYZ at $56, and the order is executed at $51, that strikes us as lawsuit material. Our impression is that on May 6, a bunch of market orders were suddenly executed far below the recent price, triggering some stops. But then again, nobody really seems to know.

Steve Cortes is on to something

Steve Cortes wasn't even there on Fast Money Thursday, yet he made a spectacular point, conveyed by Gary Kaminsky.

Karen Finerman was talking about Google bullishly, although this was the most lukewarm bullishness you'll hear. "I really like it here," Karen said, acknowledging the distractions. "I'm gonna own it here for a while," at least until the core business struggles.

Gary Kaminsky said he was talking with Steve Cortes. Cortes' point is that either Google is the cheapest stock in the Nasdaq, or the Nasdaq is overvalued. In other words, either the Nasdaq is priced correctly, or Google is.

Kaminsky made the point that GOOG is a problem for fund managers. "It's not a growth stock anymore" to them, and they're frustrated because there's no "unlocking" of the value of that cash pile.

Tim Seymour noted the market keeps cheering BIDU, though not Thursday. "I would be very careful" in BIDU, he said.

John Roque: NEM to $80

Chartist John Roque pointed to charts going back to 1928 and said gold still has legs to the upside. And, he likes the miners.

"We think Newmont's gonna break out of this big base range and we think it's gonna get to $80," Roque said.

Brian Stutland said those bullish on silver could play SLV by buying the June 18 call for $1.50 and measure their risk in case gold and silver diverge.

Karen: BP dividend safe

Karen Finerman said Thursday that BP's cash flow will withstand the siege. "Things would have to spin well-beyond where they are right now," Finerman said. "I think the dividend is safe." (This writer is long BP.)

"I love the integrateds here," said Tim Seymour, who asked why play BP when you can find similar companies without the headline risk.

Guy Adami said BP is still above its lows from last week when the Dow had that wacky dip, making him think BP might have another leg down.

Analyst Robert MacKenzie talked a little about RIG being a market perform, a distinction that flummoxed Karen Finerman, who said RIG trades on news, not with the market.

Whalen: Buy only the
‘righteous’ banks

Gary Kaminsky said the conclusion of the banking situation is emerging.

"They are smelling global settlement. We've seen this movie before," he said, predicting a global deal about mortgage securities, shorting, ratings agencies, etc., is just "around the corner."

Remarkably, "I find myself agreeing with every single thing that just came out of Gary Kaminsky's mouth," said Karen Finerman, who said she is long GS calls.

Guy Adami and Tim Seymour warned there are headwinds in the market. Adami pointed to China, Cisco and disappointing retailers, while Seymour questioned some of the European commitments in a glass "half-empty" scenario.

Gary Kaminsky did note it was odd that John Chambers' comments were actually "yesterday's news" but got recycled or heeded late Thursday. Kaminsky also pointed out how companies are bound to start citing Europe, but you know what, a few weeks ago people were claiming that the volcano was going to shackle European business for 10 days, and when was the last time you heard anything about that.

Chris Whalen, searching for evidence that his long-running banks-suck thesis is actually correct, insisted "I think these banks get whacked with more headlines" through the rest of the year. Whalen said "politicians love this," ignoring the fact the incumbent politicians aren't going to like a sub-10,000 Dow in October.

Whalen said "you wanna buy the righteous names" including Bank of Hawaii.

Tim Seymour said "85.77 is your next move on the DXY." Patty Edwards, in a remarkably brief appearance on the West Coast Prop Desk, talked about JWN and said "I think the analysts got ahead of themselves on this."

Karen Finerman said she's leery of margins in a company like Sprint where there's a "commoditization" of the product in process. Onetime Sprint backer Brian Kelly is now sour on the stock, calling today's news a "backward step for Sprint."

The Cisco skid

It was actually a bit disheartening when we flipped on Squawk Box around 6 a.m. Thursday and Mandy stopped us in our tracks and we suddenly realized that was going to be our CNBC highlight of the day.

But as always, we give the Fast Money Halftime Report a shot.

Steve Grasso on Thursday's Halftime explained one of those stock market truths that never seems to surface during CSCO/MSFT/INTC/et al. discussion on Fast Money.

"I've owned Cisco for years," Grasso said. "Every time you look at it it's in the middle 20s ... the fact of the matter is it can't deliver in the stock price."

We understand those are all great companies. The problem is they haven't been great stocks since 1999, and we've never been able to figure out why Fast Money talks about them so much.

Guy Adami said he still likes Cisco, but it "got a tad ahead of itself" going into earnings and that's why it's down.

JJ Kinahan, speaking about John Chambers' comments, wondered about the bigger picture and said, "It does make me nervous that he was a little bit of a wet blanket this morning."

Hilary Kramer said in a market where names like BIDU are "so expensive, so overbought," that she "would add to Microsoft here."

Guy Adami touted CREE, which he said is "speaking I think on May 17 at a JPMorgan conference; I think you get long ahead of that."

There was talk about Goldman Sachs' outlook on steel names. Kinahan said "AKS is a stock I do own, and I also do like X." But Kramer said "I would not be buying steel right here. There's too much of a chance of a hiccup in China."

Adami said he wouldn't plunge into FCX right at this moment, but that's the one to watch, for its $75.50 "pivot" level, which he said has "worked great."

[Wednesday, May 12, 2010]

John Tabacco: 2,016.48 to go

Last Friday, guest John Tabacco first told Fast Money viewers he had sort of predicted the 1,000-point Dow drop seen Thursday. Then he predicted, "1,500 more points to the downside from here."

The Dow that day closed at 10,380.43. Wednesday, it closed at 10,896.91.

Inadvertent Fast Money signal
that it’s time to buy?

Wednesday, for the first time in weeks, we didn't hear a word on Fast Money about BP or RIG or offshore drilling. (This writer is long BP.)

Fast Money gang
defends capitalism

We were glad to see the Fast Money gang fired up on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, we think the topic that got them fired up was interesting, provocative, and merited a more nuanced discussion.

Richard Duncan took questions from the panel about his call to regulate the banks and turn them into essentially public utilities.

He said deregulation was "disastrous," and instead of being too big to fail, the banks should be "too regulated to fail."

Guy Adami scoffed that in the "textbook, it's all cool and stuff," but what happens when that puts everyone out of a job. Duncan said what we've got is "certainly not capitalism, we have statism."

Tim Seymour said that as a utility, the banks would be "less able to lend." Joe Terranova pointed to the damage to the yield curve. Duncan said presently banks are "running amok" with deposits," which he called a "threat to society."

Gary Kaminsky asked who'd regulate the banking industry. Duncan suggested the FDIC. That would be an "absolute disaster," Kaminsky said.

We too can't get behind Duncan's argument. The idea of the government overseeing or making lending decisions is virtually absurd. The best argument against deregulation is Citigroup, but weren't Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and especially AIG (not to mention the ratings agencies) even bigger culprits in the housing crash?

Our beef, or concern, again, is over the reactions to the 2008 TARP/bailouts we infer from watching CNBC. (That's correct, "infer," because many people won't say explicitly what they think.) There seem to be 3 schools of thought. One is the absolute free-market crowd that gravitates toward Larry Kudlow's show that thinks there should have been zero bailouts whatsoever. The second is that in 2008, obviously government intervention was needed and the government was wrong not to bail out Lehman Brothers and sort things out as it did with Bear.

The third is the most troubling to us, and is sometimes detected on Fast Money, an extension of the second view, that apparently the government should've helped Lehman, AIG, Citi, but merely provided the money with no questions asked and no demands made, no pay czar, no Smith Barney or PhiBro division sales, etc. This seems like the worst of "too big to fail," run your business catastrophically and be handed a blank government check to recover as you please and save the world from an even worse recession.

We stand behind a point made in this site's review of Charles Gasparino's The Sellout: "The government already is the nation's banker, and is forever going to be the nation's banker. ... Every financial crisis has spawned a wider safety net." But, "The unmistakable truth is that banks can't loudly call for help, even if they actually believe they need it, because a public call for help worsens the problem at a faster rate than help will arrive, a disastrous Catch-22."

What we've had since the 1930s is a system where any regular Joe can run a bank and lend to whoever he wants. He makes the lending decisions. He can collect as much profit as he can possibly make. His depositors are backed up by the government. They're bailed out if he fails; he's not, although we were unable to find in brief Web searches exactly what penalties are associated with having your bank seized by the FDIC.

That deal has worked. Duncan is off the mark. He's attacking a non-problem. The deal that didn't work is a small number of entities dominating much of the world's financing and credit markets and either being incompetently hedged, or hedged by an authorized entity that unknown to them was actually incapable of hedging, and taking everyone else down with them. We've been through about 10 CEO firings, countless congressional hearings, Too Big to Fail and The Sellout, and nobody, including Duncan, has figured it out yet.

A bullish Goldman Sachs call
comes across a bit clunky

Guest Stephen L. Weiss made a convincing case on Fast Money for owning GS shares on Wednesday, except Weiss seemed uncomfortable the whole time, and the segment had to end up awkwardly when Melissa Lee cut off Weiss to go to Mike Khouw.

Weiss said $20 billion has been lopped off GS when the actual penalty isn't going to be $20 billion. "It's gonna be a headline number, a billion, maybe more," he said.

Tim Seymour said Morgan Stanley seems like a buy amid the troubling news Wednesday, "Nothing has changed for these guys."

Gary Kaminsky predicted there will be some kind of "global settlement" encompassing Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, et al., but it won't protect Lloyd Blankfein's job long-term.

At the end of that segment, Melissa Lee, in her snappy red and black ensemble, briefly posed with a confident, knowing glance.

CEO predicts earnings
5 years from now

Cisco earnings day on CNBC is so predictable and such a cliché, we almost refuse to write about it, except to point out exactly how cliché it is.

You'll always hear someone, usually Jim Goldman, exclaiming how they've never heard John Chambers this bullish in such a long time, etc.

Wednesday, Jim Goldman reported that Chambers used the term "outstanding quarter ... these are words that Chambers just typically doesn't use..."

Gary Kaminsky pointed out he said last week that every CEO for a while is going to cite Europe's troubles either as an excuse or as a possible headwind on future guidance.

Guy Adami noted that the CSCO numbers were great and the stock wasn't exactly going gangbusters after hours. Adami announced that IBM is actually the name you want.

"IBM today stood for Investors Buying More," Adami said, citing the company's "2015 earnings" projection from CEO "Sal Palmisano."

Jim Goldman: Sybase offers
might heat up

Tim Seymour got our attention Wednesday with an offhand reference to what we consider the most interesting name in the stock market (not to be confused with the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World), which would be Google.

Seymour said that for a sustained tech rally, "You need Google," and he doesn't think the fundamentals justify its disparities with BIDU, which had another big day Wednesday.

The SAP-Sybase deal sparked much of the tech talk. Joe Terranova said of cloud computing, "there is some validity to it." He thinks stock buyers should keep an eye on names like EMC and VMWare. (People who were highly long VMW a couple years ago when it supposedly was alone in the space and couldn't miss probably aren't too interested in trying it again.)

Gary Kaminsky said to pay attention to how Oracle reacts to the SAP deal. Jim Goldman offered, "Oracle is likely not interested," but many players are watching, the bid is not outrageously high, and "this could be a bidding war."

Goodbye Gordon Gekko
out this month

On Wednesday's Fast Money, Guy Adami took up a key little element from the day-ago conversation with Peter Schiff.

Adami noted that Anthony Scaramucci asked Schiff whether a fast-growing economy would sink the gold trade, or if not, then what would. "He didn't answer the question," Adami noted, but Schiff did utter the type of glib ("elephants might grow wings" or something like that) non-answer that people despise from politicians, something Schiff is coincidentally trying to be.

Gary Kaminsky reported that he was at the "Scaramucci book party last night," and the most common remark he was hearing was, "How could you not own gold?"

Joe Terranova insisted, "We're making the gold trade right now way too complex." Kaminsky kind of shrugged and said, you know what, it's not that easy.

Steve Liesman claims victory

Our favorite Steve Liesman moment on Fast Money occurred a couple months ago, when he suddenly jumped all over Gary Kaminsky with some kind of temporary 'tude for expressing doubts about Larry Summers' contention that the snowstorms would weigh on the jobs report.

Liesman and Kaminsky sparred again last week over European contagion. On Wednesday, Liesman was smiling, challenging Gary to man up and admit, "despite the pink shirt you're wearing," that European policymakers could prevent Europe's minor catastrophe from sinking global markets.

"You're right," Kaminsky graciously conceded, at least for now.

Kaminsky said he likes making homemade peanut butter from the ingredients they sell at Whole Foods.

Master limited partnership expert Darren Horowitz said there will be no "disproportionate" impact on MLPs from a dividend tax change.

Mike Khouw said you can play the gold trade without risking a lot of money by buying the January 2011 125 call for $9.15 and selling the 145 call for $4.05.

Good article by John Melloy

Fast Money producer John Melloy has put together a highly informative, and concise, article on estimates of how much the Dow actually fell on Thursday. Melloy explains there are at least 3 categories of a stock print from Thursday's activity: 1) trades regarded as completely legitimate and used in Dow calculation; 2) trades meeting standards for legitimacy but not meeting the standard for Dow calculation, and 3) the greater-than-60% trades that were tossed out.

Karabell: Gold might suggest
the Dow is undervalued

There weren't a whole lot of slam-bang trades, gossip and rumors on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, but there was talk of gold.

No one seems to have changed their mind from 18 hours previously.

"Commodity hedge funds are actually rotating, basically making an all-in type of bet in the precious metals space," said Joe Terranova.

"I would be in precious metals as well; in fact, I am," said Brian Kelly.

So for a slightly new take, we turned to Zachary Karabell.

"Showing me a chart is like talking to Carter Worth about fundamentals," said Karabell. "If you believe in long-term correlations, where gold is now actually says to you that the Dow is undervalued, right, because it used to be a 10-to-1 sort of spectrum."

The Zekemeister said he sort of considers gold a "trader phenomenon" that might be near "pullback stage," and people truly seeking a flight to safety should go into Treasurys.

Jared Levy said to be careful about piling in to the GLD. "In the short term, it's a little overbought," said Levy, citing Bollinger bands. He said bulls could try a risk reversal trade with the December options, selling a "134 call vs. the 117 put, you can do it for a $1.55 credit."

Melissa Lee reported that "Dennis Gartman says no danger of a double-top here."

Worth: CSCO to $34

Carter Worth made a rather bullish call on Cisco on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

"We think it's headed to 34, buy Cisco," Worth said.

Jared Levy said if you like Cisco, consider "selling the June 25 put." Melissa Lee cautioned, "Don't forget, you sell the puts, you tie up margin in your account."

Lee also said, given the heat on Morgan Stanley on Wednesday, that Lloyd Blankfein is probably sitting around saying, "You know John Mack, it is your turn."

Brian Kelly said he doesn't like the banks. "I'm short Deutsche Bank," said Kelly. "It shouldn't come to a surprise (sic) that anybody in this space is being investigated."

Zach Karabell said "I'm definitely looking at IBM here," in part because of its smartgrid applications and, along with other leading industrials, the pile of cash it has, and we don't really understand why a big cash stockpile is a reason to buy a stock, but we've been down that road before. "Whole lot of dry powder to be deployed," said Karabell.

Karabell added, "I think BE Aerospace is interesting," in large part because its main competitor is "having a world of problems in terms of quality controls."

Jared Levy noticed heavy options activity in LPX.

[Tuesday, May 11, 2010]

Just like we scripted it

CNBCfix.com made the point back on March 9, only partly in jest, that Guy Adami sort of sounded like he was borrowing lines from one of our recent reviews when he joked on Fast Money about Chinese consumers driving an F-150 through a KFC drive-through with a bunch of copper in the back.

On Tuesday's Fast Money, Adami happened to say this:

"I may ask Mary Schapiro ... if the market went up a thousand points in 10 minutes, would Ms. Schapiro be having this conversation with anybody?"

"Probably not," said Melissa Lee.

We immediately sprang to attention, because just a day ago we posted this (see below):

"The real complaint, it seems here, is that the market went down the day a glitch occurred. ... Like liar loans and bundled mortgages, this is a bear market concern, not something requiring attention in bullish times."

OK, so maybe gobs of people have reached that conclusion, and Adami's inspiration could've come from anywhere. Until Tuesday, that point hadn't been heard on Fast Money ... only after it turned up here. So allow us a little self-indulgent pat on the back (no, it won't make the golf swing any worse than it already is). The next stage is getting Karen Finerman to pick up some of our pop culture references, if we ever get time to put some more of them in. We carp about the Fast Money gang sometimes, but we're just happy to be along for the ride. We got their back.

Same page as The Mooch

We certainly wouldn't ever want to over-congratulate this page, but in fact on Tuesday the brilliant Anthony Scaramucci asked Steve Grasso precisely the same question we were longing to ask Grasso a day ago (see below).

"Talk a little bit about the specialist's role," Scaramucci asked Grasso on Fast Money.

"They don't call 'em specialists anymore, it's designated market makers," said Grasso.

See what a great question that was? Instantly helpful; as we had no idea (and apparently Scaramucci wasn't aware/sure of this either based on his question) that people in Grasso's position are no longer called "specialists." (Presumably, given that Scaramucci used the term, people around Wall Street but not in Grasso's position still call them that.)

Unfortunately, Grasso was only able or willing to speak to his job for about 3 or 4 sentences, and then only repeated points he's made on previous days. He said the job is to create "price discovery" and, during volatile moments, to take a step back to adequately reach this discovery, which "could last a second, could last 90 seconds."

Grasso reiterated that the problem with the bogus trades wasn't at the NYSE, but at other exchanges where such orders were carried out blindly.

Regarding the brilliant point made above by Guy Adami, Grasso said, for anyone concerned, "By the way, we also have those liquid replenishment prints on the way up, too, because you wanna get the right price."

With that, he might've said too much. The "right" price is an endless source of debate. Tim Seymour noted Monday there are complaints about the human discretion also.

A new one, from Joe Terranova

Joe Terranova on Tuesday, continuing the theme of the trading "glitch," offered a new reason for oil's 2008 surge we hadn't heard before.

"Oil went to $147 a couple years ago because the computers were in charge," Terranova asserted.

Anthony Scaramucci chimed in, "We have let the robots take over and we don't have any human control left ... this is a cost of capital issue."

They're the pros; we're the hapless amateurs. But this thread of discussion on the show has to be considered woefully incomplete unless/until panelists start talking about the likely cost savings that the computerization provides.

Veronica’s bad day

Out of all the interesting stuff heard on Tuesday's Fast Money, the most provocative by far was an e-mail from Veronica in Longwood, Fla.

Veronica wrote that she had a $200 stop market order on AAPL on Thursday. As a result, "I lost $15,000 in 10 minutes."

We gave this extensive thought.

First, a very important caveat ... we're not making fun of Veronica here. That would be like the pot (and we don't mean Potash) calling the kettle black.

Second, in our amateur opinion, this $200 stop just seems ridiculous. Veronica explained she had it in place in case of a "major event." The stock closed the previous day at $255. A 21%, 1-day drop in AAPL would've been almost unheard of even in the fall of 2008, where the worst we could find was an 18% plunge from $128 to $105 on Sept. 29, per Yahoo finance.

Taken further, let's say there was an actual "major event" Thursday in which AAPL was getting legit bids only below $200. Veronica is going to blindly unload her shares apparently at market price only after they've dropped 21%.

We're not the pros, but we can't see the Fast Money pros putting on Veronica's trade.

A far more sympathetic situation, in our opinion, would be someone who had an AAPL stop at $245, and had it filled at $199. (This writer is long AAPL but had no stops and did not buy or sell that day.)

Third, how does anyone know exactly what a "mistaken" trade is? What if the "major event" Veronica feared turned out to be a report from a respected news organization about a certain corporate executive's health, and then minutes later, the news organization retracted it? Would the resulting trades in the interim be considered "mistakes"?

Fourth, Veronica claims she "lost $15,000 in about 10 minutes." It's not clear if she actually lost money on those shares; she might've originally purchased them at $150. Was it a horrible time to sell? Of course. Pegging a "loss" to what happened to the stock after your order was executed seems imprecise at best.

Guy Adami, who complimented Veronica on her name, seemed to fall under the caveat emptor umbrella and reminded Veronica and other viewers that Pete Najarian has been trying to pound this into our heads: "Buy put protection," Adami said. "If you had been in the puts, you'd be fine."

Lloyd watches Fast Money

Guy Adami, who quite frankly put together a monster show on Tuesday, paid tribute to Lloyd Blankfein.

"I have to say one thing," Adami said, the Goldman Sachs CEO is the "most rigorous, hardest-working person that I know ... I've e-mailed that man at 2:30 in the morning literally and I'll get a response back 5 minutes later. The day he was named CEO, I e-mailed Lloyd, I said 'Lloyd, I'm so proud of you, that's an unbelievable job, way to go.' 3 minutes later, on the day he's named chairman, he e-mails me back and says 'Thanks, by the way love watching you on TV'."

So we acquired 2 interesting facts there; the first being that Blankfein at least occasionally watches the show, and the second being that Guy Adami and Lloyd Blankfein apparently are awake at 2:30 a.m., which makes you wonder when they ever sleep.

On the pressing issue of GS shares, Adami said, "I think it probably trades back down to 136 or so," and the book value as he sees it is $118, assuming book value is relevant nowadays.

Anthony Scaramucci, pointing to the stock's sluggishness recently, said "You have to wonder if there's, uh, rumors in the marketplace related to management" or the SEC's case.

We don’t think he meant ‘classic’ as a good thing

Peter Schiff, who was announced a couple months ago as a semi-regular Fast Money guest, seemed to take a dig Tuesday at the network over what he called a "classic CNBC moment," dismissing people on another show who he said were debating whether there is true demand for gold or whether it is simply going up. The person apparently arguing it was just going up was rationalizing it as a "safe haven," prompting Schiff to thunder, "That is the real demand," for a safe haven.

Schiff suggests gold $10,000

You could tell Tuesday that Anthony Scaramucci hasn't had a whole lot of experience asking Peter Schiff questions on Fast Money.

Scaramucci actually expected to get a serious answer from Schiff as to what would happen to demand for gold if the economy grew at an accelerated rate.

"Our economy is not growing, our economy is a disaster," Schiff scoffed. "It is impossible for the economy to grow..." Melissa Lee finally had to cut off the exchange for time.

Schiff at one point referred to a months-ago prediction of gold $5,000. "Now I might have to say instead of just going to 5,000, maybe gold's going to 10,000," he said Tuesday. Then he chided others on the show for earlier questioning why it's not already higher than $1,200. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, just buy it," he said.

Melissa Lee sort of pinned down Schiff on specifics, which is certainly not easy to accomplish. Lee, using her magic "connect the dots" catchphrase, asked Schiff where the Dow would be if gold hits $10,000. Schiff responded "The stock market might still be at 10,000," but then he claimed he's calling for a 1:1 parity with Dow, so that both could be at 5,000, or 10,000, whatever.

We can’t wait to read
Goodbye Gordon Gekko

Anthony Scaramucci, volunteering to make the contra-gold argument Tuesday, was basically a lone voice in the woods.

"Gold is the trade right now," declared Joe Terranova.

"The place to be is gold," said Brian Kelly.

Even Guy Adami seemed to be throwing in the towel on resisting gold, saying that even though he won't trade it himself, people should look at Pan American Silver, because gold buyers will spill into silver. It's not just that the Fleckmeister, Bill Fleckenstein, is on the board (confirmed on company's Web site), "it's their cost of production ... I think it gets north of 30."

Melissa Lee smartly asked, aren't there industrial demand considerations for silver, as opposed to the more psychological demand for gold?

"Let me tell you something, Mel," said Adami, with a swagger we haven't seen often recently, "it is definitely a speculative metal just as much as gold is."

Scaramucci, though, argued "Gold is probably full to the top right now."

Terranova rebutted, "Everyone in the market is not long gold."

Scaramucci said "We have global overcapacity" right now.

Kelly said "It's a Keynesian revolution ... He called gold a barbarous relic ... I think he's wrong," and he said too many people think gold is tied to the dollar. "They really have nothing to do with each other."

Dennis Gartman repeated his pro-gold arguments he's been making for months. He told the panel he's been long gold vs. various currencies for "7 or 8 months."

Scaramucci asked Gartman if gold isn't near a peak and aren't we likely to experience a decline like we saw in the 1980s.

Gartman shrugged and said not to expect a gold crash tomorrow or next week or anytime soon. "Is it gonna happen 2 years from now? Very likely so," he conceded.

Steve Grasso concluded, "Don't sell it. Gold is going higher."

Guy Adami might've owned the day Tuesday, but we gotta hand it to Anthony Scaramucci, a great recent addition to the show, for wading into some entrenched viewpoints and challenging guests with contrarian arguments. We look forward to the book.

The Washington Generals
of company analysis

We don't think there's anything wrong at all with being bearish on AAPL — there's a lot of success priced in — but analyst Ed Zabitsky seems downright hapless to have a $126 price target on the stock.

Zabitsky did explain to Guy Adami, while not really addressing Adami's observation that this price target is sort of in another universe, that he does see some support for AAPL at "$170 near term."

Steve Grasso wasn't buying any of it and defended Apple. "They create growth out of nothing," he said.

Great to see Joe LaVorgna,
but where’s Michelle Meyer?

Joe LaVorgna appeared on Fast Money Tuesday to say he thinks Europe has actually found a solution that works. He defines "works" as something that makes money market spreads, contagion, bank runs "dissipate." He said a key indicator is 2-year swap spreads, at 30 basis points, which normally would be more like 15 or 20.

Every so often we bring up the fact that gorjus/smart/down-to-earth Michelle Meyer of Barclays Capital hasn't guested on Fast Money since Karen Finerman asked her if this was some kind of after-school job. Is it possible Michelle is moving on/up in the world? That's a subject we probably shouldn't bring up, but can't help wondering about...

Disney analyst David Bank put together a good showing on both Tuesday's Halftime and 5 p.m. show, but we have to admit we'd like to see superstar Rich Greenfield of Pali get the call again. Bank said at 5 p.m., after his glowing Halftime buy recommendation, that Disney's cable margins came in "somewhat softer than we expected." He said he now wants a little more info on those margins, but nevertheless, if buyers can find it in the "low 30s, it'd be a no-brainer."

Brian Kelly said to play Europe and oily beaches by shorting Expedia.

Scott Nations delivered the Options Action trade, targeting XOM. He would sell the June 65 call for $1.80 and buy the June 67.5 call for 80 cents, which would be "risking a dollar and a half to make a dollar." Because time was short, there was no Najarian Reaction© from anyone on the panel.

Good call, Giselle

Notice that Zach Karabell (see below) is acknowledging the dollar's important status as global reserve currency in Tuesday's WSJ while experts like Dennis Gartman and Todd Gordon on Fast Money predict euro doom.

Remember back in the good old days, before the bailouts and U.S./European financial crisis, when celebrities could hail the euro and stomp on the dollar?

Giselle Bundchen did just that in November 2007, demanding payment in euros in a story that CNBC and Fast Money made hay out of for about 3 days. Bundchen, this CNBC article says, "is at the top of a growing list of rich people who have concluded that the (U.S. dollar) can only depreciate."

That article includes Warren Buffett chortling about how other currencies are better than the dollar, and cites this line from the FT, wondering if those who "failed to heed the warnings of Mssrs Buffett, (Bill) Gross and the other dollar bears" will find "the Bundchen twins more persuasive."

Maybe the most interesting thing we learned in that article: Giselle has a twin sister, Patricia. She said, "Contracts starting now are more attractive in euros because we don't know what will happen to the dollar."

Get long the euro. Sounds like a plan.

Tomasulo’s back

Always good to get a Fast Money blast from the recent past (where are Dani Hughes and Bill Strazzullo by the way), so we were interested to learn Tuesday that Jeff Tomasulo is apparently day-trading AAPL options.

"Right now Melissa I can't tell you if a stock's gonna go up 10 points or down 10 points," Tomasulo said, explaining he's using options. "One strategy I'm using is I'm day-trading ... I'm in that market intraday trying to take the volatility out of the stocks. When you have a stock like Apple that moves 10 points in a day, that's a lot of cash I can bring in my portfolio with little risk."

A "lot of cash," with "little risk." Sounds good.

Tomasulo said he's playing both sides of the market. "I'm buying and I'm selling the close."

Carter Worth spoke about Apple and tech. "One needs to be overweight the group in general and to stay long Apple," Worth said. (This writer is long AAPL.)

1,150, 1,120, 1,165, 1,172, etc.

We tend to get tired of the various S&P levels spouted on Fast Money daily. Because it just seems like every day there's a new level, and either 1) we don't approach it at all, so then what do you do, or 2) we break through it and then have to declare another artificial level.

So what's the point.

Steve Grasso, who is sort of referred to as "Grawsso" by Melissa Lee, said Tuesday on the Halftime Report that as Guy Adami has been saying, the "pivot point" is S&P 1,165, "that's a great spot to look at. ... The other level you want to watch is 1,172, that could be the real resistance, that's the 50-day moving average in the S&P."

It might be, it could be, it is, which sounds like Vin Scully or Harry Caray or Phil Rizzuto or someone like that.

BP valuation ‘a little crazy’

Steve "Grawsso" complained Tuesday about the oil spill hearings. "Don't we think that they have better things to do than to testify right now?" Grasso said. "Can't we get the oil leak stopped before we testify?"

Grasso said he jumped into BP earlier Tuesday, thinking it was "getting a little, little crazy on a valuation standpoint." (This writer is long BP.)

Pete Najarian said he jumped back in, maybe in part because of the testimony going on when it seems like a lot of beleaguered companies rally, but also maybe mostly because Steve Grasso told him he was in.

Gee, wonder what
Schiff will say

Carter Worth pounded the table for gold on Tuesday.

"All currencies are weak relative to the oldest currency of all, gold bullion," Worth said. "Our work suggests gold has plenty of room to run."

Pete Najarian said to keep an eye on the miners, who have previously lagged. "People still extending and looking for more upside out of the miners," Pete said.

Melissa Lee noted that on the 5 p.m., Peter Schiff will (finally) return, and he and Dennis Gartman will address whether gold is a buy at these levels.

Analyst David Bank said "I would be a buyer" of Disney. The "fundamentals in media are incredibly bullish right now," he said. "2011 is actually a pretty good setup for Disney."

Pete: Fight on

Melissa Lee said at Tuesday's Halftime that last night's Fast Money gang was "very skeptical of this bailout."

Actually, we didn't get that impression. We got the impression they were extremely skeptical of the euro, and that Europe maybe has worse problems than they thought, but that the bailout might actually be good for equities.

Pete Najarian Tuesday was having none of that negativity. "The options markets at least are starting to receive this very well," Pete said, later concluding, "Market's an absolute buy."

Karabell in WSJ

Zachary Karabell, continuing his theme that Americans are a little too stuck on themselves in terms of their economic power and ability to influence the world, outlines an interesting history of the dollar's role as global reserve currency in this WSJ op-ed Tuesday. But, Karabell warns, the status of the dollar shouldn't be confused with American strength, and it's time to get off the "economic opiate." (If you're not a WSJ.com subscriber, Google the key words for the article in full.)

[Monday, May 10, 2010]

Steve Grasso needs to give viewers the guided tour

A certain flat segment on Monday's Fast Money inspired what we think in these parts is a great idea for the show: Spend 10 minutes sometime explaining to us what Steve Grasso does.

Grasso has been spending the last several days defending the role of human beings in linking stock buyers and sellers at appropriate prices. We don't doubt for a second what he does or his belief in what he does.

Nor would we expect him to spill trade secrets. Rather, we're just interested in learning, how does this person make his living. He talks about his own account, but his job, as we understand it, is handling orders for clients. How does he make money doing that, what service does he provide, what's a good day and what's a bad day, etc.

The thing is, Tim Seymour said something during Grasso's segment Monday that in our opinion is very important.

Seymour said there have been complaints about the discretion used by human specialists, and now there are complaints about the speed of high-frequency trading. "People can't have it both ways," Seymour said.

Grasso complained Monday that when it comes to a money manager seeking to handle your account, he's not going to say, "We're gonna invest your money as fast as possible. I've never heard that as a sales pitch."

Grasso argued that when there are moments of extreme volatility, "Let's slow it down for 5 or 10 seconds and figure out the right price vs. the fastest price."

The key word there is "right," in reference to Seymour's point.

Grasso wondered "Who was happy" about the 1-cent bid on ACN. "It wasn't that we walked away from any bids at that point," he said.

Again, we don't doubt for a moment what Grasso does. We probably agree with his arguments. We'd guess, however, that one element of Thursday's glitch has gone unmentioned on Fast Money, that the electronic process is simply cheaper, and all those $9.99 and $8.99 and maybe $2.99 commissions that used to be $49.99 are a byproduct of that development.

Tell us something
we don’t know

Fast Money's conclusion Monday that nobody really knows what happened with the "glitch," or even really knows what the glitch was aside from a few outrageous trades Thursday, was disappointing.

We're just the amateurs, and we can't figure out even if there's a victim here. If you put in a stop market order, it might be filled a lot lower than the stop. Fast Money panelists pointed that out last week. We wonder too why shorts, using this as a model, couldn't employ tricks, perhaps such as dumping small amounts of ACN at half its previous close in hopes of activating everyone's stops and unleashing a wave of selling. That doesn't seem to happen, or if it does, it hasn't gotten the attention that Thursday's problem did.

The real complaint, it seems here, is that the market went down the day a glitch occurred. If ACN instead had been selling for $60 on Thursday, people would've said "caveat emptor" and counted all the money they made.

Again, we're not disagreeing with anything Steve Grasso said. But we know that human beings at the exchanges couldn't stop the grotesque 1987 meltdown, or the 1929 meltdown. Like liar loans and bundled mortgages, this is a bear market concern, not something requiring attention in bullish times.

Until Fast Money can get a better handle on what happened Thursday, the glitch is barely worth discussing; it's inside baseball for a very few select market pros like Grasso and is not worth the retail investor/viewer's time to try to analyze and sort out. Like Dennis Gartman (who noticeably is talking about Europe, not high-frequency trading) always says, just keep it simple.

Karen not on board

One of the first people we wanted to hear from Monday regarding the European bailout was Karen Finerman.

And if you were hoping to see Karen bullish, you were disappointed.

Finerman called the bailout "reminiscent of the verge of the banking collapse that we saw here," an indication to her that maybe she didn't fully "appreciate" the problems in Europe, and "maybe it's not over."

Steve Liesman, on the Fast Line, admitted "I'm always nervous about Karen's nervousness," but he voiced a bit of bullishness. "I think they might've nipped this one in the bud," he said, explaining as he did last week that expectations for European growth this year were low anyway and what does it matter if it comes in a bit lower than expectations. He did allow that he thinks European banks are undercapitalized relative to U.S. banks.

Gary Kaminsky, also on the Fast Line, repeated some of his skepticism from Sunday night. Kaminsky expressed surprise that the markets closed Monday at roughly the same level they opened. He said the key going forward on this bailout is, "Do the capital markets in Europe, as a result of what's been done, start to get vibrant again?"

Talk about a crowded trade

Dennis Gartman, like several others on Fast Money Monday, was predicting a long slide for the euro. He said it's like Europe was handed a "checking account" for a trillion dollars, and given how the euro reacted, "I'm afraid this is not a very good sign ... I think it's going to parity and lower, and I think we're witnessing the end of the euro as, as, as a viable currency."

Gartman did offer that because of quantitative easing everywhere, it could actuall provide "strength in the equity markets."

Brian Kelly, or "Beeks," agreed on the euro, saying "I think it goes much lower." Kelly says he sees a "marked slowdown in the global economy."

Todd Gordon wrapped up the show by agreeing on the euro. "I think there is more pain to come," he said, with an "immediate target" of 12 or 13 cents lower.

So where's Steve Cortes when you need a contrarian view ... Slightly contrary to Gartman, Tim Seymour said the euro shouldn't have been expected to rise given a bailout such as this, and he said the equity gains Monday were triggered by "tremendous short-squeezing." Seymour was the only one to suggest everyone seems to now be in the short-euro trade. Gordon didn't seem to think that mattered now.

Joe’s got some mojo

We noted early in the Gulf spill crisis that Joe Terranova seemed to be fumbling his calls on BP & RIG.

For the last few days, Terranova has delivered a facial on RIG. Monday he suggested it might be time to reverse course, which seems a bit trigger happy now given that he warned last week that deep offshore drilling, a RIG specialty in his words, was going to be severely restricted, a major headwind for RIG.

Monday, Terranova said, "Actually I think it might be time to buy it ... the tone has changed a little."

Terranova said Occidental has stronger trends in its favor now than Exxon does and offered OXY as one of the show's curious weeklong picks as a potential usurper of the throne of reigning corporate giants.

Terranova said that despite the European plan, "Double-dip recession, that is on the table." He recommended Potash, OIH and Bucyrus as the right plays now.

Terranova also said he disagrees with John Paulson's housing calls and to look at the "clearly vulnerable" bond insurers such as Radian Group. Guy Adami wondered if there could be some kind of conspiracy behind Paulson's sudden endorsement of the housing sector.

Khouw shrugs off the
Options Action challenge

Mike Khouw delivered the Options Action trade Monday, suggesting selling the SWM June 37 put for $1.60.

Joe Terranova offered only a mild Najarian Reaction©, asking Khouw if maybe it would be better to go farther out on the curve to take advantage of the time of year when natural gas typically spikes. Khouw responded that the stock moves enough that you'll get another chance to do that by employing his trade, sort of a "continuous covered write."

Seymour: Goldman Sachs’
image has problems

Anthony Scaramucci reported Monday that after doing a "ton of surveys," he's discovered "There's actually a slowdown in the hedge fund community."

Scaramucci said there's a trend to more defensive names such as Altria and Johnson&Johnson.

Guy Adami pointed to the 1,165 S&P level as a key test. He rattled off a couple names such as Intel and Cisco and we couldn't really tell what he was recommending, but he did say, "You have to like IBM here." He also said AAPL is maybe the best of those names in terms of fundamentals but he prefers the IBM upside. (This writer is long AAPL.)

Brian Kelly said he sold short the XLK, and "I'm gonna stay short" MCO.

Tim Seymour declared "They have a terrible PR problem" at Goldman Sachs for revealing in an SEC filling that they made money trading every day of the 1st quarter.

Melissa Lee read a letter from Spike in Minnesota. Spike suggested an apparent government conspiracy in the Thursday glitch as something that would help grease financial reform through the system.

Seems like this’ll work

Traders on the Fast Money Halftime Report Monday apparently liked what they saw out of the reaction to the European bailout — but weren't quite ready to dive in whole hog.

"Debt restructuring is probably still in the cards," warned Tim Seymour, and while gold might've been expected to tumble, he found it "really well contained here."

"I think the euro is still in deep trouble," said Jon Najarian, who stressed that "the time to sell is when the market's going up."

Steve Grasso on the other hand suggested we might've turned a corner. "Maybe we'll flatline a little bit, but I'm pretty positive at this point," he said.

Zach Karabell, who with Melissa Lee and a few others turned in a bang-up Sunday night Fast Money special, said he agreed that Europe still has financial problems, but this package "should make American equities ... that much more attractive to European buyers."

Grasso not gushing on XOM

Tim Seymour thinks there's new life for an online giant that's been in a slump. "I think Google at 18 times next year is a fantastic place to play it," Seymour said Monday at Halftime. He also recommended Cemex and was seconded by Zach Karabell.

Karabell said "I don't particularly like the homebuilders," because even though you might nail one of them for a trade, "we're years away from getting back to even where we were in 2006, 2007."

Steve Grasso gave a weak endorsement, if that, for Exxon. "I'm starting to see new life come into this," he said, but the problem is, it's "still trading below pre-Lehman levels."

Grasso also mentioned LPX, "I'm still long it."

Analyst Bill Bergman spoke about Moody's with acronyms we didn't really pay much attention to. He concluded, "If they were to lose this rating I think it would be a significant if not draconian outcome."

Zach Karabell, lumping in McGraw Hill, said, "I think it would be incredibly good for the market if both of these were stripped of their designations."

What would it take to be
Larry Kudlow?

We caught nearly all of CNBC's The Call on Monday morning.

Why? We flipped on the TV, and here's what we saw: Larry Kudlow in the middle of the screen, that's fine. But Trish Regan to his right ... Mandy Drury to his left. Given those surroundings, could there possibly be any better job for a male in America than Larry's?

[Sunday, May 9, 2010]

Congrats to the Fast crew
for yeoman Sunday night effort

You'd think bailout or no bailout, it'd be possible to go out on a Sunday night and do your own thing and not really think about CNBC or Fast Money until Monday.

Wrong. You can't underestimate Melissa Lee.

Overnight, we discovered Lee brought in some of her top colleagues in rather formal attire and engineered a Sunday night special edition on Europe, et al., that hopefully most regular Fast Money viewers managed to catch. (If not, clip is at CNBC.com.)

Gary Kaminsky opened with "The markets are telling you that they think that the ECB playbook is going to work, the way it worked here," but qualifying that it took 6 months for the cost of capital to come down.

"I would not be that excited on the opening tomorrow," Kaminsky said. He said the fact we're still printing money to do bailouts "argues for me for a lower multiple on equity prices globally."

Anthony Scaramucci said the instigator for this deal was the stock market. "Market weakness last week has really forced the hand of these bureaucrats in Europe," Scaramucci said. But he's not convinced it's smooth sailing despite what the futures were saying. "I wanna stay on the sidelines a little bit here," he said.

Zachary Karabell, on the other hand, said he thinks some forced selling and some profit-taking are responsible for the market's recent downturn, "clouded by a lot of weird stuff," including the "bizarre" trades on Thursday that "added to the noise and the confusion."

As a result, a market surge is possible, "could be a pretty rapid return to something resembling normalcy," he said.

Patty Edwards spoke about the Gulf spill, referring to a certain 1989 disaster for perspective (CNBCfix not alone but out front on scouting this subject a week ago, see below).

"I went back, I started looking at the charts back when Exxon had its malfunction up in Alaska. We got way oversold there; we are way oversold on BP," Edwards said. "Am I going to bet the farm on this? Absolutely not." But citing the dividend yield and presumption of other companies involved in cleanup costs, she finds the stock a buy. (This writer is long BP.)

Anthony Scaramucci agreed. "I like BP here; I think Patty's gonna be right."

Karabell said there's still a lot of bad press about BP ("lot of uncertainty there"), and given that other stocks have sold off 20%, there are better alternatives.

Patty Edwards warned of what could happen to AAPL if it breaks a few more technical levels. "Be careful, hedge your positions," Patty said. But "at 235 I think I'd be willing to start nibbling." Anthony Scaramucci agreed.

We would never have envisioned a Sunday night version of Fast Money. Maybe it should be permanent. This one rocked. Congrats to the crew on the extra effort and crisp production.

No mention of spin class

Scott Redler — who hasn't been seen on the Fast Money Halftime Report for weeks if not months, managed to crack Page 1 of Friday's Wall Street Journal.

"It happened so quickly, it was like a torpedo. It was mayhem," Redler said. (And no, he wasn't talking about the CNBCfix collapse on the 5th hole Thursday.)

Also, we were pleased to see Bill Strazzullo's name (another Halftimer who hasn't been seen for a while) at the end of a jump in the WSJ's Money & Investing section, discussing high-frequency trading. "This was a massive liquidation panic," Strazzullo said.

[Friday, May 7, 2010]

John Tabacco going to the well once too often?

We were about to call Friday's half-hour Fast Money virtually useless, except for Melissa Lee's new ribbed white sweater and perfect hair that seem like she's primed for a big night.

But then John Tabacco made an appearance late and provided one of those comments that either leads to glory, or comes back to haunt in a few weeks.

"There's a big event still out there," Tabacco said, and his analysis suggests we've got "1,500 more points to the downside from here."

Tabacco also said he's tracking request to short stocks, and "Last week we saw a spike of about 50% in one day." Guy Adami tried to assert that there's no way Tabacco predicted the Dow tumbling 1,000 points in one day. Tabacco insisted he told Fast Money producer John Melloy last week that 1,000 points was in the cards.

Pete again tries to pick
the bottom in CLF

Pete Najarian told Fast Money viewers Friday that CLF in the low $50s was just too good to pass up. "I added to that today," he said, and also scooped up some Mechel, like Tim Seymour.

Pete said CLF at $56, $58 is the "level where it seems to find its footing."

Adami: Bad Thursday,
but worse Friday

Guy Adami said Friday was "maybe a more negative day than yesterday frankly."

Adami then made a point we agree with, that there's a lot of hubbub over determining whether the brief Dow collapse was caused by a "match or blowtorch," but the reality, he said, is "I think things want to go lower."

Brian Kelly said at least it's good that European countries have agreed on some kind of Greece package, otherwise there might be a "bloodbath" on Monday.

Joe Terranova seemed skeptical of defending high-frequency trading. "The argument that they provide liquidity is certainly flawed," Terranova said.

Tim Seymour said there's a "bit of a turf war" going on in all this noise.

Carter Worth said on Options Actions (we intend not to watch it, but we heard it in the background) that the FCX chart is broken and he's a seller.

Scott Cohn delivered breaking news (where was Mary Thompson?) on Congress considering the market troubles over the weekend as it works on financial reform. "I'm going to rest well" this weekend, scoffed Melissa Lee.

Karabell: Forced selling
happening in Europe

Zach Karabell on Friday, without specifically saying so, essentially took the other side of the can't-decouple-from-Europe argument heard recently on Fast Money.

Gary Kaminsky, in the studio with Melissa Lee for the Halftime Report, got the debate started again, saying "It's a binary event here" whether there is decoupling. "Any injection of European problems into the United States economy will be bad."

"OK, but I would say that what we're facing is not an injection of European problems into the United States, it's a, it's forced or necessary selling on the part of European financial institutions to bolster their balance sheets," Karabell said. "And when you have a forced selling event that's external to anything going on in our markets, that pushes prices down and adds to a correction, to me, that's a time you really start getting back in, because things are being artificially depressed by external events."

Karabell said this selloff is not unusual, and the gloomy overhang represents opportunity.

"This may be a market you wanna be more in than out," he said, adding the "bearish sentiment kinda compounded a normal correction. I've been looking to get back in." He pointed to the 20% fall of Atheros, while explaining he has owned it but sold a little of it higher, but "that would be one that I'm looking at."

Terranova: GS to $200
after Congress acts

Melissa Lee used curious terminology Friday in describing Gary Kaminsky's recent opinions on whether Lloyd Blankfein's job is safe, after Goldman's shareholder vote to keep chairman and CEO combined.

"You have been on the bandwagon in terms of, uh, Lloyd Blankfein perhaps being shown the door at some point," Lee told Kaminsky.

"It's not necessarily being shown the door, I just think that Goldman Sachs has to get back to what Goldman Sachs is about," Kaminsky said.

Lee said removing the option of splitting Blankfein's posts "makes it a more binary situation." Kaminsky said he never thought a split would happen anyway. "I think you're gonna clean house with some sort of settlement and have new management," he said.

Joe Terranova said again to wait for Congress' financial reform to pass and then get on board GS "for the move up to 200 bucks." He said a settlement with the SEC would be bullish for the stock and a settlement would include a management change.

Mr. Hand, isn’t this our time?

Steve Grasso said Friday, given what might happen over the weekend, "You could see a pop and a rally on Monday." However, he cautioned viewers, "No reason to be a hero on a Friday."

Joe Terranova said, "The unfortunate element about today is that the computers are driving the direction."

Melissa Lee reported on the "war of words" between the NYSE and Nasdaq and brought in Richard Repetto to referee.

Repetto said he sort of agrees with what both Duncan Niederauer and Bob Greifeld are saying. But he disagrees with comments made earlier by Harvey Pitt. "There is a way to slow down the markets, and they can be coordinated," he said. He acknowledged there's immediate headline risk for the exchanges but doesn't expect any drastic changes to the business model, with this key qualification: "As long as legislators and regulators use restraint and I would say sensibility."

We're surprised more people don't say this more often, but Melissa Lee Friday said "More Fast Times, uh, Fast Money Halftime Report after this ..."

[Thursday, May 6, 2010]

A whole show without
mention of ‘Goldman Sachs’

After an hour of Fast Money with minimal commercials Thursday, we still don't get it.

Apparently some "glitch" caused some ridiculous stock orders to be entered. Computer programs allowed the trades to be executed. People such as Jim Cramer astutely noticed some jaw-dropping prices and urged people to buy while Erin Burnett and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera displayed the most nonchalant reactions to a 1,000-point Dow drop in TV history.

The New York Times story on this glitch by Nelson D. Schwartz and Louise Story didn't really clue us in on anything, other than the fact there's a lot of high-frequency trading. Curiously, their headline says, "High-Speed Trading Glitch Costs Investors Billions."

Cramer was the opposite of panicky, rattling off the bids he would put on PG at that moment if he could and how people should suddenly jump into 2% yielding stocks that momentarily were yielding 5%.

Guy Adami always likes to say, "On this show, it's about the trade." Instead of offering trades, most of the Fast Money gang merely shook their heads and warned of electronic trading disasters.

Ultimately, the Dow fell 347 points. The complaint was heard that investors lost value in the market activity. If stocks such as HPQ were being priced based partly on this glitch, then shouldn't we all be scooping up as many shares as we can for as long as this artificial overhang lingers? And if instead that price is not artificial but reflects global reality, then who cares if some moron sold PG for $39 or another moron unloaded his Accenture stake for a penny in trades that will undoubtedly be negated?

It seems here that either bungling Wall Street "pros" handed buyers a brief gift, or it's an event that doesn't matter.

Like we said, we don't get it.

An idea for lowering gas prices

Famed trader Mark Fisher granted a rare television interview to Fast Money on Thursday — which would've been fine, if there was any substance to this interview beyond the fact we were told 3 or 4 times that Fisher never does TV interviews.

Fisher, for the benefit of viewers on a question from Guy Adami, defined a "knockout trade" as something that happens when a stock or futures contract reaches a specific price where a computer "knocks you out of the trade."

He said if the glitch would've happened an hour earlier, oil would've been down $20.

Joe Terranova asked what Fisher described as a "rhetorical" question about what the housing market would've done if home transactions were done via high-speed trading. Fisher said that under the same mechanism, the U.S. housing market would've been "decimated."

Fisher said Thursday's problem, which initially felt like a "nuclear bomb," was the "tip of the iceberg" of electronic trading glitches. "I think this is a warning to everybody," he said, calling for a panel of thinkers to figure something out.

"He's never on any TV show," declared Guy Adami.

Nesto rocks

Matt Nesto once guest-hosted Fast Money, and unfortunately we considered it a bit of a bomb.

Thursday afternoon, Nesto was knocking 'em out of the park on Closing Bell and Fast Money as the go-to glitch reporter. He was quick on the draw regarding the "million/billion" mistake and also, to our knowledge, was the first to name Citi as the possible source of the e-Mini debacle. His reports managed to capture the World's Most Important Headline, i.e., the one(s) atop the Drudge Report.

Nesto joked about trading in Boston Beer, something "we probably all need" after a day like Thursday. It took Melissa Lee a moment to laugh.

Good try, Brian

We finally got another bona fide Najarian Reaction© to an Options Action trade, and the victim Thursday was Brian Stutland.

Stutland said he'd seek protection for the XLF with a June put spread, buying the June 15 for 70 cents and selling the June 13 for 20 cents.

Pete Najarian agreed — with half of it, before slinging the obligatory faint praise.

"Hey Brian, the only issue that I have with the trade, and I like the idea because I think you wanna protect yourself in a portfolio like this, especially in the big financials, but the 20 cents of premium you're getting for the 13 strike is the only hesitation I have," Pete said. He said he'd be more comfortable "just owning the put itself."

Pete’s chance for ‘I told you so’

Amid all the program trading outrage on Fast Money, a couple panelists were fighting a semi-uphill battle Thursday to analyze global stock fundamentals.

Gary Kaminsky was the first, reiterating that Greece is not a contained situation, but a global problem. He also pointed out that at the beginning of the day, long before any glitches, "there were 3 deals that were pulled" in the IPO market.

Dennis Gartman painted a troubling scene across the Atlantic. "I think the Eurozone is, is going through the process of its own demise," said Gartman, who emphasized it's not something that would last for days, but years, because that's how long it took to put it together.

Guy Adami said he thinks the market might bounce Friday but that there is more to come in the correction.

Joe Terranova, doing a little videoconferencing from home, said that the glitch "pissed enough people off," and "Gold is the trade right now."

Pete Najarian thundered at all of the early talk complaining about being stopped out, saying PUTS (PUTS! PUTS! PUTS! PUTS! PUTS!) are the way to avoid that.

"I lost money today, no doubt about it," Pete said, but he said having the puts made a big difference.

Kaminsky said that glitches such as Thursday will likely prompt more people to consider ETFs and avoid single stocks, a situation in which BlackRock would be a beneficiary.

Rosenberg: See, I wuz right

We were just noting a day or so ago that gloom-monger David Rosenberg hasn't been on Fast Money for a while.

All it took was a Dow-briefly-down-997 day to get him back.

Rosenberg not surprisingly pointed to every dubious macro situation as the reason the Dow cratered. Melissa Lee noted he'd said in article that Europe is 3 times as important as BRIC to American companies. Rosenberg said on TV that "Nobody mentioned" that investors "just had another salvo out of the People's Bank of China" regarding property prices. He said the concept of decoupling from Europe is the "oxymoron of oxymorons."

Afterwards Guy Adami and Melissa Lee slammed Rosenberg's "nobody mentioned" point, saying they've been talking about those things on the show every day. Adami suggested maybe Rosenberg is watching other shows.

Karabell: AIG bailout alone
was bigger than Greece

Zachary Karabell wasn't on Fast Money Thursday, but he made his point about the Dow collapse on his blog.

"Markets have to be respected," Karabell writes, but in perspective. "Let’s respect the panic for the harm it can do, but not grace it with a substance that it lacks."

Karabell also writes that after the computer-triggered selloff, the markets, curiously, "in the space of 15 minutes ... recovered, without — it’s fair to say — much human decision-making during that interval."

Opportunity for traders to unload on things they dislike

Steve Grasso, and bless his heart because we miss the days when Maria Bartiromo would get bumped around by the literally oodles of people on the floor of the NYSE (and also long for those scenes in "Wall Street" when the floor is packed with traders and specialists), was the first of the Fast Money gang to condemn the evils of electronic trading and demise of specialists, pointing to how the NYSE alone forces human beings to initiate delays and launch a price discovery process when seeming irregularities occur.

"I bet you if you own Procter & Accenture, you were happy Steve Grasso and his co-workers were down here today," Grasso said.

Jon Najarian, in what he described as "My Jim Cramer moment," said "this has become dangerous for investors and for Wall Street." He said trading has come too far, too fast. "Pete and I use 6, 1-gigabit circuits" to review trades at OptionMonster, he said. "We're lookin' at a million quotes a second," something the regular Joe could never do.

Melissa Lee told Dr. J that it sounded like he was saying the little guy can't compete. Dr. J didn't really disagree.

Guy Adami said any confidence that retail investors had in the system has "thoroughly been squashed," a concern echoed by Gary Kaminsky.

Anthony Scaramucci warned that a stock market technical problem (error or sabotage) can be devastating to global markets. "This is the 2nd bomb in Times Square that sort of didn't go off this week," he said. "We just gotta be really careful here."

He said there will have to be an "autopsy" to "see if we lost any hedge funds today," and, as Melissa Lee asked to "connect all the dots here," he said the gaps in spreads suggest we need more capital in the system, and to be aware of that as banking regulation moves forward.

If you had a stop order,
hopefully you had a limit

In a slightly scattershot opening to Thursday's Fast Money, traders took up a key issue: What if you had stops in names like PG, or anything else that momentarily cratered, did you get killed?

"You could've gotten filled at who knows what," said Karen Finerman, wearing her classic yellow dress while Melissa Lee donned a smoking-hot ensemble (yeah, they got our attention, and we've gotta talk about something besides the doom and gloom).

Steve Grasso pointed out that those with stop-limit orders would protect themselves with their limit, but stop-market orders might've been annihilated.

"I think this is just the beginning of a larger selloff," said Guy Adami.

Pete Najarian reminded people how puts can protect you in these situations.

"This is gonna kill any kind of credibility that the average investor feels that they're playing on a level playing field," said Gary Kaminsky.

Kaminsky: It’s about
the cost of capital

Maria Bartiromo on Closing Bell turned to Gary Kaminsky for analysis of the market crash.

"This is about the cost of capital going up around the world," Kaminsky said, pointing to fears about governments' ability to refinance debt. He said for U.S. investors it's a question of whether the U.S. can decouple; "I don't think it can."

Kaminsky said something wasn't right Thursday afternoon. "What happened at 2:30, we're gonna have to get to the bottom of that, because there was a tremendous amount of retail stock orders that were hit. So what happened between down 400 and down 900 on the Dow is a story."

AAPL touches $199

According to Yahoo and Google finance, Apple traded all the way down to $199 on Thursday afternoon, apparently only for seconds.

Talk about a buying opportunity.

What the heck was that?

If you blinked during Street Signs with Erin Burnett on Thursday, you probably just missed 10% of your portfolio evaporating in about 5 minutes.

Then, a bunch of it suddenly came back.

We've never seen the Dow ticker go from -990 to -450 in 15 minutes.

Jim Cramer called out the PG plunge; Bob Pisani said there might have been a "bad print." Team CNBC is all over this one.

Keeping score, it seems virtually anyone recommending a "sell" on Fast Money this week was proved right Thursday afternoon. That would include Steve Cortes on basically everything, Brian Kelly on DE and NUE and everything Europe, Joe Terranova on RIG, Karen Finerman on AAPL. (Mentioning some of those feels like nails on a chalkboard.)

It stinks to lose money, but this is exciting.

Halftime hesitation

Traders on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report didn't foresee a 1,000-point Dow drop within 2 hours, but were impressively bearish nonetheless.

"There's too many levels that guys are eyeballing to the downside," said Steve Grasso, who said to forget about 1,150 in the S&P. "Market wants to get to 1,120."

"I'm bearish," said Guy Adami, but unlike recently when he would still identify good stocks, "I'm having a hard time trying to find things to buy."

JJ Kinahan said investors are getting defensive. "People will pay up right now in order to get protection to the down side," he said.

Guy Adami reminded viewers he went to Vegas last August. He said BAC is worth a look if the S&P stays above 1,150. He closed by saying — oops — he's bearish, but he thinks there might be a bounce the rest of the day.

[Wednesday, May 5, 2010]

Feels like Joe’s a week late

Joe Terranova, after a couple of days of botching the get-out-of-certain-oil-production-names (notably RIG) trade, was grasping for any help he could find on Fast Money Wednesday.

That help came in the form of a breaking news update halfway through the show, in which Melissa Lee reported that the government is demanding Transocean preserve documents.

"And that is called liability uncertainty," Terranova quietly crowed.

"Oh come on, as opposed to, please destroy the information," scoffed Karen Finerman, in a dazzling new magenta top we haven't seen before, who has been talking for days about how "overdone" certain names like RIG are.

Melissa Lee slightly tripped up Terranova earlier in the program about his claim that 5,000-foot drilling is in big trouble, saying most of the drilling in the Gulf is 1,000 feet. Terranova sputtered that Transocean's "projects (are) more levered" to the 5,000-foot variety; that's where "they specialize." He said of RIG, "15 of 73 working rigs right now are in the Gulf of Mexico."

Finerman repeated her theory that names such as RIG and BP (this writer is long BP) have been oversold far more than the extent of the actual economic damage to those companies, insisting the government can't just change a loss cap halfway through a crisis.

Anthony Scaramucci didn't really agree with that latter point, saying there's still "uncertainty" to that angle, just look at those GM bond holders.

More on too big to fail

Alan McKim, CEO of Clean Harbors, made an interesting point Wednesday on Fast Money that escaped anyone's attention.

McKim said his company annually expects about $30 million to $40 million in spill cleanup revenue.

But, "Last couple of years, that hasn't been as, as great."

So, put another way, it might be inferred that drilling, up until a couple weeks ago, has actually in recent years been safer than expected.

The Gulf explosion and leak is a terrible tragedy. Everyone should be alarmed and concerned, and (fair) investigations should and will be conducted.

The reality is that accidents happen in everything. Some have a degree of negligence or incompetence; others are Acts of God. The U.S. government has had 2 space shuttles explode on its watch, but was launching again 2 years later. When an airplane crashes, we don't all stop flying. When someone spills hot coffee at McDonald's, we don't ban fast food. The truth is, at this point in history, we need oil to move ourselves around the globe. Maybe the government will try to skewer a company or deep-six an industry. Doubtful. We'll figure this out, and move on, like we always do.

Glitch in the charm offensive

"Quite honestly," Gary Kaminsky said Wednesday, Goldman Sachs clients who heard the conference call should've been saying to themselves afterward, "that call raised more questions than I probably had the day before."

Anthony Scaramucci sort of seconded that, saying what management "did not address on that call" was that the trading desk has consistently been making money, while funds like Alpha and Whitehall "have not done well for their private client investors."

Scaramucci said he heard the term "client" on the call "well over 30" times.

Fast Money GS consensus:
CEO quit, settle with SEC

Fast Money viewers interested in the Goldman Sachs situation were treated to a remote appearance by famed banking analyst Richard X. Bove on Wednesday.

Bove is bullish on GS long term.

"The United States government needs a demon," he said, so "they have got to change the management team." He thinks not only will that mean Lloyd Blankfein stepping down, but "I think Gary Cohn goes as well."

Then Bove made a suggestion that set off alarm bells with Karen Finerman. "I think they need Henry Paulson," he said.

"No way!" Karen said, claiming Paulson is a "lightning rod for controversy 10 times what they currently got."

Actually we don't think Paulson is really that controversial anymore, but we don't see this happening.

Bove said he agrees with Karen that GS shares would "pop substantially" if there were a settlement with the SEC, but panelists seemed to agree that a management change alone wouldn't necessarily do anything. Bove said he thinks the firm should be focusing strictly on Washington and not worrying about convincing other people via the likes of "Charlie Rose," and we always like it when we can sneak in a Charlie Rose reference.

Karen admitted she did a little bottom-fishing in GS on Wednesday. "I bought some calls today, June 150 calls."

It just begs the question,
do these CEOs really matter?

Gary Kaminsky, via the Fast Line, agreed with the emerging consensus that Blankfein has to go. "My sense is that they've gotta change management," Kaminsky said, citing the Morgan Stanley situation with Phil Purcell in 2005.

Anthony Scaramucci asked Kaminsky what happened to change his mind from being seemingly bullish on GS management 10 days ago.

"I wasn't bullish on the management team," Kaminsky protested; rather he said that the SEC case would not topple Blankfein, but now he has mushroomed into too much of a distraction.

We were curious about the John Mack situation. According to Wikipedia, Mack returned to lead MS on June 30, 2005, greeted by clapping employees and Maria Bartiromo and a camera crew in footage you've seen numerous times on CNBC.

Morgan Stanley announced his retirement as CEO on Sept. 10, 2009.

On June 30, 2005, the MS adjusted stock close was $39.56, according to Yahoo finance. (Actually, it was trading over $50, but the adjustment includes dividends.)

On Sept. 10, 2009, the adjusted close was $28.50.

By contrast, Goldman Sachs on June 30, 2005, closed at an adjusted $97.78. Through 2 CEOs, even given its current turmoil now ... well, you get the idea.

We like Mack. He seems like a stand-up guy. Charles Gasparino vouches for him on some level, so he's got that going for him. It's hard to see over time how his tenure, and celebrated return, actually brought much value to MS. But he did manage to prevent a buyout/capitulation in 2008, something his employees surely appreciate.

Then there’s that China thing

Colin Gillis, an analyst who hasn't exactly been pounding the table for GOOG recently, expressed disdain for the latest Google concept, Google Editions.

"No doubt, this is going to the Google graveyard," Gillis said.

Gillis pointed out that at the moment, GOOG is actually trading at what he sees as the bottom of the range, and thus might be worth a trade. More interesting, he noted that "Google's on a real collision course with Apple," a point made by Gary Kaminsky in varying ways recently. (This writer is long AAPL.)

Karen Finerman lamented all of the Google side projects but insisted there's still gobs of value in the company. (This time, she didn't mention the lack of a big dividend.)

An event nobody should
really care about

Melissa Lee stood in front of the desk and modeled her chic black dress at the beginning of Wednesday's Fast Money. That got us thinking about her announced attendance at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.

The red-carpet list provided by Gawker doesn't list Lee or any CNBCers. (Gasparino's on it, but he doesn't count anymore.) Isn't it interesting how a media event can be so off-the-record and secretive, even when it's just a bunch of joke-telling.

We hope/expect Mel had a great night, presumably accompanied by a date, yukking it up with the president, maybe going out for ice cream afterwards.

Vikram, if you’re listening ...

Melissa Lee read a question Wednesday from Ted, in Hartford, who wondered if C was a buy on the dip. (This writer is long C.)

Um, well, if you're thinking about buying it, it's "probably not terrible here," said Karen Finerman in the ultimate understated endorsement.

Anthony Scaramucci was more gung-ho, even as Melissa Lee reminded viewers that his firm just bought a piece of C. "This management team is doing a great job," Scaramucci said, and "it's very easy this stock could trade into uh, the, you know, the 5, 6, $7 range over the next 12 to 18 months."

Mike Khouw finds a trade
in Pete’s favorite stock

Mike Khouw's option trade Wednesday was to sell the June 55 put in CLF for $3.75.

We actually figured this one might get the rare positive Najarian Reaction©, but in fact no time was allotted for a comment from the Fast gang.

Pete Najarian of course recommends people don't try to pick a bottom even though he essentially admitted doing that this week with CLF.

Joe Terranova said he saw a "nice intraday reversal" in FCX. Anthony Scaramucci said "We're cautious right now" on the overall market. Karen Finerman spoke again of buying HPQ.

Author Stephen Weiss said he doesn't think you can buy the homebuilders but does think people have money for names like Home Depot and Sherwin Williams.

Brian Kelly talked again (yawn) of the falling euro but actually got our attention briefly when he mentioned, of all people, Barton Biggs, apparently saying on TV that Europe needs to do better quantitative easing or something like that. We've always wondered how great Biggs' analysis can be when he appeared on Fast Money in November 2007 and predicted a "stampede" into stocks, then complained about Dylan Ratigan calling him "Mr. Biggs."

Goldman Sachs for lunch

Goldman Sachs dominated a condensed version of the Fast Money Halftime Report on Wednesday.

"When financial regulation gets passed, that's when you wanna own it," said Joe Terranova.

Hilary Kramer, possibly making her Halftime debut, said GS has been doing well the last couple of days as the rest of the market tanks. "That tells me Goldman is a buy here," Kramer said.

Gary Kaminsky spoke on the Fast Line about "what I think and what I know." He said he definitely thinks that Bank of America and Morgan Stanely are trying to poach Goldman Sachs retail clients in this environment. But what he knows is that "the corporate institutional banking clients continue to be extremely supportive, and business is normal on the institutional and investment banking side."

He said he didn't expect much from Lloyd Blankfein's conference call because "the lawyers aren't going to let him say anything."

Hilary Kramer said AAPL and GS are the market bellwethers and as long as we stay above 1,150 S&P, we're OK. Jared Levy points to another number, 1,170, and says as long as we hold that, we're fine.

[Tuesday, May 4, 2010]

That was quick

On Monday, Joe Terranova specifically listed BP and Anadarko as 2 of his 5 Gulf-related stocks you should definitely avoid.

On Tuesday, referring to BP and APC, Terranova said, "I think actually they line up OK" under a purported new de-emphasis of offshore drilling. (We figured the land drilling had already sort of run its course, but maybe not.)

"Normally you say there's fear & greed in every situation," Terranova said, but the BP spill is a "disaster."

As a result, "I think deep-water drilling is over," said Terranova, predicting a "moratorium on new projects 5,000 feet." He said the names to avoid thus are DO, ESV and RIG.

Basically, oil companies
are too big to fail

Gorjus Karen Finerman made a gorgeous point on Tuesday, a bit contrary to Joe Terranova's thesis.

"I've added to RIG, we've added BP since the spill occurred," Karen said. "I cannot see how this administration would (be) able to to withstand a huge spike in oil prices. It's great rhetoric right now, until you actually affect oil prices."

Terranova said any action against deep-water drilling would affect oil prices only "in the long term, way down the road," that the government would actually open up the SPR and flood an already crowded oil market if there were supply concerns, and actually right now, "What the market is betting on is shut-ins in the Gulf," not on higher oil prices.

He said this situation is a matter of "earning power's potential (sic) for those in the Gulf."

K-Fine's right. The political objectives at the moment are 1) Make sure everybody knows we care, 2) Make sure the oil company(s) gets the blame, 3) Figure out how to reconcile this with our initiative from a few weeks ago to expand offshore drilling, 4) Insist this is why we have to move to solar, wind, liquid nat gas, etc.

The reality is, the less oil we produce, the more we import, and the more drilling is left to China, Brazil, Russia and Venezuela.

Lumping all the Europe talk in
1 place just to be done with it

Greece and Europe, as they pertain to the stock market, are profoundly dull.

It may be important (and may not), but it's certainly not exciting television.

So we were tempted to doze during the fairly lengthy portion of Fast Money on Tuesday devoted to the Greece bailout.

Steve Liesman painted a not-so-bad picture arguing in favor of decoupling. "We can't escape contagion," Liesman said, but as for picking stocks, "It's an individual corporate story but I don't think at this point it's a macro story."

Liesman ended up in an argument with Brian Kelly over how it can be OK if Asia and Europe are both slowing or whether Asia's slowing is just a problem for Europe, or something like that.

Peter Boockvar, who's building his brief Fast Money career on gloom-and-doom scenarios that have yet to materialize (so did David Rosenberg, and when was the last time you've seen him on?), noted a couple times that "Europe is China's biggest trading partner."

Gary Kaminsky said the problem now is much bigger than one country. "Let's not call it Greece anymore. Let's call it Europe," Kaminsky said.

Brian Kelly said "I sold Deere, Nucor," because he thinks those companies are notably levered to Europe.

Karen Finerman asked Kelly what kind of scenario would change his mind about shorting European-related names. We don't think he meant it literally, but Kelly said, "If Trichet showed up in the trading pits with a bunch of buy tickets."

Steve Cortes came on later and said he's so worried, he's into U.S. Treasurys, after Melissa Lee asked if the European shock waves are a serious threat.

"1-word answer: Yes," said Cortes, who said the concept of "decoupling" is "complete nonsense." If you believe in decoupling, you might as well believe in the Easter Bunny," he said. Gary Kaminsky said that's a point he can agree with, that the cost of capital is going up.

Steve Liesman demanded to know what kind of European GDP expectations Gary Kaminsky really had, saying if it comes in light, those numbers were going to be small anyway. Kaminsky insisted on a "domino effect" and said "I disagree with Mr. Liesman there."


Gotta give analyst Brian Skorney credit for guts.

Skorney (we think Fast misspelled his name as "Skorny") spoke on the Fast Line Tuesday after one of his picks, InterMune, dropped about 80% (that's correct, 80%) on FDA rejection of its lung drug.

Skorney said there's a "very low" chance of a quick resubmission, and in all likelihood InterMune will need "additional clinical trials" that will take time, though he said Dendreon had a similar situation a few years ago.

Gary Kaminsky asked a good question, if the company would need to do a capital raise to help fund a new trial. Skorney said it probably would. Kaminsky said the company is probably kicking itself for not doing the capital raise earlier with its stock a lot higher. He cited this as a reason that when you own biotech, you "must be diversified."

The Berkshire position:
Lehman bad, Goldman good

Whitney Tilson beamed in to Fast Money from California with some stock suggestions. But Gary Kaminsky specifically wanted to know about Warren Buffett's remarks on Goldman Sachs at the Berkshire meeting.

"It was pound the table defending Goldman Sachs," Tilson said, "even more full-throated than I, uh, expected."

Those who saw the CNBC clip recently of Charlie Munger discussing greed and envy and Dick Fuld's megalomania should note this passage from Page 486 (hardcover) of Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big To Fail (sorry, not in The Sellout), in which intermediaries are trying to set up a Berkshire investment in Goldman Sachs in September 2008.

"(Byron) Trott knew the only way Buffett would be willing to make an investment would be if he were offered an extraordinarily generous deal."

It's not just a "generous" deal; it has to be "extraordinarily generous."

Joe Terranova on Tuesday attributed the day's strength in GS to short covering. Guy Adami said people could trade it, but warned, "A close below 145 though this thing goes down to 136."

Tilson: BUD can double

Whitney Tilson said Tuesday his top pick was BUD. "We think this stock's a double in the next couple years," he said, on the strength of cost-savings throughout the new multinational company, not based on any V-shaped recovery hopes.

Tilson said the only undervalued segment of the market now is "big-cap blue chips," but on the short side, there's a "target-rich environment." He said homebuilders are "sort of our favorite theme right now on the short side."

Incredibly, he owns the same giant drugmaker that goes nowhere year after year. "We own some Microsoft, some Kraft, some Pfizer," Tilson said.

He said there's "Not enough of a premium to want to short more" of PALM and that he would likely cover at the $5.70 price.

Karen Finerman said a couple times Tuesday she bought HPQ and recommends it.

Fast Money crew again skeptical
of an Options Action trade

Scott Nations delivered the options trade for Tuesday, saying he would buy the June 108-117 put spread on the SPYders. He's not planning for a collapse, just wants some protective maneuvers.

It was up to Karen Finerman to deliver the Najarian Reaction©, skeptically asking Nations how long he would hold this, because "It's a long time to wait." Nations said he would be unlikely to hold till expiration but wants to be covered through May.

Gary revisits favorite flick

Joe Terranova argued in favor of gold on Tuesday, under the theory that if it wasn't such a good play in these times, it should've done a lot worse.

Karen Finerman asked why it could be considered a safe haven if, on a day like this, it falls like everything else.

"You own it for fundamental reasons," Terranova insisted, which didn't make a whole lot of sense to us.

Gary Kaminsky, citing Billy Ray Valentine, said the euro's falling basically because it's falling.

Guy Adami noted that Jamie Lee Curtis looked pretty good back in 1983.

Melissa Lee looked sharp in her glasses, and with it came a bit of an icy coolness that marked her handling of Tuesday's show.

Kaminsky noted that Apple and a lot of other names in tech got sold, which he said was a bad reaction people make on days like this to stocks that are liquid and have been profitable. "They do the wrong thing, they sell their winners," Kaminsky said.

Buffett on the Fast Line —
at least, he should be

Gary Kaminsky was lamenting the lack of a crystal ball before tangling with Karen Finerman on Tuesday's Fast Money over the effect of a hypothetical Goldman Sachs settlement.

"If I told you I knew for sure, that they were gonna settle with the SEC, and there was gonna be a management change, I could not tell you if the stock would go up or down," Kaminsky said.

"I would say up huge," Finerman said, saying it would return the focus to the value of the premier business.

But Kaminsky pointed to Mel Lee's interview a day ago with Warren Buffett. "As one of the largest holders, he wants management to be there," Kaminsky said.

"And what will he say if there's a new CEO: 'Get me out!'?" Finerman scoffed. "I mean, no ... he's gonna say, 'This is a very deep bench and there's lots of talented managers there'."

"He will flip-flop," agreed Kaminsky, not referring to Pete Najarian's footwear, "I've already told you, I've made that point, that he will flip-flop."

Nevertheless, Kaminsky insisted, "the situation's too fluid" to jump into GS right here.

Can we agree with both? We do think the stock will jump if there's an SEC settlement. But we're not convinced, unlike in the Gulf spill, that the final shoe (i.e., Congress) has quite yet dropped in the Goldman situation.

Edwards: Get AAPL at $250

The return of Melissa Lee's glasses was about the only highlight of Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Lee ushered in the broadcast by describing "an amalgam of worries to hit the markets today."

Patty Edwards had the most interesting trade suggestion, saying AAPL might have a little more dipping to do. "I'm certainly holding now but I'd be adding to positions at 250," Edwards said. (This writer is long AAPL.)

Buy ... Pfizer?

You know it's a weak day in stocks when a couple Fast Money panelists are recommending Pfizer.

"You've got a lot of headline risk right now," said Anthony Scaramucci. "The hedge funds are looking for more defensive names," including PFE.

Pete Najarian agreed and said that means Pfizer, Merck, Teva.

Carter Worth said that for a lot of health care/pharma names, "The charts are so bad in many cases that they're good," as contrarian plays.

Worth said there's no end in sight to the euro's fall. "It's established downtrend, there's no indication the selling pressure run its course," he said.

Edwards said "you wanna be avoiding Europe" and should've been for 6 months at least, and given Tuesday's market woes, you should "look at your portfolio and make sure you're not too far out there on the edge."

Brian Kelly said he'd short the FXB.

Worth said he views the January highs around 1,150 in the S&P as a "reference" point.

Anthony Scaramucci said it doesn't look like Goldman Sachs is moving to settle its SEC case, and thus an "overhang" continues to cloud the stock. "They're on a major charm offensive," he said, but "still great uncertainty for Goldman here."

[Monday, May 3, 2010]

Sorry, Karen

Pete Najarian handled a curious little segment Monday about the "superstition" of sell in May and go away.

Pete scoffed at the slogan and said he doesn't pay any attention to these superstitions himself, but in fact, one might actually consider lightening up on the rails in May.

Karen Finerman asked a question that we thought was good and Pete thought was "awesome" — even though he didn't specifically answer it.

Karen wondered, if you have a longer-term holding that has done well, would you sell it into strength and not concern yourself if you missed the high ... or would you wait until you think the stock has peaked and run out of gas.

Pete said he buys upside calls in this situation, taking most of his stake off the table but giving himself a low-cost, measured chance to continue to profit if the stock continues to run.

Seems like we’ve
heard this one before

Steve Cortes warned Fast Money viewers Monday that we're facing the "tip of the iceberg" in China retrenchment and people should avoid stocks with "too much exposure" to China.

Where to put money? "I think the U.S. dollar does broadly better against the world," Cortes said.

Hoping for Terranova
to get his mo-Joe back

Joe Terranova has seemed somewhat quiet in his more recent Fast Money appearances.

Maybe that's just the wrong impression, and if we turned Joe's comments over to the Elias Sports Bureau for analysis, we'd find he's saying just as many things as he always does.

Hoping to hear a blockbuster trade on Monday, we instead were a bit curious about Joe's final offering, which was to avoid 5 names: BP, APC, HAL, CAM and RIG. (This writer is long BP.)

We always say, we're just the amateurs here.

We find Terranova's suggestion though to be contrary to typical Fast Money advice, and perhaps too heavily influenced by the Goldman Sachs situation.

The gut feeling here is that the worst possible news that could happen to an oil company or an oil driller or oil services company has already happened.

It certainly would've been prudent to sell in the early days of the leak, when the spill-related stocks hadn't been hammered yet. By now, they've been hammered, and the spill is being compared to the Valdez disaster.

This sounds a lot like January 2009, when Steve Jobs' leave of absence was announced afterhours. AAPL took a hit, then bottomed, and has been off to the races since.

We'll give Terranova some benefit of the doubt in that all of the names he mentioned could drop 5% tomorrow. But we'll make him a unilateral bet — that all of those names are higher a month from now.

How to ignore a rumor,
or something like that

Admit it: All those times you've seen the Options Actions trader deliver an options suggestion on Fast Money, you've never once heard the Fast Money gang applaud and say, "Great trade!"

Monday, Mike Khouw suggested protecting a position in Intrepid Potash by selling the June 27 calls for $1.25. (The screen graphic said May, but Khouw said June).

The Najarian Reaction© came not from Pete, who was on the set but silent on this one, but Tim Seymour. Seymour wondered if the premium includes takeover speculation. But he left his question/statement at that.

Which we interpret to mean that Seymour was subtly trying to say "Pssst! If you do this one you could seriously be capping a big gain on a buyout."

Khouw chuckled and said, "9 times out of 10 you're better selling those rumors."

Concluding, Seymour offered a mishmash of China/U.S./corn concerns that we didn't fully follow and said POT remains a great stock, though it really hasn't been.

But if that were the case, um, might not be a buy

Anthony Scaramucci said Monday that if people are patient with Goldman Sachs, and the firm works to settle the SEC case, investors can be rewarded ... "if you can see it through, and they haven't done anything gigantically criminally wrong inside the firm."

Scaramucci pointed out 3 times in a fairly brief segment that Goldman Sachs "mints money."

Jumping the gun
on Gordon Gekko?

We coulda swore that while Anthony Scaramucci spoke on Monday's Fast Money, the bottom of the screen said Goodbye Gordon Gekko was being released today.

We didn't see it at the nearby bookstore ... and according to Amazon, "This title has not yet been released" and is due to come out May 24.

Why not tell Goldman Sachs to send Europe a check and solve a couple problems at once?

David Riedel complained about Spain on Monday's Fast Money.

"I'm sick to death of talking about Greece," Riedel said.

Riedel and Tim Seymour haggled a bit over the exact degree of peril facing Spain, but we didn't know exactly what Seymour was driving at. Apparently he was arguing that Spain's unemployment is always about this high (20%). Whether he was suggesting it doesn't need a bailout, or it will be able to get one, or won't be able to get one, we weren't totally clear. He did say to buy TEF because it's essentially a utility.

Riedel made a strange comment that Portugal just might be the one that's "big enough" to fail. Or ... maybe not big enough?

Brian Kelly said to short Trina Solar, on the assumption of solar subsidy cutbacks in Germany and perhaps Spain.

Why does Congress hate GS
when Warren Buffett runs it?

Anthony Scaramucci said Monday on Fast Money not to expect a Lloyd Blankfein departure.

"I think he's certainly staying for now," Scaramucci said, citing in part the comments from Warren Buffett over the weekend.

Buffett, Scaramucci said, is the "best in the world at PR, and he's not going to disassociate himself from a core management team where he's got a $5 billion position." Then, in perhaps a bit of a dig at Melissa Lee as well as Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla, Scaramucci added, "He's certainly not gonna do it on 'Squawk Box'."

Melissa Lee, who changed her lovely hairstyle from "Squawk Box" to something equally lovely at 5 p.m., said she had chatted up Gary Kaminsky (not on the show) earlier in the day. Kaminsky said there is a "trigger" in Buffett's arrangement that he would have to "waive" in order for Blankfein to be replaced.

"Buffett would have to say OK to the board if they did want to take away Blankfein," Lee said.

Seymour: This will blow over

Karen Finerman speculated on Monday's Fast Money whether Congress might just be looking for a Goldman Sachs scapegoat, and whether Lloyd Blankfein's ouster would represent the "pound of flesh" that would satisfy the government. (She even drew a parallel to Eliot Spitzer and Sandy Weill.)

Tim Seymour said it sounded to him like Karen was saying that these inquiries are more about form over substance, and people who believe that should buy the stock, given that Congress may just be looking for a "head on a stake to put in the ground."

Tony Scaramucci said even though Blankfein may not be going anywhere, "I do think that there's a lot of unrest inside the firm."

Joe Terranova said he doesn't think a settlement with the SEC can really help Goldman Sachs' image at this point.

Tim Seymour, who later sort of disagreed with Joe Terranova that GS credit swaps sort of indicate a buy compared to Morgan Stanley, thinks the public will have a short memory. "I think in the long run people are gonna forget all about this," Seymour said.

Ah, BP, RIG, Goldman Sachs,
whom to sue first?

Jacob Zamansky took Fast Money viewers on a guided tour of his Goldman Sachs fishing expedition Monday.

Incredibly, after a series of a questions that (except for Karen Finerman's) weren't too rough, Melissa Lee thanked Zamansky for being a "good sport."

"They should've disclosed that Paulson selected the portfolio," Zamansky said. "They should've disclosed the Wells Notice. That's a material fact. ... Executives at the company sold $65 million worth of stock, dumped it before the announcement."

Finerman and Lee zinged the Wells Notice argument. Lee said companies get these notices all the time and don't always disclose them. "That should be not included in your argument," Lee said.

Finerman asked point-blank if it's a requirement to disclose them. Zamansky wriggled and said essentially Well, the stock went down after it, didn't it? Finerman said if they had disclosed it right away, wouldn't the stock have dropped anyway so what is the demonstrated loss. Zamansky said the stock was trading artificially during that time.

Tim Seymour said these are sophisticated investors in the Abacus deal. Zamansky said even so, shareholders are entitled to know about material things. Pete Najarian wondered where Zamansky's getting these executive stock sales and what's the proof they were unloading on unreported news. Zamansky admitted he's not really sure how much of those sales were unusual, but they're going to figure it out.

Seymour also had the audacity to ask if Zamansky was just trying to rustle up a claim after suddenly hearing about the SEC case.

"We've been looking at this for a while," Zamansky said.


Karen does the unthinkable

Karen Finerman actually suggested Monday it might be time to sell Apple.

"A lot of good news is already factored in," Karen shrugged. (This writer is long AAPL.)

Pete Najarian, after Karen's comments had sunk in for a couple of minutes, gushed about the iPad and how the iPod is still doing great and so is the iPhone, you know, "the whole Apple ecosystem."

Karen revealed that in her bottom-fishing recently in RIG, she had picked up the May 80 calls, which are now "ancient history." Nevertheless, in terms of the stock, "It's nice to see a day in the plus column."

Pete buying CLF

Hard to believe a Fast Money episode could begin with a controversial argument for buying Cliffs Natural Resources, but that's what happened Monday when Pete Najarian suggested he's doing just that, via call spread.

Pete said CLF has been "down in the last week further than BP," which is pretty bad, to be honest. (This writer is long BP.)

Tim Seymour was skeptical, saying "I think there's a lot of momentum still in the stock," and that a lot of people playing CLF don't have a clue what to do with it.

He also mentioned the 30 P.E., but Pete Najarian argues that it's the forward P.E. that matters.

Lloyd apparently could go

Seems like every time Goldman Sachs tumbles, people start buying it up the next day.

"A lot of folks speculating on the upside calls in Goldman today," said Jon Najarian on the Fast Money Halftime Report.

"Zeke" Karabell suggested it's a good time to be a contrarian. "When you have a wave of downgrades, analyst downgrades," Karabell said, "that's often a pretty good sign of it's time to start thinking about getting back in."

Dr. J made the case that Warren Buffett isn't going to let Lloyd Blankfein leave because of his vote of confidence over the weekend and lucrative September 2008 investment in GS, which was nothing about greed or envy but merely a gift to America to fortify a necessary business, that purportedly demands the top Goldman Sachs executives have to stay on until Buffett is fully paid. Steve Grasso, however, said a "material change" in the company could negate that.

A great pick — 2 weeks ago

Steve Grasso said at Halftime there could actually be more upside to the Nalco and Clean Harbors trade.

Analyst Hamzah Mazari spoke on the Fast Line and said the Gulf disaster could add 31 cents to the CLH earnings he has already forecast to be above Street estimates. "You can look at, you know, sort of an 82, 83 dollar stock pretty easily," Mazari said.

Tim Seymour said the oil tanker trade would've been a great place to be, but it's only a short-term trade.

Jon Najarian said there is options activity in Terex and gushed about the fact it was over $90 a couple years ago. "Rumors of an LBO, no answer from the company, I like it, and I'm long that stock," he said.

Zach Karabell sounded like he was yukking it up over a good joke just before Melissa Lee asked him about the Greece (et al.) bailout. "The Eurozone is a great place to live, but I'm not sure I'd want to sell there," Karabell said.

CNBCfix.com milestone

Thanks to the (cheap) data collector that reports our Web-traffic basics, we've just learned that this site, last week, for the first time, was accessed by at least one iPad.

Probably not enough to get Gene Munster to raise his price target. But there you go.

Futher updates as developments warrant.

More on Exxon trading
in the Valdez aftermath

Karen Finerman and Tim Seymour have discussed on Fast Money whether BP and RIG have been oversold in the Gulf disaster. We found some more details about the trading of Exxon after the Valdez disaster of March 24, 1989. (This writer is long BP.)

On April 2, 9 days into the crisis, the New York Times reported, "Analysts place far more weight on Mr. (CEO Lawrence G.) Rawl's strategic savvy than on the company's bad showing during the spill. ... Thus, despite the black eye it has gotten because of the spill, Exxon's stock barely fluttered during the last week. It closed at $44.125 the day before the accident; it has closed within a point of that number ever since."

The article also notes, "Exxon seemed to respond to the oil spill off the Alaskan coast in slow motion ... Exxon has looked more like a bumbler than an industrial titan ..."

History doesn't repeat itself, and of course there are different variables in the Gulf situation. Both cases involve a hit to corporate reputation. The first was Exxon's alone; the Gulf crisis is at least partly shared. But Exxon's situation had little to no ramifications on expanded offshore drilling.

Back in the day, oil was a lot cheaper than it is now. This March 28, 1989, article notes: "The accident has had a big impact on the oil markets. The price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange for delivery in May rose 38 cents yesterday, to $20.53."

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Gordon Gekko:
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CNBC/cable TV
star bios

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♦ Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
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CNBC guest bios

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