[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, May 2012]
[Thursday, May 31, 2012]

McCullough: ‘Sell every rip’

Steve Grasso pretty much said it all regarding Thursday's market on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, explaining, "We closed right in the middle of today's range."

Keith McCullough asserted, "I say you sell every rip until this market proves itself," and predicted that "bad" things would happen with a fall below 1,280.

Josh Brown tried to claim the crown of top bear. "I've been the most bearish on this show. I was on the first week of May, I told you we went, uh, pretty much 100% risk off in tactical accounts," Brown told Melissa Lee. "Really nothing's gotten better."

Mel was really fascinated by the fact FB turned around 2 hours before the James Gorman interview

Jon Najarian said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the afternoon reversal in FB shares "really was miraculous," and "maybe Zuckerberg himself" was going in and buying.

Noting James Gorman's interview with Maria Bartiromo pleading for people to give FB a chance, Najarian opined, "I don't think people will be as patient as Mr. Gorman would like."

Keith McCullough said one of his favorite quotes in the book is Jeff Gundlach's reference to an investor being a "trader who's underwater," a quote that doesn't have to be found in a book actually because it appeared on this page the day Gundlach said it on The Strategy Session.

"In this case, Morgan Stanley's obviously underwater," McCullough said, although that's at odds with Gary Kaminsky's assessment of the Gorman interview (see home page) in which Kaminsky inferred that, by Gorman's vague non-answers, Morgan probably still has a short FB position.

Steve Grasso asked Najarian if he'd go long FB right here. "I did and I would," Najarian said.

Guest Scott Kessler is not so enthusiastic about FB, citing "our kind of increasing concern about the company's ability to monetize," although how that concern could suddenly be increasing in 1 or maybe 2 weeks is hard to fathom. He said there are "fundamental weaknesses to the Facebook story," and said consensus EPS is 55 cents for the year while they only reported 9 cents in Q1.

Keith McCullough, who called the stock a buy on hoodie/IPO pricing night, refreshingly admitted he bought at 40 and got "absolutely smoked" when it fell below the issue price, but then bought again at 31 and sold out at 32½.

Mel Lee seemed to sense some kind of bizarre conspiracy, pointing out at least a couple times on the program that FB began rallying 2 hours before Maria Bartiromo's interview with James Gorman, or 2 hours before the market close.

Melissa e-mails guests at night before Fast Money appearances

It was glitches galore on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money as Melissa Lee welcomed semi-regular guest Michael Burns, first with no sound from Burns.

After a glare or 2 to the production crew, Lee got that straightened out, only to have Burns rather strangely have to point out something that you'd have to think should've already been long known to Wall Street, that "the vast majority of the profits for 'Hunger Games' are still ahead of us."

Joe Terranova asked what seems a flat-out redundant question as to when LGF realizes profit on "Hunger Games," and Burns responded, with no pun intended, "the lion's share over the next few years," saying that everyone knows that the costs, "you have to expense it in the quarter in which it's incurred."

Most interesting about this mostly superfluous chat was the disparity in panelist opinions on the stock. Keith McCullough insisted "this stock looks remarkably good," while Josh Brown countered that while this company can be owned up to an event, it's always trouble at earnings time; "I don't think it's a great business, the content business in general ... I would never wanna hold something like this through earnings." Steve Grasso suggested RGC and CNK to play the theater angle.

Actually, maybe even more interesting than that was Melissa revealing that she e-mails Fast Money guests the night before a show.

"Um, John, last night when we were exchanging e-mails," Lee started to tell Burns.

"Did you rename me? I think you renamed me. You said John," Burns cut in.

"Jon Hamm on the brain, I'm totally guilty," said Lee, who is often called "Michelle."

Mike Murphy offers simple trade he sees working, unaware Joe Terranova was anticipating a market leader

Joe Terranova and Mike Murphy didn't exactly get off on the right foot on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, as Terranova initially doubted that many sectors could lead the market and suggested it comes down to either tech or banks, and then took issue with Murphy's suggestion that Toll and Lennar are working and scoffed at the notion of homebuilders leading the market.

"I think in this market right now you have to look for what's working," Murphy insisted.

Terranova said he bought PNC and Rushmore-ite USB, and mentioned TCBI, and also said "IBM, EMC, back in those again today."

Steve Grasso protested that no one gave him credit when coal names popped in April, and that people need to know the gains and losses are outsized on those kinds of stocks; "these are high-beta names."

Josh Brown said he thinks WMT and TGT are working, and "Target is right on the verge of a huge breakout." He recommends a stop at $55. Steve Grasso gave Brown a hard time over a purported Target shirt Brown was wearing, but if it were Tim Seymour, it would've been Chess King.

Mike Murphy's Trade of the day was FDX. He started by saying, "A lot of times FedEx will get beaten up as the price of oil climbs ... oil has come way down," but we looked up the chart, and while we're just the clueless amateurs, it basically looks like FDX goes up a lot of the same time gasoline is going up.

Murphy said the shares are cheap, the company just made a Brazilian acquisition, and online sales are booming not just at AMZN but check out M. "We think FedEx takes out a hundred here and keeps going," Murphy said.

"This is one of the better ideas I've heard in a while," said Keith McCullough, who took a ribbing for saying that.

No matter how low it goes, someone is always buying JPM

Mike Khouw reported on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that people have been making upside bets on JPM in the options market.

That led him into a mini-debate with Keith McCullough, who was skeptical that those bets will pan out. "You have to see catalysts," McCullough said, explaining there aren't any.

Khouw said "a lot of bad news has been baked in," and that financial stocks "are trading at historically cheap levels," but McCullough predicted "cheap" is likely to get "cheaper."

McCullough also offered some VIX ranges, starting with 20.14, then saying if it bursts through 24.73, "that puts 30, 35 VIX in play."

Guest Stephen Bodurtha crowed a bit about recommending the 10-year Treasury a while back at 3.0%. "Sometimes the best offense is a good defense," Bodurtha said, before more relevantly contending, "Don't be surprised if intermediate to longer-term bonds have more upside from here" than equities. "The developing world is weakening a lot," he said.

All the gold ... in GLD ... is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in John Paulson’s name

Manpower boss Jeffrey Joerres basically agreed with the questions he got on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that companies basically aren't hiring like they previously did, that we figure to need higher growth to sustain previous levels of employment, and that we might as well get "used to this new normal."

Steve Grasso cautioned that Joerres is highly exposed to France, where things are more difficult than in Fort Wayne (he didn't say Fort Wayne; it's just a shout-out).

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks great on television and is positively golden against that backdrop of Central Park, advised being short euro against the Canadian dollar, and she picks Canada instead of the U.S. because in the event the euro rallies, Canada "may rally a bit more." Her level is 1.2850 with a target of 1.25.

Mike Khouw recommended an August 23/28 collar in INTC for those holding the stock, buying 23 puts for 45 cents and selling the 28 call for 45 cents. Joe Terranova said the "right level" for INTC is about $24.50 to $25.

Keith McCullough pointed out that people become aware of the holdings of someone like John Paulson and may try to sell in anticipation of him unloading. "Paulson's had more issues than Time magazine since he raised a lot of money," McCullough said. "This guy owns 17% of the GLD."

Josh Brown's Final Trade was AGN. Mike Khouw's Final Trade was a semi-clumsy UNH-upside-call-calendars. Steve Grasso said FB with a $26.83 bottom, while Keith McCullough said FDX, Mike Murphy said URI (cautioning you should take the profit quickly), and Joe Terranova said DIS.

Jon Najarian strongly hints that business profs aren’t as smart as the folks on Fast Money

Jon Najarian pointed out on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Facebook "has gone radio silent" in defending itself, and indirectly chastised the company because instead the public is hearing from experts such as a prof at the Stern school, who unbeknownst to us was about to speak on the program just moments later.

"If academics could pick stock direction, they wouldn't be academics, they'd be trading," Najarian asserted.

Stephanie Link advised staying away from FB — even though if you had bought while the show was airing, you would've made a killing in 1 afternoon — in once again stressing, "You have to let the dust settle ... there's just too many shares out there."

Judge Wapner then brought on guest Aswath Damodaran, the previously suggested NYU Stern prof, who proceeded to deliver little more than a lecture in Semantics 101.

"There's a lot of talk of pricing here and very little talk about value," Damodaran said. "Most investors don't want to try to value the company. They'd rather price the company than value it."

Eventually Damodaran said what concerns him the most is what the company might have to pay to deliver revenue. "I wouldn't be surprised to see Facebook kind of keep dropping for a while," he added, and Henry Blodget said later that $20 might be a reasonable price, but clearly it wasn't dropping to $20 in Thursday's afternoon trading.

Dr. J: No top in TJX

Continuing an emerging trend of this week, the Fast Money gang on Thursday's Halftime jacked up the item count in terms of stocks discussed, with a healthy dose of retail and banks.

Guy Adami advised respecting the possible double-top in WMT and not re-entering until it gets above $68.

Stephanie Link said she likes COST but is taking some off the table in TJX. Jon Najarian by contrast said he still likes TJX, and "I'm not calling for a top in TJX." Pete Najarian did the L'eggo my egg'o thing with discount retailers ROST, TJX and DLTR, gushing about how great they've been but cautiously suggesting they could pull back at some point.

Guest Chuck Grom initially spoke on a phone connection so borderline we weren't sure if Judge would stop the dialogue or not (he did); Judge said Grom's picks are TGT, SKS and M, then Grom later re-established, and given the chance to tout 1 name, made it TGT — "the stock's cheap; there's a lot of earnings upside."

Guy Adami pointed to the struggles of TIF as a high-end cautionary note.

But Buffett’s in it

We've been starting to think WFC is just about ready to join the Rushmore of Fast Money stock picks, but on Thursday's Halftime Report, along came David Ritter to issue a not-so-optimistic opinion.

WFC has been "focused on the cross-sale," Ritter said, and its new focus on expense control seems "counter to their DNA."

Pete Najarian tried to corner Ritter into acknowledging that WFC would benefit from what appears to be a bottoming housing market. Ritter instead said he expects "more downside coming from housing."

Meanwhile, Ritter actually is optimistic about Morgan Stanley. "At the end of the day ... I do think the global investment banking model is a growth business in the long-term, it's just in a deep down cycle."

Stephanie Link questioned those disparate views on WFC and MS, saying MS doesn't have revenue growth either.

Henry Blodget, who perhaps is getting some audition time as a potential CNBC regular, took another opportunity to slam the analyst process regarding the FB IPO and how institutions got word about the quarter; "that is just screwed up." Blodget said it's not totally deserved, because it's the system, but "I think Morgan Stanley is taking a huge hit because of this."

Basically defeating the purpose of the IPO-market discussion they were supposed to be having, Blodget said the reason Kayak got delayed was because the CFO left. In general, "the valuations are fine, and the market should support IPOs," Blodget said.

He said Facebook around $27 (that was while the show aired) represents a "very big pullback for a very big company," and then, returning to that old analyst role, suggested a reasonable valuation might be $20, which it could reach.

Adami: Possible ‘huge’ snapback rally Friday

For whatever reason Judge Wapner didn't spend much time on it, but Guy Adami raised eyebrows at the top of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report in suggesting that if the S&P didn't break 1,300 Thursday, "you're setting up for a huge in my opinion snapback rally tomorrow."

Steve Liesman spoke of the disappointing numbers this week and said what every bull wants/needs to hear, "This definitely brings the Federal Reserve back into play."

Guy Adami though pointed out, "Companies are not hiring ... there's no urgency," and how can the Fed really force them to hire. Liesman responded that the Fed takes its employment mandate seriously but didn't adequately rebut Adami.

Adami called CAT "extraordinarily interesting" around 86, what he sees as the best entry point since January.

Show briefly gets in the way of Pete’s WYNN buy

This week and late last week should've been called Bottom-Picking Week on Fast Money, as even people like Pete Najarian who swear they never do it started doing it.

That continued into Thursday's Halftime Report, as Pete hailed some analyst who seems as though he/she might've spent too much time at the 19th hole before hanging a $79 target on WLT, the stock that is always recommended on Fast Money no matter whether it's $135 or $25 and which now boasts one of the most ghastly charts you've seen.

Najarian also predicted the GDX would push to $45, and called WYNN a "good opportunity" that he would probably take advantage of after the show in light of the 30% upside a Goldman Sachs analyst just gave it.

Guy Adami said there's no reason he could think of for JBLU not being over $5.

Stephanie Link curiously touted DIS as a play on lower gasoline. Just out of curiosity, we compared DIS with the RBOB chart from December through April, and discovered both actually went the same direction.

Link also mentioned USB, STI and WY, and also said she prefers ABT to JNJ.

Willie Williams suggested selling the euro at 1.2350.

Humma-humma Seema Mody said that buying NFLX nowadays is catching a falling knife.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was DNKN. Jon Najarian said long AGU based on activity in July 75 calls. Pete Najarian said INTC, and Guy Adami said LGF.

[Wednesday, May 30, 2012]


Mel virtually gives thumbs-up to physical appearance of male guest

One thing that would be a dream for basically any male is to be called handsome by Melissa Lee during a CNBC broadcast.

GLUU chief Niccolo De Masi had such a moment just within his grasp on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, though whether it was realized or not depends on how you look at it.

It was actually Guy Adami who suggested of De Masi, "He is a dead ringer for Andy Garcia."

"I think he's a very fine-looking man, Andy Garcia," Lee said, though the words "Andy Garcia" were added sort of abruptly at the end.

So one could legitimately infer that 1) Lee agreed with the comparison and was complimenting the look, or 2) Lee was complimenting De Masi directly, and just tacked on "Andy Garcia" so as not to seem so obvious.

Or, perhaps Lee wasn't agreeing with Adami at all, and was merely pointing out that Garcia is "fine-looking," to implicitly stress that nobody else on her radar screen at that moment actually was.

De Masi said he's responsive to shareholders and if GLUU were to get an offer, indicated it better top the $11.50 IPO, "aspire to an IPO premium and above."

To be called "fine-looking" by Karen Finerman would be a monstrous coup, but that wasn't in the cards Wednesday, as Karen Finerman merely said to De Masi, "It's Karen, let me ask you something," about the conversion of free players to pay players. De Masi indicated the industry expectation is to "convert 1 or 2% of the overall audience every day to pay for something."

Guy Adami used that tired logic of comparing a nominally cheap stock to a derivative, saying, "21% short interest, so that stock at 4½ bucks becomes an option without any expiration."

Things That Make Melissa Go ‘Wow’ (cont’d)

Guy Adami, usually pretty solid on his technicals, delivered on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money a stark assessment of the prospects for the S&P 500 that seemed couched behind too many if/thens.

Drawing a trend line from March 2009 that wasn't as clean-cut as he indicated, basically Adami claims that if the S&P breaches 1,292, it's going to 1,205, and then who knows what.

Tim Seymour said, "A lot of money managers are doing nothing right now, and that's scary."

Mike Khouw made a sobering point about the VIX, questioning the notion that 25 is the top of a range, saying, "the last time it broke through that level, which was last summer, it doubled."

"Wow," said Melissa Lee.

Really this market's a disaster; it's waiting for 1) Europe to officially kick the can down the road, and 2) the Fed to announce QEwhatever, and both of those prospects figure to be dicey for weeks if not months, and assuming both happen, it just means we'll be doing this all over again in a year or less.

Seymour: Risk to upside
in jobs report

Speaking of the economic backdrop for the financial markets, Fast Money viewers got another dose of Joe LaVorgna on Wednesday's 5 p.m. episode.

Normally we'd shrug this off with a sentence or 2, but given that the last jobs report actually had a devastating effect on the stock market, it's worth considering, even though the big damage was done in May.

LaVorgna said he expects "consensus numbers," and then predicted such a result would be no good for QEwhatever-hopers. "If you get anything near consensus, even actually if it's very weak on Friday, I think it's gotta be super-weak, the Fed I think isn't going to do anything," LaVorgna said.

Meanwhile, LaVorgna made a stock call of sorts, seeing a "very constructive backdrop longer-term for equities" because the multiple is low enough that stocks won't crater unless there's some kind of a meltdown.

Tim Seymour, oblivious to QEwhatever, claimed the "risk is actually to the upside" in the jobs report, and said he ran into LaVorgna at a Van Halen concert.

Fast Money determined to analyze the heck out of useless Research in Motion

As if viewers haven't already had enough of 2-3 days of RIMM, Fast Money welcomed Brian White onto Wednesday's 5 p.m. episode not to be compared to Andy Garcia but to mull the bizarre possibility suggested by Lee that Research in Motion and Nokia could team up.

"I don't think they're going to join but I do think, um, they're both on the table," White said.

Pete Najarian rattled off all the glorious ways you could've made money from INTC in the last 9 months or so.

Simon Baker said ABT works in this low-rate environment; Tim Seymour said the same for EMB, and Guy Adami even hinted as much with WMT.

Karen Finerman incredibly promoted Navios, for its 7% yield, a stock she recommended a year ago around June or July that at that time traded north of $5 and remains one of the biggest busts in Fast Money history. (The screen used the NNA variation, but we think she meant NM.)

Tim Seymour said the strengthening dollar is a longer-term trade, not shorter-term. Guy Adami said the "Johnny come latelys" are getting flushed out of LGF, but it's not an earnings story, it's "bigger than that ... this selloff is an opportunity to get long it again."

Mike Khouw suggested taking advantage of options premiums to sell the $9 August 185 call in CF.

Which Facebook moment of the last couple months should be considered the worst?

Just for the sake of future-referencing, we figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to note significant headlines in the recent history of Facebook up to and around its IPO ...

— Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion

— Mark Zuckerberg shows up looking like a slacker in unimpressive road show meetings with Wall Street elites

— Knucklehead co-founder is revealed to have renounced citizenship to keep more of windfall in Singapore

— Morgan Stanley's Scott Devitt lowers revenue outlook days before IPO based on company's mobile caution

— General Motors pulls Facebook account day before IPO

— Bob Greifeld's operation bungles handling of IPO orders

Now, the question is, which one of those is most responsible for pushing the share price to $28?

Honestly, any and all of those descriptions could be the correct answer.

Karen Finerman’s point makes far more sense than Brad Hintz’s answer

Brad Hintz on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money sounded a bullish tone for Evercore, Greenhill and Lazard, because they're "slowly, uh, chipping away" at the big banks' market share.

Then in a massive qualifier, Hintz pronounced the skies clear, provided, "To the extent that the Europeans are able to kick that can down the road again, not solve the problem but just keep it going, everything's set up for an M&A recovery."

Right. And if they just kick the can down the road again, we'll just be doing this selloff thing all over again in 2013.

"Brad it's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, questioning the total amount of banker capacity and why that wouldn't cause pricing pressure and why dealmakers can't just dictate terms to banks.

Hintz cited "great Bernstein statistics" about the amount of companies doing deals in a given amount of time, and then bizarrely linked it to surgery, saying people want to pick the best surgeon and they're "not gonna negotiate on price."

Anthony Scaramucci took another page from his own book, praising hedge funds that are good, saying, "What we're looking for at SkyBridge is adaptation."

Tim Seymour's Trade of the Day was actually his ongoing trade of many months that hasn't worked out, GFI. "13Fs do matter," Seymour said, citing fat cats' gold interests. "I think the worst of the sale is over."

That, of course, meant GFI was Seymour's Final Trade. Guy Adami said JACK, Karen Finerman said GOOG, and Pete Najarian said GDX.

Dennis Gartman:
‘Go to the sidelines’

Having watched CNBC's Fast Money for so long, we can say that once panelists start recommending JNJ, it's time to start anticipating a bottom.

Dennis Gartman's latest stock recommendation, as of the Wednesday Fast Money Halftime Report, is "Go to the sidelines."

"I liked stocks a week ago; I liked them a lot," Gartman said, but technical indicators such as the transports have convinced him to keep a distance.

If pressed to own stocks, Gartman said, "coal looks awfully cheap, and I think shipping stocks look awfully cheap," but otherwise look to names such as JNJ or GE.

Gartman added, "Wheat looks awfully cheap relative to corn."

The Commodities King positively Leggo'd my Egg'o on gold, saying it would be great if it got above $1,580 but seems to be entrenched between $1,550 and $1,560.

Adami: Where’s the outrage about speculators as oil sinks?

Once again, Guy Adami totally gets it.

The general public and Congress and regulators generally don't care how anything happens on Wall Street, provided the value of something doesn't go down.

Unless we're talking oil/gasoline, where it's the same concept, but in reverse.

So regarding the price of oil, Adami said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, "I'm looking for the outrage, uh, towards the speculators who frankly have pushed it down. So, you know, everybody blames the speculators on the way up, I mean, these are the same guys and gals that are knocking it down with seemingly no outrage in the political community."

Stephen Weiss said "the airlines are in a sweet spot here" in part thanks to fuel as well as consolidation and domestic presence, but Weiss cautioned against the rails, which deliver global commodities.

Joe Terranova said he likes Darden, Brinker, Apple and Smucker. Guy Adami, for the first time in a long time, touted Jack in the Box. Brian Kelly mentioned ADM; "people haven't stopped eating in the last 24 hours."

We think he meant
Charles Grom, Sept. 15, 2011

Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report was really theme-less, which actually wasn't a bad thing, because panelists provided a smorgasbord of stock opinions.

Judge Wapner a couple times asked for plays in a low-yield environment. Joe Terranova said XLU, Brian Kelly said T, and Stephen Weiss not surprisingly also mentioned the telcos as well as mortgage REITs.

Guy Adami said WMT, curiously citing a Thursday downgrade "about a year ago" that we think was actually in September and claiming the stock has rallied since. Brian Kelly praised Adami for his recall, "Great job Rain Man."

Jeff Kilburg, who pointed out his view on strength in the 10-year wasn't popular on Fast Money recently when the yield was around 2.37, took a victory lap Wednesday but said, "I am booking profits" right here.

It never seemed like Kilburg's 1.67 call was that controversial, but he's right, when the yield spiked a couple months ago, it seemed hard to believe we'd be back here so soon. So, it was an impressive call.

Brian Kelly said, "I agree with Killir on selling 'em here."

Kelly: FB ‘could go to 15’

Joe Terranova said on Wednesday's Halftime Report not to grab the falling knife of FB.

Guy Adami insisted, "they have no metrics," and said GOOG on a selloff is a much better opportunity, and even said GRPN "might be interesting once again."

But regarding LNKD, which as far as we can tell still has the same pie in the sky business model as FB, Terranova was enthusiastic, saying, "The tape is telling you that you should own it."

Brian Kelly said that if you think Mark Zuckerberg is the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, buy FB and just put it in a drawer for 20 years, but for now, "it could go to 15."

Actually, the market has told us in the last 10 days that most people think Facebook leadeship is just a bunch of jokers who got lucky.

Marc Benioff later described FB as a "major customer of ours," which tells you where the biases were heading here, and that the stock seems like a "great opportunity right now ... at the end of the day ... and it's a great CEO."

Adami: EBAY ‘double-top’

We keep trying to not write anything about Research in Motion, but Judge Wapner brought in Mike Genovese on Wednesday's Halftime, and Genovese made a statement that is possibly true but totally backwards at the same time.

"The lower the stock goes, the more likely someone's gonna come in, buy these 75, 78 million subscribers," Genovese said.

That's exactly the problem; by the time the stock is low enough, all the base and momentum the company had will be wiped out, making it useless to a buyer.

Genovese thinks the stock is worth about $12, with about $4 for cash, $4 for intellectual property and $4 for services revenue stream. Stephen Weiss said he's not buying and not shorting.

Guy Adami said EBAY just hit a "classic double-top," and there's "absolutely no reason to hold it right now."

Adami said CRM has typically been a buying opportunity on its selloff and figures to be one again. Stephen Weiss cautioned to stay away assuming Oracle goes after it in the cloud.

Gene Munster said Tim Cook is signaling a TV at the All Things D conference; "I think you can read into this that it's coming," he said. Munster also claimed that if tablets devour desktop computers, that helps the leading tablet maker. "At the end of the day ... actually cannibalization is a good thing for, for Apple," Munster said. Joe Terranova recommended CRUS and NXPI as ecosystem plays.

Murphy buys PBY

Mike Murphy said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that the PBY real estate is worth $10 a share itself, and that he bought Wednesday at $8.56. "There's no reason that I don't see Pep Boys trading back above 10," Murphy said.

Joe Terranova on the other hand said he "wouldn't touch it."

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was MSFT. Stephen Weiss said short JCP, Guy Adami said WMT and Joe Terranova said CF.

[Tuesday, May 29, 2012]

Scott Thompson’s available too

Jon Najarian, who a week ago was suggesting on Fast Money that the only problem with FB was merely a few too many shares on the market, said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "a lot of us are somewhat stupefied by the fact that Facebook will not come out and defend themselves at all. They're just taking it."

Joe Terranova said Research in Motion and Facebook have provided viewers "very valuable trading lessons ... in the sense of what not to do." (Hmmm, lessee ... don't buy stocks that go down?)

An interesting little debate within the CNBCfix community surfaced Tuesday, as one individual argued that Mark Zuckerberg is far more unpopular/dubious than people thought/realized, while another countered that he's not a bad guy at all and predicted a backlash to the backlash against the company.

To which the first individual rebutted that the wedding picture of bride and groom barely touching suggests we're dealing with some curious cats here, that the "jokers who got lucky" argument is alive and well for now, and that the wrong Mark is running the place and that this company better get ... let's say ... Mark Hurd ... in the CEO seat before it's too late.

Scott Nations’ gargantuan call:
August 2010, RIMM a takeout at $5

Can a stock trade too richly for the company's own good?

Karen Finerman lamented the latest Research in Motion debacle on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money by explaining, "I actually sadly am long RIMM calls" in the wake of the "horrific announcement."

Peter Misek concurred "it's just a (sic) absolute disaster."

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," Finerman said to Misek, asking who might be a buyer. Misek said it would take somebody who would have the "stomach to stick in this game, and wanna be an ecosystem player," perhaps Amazon or Facebook longer-term.

Which made us wonder if the stock's early 2008 peak was the worst thing that could've happened to it.

Time is kryptonite for gadget makers. We looked up on Wikipedia and discovered the iPhone was officially announced in January 2007, yet RIMM shares actually scored a double within about the next 12 months, a time when the "big enough pie for everyone" refrain was actually being swallowed on Fast Money, but in fact that was actually about the last chance RIMM had to at least stay even in the smartphone pack, provided it could've found a buyer when its influence was peaking. Nobody would possibly take a flier over $20 billion. By the time someone scoops it up around $5, it'll be way too late.

Brian Kelly said "They owned the market!" about 2 or 3 times.

Guest Vic Alboini, who needs to move on to another stock, said he thinks Research in Motion should "sell or break up the company."

Mike Khouw later asked, "Who wants to buy the handset business?"

Way far ahead of the curve here was Scott Nations, who all the way back in August 2010 said of RIMM, "It's a takeover candidate at $5 because it's the next Palm."

A trade that’s so crowded, even Steve Cortes is in it

Today's talk about the euro is a reminder of the early days of Fast Money when Eric Bolling, to his credit, practically screamed into the camera to buy refiners, "IF YOU LIKE MONEY!!!"

(Eventually they did fall, but they were golden for a long time.)

Anyway, listen to CNBC all day and you'll inevitably be convinced you cannot possibly lose money shorting the euro, as Tim Seymour said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "your next level of support is around 121.50."

Mike Harris agreed with that, while rattling off all kinds of Brag Trades of his firm, but when asked by Seymour what the real catalyst is, could do barely more than identify a momentum trade, with the short-term, medium- and long-term in a downward trend.

Harris also predicted that the IBEX goes through 6,000, and "maybe there'll be some support there at the 5,800 level."

sounds like TBS

Guest Ed Morse tackled the direction of crude's price on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying, "We're seeing this relentless increase in production in North America," and predicting, "We're gonna have supersaturation and pressure on prices in U.S. oil."

Morse predicted pressure on the Brent/WTI spread later in the year.

Stephen Weiss predicted crude has further to go into the 80s.

Karen Finerman said the same thing she always says about CHK, that the board is "ridiculous," and "every one of 'em should be out."

Mike Khouw said interest in the stock might be driven by "probably credit guys," who would be looking for value.

Brian Kelly, while referring to himself in 3rd person, didn't call a bottom in nat gas but did say he likes it; "the switch is on, they're starting to change over."

Quanta Services chief Jim O'Neil visited the Nasdaq and addressed the KeyStone Pipeline controversy, saying, "We think the pipeline will get approved in the first quarter of next year."

O'Neil also said, "We're at record backlog right now," and regarding nat gas, "the low price is driving infrastructure right now."

But regarding that paragraph above, we really didn't have any idea, based on his appearance in the program, what his company actually does, and the explanation at Yahoo finance wasn't worth trying to absorb. Brian Kelly said he was so convinced, he's probably going to buy the stock.

Ed Morse said the risk of gold is that European central banks start selling. Stephen Weiss said to stay away from gold.

Anthony Scaramucci draws Tim Seymour willingly into an evolution-creationism discussion

It may be hard to believe and even harder to believe he said it with a straight face, but Anthony Scaramucci declared on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I actually think that hedge funds are less scary than we in the media sometimes make them out to be."

He had no trouble convincing his colleagues that it's an idea worth selling to retail investors, as Karen Finerman stated, "Everyone should invest in hedge funds."

Scaramucci was book-promoting drawing a contrast between stodgy old mutual funds and hip, mobile hedge funds, explaining he would refer to mutuals as Guy Lombardo, but people have to ask, "Who's Guy Lombardo?"

Mutual funds, Scaramucci said, are a "1-directional investment."

Scaramucci told Tim Seymour that "the fees are ridiculously high" in hedge funds, but that, according to a study the hedge fund industry no doubt admires greatly, they've been "outperforming per unit of measured risk."

Seymour credited Scaramucci for doing a "fantastic job" of bringing hedge funds to the retail investor. Scaramucci said, "It's sort of like the evolutionists and the creationists Tim, and you and I are on the side of evolution."

"All day long Anthony," Seymour said.

Karen’s bottom-calling

Karen Finerman's Trade of the Day (or whatever the new feature is called) on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was sure to get an overnight pop after she mentioned it.

That would be DGIT. "They actually deliver ads to TV stations, to radio, online as well," Finerman said.

Everyone on Fast Money seems to be calling bottoms this week and last, and Finerman said of DGIT, "Today I believe is the bottom ... I think it actually will get sold."

Mike Khouw suggested that JPM would be hard-pressed to recover its 2012 highs before year-end, thus the appeal of a 1x2 call spread of buying the September 35 (the screen said 34) for $2.10 and selling 2 of the September 40 calls for a total $1.20, bringing a "net debit of 90 cents."

"I kinda like that trade," Karen Finerman said.

Brian Kelly was asked to pick either RIMM shares or Spain debt. "No brainer, Spanish government debt," Kelly said.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was EMB, Brian Kelly said XHB, Finerman said (not a surprise) DGIT and Joe Terranova said WFM.

Steve Cortes actually deems
‘Godfather Part III’ quotable

In a humdrum Tuesday Fast Money Halftime Report that should've been chock-full of pizzazz coming off a 3-day weekend, Steve Grasso probably best summarized the waiting-for-something-to-happen sentiment in explaining that it's "still a euro-centric marketplace."

Steve Cortes said he's adding to his euro short, even citing Mike's complaint in "The Godfather: Part III" about how they keep dragging him back in (wonder how that Immobiliare investment turned out) and stressing concerns about Spain.

Cortes later in the show reaffirmed being short while acknowledging it's a "crowded trade."

Guest Paul Richards said the euro drop is "all about Spain," and that hopefully Greece won't go; there's "no such thing as a non-messy exit."

Cortes: ‘Double-bottom’ in XLE

Every so often with slumping sectors, the bottom-callers emerge, and such was the case Tuesday as Goldman Sachs lifted coal, and then Steve Cortes of all people pinpointed a "double-bottom" in the XLE that he said he bought.

Steve Grasso expressed support for WLT, echoed by Jon Najarian, who really touted CNX. "I like that one a lot," Najarian said, cautioning, "I would trade 'em, I wouldn't hold 'em right now at these levels."

Najarian though said BlackRock's investment in CHK appears to be the tide-turner with that one, as Kate Kelly delivered some "backstory" on Carl Icahn's once-happy dinner with Aubrey & Co. that has turned hostile and how Icahn "seems to have sort of drawn Southeastern into his battle."

Steve Grasso, though, said "I'd be selling pops" in CHK.

Regarding gold and the GDX, though, Grasso claimed, "We've probably seen a near-term bottom" if the S&P stabilizes, and Jon Najarian cheerily noted how you might get hot on the GLD below 150 but (of course) only for a trade, although that opinion took it on the chin from Steve Cortes, who said, "I do not see any inflation out there," and from Mike Khouw, who said, "I also don't believe in gold that much."

Khouw: Activity in FB 22 put

Despite bottoms being called elsewhere, no one was actually doing that with FB on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Twice in the program, Judge Wapner tried to make a big splash about how they were going to talk about people actually buying and selling FB options FOR THE FIRST TIME … only to quickly realize there was nothing to talk about.

Judge said they were "lucky" to have Jon Najarian around to discuss this, but all Najarian could say is that a lot of people thought the options would give the "fanboys" and "fangirls" who are long-term holders in FB some support, but in fact people have been using (the horror) those options to make downward bets too.

Mike Khouw said initial activity in 32 puts had transitioned to 30s, and that the lowest strike he saw trading actively was the September 22 put, though the September 25 might be most significant.

Steve Grasso said the problem with FB stock is, "No one says it looks pretty attractive down here."

Later, CBOE chief Bill Brodsky got to take a victory lap about how the options debut performed a lot better than Bob Greifeld's IPO. Beyond that, CBOE is "happy to be where we are," Brodsky said.

Cortes still short XHB

Judge Wapner was so devoid of interesting material on Tuesday's Halftime that he had to introduce a lukewarm chip sector analyst in the opening minutes.

Patrick Wang revealed he is "actually not all that bullish … overall demand out there is just not all that great."

Wang said his top pick is TXN, and that Intel is a "nice, defensive stock here."

Jon Najarian spoke about Seagate and reported a "lot of weakness in the storage space."

Guest Michael Binetti said he likes Macy's, but as for JCP, "they've still got a long way to go," although that could apply to either Ron Johnson's turnaround or Stephen Weiss' single-digit forecast.

Steve Cortes said he's short COH, short JWN, but likes WMT and bought AZO.

Superfox (OMG … what. an. outfit. that. is. Tuesday.) Seema Mody reported that VRTX was the subject of Twittering because of data that "appears to be weaker" and that MMR was getting short squeeze buzz.

Steve Cortes admitted he has "clearly been wrong" on his bearish XHB outlook, but "I am still short," and he predicted housing will be boring for a long time even if it has bottomed.

Steve Cortes' Final Trade was long XLE. Steve Grasso said long AEO, Mike Khouw said long WMT and Jon Najarian said long DAL.

Great Nicknames/Descriptions
in Pop Culture History (cont’d)

Everyone in the business world from time to time has to deal with the insufferable producer — that person whom you can't stand whose work somehow takes the production to a higher level.

Late this week such an individual came to our attention with the headline that Curt Schilling's video game company just laid off its entire staff.

Schilling was once the subject of a phenomenal quote from former Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Ed Wade, who apparently said this:

"He's a horse every fifth day and a horse's ass the other four."

There are several variations of this quote on the Web; unfortunately we couldn't determine where it was originally reported and by who, and even elite baseball writers only refer to a generic, loose translation. Evidently the quote stems from the 2000 baseball season, when (hard as it is to believe) not everything was up on the Internet.

Best advice is clearly not to be a horse's ass. But as long as you're a horse, society will grant you some leeway.

2 recent guarantees
issued on Fast Money

As refreshing and inspirational as the commentary on Fast Money might be, it generally consists of trading forecasts in which there is always a possibility that what you've just heard might prove to be wrong.

Or, sometimes, perhaps not.

Stephen Weiss on Friday's Halftime Report said of CHK, "I can guarantee you 1 thing, with the debt load this company has, there's no chance that it will be sold."

Guy Adami said on the 5 p.m. May 10 program about bank CIO losses, "I can almost categorically guarantee it's not just JPMorgan."

They may well be right, but just remember, you get what you pay for.

[Friday, May 25, 2012]

Stephen Weiss channels
Joe Namath

We're not pros around here, but Mike Murphy raised eyebrows even around these parts when he suggested as reasons for being long CHK that the stock has been "up 6 days in a row," that a couple institutions have jumped in, and that the board has only "1 option here and that's to sell the company."

"We bought the stock this morning," Murphy said, expecting a "push into the low 20s at least."

Stephen Weiss' eyebrows apparently were also rising, as Weiss — feelin' it during a red-hot month of bearishness namely on JCP (which somehow has actually caught a bid the last few days) but also broad market — told Murphy, "The last thing I wanna do, no offense Mike, is buy a stock after it's up 6 days in a row, and up because 2 institutional investors come in."

It wasn't Super Bowl III, but Weiss then declared, "I can guarantee you 1 thing, with the debt load this company has, there's no chance that it will be sold."

Murphy responded that it's already up about 3% since he bought it, and it's "tough to put a guarantee out there."

"How about a side bet?" Weiss demanded.

"They've been selling off pieces of this company all along," Murphy insisted.

"You have to look at the balance sheet. They've got 11 billion in debt," Weiss persisted.

Dr. J extends spree
of bad pop-culture jokes

Greg Zuckerman on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report became the 2nd Wall Street Journal writer on Fast Money this week to amplify details of one of his articles, although once again more details are obtained by reading the actual article than listening to the conversation about the article on Fast Money, even if Zuckerman and his co-writer, like standard Associated Press fare, wasted space and glazed-over eyes with an "underscore" passage, this one being, "The investments underscore the kinds of questions banks will be wrestling with..."

Zuckerman, incredibly, as a sign of how robotic even elite-level writing can get, actually told the Friday Fast Money gang that this JPM revelation "underscores their comfort level" with certain risky investments.

Anyway, Zuckerman explained that LightSquared was an investment within the JPMorgan CIO, and that it's newsworthy that such a bank was taking this kind of previously unknown position.

Judge Wapner said, "I sat back this morning, and I tried to think about things," and while we hoped he meant the Steelers' offensive line, instead he speculated that JPM might've been attempting these kinds of hedges/bets as a way of taking risk before the Volcker rule shuts them out.

"I doubt that, I don't think it's a case of gaming Volcker," Zuckerman said.

Jon Najarian bombed with the quip, "I guess the only things that could've been worse uh were if they invested in 'Battleship' and 'John Carter'," so bad he felt compelled to explain those were "stone losers right out of the gate."

Steve Grasso asked a good question, whether we're going to be hearing about these types of positions from other banks. Zuckerman said he doubted it, that actually it's a "last gasp" from supposedly the strongest bank through the 2008 crisis.

Jon Najarian predicted JPM will trade in a 31-34 range "probably for the next 60 days."

Stephen Weiss said he doesn't like JPM for its European "contagion risk." Steve Grasso referred to the tiresome WFC as well as BBT and the Fast Money Rushmore member, USB. Pete Najarian said he likes the asset managers but WFC seems best of commercial banks.

‘Starting to see evidence Eurozone investors are exiting themselves’

Jens Nordvig said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he's "starting to see evidence in our capital flow indicators, that Eurozone investors are exiting themselves and buying other currencies."

Nordvig, tackling the Standard Judge Wapner Question, said if that continues, the euro could get to 1.20 before the elections. He said the 1.25 level is important, but "I think we've broken already." He said 1.26 is a good level to add to shorts.

Stephen Weiss said he's playing this with UUP long, though Judge Wapner got him to clarify that's not just a play on the euro.

Marc Faber goes from ‘distinct possibility’ to ‘100% certainty’

Stephen Weiss said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "It's all about Greece, it's all about Spain," and here we thought it was all about whether Einhorn mentioned an HLF position at the Ira Sohn Conference.

Jon Najarian pointed to the concerns that Europe will be asked for bailout money, or make that Germans, "let's call a spade a spade."

Marc Faber was the star guest on this subject, predicting that "Germany will show more flexibility" but that Euro bonds will be issued eventually, which is reflected in the euro, and that European stocks are now "on the oversold side."

Faber continued, "I think the next danger level would be an outright default by Greece." But he said the market would be "relieved" if Greece exited, thought it "wouldn't be good for bank shares and insurance company shares, but in general I think the markets in Europe are now very oversold."

Judge Wapner asked Faber if he's not looking for a U.S. recession. Faber in fact said he's looking for a global recession in 4th quarter 2012 or early 2013.

Judge asked if that's something like a 1 in 3 possibility. Faber said it's a "distinct possibility," and then said, "I would rate it at 100% certainty," and that the trade is cash.

Faber said gold is "still in a correction period."

Stephen Weiss claimed "China is close (sic) to a hard landing than a soft landing."

Jon Najarian later referred to Faber as "Marc Farber."

Dr. J: PAY appealing at 36

Pete Najarian on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report trumpeted the "mobile search tool that they've come up with" at YHOO and somehow said it's "still a must-own stock."


Pete Najarian revealed on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I own some Facebook shares already. I'm underwater on those same shares."

But he's hoping the options next week will give him a chance to do some "hedging."

Jon Najarian said he expects "very active options next week" in FB.

Up until a few weeks ago, you couldn't find anyone on Fast Money mentioning PAY without calling it a great buy on the new paradigm of electronic transactions.

Well, Friday, Dr. J was saying $37.50 "does represent a pretty good spot," and that put sellers can break even all the way down to 36, and "I like the stock a lot down at 36."

Guest David Goerz started to tell the Halftime gang that EBAY acquired PayPal a while back. Then he said he likes EBAY because in ecommerce, "you gotta have a brand."

Goerz also asserted, "Western Digital's a really cheap stock," and he mentioned Thailand flooding, the first time we've heard that in weeks.

Stephen Weiss said WDC has "always been a commodity stock and always been cheap." Goerz insisted he sees "at least 12 months of this stock doing very well."

Goerz also said, "At the high end, we like EMC."

Jon Najarian said he thinks AAPL should be held leading up to the worldwide developers conference.

Pete buys LULU

Judge Wapner reported on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that KeyBanc downgraded LULU, in part because of (news flash) high valuation relative to peers, as well as fears of high-end slowness.

This is basically a total rerun of 2011 (see archive), when Liz Dunn's downgrade around May 25 knocked LULU from the 90s to the 80s, and in a couple weeks it was massively ahead.

Pete was unfazed by KeyBanc, saying "I did get in" to LULU today.

Steve Grasso sided with Pete, asserting, "Lululemon is totally untapped" and that you can't get this kind of growth in other names; "I still think it's a buy."

Jon Najarian, indicating he shops at TJX, said you won't see LULU products there, but you will see RL, unfortunately. Najarian revealed, "I am looking to start scaling into Tiffany."

Stephen Weiss said, "I'm start (sic) to short Coach" based on the foreign consumer.

Grasso: Sub-1,310, look out

Stephen Weiss said on Friday's Patty Edwards/Steve Cortes-missing Fast Money Halftime Report, "To me bonds are definitely in a bubble," though he assured he's not going to try to call a bottom.

Steve Grasso briefly addressed the S&P range, saying, "If we break down to the 1,310 level, that's gonna be your key indicator there." He suggested high-dividend plays.

Permanently hot Jane Wells reported on Hain Celestial and the whole premium grocery market, saying an expert told her the "average coffee drinker spends $165 a year on java."

Pete Najarian said he's got visual evidence of strength in Whole Foods; "they seem to be packed out by me." Steve Grasso said HAIN is "still a buy."

Knee-buckler Seema Mody said there's been a lot of Twitter chatter (which, in case you haven't noticed, tends to be from a lot of dudes bragging about how purportedly great their trades are) about Trip Advisor, which has been defying that Europe-crisis thesis.

Steve Grasso pointed out that EXPE popped recently on cutting expenses and Einhorn's interest and now's a good time to wait. Pete Najarian took some flak for sort of lumping in DECK with names like NKE and LULU.

Stephen Weiss said the others were merely discussing Steve Grasso's closet, while Grasso fired back that he wouldn't respond because it's "Be Nice To Bad Traders day."

Stephen Weiss' Final Trade was VZ long. Steve Grasso grudgingly said MO long. Jon Najarian said ZNGA calls, while Pete Najarian hailed BBBY, "it's goin' higher."

In a remarkably bizarre correction, Herb (Greenberg) was "reunited" with Peaches (that would be Mandy, with Bananarama reference above) on Street Signs, only to refer to being on vacation for "2 months," then correcting himself later in the program to say it was "2 weeks."

[Thursday, May 24, 2012]

Tim Seymour evidently doesn’t know what Reg FD stands for

Kayla Tausche reported on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that, bottom line on the handling of the FB IPO, "this will be a long list of damages."

And so Tim Seymour, who went on to say the regulators will open a "Pandora's box of vaguery," instead only opened a Pandora's box of abbreviation trouble for himself.

Seymour said, "Reg FD is full disclosure, folks." Then he went on to talk forever about where the probes might go, only to conclude full-circle, correctly we believe, "I think people are gonna have forgotten about this in a month."

Jon Najarian then initially said, basically inaccurately, "I'm agreeing with what Tim and BK are saying," because he then surgically ripped apart Seymour's commentary, starting with, "Reg FD, that Fair Disclosure, which is what it is of course, not Full Disclosure, Fair Disclosure falls on Facebook."

Melissa Lee protested that Facebook can't update anything during its quiet period. But Najarian insisted a couple times that any material change in business "falls squarely on Facebook" to update, and not the syndicate.

Najarian tried making a MySpace joke that went utterly nowhere (Seymour, attempting to save face, asked Najarian if he's got a MySpace page and someone else scoffed "come on"), but the dialogue quickly made no sense whatsoever as Karen Finerman started to ask Dr. J about a hypothetical, if Facebook became aware of a material change during the road show, and then cut herself off to ask if Najarian was instead referring to Morgan Stanley's own estimates, which prompted Najarian to restate the Morgan Stanley news that is now days old.

When in the last 4 years have you heard Karen not gush about how much of a discount a bank is trading to book?

Karen Finerman said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that she remains long BAC, because despite being down 30% in 2 months of its "discount to book."

"I like it right here," Finerman said.

Joe Terranova was far more specific, suggesting BAC would trade between $6.25 and $7.75 for a while, but "by the end of the year, it's north of $10," and here again is an opportunity to note that forecasters on CNBC tend to always say things will be much better in 6-12 months or so.

Melissa Lee said it's probably too volatile for a lot of people concerned about Europe. Brian Kelly said there are "too many skeletons in the closet for me to buy it."

The Fast Money gang never talks about ‘The Artist’

If we had a dollar for every conversation in the CNBCfix.com community about how exactly the movie business makes money, we'd have enough cash to buy at least 1 share of BRK-A ISRG Research in Motion.

Quite frankly, Fast Money could put together a tremendous program just by turning over a full half hour to Richard Gelfond, Michael Burns and Rich Greenfield to explain exactly who makes the money and how. (And, while they're at it, might as well invite Isla Fisher.)

It's one of the most efficient and inefficient business models at the same time, where sunk costs continue to produce revenue years after production and where popcorn worth about 35 cents sells for $5, but while theaters are sometimes filled with a whole 1 or 2 people at decent movies because of an inflexible, auction-resistant, assigned-seat-averse ticket-pricing plan.

Anyway, IMAX boss Richard Gelfond, among the best of the Fast Money CEO guests, took a rare seat with the crew at the Nasdaq on Thursday's 5 p.m. show and declared "it looks like a very good summer" for (sigh, yes, superhero-related) blockbuster films.

Gelfond is so plugged in (not) to the current tiresome teen fare, he said "'Avatar''s numbers are kind of amazing," when of course as Mel Lee noted, he meant "Avengers."

Incidentally, both "Avatar" and "Avengers" are decent but remarkably overrated films.

Gelfond said movies shown at IMAX theaters get "12½%" of revenues from the studio, and then depending on the business model (that's where this really gets murky), 3-20% from exhibitors.

"If you look at the whole network, we get about 20% of the box office," Gelfond said.

Tim Seymour made a mini-speech about valuation when a simple question would do. Gelfond protested, "I don't think, you know, paying 20 times this year's consensus is expensive at all."

It would've been useful if Lee or the Fast gang had drilled down on some of the basics with Gelfond. The impression we get is that, given a certain amount of U.S. GDP, theaters will be filled with a baseline amount of customers, and any extra gravy would be chalked up to the popularity of a given film(s). The guess here is that the GDP level is a far more important factor than the amount of popular movies, that people will go see just about anything when they've got the cash.

No one asked him to produce all of these double- and triple-bottom charts

We're starting to give the chartists a longer look on Fast Money, because this feels like the same type of range-bound market that existed from August through September of 2011 when, if you didn't (gulp) panic too much at the ends of the range, you could actually do well.

Chris Verrone told Thursday's 5 p.m. viewers that the charts this week pose a question as to whether it's a bull resumption, or a temporary bounce. "Looks more like an oversold bounce to me," Verrone said, pointing to the cresting Russell 2000 and calling this week's support "early in the stabilization process."

Tim Seymour noted that the panelists were talking about "Slapshot" during the commercial, and then told Verrone, "I've got double- and triple-bottoms on major charts around the globe" that suggest "at least a very strong bounce" in the next couple weeks.

Verrone, unfazed, said it's reasonable to think the S&P will test flat-on-year at 1,250 or 1,260; whether it happens or not, it's a level Steve Grasso has been totally ahead of the pack on.

"That would be a long ways down from here," noted Melissa Lee.

Brian Kelly said he thinks "a lot of the scariness ... is priced into this market."

Jon Najarian said the VIX is indicative of options buyers who are "not sure about the direction at all." Mike Khouw said puts have gotten "slightly more expensive than they usually are lately," which has provided support for the VIX.

This time during WMT discussion, Dr. J doesn’t explain how nation-building works

Karen Finerman, sort of out of the blue (though she wore orange), said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that it "confounds me" how WMT and AMZN trade at polar-opposite valuations.

Jon Najarian pointed out that SIG sold off in sympathy with TIF, and a continuing bounce might be in the cards.

Tim Seymour, out of decent material, mentioned Jared a couple times in his mall jeweler roundup.

Brian Kelly trumpeted HNZ, saying, "I bought it on the gap down this morning," though Melissa Lee stuck him with a good question about why is he comparing it to Treasurys instead of other stocks.

The most important thing Heinz ever did was agree to naming rights of that stadium at the intersection of the Allegheny and the Mononghela, circa 2001, which allowed the yinz to give rare contract extensions to Chad Scott and Dewayne Washington (journeymen CBs who didn't merit a new deal) and (much more importantly) Aaron Smith (a cornerstone of 2 Super Bowl teams).

Mike Khouw pointed out that TJX has seen a "pretty significant increase in put open interest over the course of the last couple of weeks."

What do you think about when you think about Boeing?

Melissa Lee likes to insist that Fast Money won't be a political show under her watch (she should've seen what Judge did to Dr. J the other day), but Mel in fact seemed to go down that route herself in an assessment of U.S. defense spending on Thursday's 5 p.m. episode.

Phil LeBeau, in a seemingly warmed-over hit from his Boeing documentary last fall, reported that the Scan Eagle drone is a small but growing part of the Boeing portfolio.

Mike Khouw suggested BA bulls play it with August 75 calls. Melissa Lee, though, said, "When I think of Boeing, I think of, uh, fiscal cliff, and when I think of fiscal cliff, I think not good for defense, uh, sec- sector."

Khouw said that while he recommends this flier on BA, he stay away from those "defense primes" companies, "probably would avoid those, pretty much at all costs."

Karen Finerman said Carl Icahn could file a 13D or 13G regarding CHK, and we think she said he prefers a 13G, but that's too much inside baseball for the minds here that can't compute a 1-for-3 batting average.

Joe Terranova stressed again that instead of CHK, you should play CHKM, though he didn't sound that enthusiastic about it. Tim Seymour, apparently referring strictly to natural gas, called it an "overdone story" that no longer trades on fundamentals.

Terranova said PAY is a buy around $41, and while noting how troubling the NTAP result is, said you have to consider loading up on EMC.

Terranova disagreed with the conversation that jet fuel can be a catalyst for airlines. That gave Tim Seymour a chance to find some South American stock interesting, this time LFL. (That's LFL, not LOL.)

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was IDIX. Mike Khouw said to sell LMT over 85, Tim Seymour said long MBT, Brian Kelly said long INTC, Karen Finerman said long CF and Joe Terranova said long TTC, which we don't think we've heard mentioned on Fast Money since Eric Bolling unleashed it in 2007 as part of a 2nd helping of the Fast Money Ag Trade (the first series of 4 names included POT of course, because "people gotta eat," though they've only been eating disastrous losses in the stock since September).

Guy Adami stands tall

Not only did he predict on Monday the S&P would get to 1,325 (it reached 1,328 Tuesday, then pulled back), Guy Adami on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report became — as this page predicted Tuesday (see below) — the lone panelist to echo this page's assessment that the only reason anyone aside from a handful of insiders cares about the NDAQ/MS handling of FB is because the shares have gone down.

Judge Wapner, though, felt compelled Thursday to tackle the NDAQ "reputational risk."

"If the stock was trading, you know, 40, 41, I'm hard-pressed to believe we'd be even having the conversation," Adami said.

Adami speculated that NDAQ shares in fact might be at a capitulation moment.

Regarding Facebook, Adami reiterated that he thinks the GM announcement before the IPO "spoke volumes" about the company's real prospects.

Stephanie Link advised letting the "dust settle" before buying FB as Mark Cuban did. Steve Grasso pointed out that AAPL is being sold when FB is being bought, and vice versa, and so we're seeing the "machines take over."

Ron Insana claimed, "I'm more concerned about market structure issues," and then referring to Steve Grasso, said, "the gentleman who bears your last name, uh, would've done this a lot better I think."

Judge Wapner pretended to ask Grasso for an unbiased commentary about the stock prospects for the exchanges. Grasso mentioned a couple times that volumes are a "concern," but mostly focused on saying, "I believe our model is substantially better." Interpreting that, we sense a "don't buy."

Every time you hear ‘generational’ on CNBC, you have to be suspicious

Ron Insana, one of our favorite infrequent Fast Money guests, went full-circle on the banks on Thursday's Halftime Report.

"What worries me is the way they're trading ... this gives me pause," Insana said, explaining he likes them long term, but "short-term I think it's, you know, you're catching a knife here."

Later, Insana claimed that financials as a "generational play" since 2009 "have been a good bet."

Eventually, his Final Trade was buying 25% chunks in the XLF over the next 4 months.

Of course, any "generation" could've bought Citigroup in March 2009, as well as March 2008, March 2007, March 2006, March 2010, March 2011, and March 2012.

And, those who bought in March 2012 have lost a generational 30% in 2 months, or even 20% since Meredith Whitney issued her upgrade in mid-April.

Stephanie Link mentioned one of the Fast Money Rushmores, USB.

Guest Kimball Brooker first gave Judge Wapner a history of Alexander Hamilton's ownership of BK, including specifying the century, before explaining he likes it because of its 80% of revenue from fee-oriented business. Guy Adami and Stephanie Link weren't as enthusiastic.

Brooker, who said he takes a "bottom-up approach," curiously said he owns gold as "not a directional bet, it's really a hedge."

Steve Grasso said he's "looking for higher prices in the gold miners."

Judge hones in on guest’s outranking of DELL over HPQ

Judge Wapner during Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report seemed intrigued by guest Robert Cihra's equal weight on DELL compared with his underweight on HPQ, but Cihra insisted that Dell just seems to be doing more of the right things in being more proactive.

Cihra scoffed at whatever came out of the HPQ conference call, saying the stock bounced on PC rebound, but it's the "same old thing ... HP's been restructuring for about the last decade," and in fact he's concerned that maybe it's even cutting too far.

Stephanie Link prefers EMC over HPQ and DELL.

Super-dressed superfox Seema Mody, whose hit was relegated to the latter 9 minutes of the program, spoke about Twitter defenders of RIMM. Guy Adami admitted it's gone down since he thought it might've neared a bottom but there's still value in the patents and the price is low enough that it's a dangerous short here. Ron Insana insisted, "It's a patent play, and a patent play only."

Adami said NTAP is actually setting up to be a "very interesting" trade. "Let it flush out today," then consider getting in, he said.

Dicker: Energy tends to match the stock-market bottom

We generally take chartist talk at not the same level of credence as other Fast Money commentary, but what J.C. O'Hara spoke about on Thursday's Halftime Report might actually be the show's most significant call.

O'Hara pointed to the IWM and its "very bad bearish implications," although the CNBC chart referred to Russell "1000."

On oil, O'Hara said in the short term to trade anything above 91.07, but he thinks crude eventually sinks to 87.

Dan Dicker trumpeted RDC, pointing out for all those who think sinking gasoline prices spur the economy that the bottom in energy each year tends to mark the stock market bottom, and asserting the market is "trying to form a bottom here in oil," which he thinks occurs in the mid-80s to high 80s.

Dicker advised viewers to "just start nibbling" in RDC, and that he has "had a lot of luck buying it around $30," though it might drop.

Ron Insana: Grexit might be more likely than people seem to think

Willie Williams told Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he would sell the euro/dollar here with a 1.21 target, and that a "break below 1.20 is definitely possible."

Ron Insana said he's not so sure that the probability a Greece exit from the euro is as low as many people seem to be saying.

Guest Robert Frank said TIF results are a sign "we're starting to have a problem" in high-end, at least on U.S. and NYC sales. And he said that, from his research, the stock market performance is a big driver for high-end retail: "Guess what? They are highly correlated," Frank said, though Ron Insana indicated everyone's known that for a long time.

Stephanie Link said she likes COST as it reports new membership growth and strong margins, but not surprisingly, no one these days is explaining the gas-price impact on new Costco accounts as they were doing in March.

Link is standing by URI, "I like it still," and saying it's only fallen because industrials have fallen.

Guy Adami said any spike in P has been a "huge opportunity to sell."

Curiously, even though Adami and Steve Grasso were on Thursday's Halftime, no one talked about S&P range levels.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was long SDS but only for a day or 2. Adami said long WMT with an eye on 66. Stephanie Link said long CVS.

Squawk on the Street, just prior to the Halftime Report, closed off with a nice tribute to Mark Haines, though Simon Hobbs' curious remark, "What he would've thought of a 3-hour Squawk on the Street, I'm not sure," brought no responses.

[Wednesday, May 23, 2012]

Pete so convinced LULU is going higher, he doesn’t own it

(Sigh) Every so often we have to give up on inspecting the online disclosures of Fast Money traders' positions at CNBC.com because they're filled with so many omissions and discrepancies, it simply takes half the night writing about it.

But we did find it interesting that Pete Najarian trumpeted LULU on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I think it goes a lot higher from here," while the official disclosure indicates Pete does not have a position in the name.

Other positions of note: Karen Finerman (doesn't specify of course whether it's firm or personal account) is actually long RIMM, Josh Brown is holding both GLD and GDX, Tim Seymour and Finerman are both long BAC, and Pete Najarian is long FB.

Says he can name ‘endless’ IPOs that were terrible, but no one on Fast Money asks him for even 1

Melissa Lee brought in Wall Street Journal writer Aaron Lucchetti to talk about Facebook's "fiasco of an IPO" on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

At best, Lucchetti sent readers to the Web to find his actual story (with 2 co-writers) to figure out what was really going on, given that he was unable to share many details of the underwriters' moneymaking venture on television.

"They have made about a hundred-million dollars collectively through, uh, trading," Lucchetti said, basically the "green shoe."

We were likely even more confused than Karen Finerman, who said, "It's Karen let me ask you," and questioned Lucchetti how underwriters could've made money trading FB with positions rather than fees if it issued at $38 and has traded well below that all this week. Lucchetti said, "They are on positions, not on fees," and suggested the "stabilizing" occurred in the mid-30s.

Basically, according to the article, all we can figure out is that MS sold too many shares on Friday, as underwriters typically can do, and then was able to buy them back on Monday when the price fell, or a bizarre type of short.

But it was also buying shares at $38 on Friday to prop up the offering, the article says.

Guest Doug Sipkin opined that the Facebook IPO won't be much of a drag on MS. "They may be liable for some, some giveback on, on client trades that didn't execute correctly," but it won't be a material setback, he said.

Pointing out what Congress doesn't realize, Sipkin said, "Underwriters botch IPOs all the time" and said he could name "endless IPOs that have done terrible," although that conversation then ended quickly, with Tim Seymour agreeing that as far as MS goes, this endeavor will be "forgotten pretty quickly."

Sipkin said MS is trading with about the same multiple as in October 2008, but is a much stronger company now.

Karen Finerman wasn't buying the report of Duncan Niederauer swooping in to take Bob Greifeld's FB prize; "I'm skeptical."

Karen ‘skeptical’ of timely Euro bond solution

Karen Finerman said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Europe remains trouble.

It's been "a horrible month," Finerman said, and "I'm skeptical of this Euro bond as a solution that's gonna be able to be crafted timely enough ... more headline risk out of Europe for sure."

But guest John Lekas painted a rosy picture of Deutschland, asserting, "They have plenty of room to print money ... there's no problem in Germany ... fundamentally you know Europe is good."

Lekas, a bond investor, said he likes ING, because it started clearing up its problems in 2008, and he likes the equity as well.

"It's Karen, let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who wondered if Lekas has a yield target on his long-term fund. Lekas said he doesn't have a target, and that he likes a BTU offering.

They’re talking about Iran
in Baghdad?

It's been a long time since Addison Armstrong turned up on Fast Money, but on Wednesday's 5 p.m. episode he offered a pivot point for crude at $88.55, or a 61% retracement of the October-March rally.

There's "situational risk here," Armstrong admitted. "It's almost like the market is long the Baghdad talks about Iran and short the talks in Brussels about the EU."

Armstrong also said the "deteriorating statistics" from China are a factor in oil's price, but in 2012 it's "really all about Iran ... main driver so far this year."

Josh Brown said he's in HD, and "these stocks should still work" even through broader market trouble because of the foreclosure issue. Mike Khouw suggested selling a $1.35 August 17 call in DHI to get some premium, though he said the price had risen to around $1.50 after he submitted the trade to producers.

Just what the world needs: Still another Batman movie

Josh Brown on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money had a good question for the generally-HPQ-positive Fast Money gang. "You can only own so many stocks. Why on earth would you own something like this," Brown said, though over chuckles he had to clumsily refer to himself as a contrarian when it also sounded like he was saying other people don't like the stock either.

All Karen Finerman said was that if it earns what it supposedly should, it's ridiculously cheap, but a lot of people want to wait and miss the early gain than stick around for perhaps a rougher ride down.

HOTT chief Lisa Harper said it's the "exact same pattern" with "Marvel's The Avengers" as with Michael Burns' "The Hunger Games" in terms of merchandise peaking a week before the film.

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, wondering about the effect of falling cotton prices. Harper said the Torrid brand will "capitalize" on that.

Harper also is looking forward to the "dark, edgy version" of Batman in the next "Dark Knight."

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks just about as good on television as Scarlett Johansson, advises shorting the euro vs. yen at 99.75.

Karen Finerman said, "I like Jakks" and mentioned reasons it still has legs. Dan Nathan cautioned that TIF could go lower on Europe/Asia disappointments (is there a stock for which that is not true?). Pete Najarian thinks SBUX is a "great opportunity" at $55.

No one mentioned an S&P range, which is what we're all dealing with now.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was SPY. Mike Khouw said UNH calls, Tim Seymour said to buy the RSX triple bottom, Dan Nathan said short INTC, Karen Finerman said long MHP and Pete Najarian said BLK.

Who p--- in Judge’s Cheerios?

Given the way he was going on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, you had to wonder if Judge Wapner is a fan of the Phoenix Coyotes or something.

Wapner spent much of the session chastisting his panelists' commentary, including this spin on China from Steve Cortes:

"Don't like GE because it's a BRIC story," Cortes said.

"I just told you what Immelt said about China. Great growth, in his words. But that's apparently neither here nor there," Wapner said.

"We certainly are not hearing that consistently from other country- companies," Cortes insisted.

"Oh, well it helps to hear from the largest, but that's neither here nor there," Wapner said.

That all got started by guest Diane Jaffee, who called GE an "unsung hero here" in the dividend sector because of the GE Capital payout, and "really in the sweet spot right here for lower gas prices" because it's the largest manufacturer of gas turbines.

Judge even hectored Jaffee over having JPM as her portfolio's 3rd-largest holding, but Jaffee responded, "It's still up on the year."

Joe Terranova said, "Excellent commentary by Diane."

Dr. J I: Government needs to ‘hold Mary Schapiro’s feet to the fire’

Jon Najarian said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that a Senate investigation of the Facebook IPO is just a "little bit of a distraction more than anything else" and just like probing ballplayers on steroids.

"That's a lot of fluff ... what we need is for them to basically hold Mary Schapiro's feet to the fire, find out exactly when she knew and how they knew about what was going wrong with the Nasdaq on that day," Najarian said.

Najarian tried to position himself as CNBC host, telling Judge Scott Wapner, "you and I invited of course Bob Greifeld to come onto the show and speak to us directly. I suspect because of legal issues he probably will not."

Judge, unimpressed, chided Najarian, "That's a debate for another show and another time. I'm not going to get into a political-"

"All right," Najarian said.

"-debate on this show," Wapner said.

Joe Terranova reiterated that a congressional inquiry of the FB IPO is "a problem for the market." Eamon Javers actually reported that they're hoping to see the "fruits of that research" into what happened.

Dr. J II: ‘United States sort of does a little bribing around the world’

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report was asked about WMT stock performance, but threw in a little perspective on behind-the-scenes American political tactics.

"From the time they were hit with this charge about the, uh, bribery down in Mexico, and again, United States sort of does a little bribing around the world don't we Scott, so exactly what they did to get business done down in Mexico might be the same sort of thing we do to call 'nation building' when we give a whole bunch of money away in Afghanistan or any other place. So in other words it's recognition of what people actually do to get things moving. Um, I'm not saying that it's all right, for people to bribe, but obviously the reaction coming up from 58, back up here to 62 tells you what investors think is right."

Judge Scott Wapner wasn't impressed. "Put aside the soapbox, dude, wear your trading shirt," Wapner said.

PCs. Exciting industry.

Guest Amit Daryanani on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report did a nice job on DELL but basically stated the obvious, that there's "minimal reason to own it at these levels."

Daryanani told Joe Terranova he likes EMC and also AAPL in large-cap tech, but he didn't address another name Terranova mentioned, IBM.

Jon Najarian apparently successfully flipped FB a day ago, telling Judge Wapner he "bought it at 33.80," and then it crossed $34. "I thought it would bottom yesterday," Najarian said.

Jim Iuorio said if he bought FB it would be just "for fun," and "at the end of the day," any valuation it has is just "arbitrary," $100 billion or whatever.

Weiss: Long GS/short MS.
Iuorio: Long JPM/short GS & MS

Stephen Weiss had the most curious bank trade on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, suggesting he's not in general a big fan of pairs trades but that he sees opportunity in going long GS and short MS, partly because of the impact a downgrade would have on the latter.

Jim Iuorio disagreed, saying, "at the end of the day," he would actually consider shorting both GS and MS against JPM, which he thinks has a better chart. "I don't like the banks," Iuorio said.

What we find curious is that no one talks about BAC falling 30% in 2 months.

Steve Cortes is not jumping into MS and says a close under $13 would be bad. "Morgan Stanley might face massive litigation risk," Cortes said.

Joe Terranova recommended PNC and USB and also V and MA.

Terranova also continues to like SBUX, with "51.50 as your point of reference ... gonna get margin expansion on the single servers ... it's a defensive play here."

Jon Najarian for some reason at the top of the show was fascinated by locale, pointing out that "3 of us are tag-teaming Joe today" because they're in Chicago and Joe's in Englewood Cliffs.

Cortes: ‘Beginning of the end of the euro’ (but we’ve all kinda heard that one before)

Steve Cortes said at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "This is the beginning of the end of the euro currency," and "I shorted the euro currency this morning" as the world becomes a "King Dollar story."

Later, Cortes made an interesting reference, that the last time the euro was at these levels was July 2010, when the S&P 500 was below 1,100, and so he sees a "massive divergence right now between foreign exchange markets and equity markets. My guess is and my bet, is that the foreign exchange markets are correct and the S&P needs to go drastically lower."

Jim Iuorio disagreed, with a good argument. "Steve, Steve, our economy was vastly different then than it is now," Iuorio said, and though we're not sure it's "vastly," it might not be the same thing.

Guest Marko Papic said they're looking for a "rhetorical commitment" from all of Europe on eurobonds, and that it's an issue of whether Europe can stay in control and "float Greece down the river at their own pace," or whether the Greece leftists get control of the situation.

Seema Mody refers
to Waylon & Willie

In a way-over-the-top presentation by someone recently recommending gold, Dennis Gartman dialed in to Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to complain that "rationality and reason are simply leaving the markets ... it's a liquidation market" controlled by the margin clerks.

Jon Najarian, in what proved a great call actually, said he was looking at the GLD's Dec. 29 low of $148.28 and noted at that time it experienced a "very nice bounce from that level."

Gartman didn't care about that but said one play to is to "own gold but not in dollar terms," although conceding, "I own a little bit in dollars."

Steve Cortes complained that Gartman is known as the "Commodities King," while Cortes can't even be known as the "Pauper of Equities." Cortes made a good point about Europe activity signaling a more deflationary than inflationary environment.

Joe Terranova, who said at the top of the show that "commodities continue to remain a no-touch," said after Gartman signed off, "love Dennis' work, completely disagree with what he said," and asserted that commodities have been broken since February or March.

Jim Iuorio probably uttered the secret to the whole U.S. stock market when he said he thinks one outcome of the European mess is that "the U.S. central bank starts throwing more money here."

Iuorio recommended SO, CLX and AAPL.

Joe Terranova referred to the VIX as the "insurance index."

Steve Cortes referred to FCX as "Exhibit A" of the state of the global growth story, a good point actually (once again, we'll point out that POT, which trades similarly, has been a disaster since March and that we haven't been hearing the "people gotta eat" trade very often these days), and given that FCX chart, it's probably best to not plunge in as Mike Murphy suggests, but lean toward the Patty Edwards formula (see below) of waiting to miss the first 35-40% bounce back to catch the remaining 75% that's available.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was Owens Illinois August 21 calls. Steve Cortes said lower euro, Jim Iuorio said long AAPL and Joe Terranova said a small position in CF long, with a 154 stop.

10,000-times-yes Seema Mody revealed yet another element of her phenomenalness, she's a good-hearted woman, reading a tweet parody about mamas don't let your babies grow up to be bankers.

[Tuesday, May 22, 2012]

The Victimology of
the Facebook IPO (cont’d)

Normally, Guy Adami will bring up this point on Fast Money.

But sometimes this page has to be ahead of even him.

See, here's what really bugs people about the Facebook IPO:

The price went down.

And so, the outrage over the handling of the IPO has now become a bigger joke than the pre-IPO hype.

We're going to have stupid investigations of analyst estimates, of Nasdaq share allocations, of the road show, probably even of Bob Greifeld's choice of T-shirt on Friday.

A stock fell in price. For 3 whole days. Get. Over. It.

Usually at congressional hearings, Wall Streeters are told that they just don't get it, that they need to understand why the public dislikes someone getting an 8-figure salary for selling junky mortgage assets.

But here's what they really don't get — the public only cares about the backstage nonsense when the value of something falls.

Amid all the 401(k)-selling and discount brokerages and promoting currency and options trading on CNBC, Wall Street never bothers to tell Main Street that stocks are risky and not appropriate for the vast majority of people, many of whom are convinced they're entitled to Facebook IPO shares and entitled to a profit because Morgan Stanley got TARP cash.

Bizarre, actually, that people yearned for FB shares a week ago at 38, and now are supposedly outraged that they can scoop them up for $31.

It wasn't too long ago that people were outraged that LNKD went up too high in its debut.

The Facebook-related investigations, which will lead to utterly nothing other than maybe a strongly worded SEC report, will likely center around some people's conspiracy theories that the stock was unloaded to savvy pros and a healthy number of retail investors for $38 while "everyone on the inside" somehow knew it wouldn't trade that high within 2 days, and then there will be the fable about all of these regular Americans who don't trade stocks but just wanted a few shares of Facebook because they like the service.

If you think the players all know how a stock is going to trade post-IPO, check out GOOG, LNKD, BX and V, and ask Karen Finerman (if you should bump into her on the street) what a great deal that allotment of government GM shares was.

It took until the end of the program, but Tim Seymour finally cut through some of the b.s. on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to point out, "At the end of the day uh I think this is not a significant issue for investors overall."

But that didn't stop Mel Lee from asking, "It's what Facebook represents to the investor out there, right?"

What in the world does it represent?? It's a stock.

The end-game here? At best, a forgotten embarrassment as FB begins to match or outperform the broader market; at worst, a new round of TARP, for the retail IPO investor class, who can repay the government once the markets have made them whole.

Surely there are more important things for them to talk about, like Bain Capital in the 1980s

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money had a curious take on the Facebook developments, predicting that this fiasco will deprive the United States of a "fiscal cliff" solution.

Instead of settling other supposed important things in an election year, Terranova claimed Congress will be "too motivated to tackle what the Nasdaq did wrong, what potentially Morgan Stanley did wrong. It's an argument we don't need to have right now."

There are a couple points we would make about that, but we'll leave one to Keith McCullough, who like Tim Seymour enjoyed one of his best shows, saying, "That's fine, but at the end of the day, what Wall Street does when you're not looking's an issue."

And we'll just add, 1) Certainly Congress has time to both ask questions about a single IPO and the debt ceiling at the same time, and 2) if the Facebook IPO is deemed the most important issue in Washington, D.C., then it really is Morning in America.

Seymour sparred briefly with Terranova, finally stressing, accurately, that the retail investor undoubtedly isn't happy with the FB result, but the retail investor wasn't rushing in to try out this market anyway.

Guest Jan Hatzius, a rare Goldman Sachs get for Fast Money, said he sees fiscal headwinds in 2013, but said, "The case for, for additional monetary stimulus is still pretty good."

In that conversation, Joe Terranova said something about "unlock the gridlick (sic)."

Keith McCullough coined a new term, "unprecarious," saying that's not what you'd call Europe right now.

Fortunately for Jamie Dimon,
Facebook IPO’d

While FB grabbed the lead over JPM on Tuesday in the race to the $20s, Jamie Dimon's outfit barely got a mention on the 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Mike Khouw suggested buying the July 35 call for $1.60, admitting you'd be paying a decent premium, but that there's "potentially a lot of upside" if the stock gets going again.

Steve Grasso said, "I'm still looking for lower prices" in JPM, while Keith McCullough reiterated, "I think this stock's going to 28" as Congress prepares for a "political 'Gong Show'."

Guest Chuck Akre spent a few minutes touting the "phenomenal businesses" of MA and V with arguments, quite honestly, you've heard many times previously on Fast Money.

Mike Murphy though wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about Akre's top fund holding as Akre was, saying, "I think MasterCard has a lot further to fall," and faces an EBAY threat. Murphy would wait for "15, 20% more before I'd be a buyer."

McCullough: VIX could hit 26

Joe Terranova declared at the top of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Greece's aid requests shouldn't surprise anyone; "this is nothing more than posturing."

Keith McCullough said "the Germans and the French are not going to get anything done tomorrow," and if you're long euro in anticipation of something happening there, that's "big trouble."

Tim Seymour said it seems to him like money managers, except for the super-dedicated shorts, are "about as flat or short as they can be" right now.

Steve Grasso said to take note of 1,333 in the S&P as well as 1,292, and that he thinks we're in that range and to wait for a breakout to gauge direction.

Joe Terranova said it's a time to be buying names such as AAPL, SJM, SBUX and KORS.

Keith McCullough, evidently not fearing the tail-wagging-dog counterarguments sure to come from others, advised viewers to use the VIX "as your headlights ... I think the VIX can go to 26," he said, which would be a "bearish signal for U.S. equity exposure."

Jeff Kilburg tells Fast Money about an ETF he’s not really that interested in yet

Guest Brian Gamble took up a falling knife on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, reporting that PCX (gosh, remember when that thing doubled or tripled in a fairly short time?) is in talks with financiers, but the real fear according to Gamble was that the "bankruptcy word might be coming into the equation."

Steve Grasso, in a desperate reach, tried to get Gamble to endorse either WLT or ANR under the theory that not all coal companies are the same. He was only midly successful, as Gamble would only say those names are better than PCX, but the sector is "not going to get better in the near-term."

Tim Seymour and Grasso had fun pronouncing "tranche" as "traunch."

Peter Misek said DELL was basically a disaster; "pretty broad-based enterprise slowdown ... gonna be a rough couple quarters here."

Guest Nick Einhorn helped Mel Lee through a brief history of how other notable IPOs traded in the weeks and year after the debut, including Amazon falling shortly after going public, but way up by year-end 1997. Even though Einhorn stressed that there are few valid comparisons to FB because of its size, Joe Terranova scoffed that what tech names in the '90s did matters about as much to FB right now as the late-'90s Yankees matter to the current squad.

Jeff Kilburg presented viewers with what sounds like a dog, SOCL, an ETF with a bunch of social-media names, but Kilburg admitted it's kind of small and he'd need to see it grow a bit before he really embraced it.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was selling TM. Keith McCullough said to short gold with a target of $1,534. Steve Grasso said long M, and Joe Terranova said long CNX, but don't buy the Russian IPOs.

Judge gives Greifeld the forearm shiver that Pete won’t

Judge Wapner, seizing a topic he's been good at, asked Kayla Tausche on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report if there were "any Greifeld sightings today" at the Nasdaq meeting.

No, and "not much to write home about," Tausche said.

Wapner called it a "shareholders meeting with no questions from shareholders," and pointed out with a bit of deadpan that the chairman called the company stronger with Greifeld.

Judge went even further with ever-diplomatic Pete Najarian, chiding the Pit Boss for soft-pedaling Tom Joyce's characterization of the Nasdaq's handling of FB, that it was really the worst performance ever.

Patty Edwards for some reason insisted BATS, which utterly nobody except the dozens of people who complain (maybe rightly, we don't know) about HFT on CNBC cared about, "was worse." Judge rebutted that there was far more of a "spotlight" on Facebook.

Steve Cortes, like Watson on the 17th at Pebble Beach in 1982, chipped in a great line about Greifeld's "'Star Trek'-looking T-shirt" at the podium with Hoodie Genius. "I hope he burned that," Cortes said. (Our guess: Silicon Valley Goodwill.)

Pete: FB ‘in that sweet spot’

It seems everyone hates FB these days, but Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report was indicating the stock might be a buy.

But we have to stress, "might."

Pete said, between 28-35, the stock is in the range it should've stuck with for the IPO, but is actually "right in that sweet spot" of pricing right now.

Steve Cortes scoffed that not only are the technicals horrible (after 3 days of trading), but there's also a "problem here with demographics" and that the stock he does like is LNKD.

Judge protested that Facebook is not exactly devoid of young users, but Cortes insisted it's "not capturing youth at the rate which it used to."

Brian Kelly said he had to "disagree completely" with Cortes' assessment, that buyers aren't looking for the teen audience.

Patty Edwards twice said "at some point in time" she'll be interested in the stock.

But in the meantime, it sounded like Edwards was taking 1960s "New Math" to new heights, explaining why she's willing to wait to get into the stock after a rally has begun. "I'm willing to be wrong for the first 35, 40%, should that happen. If it's a home run, that still leaves 75% to get," Edwards said.

OK. We can't even compute batting average, and Edwards' use of "percent" could be interpreted as "percentage points." But it seems like it's fair to interpret that Patty's idea of a home run is about 115%.

Pachter on Facebook:
‘The company’s worth 44’

Michael Pachter, who doesn't seem to like a whole lot but does like FB, issued a scathing rebuke of the sellers during Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Right now it's "weak hands" holding the shares; "weak institutions … completely uninformed retail investors who don't know where to step in."

Pachter said there's been an "information vaccuum" for others, but "I've done my homework. The company's worth 44."

Pachter knocked those who are citing handling of the IPO as a signal of trouble and Judge's suggestion that the Morgan Stanley mobile concerns are important, calling that a "very narrow view of how the company does business," but the company will succeed at "location-based targeting" that will make mobile a "strength, not a weakness at all … they will monetize eventually."

Blodget thought it was ‘preposterous’ that an analyst could be sharing estimate revisions with select parties

Sometimes, a transgression can be considered an asset.

That's suddenly the case for Henry Blodget, the chap who runs that Web site where people actually get paid to notice other good stories on the Web comment on what they see on CNBC.

Blodget is suddenly in demand as news reports surface about questionable sharing or non-sharing of the Facebook estimate cut between a Morgan Stanley analyst and people who were buying the IPO.

"I know you've lived through this," Judge Wapner told Blodget, a nice way of putting it.

Blodget said "I was shocked when I saw this … I had never heard of an underwriter analyst changing estimates in the middle of a road show before," he said, explaining he initially thought the story to be "preposterous," and if you've watched CNBC for about, oh, more than 1 week in your life, you'd know that something like that should not sound preposterous at all.

"This is a big problem," Blodget said, explaining with a much different spin than Mike Pachter why he thinks the shares are worth $17-$24. "The advertising business is decelerating rapidly."

Blodget called the IPO "just a bummer for a lot of people."

Judge Wapner thanked Blodget for his "candor."

Judge too easily talks Patty into waffling

Steve Cortes said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he's not going to dabble in JPM, as Goldman Sachs recommends, even though it now boasts a "very healthy dividend."

Cortes said it's the "unknown nature of the losses … incredibly illiquid markets," and his belief that the "trade has not unwound."

Brian Kelly said he's in WFC and KRE.

Patty Edwards, meanwhile, suggested the time to buy JPM is when Jamie Dimon addresses Congress, because "you know that the stock's gonna take a dip on that."

Judge Wapner countered that Dimon might do better than Lloyd Blankfein and then buyers waiting for that would find they've missed their opportunity.

"I could be wrong on it," Edwards allowed.

Steve Cortes returns,
and already back in top form

We'd been waiting weeks for it, and finally got it on Tuesday's Halftime Report.

"I think solar is a joke," said Steve Cortes, calling the sector a "political construct" and even complaining "I had to take First Solar off my screen" because he was regretting not shorting it from $40.

"Absolutely going to single digits," Cortes continued, after Judge, attempting to play contrarian, insisted these are "real companies Cortes, seriously." "Might not be for very long," Cortes added.

Like we always say around here: Solar's a great idea and hopefully it'll work soon; it clearly doesn't now except as a subsidy-government-fueled-green-initiative factory prone to outrages as we've seen in the last year.

BBY ‘absolutely nuts’

Perpetually cute Dana Telsey said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the Ralph Lauren results suggest a mind-set that the "uncertainty lasts a little bit" in Europe. Telsey listed as her top picks LVMH, COH and KORS.

Patty Edwards said she likes PVH and finds RL "a little bit pricey at these levels."

Edwards also revealed, "I do not have any Nordstrom shares at this point in time."

Edwards said "I'm not so sure" about Urban Outfitters. Pete Najarian said he's staying away from GPS.

Michael Pachter said Best Buy is "not even close" to turning the corner, that there's nothing to like in this "terrible story" and that the company is "absolutely nuts" to buy back shares.

Pachter also said "BFD" (that's not a ticker) to the plans to close 50 stores.

Patty Edwards said she understands all those arguments, but, "that being said, this thing is darn cheap," and could, like the 15-piece bucket at KFC, be a takeout candidate (KFC reference was this page's, not Patty's).

Pete Najarian, in a bit of a back-handed dis, noted that despite what Pachter was saying, he has a 23 price target, though it didn't sound like it.

Knees-to-Jell-O-converter Seema Mody called out Pete Najarian by name to comment on the Twitter buzz about TSLA. Pete said there could be a "potential short squeeze."

NBC Universal a bargain?

Pete Najarian reported on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there's "unusual" activity in AAPL options, apparently only because "those volumes have come back … over 700,000."

Brian Kelly said there's "potentially even a mini-iPad coming out." Patty Edwards said, "Apple looks like a phenomenal buy here."

Pete had to take a Fast Fire on FIO but admitted he still likes it and will probably buy more. Brian Marshall said DELL is doing nothing interesting these days and thus isn't appealing despite the valuation. (Um, we're just amateurs, but that's likely the reason the valuation is supposedly so compelling.)

Craig Moffett, speaking about Netflix's emerging delivery model, said "consumers are gonna have to pay more to use more." Brian Kelly said that's one reason he's long VZ and T. Steve Cortes said CMCSA is trading, relative to the S&P 500, at an 8-year high.

Money in Motion personality Camilla Sutton advises selling dollar/yen at 80 with a target 78.20 for short-term only. Brian Kelly had a slight dis, saying, "In the very short term it's probably not a bad trade," but look out in the next year or 2.

Steve Cortes said he covered all his shorts recently except XHB, which he thinks was validated by the Lowe's news.

Patty Edwards' Final Trade was LEG. Brian Kelly said INTC, Steve Cortes said long QQQ and Pete Najarian said LULU.

[Monday, May 21, 2012]

Schadenfreude. (Or: 1 reason Facebook IPO conclusions are being drawn in up-front news pages of U.S. papers)

Over the weekend, it came to the attention of the CNBCfix community that the Facebook IPO was getting an extraordinary amount of news coverage by wire services that generally lean toward more consumer-type fare in their business-related material.

Heavy straightforward coverage of such an IPO on the business wire is not a surprise. What is curious is the mainstream media's immediate judgment that this event was a "flop" because a few fat cats didn't get their allotments verified right away, and because shares went down for 1 whole day.

The Associated Press was already asking late Monday, "Where are Facebook's friends?"

The consensus on this site is that, while Facebook is a popular product, the guy at the top is best decribed as "polarizing."

His college background is dubious, his business background is strewn with lawsuits, and you can see from above how he dresses for important meetings with Wall Street.

He got filthy rich for really not producing a whole lot of revenues or the most convincing business model, and he's already been one-upping Bill Gates on the philanthropy circuit with the check he cut to Cory Booker.

And, there's a famous movie about him that isn't 100% flattering.

Contrast that with Steve Jobs, edgy, demanding, maybe even a little eccentric, appreciating the business world, prone to wearing suits at times in his early days, making a premium product and selling it to you, if anything being on the receiving end of business chicanery early in his career rather than dishing it out, seeing his worth and influence fade before staging one of the greatest 2nd acts in human history.

Will the investing public ever give the same endorsement to the guy who introduced "friending"? There are moments when this operation seems like a success in spite of itself, that it's a bunch of jokers who don't know what they're doing, who are living a little too large.

The reaction of the stock markets, and of newspaper front pages, indicates not all will be unhappy if these shares see single digits.

Recommendations included buy JPM, C

Doug Kass was supposedly chatting with the Fast Money gang on Monday's 5 p.m. episode about how Facebook was adding to market uneasiness.

Instead, it turned into a curious retro-Brag Trade about how Kass purportedly predicted for TheStreet.com in December, and mentioned on Fast Money, that "the Facebook IPO would fizzle" and "break issue price very shortly after the deal came."

We didn't have a record of it in this page's archives for December and January, nor did we find it in Kass' 15 surprises for 2012 article of Dec. 27 (in which Surprise 7 was a SHLD bankruptcy and Suprise 9 was "Financial stocks are a leading market sector"), but then again, that article encompasses 9 Web pages, so maybe we missed it somewhere.

Kass actually tried to liken Facebook to AOL in suggesting both have been called "gateway to the Internet."

Josh Brown purportedly was going to ask Kass a question but as Guy Adami noted, Brown basically agreed with Kass and said people avoid it because they see how the "game" is played, and it leads to "multiple compression."

But if people are watching this game, wouldn't it be a happy one, sort of like seeing the Patriots lose 48-7?

Grasso: 1,257 ‘sooner rather than later’

Stephen Weiss' JCP short has quickly emerged as the Fast Money leader for Call of the Year — but don't count Steve Grasso out.

Grasso, who talked about the potential "flat on year" in early spring, reiterated on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I'm looking for 1,257 sooner rather than later."

We never would've believed it in March, but obviously, it's not so farfetched right now.

But for the time being, Grasso said 1,292 S&P cash is significant, but that the markets would have to hold above 1,333 or 1,340 before he'd start to feel good.

Guy Adami predicted a "follow-through" on Tuesday but reiterated his 1,325 forecast, which isn't a whole lot of follow-through. Brian Kelly said there might be a window of time for bulls before the June 17 Greek elections, in which the S&P could reach 1,370 or 1,380.

Karen Finerman said JPM colliding with Greece hasn't helped, and with JPM, the "suspension of the buyback is the most troubling" news so far.

Josh Brown was dismissing Monday's spike, saying, "at the end of the day ... it's like a joke," basically a rally on what some European ministers said over their weekend summits that are now over.

Update: Gartman says he has been doing this 40 years, no longer 35

But just when viewers of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money might've thought the gang was calling a dead-cat bounce, in fact several folks were calling bottoms in all kinds of places.

For example, there was Dennis Gartman, who said, "I bought gold in dollar terms, uh, and I bought stocks for the first time in quite a long period of time," largely citing the puts/calls parity on the CBOE, and the volume disparity in his risk-off/risk-on ETF tandem with Mark Fisher.

Gartman claimed he expected both stocks and gold to go "dramatically higher over the course of the next several months."

He even told Steve Grasso "I would be buying GDX, even though he hates the thought of hearing about a flooded mine (he didn't say that this time), because the GLD/GDX spread is now "egregiously wide."

Brian Kelly said he bought GLD on Friday because he likes buying the GLD.

Steve Grasso decided that because WLT and ANR have both been "absolutely hammered," it's time to start catching knives like Sondra Locke in "Bronco Billy" (OK, you're right, she wasn't actually catching them, just dodging them, but it sounded good), but he recommends only 10% positions at a time.

Scott Nations decided Yahoo trading a bargaining chip for needless cash is a positive sign, explaining, "I am bullish the name," but playing it through an admittedly interesting July/October $16 calendar call spread, selling the July 16 for 75 cents and buying October's for $1.20.

Guest Herman Leung actually claimed that his $33-as-bottom-of-FB-risk is "still fair" after 2 days of trading. Guy Adami unfortunately twisted his own question for Leung about what GM's Facebook/Super Bowl move means for Facebook (why would Facebook care if GM is advertising at the Super Bowl?). Leung predicted GM will come back to Facebook when it sees the "traction" its rivals get from it.

The 2013 Super Bowl will be played in New Orleans.

Karen sounds like someone who accepted that FB allotment

Barry Bausano said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that hedge funds enjoyed a "terrific 1st quarter," which is always great to hear, and told Melissa Lee that funds are capable of taking advantage of choppy markets.

"Barry it's Karen, let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who wondered about hedge funds' leverage. Bausano said, on a scale of "1 to peak" (presumably 10), it's about a 6.

Finerman said Wal-Mart's Mexico situation is "far from over." Actually we disagree, it's basically ancient history as far as the stock is concerned.

Finerman described FB as a "horrible performance ... they never should've priced it where they did."

Josh Brown said the reason YHOO didn't skyrocket Monday is that "the core business is unaffected."

Toni Sacconaghi addressed a slew of what-ifs and woulda/coulda/shouldas and agreed with Karen Finerman that jobs cuts don't seem like the tonic at HPQ because Hurd was known for that, but it looks like Whitman might want to lose admin in favor of R&D, so the issue is, "What exactly are you cutting" and where & when.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was AMZN, Guy Adami said EMC, Karen Finerman said ORCL June call spreads, and Brian Kelly said CME.

Dr. J suggests it’s time to start getting long FB

Colin Gillis, whose colleagues (no disrespect intended) looked like they might as well be sitting at slot machines at a Vegas casino, announced on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that his upgrade of YHOO isn't really about Alibaba, but "really driven by the changes at the board level," which he said is "increasing the rate of change."

Guy Adami said he still likes the stock but was troubled that it didn't hold the $16.50 in premarket on a tremendous tape. Mike Murphy said, "I think you can buy this stock here," and Jon Najarian said he's on board too, partly because "Ross is the media side of this business."

So, nothing at all about new products that people might want, but there's evidently gobs of "value" to be unlocked here.

Steve Cortes buzzed in late to the program to explain, "I am long technology" and that "this is a time to be long," in his case the QQQs, for 3 reasons: "They are just obscenely oversold ... Treasurys stopped rallying last week," and GOOG is up this month.

He might be right for a few weeks, but this market's still a disaster until proven otherwise.

Knee-buckling superfox Seema Mody reported Twitter talk about Facebook and Yelp, including a tweet from 1 individual about how Yelp represents a "ton of value."

Mike Murphy tried to claim that ZNGA is a buy based on the Facebook collateral damage; Judge Wapner was not on board.

"Let me make sure I get this straight," Wapner said. "The stock most closely tied to Facebook, which is trading lower, you like, but you don't like Facebook, at all here either."

Murphy said yes, "it has nothing to do with Facebook earnings or Facebook's numbers," but that Zynga revolves around Facebook's total users.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was long FB around the 33/34 level; "this is a very tradeable stock," he said at one point, "overallocated."

Najarian also reported a lot of big wagering in CI.

Guest Laura Champine explained why Lowe's was sluggish vs. Home Depot. "It's the consumer that's soft in the quarter, and that disproportionately hurts Lowe's," Champine said, adding that there's a "little bit of a grudge match" between the companies.

Joe Terranova curiously was looking upscale niche retail on the heels of Champine's report; "I think KORS has bottomed here." Guy Adami said just buy HD on the pullback.

Mike Murphy's Final Trade was long URI, Joe Terranova reiterated SBUX long, while Guy Adami (who in February hung a $50 price target on JCP) said long JCP.

Judge mocks Bob Greifeld’s
damage control hailed by
Jon Najarian

Jon Najarian on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report saluted the beleaguered chief of the Nasdaq.

"Here Greifeld, my hat's off to him because he's under big pressure, and he has come clean about this," Najarian said.

Scott Judge Wapner, still none-too-impressed with Greifeld's fist-pump on Friday morning in Menlo Park, told Najarian that Greifeld has actually been ducking the press. "Having a conference call with a bunch of reporters, uh, print reporters, is 1 thing. Coming on CNBC and facing the music, uh, is yet another."

Joe Terranova still bristling over that hoodie thing on Thursday

Joe Terranova on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report started off by recapping Thursday's 5 p.m. Facebook-centric episode that opened in hoodies in which 1) he couldn't get his off fast enough, 2) he called the stock "overhyped," and 3) he predicted it would close Friday at $55.94.

Terranova called that an "incredibly contentious show," even though Keith McCullough was the only panelist really on board with the stock and Kate Kelly really didn't give Terranova much of a hard time. Monday, Terranova reasserted, "I don't think it's something that any investor at home should be doing," and said he's not buying it at $33.

Guy Adami said the message with FB is "move on," and also cited GM's advertising move last week as something notable, even though Judge protested that GM's move said more about GM than Facebook, especially coupled with the Super Bowl.

Mike Murphy said of FB, "I think they got a little greedy here," and Jon Najarian added, "They got too greedy."

Adami though did say he'd be "long Apple here," that 525/530 was a technical level, and now he thinks it moves up to 585/590.

Adami later said "I think the S&P's goin' to 1,325."

Jon Najarian said he was chatting with Jane Wells over the weekend about firms clearing out AAPL for FB and now that's over and apparently he was validated by Monday's trading. "I think you get a significant pop out of Apple," Najarian said.

Rich Repetto said NDAQ has been "appropriately" punished for the Facebook flop but that the reputational hit is still to be determined.

Matt O'Connor was seeing light at the end of the JPMorgan tunnel, calling the trading loss "very manageable" and conceding there "will be some de-risking" amounting to a few percent of earnings, but "we do think it's interesting at these levels."

Joe Terranova was having none of JPM. "You don't catch the falling knife," Terranova said. "The analysts don't know what the exposure really is inside JPMorgan's trading book. ... I bought PNC."

[Friday, May 18, 2012]

May-day for stocks: Wonder if Grasso’s S&P support levels will begin to include the 2011 bottom

While CNBC, probably with some justification, devotes untold attention to 1 company, the rest of the stock market is experiencing an unfolding disaster.

May 1, the S&P 500 peaked at 1,415 and closed at 1,405, up about 8 points.

Look what it's done since.

It's taken 12 trading days to drop 100 points (that just occurred Thursday).

Last July, according to Yahoo finance, the S&P 500 peaked July 7 at 1,356.48.

By Aug. 2, after 18 trading days, it was down 100 points.

5 days after that, it hit 1,101.

The world's most popular stock, AAPL, is in free fall; so is the No. 1 "fortress" bank, and the most celebrated IPO ever looks like a bust.

Even mighty oil is in a tailspin.

Steve Cortes famously likes to call downturns by saying, "The generals have been shot."

This time, they really have been.

Once again, we're in sell-until-governments-reaffirm-kicking-can-down-the-road-and-QEwhatever mode.

According to Yahoo finance, the 2011 low occurred on Oct. 3 — 1,098.92 (intraday) and 1,099.23 (close).

Judge obviously irked by
Greifeld’s fist-pumping

Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report 1) didn't feature Patty Edwards, and 2) was devoted to breaking FB coverage, but 3) did reassemble Mel Lee, Gary Kaminsky and David Faber in a refreshing blast from the not-too-distant lunchtime past.

At that point Facebook was trading around 40 & change. Melissa Lee pointed out previously huge hops on names such as LNKD were criticized. Gary Kaminsky said that for the bankers, "The spin is very simple: 'We did a pretty good job' ... the message here is, we matched buyers and sellers."

Dan Rosensweig, doing a bit of the Will Rogers thing, called the non-pop in FB "probably a great thing for everybody involved."

Roelof Botha said the day's selloff in social media "may be a temporary overreaction."

Roger McNamee didn't seem to care about Friday's price one way or another, calling Friday "just another day in the history of this company," and rightly pointing out it's already been trading "incredibly liquidly" for years thanks to the private markets.

But McNamee had a harsh take on JPMorgan's reputation. "Because they were lucky during the last downdrop, everybody thought Jamie Dimon was a genius. He was just lucky, and .. the normal distributions kicked in and they're getting smacked the way everybody else does," McNamee said.

Pete Najarian was allowed to make one reference to May 1, but that was the extent of broader market talk. (Later Friday, Maria Bartiromo stopped talking about FB to air clips of her NYU Stern graduation speech and deliver her own tribute to Joey Ramone.)

Judge Wapner seemed most preoccupied with the antics of Bob Greifeld as FB began trading. "There's Greifeld pumping his fist ... such a proud moment," Judge said, before adding, "one can only wonder what Mr. Greifeld is now thinking."

Judge later suggested Greifeld had gone from "fist-pumping" to "fist-pounding."

[Thursday, May 17, 2012]


Fast Money crew
calls Facebook’s Friday close

Here are the Thursday predictions of Friday's FB close from Fast Money:

Jimmy Iuorio — $42

Mike Khouw — $43

Steve Grasso — $44

Mike Murphy — $50

Keith McCullough — $47

Joe Terranova — $55.94

Hmmm ... what happens when the most celebrated IPO of all time collides with a disastrous stock market ... we'll call it $44.80.

Why couldn’t they bring on a few more experts to assess the growth prospects of Facebook?

The way he talked on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Nasdaq guest Sam Schwerin sounded like a Facebook spokesman.

It wasn't just that Schwerin is assured of the company's "monetization of international" and the potential of mobility (not a question of if but when).

Check out Schwerin's answer to Joe Terranova's good question as to whether the Facebook management might be "serial spenders" or "serial acquirers."

"First of all, there have been many, uh, precedented situations where we had core management with some degree of control that had led this long-term, uh, driver of, of where the value comes from. So Amazon's a perfect example where you have this difficulty of, of near-term financial performance on a quarterly basis relative to long-term visionary opportunity. So I look forward to that element and Mark's influence on that."

Yeah. Sure. Got it.

Whew — he didn’t go through the entire dozen

James Altucher, like Sam Schwerin and way too many others, opined on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about how awesome Facebook's prospects are despite believing the stock will be "choppy" until the 91-day lockup ends.

Rather half-heartedly, Altucher assessed the next big thing, saying, "I think Twitter's got a lot of opportunities," but he wasn't too high on Pinterest.

Mike Vorhaus said it only took him 10 minutes with a buddy to put together "a list of 12 different areas" where Facebook can grow, including tablet advertising. He mentioned the "hockey stick" but said when it comes to mobile, "we're not even in the 1st inning."

Jim Iuorio said he would "definitely be a seller" of FB options, the out-of-the-money calls. Mike Khouw suggested Facebook is a broad enough float that options won't be quite as volatile as some others but that many people won't want to sell. Instead, Khouw says high premium is available with FIO, where you can sell the June 20 calls for $20, or "10% in 1 month."

Mel Lee said "at the end of the day," control of Facebook is with the top execs and that shareholders are in the "back seat."

McCullough: JPM headed to 28, 29

Mike Murphy, who for reasons we can't fathom other than "valuation" has been calling a bottom in the market for the last couple days (we were with him until Thursday, when we switched to Stephen Weiss), actually claimed on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I think it is" the BP moment for JPM.

Murphy is so convinced of that, he's even predicting the effect of Jamie Dimon's performance in front of Congress, asserting, "He's gonna do a good job with it."

Steve Grasso said congressional hearings take down everyone involved. Keith McCullough led the pack on this subject, countering that Dimon can be honest to a fault and it's impossible to know what will happen in front of Congress. "You just don't know. You think you know. You don't know," McCullough said, adding "at the end of the day" for the 2nd or 3rd or 4th time of the episode.

McCullough said he heard people on Fast Money last week talking about the valuation of the stock at 39, 38, 37, 36, (those would be Jon Najarian, Josh Brown, Karen Finerman, Stephen Weiss) but in his opinion, "28, 29, intermediate-term, that's where that stock's going."

Flat on the year
‘wouldn’t surprise me’

We agreed with everything Hans Olsen (in bowtie) was saying on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, except perhaps for his optimism that large cap and the boring utility types are a decent place to hang out now.

Olsen said the market's in a "funky place," and asserted, "the headlines are gonna be pretty awful for a while," particularly regarding the "absolutely awful" news out of Europe.

Olsen predicted low double digits for the 2012 S&P 500 return, but told Steve Grasso, "it wouldn't surprise me to go back flat on the year."

If gasoline is going down, wouldn’t that call for a COST short?

While we figured Keith McCullough is probably right-on about JPM, we couldn't agree with his consumer call (yikes ... this page is about to make a stock-market prediction utterly no one should take seriously) on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

McCullough singled out the Goldman Sachs short call on consumer discretionary that "could be the bottom" short-term and saying he was buying it, apparently partly because Goldman was wrong weeks ago, and oil is in a fall.

Stocks basically go up with crude; in the last few years there hasn't been an inverse correlation between oil and stocks. Oil tends to get cooked around the same time as the S&P cash.

The idea that AAPL or other discretionaries would go up on consumer gasoline spending the same time the rest of the market could tank on Europe or whatever just doesn't wash.

Joe Terranova claimed the "bottom is very close" in oil names and he'll be looking to buy some. Terranova also revealed, "I am back in Apple today ... very happy to own it," buying at $534.

McCullough curiously complained about the "concept of cheapness, it drives me crazy," but "at the end of the day," AAPL is one of those "cheap" stocks he actually likes and bought recently. "This stock is oversold," McCullough said, but warned it needs to get over 560, or look out.

Stephen Weiss has owned this month, but Jim Iuorio has the right idea, "the overall market looks awful to me," and he's short SBUX, looking for a 45-ish exit.

This market's a disaster; certainly that'll be official if Steve Grasso's flat-on-year is realized. People will tire of buying FB by Tuesday. The momentum names have been some of the first to crack as expected but it's the elite momentum names that have been crushed such as AAPL, PCLN, SBUX, DLTR, MA, JWN and it's probably only a matter of days before that extends to the IBMs, AMZNs, KOs. The banks, which in the last several years always kick off the rallies for about 3-4 months then drop like Mike Spinks vs. Mike Tyson, have been dogs since March and are in indefinite free fall.

Yes, the Europe headlines are by now old cliches, but it's still a step further into chaos than it was a year ago.

One of 2 things will bring a legitimate real buying opportunity, either the 60-or-more-point S&P 500 washout in a day, which hasn't happened yet, or the government/Fed/Treasury/EU announcement that someone (Greece/Spain & Italy/stock investors) are going to be bailed out again with QE-whatever. That hasn't happened yet either.

(Maybe China could decide it had 12% growth, but not many will actually believe it.)

Mike Murphy said Thursday that GPS looks like a possible sell. Steve Grasso suggested long AEO against a GPS short. Joe Terranova was the contrarian on GPS, saying stay with it. Grasso pointed to GDX as saying gold is trading in "phases."

Terranova: ‘Wouldn’t buy it’

We know it's Facebook Week, but it was kind of curious to see the Fast Money gang open Thursday's 5 p.m. show in "Star Wars"-style hoodies, which are also famous for other reasons recently, which is perhaps why CNBC as of Thursday afternoon hadn't posted video of the opening scenes. (Update; It was posted later, as you saw at the top of this page.)

Keith McCullough, though, kept his on long enough to make one of the few bullish points among the panel on FB stock, indicating he would or could buy on Friday.

Everybody has had their "rear-end handed to them in the marketplace; now they're a valuation expert on Facebook," McCullough said of the critics, pointing out there are different metrics than with other companies.

Joe Terranova opened the show insisting, "Wouldn't buy it ... It's overhyped, No. 1," and there are no options to protect himself.

Terranova demanded of his colleagues individually to explain if they would buy at $50 on Friday, but people were talking over each other and no one gave a straight answer.

Steve Grasso pointed out that traders all scoffed at LNKD and missed a winner (to this point); "they can accrue a decent amount of value."

Terranova claimed "the market is in as vulnerable a place tonight as it has been since the fall," which we agree with, and he's looking at other things that are "oversold."

Mike Khouw was on Terranova's side, saying that if you look at the history of tech IPOs since the 1990s, there are almost always "better opportunities" to get in after the first day.

"You don't have to jump in tomorrow," said Khouw, who later asked, "Does anyone pay Facebook any money?"

Jim Iuorio said buying FB tomorrow flat-out "smacks of gambling," or throwing a dart.

Kate Kelly said "at the end of the day," which Mel Lee also said a couple times, and Kelly pointed out that AAPL has been falling steeply this week, which figures to be a good sign for FB as investors clear the decks.

Fast Money gang actually collectively seems to think stocks are going up from here

More significantly than 1 stock is the broader stock market, a complete disaster in May.

Keith McCullough said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money the Goldman Sachs call on shorting consumer discretionary "could be the bottom" short-term. Joe Terranova said he was happy to add SBUX and SJM on Thursday. Steve Grasso said there are a bunch of short levels, 1305, 1295, 1285, 1275, (if we didn't know any better, we'd say that's every 10 points).

Mike Murphy, interestingly, reiterated his opinion of a day ago that the market is "definitely oversold" and that he expects a bounce Friday.

The CNBCfix.com experience
with ‘FB’

As Facebook unleashes shares on Friday, this site is reminded of a little anecdote from way way back in the day.

A member of the CNBCfix community (we're talking pre-CNBCfix-historic here) was once telling a group of workers he supervised that he had just made a new hire, and everyone will be impressed; "this woman is (bleeping) brilliant."

"This woman," unbeknownst to herself, then became known around the office derisively as "the FB" before having ever spent a day on the job.

Which was unfortunate, because she was a smart person and fine employee.

It's actually a great management lesson for those who are (or might be) running a business, a household, or a football team ... if you're really high on 1 individual, one of the worst things you can do for him/her is to gush about him/her to the rest of the crew. Let them figure it out on their own.

Telsey Advisory Group figures out slick way to get CNBC airtime, hang a price target on FB

And we thought the Telsey Advisory Group was a retail shop.

Analyst Tom Forte explained on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he actually put a 12-month, $48-$50 price target on FB.

"I'm a believer," Forte said. "They're gonna figure out a way to monetize that massive audience."

Stephen Weiss scoffed that $48-$50 is more like a "12-minute price target."

‘Easily print 45 or 48’

Bill Gurley guested on Thursday's Facebook-happy Fast Money Halftime Report and sounded a positive note the company, saying it's "the most-trafficked site in the world on the Internet and that is a big, big deal," and gushing about the DAU/MAU stats that you've been hearing for weeks/months.

Stephen Weiss questioned the lockup being reduced to "91 days." Gurley dismissed that as important, saying bankers wanted to get as much float out as possible, and noting it's been traded actively in private markets for a while.

Furthermore, Gurley claimed, "low-float companies can be highly volatile."

Gurley only briefly addressed the stock portion of the company, saying, "I wouldn't recommend that any retail investor, you know, try and buy IPOs on their first day of trading," which Gurley called "classic conservative thinking."

Guest Robert Savage, who had some audio problems, said FB could "easily print 45 or 48" on Friday, prompting Judge Wapner to suggest that Gurley had just said not to buy it on the opening day.

Gurley cut in, saying, "Hey Scott, you misunderstood me," explaining he wasn't recommending avoiding FB, but any IPO on the first day.

Savage insisted "The stock should really trade back down to 35, or 33," which is where he'd like to buy.

Twitter will ‘perfect’ the monetization before going public

Taking the FB conversation much further than CNBC unfortunately has been doing recently, Bill Gurley said on Thursday's Halftime Report that Twitter and Dropbox are the next big IPOs in waiting, although he said he doesn't see a Twitter IPO for 12-20 months while they make sure "their monetization model is perfect."

(If that's the standard, we might be waiting a long time.)

Guest Brian Blair suggested it's a 3-player race as to who best monetizes mobile between AAPL, GOOG and FB. Bill Gurley claimed that companies using transactional models actually do better on mobile than Web, and that Android gives GOOG entree. Blair said he agreed with that, but the issue is whether it'll be display or text ads that dominate mobile.

Stephen Weiss said he's hoping to be allocated some Facebook shares but will only be "renting it," and that the right trade if it lacks pizzazz might be to short Schwab.

Bob Pisani said, as he did throughout the day on CNBC, that there's skepticism about Facebook because it supposedly has the "special sauce" to monetize everything. The Qmeister, Carl Quintanilla, even made an appearance to call FB and the most hated, and most loved, IPO at the same time.

Gurley said, "I don't think there's a threat anywhere near this company," that Mark Zuckerberg can be a great CEO for 20-30 years, and that a great idea for CNBC would be to put the GM CFO on later in the day and ask if it was a good idea to antagonize Facebook the week of its IPO.

Weiss ‘shaved’ JPM

Stephen Weiss admitted on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he has begun trimming JPM. "I shaved a little this morning," Weiss said, basically because of Europe. "I think it goes lower."

Stephanie Link expressed frustration with what she apparently considers great valuation with JPM; "there's no catalyst; I get that. But there is some value there."

Stephen Weiss said of CMI, "I'm actually short it."

Brian Kelly noted that gold is up, but "I'm not sure if 1 day makes a trend."

Kelly recommended taking profits on DLTR if it bounces. Stephanie Link prefers TGT to WMT.

Dan Nathan for some reason dialed in to opine about AAPL in almost neutral terms, taking satisfaction of the perceived "strong likelihood that this thing starts to trade a bit more rationally," but cautioning sellers, "at the end of the day," to be careful pressing the short.

Andy Busch recommended selling the pound sterling rally although we thought it was the euro flag.

Stephen Weiss and Brian Kelly both denounced the Caris analyst's call on HLF based on Einhorn's non-comments as "crazy."

Judge Wapner tried to claim that Bill Ackman got a bounce-back on JCP after knocking the commentary he heard on CNBC, but Stephen Weiss crowed, "The bounce is gone; the stock's flat," and by the end of the day, the "bounce" was nonexistent, as the most ridiculous fad stock of 2012 continues to take the Research in Motion path.

Weiss' Final Trade was long CSC. Stephanie Link said EBAY, and Brian Kelly said UPL.

[Wednesday, May 16, 2012]

Which Fast Money traders should be the butt of JCP jokes?

If the data at Yahoo finance is to be believed, (and we actually looked up and down the correct column), JCP peaked in 2012 on Feb. 10, at $43.18 intraday.

It ended 2011 at $35.15.

Probably our favorite quote on the subject came from supposed superstar analyst Liz Dunn on Feb. 24, a day the shares closed at $41.72. "Everything is going very much according to plan," Dunn said.

That's quite a plan.

But here's the expanded scorecard:

Liz Dunn, Feb. 17, close $42.68 — "I think it's a great story ... Now, they've laid out a tremendous plan."

Guy Adami, Feb. 17 — "Looks like it's on the verge of breaking out ... maybe up to 50."

Whitney Tilson, Feb. 17 — impressed by Ron Johnson, who removed "absolutely insane inefficiencies" in pricing.

Brian Kelly, Feb. 24 — In the "sweet spot" of having rock-bottom prices with rising gasoline.

Jeff Klinefelter, March 1, closed $38.99 — "Absolutely" a buy on the week's pullback.

Ron Insana, March 14, — $36.64 close — Wife shopped there and liked it; "I trust her shopping intuition implicitly ... I bought a handful of shares."

Brian Kelly, April 23, $32.76 close — Why would you buy WMT; JCP could be alternative.

Meanwhile, this crew stood tall:

Patty Edwards, Feb. 17 — "I just think there's better places to play," Macy's (and later Kohl's) look better.

Mike Murphy, Feb. 22 — Short JCP ($41.60) vs. long M ($37.68).

Zach Karabell, March 9 — Defends short; turnaround "far too much to ask for an ailing franchise."

Pete Najarian, March 28 — mocks that Johnson is supposedly "greatest thing since sliced bread" who would "convert JCPenney into the greatest retailer ever."

Karen Finerman, April 9 — "I'm skeptical of JCPenney."

And the premier call ...

Stephen Weiss, March 1, $38.99 — short; "I'll look at it back in the 20s."

We figured by now they’re ‘written’ on computers

If this site had such a category as Fast Money Trader of the Month, Stephen Weiss would be owning May.

To be honest, we sorta think his bear scenario is wearing thin right at the moment; it just feels like this has been a predictable, measured sell-in-May unloading without the kind of frightening dagger (yet) that makes you think BAC will drop $1 or more in a day, yet replete with all the same cliches as August 2011 that everyone except Kyle Bass and Nouriel Roubini is tired of hearing (however true they might be), and one of these days there will be a government announcement of something and stocks will start going back up again, if temporarily.

But right at the moment, Weiss is riding roughshod with his JCP short, an ongoing success and absolute contender for Fast Money Call of the Year. (In fact, we'll call it an overwhelming front-runner at the moment.)

Moreover, on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Weiss insisted that in general, "I'm bearish ... the problems are in front of us."

Tim Seymour demanded to know whether that means Weiss is actively shorting now, or just sitting it out; for example, would Weiss short DE?

"Yes," Weiss said, complaining about the company's full-year outlook cited by Seymour. "That's the hockey stick; you can tell me whatever you wanna tell me what's gonna happen at the end of the year. What I'm telling you is that the end of the year is gonna be worse than this part of the year."

Seymour asserted companies don't "jawbone" their stocks up as Weiss hinted. Weiss dismissed the strong orders cited by Seymour; "order books fade away."

"They're actually written in paper," Mel Lee said, helpfully.

"They're in the contracts," Seymour insisted.

Mike Murphy said the market is oversold and due for some kind of bounce; "if we're not there now, we're very close to it," Murphy said, adding that at some point valuation in a name like DE matters, that it might've been rich at $90, but at $74 ... "I've been beating that drum for a while," Murphy sighed.

Brian Kelly advised putting your commodity dollars to work in grains, because, "People have to eat. People are continuing to eat."

But if Einhorn’s doing the work for you ...

Judge Wapner, parked in a chair seemingly all day at the Ira Sohn conference, reported on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that David Einhorn "didn't say anything about Herbalife," but that MLM was the most affected stock of the day's presentations.

The first reaction here was to condemn the fact that someone not mentioning a stock could prompt it to climb 16% ... but then again, people already sold it off $30 just because this person asked a couple questions, so maybe that's the real outrage.

Tim Seymour grumbled, "People are not doing their work" and instead just listening to Einhorn, and that "this creates opportunity."

Yet he never explained what those opportunities are, didn't make a trade on HLF, and colleague Mike Khouw even said that MLM is "still actually pretty rich here" even after the Einhorn selloff.

Seymour noted John Paulson's AU investment (Paulson was also reported to be in CZN and CVI) and said, "You have to have a stomach for this."

Mel Lee reported that Jeff Gundlach is short Apple, and "Nordstroms" (sic plural).

Brian Kelly suggests Facebook is going to be overbought on Day 1

Brian Kelly had some Facebook advice on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money: "Don't buy it in the aftermarket," Kelly said, unless you think Mark Zuckerberg is Steve Jobs, and in that case you could "come back 10, 15 years, you're gonna be happy."

Speaking of AAPL, guest Whitey Bluestein talked so long that even Mel Lee was inclined to cut him off. Bluestein laid out a thesis that one place AAPL isn't making money is in the "service revenues that the carriers make off of iPhone customers."

But he suggested Apple could eventually, through iTunes, sort of act as a broker in this space, if we understood his rather lengthy commentary correctly.

Dan Nathan said the "fever broke in the stock here," and claimed the 3G iPhone is "really embarrassing" compared to all the Android 4Gs.

Mike Murphy conceded AAPL has been tumbling, and said it could fall more.

78-year-old spearheads Web startup

Gotta admit, Larry King's still got a great radio voice.

King showed up at the Nasdaq on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to pound the table (OK that's overstating it a bit) for something called "Ora. TV," which evidently is King's post-retirement hobby.

King was going to "make a lot of speeches and travel," he said, but Carlos Slim talked him into a Web/TV hybrid project. "My wife was really the founder of this," King said, asking,"Why not an Internet television network?"

The other guest, Jon Housman, came "from the Murdoch organization," according to King.

Jane Wells, still super-sexy and super-hip, had a dandy, likeable little feature on the worth of stock certificates and apparently how you might be able to sell certain ones while still keeping the stock.

Kris (not Kim Kardashian's mom) Jenner said Alexion "really a rock star," but he still sees "more ahead for this stock."

Mike Murphy said if he had been given a chance to ask Jenner a question, he would've asked if Jenner would buy it amid its 10% pullback.

Mike Khouw said BBY is ripe for a calendar spread, recommending selling June 19 puts for $1 and buying Sept. 19 puts for $1.95, "for less than a dollar," though he didn't utter our favorite Options Action term, "net debit."

Mel Lee referred to results from "The Limited" (we think that's the Victoria's Secret shop, it's more commonly known as). Stephen Weiss said being short JCP is better than being long WMT. Mike Murphy said he covered his JCP short a day ago but wouldn't short here.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was MLM put spreads. Stephen Weiss said to short steel. Tim Seymour said long TEVA, Dan Nathan said he's covering his C short, Mike Murphy said to buy ANF under 40, and Brian Kelly said to buy FDX.

Whitney Tilson thinks JCP has a BP-like leak

If we were going to put together a Hall of Fame of Fast Money debates with Whitney Tilson, certainly Joe Terranova's recent takedown that Buffett prostate does not equal Steve Jobs on leave would be at or near the top of the list.

But that might've been superseded by Stephen Weiss' smashup of Tilson's ridiculous grasping of a JCP bottom on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Tilson, who never found a conference he couldn't attend, told Judge Wapner that not only is he unfazed by the JCP report, "We're buying more actually by the way," because it's an "opportunity."

Pressed by Judge, Tilson said his firm's partner was doing the buying, and did so last night and in premarket Wednesday, but it was the "high 27, low 28 range."

Weiss, clearly feelin' it (which sometimes gets traders in trouble actually), bluntly asserted, "I added to the short today. This is going to the single digits."

Weiss argued that bringing in Ron Johnson for a turnaround such as this is like asking "Mario Rivan- Rivera" to start a game.

Furthermore, Weiss suggested Johnson isn't really the architect of the Apple Store. "Al Taubman told me, he designed the stores, he had one of the first stores in his mall," Weiss said.

Tilson then tried to suggest Weiss was partly on his side, claiming one thing they agree on is that this is one of the "boldest attempts at a transformation." Weiss didn't agree or disagree but said, "There's a reason for that."

Weiss was so unmoved by Tilson's chase, he made "short JCP" his Final Trade.

Josh Brown said that Johnson already "obliterated" the trust of the investment community, and "at the end of the day ... Stephen Weiss is dead right."

Rich Ilczyszyn is back,
but only on the Fast Line

Rich Ilczyszyn first helped out a beleaguered Judge Wapner with the correct pronunciation of iitrader.com on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, then plunged right into gold dagger-grabbing.

"I like buying things at a discount," the Ilchmeister said, which is slightly at odds with the title of Joe Terranova's book, but Ilczyszyn went on to say that gold is a "currency play right now" and is due for a bounce after the dollar's streak that he said is the "longest in history."

He said he's long $1,600 calls in June, saying it's a "small buying opportunity."

Ilczyszyn also advised euro shorts to "take the dough down here."

Guy Adami reiterated again that gold would be "north of 2,000 within a year."

Stephen Weiss says Caris analyst ‘should be a handicapper in Vegas’

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there's been a "double-top around that 1,425 level" in the S&P 500, and that you "need not be long the stock market until you get an S&P close above 1,370, 1,375."

Josh Brown said he agreed and that he's into "grandpa stocks" for now.

Stephen Weiss, who is good at criticizing analysts, took issue with the Caris researcher who was laying percentages on the prospects of David Einhorn speaking about HLF. "This is not an analyst," Weiss complained. "That analyst should be a handicapper in Vegas."

Josh Brown, on the other hand, argued it's a "good piece of research" because if Einhorn does report a short position, it would depress the multiple.

"I couldn't disagree more," Weiss insisted. "There is nothing good about that."

"That's their job though," Brown said.

Adami: Watch GGC

Guest Will Muggia, in another conference-ized Fast Money Halftime Report that this time saw Judge Wapner a couple seconds behind everyone he was speaking to via video and flat out having to jerk the earpiece for the Final Trade, told viewers, "I do think this is a mid-cycle correction. I don't think we're going into a bad bear market."

Muggia made the housing-improvement case for SWK, and was also listed as liking TYC and CELG.

Pete Najarian hailed CELG, saying, "This is a company I like a lot."

Najarian also likes YHOO, saying it's "trading for free right now."

Guy Adami suggested it would be "for the good of the company" if Aubrey McClendon left CHK.

Josh Brown said that Larry Robbins' assessment of hospitals benefitting from ObamaCare is a "really interesting thesis" because now the hospitals will get paid for serving the un- or underinsured.

But Brown wasn't keen on the Fed minutes as a thesis; "this is like 8th or 9th on the list of what people should really worry about."

Stephen Weiss warned that Japanese automakers are much more competitive now than at the time of the GM IPO.

Guy Adami's Final Trade was GGC. Josh Brown said XBI and Pete Najarian said CP.

[Tuesday, May 15, 2012]

Bill Cowher at Nasdaq

One of the last people we expected to see on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was Bill Cowher.

There are thousands of football-related directions we'd love to take this post, but above all, we should stress Cowher's message, to get a screening for melanoma, which tragically took the life of his All-American wife at a frighteningly young age.

BC might be — we've analyzed it from a couple angles — the greatest coach in the history of pro football.

Rarely do we get a chance to argue that on this page.

But that's a highly debatable subject for another time.

Understandably time was short for this segment; we're not really sure why Cowher and Dr. Elizabeth Hale made an appearance on Fast Money rather than another CNBC program, except that they were probably doing events in midtown during the day's launch of Melanoma Exposed (Web site here).

But Joe Terranova and Tim Seymour let us down by failing to ask BC if the yinz can do it next season.

Honestly, we already know his answer to that question. But surely someone could've asked him if he intends to coach again.

Dumbed it down so much, he could barely figure it out

Guest Vitaliy Katsenelson, one of umpteen people in the last 2 weeks (there are more to come, we're sure) to comment about Facebook valuation on CNBC, raised eyebrows on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money when he said, "Let me dumb it down so the traders can understand it."

After identifying that there are 24 hours in a day and then subtracting sleep hours to determine how often we're awake and that some of those hours are spent watching football, Katsenelson had trouble figuring out whether he was on Point 2 or Point 3.

Tim Seymour complained that for what was supposed to be an "eloquent" argument, "I don't think he said anything that we didn't know."

We think the ‘alleged quote’
came from this article

Wilbur Ross made a little bit of news during his appearance on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying nat gas has to be "very close" to a bottom, and that over several years, he expects a "double or triple in price."

Mel Lee, at the end of Ross' "pressed-for-time" appearance, said that Ross had said he was going to exit his Bank of Ireland investment after tripling his money and wondered about his time frame, and also wondered about the Greece impact "at the end of the day."

Ross responded, "You're quoting from an alleged quote, that's a dangerous thing to do." Then he explained that what he really said was, "We're in there at 36% of cleaned-up book value and we think that a few years hence, when things get straightened out, it should trade at a premium over book."

Ross is right; in the article in question, he does not say he's going to triple his investment and then exit. The article writer, and headline writer, both said Ross "expects" to triple his investment, but he doesn't say that in the article ... although (and we sometimes couldn't tell you what 10% of 100 is), it seems like, if you buy something at a 36% discount, and then it eventually sells for a premium (the article says he said 1½ times), then you're basically talking tripling your money.

Ron Johnson didn’t know until now how much JCPenney customers relied on coupons

Karen Finerman said at the top of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that JCPenney's quarter "doesn't bode well for the turnaround strategy," and that she wouldn't touch the stock here, but Ron Johnson will be given time.

Finerman also pointed out that there are 2 important stakeholders here, and that SHLD is an example of how these things can levitate despite troubling facts on the ground.

Guest Jeff Klinefelter said he ducked out of the JCP conference call to speak with Fast Money, and JCP had just started talking about the most important thing in his mind, the new brands that might not be available elsewhere.

"Jeff it's Karen let me ask you something," said Finerman, asking Klinefelter if Ron Johnson's coupon ignorance would give him pause.

Evidently not, as Klinefelter said, "This is one big grand experiment, so I think they're learning some things along the way as well."

Finerman suggested Bill Ackman might be commenting on JCP at the Ira Sohn conference.

Guy Adami looked on the bright side, saying, "Maybe this is sort of a kitchen sink-type of quarter," an argument that evidently convinced Mike Murphy, who made it his Final Trade on that basis.

Adami also offered a JCP-related Final Trade, but the opposite end of it, which was long M. Joe Terranova suggested TGT might be winning share from JCP; coincidentally TGT was Finerman's Final Trade.

Tim Seymour seemed to question something about HLF based on the assessment that Einhorn might reveal a short position, but we're not sure what he was really questioning, other than expressing wonderment at the price drop.

Great moments in IPO history: BX

During a mostly tiresome 5 p.m. episode of Fast Money on Tuesday, viewers had to put up with an endless series of 13F revelations that of course included a bunch of old positions from Berkshire Hathaway.

Guy Adami said GM right here is "probably fair," where you're risking a downside of about $20 but it might get to $28.

Nelson Peltz bought some huge puts on the S&P 500 by the end of March.

David Einhorn is apparently out of FSLR and YHOO.

Tim Seymour spent much of these discussions alternating between what a great vote of confidence it is for these stocks to have quality investors such as Warren Buffett taking a stake, and, by the way, you can't really trade it because it doesn't mean anything in the short term.

Mike Murphy was the only one telling it like it is, calling it a "useless move" to actually trade on this information. "We know what they did months ago, but we don't know what they're doing today or tomorrow," Murphy said.

Jeff Kilburg showed up and said "at the end of the day," and touted KRE, which he said is a diversified regional bank play not in the crosshairs of regulation.

Guy Adami said BX is a way to get "some beta," plus a dividend. Mike Murphy said "we covered our short in the last few days" in WHR, but under 60, it's actually attractive.

Joe Terranova's idea of a "mean reversion" trade is to buy XLE calls and sell XLF calls.

Tim Seymour, who never met a moment when Brazil was not interesting on some level, made EWZ his Final Trade. Joe Terranova said TCBI.

Patty actually getting calls from people telling her not to put their money in Facebook

As CNBC reports all day Tuesday on its Facebook poll results, Brian Kelly issued an extremely high standard for buying the stock during the Halftime Report.

"The only reason why you buy Facebook at any valuation is that you think Mark Zuckerberg is the next Steve Jobs," Kelly said.

Judge Wapner complained that here's this monster growth company embedded in culture aleady, and "You guys are dumpin' all over it."

"I'm not saying it can't go up," Kelly protested.

Patty Edwards claimed she's getting unsolicited no's, "I've actually had people calling me and saying, 'You know what? We'll wait. We don't want to go in'," Edwards said.

Jon Najarian suggested T, RAX and CTXS as alternative plays, and also said he preferred GLUU (after Dan Niles brought up that one a week ago) and not ZNGA. Steve Grasso said FIO, which was also his Final Trade.

(Most of) Halftime gang sees no Europe overhang on JPM

At least 3 Fast Money Halftime panelists on Tuesday were calling JPM a buy or sort of a buy.

First was Stephen Weiss, saying, "It's a core position."

Patty Edwards said, "The chart looks pretty good here on JPMorgan."

Scott Nations invoked a Brag Trade, explaining, "Back in November I bought the sickest banks," and those worked, except he wishes he sold BAC at $10 in March, but now he's got "a chance to rotate into JPMorgan," one of the "great" banks, so he sold some BAC at $7.40 and paid $36.30 for JPM.

Nations then curiously described the JPM trading loss in football terms in regard to Jamie Dimon's job status. "When Tom Brady throws a really stupid interception. I mean what are you gonna do, you gonna bench the guy, you gonna cut the guy? He's got more Super Bowl rings than anybody goin'."

First, we wonder what Super Bowl rings Jamie Dimon has; 2nd, there are others with more rings (photo hint above), although "anybody goin'" presumably refers to active players; 3rd, Tom's Super Bowl window is closed.

Steve Grasso challenged Nations as to what JPM does when Congress starts grilling the execs. "I think it goes up," Nations said, saying investors don't care about the "dog and pony show."

Judge Wapner noted that Dimon said at the shareholder meeting, when asked if there would be an impact on the dividend, "I strongly hope not."

"That doesn't sound to me like an emphatic 'No it will not affect the dividend'," Judge told Stephen Weiss. Weiss said Dimon said that because nobody knows what regulators will do.

Patty Edwards dismissed notions of buying banks based on recent whale revelations; "that data is already 45 days old," but managed to work in a "that being said."

Steve Grasso suggested investors keep in mind the beginning-of-year levels in banks and said that if the S&P doesn't hold 1,340, "no one is immune."

Gartman: Too many ships

Dennis Gartman guested briefly on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report to recycle some old lines about how gold is selling off because it's a matter of what people can sell right now, and that it's not a "safe haven" because it moves more than a safe haven should, but it was fresh comments on another topic that got our attention.

Gartman admitted, "I was very positive shippers," but eventually he got stopped out (that trade was back in February) because "there's still too many ships out there."

CCL, by the way, is up since the Costa disaster selloff.

Brian Kelly said his safe haven would be Canadian T-bills, Patty Edwards said short-term corporates are where the cash is, and Steve Grasso said he's got some MHY.

Trash-talking of JCP to continue

Debbie Weinswig said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that there is concern of a high-end slowdown given the humdrum performance of Saks' NYC flagship that (depending on who you listen to on Fast Money) accounts for anywhere from 25-40% of company sales.

Weinswig said the problem with retailers' push into online sales is that analysts are "starting to see a hit on the gross margins," and part of that involves free shipping, plus the returns aren't really factored in yet.

But Weinswig said Steve Sadove has got a new system from Oracle to make it better, and is "taking the bull by the horns."

Weinswig said expectations for JCP are low; "everyone has basically trash-talked this stock." Patty Edwards said she likes TJX.

‘Sidelines’ for GRPN

Guest Alan Rifkin on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report said he likes HD and that the call is a "direct reflection of housing clearly stabilizing."

CNBC's best-dressed superfox Seema Mody handled the Twitter-chat feature again, and quite frankly looks better than Herb Greenberg doing it, saying people were tweeting about Groupon.

GRPN watcher Aaron Kessler didn't have a strong opinion about anything; he said "we're on the sidelines near-term" because of the GRPN lockup expiration, but he does like EBAY and GOOG. Judge said Kessler keeps the cards close to the vest.

Stephen Weiss said the best way to play Amazon is to buy his book via the site, and the concern there is that governments will "tax online commerce."

Willie Williams suggested selling euro at 1.2950 and ride to 1.25. He told Judge the next buying point would be 1.18 but said a year-end call is difficult.

Patty Edwards' Final Trade was ED. Brian Kelly said FDX, and Stephen Weiss said long S&P puts.

[Monday, May 14, 2012]

Jamie Dimon is still probably
having a better week than
Urban Cowboy

Reasons Not To Want To Hang Out With Hollywood People (cont'd) ...

Melissa Lee made an offhand Groupon reference on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money indicating she's well aware of recent tabloid headlines.

Guest Clayton Moran was talking about brighter days ahead for GRPN, saying the deceleration argument has been out there, but the good news is that "Groupon is gaining share."

Guy Adami pronounced the stock a buy, perhaps up to 15 before fading it again, based on previous pops last year. Moran, who probably shouldn't be making short-term trading calls, said, "I think that's the right way to look at it." Later, Jon Najarian agreed, after rattling off the guys who bought the options before they exploded.

Karen Finerman dismissed the stock; "I don't get the valuations here," and noted she has been short via put spreads.

Mel then pointed out the benefits of targeted local advertising, saying someone such as "BK" could get a "coupon for 25% off a masseuse around the corner."

We're sure the Fast gang was eager to take a crack at the massage reference, but can't/won't; it's obligatory to note that Kelly referred to himself in 3rd person in saying, "You wouldn't be seeing BK buy it."

Hollywood is not as glamorous as it seems, as this page enjoys pointing out.

Meanwhile, we're guessing this particular story never came up at the SALT Conference.

Karen buys JPM

Karen Finerman kept insisting she wasn't doing it.

But, like certain masseurs around Hollywood, Finerman on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was essentially calling a bottom, albeit in JPM shares.

"I actually did buy some JPMorgan today," Finerman said, explaining the stock is "right above tangible book."

Whatever level it's at, Finerman insisted about 5 times she knows she won't correctly guess the top or bottom.

Finerman later said of the trading loss, "I do think it'll be well worse than $2 billion," but called it a "1-time blunder ... it's compelling at this level."

If she's interested, she might be able to buy some of Josh Brown's stake, as Brown explained, "We're long JPMorgan," but he's looking for a bounce-back to sell, because "there's gonna be a ceiling above this stock, probably at 40 or in the low 40s."

Guy Adami shrugged off the size of the loss, then sermonizing, "The atrocity is, if you wanna go down that route, is the fact that they took what amounts to a hundred-billion-dollar bet, which candidly, has been going on on Wall Street for quite some time now. So to me, that's the atrocity ..."

There are atrocities, and then there are atrocities.

Adami in closing suggested others aren't immune, namely BAC, which he suggeseted could have "tremendous skeletons in their closet."

Whew — 51 weeks until the next Berkshire annual meeting

Around here we watch way too much a lot of CNBC, and a week ago Monday, or thereabouts, tends to be our least favorite weekend of the year.

It's the Berkshire weekend.

Becky Quick and the Squawk Box crew get multiple exclusives (while Liz Claman and the Fox Business crew also get multiple exclusives), Squawk Box gets 3 hours of wisdom-dispensing in which virtually every answer begins with a chuckle, Charlie Munger sounds off on all the reckless quick-buck artists, etc.

Even that's not enough; there's also the weekend at the end of February (pictured above) when the letter to shareholders comes out.

Congratulations. Despite what it may seem, we're happy when people succeed.

Of all the people who could be the standard-bearer of great individual wealth, this is an excellent prototype.

There is, however, even when you're worth $50 billion, something called overexposure, which we think is some kind of evolutionary trait that makes humans dislike even the food at Le Bernardin if the same dish were handed to them for every meal every day, or not quite appreciate hearing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" 4 times before breakfast.

See, there's a chance some of the many things that are said don't actually amount to a whole lot of wisdom at all.

That Berkshire invested in a large print newspaper, great, the industry needs it, we'll let that go; everyone should.

But there was Gary Kaminsky and Zero Hedge flagging the nothing's-riskier-than-cash notion and how it doesn't quite square with Berkshire's holdings.

And then we learned that Mr. Buffett actually owns JPM shares in his personal account, not through Berkshire, where he curiously believes WFC is better.

Were this true for some other investor, there would probably be some carping, but undoubtedly there is wisdom behind this situation.

As far as we could tell, there has been no comment from Omaha about the JPMorgan loss yet, and we doubt that will change anytime soon.

‘Exactly like last year’

Brian Kelly said at the top of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that 2 things have changed about the markets since last week. One was "more talk of the fiscal cliff" (funny, we haven't talked about that at all), and second (not hard to figure out) was "JPMorgan."

Guy Adami said 1,340 S&P is key, which Steve Grasso also said, but Adami predicted a bounce was likely soon and could provide a better opportunity to sell. "I think the market is definitely on the cliff here," Adami said.

Karen Finerman suggested CVS as a "safe haven," but also mentioned buying JPM, which doesn't feel like the safest of havens at the moment.

Scott Nations balked at Citi chartist Tom Fitzpatrick's suggestion of a possible 20% plunge (Fitzpatrick wasn't on the show, and we don't think Mel Lee ever mentioned him by name) based on a volatility spike. "The VIX is the tail and the S&P is the dog," Nations said. "I think Tom has it backwards here."

Josh Brown said if Europe crashes, S&P levels won't matter. "This is playing out exactly like last year and the year before ... what the market is pricing in at this moment is a disorderly exit on the part of Greece," Brown said.

Adami: Gold north of $2,000 within a ‘year or so’

Guy Adami on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said that within a "year or so," gold will be "significantly north of $2,000," and concluded with a cliche, "I think gold goes higher at the end of the day."

Scott Nations, on the other hand, said gold isn't behaving well at a time it reasonably should be. "You have to worry about the thesis in general," Nations said.

Yet Nations and Adami agreed on Nations' bearish call on CAT which can be played by selling a call spread such as the June 95/100, for $1.90. It's "risking $3 essentially to make 2," Nations said. Adami said the stock can drop further than people expect, perhaps below $90.

Someone turned out the light on Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks sizzling on TV, before she was fully off-camera, but she did manage to conclude her trade, which is to sell euro at 1.2835 down to 1.2620, the low of 2012, with a stop at 129.50.

Solar: ‘Transformative for American society’

NRG (we wondered if those letters stand for something, or just sound slick) boss David Crane was giving some props on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to a rather beleaguered sector.

"Over the next 5 to 10 years, I think you're gonna see solar surging and becoming a very important part of the business, and really transformative for American society as well," Crane actually said.

Unfortunately Steve Cortes, the only one on Fast Money telling the complete truth about this sector (it's a fine idea, but not a viable business now without massive subsidies), wasn't around to deliver his side of that story.

Crane said a $2.50 nat gas price is "basically right" and "baked into the stock," but he told Guy Adami that the prospect of warmer winters isn't nearly the concern that cool summers would be. "The thing that keeps our industry going is air-conditioning," Crane said. "That's our Christmas season."

"To me the stock is pretty interesting here ... risk/reward sets up OK," Adami said.

Karen Finerman said the shenanigans of the CHK board are the types of things someone like Icahn would "absolutely hate," and then she wondered, "What would be an offense that the Cheseapeake board would find so egregious that they couldn't allow Aubrey to stay in the job?"

Josh Brown said that for Icahn, "This looks like a Lions Gate-type situation for him."

Brown: Nibble on the DEM

Guest Larry McDonald argued on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the markets are being a little too pessimistic about Greece.

"We're oversold right now," McDonald said, saying there's "potential good news" as both sides in Greece make arguments for several weeks and that the euro exit isn't happening right away.

McDonald also contended there won't be a domino effect of others bolting, that it would take 6 months at least with a "whole bunch of different inflection points."

But McDonald did note that the "2-year swap spread, that's been breaking out" is the "most disturbing thing I see."

Josh Brown pointed to the DEM as something he thinks has been oversold and is bolstered by the dividend; "you can nibble here."

Guest Herman Leung handled the show's Facebook portion, cautioning of the possibility of a bloated FB valuation but claiming the shares are "still pretty attractive" in the $28-$35 range. One effect, he said, is it "will actually make Google shares look a lot more attractive," which we doubt.

Steve Grasso said if the market drops through 1,340, get long SDS for a Final Trade. Guy Adami said long CELG, Karen Finerman said AAPL call spreads, and that July gets you to earnings, and Brian Kelly made the "people gotta eat" argument for ADM.

The Free Labor Trade: For those who think this does not sound like 1999 …

Guest John Frankel told Judge Wapner on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he isn't necessarily ready to join the pack in buying Facebook shares, that he doesn't have a specific opinion about it, but in general be wary of something that everyone's trying to get into, in part because Stan Druckenmiller says, "You only make money when you don't go with the crowd."

But then Frankel called what's happening online — the most specific term he used is "it" — "something as big as the industrial revolution."

He said maybe "it" will be known as the "content revolution."

And, he said Facebook has a "huge ecosystem around it."

Jon Najarian said FB will pop in the opening, "maybe even as a double," but then, "I don't wanna buy it there."

Mike Murphy suggested there could be an easier way, that "Zynga is a way you can get a pop here."

Judge Wapner and CNBC's best-dressed superfox Seema Mody (a more-than welcome addition to Halftime) both referred to the "Facebook ecosystem" also. Joe Terranova doubted that Zynga will benefit from the IPO, saying, "I think the capital flows go to Facebook only."

What’s really bizarre is that with a thousand companies out there, this is the one someone would pick

And if we had a dollar for every time someone referred to the "Asian assets" on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, we could probably buy a share of Priceline.

The gang was cheering the Dan Loeb victory the way the University of Michigan cheers every new coach, with Stephen Weiss noting he has "one of the best track records."

Jon Najarian claimed this is a "much better board" and predicted they won't just unload Alibaba, but will "wait for the right price for that."

Eric Jackson said a "partial sale makes sense" but that the company has a future in (snicker) "original video."

Gene Munster, on the other hand, went too far in the other direction, saying Scott Thompson's exit is a "disappointment" that "sets the company back another 6 months." Munster said the new leadership will "take the company in a totally different direction," but on the plus side, there are "zero expectations around this."

Munster said if people actually thought an Alibaba sale or shake-up was imminent, "the stock would be up more," but the company maintains "some of the best Internet assets in China."

But don't expect a hail Mary. "I would not expect them to sell the whole thing," Munster said.

Nobody, not even Gene Munster, questioned why someone of Loeb's credentials would be spending this much time and money and controversy in a fading company that (this is the key here) has already been scrutinized, debated, analyzed, assessed, re-evaluated and re-invented for decades by many extremely bright people, who have all reached the obvious same conclusion, and why Loeb instead isn't putting his efforts to work on some company or idea with actual potential.

Maybe he just wants to be talked about on CNBC's Fast Money.

Mark Mahaney said of YHOO, "I don't think you wanna touch the stock here."

Somewhere, Lloyd Blankfein smiles; ‘I’m not Fall Guy No. 1 anymore’

To his credit, Stephen Weiss refreshingly admitted on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he blew it with JPMorgan.

"Been a core position for a while," Weiss said, but "I'm sorry it's a core position."

Where he got a little loopy is when he claimed the company was otherwise flying high; that the trading blunder served to "take defeat from the jaws of victory" and that the ensuing tightening of controls actually "makes them a bit stronger."

He said he's short BAC.

Mike Murphy, who has been complaining for a few days that things aren't that bad, said we're "starting to see opportunity here" and that while JPM may need to have the "dust settle" a bit, "at some point you do get value here," and WFC looks attractive.

Joe Terranova predicted, "I think we're gonna lose financials here for the rest of the quarter."

Jon Najarian said if the VIX holds at 22, there could be a stock rally off that. He also said put/call ratios would indicate a bounce due in the XLF, but he hasn't seen the "clear panic that I'd like to see in the XLF" before he'd jump in, which maybe means there won't be a clear panic.

‘Near-term bottom’ in FCX

Rarely do you get such a binary debate as the one that occurred on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Well, sort of binary.

Stephen Weiss claimed, "There's no way that China is going to come in at 8%."

But he conceded they might well just say that anyway.

Jon Najarian, on the other hand, insisted, "There's no way that China's not coming in at 8% Stephen," and that China taking the foot off the brake gives an "awful lot of boost" to global growth.

Judge Wapner suggested that "China, at the end of the day, holds the key."

Stephen Weiss said towns and provinces in China are "loaded with debt" because of real estate, and "that bubble is bursting."

Steve Cortes wasn't on, but here's where we can utterly pencil in what he would say: "The China growth story is unsustainable with a command economy, look at the Chinese stocks, have been underperforming for (insert number) (insert "quarters," "months," or "years"), Jim Chanos said something the other day, the population's in a death spiral … 8 is not nearly enough for China's global growth story …"

Stephen Weiss said he's short FCX and CAT, "I'm pretty bearish."

Mike Murphy on the other hand is long FCX and chided the markets for "a lot of people are kinda getting ready to panic." Murphy said FCX's gain has more credence with copper going lower, and he sees a "near-term bottom" in the stock, and "I think it goes higher."

SBUX: ‘A gift’

Jim Iuorio revealed on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report he was already getting a bit disillusioned with the trade he was presenting.

Iuorio "added some shorts to Starbucks," he said, although his hopes were a bit muted; "kinda like it but don't love it right now."

Joe Terranova smelled blood and said he got back in the name last week and that he sees a "gift down here" as the stock hits a "technical trough" while the "fundamentals are incredibly solid."

Mike Murphy, who likes a bunch of things right now, said "I'm on Joe's side here."

Terranova said, "I believe that we are in a trading range," but that he bought SNDK and NFLX, because at least for those stocks, "I think we're at the bottom of the range."

Dicker: CHK short over

Dan Dicker, famous for hanging a single-digit target on CHK a few weeks ago that actually looked doable late last week, said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that with Icahn's presence, "the time to be short at least for the short term is over."

Mike Murphy basically agreed. "I think the money has been made on the short side," and that buyers will find their way in.

Stephen Weiss said at this point, CHK is "not analyzeable."

In crude, Dicker predicted a seasonal bottom between 88 and 90; "this is really a swoon that's become almost traditional in the oil market," Dicker said.

Joe Terranova predicts oil dollars will start flowing into nat gas, and that he owns UPL. "I would not go short the commodities," Terranova said.

Dr. J: Avon could ring

Mark Mahaney on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report said Groupon could be "very interesting" at these levels because of "next year's numbers … if they hold."

But longer-term, he thinks the company has major headwinds, that's it's merely collecting a "huge share of a capped market."

Mike Murphy said to be careful of the GRPN short float.

Dr. J called the leadership of "Ms. Jung" at Avon "horrific" but thinks the stock can get to $24.75.

Stephen Weiss said of JCP, "from what I hear the turnaround is not working." Mike Murphy thinks ANF might be due for a pop.

Dr. J's Final Trade was pro-CAM, Mike Murphy said long LNG, Stephen Weiss likes M and Joe Terranova touted WNR.

Finerman bought JPM on Wednesday, recommended it that day as Final Trade

Sometimes, even the pros get it wrong.

Sometimes, so many of them get it wrong, you wonder what happened to Steve Cortes and his herd-mentality/Eastland disaster warnings while much of the Fast Money gang was getting D.K.'d by Jamie Dimon.

Just Wednesday, a day before the JPM bombshell, Karen Finerman told Fast Money viewers she bought more JPM, and even recommended the shares for a Final Trade.

Joe Terranova said he bought JPM in the preceding week and also mentioned the stock April 23, a day Mike Murphy said he was buying shares himself (which had evidently turned into a "very small position" by Thursday).

Anthony Scaramucci on May 4 said he doubted Mike Mayo's JPM downgrade; "I think Mike will be wrong on this."

Even Betsy Graseck listed it as her favorite bank stock on April 20.

The howler of the bunch was Stephen Weiss on April 4: "I actually added to JPMorgan nearly at the bottoms yesterday ... the wind is completely at their back, there are no issues going forward ... very few issues."

[Friday, May 11, 2012]

Is it possible to hedge an asset by making a ‘bet’ on economic direction?

In a sign that Washington is going to carp forever about Wall Street banks but never actually change anything, Senator Carl Levin sought to explain the difference between a "hedge" and a "bet" during Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Levin said of Jamie Dimon, "He basically was betting on an economic direction," which wouldn't be allowed under the Volcker Rule, but conceded, "I don't have any evidence that it violated the, uh, previous law."

Levin said that as a "hedge ... that's fine ... what you cannot do is bet on a general direction of the economy."

Jon Najarian, meanwhile, said that he got in and out of JPM Thursday in afterhours, and bought more Friday morning. But it was his realistic, if 1-sided, point about terminology that was the best indication of the months of fruitless debate we're going to be seeing about the banks this summer in the Capitol.

"I'm not trying to be an apologist for JPMorgan, but when you're hedging a book that big, and you see problems coming on one side, the fact that you're stepping out in front of it on the other to try to mitigate that, that is a hedge to me," Najarian said.

Steve Grasso said this is going to be a "political football."

Guest on JPM: ‘This sucks’

Judge Wapner on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report actually asked guest Glenn Schorr on the telephone if he could look viewers "straight in the face" and assert "complete confidence" in JPM leadership.

"This sucks, I don't wanna sugarcoat it," Schorr said, but he told Judge, "A day and a half ago you would not've (fade out) to ask me that question."

No, because a day and a half ago, Judge was in Vegas asking about people sharing ideas on valueinvestorsclub.com.

Schorr balked at Judge's takedown of his still-$50 JPM target (down from $55). "I guess this- that's why we have 12-month price targets instead of 12-hour price targets," Schorr said.

Dr. J insists his trades in JPM were smart

Judge Wapner asked Dr. J on Friday's Halftime Report if he was just an "impulse buyer" in JPM who is going to regret it later, or someone who thoroughly thought out the prospect of jumping in twice in 2 days.

"I'd say the latter," Najarian assured, insisting it was "not an impulse buy" but rather a "nice opportunity," particularly at 36.

Najarian insisted the total amount of dollars involved amounts to a "rounding error" for a bank the size of JPMorgan.

Steve Grasso pointed out the banks have been in a downward trend for weeks and said if you want to take a stab at JPM, don't buy a full position just yet.

Brian Kelly, though, pegged the banks instead to a blossoming housing trade, saying, "Wells Fargo's very exposed to the U.S. housing market that is certainly bottoming if not improving," and, "KRE is what I bought today."

Pete Najarian also found a buying opportunity, saying he "added to Wells Fargo today." But Patty Edwards said she's in "absolutely no rush" to go near banks, that Wells Fargo is "not my favorite" but if she had to pick 1, it would be USBank. "That being said," Edwards said a couple times, "I own Bank of Montreal," and that Canadian banks look better.

Just what the U.S. government likes — selling domestic energy assets to Chinese companies

Pete Najarian on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report offered the most tepid endorsement of CHK we've ever heard, telling viewers he's been playing the stock, but he's assured that it's OK after reviewing the company's assets, "as long as that's not gonna be something that gets tapped into later on."

Judge Wapner chided Pete for maybe thinking there's a bottom given the bad headlines that erupt every other day. Patty Edwards offered this bit of comfort: "There are reports out that Sinopec may be looking around at some of their assets."

Fossil evidently doesn’t constitute ‘high end’

Guest Michael Binetti told the Fast Money Halftime Report on Friday that JWN is OK and the skies are apparently clear for rich folks.

"I don't think there's any real crack in the, in the demand for the high-end retailers right now," Binetti said.

Patty Edwards really threw us for a loop — and Binetti too, at least initially — in suggesting the goal for Nordstrom's online push, "Someone who is buying both online and in the stores I think it's like 4 times more- going to spend 4 times more in the stores over the long haul," and asking Binetti if he agrees.

"4 times more in the store than on- they would spend online?" Binetti asked, which is what we thought, given the "in the stores" reference.

"No, 4 times more, period, with Nordstrom," Edwards clarified.

So, now we think we get it. A person who buys something from Nordstrom online is more likely to remain a long-term customer than someone who happens to buy something in the store.

They can probably track something like that with the credit card, but it seems like one of those not-fully-provable statements that sounds good when delivered to eager analysts.

Binetti pronounced NKE a "buy" but had a "hold" on JCP, saying it'll "probably be several years" before we know if it works (that didn't stop anyone in January).

Steve Grasso said NKE is "probably still a buy here," Pete Najarian cited LULU as a favorite retailer, and Patty Edwards touted PVH (that was also her redundant Final Trade).

Unfortunately, the Friday Halftime gang didn't see the forest through the trees, as the show featured virtually no commentary on the S&P 500 and what key levels are next, and if the broad market goes south for any major reason (banks, Europe, China, energy), retailers aren't going anywhere but down.

On Dec. 29, Dr. J predicted RIMM gets bought in 2012 ‘north of 22’

We've always found the iPhone carrier story boring as heck, but Jonathan Chaplin at least added some intrigue on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report in claiming the possibility of margin improvements for VZ and T.

Chaplin said they're making people wait longer for new subsidized phones, and as a result, "volumes in the U.S. are gonna be down this year for the first time ever."

He added, "Investors are just underestimating the magnitude of lift these guys are gonna get if they hold the line."

Jon Najarian hailed the gain in ARNA (but didn't say he was in that one) and mentioned OREX and VVUS, predicting "all 3 of these are targets" and 1 will be taken out by year-end.

Patty Edwards twice said "at this point in time" while referring to the "flight to safety" in Treasurys. But, "I'm using JNK or LQD."

Steve Grasso said LVS is still holdable, "I wouldn't be selling it unless it breaks the $50 level to the downside" (it couldn't break $50 to the upside unless it does a split first), and then acknowledged that AAPL at least will be hit (along with virtually every other stock mentioned Friday) "if the market does sell off," there will be a "chunk taken out of that."

Judge characterizes Bill Gates as an expert on the gold price

Todd Gordon said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I'm short the market" and that his trade is long dollar vs. Norway, apparently based on 1,365 S&P holding as the top although we're not totally sure what he meant.

Judge asked gold bull Michael Purves about Eric Sprott's bullish gold comments at SALT. "I think he is right," Purves said. "$1,800 probably by the late summer and easily 2,000 by the end of the year ... he's nailed it."

Judge exclaimed that "Buffett & Gates!" don't believe in gold.

Purves insisted the "news flow" continues to be "gold supportive."

Meanwhile, "I'm looking for a major breakout in silver," Purves said, to $50 by year end, maybe higher, and we'll just say, we've heard a lot of outta-sight forecasts for silver while watching Fast Money.

Steve Grasso said he's in GDX and assured it will move higher if gold reaches $1,800.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was MSFT, Pete Najarian said NUAN, and Steve Grasso said S.

[Thursday, May 10, 2012]

Jamie Dimon spoke to Dr. J
‘about his quarter and so forth’

Jon Najarian produced an instant trade on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money in the wake of JPM's announcement — buying JPM at 39 or 38, and "sell either DB, CS or GS against it." Najarian said he'll "probably be doing more of that tomorrow during the day."

But even more interesting was Najarian's explanation as to how he arrived at that particular trade, assessing that JPM is ahead of other banks in taking this kind of medicine.

Najarian told Melissa Lee he was at the CNBC studio the same time as Dimon "2 weeks ago, and he came over to me, Melissa, and we were talking about his quarter and so forth."

Hopefully, Dimon shared some of those assessments with a broader audience.

Najarian said the conversation gave him the feeling that Dimon is a guy who, when faced with unwanted exposure, "pulls the trigger and gets out," rather than trying to hedge, which Najarian suspects other banks will try to do.

Mike Murphy probably wishes nobody had asked him to talk about JPM on Thursday

Mike Murphy, like Jon Najarian, was calling JPM a buy on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money (although Najarian indicated a hedge against it), apparently in part on PR reasons.

Murphy said this is "a company's management that really knows how to handle what's obviously negative news."

"I am long a very small position," Murphy said, and would look to add.

Guy Adami took issue with Murphy's praise of management disclosure. "We shouldn't be championing the efforts of something that should be going on all along, candidly," Adami said.

Joe Terranova said he totally disagrees with Murphy on buying JPM, and at various points said that he owns the shares, but, "I would not buy more on the decline," and "I will dump my Bank of America tomorrow."

Keith McCullough said, "This stock breaking 41 is a problem."

Grasso: Short-term, financials get a ‘nail in a coffin’

Prettiest Hair on Cable Television Mary Thompson got extended time on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to rattle off breaking news from the JPM conference call.

Quite frankly, much of it was too deep in the trading pool for us to swim through, but Thompson said the company is "amending VAR," and then first said it will do a "wind down," then corrected herself to say "restructure" of the portfolio, which was based on excess deposits that were used to manage interest rate risk and, for the entire company, credit risk.

Keith McCullough indicated, after the stock already got hammered on the report, "This is a problem. This is a big problem." Then he defined "whale" for viewers, calling it "common nomenclature" for the "trading unit of JPMorgan."

Steve Grasso, practically silent the whole hour (except to dub Dr. J's spree of afterhours trades "kamikaze"-like while asserting 90% of them work), called it a "nail in a coffin" for the financials short-term.

Guy Adami invoked the not-just-1-cockroach theory, saying, "I can almost categorically guarantee it's not just JPMorgan."

Adami said the issue with banks is "incredible headline risk."

Joe Terranova described what JPMorgan traders were doing as "clearly speculation."

Keith McCullough cogently noted at the top, "this is why the Volcker Rule is in play," and later asked the question, "Is it too big to manage?"

Mary Thompson unfortunately called Mel Lee "Maria," but at least not "Michelle." Melissa later took it out on Keith McCullough.

Guy Adami possibly corrects Mike Khouw on VAR; Khouw not heard from again

Mike Khouw did a lot of speculation of his own on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, explaining there's a time element to value at risk and thus the total amount of money at risk is contingent on the interval, for example, "once every 20 days ... is a pretty big number."

Guy Adami then said his own general understanding is that it refers to "any given day," and that JPM is now saying that risk is "double which is, which is unbelievable."

A chartist got it right: Steve Suttmeier said April 30 to take profits in financials

Chart watcher Steve Suttmeier returned to the 5 p.m. Fast Money set on Thursday with a pocket of dead air (we're guessing earpiece problem) but said the JPM news just fortifies his flat/negative call on financials.

He said we've seen the banks "give up that leadership status" from the first quarter, and that there's a long-term "base that needs to be completed," and so the sector is "not gonna go anywhere for a long time."

Mel Lee thanked David Albrycht of Virtus for stepping over to the Nasdaq set to discuss JPM credit spread activity recently, except Albrycht had very little to say and mostly invoked the old Jeff Tomasulo Trade (there's a blast from Fast Money past) of checking everything out tomorrow and seeing what happens before concluding anything. He did tell Steve Grasso he's not so high on high yield, saying he's a seller of high yield against long bank loans (which probably are not a popular/common trade among Fast Money viewers).

Guest Todd Hagerman merely echoed late what Keith McCullough said early about JPM; "all it does is serve to galvanize the Fed's position at this point" on implementing Volcker in July, and then said "at the end of the day" it's bad for the sector, but said JPM has "certainly a floor in the mid-30s."

The JPMorgan news was considered so important, CNBC had at least 2 people listening on the conference call, as David Faber opined later that this is "really surprising" for Jamie Dimon, and "a dent to his credibility."

Mike Murphy delivers something of a back jab to JPM critics while discussing retailers

Dana Telsey dialed into the Fast Line on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to say stumbling JWN has a bright spot in online growth, but not raising earnings guidance in this environment is a problem.

Steve Grasso asked Telsey if AEO can keep going. Telsey indicated yes, that a lot of names not at peak levels have "runway" ahead of them.

Mike Murphy, dinged up a little earlier by Guy Adami's chiding of his praise for JPM's disclosure and Joe Terranova's dismissal of buying the stock, told Melissa Lee during retail time, "I don't like Nordstrom here at all," that he's long M and short JCP, and by the way, "we do not have our chicken little hat on, the sky is not falling."

So the first 53 minutes ... no good?

Near the end of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Melissa Lee said, "Meantime, sharp left turn here, wanna do some good with the remainder of time we have in the show."

Lee introduced guests from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who promoted the Pineapple Classic 5k (Web site here.)

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was FAZ, for a "1-day play." Guy Adami said PFE, Keith ("Kevin") McCullough said to short Capital One, and Joe Terranova said he bought SBUX.

Gene Munster says Scott Thompson’s résumé is no big deal

Some of the people on Fast Money recently have indicated Scott Thompson passed the point of return in résumé-fudging.

Gene Munster, however, thinks the controversy is actually overdone.

"Does it really matter what the person did back in college," Munster asked Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, concluding that firing Thompson seems like "not the right thing to do."

In fact, Munster says the stock, with its ever-elusive Asian assets, "is a buy."

Anthony Scaramucci does far better job than Judge Wapner at providing usable material

Day 2 of Fast-Money-At-SALT, and we were starting to wonder why CNBC paid to send Judge Wapner out there.

The Moochmeister might as well have been the host, being the only person on the 2 days' worth of sets to bring up anything remotely provocative.

Scaramucci said Thursday that the hedge fund consensus seems to be $150-$175 billion Facebook valuation after it starts trading.

Scaramucci also said there's a lot of talk again about sell in May, and that some of the panelists are saying that MSFT "will be the breakout stock over the next half-decade," because of Windows 8 Mobile that will "eat into Apple's share" and growing carrier fatigue over the iPhone subsidy.

Judge goes to Vegas to interview Howard Schultz in Washington

In his lone highlight of Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, Judge Wapner squeezed in a couple questions cross-country for Howard Schultz, who said he "only committed to 1 year" on the Groupon board, and nobody should read anything beyond that into his sudden departure.

"I have a lot of confidence in Andrew Mason and the Groupon team," Schultz insisted.

He also insisted Starbucks has a "very good partnership with Green Mountain."

Pete Najarian said of SBUX, "I love the name, yes."

Najarian also trumpeted WFC, and called BBBY (note the extra "B") as "far too cheap."

Anthony Scaramucci tried to waffle like leggo my eggo on the banks, saying, "We're bullish on the financials," and that there's a "good carry trade" while yields are so low, but if Europe starts to unravel (again), financials are gonna be the first ones to get hit.

Jon Najarian said (yup) "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" and pointed to hot activity in CNO. His Final Trade was to point out MT demand, and then he said he's buying CSCO on the dip. Pete Najarian's Final Trade was INTC & MSFT.

Judge goes to Vegas, forgets to pack interesting questions

It's nobody's fault, but whoever decided to pair otherwise acclaimed value investor (but with absolutely nothing provocative to say) Joel Greenblatt with starry-eyed-among-the-SALT-crowd Judge Wapner for a lengthy go-round on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report is probably going to get a nastygram from Susan Krakower.

Greenblatt broke the Fast Money mark for most "uh" or "um" and had little to talk about aside from playing the odds with a basket of stocks with lower expectations than they deserve in his opinion, while Judge was utterly bereft of thought-provoking questions in a performance that probably could've been outdone by hangover-plagued Charlie.

You knew things were going bust when Judge introduced Greenblatt as the guy who "literally wrote the book on value investing."

Later, Judge described Greenblatt's exclusive Web site, valueinvestorsclub.com, as, "It's like social media for, for higher-level investors. I mean you're sharing ideas!"

Greenblatt said something about his assessment of the market is that it's at the 92 percentile of some kind, and only 8% of the time has the market been this cheap.

Judge utterly gave Greenblatt a free pass on the future of Best Buy's business model after Greenblatt said he likes the stock because to the market, "it's really hard to like ... very low expectations." Fair enough, but dubious was Greenblatt's assertion that "you probably don't end up losing very much from here."

Greenblatt likes 3 pillars of big tech, AAPL, HPQ and MSFT. Pete Najarian though asked whether HPQ is a value trap. "I don't know," Greenblatt said, but it's priced so low that many good things can happen. He predicts a "special situation" in the next year or 2 from Meg Whitman's overhaul.

Greenblatt also likes KSS, but conceded, "only about 2/3 of our picks end up, uh, actually beating the market," although if true, that's a better record than many.

Dan Niles: The GLUU man of Fast Money

Dan Niles opened his appearance at the SALT-based Thursday Fast Money Halftime Report with a Brag Trade recall of what he said about the deeper reach of Cisco's European results last year, and then said, "I'm actually fairly negative on the market between now and year end."

However, Niles did talk about a couple stocks he likes, including MSFT (because of the touch feature coming out in the fall) and GLUU, which he said will tap into the growth of people playing games on smartphones at airports.

Regarding Facebook, Niles said there's a difference between a great stock and a great company, assuring that Facebook is a great company, but that other IPOs such as GRPN and ZYNG have come down a lot since their peaks, so be careful of how Facebook trades, even though it's a great company.

[Wednesday, May 9, 2012]

Dennis Gartman has the Greece unwind all figured out

One term you often hear during times of market selloffs and global change — such as right now — is the "uncertainty" hovering over Wall Street.

Yet, Dennis Gartman on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money is not only assuring a Greece exit from the euro (at some undetermined point in time), but has even already penciled in the aftermath.

"Greece will go, it'll get its drachma back. 6 months later it'll see its economy coming back because of tourism, will pick up. Portugal will say, we want in to do the same thing." And then, said Gartman, Spain and Italy will embrace the same idea.

Brian Kelly and Simon Baker, who curiously was given Steve Cortes' crown of "The Contrarian" on Wednesday, both harped on "the casualness" with which they're hearing this being spoken about (they didn't refer to Dennis by name) with Baker pointing out the blow to Greeks' net worth that would occur and flat-out telling Gartman, "It'll be a longer term than you think it will be."

Gartman agreed "clearly it's going to be difficult," and that legally Greece can't do this, but it defies belief that Greece with 20-25% unemployment will continue accepting austerity.

Baker had an alternative to that, suggesting, "I think Germany is ultimately going to relent."

Yes, this is SALT 2012,
not SALT 2005*

Kate Kelly, giving Gary Kaminsky a bit of a breather, handled the SALT update on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and revealed that Dan Loeb said that Yahoo has "missed every important trend on the Internet ... social, mobile, you name it."

And in other news ...

Kelly said Loeb was basically cheered on by other panelists at his SALT forum, but she told Melissa Lee she is "not sure" if Loeb has rounded up some agitator allies to make something out of his apparent ultimatum.

"I still think Yahoo is a buy here," said Guy Adami.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Loeb and his people can go in there and do an infinitely better job than anybody over the last 5 years," asserted Dan Nathan.

Karen Finerman said "at the end of the day," in reference to how agitation doesn't always work, for example if it had happened at Kodak.

Kelly says hedge funds at SALT are actually talking up equities because they're not getting any yields out of bonds. She also said Loeb thinks Portugal will slip through and so is buying Portuguese debt.

We realized Wednesday that Charlie's also out in Vegas, to raise a ruckus, reporting that Loeb doesn't want to run Yahoo but just be on the board, and that it's boom times for hedge fund recruiting; "Dan Stern Reservoir Capital on Volcker impact: Bank traders bolting for HFs he gets daily calls from trading desks heds for work."

(*SALT didn't exist in 2005; it's a figure of speech.)

Melissa & Guy were paying closer attention to Colin Gillis’ commentary than Gillis probably realized

Colin Gillis said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "We know Cisco is gonna be a low-single-digit grower," specifying "2-5% range."

Mel Lee and Guy Adami, who were far more versed on Cisco's earnings report than Gillis, to their credit and Gillis' embarrassment, questioned Gillis' "everybody knew" claim of low single digits, given that the estimate was 7.1%.

Adami pointed out that not everyone obviously knew it would be low single digits, because the stock was cratering afterhours, but assuring, "Colin understands that as well."

Karen Finerman asked Gillis if he would stick to his $23 price target. Gillis said, "We have to sort of work through the model. But we certainly are not gonna be lifting our price target, let's put it that way."

Mike Khouw evidently didn’t have enough time to prepare his CSCO commentary

Mike Khouw, in a bit of rambling commentary about CSCO on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, said he'd be reluctant to short CSCO, and would instead look to other companies who are losing market share to Cisco.

Melissa Lee, feelin' it in one of her best performances of the year, then rightly asked Khouw for one more example of a weaker player, which immediately sent Khouw into look-down note-reading mode.

"Why don't we just take a look at, uh, for example, some of the other players in their space. I think that was probably a good place to-"

"Like a Juniper," Lee cut in.

"Well that, that might be one, but you have smaller players too, I mean, you know, you could look into, you know, I guess maybe an Advent Software," Khouw mustered, then later adding Alcatel Lucent and NEC before getting cut off for breaking news from Julia Boorstin on a Facebook filing.

Nathan: 1,340 could be top

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money indicated there might be firm footing a bit lower in the stock market. "If you're bullish you trade against 1,340," Adami said, but "don't be dogmatic."

Dan Nathan, on the other hand, warned, "1,340 may be the top side of the range very soon."

Honestly, in all the years (gulp) of doing this page, we've totally seen this movie before ... stocks sell off a bit, a few headlines burst on the scene, bears start going on CNBC saying this is the top, and the really-really bears insist right now is the moment the world starts paying the piper for debt and overleverage ... and then after several weeks or maybe a couple months, the Fed has said something helpful, some summit in Europe has produced some agreement that no one believes, and stocks recover and make nitwits out of the people who unloaded during the selloff and really only present useful short opportunities at the very beginning of the selloff or maybe during 1 or 2 days in the middle of it.

All's we know is to not try to actually time any of that, but then again, being knuckleheaded in the past hasn't stopped us before.

Karen Finerman said, for whatever reason we can't fathom, she "bought some JPMorgan" on Wednesday, and that she also bought AVP Wednesday and Friday (that one makes more sense). Finerman said AVP is "absolutely ripe for activism," and she also said despite Aubrey McClendon's "shenanigans," she "would not be short" CHK, which would put her at odds with Dan Dicker.

Mike Khouw said the tendency is to buy upside calls in a name such as AVP, but in fact he said it's best to take advantage of the heightened premium and do a July 19/24 strangle, selling the 19 put for $1.05 and the 24 call for $1.05, which is a "good sale against a long position."

Baker: Gold at $2,000 in 18 months

Simon Baker said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he's buying gold under $1,600, conceding the technicals are terrible but "the fundamentals have never looked better ... gold's gonna be at 2,000 in 18 months from now."

Dan Nathan said of CSCO, "I think you could see a retracement to the mid-teens."

Phil LeBeau said Tesla will be delivering its Model S in June.

Ed Deicke visited the Nasdaq to make a good presentation about TRuPs, or trust preferreds, which he said have a Dodd-Frank catalyst in that they "will no longer be counted as Tier 1 capital on the banks' balance sheets," and so will be called away in the next few years, which eliminates long-term interest rate risk. Deicke said he likes Goldman Sachs issues HJG and HJJ and warned about the premium with JPMorgan.

Brian Kelly issued a conditional Final Trade based on crop-report strength, to watch the JJG. Karen Finerman said JPM (hardly original), Guy Adami said CHK "for a trade," and Dan Nathan gave a boost to pal David Gould.

One guest Judge could’ve used would’ve been Diana Olick

Judge Wapner's first Halftime Report out of the SALT Conference was a slight disappointment Wednesday.

Granted, you're not going to be able to pop a new elite investor in the chair every 2 minutes for a provocative soundbite. But with 2,000 savvy investors skulking around the set, Wapner covered very little ground, and the purported prize interview with Nouriel Roubini was mostly a restatement of comments Judge posted last night from their dinner chat.

3 things remain the height of concern — China's growth, Europe's austerity and the U.S. housing market. (Some would substitute U.S. jobs, or perhaps QE3 (but that's only a 3/5-word answer, "on the table" or "off the table for now") for the latter.)

China opinions can be and have been reduced to 2-word slogans: "hard landing" or "soft landing." Europe conversations amount to everyone saying the same thing, they keep kicking the can down the road and are heading for disaster at some unknown moment.

When and if the housing market recovers is of massive importance to the U.S. economy, but Judge covered no ground on that subject Wednesday.

Nor did he ask anyone about the Facebook IPO, Scott Thompson's resume, Aubrey McClendon's hedge fund, presidential race/control of Congress, tax rates, or Meredith Whitney's still-pending muni implosion because school districts are forcing parents to find alternative rides to school for the kiddies.

Guest: Buffett, Munger missed gold’s decade-long boom, so I don’t have to respect their opinion

Judge Wapner's most interesting guest on Wednesday's SALT-based Halftime Report was Eric Sprott, who had a response to recent anti-gold comments from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.

"They missed the trade," Sprott said. "I don't know that I should respect their opinion at this point in time."

"Gold was the investment of the last decade," Sprott said, adding that it "blew away" other asset classes.

Stating the obvious, Sprott said, "I think we had an overlevered banking system," but that amid the turmoil in Europe, he expects people to cash in currency for gold and that Spain might be next for major upheaval.

Mostly though he pegged gold demand to central banks, notably China, citing Jim Grant in saying "all markets are manipulated," but that China bought "64 tons in a month."

"Physical data is overwhelmingly in favor of gold," Sprott said.

Sprott predicted gold "over 2,000 by year-end," and silver over $50. He said his own silver vehicle, PSLV, has "tax advantages over the SLV."

Sprott said he's short financials because we're going to have a "Minsky moment," a term we discovered has its own Wikipedia page, which says the term was coined by Pimco's Paul McCulley in 1998.

McCulley, we learned, also coined "shadow banking system."

Pete buys AAPL

Guest Rick Rieder on Wednesday's Halftime Report at SALT was most provocative (if you can call it that) disagreeing with Doug Kass' Treasury-bubble thesis of a day ago.

Rieder said of the 10-year yield, "We think it'll drift higher," but that there's no bubble and that Treasurys will remain a realistic flight for quality as we experience a "couple percent growth for a long time."

Rieder said he's increasing allocation to munis, but "hitting a home run" is going to be "probably a pretty tough dynamic."

Pierre LaGrange, dubbed the guest co-host for the hour, suggested that shorting Treasurys is the "symmetrical trade" of long euro. LaGrange said he's not surprised that the euro continues to hover amid election turmoil, "because it's a relative trade" and it's not like other places are gangbusters.

LaGrange wasn't a particularly explosive guest, but did make a solid point, that right now the markets have "no conviction … the market is looking for crowded trades." In a bit of a no-brainer, LaGrange said when it comes to investing in CAT or global growth, he'd rather be in the "earlier part of the cycle" than the "later part of the cycle."

LaGrange used curious terminology to describe AAPL, saying it's been viewed as a "studio" dependent on new releases, but "Apple is morphing into a different company," and "it's a very long-term story."

Nouriel Roubini took a seat in the 2nd half hour of the program and reiterated what Judge had already posted last night, that Europe is a "slow motion train-wreck," that it won't implode in 6-12 months but that Greece will exit the euro in 2013.

Suggesting other exit possibilities, Roubini rattled off Portugal and Cyprus, then mentioned Ireland's troubles and suggested eventually it could even be Spain.

"All the policymakers are going to kick the can down the road," Roubini said, not exactly a newfound revelation to anyone paying attention.

Asked to comment after Roubini left, LaGrange said, "I take the 5th with Nouriel."

Pete Najarian, the lone Fast Money regular on the makeshift set, reported that he was looking for opportunities while on the plane flight to Vegas yesterday, just like Warren Buffett always talks about (the opportunities, not the plane flight to Vegas), and in fact "I jumped back into AAPL." But he cautioned it's an "investment, however, not as a trade" (translation: This page can't give Pete trouble if AAPL drops $20 by Friday).

Pete said people are "disinterested" in financials; that's why he doesn't want them now.

[Tuesday, May 8, 2012]

Karen tries to scoff at high-P.E. stocks, instead bolsters their case

Dan Nathan on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money decided to take a dig at certain high-flying "momentum" stocks, particularly "Chipulte" (that would be CMG for those unaware of certain Fast Money translations) but also RL, even saying "at the end of the day" people are hitting the sell-button at the same time. (This writer is long CMG.)

But then he concluded, "at some point, there are buyers for these things, they came back."

So ... what's the point again?

Karen Finerman used that dialogue as a springboard to complain about high P.E.'s, pointing to RL and arguing of the price drop, "it's not a lot; it could be down a lot more," and somehow, even though the stock did wasn't down a lot more, which we've learned from Trade School means it's trading well or something like that, Finerman insisted, "I can't get comfortable with those."

Last September, Nathan called CMG ‘Netflix circa 2 years ago’

Dan Nathan's niche in the Fast Money/Options Action sphere is actually on the options side.

Fortunately, it's not on the momentum-stock side.

Long an AAPL critic, Nathan actually told the Fast Money gang on July 19, "I don't think we do anybody at home, uh, any service by just saying run out and buy it on the opening."

The next day, AAPL opened at $396.

On Aug. 16, Nathan complained about LULU, asserting "that thing is broken" on a day it closed at $54.24. While the stock did hit $45 in a week, it was actually higher within 2 weeks, and, as of a few days ago, was up a robust 50% since then.

And then there was Sept. 19, when Nathan said of CMG: "This is Netflix, you know, circa 2 years ago, and it will end the same way." The stock closed $336 that day.

Karen’s buy-and-hold strategy questioned/dissed by colleague for the 2nd day in a row

Dan Nathan on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money told Brian Kelly "come on," don't recommend DIS because it's trading "at like 12-year highs here" and revenues aren't growing fast enough for his liking.

Karen Finerman questioned this market-timing call. "So you think you're gonna be able to pick the bottom and pick the top?" Finerman demanded.

"OK great, get in there and buy it- buy it tomorrow on the opening," Nathan scoffed.

"Didn't we have the same discussion in the low 30s," Finerman demanded again.

"It actually went down like 10% after you bought it last summer," Nathan said.

"OK so where's it now," Finerman demanded.

"Most people don't hold onto stocks like you hold onto stocks," Nathan countered.

At that time, Mel Lee, who never lets a spirited conversation take wing, concluded Finerman and Nathan have "different time horizons."

We actually don't have an archive record, at least one we can find, of Finerman and Nathan sparring over DIS last summer, but we'll take their word for it.

Then get out before October

Doug Kass on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money offered a rather unexplosive call on a bond-market bubble.

Kass predicted U.S. growth will be better than expected, and "we're gonna see stability in Europe." He said the long bond trades historically at a premium to nominal GDP, but we all know how historical price comparisons haven't really meant a hill of beans in the last few years.

Brian Kelly first curiously told Kass, "I agree with you," at least on some part of his discussion, but then argued, "the trade of the last 2 decades that killed most global macro funds was shorting Japanese government bonds with all the same arguments that you have."

"I don't think, uh, Japan- the U.S. is Japan," Kass said, sounding borderline incredulous that somebody was making this counterargument.

Kelly insisted Japan had a "real estate bubble ... deleveraging, I mean it's the same economic scenario."

Stephen Weiss disagreed with Kass on U.S. growth prospects.

Kass admitted he doesn't expect stocks to suddenly soar to the "promised land," then curiously claimed "history rhymes," but argued it's not so much May 2011, but "we may very well be in May of 1987," and if that's the case, and you're heading to the megaplex this weekend, you won't be catching "Marvel's The Avengers," but more likely, Michael J. Fox and Helen Slater (whatever happened to her, and does anyone even care?) in "The Secret of My Success."

‘Avengers’ could be ‘biggest movie of all time’

DIS analyst Barton Crockett told the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang on Tuesday that Disney surprised "really on the expenses," in fact partly because of the Oprah show, which we found curious.

Karen Finerman said, "It's Karen let me ask you something," and asked Crockett how does he reach a valuation given the different businesses in the company. Crockett indicated it basically comes down to SportsCenter, saying, "I think you should change the name of the company to ESPN."

The most interesting thing Crockett said was that "Marvel's The Avengers" could unseat "Avatar" for all-time receipts; "it's still in the running I think to be the biggest movie of all time."

(Sigh) "Avengers" is passable, 2½-star entertainment, kinda feel-good which is fine, but the idea that this is going to be the biggest movie of all time is like saying that the 2011 New York Jets were the biggest football team of all time.

Stephen Weiss said he remembers the days of Davy Crockett.

Good Lord, what happened
to FOSL?

Brian Kelly said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "In my view the European elections are a positive thing," because they take a step back from austerity in favor of growth. Kelly also said he "bought Wells Fargo this afternoon."

Which ought to bring out Kyle Bass at the SALT Conference warning of the inevitable collapse as governments put off the needed medicine-taking.

Stephen Weiss flat-out declared Tuesday, "The euro is going to fall apart. The whole EU's gonna fall apart."

Dan Nathan suggested the history-repeats-itself trade, noting, "we are in the beginning of May" (can't argue with that one) and pointing out the last 2 had trouble, except, to be totally honest, last year's May wasn't really that bad, because the dips recovered, nor was June, it was late July when you really got spanked if you were long stocks.

John Brynjolfsson said he likes high-yield corporate bonds in some kind of future-inflation market, and the screen text said he likes the Russian ruble & Russian stocks. Brian Kelly said he bought ADM. Other than Nathan's dig at "momentum" stocks, the Fast gang startlingly avoided any discussion of the bizarrely horrific drop in FOSL.

Appearances by Al Gore and Robert Gates are mentioned, but not Sarah Palin

Gary Kaminsky beamed into Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money ahead of the SALT gathering this week that has brought Judge Wapner to Vegas, where all kinds of regular joes will notice Judge and invite him to throw the dice at their craps table so they can feel cool, and noted, "boy it is very hot in Las Vegas."

In one of the rare times a career as a sell side analyst has been dubbed a "spectacular" background, Kaminsky suggested MGM chief Jim Murren benefits from his Wall Street experience in understanding what the Street needs to know.

"Next year's our golden year," Murren told Kaminsky, largely because it will be able to refinance debt at low rates, a "game-changer for our company."

Murren also told Kaminsky, "a tremendous potential market is Toronto," and "2012 will be the year of Internet gaming."

In closing, Kaminsky asked Murren who would win a "pushup contest" between Kaminsky and Karen Finerman. Murren said, "I know Karen, she's sneaky strong," but gave Kaminsky the edge.

We're glad we don't have to compete with either one, given that the last trip to the course for the CNBCfix.com golf outing (which featured a few holes with a BAC-level handle), we basically needed a cart just to get from the 18th green to the parking lot.

Anthony Scaramucci said later that the SALT gathering will feature an "amazing speaker list," although the apparent headliner wasn't noted Tuesday by name.

Karen: Even rich execs can’t just produce gobs of money on the spot

Herb Greenberg insisted on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the Green Mountain chairman/board upheaval is "a heckuva story."

Greenberg wondered why Robert Stiller couldn't just meet the margin calls with his own cash given his wealth and purported belief in the company.

Karen Finerman said, "Herb it's Karen, let me ask you something," but first made a statement, that it's difficult for even rich guys such as Stiller to have the liquidity to meet a margin call; "it's hard to come up with that much money right away."

Melissa Lee noted that in the press release referring to the interim chairman, Green Mountain "buried the lede," which was probably its goal.

Later, Lee entertained guest Eric Anderson, whose company is attempting to mine platinum from asteroids. "This is very serious. This is absolutely something that's gonna happen," said Anderson, who might've caught too many showings of "Marvel's The Avengers" this week.

Karen Finerman wondered if it's easier just to be long platinum.

Mel Lee exhibited one of her top outfits of the year that makes moviegoers exclaim "that's who I should've seen 'The Avengers' with." We picked the screen grab above because it clearly shows Mel's left sleeve being short sleeve, while the right is long sleeve.

Does this chart make
an ounce of sense to you?

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report welcomed David Faber from the wireless trade show in New Orleans to discuss (yawn) the huge potential of electronic/mobile payment systems with MasterCard exec Gary Flood.

Faber asked Flood how soon until we're all just swiping a phone for every transaction. Flood speculated, "5, 6, 7 years."

What we couldn't figure out is that ridiculous graphic above — keep in mind that when we see the score on the screen during football games, we sometimes struggle to determine who's winning — that first made us think the growth market for being willing to make a mobile payment was age 8 (or that people 1) were getting broke as they aged, and 2) were only making 10% of their transactions that way in the retirement home), before we realized what the problem is, that it's putting income and age on the same X-axis.

Jon Najarian said his plays on this sector are NXPI and TXN.

Adami: Possibility of ‘crazy, outside month to the upside’

Guy Adami said at the top of Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that bulls actually may have something to cheer about in the near future.

"There's a chance that we go out and take those upper ranges out and put in some crazy, outside month to the upside at some point," Adami suggested, though insisting, "I am not in that camp."

Steve Grasso wasn't so enthusiastic. "I still think lower," Grasso said. "We've seen these bounces before."

Grasso later explained that 1,345 S&P is the 100-day moving average; "your speed-bump basically."

Jon Najarian, for anyone keeping score at home, explained that this type of breakdown is why he was "not an aggressive buyer yesterday," because the "whoosh" didn't happen, and that "this is what we were looking for yesterday" ("we" meaning everyone but Scott Nations), except he didn't exactly sound like he was plunging into Tuesday's "bit of a whoosh" either.

Dennis Gartman concisely summarized, "Things are confused and that means lower prices."

Default on your mortgage;
get a break

Diana Olick made a rare appearance on CNBC's Fast Money for Tuesday's Halftime Report, explaining what in the world is going on with Bank of America offering a huge break to a bunch of homeowners who are going to default anyway.

Olick said the company's argument is that the write-downs prevent costly foreclosures, and "they claim they have done the math and it works."

In fact, the company rep who spoke in Olick's clip actually is concerned that people who receive the offer will dismiss it as one of those too-good-to-be-true pieces of junk mail they get based on someone looking up public records of their mortgage.

Dennis Gartman said his understanding is that it takes missing 2-4 payments to qualify, and rightly said it's a "terrible signal to be sending."

Guy Adami said, "I wouldn't go near BAC at all."

Showing ’em how it’s done

Jon Najarian indicated on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Greece is actually serving as something of the Lewis & Clark of global currency.

That would be in the category of exiting the euro, and providing a "road map" for others.

Steve Grasso was sort of neutral on the possible impact of a couple dogs leaving the euro, saying it would just leave a lot of "sub-mediocre economies."

Dennis Gartman grumbled that even if Greece goes, Germany will be picking up the tab, perhaps forgetting the cost of East Germany 20 years ago (but that made it safe to like Katarina Witt).

Todd Gordon said his Money in Motion trade is long dollar vs. Norwegian krone, at 5.84.

Dennis Gartman's Final Trade was to buy the Canadian dollar and sell the euro and "hope the damn thing finally breaks."

Everyone can be right on MCD

Dan Nathan on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report first thanked sexy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who lit up the set in red, for calling him "Mr.," then dropped the hammer on MCD, claiming, "Obviously the stock's breaking down," and that he piled on, buying the June 92.50 put for $1.50.

Meanwhile, guest Matthew DiFrisco argued otherwise, saying, "I think the bad news is priced into the stock."

Jon Najarian said both can be right, and that around $88, he would "load up" on MCD.

Dennis Gartman says nothing about owning gold in yen terms

Guy Adami made the type of comment on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that has to raise eyebrows, that being, "Dennis has been spot-on the gold story."

Adami professed to being a gold bull and not a gold bug, and said while gold may be taking it on the chin recently, he figures it won't be seeing $1,000, but $2,000.

Steve Grasso said again that "I own the GDX," because eventually it'll get a pop, but this time Dennis Gartman didn't complain about the futility of owning the miners vs. the commodity and waking up to learn one of your mines is flooded.

Gartman said copper figures to go lower. Guy Adami pointed out that FCX has been a dog since late 2010.

$22 target on EA

Rarely do analysts sound as enthusiastic about a stock collapse as EA watcher Sean McGowan did on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, insisting, "I've been waiting for this," and then, suggesting whopping upside, "I put a $22 target on it."

Guy Adami admitted there's "obviously downside here," but also "tremendous upside," like risking a buck to make 5 or 6.

Jon Najarian said, "I would go with that exactly as Guy laid it out."

Adami also mentioned one of the oldest Fast Money cliches, asking McGowan if EA could be an interesting takeout.

Najarian: Watch PBI

Dennis Gartman said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report (which didn't feature Patty Edwards) that he has no position in crude and doesn't think it's a buy here, citing those CME margin requirements again.

Guy Adami said some bottom-fishers will look at TSO, but he wouldn't be surprised if it reaches $19 in the "near future."

Jon Najarian said he's looking at CAT around these levels.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera referred to Steve "wishes he was related to Dick" Grasso. Grasso said, "I'd be a buyer of JWN" or M.

Tony Wible said DIS is the best play on the ad market, whereas CBS would be a play on broadcasting. He said, in another one of the oldest Fast Money cliches, "at the end of the day," ESPN has a lot of leverage, and so he has a "$49 target and frankly I think it could move even higher."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was PG. Jon Najarian apparently was bearish on PBI, saying, "A lot of puts have been rolled down." Guy Adami mentioned the passing of Rich Ruzika.

In a throwback, Caruso-Cabrera asked Adami to Call the Close. Guy said it would close right around the level at 1 p.m. Eastern, which was 1,350 S&P.

[Monday, May 7, 2012]

Guest indicates he wouldn’t accept Facebook shares at issue price

It took a while to get it out of him, but Melissa Lee finally got Facebook critic Alan Patricof to produce headline material on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money (only to have Mel fail to convert the extra point, but whatever).

Lee asked Patricof, if he had money to invest, and if "you had to choose between Facebook at its offering price, or another publicly traded company, what would you do?"

Patricof paused, stammered, then answered, "I probably would do something else," although he hinted if the valuation was low enough for his liking he might change his mind, and then, utterly paradoxically, explained he's concerned about the price action because he's getting all these calls from people wondering if they should buy Facebook and that they're obviously going to be buying at market price after issuance.

Lee's question is actually a poorer way of asking, "Would you invest in Facebook if offered shares in the IPO?"

Throughout the rest of the conversation, it was unclear why Patricof was even on the show (apparently they're looking for Facebook critics willing to appear on camera). He said little except to acknowledge the "endemic" reach of Facebook while condemning the perceived valuation and insist Google's better, which is sort of the Karen Finerman argument but at least Karen gets it.

Patricof questioned the "overexuberance from the public" which would only figure to be great for investors in the IPO, but he doesn't want any. He said Facebook coverage is "part of every news media in town including CNBC," which you would hope, in the case of a business story, that CNBC is among the outlets covering it.

Patricof claimed it would take a "cascade of miracles" to make the Facebook valuation work, which he said is 24x revenues while GOOG is 5-6x, but he didn't seem so concerned about Amazon when Steve Grasso asked, because that's "related to earnings ... related to growth rates."

But, he did say, "At the end of the day."

Patricof claimed Facebook may experience trouble when "they're gonna start comparing against other companies and their growth rate." Which other companies? Yahoo?

Dr. J gives Karen the Caddyshack Trade, implies she’s missing mental thrill of catching falling afterhours knives

Rarely do Fast Money traders call out each others' strategies, but that's exactly where an over-afterhours-caffeinated Jon Najarian went on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Najarian said, "People like Karen sit there and they analyze where they wanna get in. which is to her credit, just like Warren Buffett. But what I do is I take, you know, those spur-of-the-moment trades, just like I think uh you do Josh, and you do, uh, Grasso & Guy, and we jump on 'em ... a Mako down, you know, $11 ... Wynn Casinos down $7 ... that is where you get to put your mind to work, and actually you know, take advantage and be the contrarian."

And Karen was probably so convinced, she was making trades before the end of the show (not).

But actually, if Najarian's routine is "spur-of-the-moment" trades, what's the point of being on Fast Money, to tell viewers about opportunities whose moments have passed?

Steve Grasso, in another odd characterization, didn't dis Finerman with the looks-good-on-you-though assessment of her trading style but instead credited her and similar-thinking investors for saving Monday's market after the scary "overnights (sic) market" futures. "People like Karen are sitting there going over their fundamentals ... it's usually not as much pressure as you would think," Grasso said, later confirming with Finerman she really does keep a "shopping list."

Someone actually thinks BKS is worth $40 a share

It was hard to tell whether Whitney Tilson on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was a bigger fan of AIG than Josh Brown was of RAX.

Tilson offered zero catalyst, unless you count the extremely "simple" business AIG has become or the massive unloading of shares the government plans to do for a while.

He predicted, "We think this stock's got 50-120% upside in the next year or 2."

Karen Finerman noted the government still has 63% to go, and "Why would you step in front of that?"

Tilson conceded, "That's the, that's the main reason I guess not to own it is, is 'cause you've got a motivated seller here."

Guy Adami asked if $30.50 should be considered the trading "bogey." Tilson seemed annoyed by that and instead claimed "anything above 29 is good."

While Tilson isn't the only one believing somehow in AIG (though few probably are saying 120% in a year), but he's got to be one of the very few people on earth believing someone will pay $30 for BKS. "We think it's conservatively worth 30 bucks a share," Tilson said.

Tilson then proceeded to hang Jana out to dry for his own mistake in not taking advantage of the BKS pop, saying Jana "still are holding I believe 85 or so percent or their position" and claims to believe the stock can get to "37 to 40 bucks."

Josh Brown assessed Tilson's AIG call this way: "He'll probably be right, but not yet."

Because an 8-fold return in 3 years isn’t enough

Unlike James Altucher, who's sure it'll get there, Karen Finerman complained on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that AAPL is actually shooting itself in the foot instead of "dramatically" being worth more.

"If they had been buying back stock all along, the stock would be dramatically higher than it is," Finerman groused.

Josh Brown offered a couple scenarios as to what AAPL could do and why it may or may not want to do them, but "At the end of the day ... it makes sense mathematically" to do a buyback.

Panelists had totally different expectations of an event that did not happen

Jon Najarian, in the midst of gushing about how great the afterhours selloffs were during Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, said that given the futures overnight, "I would've thought more like 35, 40 points out of the S&P" by Monday afternoon.

Scott Nations, on the other hand, insisted European elections were already priced in, and "I would've been stunned by down 30 or 35 in the S&P today."

Karen Finerman said she was "quite shocked" to see the S&P recovering so well Monday morning from the 15-point decline in the Sunday night futures, and that there are actually some stocks she would buy in this market, such as Cummins.

God’s Gift to Money-Making, the weekly options, finally resurface on Fast Money

Guy Adami on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, unlike his relieved colleagues, wasn't impressed by the flat stock market, saying the recovery off the futures was "not particularly great" given the "context" of Friday's selloff.

Josh Brown said he's got the lowest net-long positions of the year because it's "pretty risk-off at this moment in time."

Brown trumpeted RAX for so long, you almost got the feeling he was a company spokesman, praising management for spurning better short-term earnings for the longer view of a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" (always be careful when you hear that) for cloud investment, and that he'd be a buyer Tuesday if the stock is around $50-$51.

Guy Adami was much more skeptical, saying, "This is when valuation catches up," and that the stock can easily surprised to the downside.

Adami also claimed that EA looks "pretty interesting" for the first time in a while. He also said in biotech he likes CELG, and HGSI, because the bidding for HGSI isn't over; "there's another round for this one."

Scott Nations suggested a way to play a positive view on CSCO — selling a May weekly 17/19 put spread, getting 45 cents for the 19 and paying 5 for the 17, so no "net debit" here.

Things That Make Melissa Go ‘Wow’ (cont’d)

Steve Grasso said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he's not just listening to Mark Fisher about energy, he talked to one of the "brightest energy traders that I know," who told him, "I'd probably play airlines."

Grasso also figured prominently in the discussion with Domino's Pizza's Patrick Doyle, who indicated (whether in jest or not) that the company's new gluten-free crust was at least partly inspired by Grasso's suggestions on the floor of the NYSE.

"We listen to all our customers," Doyle assured, although everyone knows the term "all" is an exaggeration there.

"Wow," said Melissa Lee.

Doyle said those with celiac aren't in the clear; "there is wheat in our stores ... but for people with gluten sensitivies, it absolutely works."

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on television and brought an elegant navy-blue look in front of the Central Park backdrop to her hit this time on Fast Money, was asked by Karen Finerman why the European situation wouldn't give a bigger boost to gold.

Bourdeau said the thesis is accurate but the euro problems "just haven't been destabilizing enough." Bourdeau's trade is to short the euro vs. the yen at 104.40.

Scott Nations' Final Trade was long DIS. Jon Najarian said knife-catch with MAKO long UPL calls. Steve Grasso said M, Guy Adami pointed to an LGF reversal (must be "Hunger Games 4" in progress), Karen Finerman said CASC and Josh Brown said XBI.

Stephen Weiss ignores Rule 1 of Dennis Gartman’s Rules of Trading

Stephen Weiss, called out on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report for his long AIG call Friday, first said he does better when he disagrees, rather than agrees, with fellow panelists such as Stephanie Link on Friday.

Weiss pointed to AIG activity Friday before the Treasury announcement and claimed, "insider trading's alive and well."

Much more boldly, Weiss, said, "I actually doubled my position today" on the drop, which violates Dennis Gartman's advice to "Never, Ever, Ever, Under Any Circumstance, Add to a Losing Position."

One of these days we'll take a poll and learn if people are more entertained by Gartman's Rule #1, Dalton's Rule #1 (Never Underestimate Your Opponent — Expect The Unexpected), or Fight Club Rule #1 (Never Talk About Fight Club).

Michael Pachter suggests altruism will be a big part of another free-labor hero’s strategy

Michael Pachter, who Judge Wapner says issued a $44 price target and outperform on Facebook, drew chuckles from the Fast Money Halftime Report ensemble Monday when he told them, despite the stock not even trading yet, "it wasn't that hard" to issue a rating.

Pachter, in fact, was obviously thinking BK for lunch (and we don't mean Brian Kelly) in unleashing this whopper about the value of FB's user info: "If they use 10% of that data, they're gonna be the most valuable company ever. They can monetize better than anybody ever has monetized."

Jon Najarian asked Pachter if people being "deluged" with ads would stop using Facebook, which Najarian called the "real risk" to the company.

Pachter, in what feels like wishful thinking, insisted, "Zuckerberg won't let that happen," predicting, "You're gonna get a popup that says, we wanna protect your privacy."

We doubt that, but we do agree with the sentiment that Facebook won't let advertising become distracting enough to limit usage time. If the general public only devoted an hour of every day to do unpaid drilling for Exxon's oil or voluntarily recruiting refinancers to JPMorgan, those companies too would be the "most valuable company ever."

Guest suggests Greece’s days of rocking markets fading (faster than the Patriots’ Super Bowl window)

Guest Marko Papit said something on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report we found ourselves totally agreeing with.

"We've already had our Greek moment if you will," at the end of 2011, Papit told Judge Wapner, contending that this weekend's electoral upheaval was a "little bit of a sideshow."

"We've already had the panic moment ... Greece matters less and less," Papit said.

We're no experts (to say the least), but gotta agree with that one. Everyone saw the plunge in August and very briefly in October, realized that there will be all kinds of gloom headlines and months of jawboning and arm-twisting, and then they'll kick the can down the road, markets will go right back up, and those who bail on European debt selloffs will cost themselves a lot of money (in basically less than 6 months).

Mark Fisher: ‘Sell in May’ might be an issue for energy

Mark Fisher spoke briefly on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, dismissing concerns in the oil market about CME margins and insisting it's all about emerging markets growth.

"People got too bullish too quickly," Fisher said, suggesting "sell in May" might apply more to oil than stocks this year and that the time to get in may actually be autumn.

Fisher said nat gas could remain around 2 if no energy spikes happen this summer. "I still like Cameco," he said, because it feels totally beaten up.

Steve Cortes later dialed in to joke about Warren Buffett's gold terminology, saying he's not "caressing" or "cooing" precious metals in the slightest. "I've been short silver ... I'm adding to it this morning," Cortes said.

Win Thin had to answer Judge Wapner's favorite all-time question, where's the euro going, before his Money in Motion recommendation, which was sell Aussie dollar vs. the U.S. dollar, "still downside room to go."

It’s tongue-twister time
on Fast Money

The Kentucky Derby was just Saturday, but Brian Kelly had a lot of trouble getting out of the gate on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Kelly said the issue with stocks is "the fiscal clisp (sic), cliff here in the U.S. Everybody that I talk to is very concerned about this."

He said he's "probably net long at this point in time, I don't expect myself going home net long."

But moments later, Kelly referred to "the Franch (sic) and Germany relationship."

Joe Terranova had his own problems, questioning during a chat with Mark Fisher "what will inflode (sic) in Europe."

Weiss predicts June swoon

Early on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, suddenly U.S.-negative Stephen Weiss ran into a skeptical Judge Wapner.

Weiss predicted the European turmoil is just beginning; "June 10th and 17th it's gonna get worse ... I am still bearish on the market. I'm still bearish on the U.S. economy."

Pegging U.S. growth at 2%, Weiss said Monday's market reaction to Europe and Friday's jobs number was irrelevant to what's happening on the ground. "You can't react to what the market does all the time," he said.

Judge Wapner said he thought Weiss had been making a pro-U.S. case recently and that the rest of the world was the problem. Weiss didn't disagree but asserted, "How can you not change on the U.S.," given the recent jobs report and earnings (with specifics mostly left unstated).

Joe Terranova said he "listened intently" to Warren Buffett's comments Monday morning, but you can't just plunk a huge amount of money in like Buffett and wait for growth; "you have to be in this marketplace" and actively scouting opportunities.

Jon Najarian indicated the market's in a bit of no-man's land but at least didn't get crushed. "You didn't get the flush that I thought you might get" from the futures, he said, explaining he hoped to jump in down another 160 Monday, but "I don't think you will get that chance."

Joe Terranova thought
Mark Zuckerberg wore a suit to N.Y. road show

Kate Kelly joined Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report and offered an assessment of Scott Thompson's resumegate, saying he "misled folks" about his degree.

The Wall Street Journal doesn't quite go that far, calling it a "misstep" and then reporting, "In the absence of evidence that Mr. Thompson actively misled Yahoo about his resume, Yahoo directors likely won't force him out, one person close to the company said."

Joe Terranova didn't realize Mark Zuckerberg wasn't the first guy out of the Facebook SUV in Judge Wapner's late footage, suggesting Zuckerberg "got a suit on." Judge correctly noted, "almost looked like he had a hoodie on."

Terranova buys BAC

Jon Najarian on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report said he loves Visa, and that it was a "steal" at $115.

Brian Kelly claimed COH is more exciting than WMT.

Joe Terranova revaled, "I bought Bank of America this morning ... last week I bought JPMorgan."

Guest Tim Conder said PG is slumping relative to its competition. "They're all getting price and volume," but PG is not getting the volume.

Joe Terranova said he prefers CHD to PG.

Guest Debra Cafaro, asked by Judge Wapner to start describing Ventas' success at the 55-minute mark of Monday's Halftime, rattled off some company stats, then observed, "Really, real estate is, is a, an area of the haves and the have-nots right now. The REITS are clearly an area of the haves."

Cafaro said "there still is a tremendous hangover" in residential real estate.

Stephen Weiss said "I like the REITs" and mentioned CLNY; Joe Terranova touted DLR.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was Ciena. Nobody else got a chance.

[Friday, May 4, 2012]

SALT Conference (basically) called the top in 2011

Anthony Scaramucci made the rounds on Fast Money the last couple days gearing up for the SALT Conference that begins next week in Vegas and, according to CNBC's promos, will include Judge Wapner's Halftime crew and some special guests.

Which brings to mind last year's televised event that included The Strategy Session, marked not only by Pete Najarian, Mark Fisher, Dan Niles, Guy Adami, Gary Kaminsky and David Faber muscling around some of the hedge fund fat cats who dispensed lightweight prognostications (although unfortunately nobody told Jon Corzine, during his testimonial about getting drunk, to keep MF Global out of Europe and out of its customers' accounts), but by the 1,370 top in the S&P that occurred just a week before guests had taken a drink at whenever the first cocktail reception might've been.

Then, Kyle Bass started telling the gathering, which probably controlled about 2/3 of the world's liquid wealth collectively, about diapers in Japan, and from there the markets were toast.

Now, lo and behold, a week before SALT, and where are we ... but 1,369. (Actually we hit 1,415 earlier this week, but allow for some artistic license here.)

They say history doesn't repeat itself, but rhymes. Some will be bringing their limericks to SALT.

Scaramucci: LNKD
is the ‘Netflix of 2012’

It's still a couple months before the Fourth of July, but Anthony Scaramucci brought plenty of fireworks to Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

There were so many goodies, it's tough to pick the best headline, but we'll settle for this forecast on LNKD: "The momentum is not gonna hold here, uh, there's a ton of hedge funds short this stock, uh, this is the Netflix of 2012; when it goes, it's gonna go big ... right to the downside," Scaramucci claimed.

Speaking of Netflix, Scaramucci expressed doubts over Whitney Tilson's buying spree, asserting, "I do think this thing's gonna continue to get hammered in the near term and so it makes me wonder why this is a good entry point vs. waiting."

Then there was the status of Scott Thompson: "I'm not overly moralistic and I don't like throwing stones, but this is a black-line item; he's gotta go. I mean, you can't lie on your resume and say that it's a clerical error. It's just ridiculous," Scaramucci said.

And, forget about a post-Facebook-IPO rally. "I think the $130 billion range could potentially be low" for the shares, he said, but "this will be the high-water market for the IPO market this year. Uh, this will probably be the sign of the technology top for the near-term."

Mark Mahaney actually says it’s typical for people to forget what they majored in

Patty Edwards on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report didn't outright demand the dismissal of Scott Thompson, but like Anthony Scaramucci, suggested it would be appropriate.

"I have seen very good portfolio manager (sic), a very good portfolio manager, fired for the exact same thing. Didn't matter what his track record was; it was a moral issue," Edwards said.

Yet, no one on Friday's panel was about to convince Mark Mahaney of the justice in that.

Mahaney predicted the flap will blow over "pretty quickly," and then sounded like a corporate mouthpiece in claiming "Scott Thompson has proven himself at PayPal, the leading online payments, uh, solution out there."

Furthermore, in quite a jaw-dropper, Mahaney added, "I don't remember what he did in college (which would be difficult given they went to different schools); I don't remember some of the things I did in college."

Mahaney said he has "high regard for him" and insisted this is a "pretty small issue ... really a small issue ... only been there for a short period of time ..."

That was enough for Pete Najarian, who assessed YHOO's stock in the wake of this and claimed, "I think it's an overreaction."

Patty: ‘Safe to start nibbling’ on Herbalife

We'd hoped for some extended commentary on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report about HLF, by far the most interesting stock of the week, but the rest of the program was pretty good so we can't fault the limited analysis, which was delivered by HLF long Patty Edwards.

"We will absolutely take anything we can get at this point," Edwards said, saying the stock has found a "little bit of a floor."

Edwards said buyers should be taking "very, very small positions, but I think it is safe to start nibbling on it."

Guest gives Judge an ambiguous answer about his FB valuation

Guest James Lee was asked by Judge Wapner on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report whether Facebook is low-balling itself, or his own Facebook estimate is too high.

"That may appear to be the case," was Lee's answer.

Lee suggested the company might intentionally be starting a little low, but it's "definitely a very, uh, attractive story here." But he admitted, the Facebook advertising model is "somewhat of a work in progress."

Steve Grasso said he heard about it from his wife when he missed the Google IPO. "There's so much buzz, there's so much excitement ... this is one I'm not gonna miss," Grasso said.

Patty Edwards said talking to customers is a daily obligation. "We deal with individual clients day in and day out, and I will tell you that we have gotten more calls from our clients saying, 'Please, buy me some shares as soon as you can,' than I have heard in 25 years in the business."

Roaring sector: résumés

Mark Mahaney on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report, unlike Anthony Scaramucci (on more than 1 subject), was treating LNKD's market-cap expansion with reverence.

Mahaney said he's "extremely respectful of the momentum here," and that the valuation is sort of an "umbrella" for the multiples of the tech sector.

Judge Wapner turned to Amazon and pointed out, "Kindle market share fell in Q1 to 4% from 17% uh in the 4th quarter."

Mahaney didn't care about those numbers. "We'll take 'em with a little bit of a grain of salt," he said, explaining that if the 2nd version of the Fire improves as much as the 2nd version of the reader, there is "enormous opportunity here."

Patty Edwards crowed of AMZN, "I said it before, I'll say it again, don't discount the management there; I think it goes higher."

Judge Wapner read an update from Whitney Tilson on Netflix, saying he has been "buying steadily as it's fallen," including Thursday, and that the stock is "back to being a very interesting acquisition target."

2 bad days, and we’re back in dividend-paying-stock land

Some of the most uninteresting moments of Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report occurred right at the top, when Steve Grasso offered a time-delay, conditional trade for energy, that when you see XLK and XLF break down, "then you rush in and then you start buying the XLE."

"You have to wait for those leaders to break" before buying laggards, Grasso said.

Patty Edwards meanwhile was telling fractured fairy tales, saying the market is a "bad Goldilocks story," but there is "shelter I guess to be found in, say, the dividend-paying stocks."

Edwards apparently wanted people to recall past comments. "We are fully invested, I've been saying that for a couple of weeks now," she said, but stressing "grandma stocks" such as KMB, BMY, PMI.

Anthony Scaramucci predicted Mike Mayo's JPM downgrade is off-base. "I think Mike will be wrong on this, Scaramucci said, adding, "I think Bank America's (sic) very attractive."

Yet Pete Najarian pointed out the banks had been rolling since November, but recently it's been "almost like a spigot was stopped," and the options dried up, and that given JPMorgan's position on buybacks, it seems like $45 is "definitely a cap on the stock."

Dennis Gartman fails to mention whether his gold holding is in yen terms

Dennis Gartman claimed on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that oil was tumbling because of 1) CME margins that hurt liquidity, 2) Chesapeake, 3) Europe, 4) stocks, 5) dollar, and probably a few more we missed.

Oh yeah, the "administration's own antagonism, antipathy" towards speculators.

Gartman predicted the CME-related issues will cause "problems for several months." But he maintains, "I think you need to have some gold in your account" to play the "Armageddon Trade."

Anthony Scaramucci said if you like AIG, "the best way to play it" is the "45 strike warrants which expire in 2021." Scaramucci said Carlyle is the type of name to hold for 1 to 3 years.

Stephen Weiss, in the tiresome rivalry nobody cares about regarding steel between himself and Steve Grasso, claimed after "2 sleepless nights" of being long X and MT, "I'm short again as of yesterday." Grasso reiterated, "I'd rather be a buyer than a seller here."

Weiss said his new trade is to short CAT, because the "economy globally is slowing dramatically." Pete Najarian, by contrast, said he wouldn't short it but look to get long around 97.

Steve Grasso reported that Anthony Scaramucci's hedge-fund book is a page-turner. "I actually started reading it last night, thank you my brother, it's great right off the start," Grasso said.

Sounds like Scott Thompson should be taking advice from Shaq, because Thompson’s future looks less like a slam dunk and more like a personal foul

(Sigh) Looks like this page one of these days will have to take another detour from Fast Money to discuss the United States education complex.

Viewers of Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report learned that Shaquille O'Neal just earned a doctoral degree for analyzing CEOs and "whether they utilize humor or seriousness in their leadership styles."

"No CEO, you know, uses one style," O'Neal explained. "They have to modulate between using humor and being serious."

Judge Wapner then asked Shaq which CEOs he admires most. After a couple other names, O'Neal said, "I was a fan of the late Steve Jobs" ... who we don't recall being known for his sense of humor. But whatever. Shaq did call Judge "brother."

We'll have much more from Friday's Halftime Report later Friday.

[Thursday, May 3, 2012]

Fast Money silent on HLF

In one of the most fascinating/bizarre stock stories in recent memory, Herbalife on Thursday continued its free fall ... apparently still only because of a few questions David Einhorn asked a couple days ago.

1 guy who's not Herb Greenberg asks 3 questions ... and the company's suddenly worth 34% less than it began the week.

There's something enormously out-of-whack in the share price, as business conditions don't change 34% in 3 days.

Either this is astoundingly overdone ... or overdue.

That a plunge could still be regarded as overdue after a 20% drop the first traumatic day is reflected in this quote in the Fortune story: "I think Einhorn knows a lot more about this company than he is letting on."

March 9 was the last day this site has on record of a Fast Money recommendation of the stock, when Patty Edwards said, "The hits just keep on coming ... I will be owning for quite a while." (When she said "hits," who knew what that might entail.)

Three days before that, Herb Greenberg scored by noting discrepancies between what the company was saying about R&D in different forums, reporting that, sad to say, had zero impact on the stock.

Of course, Fast Money wouldn't talk about it on Thursday. We can only hope that Patty Edwards, the only Fast Money panelist regularly touting the stock and a semi-regular on Friday's Halftime Report, will be on this Friday to take up the subject, because apparently no one else will.

Finerman: GOOG going public now would be ‘far north’ of today’s valuation

This page has spent the last couple days harping on the various ways that panelists on a TV show called "Fast Money" are doing anything but advising viewers on actual trades.

On Thursday's 5 p.m. show, Karen Finerman revisited another useless, time-wasting theme, The Valuation Complaint — Stocks I Don't Like Trade Too Richly While Stocks I Do Like Trade Too Cheaply.

"If Google were coming today, if it weren't already public and had stayed private, up until today, there is no way it would come out at the valuation it's currently trading at now. It would be something far north of that," Finerman insisted.

Great. But you know what ... at the end of the day ... be that as it may ... inherently ... at this point in time ... in and of itself ... that doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

What actually is relevant is whether FB is worth buying on IPO day, and whether GOOG is a buy or sell heading into and after IPO day.

Anthony Scaramucci at least gave viewers something to chew on (aside from suggesting Judge Wapner could be in trouble in Vegas for looking like a Secret Service agent), correctly pointing out that Facebook isn't making the huge Google bungle of the Dutch auction IPO that briefly turned it into amateur hour, and, "There's gonna be an enormous amount of demand for this thing ... I do predict that this thing will trade to a $120 billion market cap ... should it be worth that? I don't know."

Steve Grasso insisted FB shares will fly off the shelves, no questions asked. "They went to MIT, they went to Harvard, they went to Yale, they go 'Yeah, I'm closin' my eyes and I'm buying it," Grasso said, predicting the nominal share prices reported will eventually double, and "before long it'll be trading at par. Par is 100."

Anthony Scaramucci calls
Jon Fortt ‘Jeff’; no one corrects

Fast Money viewers learned on Thursday's 5 p.m. show that apparently, neither Melissa Lee nor Joe Terranova has a LinkedIn profile.

"Anybody use LinkedIn? Anybody here?" Anthony Scaramucci asked his colleagues.

Apparently no one said yes, even though we easily found a Karen Finerman profile (because she might need regular joes to contact her ... for the purposes of ... ?).

But Jon Fortt, reporting on the earnings call, revealed from California, "I do use LinkedIn."

"You ask the college kids about LinkedIn, they don't use it," Scaramucci said.

Frankly, we have no clue what the appeal of that "product" is; it's basically people who already have high-paying jobs posting resumes for kicks and supplying free labor to a for-profit company.

However, Scaramucci's spot question didn't reveal the full truth, or even part of it. We just discovered, practically everyone at CNBC seems to be on this (or once had a profile), starting with pride of UCSD Patty Edwards, Steve Cortes (enjoys tennis and cigars), "Seeking Alpha contributor" Keith McCullough and (apparently) Judge, but more importantly, Seema Mody (yes) (a thousand times yes), Mandy (yes), Courtney Reagan (yes), Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (yes), Kelly Evans (yes), Jackie DeAngelis (yes), Sue Herera, Carl Quintanilla, Tyler Mathisen (we didn't know he's actually a VP), Herb Greenberg, Becky Quick, Ron Insana, Julia Boorstin (apparently), Maria Bartiromo (in case Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page ever want to set up an interview, presumably), even (snicker) Charles Gasparino.

The impressive holdouts appear to include David Faber, Jon Najarian, Gary Kaminsky and Joe Kernen.

Anyway, Scaramucci, expressing doubts about the company's potential, said, "I'm worried about that interface." Fortt noted, "I'm gonna have CEO Jeff Weiner on Squawk on the Street tomorrow morning," which prompted Scaramucci to say, "Jeff, don't be mad at me," except he was referring to Fortt, not Weiner.

Simon Baker revealed of LinkedIn, "Yeah, I use it."

Scott Nations doubts Joe Terranova’s plan for playing the jobs-report aftermath

We couldn't care less about the forecasts for the monthly jobs report, unless of course they come from The World's Cutest Economist, Michelle Meyer, but at least on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Scott Nations bailed out what should've been a dozer of a segment.

Josh Feinman said the bar for Fed action after Q2 "is fairly high."

Then Joe Terranova reiterated that he's expecting a highly volatile stock market for a few days, and he's playing it with straddles.

Nations said, "Straddles are really tough to make money on into these big catalysts."

Terranova protested as to what better way is there to make money if you're expecting wide moves. Nations said that's a good question but insisted that Terranova knows that it's really hard to make money in them unless you're following them by the minute or even second, which Terranova might well not be if he's on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Steve Grasso extrapolated the discussion into a mild Obama takedown of how weak expectations are for job growth. "We need way more than 250 ... so we're all lowering the bar for ourselves here; this market should still be sold," Grasso said.

Simon Baker seems to think Whitney Tilson is short NFLX

James Altucher on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money unfortunately didn't really have a catalyst, but did offer an interesting trade, that in GRPN, "all of the bad news is baked in," and the stock "could easily double from this point."

Mel Lee tried playing the same card everyone played with Netflix (to some success, but it was really other factors that sank the stock), that thing about how Google (or Amazon or Facebook) are going to get into the business and compete.

Altucher said Netflix is going to succeed from original programming, pointing out he was at HBO in 1990, and "HBO was going nowhere until they started doing original programming. The same thing's gonna happen to Netflix."

Simon Baker said he likes NFLX, either it's at the bottom, or "I don't think it's too far away."

Steve Grasso cautioned that the stock fell off a cliff basically like Wile E. Coyote (though he didn't say the Wile E. Coyote part) and feels like it still wants to go lower. Baker argued that shorts will start covering, including "Tilson ... he's going to be covering it."

Grasso: Falling-knife stocks might average 12 disasters an hour

Earlier this week Judge Wapner was suggesting that one of his Fast Money panelists was being a little hyperbolic, and Steve Grasso might've fit that definition a bit on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money when cautioning against taking a stab at NFLX or other "falling-knife" stocks.

To safely trade it, you might have to "grab it and, and get out of the trade within 3 to 5 minutes sometimes," Grasso warned.

Granted, sometimes what are you saying; it's too many times way too many times we've been skunked in a stock quicker than the John Tudor/Jeff Lahti/Joaquin Andujar combination in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series, but thankfully never in 3 minutes, although what Grasso says is correct if you're one of those people that likes to buy at 3:59 p.m. on the days of afterhours earnings reports.

Joe Terranova singled out SanDisk as a knife he likes. Anthony Scaramucci thought so much of this, he made it his Final Trade.

A Fast Money panelist suggests CHK is cheap; no one mentions the map collection

A day earlier, no one on Fast Money seemed willing to go near CHK with anything but a hazmat suit, and yet on Thursday, both Pete Najarian at Halftime, and then Scott Nations at 5 p.m., were talking about a bullish options trade.

And, no one cited years-old corporate governance gripes this time as a reason to avoid it.

Nations called the shares "really cheap now," and recommended buying a call calendar in the June/October 20s, selling the June for 50 cents and buying the October for $1.50.

Joe Terranova also recommended a related but different company stock, CHKM, which he said has experienced a "sympathy selloff" with CHK, but its only correlation is receiving the gas from CHK, so unless you think that's suddenly going to stop, there's value there.

Any time Research in Motion can be brought into the discussion, it’s appreciated on Fast Money

Gene Munster told the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang Thursday that he just visited an Apple store within a store at a Target yesterday, and unlike some glorified kiosk, "it really is an Apple store."

Karen Finerman asked Munster about his $910 AAPL target and how it gets there.

"It's 12 times our 2015 earnings," Munster said, before correcting the "2015" to "2014."

Anthony Scaramucci asked if AAPL isn't about to "jump the shark" by oversaturating the American public with stores and products. Munster said a lot of people in this country still can't get to an Apple store.

Mel Lee asked Munster about Apple TV and the timing. Munster seemed to imply exact dates don't matter; "at the end of the day, it's still coming."

Joe Terranova made a reference to Facebook and mobile, suggesting, "maybe they could buy the carcass that is now RIMM." That of course prompted MLee to say, "RIMM. Ooh."

Karen bashes Fast Money’s
video editor

Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money showed a couple recent clips of Karen Finerman discussing Sotheby's leverage in the "art-as-asset-class" world that Karen claimed Thursday were taken out of context.

"Nice job there in Englewood Cliffs. What I said 2 days ago, or 3 days ago was, this hype into The Scream, is overdone. Sell into that. Yes. That was an excellent job of finding the reverse of what I said," Finerman groused.

As for BID, "I still like the story. Now, you're free to buy," Finerman said.

While we remember Finerman's dialogue with Asher Edelman, we don't have the foggiest memory of anything she said about BID this week, so it had to be so innocuous as to barely make the radar screen, but whatever.

Why do they need a guest to opine about BRK-A when they can get Whitney to come on and explain Warren will run it 10 more years and it’s actually worth $180,000

Guest Meyer Shields on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and wasn't as enthusiastic as certain other CNBC pundits on Berkshire Hathaway, saying the problem with whoever the next CEO is, it's not Warren Buffett, and that Buffett represents a (um, probably a little low) 10% premium in the stock.

(And, there's about a 90% Buffett premium in attendance at the Omaha annual meeting.)

Steve Grasso said CF, based on the now-old low-nat-gas-input-price story, looks good, "I think you wanna be a buyer of CF." Karen Finerman agreed, "I like it here."

Simon Baker, though, countered that "relative strength is still pretty low," and "I'd be putting my money elsewhere."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was WLT. Anthony Scaramucci said SNDK, Karen Finerman said CFN and Joe Terranova said UPL.

Pete’s epiphany in CHK comes a day after showing no enthusiasm for it; Stephanie Link unfortunately doesn’t get it

Pete Najarian must still be knee-deep in NFL Draft report cards.

Yesterday, isn't it odd, we pointed out that on a 146-million-share day (that was the key number, not the 10% price drop or whatever) in CHK, the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang was interested in nothing other than some joker's map collection or hedge fund, and that even Pete Najarian, about the only panelist suggesting there's "value" somewhere in the stock, wasn't going near a trade suggestion.

Lo and behold, Najarian told Thursday's Halftime Report that he bought the June 17-20 call spread for $1.12, with a supposed potential of going from $1 to $3, because the stock's volume Wednesday "almost feels like one of those Guy Adami-washout-type days ... maybe there's some upside."

Yet, the person who the "washout" is named after was reluctant to opine, as Adami said Thursday, "I think there's tremendous risk here" and possibly "more skeletons in the closet here ... this stock scares me to no end ... absolute no touch."

Stephen Weiss, who's actually pretty good at pointing out weaknesses in the analyst community, said the Bernstein call on CHK is "one of the weakest upgrades I've ever read ... he just took a victory lap."

Stephanie Link sadly thinks people are buying and selling CHK this week as a natural gas play. "There are a lot of natural gas stocks that are cheap," Link said.

Brian Kelly utterly contradicts whatever Fast Money is supposed to be about

Thursday's Halftime Report crew once again mostly tried to turn the Fast Money franchise into "Wall $treet Week," albeit with hints of actual savvy trading.

Judge Wapner showed the panelists several names that have been clobbered recently, including GMCR, GRPN, PLCM, ZNGA, CHK and NFLX, and found few takers, presumably in the long side, especially in the form of Stephanie Link.

"Very often there's another shoe to drop" in those names, Link said, and even if not, they can be "dead money for quite a bit of time."

Stephen Weiss went off on a QE3 tangent before explaining he took advantage of the MDRX plunge and "did buy it aggressively" in the morning.

Guy Adami, though, actually made a trading assessment in NFLX, first assuring everyone "I think the model is broken," but "for a trade ... Netflix to me is pretty interesting right here."

But consider this head-scratching follow-up by Brian Kelly on the package of stocks presented: "You don't wanna be in them. At best I would agree with Guy, and say they're good for a trade."

If they're good for a trade, and it's supposedly a trading show ... why wouldn't you want to be in them?

Nobody on Fast Money claimed ‘tremendous risk’ 6 weeks ago in BAC at $10

See, this is how the Fast Money gang operates ... Tremendous fears of somehow getting crushed in a short-term trade in stocks that have already been squashed like the cyborg at the end of "The Terminator" ... and no concern at all about trumpeting the risks of certain shaky stocks that appear to be peaking in the right direction only to wipe out portfolios for months.

(For example, we could bring up Karen Finerman's horrifying "slow money" call in NM last June 23 ... "I don't think there's a lot of downside left, and I think you can get some very meaningful upside" ... but we'll be nice and won't do that.)

So, we hear on Thursday's Halftime Report that there's "tremendous risk" in taking a CHK position (either direction) a day after a 146-million-share turnover, and hear nothing about how, for example, the vaunted Lions Gate Films might've been overcooked like a Pittsburgh-style steak during "Hunger Games" week, with Brian Kelly claiming March 22, a day LGF crossed $15 and closed at $14.55, that it's "absolutely a buy on a pullback."

(That one will start soaring again, when, lessee ... they announce "Hunger Games 4-7"? Or when Carl Icahn gets back in?)

Then there was Mike Murphy on March 19, a day that always-too-cheap BAC traded 669 million shares and peaked (so far) for the year at $10.10 while crossing the $10 mark 2 more times in the following week, saying, "I think Bank of America still has some room to run here."

And now you're down 20%. (Oh, wait, the traders always get out of their bad trades before heavy damage occurs, yet there's no way any viewers could get out of a bad 1-day gambit in CHK, NFLX, or GMCR.)

Judge feels badly about the grilling he gives Bill Chappell; Brian Kelly somehow (temporarily) rediscovers it’s a trading show, then doles out the ‘Caddyshack’ trade

A forlorn Bill Chappell calmly explained that the horror in GMCR "was the commentary that they're seeing K-Cup growth moderate."

Judge Wapner decided to pile on, asking Chappell, "Do you know how you got it so wrong apparently?"

"No, but I mean, thanks for pointing out my mistakes," Chappell said, actually somehow claiming he was expecting an "innocuous quarter" from Green Mountain, as if such a notion is even possible.

Judge backpedaled, assuring Chappell, "I'm not trying to take a shot at you, at you, Bill I just think they're fair questions to ask somebody that's been so bullish, uh, on the case."

From that point on, Brian Kelly, who was already a bit contradictory on his views of trading (see above), took viewers for an utter philosophical roller-coaster ride.

Kelly impressively demanded of Chappell that, given the plunge in GMCR and believing it remains a viable business, "Why wouldn't you wanna buy it ... a lot of this has been priced in now ... down 50% ... all those knowns are now priced in ... I would think at these levels, an analyst would say, 'This is a bargain now'," Kelly said, in what soon proved to be merely a "looks good on you though" suggestion.

Chappell, who understandably is in a different position than a trader, told Kelly he could only do that if Kelly could tell him with confidence what the earnings are going to be next year, but then Chappell slipped again, somehow able to predict it looks like a "range-bound stock for the next 6 months."

Moments later ... jaw-droppingly, head-scratchingly ... Kelly did a U-turn like Roy Riegels, asserting, "I think Green Mountain is uninvestable" because of accounting concerns (so apparently all the knowns are not priced in), but meanwhile, if you do believe the accounting, it's "absolutely something you wanna look at."

Guy Adami, normally the most cogent of the volume-watchers, shrugged that "everything leads to Starbucks."

Stephen Weiss, who's good at criticizing analysts, said this is the type of crash analysts should see coming, and so "apparently there wasn't much work before." However, like Kelly I (unlike Kelly II), Weiss said, "I think it's worth a shot here."

To make sure there were no hard feelings, Judge thanked Chappell for coming on the show and "being stand-up about the calls you've made in the past."

Brian Kelly staying away from volatile stocks but willing to put ‘bet’ on jobs-report reax

Another thing we find disconcerting about Fast Money is that panelists will tell you to stay away from certain stocks, while plunging full-bore into guessing the Labor Department statistics themselves.

Brian Kelly, for example, on Thursday's Halftime Report has the scenario all laid out, saying that under 100,000 brings in the pro-QE3 camp, and that "200 or higher, we're off to the races," and that it's the 100,000-150,000 that is no-man's land, and meanwhile, "I'm more confused about what they think than, than ever."

Even so, he's got a thesis going; "I'm long the market, I'm betting that the, the bias is to the upside."

Steve Liesman he's never seen economists (and presumably traders, though we're not sure that extension applies) going into a jobs report with this little conviction, then mistakenly said the number guess is a " pick 'em" like in horse-racing (um, we think that's actually a football gambling term for when there is no point spread).

Liesman concluded that the market seems to think "at the end of the day," politicians will do the right thing for the market regardless of the number; Stephen Weiss concurred that there's a belief of a put in the market.

Adami: Avoid WFM today

Perpetually cute Dana Telsey told the Fast Money Halftime Report gang on Thursday that the retail news is that discounters were "a bit slower than expected."

Telsey said, "I haven't heard any other retailer talk as positively about Europe as what we heard out of TJX."

Stephanie Link said, "We own TJX ... we're buying Costco today." (How come we haven't heard anything about COST as the play on high gas prices for weeks?)

Guy Adami insisted there's "tremendous opportunity" in MA and V, and he likes HD as well.

Stephen Weiss said "I'm still short" JCP.

Stephanie Link, calling some kind of bottom with no catalyst whatsoever, noted that energy names have been lagging but recommend deep-water drillers ESV, RIG and DO.

Guy Adami said WFM is great for those who are in, but if you missed, don't buy now, "not today." Stephen Weiss, in a strange, seemingly unnecessarily hyper-fast trade, revealed he bought HAIN in aftermarket Wednesday and "sold this morning."

Ken Sena said LNKD is a "rare example" of a company meriting such a high multiple because it figures to have fewer competitors in later years, and "their network really will only get stronger." Sena isn't afraid, as Guy Adami suggested, of what 1 big miss could do to the shares, because Sena doubts a big miss is coming.

Andy Busch, like Brian Kelly, had a thesis on the jobs data, saying if it's under 125,000 sell dollar vs. Mexican peso, and if over 175, sell the Aussie vs. the dollar.

Stephanie Link said she likes AIG and recommends buying on weakness.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was JJG, Stephen Weiss asserted that AIG is going up, Guy Adami mentioned M, and Stephanie Link said JPM.

[Wednesday, May 2, 2012]

CNBCfix prediction: If CHK goes south of $15, Whitney Tilson will be back on Fast Money

What is this, amateur hour?

Where are Guy Adami and Jon Najarian when you really need them.

Brian Kelly actually said of CHK, straight face and all, on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "If you're going to be making a bet here, you're essentially making a bet on natural gas."

Seriously? 146 million shares traded because of the price of natural gas??

Karen Finerman complained, "Things are really starting to spin out of control ... this board has done a horrible job ... this is horrific corporate governance."

Yeah ... so what's the point? As Mr. Panos in "Wall Street" tells Bud, "Thankyoufortelling me what I already know" (sic, first few words pronounced almost as one).

Finerman later added, "Who knows what your downside is here if you're in the equity."

And who knows what the downside — other than possibly zero — is in any stock?

For a moment, it seemed like Mike Murphy was going to straighten things out, except he went off a similar deep end in the wrong direction.

Murphy claimed the stock's risk/reward is suddenly looking favorable, because "there could be a trade coming from a buyout standpoint."

Finerman said to get that (bleep) out of here, that a buyer would have to "weed through a lot of crap first."

Murphy argued, "The assets that are there, there's not that much crap to weed through."

Murphy even claimed that someone like XOM might be interested, to "average down on their XTO acquisition" (we're not making this up).

Dan Nathan chided Murphy for even suggesting a bull case, saying, "You sound like you're being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian."

Nathan, with nothing productive of his own to offer, claimed "at the end of the day," the stock was hit in the morning (even though he said "at the end of the day") before the investor letter because of news of asset sales, and so "these assets could get much, much cheaper."

OK ... (sigh) ... it's hard to believe this page could be issuing lectures to the Fast Money gang about trading, given that we'd be capable of losing money on "The Hunger Games," but here's how it goes ...

No one buying or selling CHK on Wednesday was making a bet on natural gas.

No one was buying it Wednesday for a takeover that would take probably years, or at a minimum, months.

The reason you might buy it is because so many shares are trading so quickly, so violently, that severe pricing inefficency in either direction is quite possible, and possibly highly lucrative.

That is basically the long trade Jon Najarian hinted at several days ago, and was correct on, though he slightly embarrassingly spiked the ball at the 5 when the stock clearly isn't yet in the clear (yeah, we know his own shares/options were already safely deposited in the end zone).

The claim here isn't that the stock is going up. We don't know. It's that the Fast Money panel is somehow convinced the stock is as bad as the headlines, which seems a downright foolish opinion for a trader ... who should be, instead of complaining that Aubrey and the board suck, evaluating, at this moment, is this stock overdone to the downside?

If you want to give CHK a shot, go for it. In fact — and please note this writer has no position in CHK and hasn't probably for years — something about this feels a bit like BP, not a day after the spill, but a couple months later, when Matthew Simmons was telling the Fast Money gang that BP would cease to exist as a company by October 2010. Just keep it under control and give yourself a stop.

This isn't an oil spill. It's a ... lessee ... notoriously awful board and notoriously maverick CEO running public company like private firm ... being revealed as an awful board and a CEO who runs the company liks his private shop.

Even if you take a loss — in either direction — it surely won't be as bad as if you had followed a couple people's recent call (see below) to play the well-defined, going from lower left to upper right GNK bottoming process.

See, one of the issues with the Fast Money crew is that, quite frankly, they sometimes don't get it.

They'd have you believe that nothing is riskier than a short-term trade in a violently moving stock that might — stressing the word "might" — be seriously undervalued, while instead recommending for months or years wealth destroyers such as BAC, HPQ, CSCO and their 2 favorites, Research in Motion and Yahoo, that are always "too cheap" but succeed in little but making your account cheaper.

Bizarre, really.

If trading pros on a program called "Fast Money" don't even think an unbelievably tradeable stock such as CHK is worth discussing, why don't they just change the name to "Wall $treet Week with Melissa Lee" and air weekly on Friday nights?

The guess here — and it's strictly a guess — is that if CHK closes below $15, then a certain value investor (does he ever do any actual investing in between his conferences and TV appearances?) will be returning for another hit on Fast Money to explain he had to jump in because the stock is "just too cheap." (Notice he wasn't asked about that one while doing his Jacksons' "Victory" tour on GMCR Wednesday.)

Thankfully, Pete Najarian did indicate he still gets it; "there is a value here somewhere."

Brian Kelly actually even concluded, "You don't wanna be short this either. Because it could be up 20% tomorrow." Now why did that take him 10 minutes to figure out?

CHK guaranteed to make lawyers rich

Lawyers such as Jake Zamansky tend to get our Spider Sense tingling, and not the same way Kate Upton, perhaps, gets the Spider Sense tingling, because you've always gotta be suspicious of the potential you're hearing legal mumbo jumbo, but in fact a lot of times he's got a point.

Unfortunately on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Zamansky said nothing that everybody hasn't already figured out (with the possible exception of the "securities fraud" conclusion) regarding CHK. "This CEO actually defines self-dealing," Zamansky said, citing a "breach of fiduciary duty ... none of this was disclosed ... you've got a material non-disclosure. We call that securities fraud."

He told the Fast gang that if board members knew about material non-disclosures, "all could be held personally responsible," even though Karen Finerman argued they probably are protected by insurance.

"This could be front-running, insider trading, you know, I don't know where this thing ends," Zamansky said. But we know where it might start: "I haven't done anything yet," Zamansky said.

Up 40% on 3,
down 0.3% on 16,
(also -4.67% on BKS)

GMCR shorter Whitney Tilson told the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang on Wednesday that "vindication is sweet I guess."

The funny thing about that is, Tilson claimed the Green Mountain bear case is "playing out exactly as we had anticipated."

But later, he conceded, the stock "hurt us a lot on the way up."

So evidently, his "exact anticipation" was to short the shares well below the peak, watch them go higher and lose him money, then stage a dramatic comeback and declare victory.

One wonders if Tilson's Barnes & Noble strategy, which even Jon Najarian complained kept Tilson from selling at $26, is playing out exactly the same way.

Tilson said he'd been short GMCR "I guess as high as the 80s," but right now, "we're not interested in covering a single share."

Tilson said he may not have proof, but believes that Green Mountain has been "stealing sales from future quarters," and so this will be the first in a "series of big misses."

And, he implied, maybe the best is yet to come. "There can be no bottom on these ... this reminds me a lot of Krispy Kreme .. history never repeats itself but it rhymes."

Then, helpfully, Tilson cautioned that shorting stocks is a "dangerous business," and that GMCR is his "2nd-largest short position" at 3%, while his biggest long position, BRK-A, is 16%.

Mel Lee called the famous Green Mountain/now Herbalife critic "David Greenhorn."

Flash: Company apparently not smiling as stock falls 40%

Dan Nathan, who enjoyed saying "at the end of the day" on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, said you have to believe the case against GMCR because people such as David Greenhorn Einhorn don't put their reputations on the line for nothing.

But it was Herb Greenberg who seemed positively out of sorts while getting a rare Fast Money hit to report on the GMCR call that he said seemed devoid of specifics.

The "tone on the call," Greenberg said, was "what I would saw (sic), uh, call, uh, call, how-, very- very-, uh, I'd say it's actually a little bit of dour."

Yeah, OK.

"The growth story's over," Greenberg concluded.

Pete Najarian said it looks like SBUX is taking market share. "That's the stock to be in," Pete said, adding he's not sure he'd want to be short GMCR after Wednesday's afterhours hit.

University prof actually recommends Fast Money viewers plunge into forex trades

Brian Kelly said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money there's much to like about WFM, but if you want to get in, "wait a day or 2."

Foxy Jane Wells got to take part in questioning with co-CEO Walter Robb that was bedeviled by a time delay. Robb said the company did get a 2x boost the first day of the pink slime fallout. He also stressed that better margins aren't just from pricing, but "retail mechanics."

ProLogis chief Hamid Moghadam invoked sort of the Will Rogers outlook, saying "Things are looking much stronger than they did last year and the year before ... it's really the best year since '07 in our business."

He also said that over 90% of the European portfolio is in "what I call the good markets," and that while Japan is stagnant, the demand for newer facilities there is a plus.

Mike Khouw, kind of out of nowhere, suggested selling the Aug 37 put in FCX for 2.70, but because that was the extent of the trade, there was no "net debit."

Pete Najarian said he's preferred Southern Copper, and "I continue to like that name ... great opportunities in these coal names as well."

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was COH as a Chinese consumer play. Dan Nathan said to sell U.S. banks on rallies. Karen Finerman said GOOG, and Pete Najarian said INTC.

Guest Randall Kroszner, a Fed insider who's now a prof at the University of Chicago, delivered the jaw-dropper of the day, first asserting the May jobless report is really crucial because it will tell us if, like 2010 and 2011, there's "another false dawn in the labor market," but the jaw-dropper was recommending diversification for investors ... to the point of currency trading, because stocks may go down but the dollar might not.

Dicker to Judge: ‘You did call me out a bit’

Just a day or 2 ago, Jon Najarian was spiking the football and Judge Wapner and even this page were suggesting Dan Dicker had done the Goldie Hawn Trade (i.e., "Overboard") in his catastrophic CHK price target.

But on Wednesday's Halftime, Dicker conceded "maybe the single digits went a little bit too far" but reminded Judge, in the wake of Wednesday's crumble, "you did call me out a bit."

Judge referred to his own characterization of Dicker's call as "hyperbolic" as being "a little critical of you the last time you were on."

Dicker said the leadership changes undertaken by CHK so far are "entirely superficial," and though he believes "100%" in natural gas (that's the 2nd day in a row someone on Fast Money has been 100% aboard something), there are "so many better places to go than Chesapeake," such as ECA and DVN.

Guest Robert Morris agreed it's a "big question" as to whether Aubrey McClendon hangs on as CEO as Judge said he would "cut to the chase," but Morris hopes he does, likening a change to pulling a driver from a race car as it's going 200 mph around a curve, it's "better that he is CEO" having been the "driving vision behind this company."

Josh Brown invoked a bit of a Brag Trade on CHK. "I've been screaming to sell this thing since 22," Brown said.

But Steve Cortes said he'd stay away from CHK while reiterating, "I think natural gas is actually basing here," and again suggested playing it with UNG, just about the only person on Fast Money who has recommended that instrument in years. Giving Cortes a boost for some reason, Brown said Jeff Gundlach and Wilbur Ross are pounding the table on nat gas.

PFE owner Steve Cortes says he avoids YHOO because it’s ‘too boring’

Steve Cortes explained at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "I am still slightly long the market," albeit in names such as PFE and PPH.

Cortes, Josh Brown, Joe Terranova and Judge Wapner then conducted some parsing over what constitutes "new news," with Cortes insisting PMI and the euro fit that bill, and "I am short the euro currency."

Brown said "the Spanish stuff is all coming back" and that the "pattern" of softening housing and employment continues. Terranova, meanwhile, didn't seem too fazed by Europe's effect on MCD, claiming "McDonald's is incredibly attractive here" and that he also likes corporate bonds and is looking at PCLN.

Cortes said things haven't been this bad for Spain "since the defeat of the Spanish Armada," and "I am short DB," but that Treasurys have become an "incredibly crowded and dangerous trade."

Josh Brown said YHOO is a few good assets mixed with non-assets and that its Asian trump card will inevitably be taken advantage of. "This stock's been the same price since I bar mitzvahed," Brown cracked. Steve Cortes said he doesn't trade it because it's "too boring."

Finally, a Fast Money panelist makes a call on HLF

Josh Brown revealed on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he listened to the Einhorn questions on yesterday's HLF call, and that the questions sounded "pretty innocuous," but the stock reacted as though people want to avoid another GMCR situation; "no one wants to shoot last."

Brown didn't take a position on the merits of the selloff but advised people to stay away from a stock with "this much controversy; the chart is now broken."

Mort Zuckerman again uses Fast Money appearance to complain about Obama’s economy

You can understand why Mortimer Zuckerman would want to give his Daily News chief, Colin Myler, a vote of confidence in the wake of damaging headlines out of Britain, but sometimes those votes of confidence can come across a little hokey and do more harm than good.

Such as when a CEO speaks for all employees in declaring, as Zuckerman did on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, "I have total confidence in him" and that the "entire staff" shares that view.

Meanwhile, Zuckerman again told Fast Money that it's "very difficult to come up with a single answer" on the general state of commercial real estate, though San Francisco is on fire.

Meanwhile, the "general economy is weak," Zuckerman said, and in Europe, "they've just kicked the can down the road," a phrase we actually haven't heard for a while; they're "caught between a rock and a hard place" and Zuckerman likened the situation to someone falling from the 25th floor who says at the 6th floor that nothing's happened yet.

And, unlike Byron Wien a day earlier on Fast Money, Zuckerman suggested that in the U.S. it's an "even weaker economy" than people think.

BKS sellers continue to chip away at that mid-$20s valuation Whitney Tilson suggested should really be at $37 on sum-of-the-parts basis

Joe Terranova said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report "I'd stick with Domino's" rather than jump into Papa John's, while Josh Brown said "I would rather eschew both and buy Yum."

Even Steve Cortes agreed that YUM is much less suspectible to the difference between 7% and 8% Chinese GDP than COH.

Guest Moshe Orenbuch said he'd "definitely" be adding to MA or V, and said of the 2 that MA is benefitting from the post-Durbin rules on debit cards, "some of that share will come from Visa." He also said Visa, because it uses a different company, has no direct exposure to Europe.

Steve Cortes said, "I'm short the financials," but didn't cite the Bradford Trade on BAC this time. Josh Brown said, "I like the fortress financials" and added, "TD's OK, we're in JPMorgan … Visa is my favorite name that I'm in," and he's hoping for $110.

Brown said to appreciate LULU, you have to know someone who shops there. "I'm not sellng it," because there are "so few stores," the stock has a "lot of room going forward."

Brown's call on Monday to sell BKS looks like one of the better ones of the year, as the stock continues to trickle from that day's close, far below the midday $26 or even low $20s that Whitney Tilson insisted wasn't enough for him to get out.

GNK cut in half in 3 months

Mike Murphy, maybe the best trade-supplier to the Fast Money franchise, dialed into Wednesday's Halftime to say "We added to our long in Toll Brothers this morning," believing it's got more upside from the $26.50 he paid.

Steve Cortes spoke of what he sees as a sign of housing/econ trouble, too many 40-year-olds living in their childhood bedrooms of their parents' homes, which prompted Josh Brown to ask if Cortes is one of them. Cortes said he doesn't believe in TOL but the price action says stay away.

Kate Kelly for some reason told Fast Money viewers about an assignment she got for unknown reasons to profile the LUV fuel hedging team. She said they're putting on "more aggressive hedges for the 2nd half of the year."

Josh Brown said REITS are hot and have a desirable income component, but know that when Europe crumbled last summer, "REITs went down by 15%" as an index and basically trade like an equity.

Guest Robin Farley called Wynn's approval in Cotai "very meaningful," and will eventually "more than double the EBITDA" from Wynn Macau. She said $32 of her $151 price target is based on this development, and that (you've never heard this in a casino-stock discussion) the Vegas percentage of growth in the business will continue to shrink.

Steve Cortes' Final Trade was short DB; Josh Brown said long XBI and Joe Terranova said long LPX.

It seems like years ago (but was only early February) that Carter Worth and Dennis Gartman were hailing GNK, with Worth citing the bullish-to-bearish reversal and Gartman citing the notion that the shipping stocks were moving up ahead of the Baltic Dry Index. Unfortunately, if you got long then and haven't unloaded, you probably shouldn't look at that chart.

[Tuesday, May 1, 2012]

Melissa tells viewers they’ll talk about HLF, but they don’t; instead they talk about Research in Motion with someone who doesn’t have a BlackBerry 10

In one of the most blatant signs of Fast Money's out-of-whack discussion priorities recently, Melissa Lee said at the top of Tuesday's 5 p.m. program that they'd be taking up the stock of the day, Herbalife, presumably meaning Guy Adami would make a trading call.

That was the last viewers heard about it, though they did get an earful about Research in Motion and The Most Boring Stock Anyone Talks About, BRCM.

The genius guy Jonathan Geller said of RIMM, "at the end of the day," they're not doing anything new or exciting or interesting except "a plastic keyboard." But he admitted, "I have not seen a prototype myself."

Stephen Weiss argued that Geller is a tech genius not a takeover genius and that RIMM might be a target. Keith McCullough scoffed that "Tech is littered with cheap stocks getting cheaper."

Romit Shah said the BRCM guidance is a bit below assumptions, but "we still like the stock."

Another A-lister appears on Fast Money —
Byron Wien says oil ‘peaking’

We wouldn't have pegged Byron Wien as Fast Money material.

Yet, there he was delivering a portfolio segment on Tuesday's 5 p.m. show.

Wien, as should be expected, didn't spin some hot tips, but basically just said 2012 U.S. growth is going to be better than people expect, leading to S&P 1,500.

"I think the economy's gonna be better than consensus expects," Wien said, with a multiple of 15.

He said investors around the world have been parking, not investing, money in Treasurys, and gradually it will drift into stocks. "They've already stopped putting money in bonds," Wien said.

But Wien shrugged off Keith McCullough's joint concerns about high gasoline and Ben Bernanke, saying first, "I think the price of oil is peaking," downplaying the "Iran premium" and suggesting a "game-changer going on" in that the Bakken shale is going to make North Dakota the No. 2 oil-producing state.

Wien also said he still likes emerging markets despite stock performance recently and that he expects the EM growth and stocks to get "more in parallel."

Joe indicates the John Paulson types don’t watch the show

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money issued a warning to any viewers interested in following Carl Icahn into CHK.

"You don't have Carl Icahn's bank account. You don't have Carl Icahn's balance sheet. You can't stay in there like Carl can," Terranova said.

Analyst Tim Rezvan told Melissa Lee he couldn't give the stock a "sell" rating because of the "quality of the underlying assets," which give the shares a "baseline support level."

Keith McCullough asked how tied CHK is to the price of nat gas and what if nat gas hangs around $2. Rezvan said it would have to "pursue additional asset sales" and "cannibalize growth" in order to "erase any liquidity risk," but the big crisis would be in 2013.

Tim Seymour asks Keith McCullough for the definition of ‘illiquid’

Keith McCullough on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money apparently was summarizing a John Paulson situation regarding NG, while Tim Seymour thought McCullough was actually offering trading advice to the viewer.

"Paulson's made some pretty obvious mistakes in the last couple years; this is one of them," McCullough said. "If you buy something that's this illiquid, you better be right on it; in fact you have to be right on it, because you can't get out. So again, at the end of the day," to be long this kind of position, you have to have 3 positive views, on global growth, the global growth cycle, and the price of gold, McCullough said, or you're not in it.

"It traded $20 million though today. Is that, is that illiquid?" Seymour cut in.

McCullough laughed as though Seymour were telling him a joke. "Novagold?" McCullough asked.

"Yes," Seymour said.

"For John Paulson to get out on, on that much? In a day?" McCullough asked back.

Actually, we looked up the market cap; it's a $1.8 billion market-cap and apparently Paulson owns as much as 12% of it. So, McCullough is right in regard to Paulson ... but assuming viewers are not billionaires (and Joe Terranova already indicated John Paulson isn't watching the show), they can probably get into and out of it OK.

Seymour conceded that Paulson has been "stampeded" in a lot of these names.

Maybe there’s hope for Denny’s

Nicole Miller Regan, praised by Guy Adami for going by 3 names, restaurant chains have sort of a permanent interest from private equity, which has a limited supply to pick from and likes the free cash flow.

So, P.F. Chang's might not be the only one, as Miller Regan told Melissa Lee that Lee's report that CAKE and RRGB could be on radar screens is correct.

Miller Regan told Guy Adami that CMG is "absolutely" still a buy, and you can throw out the multiple because it doesn't matter in this name.

Stephen Weiss tried to throw water on the discussion, claiming (in actually a pretty good point) that holding shares of a company because a similar company got bought out is "one of the worst reasons to own a stock," in part because one of the potential buyers is already done. Miller Regan agreed that fundamentals are the place to start.

Miller Regan told the group, "Starbucks presents a phenomenal buying opportunity."

Once again, Fast Money tells viewers the jobs report will be a frenetic trading day, when it never is

Joe Terranova cautioned viewers of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money not to get excited until Friday's jobs report, in which no one really knows if good news will be bad, or vice versa.

Keith McCullough agreed that it will provide a springboard beyond the 1,400s, or a descent to 1,360 with "eyes wide open."

Tim Seymour suggested "You buy the EU multinationals," and meeting his minimum 1 1970s/1980s pop culture reference a day, mentioned "Schneider, I don't mean Pat Harrington," and suggested Harrington's show was called "2's the boss."

McCullough claimed "The volume is nauseously low," but Guy Adami essentially told him to get that (bleep) out of here; it hasn't mattered for years and if a stock moves on 1 share or a million, "it's gonna hurt equally as much ... the volume thing doesn't hold a lot of weight."

Adami later said the good news for bulls is the market tested and bounced from 1,370, "albeit we broached it," and we think he meant "breached." He said if we don't get through 1,425, look out for 1,350.

Guy Adami looks to have caught fire with GNW

Joe Terranova advised viewers of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to take a round-TRIP: "This is your sell-the-rally moment," Terranova said.

Mike Khouw, quiet most of the session, recommended playing V volatility with a weekly/June calendar call spread that involves selling the May 125 for $2.90 and buying the June 125 for $4.70 (the screen said $4.60, so the price evidently rose late), which produced our favorite phrase from Khouw, the "net debit" of about $1.80.

Much more emphatic was Guy Adami, who called V and MA "screaming buys" even if they miss. Joe Terranova singled out MA and said viewers should hope they miss.

Mel Lee said Keith McCullough bought TLT on Tuesday at $116.22.

Stephen Weiss' Final Trade was AIG. Mike Khouw said to sell 105 CVX puts. Tim Seymour said (not a shocker) EWZ. Keith McCullough said short France. Joe Terranova said THI.

Melissa Lee mentioned "MacGyver" as a "CBS show," which probably means that an arm of CBS owns the franchise (we're not going to bother looking that up), but it was a bit confusing for those who recall "MacGyver" actually aired on ABC.

Guy Adami briefly got to revisit his bullish call of a day earlier on GNW, which looks like a great call and was reiterated by Adami's Final Trade Tuesday.

Guy Adami: CHK could end up with a ‘$5 handle’

Maybe CHK holders shouldn't spike the ball just yet.

(And, maybe there's hope for Dan Dicker's single-digit call missing the year-end Worst 10 list.)

CHK traded down afterhours, prompting Guy Adami on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to mention Carl Icahn's increased stake and claim, "He's either gonna be very right or extraordinarily wrong."

That for some reason brought hearty chuckles on the desk, probably from Keith McCullough but possibly Tim Seymour.

"This is- has a 30 handle or a $5 handle," Adami continued.

Joe Terranova then flat-out declared, "I do not understand why anyone would even begin to take a position in Cheasapeake."

Patty ‘not overly concerned today’ about HLF cratering

Gotta admit, we were sympathetic to Patty Edwards' sudden stock plight on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

Edwards, long a champion of Herbalife, was put on the spot to possibly make a stock call after Bertha Coombs' breaking news on the HLF "questions" David Einhorn was asking that remained somewhat unclear throughout the show.

Patty understandably got a tiny bit chippy with Judge about knowing/not knowing the details — "I've been prepping for this TV show-thing I do" — but rather than just saying "I don't know enough about this yet," instead invoked a dual Paul McCartney Trade/Brag Trade that unfortunately conveyed a nonchalance toward what might be a smashing meltdown.

"I'm still up 140% since July 2010," Edwards claimed, insisting it's a "fairly robust model" that worked well for Avon.

She added that she'd be going over Einhorn's questions with a "fine-tooth comb" and "find out what's really going on."

Meanwhile, clients shouldn't worry; "at this point in time I have taken profits all the way and long-scalped some off the top of the position ... so I'm not overly concerned about it today," Edwards said, as we'll seek out an urban dictionary for the definition of "long-scalp."

Stephen Weiss said he's making no call on the stock whatsoever, but from his experience, "It's very tough to understand the marketing and the accounting of these companies."

Herb Greenberg later dialed in, either breathless or with a spotty connection, and tried to get ahead of Einhorn, saying, "I've certainly raised questions about the company's disclosure" in R&D, which is true, and that a recent important question was "how many of its distributors fail ... at the time, 90% failed. The company stopped disclosing that."

Greenberg admitted "I have no idea what David Einhorn is up to," but solemnly decided, "I can tell you that David has probably just uh, you know, scratched the surface."

The belief here is that anyone faced with Edwards' TV situation "at this point in time" realistically has to punt, as Edwards did. However, the show's about Fast Money and making daily stock calls and sometimes that involves cashing in big-time on volatile moves when prices are most inefficient. Shares had plunged dramatically to the mid-50s. Tomorrow they could be in the 40s ... or 60s. The question, as always, is where do you go from here. Edwards and her colleagues took a pass.

Dr. J crushed CHK;
Dan Dicker, not exactly

Jon Najarian just added one to the contenders for 2012 best Fast Money trades list.

Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report revisited a tremendous call on Friday, in which he said CHK was no longer getting pushed down on bad news on huge volume and so "might be near a tradeable bottom."

Tuesday, Najarian dialed in the Fast Line to summarize. "The stock was doing one of those Guy Adamis," marking a "nice time to buy." But now, "I am out of that one."

Judge Wapner didn't bother to bring up Dan Dicker's name, but Najarian made clear which of his Fast Money colleagues was on the wrong end of a now-embarrassing "single-digit" price target call on the stock last week.

"This is not to slam Dan Dicker at all; it's just, we were seeing a different story," Najarian said.

Judge asked guest Fadel Gheit about CHK's leadership decision, which Gheit called "a step in the right direction." Gheit said, "at the end of the day," the goal is to "restore shareholders confidence," predicting the stock goes up, the question is when and by how much.

Judge claimed that notorious single-digit call — it's still kind of early, but easily a front-runner for the Fast Money Worst of 2012 list — "obviously seemed a little hyperbolic at the time."

Gheit also said, "I think BP is a buy here," and didn't really make a call on CVX after Steve Cortes' question but hailed the company's greatness; "all the attributes that you'd want to have."

Najarian said GRPN might be the next CHK. "This stock is actually up on the day ... it might be a similar sort of situation," Najarian said.

Patty takes out HLF frustration on Steve Cortes

Anthony DiClemente said he thinks EXPE is due for a pause, because it's benefitted recently from a "number of 1-time tailwinds" including easy comps and forex, and it "might be a good time to take profits."

Pete Najarian told DiClemente, who suggested PCLN is a better alternative right now, that it sounds like he's really bullish on EXPE and that only the recent price action is the problem. "You get back closer to $35, I think it's certainly a buy," Najarian claimed.

Steve Cortes balked at PCLN over EXPE, saying he prefers EXPE and "I don't think you want Priceline" because of its international exposure.

Patty Edwards cried foul, telling Cortes, "Wait a minute. You've got about half of the revenues from Expedia are coming from outside the United States, so you've got exposure there too."

Cortes though sounded impressively prepared, insisting, "The growth for Priceline is overseas" and that's what is driving the stock.

Patty picks a curious day to recommend HLF as a play on the Brazilian consumer

Will Landers, part of that Tim Seymour stable of experts who has never not found at least something in Brazil to be an interesting long investment, conceded Brazil has not performed well in the last couple of quarters, but now could see strength in currency and China themes. "Vale is one of the best places to be invested in right now with that theme," Landers said.

Steve Cortes balked at what he saw as an overly rosy characterization of Brazilian returns and wondered what the catalyst for outperformance is. "Really it's underperformed for several years," Cortes claimed, citing EWZ at a 3-year low.

Landers agreed that for 2½ years, then curiously saying 5-6 years, Brazil has underperformed, but in the "last 10 years, you would've quintupled your money."

Patty Edwards tried desperately to secure Landers as an ally in HLF, as a play on the Brazilian consumer, but Landers didn't care and said it's "not my area that I'm focusing on" and said AmBev is the best play.

Who put ‘she’ on Judge’s teleprompter ... or was he just winging it?

Rarely does a Fast Money trader talk about "100%" anything, but that's exactly where Patty Edwards went at the top of Tuesday's Halftime Report.

"We are absolutely 100% into this market at this point in time," Edwards said, suggesting the sell-in-May fears are past. "I think a lot of that happened last month and so at this point in time ... you've gotta be in this market."

Stephen Weiss lamented the difficulty of actually trying to short Sears, with a "50% carry" cost. "You've gotta be really, really right" to succeed at that one, he said.

Pete Najarian said he's not in SHLD but is in (you guessed it) RST and TJX.

Jon Fortt said of the BlackBerry 10, "it does look nice," as the panel got to have another discussion of RIMM.

Todd Gordon recommended "go short the Aussie dollar," and like Steve Cortes took a feisty rebuttal from Brian Kelly, who said "it's not breaking any significant levels" and so doesn't seem like a favorable short.

Steve Cortes' Final Trade was MO; Patty Edwards said PVH, Brian Kelly said IYT and Pete Najarian said BP.

Somehow Judge Wapner introduced Stacy Rasgon with "she's senior analyst at Bernstein," then after Rasgon appeared on the screen, added, "he, of course, I meant to say Stacy," as Pete Najarian was heard chuckling. Granted, Stacy is more commonly a female name, but occasionally a male name, and we have no clue why the Fast Money gang has so much trouble with this one.

Rasgon mentionted the "Apple ecosystem," and delivered a humdrum assessment of a humdrum stock, BRCM.

After a couple days of washout, even stodgy WMT proves a buy

Steve Cortes opened his remarks on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report wishing his colleagues a "Happy May Day" but explaining he's not nearly as excited about technology as his "comrades."

Cortes' reference to Australia entangled him in a fracas with Brian Kelly, who insisted, "That has nothing to do with technology," while Cortes insisted, "I would argue it does" because it represents a "weak Asia" that tech giants need.

Kelly then tried to trip up Cortes on liking energy. "If you're long energy, you have to be bullish Asia," Kelly asserted.

"Not necessarily because energy has so vastly underperformed," Cortes responded.

Stephen Weiss dialed in to say his overdone steel debate with Steve Grasso is over "I actually bought steel stocks today," specifically X and MT, "purely as a trade."

Once again, this page will state that what Wal-Mart was doing in Mexico is not respectable or admirable, quite possibly illegal, and somebody should get fired, but Steve Cortes, in referring to stock impact, utterly nailed it in declaring, "I think this Mexican situation is frankly overblown and overdone."

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