[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — May 2013]
[Friday, May 31, 2013]

Jeremy Siegel: Market pricing in QE September tapering

Permabull Jeremy Siegel, who to his credit has been right for about 4 years running, told Friday's Fast Money that the last 8 days have seen the market "pricing in a tapering of QE, September," in what is actually a "sign of internal strength."

Siegel said that just as there were Japan trend followers with super-tight stops, there were some in the U.S. markets too, and Japan by the way is "regaining the trend ... it has not broken."

Melissa Lee asked Siegel what in the world could ever make him bearish, prompting someone (unknown) to be heard muttering that's a "good question."

Siegel said, "If yields go up too fast" (Drink), specifying if the 10-year gets to 3% in 2-3 months, or if there's inflation.

We didn’t get an ‘at the end of the day,’ but ...

Guy Adami on Friday's Fast Money made the softest bull case possible for the banks, assuming "we're benign (Drink) for a while," based on valuation, potential for normalized earnings (is this 2010 again?), and Pete Najarian's detection of constant heavy options activity.

"The resilience is still there," Adami said.

Josh Brown, who already lost this same case recently against Stephen Weiss' C, argued, "This sector is not going to survive a return to volatility at these levels," and apparently making a broad-market call, Brown added, "I gotta tell you (Drink), this group is up like 42% over the last year ... they will not be spared."

Brown even made an analogy, saying "when they raid the brothel," the piano player gets taken out too, which prompted Melissa Lee to declare, "I don't hang out at sailor bars."

"I'm still long Bank of America," said Steve Grasso.

The Steve Grasso Indicator

Guy Adami, right back where he was in February or March when "high in for the year" was a common refrain of his, asserted on Friday's Fast Money that the May 23rd reversal and resulting action "bodes very ominously" for stocks; he sees 1,625 as a "sorta line in the sand."

Josh Brown said "the Hindenburg Omen is going to be the chatter all weekend" and explained to viewers what it supposedly is, and then said, "The last time it occurred was October of 2007." (#bearstearnssureisintrouble)

"It's a bunch of hot air," quipped Steve Grasso, prompting Brown to say, "Save this clip just in case it's not though."

Grasso said, "1,629 in the cash, that's my level."

Dan Nathan contended, "I think there are some ominous things going on." Brown said the market could bounce back, but "it's clearly at a turning point."

One thing we've noticed is that the last couple of years, Steve Grasso has (basically correctly) predicted during the spring meltup that stocks would still test "flat on the year," and we haven't heard that in 2013.

Looking forward to
a ‘gap and crap’ Monday

Guy Adami said on Friday's Fast Money that he wouldn't advise a TSLA short right now. "It might go lower but I think you're flipping a coin right now, at best," Adami said.

Adami said of OVTI, "You can't buy this stock here," but should wait for the 15½, 16 level.

Adami congratulated Michael Burns for watching the show and calling in with gripes, and then said that buying LGF at 30 is difficult, but "probably the right thing to do."

Adami lukewarmly said the data suggest GM and F will keep rolling. His Final Trade was TLT.

Josh Brown predicted a "weak summer market" as a serious headwind for MS; "short term it looks like this stock has probably peaked out, if the market has."

Brown said to be careful with solar names such as FSLR; "these are gonna be volatile."

Brown said not to be too concerned about the retail report with the jobs report coming out later. His Final Trade was XLU, if it gaps down Monday.

Dan Nathan said DELL picked the inferior offer, and "I don't really see any upside reason to own the stock here." Nathan said TOL could see 30.

Nathan warned his Final Trade, June VIX spreads, could "gap and crap" on Monday.

Steve Grasso said, "I'd be a buyer of Newmont" (NEM), and said if the jobs report shows a gain of over 200,000, the market will take off. His Final Trade was SO.

Out-of-this-world Jane Wells delivered a report on an asteroid. Melissa Lee told viewers, "I do have a valid license. FYI."

‘Next week will be kind of rocky’

Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report crew seemed to find the stock market copacetic for June, although one wonders if the opinions might've changed had they been making their comments at the end of Friday's trading.

"June could be a little troublesome," and "next week will be kind of rocky," allowed Stephen Weiss, but "I still believe we're in a long-term uptrend."

Jon Najarian said the market never has a 4-5% correction, there's always a bounce after about 2%.

Pete Najarian said the VIX is something to keep an eye on, that it's "getting a little bit closer" to 15.

Mike Murphy said he'll be watching materials in June.

Steve Liesman said the crew to him sounded like they were "giddy with profits" from May, then pointed out that mortgages have taken a disproportionate pounding from rising rates and asserted there is "something of a communications breakdown that's going on between the fixed income market and the Federal Reserve."

Liesman predicted that if the jobless number continues to fall with improved participation, we'll see "taper in September."

The guess here is that
NFLX catches AMZN

Netflix is such an exciting, explosive stock, we often look forward to writing something about it.

But NFLX bull Pete Najarian admitted on Friday's Halftime Report that in the challenge to say new things about it, the pickings are few and far between.

Friday marked the "3rd time I've had to debate this stock," Najarian groused. "It's about content," as well as potential for "huge growth numbers" internationally.

Mike Murphy's bear argument was, "This stock has gotten way ahead of itself," saying he'd be a buyer in the "180 range," and that if the stock were actually trading around 150, some company would buy it.

Jon Najarian said for the "emerging markets" reason, he backs Pete.

Honestly — and we have no clue about this one, have lost money on this before so don't trade at all based on this observation unless you want to lose money — this one feels like it's gonna hang in there until there's at least a test of a double-top in the 300 range, so both Najarian and Murphy could be right, but Murphy's 180 might take a broader market selloff.

This time Stephen Weiss didn’t say nobody knows what the value of gold is and that someone thinks it might be $900

Michael Dudas on Friday's Halftime Report made a cogent, articulate case for gold miners that really came down to valuation.

The most important thing he said in our opinion was "you're gonna see some violent moves," pointing to the GDX rise the other day, evidence that there will be fast money opportunities in this sector.

But specifically, Dudas said the GDX has merely been "totally out of favor," and the buying catalyst is that "many of these have been so oversold."

He told Mike Murphy that even though global easing should be a tailwind, a strong dollar would negate that in gold's price. However, he said gold miner shares are discounting the price of spot gold another 10-15% and that miners and the coal names are oversold "in their inherent (Drink) valuations," always one of our favorite adjectives.

Dudas' picks are NEM, CDE and ABX. He said coal needs a warm summer for a boost and said he likes CNX.

Normally pharma/biotech is Seema’s gig

A CNBCer Who Doesn't Appreciate This Site delivered a report on Friday's Halftime about the ASCO medical conference, saying the "Anti-PD1" will be one of the highlights, treatments that "use the body's immune system to beat back tumors."

She said Bristol's Yervoy is already in the space.

She also reported that Dr. Mark Schoenebaum thinks "Merck could see the biggest upside surprise this week."

Jon Najarian observed that CLSN spiked high in the last week, but he didn't issue a recommendation Friday.

Stephen Weiss revealed, "I own Gilead," but suggested he would wait until after the conference to buy his favorite names, "There are so many winners and losers here, it's really impossible to pick."

Doc: Fade solar, watch
AKAM outperform

Jon Najarian said on Friday's Halftime Report that "it's show-me time" for solar stocks, and "I would be fading them in June."

Najarian made the "Casablanca" gambling-in-the-casino joke about DELL approving Michael Dell's bid and defying Carl.

Najarian suggested XLU might be due for a bounce in June. "I think maybe it turns around," he said, arguing that people are trying to game the Fed, and they have gotten "too far ahead."

Najarian predicted AKAM would "outperform in the coming weeks." His Final Trade was AFFY, based on a "lot of call activity."

Santoli: BBY as a housing
play is a stretch

Mike Santoli, the Friday specialist of the Halftime Report, questioned the continued prospects of what he called the stealth or "vague" housing plays, such as BBY, JAH, TJX and WGO.

Jon Najarian mentioned FAST, apparently for bullish reasons.

Stephen Weiss said the builders are due to lose some steam, "I think they've all gotten frothy ... let a disappointment happen" and then buy back into them, he advised.

Judge knocks one out of the park in suit selection

Halftime Report panelists on Friday offered picks for June, though some of them weren't even really picks, but just stocks they were going to be watching.

Pete Najarian endorsed all 3 of his, UTX, BAC and CP.

Mike Murphy touted BAC and FCX, predicting FCX could get back in favor and reach the high $30s in June.

Steve Weiss said he'll be watching CAT, the airlines and financials.

Weiss pounded the table again for C, saying it could be up 50% over 2 years. Weiss' Final Trade was SODA.

Pete Najarian no doubt made Mike Mayo happy (unlike Stephen Weiss previously) when he said "$30 is well within reach" for Morgan Stanley.

Najarian said SBUX "continues to work" but that he expects a "bit of a stall." His Final Trade was "Specta (sic) Enegy (sic)."

Mike Murphy said of SKS, "I think it's fully priced here." Murphy said AKS has "massive unfunded pension liabilities," and he doesn't like the stock here, but if it clears 5 it would be interesting. (This writer is long AKS.) Murphy's Final Trade was ADT.

He's a funny enough guy, but we couldn't figure out how/why Jim Gaffigan scored an appearance on the Fast Money Halftime Report, other than he's apparently a friend of Mike Murphy, and "I tell diarrhea jokes for a living."

[Thursday, May 30, 2013]

Dick Bove complains about the focus of Fast Money

Dick Bove is regarded by many as a blunt talker, but he even outdid Senatory Geary when handling a question about the impact of rising interest rates on banks from Melissa Lee on Thursday's Fast Money.

"You're spending too much time on an issue which you shouldn't be spending time on," Bove told Lee.

Bove instead asserted that it's been glory days for banks really for 4 years running, "overall improvement of every facet of banking," and they're even "raising prices on just about every product that they sell."

Lee's comeback was to tell Bove she let him make 4 points, something she rarely does, and so could he just rattle off a couple banks he likes.

Bove, who now calls Rafferty home (we had forgotten about that, the old Rochdale mess), called BAC a "very very strong buy" and said he likes STI and MS also.

Guy Adami noted that Fast Money producers were playing Gerry Rafferty at the top of the show, then singled out PRU as being "on fire," and ultimately pointed to USB as a consistent favorite, even though "there no beta" in it.

Mike Khouw said he prefers JPM over GS and MS. Karen Finerman gave viewers a Trade School on net interest margin.

This is starting to sound like last summer’s trendy Fast Money refrain, ‘QE3 won’t work because this stuff is like medication, the more you do it, the more the effectiveness wears off...’

By guesting on Thursday's Fast Money, Japan skeptic Stephen Roach was sort of a day late, because it was a day earlier that Brian Kelly suggested the Nikkei's had a "reflexive" moment that might have gotten the "downward spiral" under way, and Tim Seymour concurred it's possible. (#tradingtheyenbythehour)

Far more dismissive than Paul Richards on Halftime (below), Roach scoffed on Thursday that Abe and Kuroda are merely digging into the "bag of tricks," and if there's no structural follow-through, are "not gonna get traction."

Guy Adami asked a good question, is it possible that a derivatives book could blow up over the wild swings in Japan. "I don't know," Roach admitted.

Roach ultimately complained, "Japan is our laboratory ... what are we doing on structural reforms in the United States. Absolutely nothing."

This spring’s favorite Fast Money refrain: It’s not the rise in rates, but how fast they rise

Jeff Rosenberg, sort of like Richard X. Bove actually, told Thursday's Fast Money crew that there's "a little bit of an overreaction going on" regarding rising interest rates.

"It's the pace of increase" (Drink) that matters, Rosenberg said.

Got it.

Really, we got it.

Rosenberg, having trouble with the word "peg," was asked if he watched yesterday's Fast Money he believes Ed Yardeni could be right about the Fed tying purchases to a stated 10-year rate of perhaps 2%.

"We're not moving to that regime," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg asserted that last week during all the Fed minutiae there was a "disconnect between the Q&A and the speech and the testimony and the minutes and most importantly the, the, the, the FOMC communication."

Other than that, the communication is apparently swell.

Rosenberg concluded, "Inflation's going the wrong direction," and said his year-end forecast for the 10-year is 2.25%. He said he likes securitized assets and bank loans.

What about Facebook Home?

About every couple of months someone has a new hook for why Facebook should rocket toward that IPO price, with Brian Pitz doing the honors on Thursday's Fast Money, explaining, "Video ads are a big opportunity."

Pitz said, "Advertisers want scale," and they're saying, "We want more than just Google to buy from."

Karen Finerman correctly pointed out that if you're looking to buy stocks, you can buy FB on this premise, or "you can buy No. 1 cheaper" (that would be GOOG).

Finerman also joked that MSFT took off "the week after I sold it."

Jon Najarian said he hasn't seen a compelling reason to get into FB yet but noted that there has been some major unwinding of positions recently, and "they've been sizable."

A debate is held over COST, and no one mentions the gas-pump trade

Guy Adami made a tepid bull case for COST on Thursday's Fast Money, saying "operating margins are continuing to improve" and that the company looks strong internationally, so it should do well on a "benign to a good tape."

Jon Najarian, the bear, cited valuation, "They're almost double Wal-Mart," and "that's a little tough for me." Najarian also said that the company raised fees, which will make tough comps for later in the year.

Karen Finerman had long since prejudged the case, saying she "can't get on board" the name and so she backs Najarian.

The original Fast Money used to speak of this one in terms of Barry Bonds’ hat size

Sometimes Fast Money helps clue you in to ticker developments you may not have noticed, such as the meteoric rise in AMD in basically a month.

Dan Niles told Thursday's Fast Money this run isn't over, because AMD has morphed from a PC story to a vide-game story which involves longer cycles, and has a "new lease on life with, uh, the game platforms that are coming out," and he sees no reason the stock can't double over the next couple of years.

Guy Adami pointed out that a Goldman Sachs analyst rated AMD a sell on May 15 with a 2½ price target. Adami said of Niles' case, "Personally I don't see it," and said he'd rather look to short the name at some point.

Michael Burns complains during the show of Melissa’s trailing P.E. for LGF

Guy Adami offered sort of a trade for TSLA on Thursday's Fast Money, saying he can't recommend buying it here, but rather would "wait for some sort of blowoff top," then play it from the short side.

Jon Najarian said he was ahead of the curve in asking the solar exec last week about China tariffs and then, referring to FSLR, said, "That's why these stocks have a lot more room to run."

Guy Adami said he thinks LGF will maintain its afterhours gain in Friday's trading, but cautioned, "You can't go buy it tomorrow."

Jon Najarian said he prefers TWX, DIS and CMCSK to LGF. Melissa Lee made what seemed a reasonable assessment of LGF's P.E., only to announce at the end of the program that Michael Burns had called in a revised number in the 20s.

Brian Kelly said he wouldn't be surprised to see BIG in the 20s over the "next 6 months." Kelly's Final Trade was selling EWY.

Mike Khouw said, as Jon Najarian already did at Halftime, that there were big buyers of the SNE October 23 calls.

Jon Najarian discussed the upcoming ASCO medical conference (which used to have Mike Huckman camping out for days) and said he thinks BMY and CELG are "gonna move based on this," and also suggested smaller names ARIA and CLSN (his Final Trade) for a potentially bigger pop, the latter up 10% on the day but trading under $2.

Guy Adami said that in the energy space, "I think Apache works here," and he also likes TSO and VLO. Adami's Final Trade was GD.

Lee aired a clip of Karen Finerman speaking with Joanna Coles (this is evidently more than just a book project); Finerman said she's also got Sallie Krawcheck, Kathy Griffin, Susan Feldman and Mona Scott Young coming up.

"Part of it is helping women get out of their own way," Finerman said. "Sometimes, we're the obstacle."

Finerman's Final Trade was LYV.

‘On the cusp of one of the strongest bull markets we’ve ever seen’

Stephen Weiss is normally not particularly effusive, but on Thursday's Halftime Report, he surged atop the leaderboard of biggest bull on Fast Money/Halftime Report.

Weiss thinks we're "actually on the cusp of one of the strongest bull markets we've ever seen," given the governmental push around the globe to boost markets.

Josh Brown said Thursday's action is "constructive" but stressed that viewers not ignore Japan or the bond market (so what does that mean, should they buy or sell).

Stephanie Link touted financials, tech and industrials and said, "I think you still have rotation."

Jon Najarian denounced the knuckleheads who unloaded after the Fed report of last week. "They were trying to get ahead of the Fed," Najarian said, which was "quite simply, stupid," a "bogus game," because the Fed isn't just cutting QE on some willy-nilly jobs report, "they said sustained 6½%."

Flash: Someone from Pimco agrees to appear on CNBC

Mohamed El-Erian was a little conclusion-challenged during his appearance on Thursday's Halftime Report, calling bonds and Japan "2 distinct issues" for the stock market, and stressing that Japan's last 8 days are either a "blip" ... or "something more fundamental."

That about covers it.

El-Erian, emphasizing Pimco talking points, said the firm is "not running away, but walking away" from risk. "There's something going on the last 2 days. There's something going on," El-Erian claimed.

Stephen Weiss questioned why El-Erian doesn't see an enormous bull market as Weiss does given central banks' involvement and Europe's reversal from austerity. El-Erian said we "need genuine growth" and not just the Fed kind, and "there is no growth model in Europe."

El-Erian said that he doesn't see a "cyclical" bear market in interest rates, but "we may get a secular bear market."

Perhaps Brian Kelly and Tim Seymour’s ‘reflexive’ ‘spiral’ of a day ago is premature

Paul Richards on Thursday's Halftime said it's way too early to pronounce the Japan trade dead, "I think it's corrective only," because "these guys are early in the job" and "nothing's that linear."

Richards indicated that Japan will signal more JGB buying, and "if all else fails, they'll buy stocks off the banks the way they did in '92."

"I think dollar/yen holds 100," Richards said, saying he'd buy at 101 with a target 106.

Richards also said "at the end of the day."

Josh Brown questioned how a breakup of SNE would really bring value, because electronics isn't the golden goose, "what business are they really in," and halfheartedly said a tracking stock might allow a pure play on something. Stephanie Link said there's a lot of value if SG&A expenses are brought down. Steve Weiss said Dan Loeb's point is that the company is a little bloated and mismanaged. Jon Najarian said options buyers like the story; "they're buying all the way up to 23 strike."

Stephen Weiss and Stephanie Link manage to get tangled up over definition of mobile ‘progress’

Stephen Weiss said on Thursday's Halftime Report that he thinks FB "rests" for a while, and he's not on board because the company hasn't answered questions about mobile.

Stephanie Link bristled, "They've made very good progress in mobile."

Weiss and Link then scrapped over whether going from zero to some positive number constitutes "progress," with Weiss ultimately scoffing it's like a "kindergarten soccer game" in which medals are given out for not a whole lot of achievement.

Josh Brown tried to get a word in, saying "Instagram is their competitor," but was cut off, but did get to conclude that the stock just had an "island reversal" off a "definitive downtrend," so look out to the upside.

ITB ‘better choice’ than XHB

Guest Stephen Suttmeier on Thursday's Halftime Report said the S&P got a little overdone around 1,685 but pronounced the pullback as "healthy, normal."

"We just think this is a normal pullback," he said. "It means there's new highs further out."

Like everyone on the show these days, Suttmeier said it's not rising rates that matter, but a "rate of change issue."

"We like industrials," he said.

Stephen Weiss said he's long OI and OC.

Weiss complained about the limitations of Tesla. "It's still an hour to do a charging," then volunteered opinions on the car he test-drove, calling it "rather austere inside," then said (Drink) "at the end of the day," he'd rather spend $90,000 on a Porsche than something like Tesla and its "limited market."

Stephanie Link touted COST, "on any kind of weakness, you wanna buy this stock."

Anthony Grisanti said the gasoline story is "demand, demand, demand," and said he's "looking to sell the rallies." Jim Iuorio said consumer confidence stats are high.

Paul Baiocchi said if you want a housing ETF, there is ITB and XHB, and "ITB is the better choice," in part because it's "cap-weighted."

Likewise, if you want REITs, he likes the REZ for residential real estate rather than VNQ.

Jon Najarian argued that JOY is a buy, "Bookings were up 10% quarter over quarter," and offered the "correct" pronunciation of Manitowoc.

Stephen Weiss said he agrees with Najarian only on MTW's pronunciation, then insisted coal is a big driver of JOY which is trouble, and as for JOY's valuation, "I think it's not cheap."

Stephanie Link had prejudged the case, saying, "Actually we were buying the stock today," adding the quarter was "better than feared."

Link's Final Trade was TKR. Josh Brown said DD, Stephen Weiss said C (which clocked Brown from a recent debate), and Jon Najarian said ALTR.

[Wednesday, May 29, 2013]

One of the new Fast Money themes of Q2 2013: ‘Paper gold’ not indicative of real gold

Frank Holmes, who likes gold miners, sounded a bit on Wednesday's Fast Money like Len Brecken used to when talking about shorting NFLX, although Holmes didn't have stats like cost of content vs. subscriber growth to toss around.

"The odds favor," Holmes said, "that we're closer to a bottom" in the miners, and that in spot gold's "35-year seasonal pattern," the bottom tends to happen May-July.

Asked to identify a catalyst for a turnaround here, Holmes said the dividend yields are higher than the 10-year, and that the stocks are "extremely oversold," and that the commodity has been decimated by "financial gold" but is being bought by "strong hands gold."

Holmes singled out AGI, FNV and GOLD as names he likes.

Steve Grasso conceded that when the spot price rises, "The miners outperform on the way up."

Tim Seymour, who used to spend a moment of every Fast Money episode recommending GFI, actually said Wednesday, "I think Barrick bottomed," but "the junior gold miners, stay away from them."

Mike Khouw reported that August 50 puts in BHP were active.

‘You get a couple down days, and everybody starts to lose their mind’

Tim Seymour, in many ways sort of the voice of reason of Wednesday's Fast Money, astutely pointed out, "You get a couple down days, and everybody starts to lose their mind," but then, much like his commentary, pointed out "the bond market's all over the map," so who knows where markets are going.

"We might've put a near-term top in," contended Dan Nathan, who made sell SPY his Final Trade and who pointed to the IYR and yield producers and claimed, "this thing's coming undone."

Brian Kelly isn't calling this 1937 anymore, but for the 2nd or 3rd time recently referred to a purported BusinessWeek cover of August 1979 that referred to "the death of equities" as a sign that front-page media is always wrong about the stock market.

Steve Grasso, trying to convince himself that SO isn't done, explained, "I'm still long Southern because I think it has to revert backwards now."

The picture above is there because it was by far the best part of Wednesday's Fast Money, and if that appearance didn't buckle your knees, you are not human.

Doc defends options business

Melissa Lee on Wednesday's Fast Money played a clip of Larry Fink's comments about options players, and brought in a guy who runs a business called OptionMonster to opine.

Jon Najarian first said "I'm not surprised" at Fink's remarks; "people continue to demonize the product."

But by the end of the dialogue, Najarian was saying that Fink was probably talking more about HFT.

Najarian argued that if options are such a loser's game, why is the practice able to "grow at about 16% a year," and he said studies debunking Fink's assertions have been done by Duke and UMass (2 places that spend a lot of money on their basketball coaches) and Harvard.

Meanwhile, TransCanada's Russ Girling said the Keystone Pipeline likely at best is looking like a "mid- to end 2015" project. Tim Seymour claimed it's "clearly a political football" that should be given the green light.

Seymour, by the way, said of the Chinese deal for SFD, "I think it would be laughable if it didn't go through."

‘Looked at about 40 billion tweets’

This page often complains that 30 minutes would easily suffice for an episode of Fast Money, but because it's an hour, viewers get appearances such as the Twitter research segment featuring Paul Hawtin on Wednesday.

"I looked at about 40 billion tweets," Hawtin claimed, and found that in the last 2 months, there was a "massive spike" in ones referring to a bubble.

But Hawtin couldn't tell Melissa Lee if this is just people relaying news stories, or indicating a seismic shift in sentiment, it's "really just a bit of research ... I won't specifically trade on this," he admitted.

Tim Seymour said that for those who doubted Mila Kunis' market endorsement, "she's 8% in the money."

Try not to trade WFC based on originations

Diana Olick, she of the mighty biceps, spoke on Wednesday's Fast Money about the psychological impact of higher mortgage rates.

Steve Grasso said that he's a momentum trader, and homebuilders are out of momentum.

Tim Seymour later made a bull case for WFC that sounded ridiculous, pointing out that it's not an origination trade because origination volumes were down last quarter, but it should benefit from NIM spreads on rising rates.

Brian Kelly claimed mortgage applications and refinancings are dropping.

Steve Grasso said "the chart speaks for itself." Dan Nathan curiously said he agrees with Grasso but actually said to wait to buy it lower.

Mike Khouw was having none of the Bruce Berkowitz trade, Fannie and Freddie preferreds, explaining, "It's a political trade, and I would avoid it."

Brian Kelly, Tim Seymour suggest the ‘spiral’ in Japan has begun

Mike Khouw said on Wednesday's Fast Money that the air isn't out of the staples bubble yet, they are "still immensely expensive."

Steve Grasso claimed, "It's all multiple expansion."

Grasso said 65 has been "great resistance" for KORS, and he wouldn't buy.

Tim Seymour admitted "I own Cliffs" and said to get out if it breaks 17.50. Seymour's Final Trade was covering his PBR short.

Brian Kelly said "I'd be short" WY, and "probably actually wanna be long yen tonight ... this whole process starts to get that downward spiral going," which Tim Seymour agreed is possible (and oh my, there are gonna be some hedge funds seriously underwater). Kelly's Final Trade was buy FXY.

Dan Nathan said CL is a "crowded trade" not done going down. Steve Grasso said he "wouldn't buy" CHS, but he backed LGF; "there's no sign of this stock running out of momentum." Grasso's Final Trade was to buy COST on a dip.

Mike Khouw addressed the STEI/SCI deal and said "Service is still probably a buy at these levels." Khouw's Final Trade was HAL.

Market likened to 1998-2000

In one of the more interesting stock-market assessments recently, Tom Fitzpatrick told Scott Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report that the S&P is "beginning to look more and more like the move we saw from October 1998 into the summer of 2000."

Fitzpatrick said he didn't expect the S&P to get through 1,576, but it did, and the momentum is still there, though he thinks we're "getting close to the top of a move."

He shrugged at the potential for rising rates to stall stocks, saying we've been hearing that "every year since 2007."

On gold, Fitzpatrick reiterated his long-term bull case and the screen graphic showed a 4-digit number with a 3 handle, but Fitzpatrick allowed that "we didn't believe that 1,500 would break on the downside," and he warned there could be more selling to go.

Anthony Grisanti meanwhile pounded the table for gold's bear case, asserting, "Gold should be a lot higher than $10 today ... once that dollar strengthens, and I'm sure it will, you're gonna see gold head a lot lower."

Jim Iuorio said it's not the direction of gold that gets him stoked, but chart formation. "The technical picture is one that I get excited about," he said predicting that if it closes below 1,371 then 1,300 is possible, but if it tops 1,400 or 1,405, then "perhaps it will go higher."

Pete comes through with another ‘2nd-half story’ for AAPL

Jon Fortt admitted at the beginning of his remarks about Tim Cook on Wednesday's Halftime Report that "He didn't come out and say a whole heckuva lot."

Fortt aired some clips of Cook (who mysteriously seems about 10 years older than the picture CNBC likes to run of him) telling Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher that he's not big into the glasses and he's not sure many young people wear watches.

Pete Najarian and Josh Brown said they own the shares. Jon Najarian doesn't, saying he's waiting until June 20, though he would act before that.

Mike Murphy also is not long; he said "I'd be a buyer again down in the 405 range."

Pete Najarian said "I have not added in a long time" to his AAPL position, saying he expects/wants them to get into the lower-end phone market and boost the iPhone screen size, "that's why it's been a 2nd-half story."

Why don’t shareholder activists just listen to Dr. J?

Rick Sherlund on Wednesday's Halftime Report made one of the stranger activist calls we've heard recently, suggesting that MSFT of all names is ripe for agitation.

"We think there's a change in the wind here," Sherlund curiously claimed, saying without really identifying a useful catalyst that somehow shareholders are not going to be "as polite as they were before ... things are about to change."

"On fundamentals, um, the stock's probably not very interesting right now," Sherlund said, before suggesting that somehow the company could either borrow against its massive overseas cash or just bring it home and take the tax hit and buy back "almost 20% of the stock" to give EPS a big jolt.

Jon Najarian couldn't resist a Brag Trade, saying he has owned it for the "2.6% dividend yield ... I think they can double it," and then the money quote: "I do 10 times more than that by basically selling 1 strike out-of-the-money calls, you make 2% a month from that."

Home Depot dubbed ‘most important stock in the world right now’

Michael Santoli, who normally chips in to the Halftime Report franchise on Fridays, told Judge Wapner's crew on Wednesday that the market is experiencing a choppy exit from the yield chase, which figures to translate into other sectors but "raises your risk level in the market."

Santoli said that worse than anything the Fed might say is the possibility of a summer "slowdown scare."

Taking aim at a ridiculous high-flier for the last couple of years, Santoli concluded, "What I don't want to see though is for people to kind of keep crowding into the Home Depots of the world," which he said "might be the most important stock in the world right now ... I don't think it has upside from here."

Josh Brown said there's a "ripple effect ... there's definitely a lot of fear," as utilities and REITs got smashed, to the tune of IYR giving up 2 months worth of gains in 4 days.

Brown pointed to comparisons of the SPLV vs. SPY and said whatever drains out of the former figures to boost other sectors of the latter.

Pete Najarian bluntly scoffed, "Forget this whole crap about defensive," and said financials and energy are the places to be.

Mike Murphy opined that "utilities ran too far, too fast."

Jon Najarian called the utilities correction "very healthy."

Brown: KORS like COH 2001-’07

Josh Brown was enlisted on Wednesday's Halftime Report to make a bull case for KORS and insisted, "This is not a tough one."

Brown said KORS is killin' it wherever it goes or expands, the valuation is not crazy, and "I think we're early to mid-cycle" in its growth with "another few years" possibly in the works.

Mike Murphy said that while the stock has done great, "This is not a lifetime achievement award," that it's gotten expensive, and most importantly, "comps get a lot more difficult."

Brown rebutted that Murphy should check the COH chart from 2001-07; that's what's happening in KORS, Brown said.

Pete Najarian decided, "I gotta go with Mike on this one ... I think the valuation is stretched."

When discussing this name, Karen likes to refer to ‘lowest common multiple’

Michael Cuggino joined Wednesday's Halftime Report to make the case for one of the show's more controversial stocks of recent months, FCX.

It's "been beaten down for some reason," Cuggino said, a quip of ignorance that drew rightful disbelief from Judge Wapner. Cuggino acknowledged the company's foray into the oil space and contended, "We see a lot of synergies" as well as stability in copper.

Cuggino also touted MOS, saying the Cargill situation is still playing out.

Josh Brown assessed Cuggino's points. "What he's essentially doing is mean reversion," Brown said, explaining his own play on this theme is VAW.

Mike Murphy said, "When Freeport comes down to where it's yielding about 4%, the stock finds major support."

Pete: Buy NFLX under 200

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report led the crew's protests against Judge Wapner's implication that nobody was smart enough to take advantage of the NFLX surge, saying he'd been in the name but not now and he'd buy again once it's under 200.

Mike Murphy said of PHM, "Buy the dips on these guys." Murphy addressed the STEI and SCI deal and contended, "The story is pretty much over in this." His Final Trade was CWH.

Jon Najarian pointed out that "people took those profits" in TFM's wild day. Najarian also asserted that "Something leaked here Scott" in the SFD deal. Najarian's Final Trade was HL.

Josh Brown said people just wanted to get out of CLF Wednesday. Brown's Final Trade was F.

David Faber, in an interesting report on Bruce Berkowitz plowing into Fannie and Freddie preferreds that was reminiscent of the old Strategy Session days (a show that Berkowitz agreed to appear on, even once when sick), explained the debate over the government letting go.

"This has to be one of the most speculative trades of the last, I don't know how long," chuckled a not-quite-sold Judge Wapner.

Pete Najarian said if you're interested in SLM, "Wait a couple of dollars lower." Najarian predicted F is "goin' a lot higher" and made AIG his Final Trade.

[Tuesday, May 28, 2013]

Dan Nathan suggests CEO interview on CNBC will goose stock

If there was a surprise on Tuesday's Fast Money, it was that Melissa Lee actually said out loud that a Fast Money panelist was pinning a long trade on a CEO's pending CNBC interview and asked said panelist if he does that all the time.

But Dan Nathan made a good point, it's not like Reed Hastings is coming on to talk about bad things.

"I actually bought a weekly call spread in this name," Nathan revealed, suggesting this move for a Final Trade.

Mike Khouw reported that NFLX 220 puts were hot and even doubled during Tuesday's trading and that the stock itself is too lofty; "the valuation's really hard to comprehend for me."

Guy Adami said right now, NFLX is in "no man's land."

Julia Boorstin, who looked stunning, said "at the end of the day" while talking about Reed Hastings, but Guy Adami and Melissa Lee for some reason failed to say "Drink" when that happened.

Josh Brown endorses
the Cost-Basis Trade

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Fast Money stood up for John Paulson, said to be in WLH, pointing out that in Paulson's reflation fund, "he's kind of nailed that."

Brown said "expectations got way too low" for CROX and this is what happens when they get better.

Brown endorsed Japan, perhaps tepidly, saying that despite last week's volatility, the Nikkei's is the type of breakout that "could be a multi-year trend."

So he said it's "a little bit too early to walk away entirely," but then, to the likely horror of Karen Finerman, said if you're already up 40% or 50% in this trade, it's fine to exit.

Forget ‘Casino,’ why not cast
Brian Kelly as ‘The Cooler’?

Guy Adami on Tuesday's Fast Money argued for a continuing bull run in WYNN, no slouch recently, citing "favorable trends in Las Vegas," and that this is a name that happens to "work well with the high-end clients."

Plus there are the great results from TIF, Macau potential, and short interest, Adami said.

Brian Kelly dissented, singling out Macau; "I think things have probably peaked there," and in fact concluded that not only should you avoid the stock, but "probably wanna short it."

Dan Nathan said he agrees with Kelly, because if there's any place in the world with a potential for disaster, it's China.

Mike Khouw, however, called WYNN "actually cheap for one of these names" and said he's "gonna stay with this one here."

We're no experts, but the gut here is that WYNN and LVS are virtual beta plays on the broad market, so if you agree with Adami, dial up the cyclicals.

Wasn’t eliminating our dependence on foreign oil supposed to make gasoline cheaper?

Dennis Gartman explained on Tuesday's Fast Money that he's been hearing talk about the end of OPEC for 35 years and recalled for viewers how he used to go around giving speeches and asking audiences who the largest foreign supplier of oil to U.S. consumers is. Of course the answer was Canada, but everyone always used to say Saudi Arabia, which was always no better than "4th, 5th, sometimes 6th."

But Gartman said right now "you've got a real problem" for the Saudis because the Angolans and Nigerians are angry, which will make for a contentious OPEC meeting.

Gartman said railroads and refiners are the way to play the U.S. shale boom, and if there was a way, he would sell OPEC short.

Guy Adami made APA his Final Trade.

Mike Khouw suggested HAL and SLB, while Josh Brown said he's been advocating clients get into IEO. Brown at one point in the program said if you're in OXY, "I think you stick with this one," and apparently convinced himself of something bigger, saying OXY "straight up" for his Final Trade with a price target over $100.

Bears crawling out from under the rocks again

Josh Brown found himself outnumbered on Tuesday's Fast Money by 3 gents who tend to pick bear cases based on very little evidence other than they just like feeling bearish, and wasted little time in telling Brian Kelly that what Kelly was espousing (defensives getting slammed as a bad sign) was "the exact opposite of what's happening."

Brown said the market has been experiencing "rolling breakouts" from various sectors, and money has actually been smartly coming out of "overvalued" defensives, whose stength have been "a perversion," and in fact "this is healthy."

Dan Nathan said each party made good points, but "something's gotta give here" between cyclicals and defensives.

Guy Adami pointed to Japan's volatility and the rapidity of the rise in rates and said, "That really scares me."

Mike Khouw said rising rates are "definitely gonna hurt" stocks, and that a higher VIX on Tuesday is a sign of "some skepticism" with stocks.

Guest explains what to do
— last week

Guest Randy Frederick told Tuesday's Fast Money that every single soft patch has represented a "perfect buying opportunity," that there's support at 1,636, and then offered something of a Brag Trade in telling viewers he told clients to buy last week and look at how that paid off by Tuesday.

Frederick said he likes transportation, airlines and consumer discretionary and hailed TIF's results.

Ed Yardeni offered an intriguing theory we hadn't thought about, which is that the Fed might be compelled to declare a target rate on the 10-year "at something around 2%" and then arrange its purchases to accomplish that.

Yardeni suggested a "summer meltup" because the central bank will be compelled to keep rates down, adding, "Gatsby's back, right?"

Josh Brown made a cogent assessment of Yardeni's case, stressing, "I'm not a permabull," but ... "they're not even talking about raising rates," or ending QE right now, and by the time they do, the market will be used to it.

Marissa factors into the
commercial-realty trade

Those worried about rising rates sinking this real estate thing we've got going will be glad to hear that Mark Weiss said on Tuesday's Fast Money that he looks at the forward curve and finds that with the 10-year in the "2% to 3% range, I think you're still fine on real estate."

Weiss said commercial real estate has gotten a boost from low rates and the easing of credit standards. But Josh Brown questioned if we haven't seen the "secular" peak of commercial real estate as more people work from home and/or look to rent temporary space.

Weiss said that back in the 1990s, everyone said telecommuting would kill the office environment. "Well guess what, it didn't happen," Weiss said.

Later, Robert Frank pointed out that Hamptons summer rentals are going for $1 million, and home sales in the Hamptons are up 7-10%.

Dan Nathan’s $100 TSLA emerging as possible favorite for Call of the Year

Josh Brown said on Tuesday's Fast Money that he wouldn't jump into TSLA right here, because "this doesn't have the fundamentals of Apple just yet," but "people are still discovering the story," and you "cannot be short this name."

Meanwhile, speaking of the fundamentals of AAPL, Dan Nathan scoffed that Tim Cook was going to receive "softball after softball" from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

Nathan said CRM watchers probably need the stock to "base" a little bit, there's "not a lot of margin for error" with a valuation like this.

Guy Adami said that FB "still feels broken here." Adami said if you want to get into LNKD, "You have to wait on this one."

Dan Nathan credits Herb
for sinking Solar City

Guy Adami said on Tuesday's Fast Money that in a first for the show (and he's been there since the beginning), he's never before heard strawberries blamed for missing a quarter, as DOLE apparently did.

Adami said if you want to trade this, "Trade it against a stop at 10 bucks."

Adami said he thinks KORS is bound for "probably another new all-time high."

Dan Nathan said TIF was a bright spot for Asia but the stock seems "kind of full valuation-wise."

Nathan actually credited Herb Greenberg for putting the damper on Solar City by mentioning on Street Signs a June 10 lockup expiration.

Mike Khouw said EXC and the like are "still a space to avoid." Brian Kelly said NRG is maybe attractive here.

Brian Kelly somehow came up with short SPY as his Final Trade.

Joe Terranova pointed out on Twitter that his Halftime Final Trade was to short SPLS. Actually maybe the one that should've confused was Simon Baker's KORS, which could easily have been "Coors" given the way some of his picks have gone.

Worst call of the year

Normally we wait until the last week of December to pronounce the Fast Money Bust of the Year.

But here we are in May, and we've already got a winner.

That would be Simon Baker — not for his LULU "game over" call (that will probably be the runner-up) ... but for his short TSLA call on May 13 with the stock at $87.

Yes, it did drop to $83 the next day. Had Simon stopped there, it would be a great call. Instead it was a bone-headed, knuckle-headed monstrosity that hopefully no viewers attempted.

Regardless, Herb Greenberg visited Tuesday's Halftime Report to complain about TSLA valuation and question that while it does have strengths, "How much of that is priced into it."

Steve Weiss called the stock "a Greater Fool Theory," explaining he test-drove the car and it's great, but it costs $90,000 and who's going to drive it from New York to Boston and take an hour to charge it, so it's a "very finite market" of buyers.

Baker actually was heard to grumble, "It's like Lululemon."

Lest we get a bad rap again from certain CNBCers on Twitter, we'll point out that as always, we hope Baker's picks succeed (with the caveat that in bull-bear debates, we can't pick both sides); it's merely our obligation to point out when massive bungling has occurred.

Surely CNBC can get an updated picture of Tim Cook that isn’t 10 years old

Judge Wapner welcomed Porter Bibb onto Tuesday's Halftime Report to assess the prospects for Tim Cook saying anything interesting Tuesday night.

He won't, Bibb contended, asserting a couple times that Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher already previewed their questions on CNBC and won't ask what the market wants to hear.

Bibb did call Cook "a competent manager."

Judge, still grasping for others to sign onto this notion of Cook experiencing a signature moment in front of the U.S. Senate, claimed that indeed was the case "by most accounts."

Stephen Weiss said the problem for the stock is that "Samsung's the hot device." Simon Baker though countered that "Apple technically is very strong."

Joe Terranova told Wapner that "I took a small Apple long position last week" because like Judge, he actually does think Cook's testimony was a "game-changer" of sorts.

Steel not the one

One thing that always comes to mind whenever letter X comes up on Fast Money is some comment Dennis Gartman made a couple years ago, this is not verbatim, but it goes something like, "I've been doing this for 35 years ... when U.S. Steel gets going, there's almost nothing like it."

Unfortunately for X longs, it hasn't gotten going for at least 5 years.

JJ Kinahan though made a decent case for an X uptick on Tuesday's Halftime Report, citing infrastructure spending in the wake of the Washington bridge collapse, "insider buying from their board members," and a global recovery.

Joe Terranova played the bear, asserting, "Steel prices can't rally in the wake of rising auto production, rising auto sales," and that what Kinahan is suggesting is "catching falling knives."

"They have no pricing power," Terranova concluded.

Stephen Weiss, who has long since prejudged this case, claimed he was coincidentally researching X financials in the morning and found "they're at 10-year highs in capacity utilization ... I'd get out of it right now." Simon Baker also prejudged the case, pointing to a Goldman Sachs downgrade and saying the problem with Kinahan's infrastructure argument is that the steel is being bought from China.

Someday Kinahan will be right and Gartman's prophecy will once again be realized, but it doesn't feel like there's any catalyst now, something like the homebuilders 2006-2011.

Weiss’ Brag Trade

Rebecca Patterson, one of our favorite (ex-)Money in Motion personalities, was the star guest of Tuesday's Halftime Report in arguing the case for stocks.

"We're bullish," Patterson said, "increasing our equity overweight," though conceding that her favorite sectors are a "bit of a mishmash."

Patterson maybe made her best case for developed Europe, suggesting, "I don't think the improvement's priced in there yet."

Patterson told Judge Wapner that "I'm definitely doing a glass-half-full today" in suggesting almost like this page did last week that tapering talk will cease to spook the markets because "the more the market gets to hear this," the less of a shock it will become.

Patterson also somewhat hesitantly endorsed Japan but acknowledged, "Abe executing is a big question mark."

That gave Stephen Weiss a chance to gloat about his own Japan trade. "I took my DXJ off last week. I sold it very lucky, very fortuitous in time, right before the big decline," Weiss said. "I'd rather buy Japan a little lower."


JJ Kinahan said he's surprised that Patterson would back health care, given the ObamaCare ramifications, he said it's something you have to be "very very careful of."

Joe Terranova said at the top of the show he has taken his TBT exposure from a 100% position to a 25% position.

Terranova added, "The financial sector continues to be the source of opportunity," and mentioned GS and AXP.

Stephen Weiss touted C and ROC, and the screen listed CYH, SODA and airlines as other Weiss favorites.

Simon Baker said he prefers "clearly the cyclicals over the staples" and mentioned GM as well as housing and financials.

JJ Kinahan touted KO and PEP as the "sector within the sector." But Baker called PEP and KO "a little crowded." Kinahan said people seem "very comfortable" with the notion of a 2.5% yield on the 10-year.

Herb says ‘inherent’

Herb Greenberg, after really making no case against TSLA except valuation, noted on Tuesday's Halftime Report that Solar City is another star of Elon Musk, "he is currently the star of all things."

Greenberg also complained that the "market is ignoring" skepticism of CMG.

Steve Weiss correctly observed, "You can't be short any of those."

Greenberg said he just wants viewers to know "the risk inherent in companies like this. This is just risk before reward, and at some point, it's a casino."

Judge Wapner correctly noted there's "been a lot of reward."

Superfox Seema Mody (omg ... what was she wearing Tuesday?) got the newfound Josh Lipton role of reporting stock news, telling Tuesday's Halftime about TIF's big day, which happens to be a great Pete Najarian recent call.

Stephen Weiss said cognac purchases are way down in Asia. But Joe Terranova backed TIF, "I think it's got staying power."

Joe’s Final Trade unclear

Joe Terranova said on Tuesday's Halftime Report not to get long NFLX until you hear Reed Hastings' interview, and then only do it with a $200 put.

JJ Kinahan said he likes how MRK is streamlining to its core business and said the stock could go higher.

Simon Baker said he asked about rental car usage at the Denver airport and found "it's really pickin' up" for names like HTZ.

Diana Olick said AXL is one name benefitting from housing. Stephen Weiss though called HD "Long in the tooth," and Simon Baker said he's "stayin' away from homebuilders," though he likes SWK and MAS. Joe Terranova said there's "plenty of room" in VMC, and JJ Kinahan mentioned Allstate, not for Nicole Lapin's new ads, but because "disasters haven't been that bad this year."

Simon Baker said the VRX deal represents "a lot of value." Stephen Weiss said EXC was stung by "way too much capacity" in electricity. Joe Terranova said that for refiners, "the rebound is back in play," but he thinks rails are a strong play.

Anthony Grisanti said crude has followed equities, and "strong equities No. 1 will take crude oil higher through that 97," and so will demand for gasoline and diesel, and oh yes, Syria.

Jeff Kilburg though said "we've rejected that $97 level 5 times" in crude, and equities are "due for a prune in June."

Luciano Siracusano touted emerging market small-caps via ETFs, saying those companies are more in touch with what's going on in the ground in those countries.

Eamon Javers said The Conference Board denies info was leaked before the report.

Simon Baker was Fast Fired not on shorting TSLA but for his NKE short in March and claimed, "The stock's still expensive," and he prefers GM and F.

Stephen Weiss said to "take a pause" in LNG but you don't have to sell. JJ Kinahan said of XLU, "Don't fight the tape on this one." Simon Baker said John Deere had "so-so earnings."

Joe Terranova said "short Staples" for his Final Trade, but it's unclear whether he meant consumer staples or the stock SPLS. Simon Baker said long KORS, and Stephen Weiss said TBF.

Judge not taking any b.s.
from Twitter hecklers

Around here we try to catch up on the Twitter feeds of CNBCers, even though much of it consists of the most tiresome programming updates (#boringasheck).

Unfortunately those are a big part of Judge Wapner's repertoire too, but refreshingly, we noticed that Judge has been actively sparring with critics of the Halftime Report, over subjects such as his treatment of Brad Hintz and Gina Martin Adams and the usefulness of the Halftime Report's Breaking News updates.

The critics make some good points, however, we gotta say, in the category of breaking news, the more the merrier, as any condensing of the bloated Fast Money format allows us to enjoy the rest of our day that much more.

While we'd like to see Judge take a cue from Mr. Fox Business and start wishing foes well in their trailer parks, we're not expecting that to happen, but certainly if he's going to waste 30 seconds of his time banging this stuff out, he can do better than this beyond useless entry of last week, "Watch Fast at 5 tonight. Great traders and guests to tackle this wild market."

[Friday, May 24, 2013]

In 2 CNBC appearances
and an op-ed, Karen hasn’t really addressed Paul Tudor Jones’ point

This one is really, really high-beta in the risk department.

But we honestly can't let a review of Friday's CNBC programming occur without noting that Karen Finerman has made far more of a case for the foolishness of Paul Tudor Jones to actually say what he said ... than she has against what he actually said.

(Please note: We are only reporting news here, we have no opinion on the subject raised by Mr. Jones or the rebuttals by people on CNBC, we have no clue about any of that or why it is or why it isn't; we have nothing to do with any of this.)

In both of her CNBC appearances Friday and in her op-ed at CNBC.com, Finerman mostly expresses disbelief that Jones actually said what he said.

"I cannot believe he said it," Finerman said on Friday's Fast Money. "How could he think that those comments would never get out?"

OK ... (sigh, taking monumental risk here) ... let's play contrarian, and assume for a moment that maybe Jones wanted people to hear his thoughts on this subject.

Finerman in both of her TV appearances Friday made a quality point, saying on Fast Money, "makes me wonder if you don't breast-feed do you then retain your judgment."

If we were Jones' agent (we're not, too bad because it likely pays well, but this a journalism exercise), we would probably say that the "bosom" reference was a figure of speech for motherhood in general.

Finerman even went so far in both TV appearances and the op-ed to concede that she doesn't doubt that Jones has likely had honest experiences that formed or support his opinion. "I admire his candor," Finerman admitted.

What apparently rankles Karen was Jones' terminology of "period, end of story."

"He seems to not even be open to the possibility that that's not right," Finerman said, pointing out there used to be few female doctors.

Honestly, the gut feeling around here is that one of the last things the world needs is more traders of any gender. The last thing this page should do is offer its own anecdotal evidence to this "debate," but curiously, we've never known a woman to get a thrill out of the movie "Wall Street" or express a desire to see it more than once, unlike many of the males on Wall Street according to Anthony Scaramucci's book and countless males in the CNBCfix community.

There's even a reference to "Wall Street" in the movie "The Player" in which Hollywood execs debate scripts, with a male character suggesting something could be the next "Wall Street" and a female character scoffing at what an uninteresting movie it was. (Then again, that movie was directed by a male, and we honestly have no clue about anything here. #shuttingupnow)

Regardless, we'll just have to read Karen's book to get clued in on these things.

Josh Brown endorsed the notion that it's about focus and distractions of any kind. After his kids were born and he got little sleep, "I don't think that I did my best work," Brown said. "I think we all have events in our life."

At some point, someone needs to have the brass to say, ‘I’m not doing this’

Friday's Fast Money, featuring a shameless meal-prop/softball interview, is so embarrassing we hate to even mention the fact that Tim Seymour and Steve Grasso looked like utter buffoons chomping on giant slabs of bacon that make Bud Fox's steak tartar look tasty.

Peter Zwiener of Wolfgang's Steakhouse, the star guest who supplied the food, said it's "not really" true that steakhouses don't hold up in bear markets. Karen Finerman asked what economic statistic is most important. Zwiener said "employment and housing ... people have to feel good about the economy."

Mandy Drury asked Zwiener if he's concerned about rising beef prices. Zwiener assured there's a "cyclicality to beef prices."

Steve Grasso recommended DRI. "I would try to buy it here, and use a 52 stop," Grasso said.

"I thought you were going with Lipitor," Karen Finerman said.

Barry Bannister Market®:
1,700 by ‘2nd or 3rd quarter’

Few faces are more reassuring to stock-market bulls than Barry Bannister, who tramples on the skeptics of Fast Money/Halftime like Earl Campbell on Isiah Robertson.

Bannister reaffirmed for guest host Mandy Drury on Friday's Fast Money his 1,700 S&P target, explaining, "We should get there by 2nd or 3rd quarter."

"I would follow a pro-cyclical strategy," the Barrymeister said.

Mandy, however, doesn't regularly host this program and isn't aware of Barry's preference for terse commentary, so she might've been surprised that Barry utterly did not answer her question about what happens after 1,700. There's a "lot of policy support for this market, and what we really need is, uh, greater earnings confidence," Bannister said.

Meanwhile, Steve Grasso said 1,629 is support and 1,651 is resistance, and "I wanna see that lower end tested 1 more time."

Karen Finerman surprisingly revealed, "I was sort of spooked by Ben Bernanke's thoughts about female traders (that was only a joke) the testimony," saying that if she were going to outline to the markets the end of QE, "that's probably kinda the way I would've done it."

Tim Seymour reiterated, "I thought the Fed said nothing new."

Seymour cautioned that there's no holiday in overseas markets Monday and to watch out for Japan, "Sunday night I think could be some serious fireworks."

Josh Brown, who once again won't tell people if they should buy or sell the market after Wednesday's Fed news, insisted, "The market has changed its tone a little bit."

Brown pointed to an S&P chart with the Nikkei and said it's "hard to make the case" that they can diverge, and also compared the S&P to high-yield bonds, and said "if junk bonds can't find a bid," that's trouble.

Karen: PG news sounds like a sell

Karen Finerman said on Friday's Halftime Report that when she learned the news of PG, "I actually was thinking sell," because it raises the question, "is there a problem there."

Steve Grasso said this isn't a bad move, because "Lafley's more of an innovator," which even a seemingly stodgy company like PG needs.

Grasso advised being long but said to "keep a really tight stop on this," at 81.

Tim Seymour said, "They wanna be Unilever right now. I would own Unilever here."

Grasso's Final Trade was COST. Tim Seymour said short DB. Josh Brown said long LOW, and Karen Finerman said buy FL.

This week’s selloff ‘one of the last great opportunities’

Some in the Fast Money sphere have been wringing their hands for a couple days over Wednesday's Fed reversal and whatever the Nikkei's doing, but Halftime guest Rob Sechan on Friday pronounced it "one of the last great opportunities" to get back into this market in which "there's room to run."

Sechan told Judge Wapner that he expects to trade "higher, but at a more moderate pace ... I think there's upside risk to that."

Stephen Weiss also was unfazed by the Fed's exit strategy; "I believe it will be orderly ... the economy's clearly getting better."

Weiss added, "I'm glad for the breather right now," explaining that when rates rise, the "biggest carnage" will actually be in Treasurys.

Sechan said, "We have a bias toward spread products in fixed income."

Sechan also explained a chart of investor perception that showed 41% now define risk as a "permanent loss." Stephen Weiss asked where that number was in 2008. Sechan said "materially lower," apparently referring to what it used to be, but he didn't have a "specific number."

‘Some more downside’ in Japan

Michael Santoli, a fine fellow and capable commentator of the financial markets, once again delivered a mild, measured, not-particularly-helpful market assessment for Friday Halftime Report viewers once accustomed to seeing future Bellevue HOFer dominate Pops & Drops.

Santoli addressed the Nikkei and said the fundamentals for the trade are clearly there, but the question is, "what's the right price," and he would expect "some more downside, some more knocking around" as it finds a short-term bottom.

He said the risk is that "some kind of financial accident that comes out of there."

So basically, he's predicting the Nikkei is going lower. Sorta.

Mike Murphy said, "I don't think the 1-day washout changes too much," and even Steve Weiss basically agreed, suggesting SNE (also his Final Trade); "buy what Dan Loeb bought."

Flash: Top gold trader
has a long position

In what qualifies as hardly an endorsement, Stephen Weiss said on Friday's Halftime Report that NEM is the one gold miner to own if you have to own one ... but he doesn't want to own any of them.

Weiss said "they're having a dead-cat bounce," but it looks like NEM in particular has been basically flat for a few days, so we're not really sure what he's talking about.

Rob Sechan nevertheless asserted, "You own gold as a hedge against extreme outcomes and unexpected inflation." (So how come it went down in 2008?)

Mike Murphy said he just met with one of the top gold traders in the country, and that trader is long gold.

SALT 2014 should try to be part of ‘The Hangover, Part IV’

Pete Najarian made a bull case for TIF on Friday's Halftime Report, saying yen concerns are priced in and that the company has "very solid margins," and that it's also (presumably a leveraged) play on bull markets.

Mike Murphy disagreed, asserting "there's massive headwinds for Tiffany" from the yen trade, and then questioning the dividend raise.

Najarian rebutted, "They have raised the dividend 11 years in a row."

Murphy insisted, "All of the positive news is priced into this."

Najarian said that when he was out at SALT and went to Caesars next door, people were talking about how all the fat cats from China were coming to Vegas regularly.

Despite that closer, Najarian failed to sway Stephen Weiss, who said he would actually agree with Murphy; "This is the start of a bromance."

Long nat gas, short CHK

Kate Warne joined Friday's Halftime Report to assert, "The oil stocks are very well-positioned today," and made a multitiered argument for NOV that included, "There's a lot of deepwater drilling going on."

Warne also said she likes CVX.

Mike Murphy said later he likes VLO, PSX and HAL. Pete Najarian said COP and XOM, and then said to look at natural gas and solar.

Murphy later endorsed OXY, saying it's "setting up for a buy."

Stephen Weiss said, "My favorite trade actually is long nat-gas futures and short Chesapeake."

aQuantive was a hot property too

CNBC's lovely Julia Boorstin told Friday's Halftime Report viewers about Waze, another up-and-coming app business (or whatever) offering traffic speeds and cheap gas locations that apparently has drawn the attention of Silicon Valley bigwigs.

Pete Najarian said it makes sense for Facebook because it's about "engagement."

Stephen Weiss said it would give Facebook another avenue to new users; "You can't let Google get every app out there."

Mike Murphy opined, "Facebook needs something like this."

Weiss said he thinks the GOOG trade keeps going. Pete Najarian interrupted, "Yahoo's a better trade right now" than GOOG, and later made YHOO his Final Trade.

Murphy took the other option, saying "Facebook's the name to buy right here."

Weiss later said CRM valuation is risky; "I wouldn't be near it." Najarian said P had "decent numbers," but "you've gotta find some earnings growth."

A program without AAPL, or HLF, or TSLA

Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report cautioned people who watch emerging markets that there was "massive volume" in the June 42 EEM puts.

Mike Murphy suggested there could be a run in FNMA; "if the entire environment from Washington changes, this stock could get legs."

Stephen Weiss said PG's appointment of A.G. Lafley seems like a quality move, but "I don't see huge upside though." Mike Murphy said of PG, "I think it's pretty much fully valued."

Murphy said "I would stay away from" VRX because of the size of the Bausch & Lomb deal.

Murphy said he was wrong a while back on the HRB trade but then dismissed the gain as attributable to a 1-time report; "I wouldn't be a buyer of this stock right now."

Brian Kelly said he's gonna stay away from VZ, and made short DB his Final Trade.

Pete Najarian said WFC "continues to perform" but that it's not high-beta.

Stephen Weiss re-grumbled that VALE is in an industry with "so much capacity ... why would you want to own it." Mike Murphy's Final Trade was ADT.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera:
‘Paul Tudor Jones said out
loud what we all know to be
anecdotally true,’ Karen Finerman
is ‘exception that proves the rule’

Paul Tudor Jones' comments on female traders prompted a rare bonus CNBC appearance from Karen Finerman on Friday's Street Signs; we're chronicling both here and on our home page. Finerman is apparently going to be on the 5 p.m. Fast Money Friday; we'll have a recap of Halftime Report and Fast Money soon.

Karen Finerman: "Well my first response was I just could not believe he said it. And so I, I wanted to make sure that I had it right, and I went and I looked at the video, and of course you just showed it, so yes, he said it, and, uh, I, I, I know, I know that he's apologized, that he didn't mean to offend anyone, and I believe he was saying it, he was- an attempt to be very candid, I can't believe also that he didn't think that will- would never get out, but it's sort of- I mean on so many levels, it makes me wonder, 1, what if you don't nurse, do you not then have that- are you, do you keep your judgment then if you don't nurse. That's sort of something that popped into my head"
Amanda Drury: "And also, is he also saying that global macro traders that are guys are not great dads because they're always off 24/7 on the phone trading stuff"
Karen Finerman: "Right, I just- I don't really accept that premise either. If you are a mother, I really sort of do wonder, how long this would knock you off your game for. And, it, I don't know, on so many levels, I know so many women, far more successful than I, who have done an extraordinary job of raising kids, and also, uh, you know, trading, trading their books"
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: "I think Paul Tudor Jones said out loud what we all know to be anecdotally true. That women, it's not that they don't have the ability, it's just, if they have a child, priorities tend to change. It takes up a lot of time. A child is a huge, huge commitment. And so-"
Amanda Drury: "And not necessarily a bad thing"
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: "It's not necessarily a bad thing, he's not saying that, that they can't do it, it's just, it gets a lot tougher. Priorities often change. And I think Karen, you are awesome, but you are the exception I think that proves the rule. Let's face it: How many other women are on 'Fast Money.' I mean when you look at the breakdown of people- when you look at the breakdown of people who are on CNBC. It's a guys-and-ties network. I mean let's not kid anybody!"
Karen Finerman: "Yes I hear you-"
Brian Sullivan ridiculously removes tie: "Here we go, no more guys in ties"
Karen Finerman: "Let me just add 1 thing"
Brian Sullivan: "I don't wanna get accused of dodging the conversation. All right, I know hedge fund managers that have what they call the large-house indicator. Right. What they say is, if they have an investment manager, or a fellow hedge fund manager, whatever, that starts to build a new mansion, they will often times use that- or CEO of a company, they'll use that as a negative and either get out of it or trim, because building a home is a year-long process, takes a lot of energy, you're not focused on what you're doing. So I don't think just has to be about gender. If you've got any big undertaking you take on, that reduces your focus. I'm not defending what he said-"
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: "Except this happens to be about having babies for women, which is just a huge thing in, in most women's life"
Brian Sullivan: "If I was a hedge fund manager and a CEO of a company bought a 200-foot yacht, I would sell the shares of that company probably short that next day"
Karen Finerman: "I mean also there's the private plane indicator, you get the private plane, you're not hungry anymore, then you don't care. I, I don't really buy that, I think it also makes the case that women don't have the judgment to know, after they've had a baby, whether or not they are still interested in being in the game. Now that may be his experience, and I believe him when he says that's what he's found to be true, and he gave a couple examples of a, you know, two women from Maryland the '70s, he probably has more recent examples than that, but is he just open to the possibility, the possibility, that maybe it's not true, that there will never be just as many women investors as men, never, period, end of story. Isn't it possible?"
Amanda Drury: "And the other thing is Karen, and you've touched on this, I mean, we would've said in the past, it would've been decades, maybe not even so long ago, we would've said that we can't have a good female doctor, she can't possibly be on call because she's got to be at home feeding her child at night. Right?"
Karen Finerman: "And now look. Now look, there are just as many women, or maybe it's about the same number of women graduating from medical school as men and you're right, years and years ago, that was thought as an impossibility"

[Thursday, May 23, 2013]

Weiss won; Brown didn’t make strong enough case for pullback

You'd almost think Weiss and Brown had made a Cramer-Eric Bolling-style bet.

Stephen Weiss made a feisty bull case for C on Thursday's Fast Money, saying he bought it Thursday because it's a "much-improved company," and its return on average equity is up to 8.3%, so "to me, the stock's a cheap stock."

Josh Brown, playing the bear, said he agrees with that thesis and "I don't hate it," but argued the stock will go lower before it goes higher, "at least down to the exponential moving averages."

Which probably would've gone unchallenged, except when Brown loopily noted the stock is up 27% "just year to date."

"You liked Pandora up a hundred percent!" Weiss scoffed, which was true (see below).

"You're overpaying I think in the short term," Brown fired back.

Then Weiss, rightfully in this case we think, blasted Brown's "voodoo technicals."

Dan Nathan jumped in on Brown's side. "I don't think it's voodoo technicals ... You're gonna get a better shot," Nathan predicted.

Anthony Scaramucci cracked, "If one of these guys has a heart attack, I'm not givin' 'em mouth to mouth."

Brown noted there were sellers of C at 50. Weiss scoffed, "There were buyers there too."

Josh Brown thinks the Nikkei fell 24%

Thursday's Judge Wapner-helmed Fast Money was notable for a series of heated skirmishes between Stephen Weiss and Josh Brown.

But first, Weiss warned up with Dan Nathan.

"It was impressive today," Weiss said of the markets, predicting a flat or slightly down market; "I think we're OK."

But then Weiss said June will bring an "all-important employment number."

Nathan seized on that, first claiming the Nikkei was somehow a market that "no one thought would ever get dented," then warning of "complacent" investors evidenced by Weiss' "all-important employment number" remark.

Weiss rebutted that the jobless number has been "all-important" for the last year and a half.

Then Brown got into it, making a point without a point, saying, "we barely closed at yesterday's lows," and that the drop in utilities will "spook people."

Weiss, partly amazed, pointed out the S&P was down 20 overnight, and ended the day closing down 5; "that is the definition of rip-roaring comeback."

Brown then crazily pointed to Japan's day and claimed, "If the Dow had done the equivalent of what the Nikkei did, we'd be at 11,700," a stat that went unchallenged, and actually if the Dow had done what the Nikkei has done for 6 months, we'd be at 21,700.

Larry McDonald, taking a seat as a Fast Money panelist we think for the first time, said the market showed its sensitivities to the Fed comments by its reaction to the line from Bernanke about "dislocations in the market."

Brown temporarily got the last word, saying, "Let's not act like what went on this week didn't happen."

Fine. So should we sell our stocks, or buy new ones?

Greenhaus: Stay long, no pullbacks worse than 2-3% in this rally

Dan Greenhaus turned up on Thursday's Fast Money to chip in his own 2 cents' worth on the Fed and the markets, saying he's a buyer simply because the declines we've had in the last 7 months haven't been worse than 2-3%.

Dan Nathan grumbled that "it was clear as mud" from the Fed."

"They're trying to be clear as mud," Greenhaus said, apparently not endorsing Jon Hilsenrath's Halftime theory.

Larry McDonald pointed to the VIX and said there were a "lot of nervous hands out there just waiting to sell."

Mike Khouw said he thinks that's spot-on, and said it's a "good time of year to be antsy."

Dan Nathan said the VIX represents that there's "complacency here still."

Greenhaus compared when the 2012 rally stalled compared to this year and found there is nothing extraordinary about the extent of the 2013 run; "nothing particularly foreceful about this rally."

Stephen Weiss said "I'm not involved in utilities" but pointed out that T was up. Weiss shrugged that he's not getting "emotional" about this week.

Larry McDonald has a ways to go to catch the hip Fast Money vibe but is 100% on board with ‘at the end of the day’

Larry McDonald, given a minor stage Thursday during his first turn as a Fast Money panelist, opined, "The threat really is, um, the little guy that's exposed to the yield thirst, the yield hunt," which McDonald called the "most crowded trade in the world."

McDonald added, "At the end of the day, QE, plus Dodd-Frank, equals a big, big, big systemic risk down- at some point in the near future."

"I don't disagree," said Stephen Weiss, who nonetheless countered that unlike in 2007, consumers "haven't been able to borrow."

Josh Brown complained about the salesmen of various credit products who visit his office and have a "blasé attitude" toward default rates.

McDonald said default rates aren't what he's concerned about; "I think the danger is liquidity."

We knew Anthony Scaramucci would jump in here, which he did sort of without introduction, explaining that SkyBridge has determined that, "In the mortgage-backed security space, there's still a lot of room in the credit-sensitive mortgages, and the prepayment-sensitive mortgages."

The Moochmeister also told McDonald something perhaps in the first 4 words he didn't really mean, "I agree with you, but I don't think it's '07, it's sort of like an '05, '06."

McDonald warned that the Fed exit will come with a "dangerous cocktail of side effects."

Next leg up: Capitulation

For those a bit wobbly over Wednesday's ridiculous phantom-Fed-interpretation selloff, Craig Johnson visited with Thursday's Fast Money to declare, "This bull market in our opinion is confirmed," to the point that the bear market is "dead."

Johnson asserted that people in bonds and cash and people who are short will "capitulate ... and then you really start to see this market work, and work very well."

We thought it was already doing OK, but perhaps it should be doing better.

Johnson's top pick was financials, which he called "very underowned at this point in time."

Larry McDonald stressed that "there are these side effects brewing in QE." But Johnson praised the Fed, saying, "Right now it's done a very nice job," and he suggested a name like Credit Suisse is bottoming.

Dan Nathan agreed with Johnson without really agreeing, saying that if the rally continues, it will broaden.

Josh Brown first complained that everyone's getting on the "cyclicals, industrials, materials bandwagon." But Steve Weiss pointed out, "He's underweight materials," and Brown, unfazed, continued his point, claiming "that actually makes sense."

Francisco Blanch’s bull case for gold is as punchless as Josh Brown’s bear case for C

Francisco Blanch on Thursday's Fast Money tried to argue a bull case for gold that sounded more like a half-hearted hope for QE.

"I think this market is very fickle" Blanch said, asserting that QE will be around for a while and that it's supportive of gold's price.

However, he conceded that with gold, "short-run risks, um, are probably to the downside."

But, he insisted, "We need QE more than we realize."

In fact, he claimed the "main point" of the last 24 hours is that turmoil in equities will send people back to gold.

Blanch wasn't high on energy, saying "energy markets are, are experiencing some, some downside pressures."

Anthony Scaramucci halfheartedly said this came up at SALT, that "there's definitely room in people's portfolios for gold."

Stephen Weiss dismissed gold as "purely an emotional fear trade."

Josh Brown claimed that gold is facing a "relatively new dynamic" of strong stocks plus a strong dollar.

Brown really has liked P for a long time

Stephen Weiss declared on Thursday's Fast Money that Sears is "one of the worst shopping experiences you could possibly have."

That's about the only thing Weiss said that Josh Brown seemed to agree on, suggesting it only exists to make JCP look not so bad.

However, Anthony Scaramucci, unusually grim and serious all day, actually predicted that Eddie Lampert will "come up with a plan to save this company."

Steve Weiss said he has "no position" in JCP but is inclined to be short.

Josh Brown said a lot of "chicken equity" has gone into utilities and the XLU and it's been "healthy" to get a selloff.

Mike Khouw opined that it's "still not a good time to get into" a name such as CLF.

Josh Brown gushed about DLTR in a way that sounded phony; "nothing not to like about Dollar Tree."

Dan Nathan called CRUS "one you wanna stay away from."

Josh Brown trumpeted P, saying "I've liked the stock for a long time" and stressing a couple times that it and AOL are succeeding with "local advertising."

Mike Khouw said that staples are trading at "about 22 times earnings," and he thinks they're "probably gonna revert" to the mean. Khouw said July 55 puts in CL were active.

Jane Wells pointed out how CVX, in what seemed almost like a scene from "There Will Be Blood" although much happier, is tapping oil from wells (oil wells, not Jane Wellses) thought to be mostly tapped out a while ago.

Josh Brown touted CVX, "I still think it's cheap enough to get in," and said he likes the larger energy names in general.

Larry McDonald got the lone Final Trade, suggesting RDN and MTG.

Everyone knows what’s going to happen with the Fed ‘taper’ (as Judge fails to push his panel to explain the end game)

Thursday's Halftime Report discussion of the Federal Reserve saw Pete Najarian and Joe Terranova knocking it out of the park, while Anthony Scaramucci and Doug Kass unfortunately were dribbling weak grounders to the second baseman.

Najarian started off the show saying yesterday's reversal that carried through the morning was "all overdone" and represented a "great buying opportunity," specifically in GS (his Final Trade) and Japanese banks.

Terranova said it's a "great trading environment," and then issued the money quote, which is that for every FOMC revelation this year, "each time the market has sold off."

"Each time, over the next 3, 4, 5 sessions, if you were a buyer, you were rewarded," Terranova said, calling Wednesday a "similar situation."

Terranova said he bought Apple yesterday, and "bought crude oil this morning."

Anthony Scaramucci on the other hand, unusually grim, declared that if/when "the Fed pulls out, we're gonna see a rush to sell ... the stakes are very high here."

Macro forces, said Scaramucci, are "way more overwhelming than the fundamentals."

Scaramucci concluded by telling Judge Wapner, "Hopefully you'll hold me to this a year from now. When the Fed is disengaging, the markets are gonna get hit."

Doug Kass later agreed, telling Judge the market "cannot" handle a Fed withdrawal.

Even Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath, an excellent occasional guest who resembles Judge Reinhold (that's correct, Judge Reinhold not Judge Wapner) and of course has to sort of play this reporter-like neutral, has seen Lawrence Wildman's plane taking off for Erie, Pennsylvania, but hasn't rolled the dice enough yet to play Monopoly.

Hilsenrath stressed to Wapner that while he's heard the term "taper" on the show about a "dozen times ... you're not gonna hear that out of the Fed."

Rather, Hilsenrath asserts, they're trying to convey that when they do act, they're just going to do 1 move at a time. "They're gonna make a move, and then they're gonna see how things go," Hilsenrath said.

It's like "tiptoeing away from a grizzly bear," he concluded.

Judge impressively asked point-blank whether there is tapering in calendar 2013. "It depends," Hilsenrath waffled, citing Bernanke's comments.

This is how it goes down. Gradually a few people who are at least semi-listened-to start suggesting a "taper" (probably a very tiny one if that) might be in order.

It might be one of the lower-level Fed types, it might be Tim Geithner, it might be Bill Gross, it might be Barney Frank, it might be Grover Norquist, it might be Lloyd Blankfein, it might be Paul Krugman, it might be Larry Summers, it might be Steven Ballmer, it might be Hillary Clinton, it might be Sallie Krawcheck, it might be Gemma Godfrey, it might be Michael Pachter, it might be Dave Barger, it might be Matt Damon, etc.

The Dow will go up or down 200 points, and then certain individuals will rush out to say "THE FED IS NOT PULLING BACK RIGHT NOW."

Then the markets will resume the march higher.

And then others will join the refrain, "You know, a mild taper wouldn't be such a bad idea," and then everyone will pile in, Joe LaVorgna, The World's Cutest Economist® Michelle Meyer, etc.

And then it'll be consensus, fully priced in.

And then a year from now, Anthony Scaramucci will be Fast Fired for predicting a Fed-withdrawal meltdown.

(Sigh) Long way to go to eliminate those Fed-unwind concerns

Jeremy Zirin, like others on Thursday's Halftime Report missing the real end game, said Fed tapering will be fine if it's about an improving economy, but the problem would be if the Fed "starts to taper for non-economic reasons."

"There's not a risk of a gradual, data-dependent taper," said Zirin, who is still bullish, "clearly on the more cyclical side," citing an "extraordinary valuation gap" between cyclical stocks and defensives.

Zirin predicted the old worry-about-Fed-unwinding story is only in the middle innings, saying people were concerned about it a couple hundred S&P points ago, and "I have a feeling we're gonna be worried about it when it's 1,700 and 1,800 as well."

Stephanie Link said she was heartened by "the housing data" on Thursday and suggested, "Keep going with what's working."

Note to Karen: Even Jim Cramer practices the Cost-Basis Trade

Karen Finerman wasn't on Thursday's Halftime Report, but she surely would've had harsh words for Stephanie Link-Cramer's revelation that "We sold our EWJ, uh, the beginning of May, just because we made 17% in the trade."

So, a decision not made on whether it's going higher or not, but cost basis.

By Cramer.

"We didn't catch the top," Link said, saying after Thursday's beatdown she's looking at DXJ, TM and even HIG. (This writer is long TM.)

Pete Najarian reiterated that he likes Japanese banks, particularly Nomura and Mitsubishi Financial.

Joe Terranova said Japanese bankers are "basically where Ben was in April of 2009."

Doug Kass finally gives Judge the Tim Cook Signature Moment boost Judge has been looking for

Doug Kass on Thursday's Halftime Report denounced the pro-easing global economic situation, calling it "nothing more than a string of debt promises that can't be repaid."

But Kass conceded he "underestimated" the impact on stocks, while asserting the U.S. economy "definitely is not" improving; the "domestic economy is not self-sustaining."

Kass made a laborious argument for why AAPL is supposedly now in the clear, with that headwind of those "offshore" tax concerns that everyone on Fast Money talked about for months (not) finally lifting.

Most significantly, Kass told Judge Wapner, "Tim Cook won a TKO yesterday."

That's the "prevailing thought," Judge claimed.

Kass said he bought AAPL shares at $443.65.

Telsey’s top 3: M, URBN, GPS

Dana Telsey, who is cute (hope Stacey Widlitz doesn't twist that around on Twitter), guested on Thursday's Halftime Report and said for the retailers, "1st-quarter sales, not so great," and, like Pete Najarian's AAPL trade, "it's all about the 2nd half of the year."

Telsey predicted that RL will be "bigger a year from now," and said, "what we are seeing is accessible luxuries working."

Telsey likes M and URBN, and also GPS, where "it's not over yet."

Mr. New Land said he agrees with URBN and also likes KORS.

Telsey said one thing you can't tell about observing mall traffic is "what's everyone doing online," and she will be "watching that closely."

Telsey was asked to single out some laggards and mentioned Bebe (or should that be "bebe") as needing to find the right product, plus Guess, and she said Kohl's needs to do better against JCP's disaster.

Given the points of all 3 people, sounds like a humdrum stock for a while

Speaking of retail, Stephanie Link on Thursday's Halftime Report made the bull case for GPS.

"I like the restructuring story that's going on," Link said, with so many arguments (right-sizing stores, realigning mobile, valuation, focusing on ecommerce) you can tell there's not really one strong catalyst.

Anthony Scaramucci said he'll concede the successes of the last 6-12 months, but that it's really just a "great financial engineering story," and the warning sign is that it's about to "start to expand their store base again," when there's a tendency to underperform, and the stock is "fully priced at 15 times earnings."

Scaramucci predicted a "fade into the next 6-12 months."

Pete Najarian tried like Ben Bernanke to have it both ways, saying Stephanie made good points but he thinks they are built into the price with the guidance, so he's with Scaramucci.

HPQ not quite an all-time high

Jim Iuorio said on Thursday's Halftime Report that ultimately Japan "could, and may" revive the gold trade ... but not today.

Anthony Grisanti said gold is now in "complete disconnect" with stocks and that it's all about the dollar; he says the important gold range is 1,350 to 1,400.

Honestly we're getting tired of hearing about HPQ and its bogus turnaround for the last couple of days; Josh Lipton on Thursday actually claimed the stock hit a "new all-time high."

Joe Terranova said he has missed the trade but that the Street has been "underinvested" in the name, and "I don't think you sell it here."

Stephanie Link said, "I would rather own Accenture," and Pete Najarian thundered an endorsement for IBM.

Dr. New World said he should be Fast-Fired for his pro-utilities call recently. (But he didn't mention he was right on selling Treasurys in May.)

Bob Pisani said the NYSE is going to let trades in AEP and NEE stand.

Pete Najarian said not to plow into CRUS; "I think you stay away from this" for a couple of days. "Pete's a hundred percent correct," said Joe Terranova.

Pete twisted a Fast Fire on PBF into a Brag Trade, explaining, "I am now out of the trade," but he sold calls on the way down to reduce his loss to 2 points.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was CHK. Anthony Scaramucci said AXP, and Joe Terranova said to take profits in BA.

[Wednesday, May 22, 2013]

‘There’s an echo in my ear’

Jon Hilsenrath, who resembles Judge Reinhold (nothing wrong with that), illustrated the risks of live television on Wednesday's Fast Money by telling guest host Mandy Drury, "Hey by the way there's an echo in my ear," which maybe the producers could help remove.

Persevering, Hilsenrath assured that the Fed has no plan to get out right away, and that the central bank is attempting a "complicated" PR move, or "trick they're trying to pull off," which is, "They don't want people to think that when they do 1 move, it means that there's 3 or 4 moves coming after that."

Hilsenrath asserted that the borderline, perhaps hawkish dissenters want to see more data before cutting back on QE, saying that with June's jobs report alone before the next meeting, it would "have to be a helluva report" for that alone to get these people off the fence.

Tim Seymour asserted that with only one jobs report before the next meeting, a June change is off the table, which prompted Hilsenrath to interrupt that Seymour is saying that, not Hilsenrath. Seymour, perhaps flustered, then played the Fast Money Drinking Cliche Game, telling Hilsenrath, "At the end of the day ... you've always had dissenters," and the Fed is much more concerned about the "deflationary environment globally."

JPM, European banks ‘fantastic’

Jeff DeGraaf, a top chartist who hasn't been on Fast Money in a long long time, told Amanda Drury that we've seen "for the first time in 13 years, the EM currencies not keep pace with world equities."

"The cyclical trade is a domestic trade, not a global trade," DeGraaf said.

"I think it's a great call, said Tim Seymour, who according to Mandy was "gagging" to make a point here (we're not going anywhere near that one) and suggested the dollar might be positioning for a "10-year bull run."

DeGraaf called the recent JPM vote "all noise" and said "this is a huge base, it's going higher." DeGraaf said "European banks to us look very, very good," even "fantastic."

Mike Khouw said more puts than calls traded in JPM on Wednesday.

‘14 months ago’
= ‘autumn of 2011’

Dennis Gartman dialed into Mandy's Fast Money on Wednesday to reaffirm, "For the past 3 weeks or so, I've been bearish of the bond market."

Gartman explained, "Bond futures made their high almost 14 months ago in the autumn of 2011" (we tried doing the math, but didn't really get there).

Gartman pointed to the massive run since the early 1980s and said it looks like "the end of that bull market" and the start of a bear one, "so I'm short the long bond, I'm long the 10-year note."

Gartman also said it's notable that this move has remained strong even when the Fed comments represented "something that would be deleterious to my trade," one of those words impressing Mandy Drury.

Tim Seymour said the yield trend is up, but he can't see rates above 2.5%.

Seymour: No Fed game-changer

Josh Brown on Thursday's Fast Money tried to match Stephen Weiss' word count from the Halftime Report, but it was Tim Seymour who made the savviest market call.

"This is exactly what I think we needed," Brown said, invoking the nonsensical stock-market notion that when the opposite of our goal is realized, that's a step toward our goal.

"We were overbought on any metric," Brown said.

"But what did this do," Seymour demanded.

"It reminded people that this is a 2-way market," Brown said, curiously.

"It got a bit euphoric," said Dan Nathan.

Steve Grasso said the reversal was sharp enough that actually, "It felt like we were down 3%."

"I gotta tell you," said (who else) Josh Brown, "seasonally this couldn't be happening at a better time."

Seymour noted there was "serious volume today," but said the Fed has had dissenters for a while, and the only reason Wednesday's trading matters is if people think the Fed revealed a policy change on Wednesday, and "I do not think they did."

We're hardly the experts here; we just know, this feels exactly like one of those Guy Adami Moby Dick days, and it's hard to believe that after a day or so, anyone's actually gonna care.

Mandy talks about the Steelers!

Steve Grasso revealed on Wednesday's Fast Money he did a "helluva lot of selling for clients today," but it didn't really move the needle much, and he's thinking about adding to GOOG, which was his Final Trade.

Tim Seymour said he was covering in Mexico and fading gains in Turkey.

Josh Brown said one interesting observation from Wednesday is "how badly they beat up the bond proxies." He said he likes VAW, which was also his Final Trade.

Dan Nathan said it seemed like an orderly selloff; "people weren't really panicking here ... I'm long June VIX calls."

Tim Seymour said ERJ is still promising, has a "huge back-order book."

Steve Grasso said he prefers MTW over JOY. Josh Brown called SPLS "kind of a quasi-cyclical play" on job growth and the economy.

Mike Khouw said he thinks SKS is "really only for the seasoned arb players." Dan Nathan said HLF merely had a "bit of a retracement" from its recent gains.

We get excited every time guest host Mandy Drury (especially in that jaw-droppingly attractive outfit) talks about football, never moreso than when she mentions the yinz, even if it was about Plaxico's goofy sock line.

‘Reputation-management duties’ seen as Facebook headwind

Dan Nathan said on Wednesday's Fast Money that FB is reaching a "critical technical level," which is qualified chart-speak for "not particularly appealing."

Josh Brown had the most curious take on Facebook, claiming, "I think the narrative is shifting," because kids who use it are growing weary of "reputation-management duties."

Steve Grasso succinctly said, "If it closes below 25, exit the trade."

Tim Seymour indicated a couple times he couldn't care less about the magic 38 level in FB; "really doesn't matter."

‘Nobody left to sell’ after another 6% higher

Tim Seymour said on Wednesday's Fast Money that J.D. Power has found that auto-sales incentives are coming down, and it's expected there will be "record units on global auto sales," so automakers are a trade for the "long-term."

Josh Brown hailed F and said, if it takes out 16, "there's really nobody left to sell this name," which seems hard to believe, but he threw in an "I gotta tell ya," his 2nd of the day.

Dan Nathan stressed this is why he was saying the other day that he likes F over HD. Brown was heard to say, "Does Home Depot make automobiles?"

Steve Grasso said wait until F breaks 15 before getting in.

Grasso’s Cost-Basis Trade in QCOM

Steve Grasso, who did make a nice call in HPQ a while back (that old retracement double) after initially saying he'd stay away, unfortunately resorted to Brag Trade Land on Wednesday's Fast Money, calling the company a "marquee turnaround story" and sounding like Meg's spokesman for the 3-5-year thing before explaining it was "pretty much a double for me."

Dan Nathan said that at the afterhours level, "I think you have to be careful." Tim Seymour said it sounded like Meg issued a "ringer to DELL," which must be a new kind of phone.

Mike Khouw said there were sellers of the May weekly 67.5 puts in TGT as well as the June 67.5 puts.

Tim Seymour said that he prefers WMT to TGT.

Ivory Johnson said that if you're within 10 years of retirement (surely those people are trying to make Fast Money dollars every night), try 45% in equities and 30% in fixed income.

Dan Nathan said he wants to see a breakout in TOL before jumping in.

Steve Grasso, keeping up that Brag Trade theme, said of QCOM, "I own it lower ... still long."

Josh Brown said that under 30, "We think Pfizer's a steal."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell KMB. Tim Seymour said to buy AMX, and Dan Nathan suggested JNJ June 87.50 puts.

Judge still failing to find takers for his Tim-Cook-Is-Awesome Thesis

Judge Wapner, continuing on Wednesday's Halftime Report his bizarre campaign to see Tim Cook's Senate-committee testimony accorded "signature moment" status, asked super-honest (see below) analyst Toni Sacconaghi what he thought, asserting Cook's performance was "widely hailed."

Sacconaghi mostly defended Apple's tax strategies, then added, "I think Tim did a good job."

Toni Sacconaghi: HPQ
in ‘middle innings’ of comeback

Mike Murphy argued on Wednesday's Halftime Report that HPQ resembles CSCO of last week, sitting right on the 50-day, and "the risk is to the upside."

HPQ bear Stephen Weiss scoffed that he was ready to say defense rests, because "I don't think you've presented a compelling bull case." Weiss said all the company has going for it is "balance-sheet machinations" while it has been "underspending in R&D ... this is a dying company."

"Old tech is in play right now," Murphy countered.

Pete Najarian made a wishy-washy non-ruling, calling himself neutral but allowing, "I don't know how much upside remains."

Moments later, Judge brought in Toni Sacconaghi, who said short-term "we could see the stock retrench," but over 6-9 months, he's "fully on board with the bull thesis."

It's not a great company, Sacconaghi said, but "you can make a lot of money in rental stocks," especially this one in the "middle innings of its revaluation."

Judge praised Sacconaghi for making "as honest" of an analyst call that Judge has heard "in some time ... Toni tells it exactly like it is."

Then Wapner asked Steve Weiss to rebut. "The earnings are coming down," Weiss said, again stating that servers are under pressure from Amazon before hammering HPQ's R&D spending.

Sacconaghi said the "notion" that the company is being "gutted" by lack of R&D spending is "just not factually correct ... $3.3 billion is a really sizable amount of R&D."

"It's kind of been wasted," Weiss said. Sacconaghi agreed it has been ineffective.

We knew it — Doc twice jumped the gun in saying Fisker has filed for bankruptcy

CNBC's Phil LeBeau delivered a report on Wednesday's Halftime Report about Bob Lutz teaming with a Chinese firm to make a bid on Fisker.

The most important thing LeBeau mentioned was that Fisker is on the "verge of bankruptcy," as this page has suggested for a week, in contrast to Jon Najarian's repeated point that Tesla took off once Fisker filed bankruptcy. (Note: Najarian is right in spirit, it's everything but bankruptcy, but there hasn't been a bankruptcy filing.)

Mike Murphy said it's tough to buy TSLA this high, but "I think you can still buy Ford here."

Stephen Weiss said he thinks the short-covering in TSLA is nearly over, and we "could see the stock weaken." He said he's not interested in being long a company that's in partnership with the government and relies on tax credits.

Pete Najarian, whose Final Trade turned out to be F, said Ford could potentially double in a couple years.

Hunter Keay says ‘p--- off’
on the Halftime Report

Hunter Keay told Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report he likes a bunch of airlines, largely because of margin expansion and because of how they've smartly tacked on fees.

Keay said the flying public is shown to be more content with these fees when they are presented as pay-for-use costs.

"Our top idea is Delta," Keay said, along with a host of others, but not so much LUV, because "The multiple is higher than the other carriers," and the other carriers are "not afraid to piss off some of the customers who have been over-entitled over the years."

Stephen Weiss said AAMRQ is working again, and he made it his Final Trade.

At the end of the day, Steve Weiss led the league in words said

Jim Iuorio said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that, given the 10-year reaction to Ben Bernanke's comments, "at least 2.10 is in the cards."

Jeff Kilburg said the yield took "more like a 'Starsky & Hutch' bootlegger's turn," and said 2.05% is now in the picture, but that's a "buying opportunity," because (Drink Cliche Alert) "at the end of the day," there won't be a Fed policy change until 2014.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was TLT.

Stephen Weiss said "this could work" for SKS to get some bids, and then revisited one of our favorite stats that everyone on Fast Money somehow differs on, saying that "40, 50% of earnings" come from the NYC flagship store.

Weiss said to "stay with Home Depot" and avoid LOW. Mike Murphy endorsed TOL and said "stay in this space."

Murphy said GE, his Final Trade, moved on Jeff Immelt comments, and Murphy called ADT a buy.

Weiss, who did the lion's share of talking Wednesday (and then some), said BBY has done some things right but "at the end of the day," it's got the Toys R Us problem, and by the way the Samsung shop looks like an overreaction. Weiss called GILD "a great stock."

Pete Najarian said NTAP is moving because of some activist pressure from insiders.

Pete said EBAY will go higher, and then in a notable comment, said he thinks PFE and the big pharma space is getting "a little overheated."

Pete: Every selloff on ‘taper’ talk is ‘bought almost immediately’

Wednesday was Fed Reversal Day, that roughly every-6-weeks-or-every-2-months event in which Ben Bernanke either testifies, or notes are released, and a slumping market is kick-started, or a cookin' market experiences a selloff (and in the case of the latter, you'll get Guy Adami calling for Moby Dick and suggesting we're saying goodbye to the high for the year), and this time it happened to be the latter.

Judge Wapner stressed on Wednesday's Halftime Report that every time the word "taper" is mentioned, the market sells off.

Pete Najarian agreed with that but countered, "it is bought almost immediately."

The panel seemed to agree that tightening won't happen until the economy can support it, and Mike Murphy said the market would accept a pullback in Fed buying to $45 billion under those circumstances.

Stephen Weiss said that if you want something to fear regarding taper, "fear bonds," not stocks.

Paul Richards took this a little bit too seriously, saying, "I think it's all about June the 7th," at which time we'll get a "binary" outcome, and depending on the labor report, "could get a summer wobble here."

Steve Liesman said it's true that Ben Bernanke has sought to "mollify" certain dissenters with specific wording in the Fed statement. Stephen Weiss shrugged, with everyone's favorite drinking cliche, "At the end of the day he's gonna judged by what the economy does," and not by what dissenters say, Weiss said.

Richards said he likes long dollar vs. the yen or euro.

Brian Kelly actually mentioned the gold price at the top of the show. Liesman questioned, "Why are you looking at gold at all?" Pete Najarian piled on, telling Liesman, "I don't look at gold either. I think it's ridiculous."

Kelly actually protested, "I'm neutral on the U.S. stock market ... why am I gonna buy a market that's up 13, 14% for the year ... I'm buying emerging markets." (#notabelieverinjoeterranova'sbuyhighsellhigher)

More from Wednesday's Halftime and Fast Money later.

[Tuesday, May 21, 2013]

Judge has to be the only person on the planet who thought this was Tim Cook’s signature moment

Despite Judge's curious efforts to turn Tim Cook's Senate testimony into a Bill-and-Hillary-on-"60-Minutes" type of performance, Fast Money's AAPL discussion Tuesday was marked mostly by Tim Seymour's typically ambiguous, multi-level assessment.

Seymour said he has worked abroad and paid his taxes, and what Apple does isn't exactly in the spirit of the laws, but on the other hand, "Apple has not done anything wrong" and is merely reacting to the broken corporate taxation system of the U.S.

Judge Wapner, guest-hosting for Melissa Lee, several times pressed the panel on whether this marked a turning point for Tim Cook.

Steve Grasso said no, because the fact Cook was even there reflects his diminished stature; "they would never have done this to Steve Jobs."

"I don't think that's true," countered Tim Seymour. Seymour's wrong.

Karen Finerman stated, "This wasn't his moment," and indicated that what will really affect the stock is "whether or not he can come up with some revolutionary product or not" (sic double "not" redundancy).

Dan Nathan said it's about a "broader issue," which is repatriating cash.

Frustrated, Judge asked again, "How could it not be a big moment for Tim Cook."

That's when Seymour hit the nail on the head, dismissing Cook's opening defense of Apple; "I thought that sounded a little pathetic ... basically grandstanding."

Seymour met his mention-Samsung quota during Jon Fortt's segment on $50 smartphones invading the developing world.

Gold is going up (apparently because of a large Comex short)

The dudes on the Halftime Report generally like to predict new 52-week lows in the gold miners every week, but it was Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that brought in a rare gold miner bull, in the form of Patrick Chidley.

But Chidley seemed to hinge his case strictly on the price of gold, which he is "moderately bullish" on, predicting the "1,550, 1,600 level" by year-end.

Chidley said gold has been hit by portfolio rebalancing, and a "big short position on Comex" that he's not sure is sustainable.

Finally Steve Grasso got to the heart of why they were talking about the miners, which is the notion that when gold rises, the miners according to Grasso tend to rise at a 2 to 1 clip. Chidley acknowledged his call is "basically driven directly by the gold price."

Dan Nathan argued that what has happened in precious metals "is not bullish activity by any means," and "I'm not sure what the long case in gold is anymore."

Grasso made a crack about Chidley's resemblance to a certain CNBC Squawk Box co-host; "I thought it was Joe Kernen."

Chartist Jeff Weiss said he's not a fan of gold, "not yet."

Grasso: Ride HD to 85

Steve Grasso argued a (continued) bull case for HD on Tuesday's Fast Money, citing the company's "raise and beat," "the buyback is still intact," and that while the stock seems parabolic, that could've been said a year ago.

Dan Nathan didn't have much of a counterargument, except to question the buyback at these price levels; "I would kind of leave that money in the kitty."

But Grasso said that's exactly what investors want to follow, and as for targets, "wanna look to 85 to the upside."

Nathan shrugged that it's a good company, but "I'd look to buy it on a pullback," and added that F is a better play with more upside.

Tim Seymour, who prejudged the case, said "I'm gonna have to go with Steve," because despite the lofty price, the fundamentals are fine, and the current quarter looks good. Mike Khouw argued, "I think this thing looks a little bit stretched ... I would be a seller."

Dan not terribly impressed by Tim’s early request for clarification

Tim Seymour and Dan Nathan on Tuesday's Fast Money engaged in a little tit-for-tat on Goldman Sachs' bullish market call, with Nathan chortling that it sounds like Goldman is calling an end to stagnation, and then Seymour demanding, "market stagnation or economic stagnation," and then Nathan snarkily telling Seymour it's economic stagnation because the market hasn't been stagnant.

Karen Finerman breezily said this isn't like 1999, "nothing close to that," and added, "I think we have room to run."

Steve Grasso said not all the shorts have covered, so "we can go higher."

Nathan, who would be one of the show's best panelists if he wasn't too predictably negative (it's OK to be negative, just not predictably so), insisted that the rise is "getting kind of steep ... something has to give at some point very soon" before clarifying, "I'm not callling a top here."

Guest Seth Masters, meanwhile, said the rally is rare in that the safe stocks have led and now are "much more expensive than the rest of the market."

"Everything else that's not safe is actually relatively inexpensive ... that's what you should own," Masters said, adding this is a "great market for active stock-picking."

Jeff Weiss didn't make the clearest argument about the S&P 500, apparently pointing out that support is very high even if there is a pullback in the near-term, which he seems to think could happen anywhere around 1,670-1,690. He also said the market has "staying powder (sic)."

Karen sells PLCE

Steve Grasso, unfortunately reaching early into the Brag Trade bag of tricks on Tuesday's Fast Money, told viewers that his top trade of the day was GOOG, "the trading gods have smiled upon me ... I bought more today."

(At least he didn't repeat that he bought at 801, was afraid he'd missed it, but it still went up.)

Tim Seymour curiously said he was selling the IWM in the form of buying puts, while the screen said he was advising people to buy IWM.

Karen Finerman said after reaping gains in PLCE, she "sold today, north of 51."

Dan Nathan singled out the VIX, saying it's had support around 13, and "it could only go down so low." For his Final Trade, Nathan suggested VIX June call spreads, the "best trade on the board."

Nathan: WFM playing catchup

Karen Finerman said on Tuesday's Fast Money that SKS would be a "premier trophy property" to any buyer, but given its price spike, "it is very rich; I think you can wait."

Later Finerman was asked if M might be a buyer of SKS. Finerman said there would be "tremendous synergies there," but "I'm thinkin' no."

Finerman said RL is too pricey; "I wouldn't buy it here."

Tim Seymour said BBY's had some things going for it, but has "priced a lot of this good news in." Seymour also said he wouldn't be long COH at this level.

Dan Nathan said WFM has support at 100 and is still playing catchup with the market, and "I think you gotta hold this thing."

Karen Finerman's Final Trade was TGT, if it sells off on a miss.

‘A little more upside’ in WDC

Dan Nathan said on Tuesday's Fast Money that the JPM vote removes a cloud; "I think it's all clear."

Karen Finerman said she's long JPM, and "I'm happy this is removed."

Tim Seymour said there wasn't a cloud over the shares; "the overhang was gone 2 weeks ago," and he said the whole vote and reaction was "about window-dressing."

Dan Nathan pointed to the MRK chart and said, "That's not a great sign to me."

Mike Khouw said MRK options "traded more than 3 times its average daily volume," and that the June 47 calls were hot.

Steve Grasso said he would "take some profits" in ACI, and Tim Seymour said he would stay out of X.

Mike Khouw said CCL's forecast represents not enough capex spending.

Karen Finerman could've issued a Brag Trade on NM but didn't, saying it's "all sort of coming together" for the company.

Dan Nathan said TSLA is "gonna be a push and a pull here, I think this thing stays afloat."

Nathan endorsed NTAP, saying it "falls into a reasonable valuation ... should have a floor in it now."

Mike Khouw said there was a big buyer of weekly May 23.5 calls in HPQ, but longer-term buyers were more interested in puts, and "I'm with the put traders here."

Tim Seymour called NSC a hold, Steve Grasso said the same for COG and Mike Khouw said WDC has "got a little more upside."

Steve Grasso recommended F but only if it crosses $15.

Tim Seymour curiously said LVS is a stock to own in a bull market.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was sell MKC. Steve Grasso said buy EQT. Tim Seymour said buy BHP.

‘The most wrong of the lot’

If nothing else, Gina Martin Adams says, she basically got the earnings right.

But it's been her ridiculous call on the S&P 500 that most intrigued Tuesday's Halftime Report crew, even prompting Judge Wapner to tell her, "You've been the most wrong of, of the lot."

Martin Adams said that with central banks involved, "The multiple obviously has been tremendously difficult to predict."

Judge persisted, asking Martin Adams if the Fed hasn't supplied the stock market with "gusto," evoking memories of those 1970s Schlitz commercials.

Martin Adams agreed and acknowledged, "We're probably overestimating on the downside."

At that point Martin Adams' connection got cut off, but honestly, it's probably not a bad thing given that she had little defense anyway.

Joe Terranova piled on, saying Martin Adams' forecasts were so far off because a while back "she used the 'R' word."

Stephen Weiss shrugged, "She's way too bearish."

Josh Brown concluded, "Sentiment doesn't turn on a dime ... it's a little bit early to be talking about multiple contraction."

Joe’s title happens to be ‘strategist’

In an abbreviated, though chipper, Tuesday Halftime Report, Judge Wapner reported that not only does Goldman Sachs suddenly see S&P 1,750 by the end of this year, but it's even hanging Eric Dickerson-type numbers on 2015 (that would be 2,100).

Joe Terranova said he agrees with Josh Brown, "I think it's on dividend growth."

Steve Liesman even joined the panel, first showing a confusing chart about forecasts that frankly was too deep for us on a Tuesday afternoon, then saying that Goldman is "the first guys to try to get in front of this a little bit."

Steve Weiss scoffed, saying of strategists, "I really don't listen to any of them, because they are behind the curve." Weiss then predicted some kind of boom-bust scenario, predicting central banks are "clearly going to overshoot on too much easy-money policy."

Weiss declared victory for Jamie Dimon; "I'd say it's resounding."

Jon Najarian said buyers of HLF 50 calls nailed it. Judge impressively demanded his panel offer some kind of trade in HLF; "I don't wanna hear stay away." Mr. New World took the plunge, saying the trade is to the upside, in the options market.

Addressing silver and gold, Anthony Grisanti was able to say, "I don't wanna own either one of 'em," before the program returned to the U.S. Senate's Apple taxation hearing.

[Monday, May 20, 2013]

The wealth of America

Some of Monday's Fast Money was preempted by breaking news of the heartbreaking tornado destruction in suburban Oklahoma City.

It would not have been out of line — in fact it might have been well appropriate — for Scott Wapner to ask his panel about possible tradeable events here; for example, the usual generator sales, Home Depot, perhaps headwinds for utilities who must repair huge amounts of infrastructure, in other words the same types of concepts mentioned with Superstorm Sandy.

On this page we try to stick to the topics on Fast Money, plus some pop culture references. We definitely prefer the fun to the grim. Sometimes, national events call for perspective, when it's important to put stock market priorities in their rightful place.

There are going to be agonizing funerals in Oklahoma this week. Not too long ago, the same was happening in Connecticut; Joe Terranova for one has regularly issued tributes on Twitter (and if Joe ever stops doing that, we're going to be on his case something fierce).

CNBC is about business and wealth, as it should be. You can add up the net worth of all of those oilfields, iPhones, gold mines, corn crops, streaming movies, Dreamliners, Adwords and Alibaba stakes and arrive at something enormous, and then compare it to what's in our elementary classrooms and realize it doesn't come anywhere remotely close.

Tumblr ‘a long-shot investment’

Mark Mahaney, like everyone else these days talking about Marissa's leadership of YHOO when the only reason the stock has risen is because of a Terry Semel deal, tepidly asserted on Monday's Fast Money that Mayer is "following the right script" with Yahoo's spree of ventures revealed this week.

But Mahaney wasn't pounding the table on Tumblr, saying, "This is a long-shot investment, and they're not gonna make a real return on this for 3-5 years."

Judge Wapner astutely pointed out that the term "long shot" conveys skepticism. Mahaney said absolutely, "It's not a guarantee this is gonna work."

Pete Najarian offered, "Tumblr seems like a stretch to me," and wondered what other targets may be out there. Mahaney said Yahoo couldn't afford to buy Twitter or Pinterest, and that Tumblr's price is what's important about the deal, others would be too small but this amounts to taking a shot at something that could work.

Mahaney conceded FB hasn't been a blockbuster in recent months but said he thinks it's a buy here; "we think it's worth 32 bucks."

He concluded that he thinks YHOO will "continue to grind higher," because of (yep) the Asian assets.

‘Market overreacted’ on AAPL

Melissa Lee took Monday off, so Judge Wapner got left holding the bag with a pair of Fast Money guests who weren't the slightest bit interested in saying anything controversial.

The first was John Sculley, whose relationship to AAPL is sort of dubious to begin with, and who was given the floor after about 15 minutes of a U.S. Senate takedown of Apple's tax-avoidance strategies in Ireland.

Sculley claimed "the market has overreacted" to whatever's not going on at AAPL, and that Tim Cook has done a "great job," and that the next big moment for Cook will be the Worldwide Developers Conference in which they outline the "creative leaps" they hope to make.

Judge protested that the people he hears talking about the stock don't care about the iCloud or an iWatch, but want to know about a bigger phone size or whether there will be a cheaper phone in developing markets.

Sculley said those things aren't really "creative leaps," but amount to just an "adjustment in the product line."

Pete Najarian said the stock had a "big turnaround day" and credited "Jony Ivy (sic)" (we were unable to find a declarative pronounciation of Ive's last name) and then came through with the old standby, the "2nd half" story, asserting "I think the stock's ready to move."

Guy Adami tepidly said that if the stock can shrug off the Carl Levin report tomorrow, it "augurs well." Karen Finerman reiterated, "I've been looking, I am long" the stock.

Sounds like a real authoritative study, one that finds company performance changes when chairman/CEO roles are split

The next guest on Monday's Fast Money who wanted to avoid appearing in any CNBC soundbites at all costs was Brad Hintz, who sidestepped every one of Judge's questions on the JPMorgan vote like Sweetness vs. the Minnesota Vikings in 1977. (Hope we don't get the Stacey Widlitz Twitter treatment for that observation.)

Hintz helpfully pointed out that there are 2 camps; one thinks it's simply good corporate governance to split the posts while the other says if it's not broken, don't fix it.

He said a study that just surfaced recently says that when this type of change happens, "it changes the performance of the company," whichever direction it had been previously going.

Pressured by Judge to explain how he's modeled for the possibility of a split, Hintz protested, "There's no model to look for for this."

Judge piled on, saying that while Dimon is highly regarded, "The last 12 months ... have not been great!"

Hintz called Dimon "capable" at least 3 times.

Karen Finerman said nothing about boyfriend Jamie.

Kelly covers gold short

Pete Najarian gushed on Monday's Fast Money that "upside call-buying continues" in the XLF and financials, and made BX his Final Trade.

Kathleen Smith, co-founder of Renaissance Capital, told the panel "it's a good time for the IPO market ... For the first time in a number of years, IPOs as a group are outperforming benchmark indices."

Brian Kelly said his top trade for the day was "buying back my short in gold and silver," and he made APA his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman said she likes TKR July options, and her Final Trade was selling WCRX.

Guy Adami, in his quietest show in months, said he likes GME, which has "close to a 50% short interest," and made COP his Final Trade.

Terry Semel, the CEO who
really saved YHOO (cont’d)

Porter Bibb, our favorite Halftime Report guest, on Monday stammered a bit when asked to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to Yahoo's Tumblr deal.

"It's a good deal for Yahoo shareholders," Bibb said, and a bold move by Marissa Mayer, but "Nobody knows whether she can deliver."

"A billion one is really, really tough to swallow," Bibb said, calling it a "very expensive acquisition."

"No one really can define what Yahoo's business is today," Bibb added.

Judge suggested a $30 stock price is the real measuring stick for Mayer.

Stephanie Link said the Tumblr deal brings in the "younger crowd" and suggested the stock has upside. Simon Baker said "short term, the money's a little bit dead" but called the stock promising.

Joe Terranova said if you're long, then hold onto the shares, and warned Judge "this may be out there for you," but that Mayer is "positioning to sell the company 3, 4, 5 years ago and get that 2nd chance that Yahoo had with Microsoft."

Jon Najarian said if Tumblr works out it could be a "5x growth of revenue," which he said is needed to justify the purchase.

Bogle: 1990s comparisons ‘absurd’

Jack Bogle visited with Monday's Halftime gang to advise staying the course.

"The more you trade, the less you make," said Bogle, who called comparisons to the 1990s "absurd" because of the sharp difference in P.E. ratios.

If you're in the market, "Enjoy it," Bogle said, and don't try to overthink it, because "nobody knows" when a correction might happen.

Joe Terranova told Bogle there's a difference between an investor with $50 million in stocks and an investor with $50,000 in stocks and questioned whether the $50,000 investor, during years of 30% downturns, has the "financial wherewithal to stay in the market." Bogle said in general dividend payments keep going up, other than the banks in 2008 but that won't happen again, and "the job is to develop an income stream," so hang in there.

JPM debate is a mess

In a fairly strange bull-vs.-bear debate in which a key future event was presumed (JPMorgan splitting Jamie Dimon's jobs), Stephanie Link on Monday's Halftime Report supposedly made a bull case even though conceding "there's no doubt the stock will fall if this happens."

Which woudn't make an ounce of sense if we're assuming the split happens.

But Link also asserted she doesn't think this will happen, and argued that it's trading at a tangible book discount and "it's actually lagged its peers," so it will recover.

Jon Najarian argued that the stock will take a hit if this split happens, and that the company with Dimon in these roles has enjoyed "clear outperformance" that may revert to "average performance," and may like HPQ post-Hurd lose a premium.

Joe long July crude futures

Ric Deverell told Monday's Halftime Report that gold is "gonna come under further pressure," because Europe looks fairly safe now and inflation is a "long way off."

"Commodities are going to remain under pressure because at a global level, growth is still quite soft," Deverell added, assuring Joe Terranova that iron ore and copper are facing tougher headwinds than oil is.

We don't doubt what Deverell says, but honestly a lot of precious metals watchers have come on Fast Money/Halftime in the last 2 months and merely said that whatever the chart shows is going to keep happening. (#withgoldnobodyreallyknowsbeyondthechart)

Mr. New World touted crude at the top of the show, "I'm long July futures right now."

Simon Baker said, "We like the agricultural names," specifically MON and POT as well as HAL, in this market he thinks will trade "sideways for a while."

Stephanie Link trumpeted ESV, OXY, COP, CBI and FWLT.

Jon Najarian said money has been flowing into ESV and DO but said China is the "question mark" for the global commodity story.

Link also grasped for support for VALE, as well as FCX.

Doc says SKS has gained
from JCP migration

Simon Baker suggested a long-HD/short-LOW trade on Monday's Halftime Report, while Jon Najarian said HD, LOW and WY were seen as 6-month plays after Sandy and are due to take a "rest."

Stephanie Link said Cramer transitioned from HD to SWK, and she likes COST.

Joe Terranova gave TJX a tepid endorsement. "I like it ... technically it looks like TJX has bottomed," he said, and if the report is good and outlook is good, he'd buy it.

Jon Najarian made a curious reference to SKS benefitting from the exodus of JCP.

Mr. New Land said he doesn't like solar but if you need a name, pick FSLR. Stephanie Link called CPB a "classic staple stock to sell the news." Jon Najarian predicted RHT would hit 50 or 48 and said then you can buy.

Kilburg: 10-year ‘buying opportunity’

Jeff Kilburg said on Monday's Halftime Report that the 10-year represents "a buying opportunity."

Anthony Grisanti thinks there's more strength ahead in bonds, saying people are expecting a stock market correction and will want bonds as a way to play defense. However, Grisanti said if yields rise through 2.10%, the next stop would be 2.25%.

Joe Terranova said, "I'm still short bonds."

ProShares honcho Steve Sachs said there's been a lot of buzz about CSM, "a long/short equity product."

Kate Kelly reported that SAC had a call with employees Monday and decried the media reports Monday as "pure speculation."

Jon Najarian offered GRPN as the lone Final Trade, then got the heck off the set.

This page never made fun
of Stacey Widlitz’s wardrobe

Retail expert Stacey Widlitz on Thursday assessed on CNBC the results of JCP and called Mike Ullman "Mr. Now."

But what piqued this site's attention far more was the discovery that in early April, Stacey accused this page of having "made fun of my wardrobe."

Startled — seriously — to learn of this, we dug back into the April archive to jolt the memories a little bit and figure out what the heck is going on.

Honestly, we have no clue: Here's the entry in question:

We said Widlitz was "wearing a sharp skirt." It was. (See the image.)

So then we wondered, maybe there's some kind of a dual-meaning, multiple-interpretation thing that's possible that didn't occur during the posting.

But how could those first 6 words possibly confuse anyone?

Nothing on this page or site ever "made fun" of Widlitz's wardrobe.

Absolutely nothing.

Not even remotely close.

Just did not happen.

Under the belief that Fast Money episodes are not supposed to be grim death, we do try to have fun with television here. One thing this site does not do is "make fun" of women's physical appearance on television. Has not happened. Does not happen. Will not happen. If it happens, someone's getting fired.

OK, so a compliment somehow was not appreciated. We get that. Who knows why, but that's life.

Continuing on, since we're already here, Widlitz also said this page "made fun" of her opinion regarding JCPenney's home goods.

Actually, this page said Widlitz did not offer "anywhere near a usable opinion."

Widlitz spoke 3 times during this appearance:

[Question from Melissa Lee: Can JCPenney turn around home goods:]

Widlitz: "Right. It is pivotable for Ron Johnson here because this has to work for him. This represents about 12% of the business, home used to represent about 20% of the business years back. So there's a huge opportunity here. And they're bringing in brands like Michael Graves, like Jonathan Adler, but Martha Stewart, obviously we're in a court case here, that's a big question mark. So there's an opportunity, but the question is, they've gotta get the traffic back to let the people know that the home is transformed and the traffic's down 17%."

[Question from Melissa Lee: JCPenney appears to be losing share to competitors:]

Widlitz: "Absolutely. And if you look at the home business, it's, it was up 8 per- 8 to 10% last year. You're seeing killer numbers from all of the retailers that you just mentioned. So, there's no excuse here. They've- they've got to revamp the business, they've got to bring in the brands. But again, the big deal here is that Martha Stewart was supposed to be the headliner here. So what's gonna happen with that court case? We just don't know yet."

[Question from Jon Najarian: Other stores have these brands too, why get excited about JCP:]

Widlitz: "Right, so some of the brands that you'll see are, are repetitive here. So you're basically — what they're trying to do is take the Target customer and pull them into JCPenney. The problem is, it's not the same customer. It's the coupon — it's the older coupon person. It's not the young, hip home eclectic, um, fan."

Now, if you notice, the first word of each response is an agreement with the premise of the question, so there wasn't much new ground broken here. Widlitz emphasized 2 things, that store traffic is down sharply, and that we're still waiting on a Martha Stewart outcome.

Those issues were regularly — basically daily, at times hourly — discussed on CNBC for weeks or months. It is fair what Widlitz said, but these assessments were already well-known to Fast Money viewers, and there was nothing actionable here.

What would have been actionable is if someone of Widlitz's expertise could've opined (fictional examples), "the Martha Stewart overhang is probably overstated because these other brands are impressive," or "I think they can bring traffic back if they just ..."

But what about the "made fun" claim. This page implied that Widlitz's business, which is retail consulting according to her Web site, might affect such commentary. A flip way to put it perhaps, but an honest way of suggesting that Widlitz's clients or potential clients probably don't necessarily want 1) to hear her trashing companies on television, or 2) revealing proprietary advice, which means that even if Stacey is (gasp) inclined to be Herb Greenberg, she probably can't be.

Finally, the fumble over "pivotal." Yes, we had fun with that. Around here, that's entertainment. Surely such a little poke shouldn't offend a Stern master's holder? (Actually, had we had any clue about the fallout that was going to occur here, we would've praised Widlitz for not saying "at the end of the day," "inherently," or "Jeff Bayzoos.")

As always, we try to figure out what's really going on here (and keep in mind that Anthony Scaramucci said he wanted "I.Q.s" at SALT ... and we weren't at SALT ...)

The guess here is that this page's line about "anywhere near a usable opinion" is what really rankled Widlitz, who then decided everything in this innocuous paragraph amounted to bad-as-it-gets kitchen-sink criticism, when it actually included a compliment.

Oddly enough, we made a similar complaint about Widlitz's JCP remarks in February, and mentioned Widlitz has "great hair," but that one apparently passed muster.

So the bottom line for this episode, upon extensive re-review to make sure we're completely clear this time: 1) We thought Widlitz looked great on the April 3 Fast Money. 2) We thought Widlitz's observations were reasonable and not at all inaccurate. 3) We thought Widlitz's observations mostly amounted to already-known news and did not push the envelope for anyone holding or selling JCP stock, options or bonds, or considering doing so. 4) Widlitz is an attractive, articulate person who has more to offer than what was presented in this interview.

Unfortunately (if you've read this far, our apologies), there's still more to this unfortunate occurrence.

It just so happens a prominent CNBCer (no names here for modesty purposes) replied on Twitter to Widlitz's tweet and said: "I wouldn't put much stock in those who trade in selling people short."

First, there is zero "trade" here. No business. No money. It's free commentary.

Second, this site sells nobody short. (This page, for example, wasn't singling out the "opco perma bull" in February, though we think that's a totally fair description.) This site wants people — including Widlitz and everyone who turns up on this page and just as importantly, everyone who actually reads it — to succeed. Please do not confuse diligent media criticism and rightful skepticism of stock calls as somehow "selling people short."

How we happened to (apparently) get on this individual's nerves, we haven't the foggiest idea, although to be honest, it's not something we consider beyond the realm of possibility.

Our advice to this CNBCer? 1) Put on some Al Green. 2) Try a foxtrot/rumba. 3) Smile. 4) Please verify that the Twitter information you're responding to is actually accurate, before endorsing it with a reply that is patently false.

There is, actually, a silver lining here, to the point that maybe the presumed (sigh) next staff assignment (#launchstaceycharmoffensive) won't be necessary. The news development here is that Stacey, for whatever reason, happened to be a reader of this site. That's why it exists. Share a real opinion or two on the programs of Widlitz and many, many others ... opinions not available at nytimes.com, or wsj.com, or bloombergbusinessweek/whatever.com, etc., whose robust budgets for reporting don't include daily television reviews, or the kinds of things that might push many of their (seriously) fine journalists beyond 800 words a week.

This page isn't always pretty. But it's here. It's real. Consumers of Fast Money/CNBC opinions are free to shop elsewhere. We're here because you are. We take no reader for granted, and we're fightin' for every click we get.

[Friday, May 17, 2013]

Sheila or bust

If it hadn't been for the appearance of guest host Mandy Drury, it's really hard to fathom how any viewers would've stayed awake through Friday's Fast Money.

Tim Seymour did make a rather interesting argument for XOM in the Disruptor series of all places, saying "this underperformance is an opportunity in Exxon."

Josh Brown concurred, saying he's in CVX and not XOM but it's a similar story, and he likes OXY too.

However, most of the panel sounded tired from a week's worth of furious bull-stomping, with Guy Adami saying the rally "feels like it still has legs," and suggesting using options to protect yourself, though he thinks you're "not getting paid enough" to sell upside calls.

Adami's bull cases for LMT and NFLX and GHL sounded half-hearted.

Tim Seymour said the dollar is strengthening based on fundamentals, "the fundamentals are better," but meanwhile in stocks, "I don't think we're terribly cheap here."

Seymour did make the case for ITUB and IBN, while Josh Brown asserted that "Ford looks really interesting" as the market makes a "mean reversion" to higher multiples from 2010, and made F his Final Trade.

Lincoln Ellis really added nothing new on the gold perspective, pointing out, "The bloom is definitely off the rose in the gold market," but that miners might reach a point of cheapness that is interesting.

Josh Brown said it's clear that "gold is essentially a plaything of the asset management industry" in which paper values differ from demand for the actual metal.

The panel was totally unenthusiastic about FB, with Brian Kelly trying to claim again that "the only reason why you own it is you think that Mark Zuckerberg has the ability to be the next Steve Jobs," but what if Zuckerberg is Jack Welch or Jeff Bezos?

Tim Seymour said "I'm a reluctant dump" in FB.

Josh Brown called FB "a broken momentum stock ... there's just nothing happening."

Guy Adami said FB is worth a "date."

Brown said there's no reason not to stick with GT if you're in it. Tim Seymour said he thinks CLF has "seen its worst ... I would stay in this one."

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was short FXC. Tim Seymour said buy LM.

Stephen Weiss wasn’t around
to defend Tepper against
Santoli’s dis

Star guest of Friday's Halftime Report Mike Santoli told the panel, "We're not 1999 frothy. No way."

But Santoli acknowledged there are "pockets of froth," there's been heavy volume in some penny stocks, and some day-traders are getting aggressive.

In a rather brazen point, Santoli scoffed at a couple of long-term recognized winners, saying, "It's interesting that you now have the anointing of certain financial celebrities here," singling out "Gundlach, David Tepper ... who seem to be kind of telling people what they wanna hear about how it's an easy trade." (And Santoli went on to point out how Roubini got star billing on the Halftime Report a week ago.)

Well, what are they supposed to do? Predict the nonexistent 5% correction like everyone else?

So basically, Santoli is suggesting there are reasons we might be overheated, while arguing we're really not.

Which is having it both ways.

Santoli said the upside move in GOOG has not received "nearly as much cheerleading" as AAPL's climb into the 700s, so he doesn't see as much downside.

Jon Najarian said that if you're comparing GOOG to AAPL, it's God's Gift to Moneymaking; "this is all about the weekly options."

Mike Murphy said with GOOG over 900, "I wouldn't be jumping in with new money here," and then got tangled with Judge in a confusing semantical dialogue as to whether GOOG could pull back as much as AAPL. Joe Terranova said he has some "late May options" in GOOG because he expects it to break below 900 and "flush out" some late money.

How many folks on Facebook IPO day did a long MS/short FB pairs trade?

One of the most dubious Wall Street moments of 2012 was the Facebook IPO.

And if you'd just plowed into MS that week and held for a year, you'd be kicking Tepper's butt.

Kayla Tausche reported on Friday's Halftime Report that MS is up 86% since the Facebook IPO, a point that didn't come up a couple days ago when Stephen Weiss trampled on Mike Mayo's MS bull call arguing, among other things, that "ETFs are killing the retail investor."

Joe Terranova apparently disagrees with Weiss and sees more ahead, making long MS on Friday his Final Trade.

Meanwhile, Mike Murphy said Friday, "We're long Facebook," which he said is "setting up a nice base and could go higher."

Jeff Sonnenfeld said he'd give Mark Zuckerberg a "very generous B-," actually claiming that getting Sheryl Sandberg on the board was a big deal.

Joe: DDS to 100

Courtney Reagan on Friday's Halftime Report looked stunning in reporting Mike Ullman's message at the JCP meeting; unfortunately Reagan joined the Fast Money Cliche Bandwagon with "inherently" in saying that Ullman said that there's "nothing inherently stopping them" from winning back lost customers.

Pete Najarian remains skeptical. "This is gonna be a major turnaround," Najarian said.

Joe Terranova said M is taking share from JCP, and TJX figures to do so also.

Mike Murphy though argued, "A lot of the negative news is priced into JCPenney," and if there's improvement at all, there's "more upside."

Jon Najarian told viewers he got in JCP on kitchen-sink expectations and "I flipped it on the close," but not at the peak, but be assured, "I did sell it higher than I bought it."

Dr. New World knocked one out of the park with JWN — not in his stock call, but correct pronunciation of "Nordstrom."

"Nordstom pulled back here, I still think it's a buy. I like the better name here being Dillards, DDS ... 90 now, I think it goes to a hundred," Terranova said.

‘1st quarter 2014 taper’

Mike Murphy said, and we can't fathom why, on Friday's Halftime Report that "people right now are a little bit nervous."

But Murphy urged, "Stay long" this market.

Pete Najarian pointed to energy and financials and said in options land, there are "nothing but buyers." Late in the program Pete recommended the XLE and made COP his Final Trade. Pete also thundered about 52,000 June 25 calls trading in CSCO.

Joe Terranova asserted, "We have global deflation."

Steve Liesman said when it comes to Fed comments, he'd advise the panel "not to think so hard about it," and that it still looks like a "1st quarter 2014 taper."

Jon Najarian had a spectacular dis, for some reason saying that Brian Kelly, who wasn't even on Friday's program, makes good calls, but "being short the market isn't among them."

Snodfarts running DATA

Pete Najarian declared on Friday's Halftime Report that "the $40 target might be low" for GM.

Mike Murphy congratulated himself for arguing pro-GM vs. Anthony Scaramucci recently and said Friday he thinks GM and F have a "lot of way to go."

But Murphy found himself Friday going up against Pete Najarian on PCLN, in which Najarian, the bull, called the PCLN numbers "staggering" and contended, "the international play is what's the real growth driver." (Which means Pete had utterly nothing new.)

Murphy said those arguments are the reasons he think it's due for a pullback. "If there's one slipup there, this stock could roll over in a big way," said Murphy, who pointed to guidance well below the Street.

Mr. New Land was asked to referee and had already prejudged the case, chuckling that Murphy is a "sold-out bull" because not too long ago Murphy as a bull defeated Terranova's similar arguments against the stock.

Jim Iuorio said that gasoline has played catchup and there's "anticipation of a good and robust driving season." Anthony Grisanti though said while $3 or $3.10 is possible, this "happens every year ... they sell off gasoline" after Memorial Day weekend.

Rett Wallace sounded almost like a spokesperson for DATA, which had a huge IPO day and which boasts a management team from the Computer Science Department of Stanford. But, Wallace noted, "Interestingly the 1st quarter was the 1st decline we've seen out of these guys."

Mike Murphy's Final Trade was VLO. Jon Najarian said VRX.

[Thursday, May 16, 2013]

So basically, it was Terry Semel who saved Yahoo with the Alibaba deal in 2005

We're not really sure what the purpose of The Dogs of the 'Daq feature on Thursday's Fast Money was, other than a chance to talk about the Jack Ma trade, Alibaba's (endless, winter 2011-2012 Facebook-esque) valuation.

Surely viewers realized this feature made no sense when YHOO was described as a "dog."

But that's the contention of Eric Jackson, who says it's because YHOO is "rarely" mentioned as one of the "big names of tech," and is "way underappreciated."

Ignoring this "Dog of the 'Daq" nonsense, we noted that Jackson claims "the Alibaba Group story is far from over" and at least pointed out that Alibaba has an incentive to keep its valuation down because it has to buy half of Yahoo's stake; Jackson estimates an IPO at $60-$70 billion but said $100 billion in the aftermarket is "very realistic."

So for the record: Jackson stressed that Yahoo's great asset is Alibaba, and said nothing about banning work-from-home or office nurseries or any current initiatives.

And according to the sparse information we could find on Wikipedia about the Yahoo-Alibaba partnership, this deal was originally struck in 2005 (confirmed by an Alibaba press release).

Jackson also trumpeted GRPN and ZNGA, claiming, "They've been remarkably resilient in the last 6 months," and if just a couple things go right, "they could double."

Dan Nathan questioned in a convoluted way why BBRY, with 37% short interest, can't go anywhere. Jackson said there are "some good things happening here," and if there are just "decent" numbers from the Q10, "that will be the trigger for the shorts to have to cover."

Thursday’s Fast Money is nearly
‘at the end of the day’-free

Melissa Lee said early on Thursday's Fast Money, "We've gotta give props to, uh, Brian Marshall," and we got excited, thinking that was for Marshall's "at the end of the day" yesterday, but actually it was for Marshall calling EMC a beneficiary of Cisco earnings.

Viewers got their lone "at the end of the day" from Airbnb chief Brian Chesky, who told the panel, "I think at the end of the day, Airbnb is about access."

(Guy Adami likes to say "Drink" when the phrase is uttered; around here we just try to post pictures of Melissa, for the shout-out to scorecard-keepers the other day.)

Airbnb, despite the Fast gang's dismissal, did sound kind of interesting, although the gut here is that once something like this gets big (if ever), that's when the problems happen.

Lee was highly skeptical of bedroom space being available in desirable locations. "Here in New York City, who has extra space to just rent out," Lee said. "I think I just- I totally don't get this."

Trying as hard as we can to figure out purpose of Dolly Lenz’s appearance

Dolly Lenz joined the Fast Money gang Thursday to (sorta) assess the real estate market, and the news she reported was that some member of the 1% is forgoing the broker route in selling his/her home, the "Highest FSBO we've ever heard of in the entire universe."

Lenz said that in NYC there are offers for properties below $3 million, then it's mixed, and then at the very high end, omg, maybe they just need places to put their art, because the Christie's sale was "mind-blowing."

Lenz stressed that supply is a very important part of a market (who knew), and "we are expecting to get supply," that people ask her "daily" about maybe selling.

Tim Seymour said he'd sell and live in a motel if his wife would allow; "you can't get emotional about real estate."

Karen Finerman curiously said nothing about RLGY, one way or another.

Looks like Simon stumbled into an even bigger bungle than LULU ‘game over’

Dan Nathan's call a week ago Thursday (May 9) that TSLA could hit "at least a hundred" is suddenly a front-runner for Fast Money call of the year, although it's necessary to note that Nathan wasn't urging to people to buy, but rather not to short.

Nathan and Melissa Lee revisited this call Thursday, saying when he was out in California, he "saw a ton of 'em on the roads." He maintains, "I don't think you short it ... could go to a thousand in 10 years."

One call that surely won't be best of the year was Simon Baker's opinion Monday to short TSLA in the mid-$80s.

Elliott Waver declares
end to bull market

They say you can't fight the Fed. But can you fight the Elliott Wave?

Steven Hochberg told Thursday's Fast Money that "right now, we think we're at the end of this 5th wave and ready to reverse to the downside."

That downside will last a stark 3 years, according to Hochberg, who told Karen Finerman that "2016 give or take is where we see the next major buying opportunity."

For months if not years this page has questioned Guy Adami's relentless high-in-for-the-year-soon-end-of-4-year-bull-market-imminent call, but this is far more dramatic.

Hochberg claimed that "no one thought gold could go down during this time period" of money-printing, even though many on CNBC have said just that for years. "I don't think it's over yet," he said.

Tim: ‘Nothing left’ in GOOG

Tim Seymour said at the top of Thursday's Fast Money that he's not impressed with the Nasdaq's biggest star (would that be "God of the 'Daq," i.e., "Dog" spelled backward?).

"With Google here at 25 times, there's nothing left," Seymour said.

Karen Finerman said she's scared of the parabolic move, but "I still like the Google story."

Finerman said CSCO, after its earnings report, is now "absolutely on my radar."

Dan Nathan said ORCL could be a name to watch given CSCO's results. Nathan also pointed to a reverse incentive about Dell's report; "If I was Michael Dell I'd wanna make this thing look as bad as possible."

Karen Finerman said JCP had what "may be a little bit of a kitchen-sink quarter," and that she's "still short bonds." She said if you're waiting to get into V, Thursday's activity was not enough of a pullback.

Finerman's Final Trade was HRB.

Mike Khouw reported big sellers of the May-June 77.50 put in WMT. Khouw thinks there will be an opportunity to buy KSS lower and made sell MMM his Final Trade.

Tim Seymour spoke again about rumblings in Japan and pointed to the outperformance of the TSE and said, "I would be very concerned about this," but once again a cautionary Japan note was embedded in the ending of the show. (This writer is long TM.) Seymour's Final Trade was WMT.

Dan Nathan said he'd "probably avoid" CELG, and made VIX calls his Final Trade.

Brian Kelly said "I still like Monsanto here," and his Final Trade was TLT.

Melissa Lee actually said, regarding the Bea Arthur painting, "We don't know about the low end."

JCP is debated by 1) a bull who is not long, and 2) a bear who is not short

Josh Brown argued on Thursday's Halftime Report that "the risks now are to the upside" in JCP, and given that Blackstone and Soros have bought stakes, "I think the story has now changed," with very low beatable comps.

Stephen Weiss explained, "I don't like the stock; I'm not short it," because "this could be a decent quarter for them," but that the Blackstone and especially Soros stakes are small potatoes; "you don't know why they're in it," and everybody's got the store-within-a-store concept.

Waiting for the Obama-Erdogan press conference, Judge let the panel talk this one over, and Pete Najarian started to say it was a short risk several dollars ago before it recovered, but he doesn't think JCP can get its customers back, and then he was drowned out by Weiss, who suggested they could do a "Tesla store" within JCPenney.

Weiss asked all others who think a kitchen-sink quarter is coming, and the Najarians raised their hands, so Weiss questioned how that couldn't be baked in. Brown concluded, "Expectations are almost nil."

Japan fund manager apparently wants you to go for par, not double-eagles

Thursday's Halftime Report had trouble giving viewers a clear picture of what to do with their gold holdings.

Jim Iuorio suggested that because stocks pay dividends and gold doesn't, and stocks are hot, "it feels like it's safe enough to come out of gold for the average investor."

Iuorio said he's looking for the type of headline that would cause a rush back into gold, but he doesn't see one on the horizon.

Jeff Kilburg suggested demand for the actual metal is still huge. "In Hong Kong and Singapore, we are seeing all-time highs for gold bars," Kilburg said.

Jon Najarian opined, "I think this thing is getting down to a washout level," but that it doesn't seem to be there yet. Josh Brown referred to the whale reports of gold and silver ETF ownership, pointing out they are dated March 31, and "we don't know if they're still in those trades."

Abhay Desphande made eloquent comments about running a fund of Japan stocks but seemed to punt on whether viewers should charge into that trade as hedge funds have, suggesting that given the recent runs such investments require "caution," but on the other hand, the Bank of Japan is clearly behind stocks, so ... Desphande noted, "My golf game's a little rusty right now."

Doc still likes GRPN

We were relieved to learn that Thursday's Halftime Report Tesla tangent on the part of Steve Weiss and Josh Brown fooled Judge as much as us, though we at least got a chuckle out of Weiss suggesting Brown drive to "Woodstock."

Pete Najarian said he'd "steer clear" of AMD. Josh Brown said CBI got a double-dose of good news, the Buffett stake and an upgrade.

Stephen Weiss said CSC is in turnaround mode, and "it's gonna be a little lumpy." Jon Najarian said KSS got a boost from a "nice note from the CEO."

Weiss said of WMT, "I still like the stock ... I'd wait to get in." Josh Brown called new IPO WLH an "interesting one ... I like it."

(Brag Trade Alert) Weeks back, this page predicted Joe Terranova was standing in front of a train in his bear debate on GRPN with Jon Najarian after Andrew Mason got ousted; Najarian didn't mention that Thursday but did say "I continue to like it here."

Najarian also claimed "Fisker filed for bankruptcy," and for the 2nd day in a row, we're unable to find an article actually reporting that, only that it has hired bankruptcy advisers.

The end of Thursday's Halftime Report was preempted for a curious U.S.-Turkish press conference, but honestly, we didn't really mind.

Pete standing behind
the AAPL ‘2nd-half story’

Glen Yeung, the chieftain of the 3-headed Citi research team on AAPL, hardly gave the stock a vote of confidence on Thursday's Halftime Report, explaining, "We haven't liked it since late December of last year," and that he doesn't like the smartphone market in developed countries.

He thinks it'll be "tough sledding" for AAPL in phones and will have to look for "software and services" to fuel growth.

Yeung said "our target's 430" but was rather wishy-washy on stock direction, calling for "10% either way," but asserting that "estimates are still too high."

Yeung also ripped Apple TV or the Apple watch in saying, "Basically, every consumer screen size that can be sold, Apple is going to sell it to you ... it's just another piece of glass."

Pete Najarian, trying to top Josh ("gotta tell you"), Joe ("in essence") and the entire 5 p.m. Fast gang and their guests ("at the end of the day"), twice thundered to Judge that it's a "2nd-half story," prompting Judge to (finally) rightly question, "I keep hearing this 2nd-half story thing," but what does that really mean.

At that point Pete said it involves China Mobile and a bigger screen, which is the real "story" he's suggesting, not some arbitrary 6-month window in which those elements are expected to materialize.


Why is Weiss calling himself ‘wrong’ for obvious mistake by CNBC’s graphics crew?

Stephen Weiss on Thursday's Halftime Report made the outrageous mistake of ... actually believing the text that CNBC puts on the screen.

As you can see above, CNBC first showed Glen Yeung's price target as 480, and then, only after Weiss brought it up and Yeung said "our target's 430," was it changed near the end of the interview.

After taking the fall for this bungle, Weiss asserted that the stock's in a 400-440 trading range until further notice.

Jon Najarian pointed out the stock traded down on Thursday's open to about 419 and then roared back about 18 bucks; "we haven't seen that in a long time in Apple."

No one brought up the creation of Citi's own 3-pronged AAPL analysis team in November as a possible sign of a top in the shares.

Josh Brown opens the program with an ‘I gotta tell you’

It didn't take long for the Fast Money Cliché Train to get rolling on Thursday's Halftime Report as Josh Brown tackled Bill Gurley's tweet suggesting this is a lot like 1999.

"I think it's actually very very different than 1999. I was there," Brown said, before grimacing at Judge's pesky interruption that Gurley was there too.

"It's not growth companies leading this market ... I gotta tell you, I think the parallels continue- um, uh, the parallels are not there," Brown said.

Pete Najarian assured, "We're not frothy yet," and said he hates the word "defensives ... I don't believe in that word," but that it's that classification of stocks that has led.

Jon Najarian pointed out that CSCO is pushing 24 now while it was 70 in 1999, and it's a small group of valuations now that would be considered euphoric. Brown added, "The froth is in things like the art market" or venture capital.

Stephen Weiss had an excellent line; "I'll take 1999. It's 2000 I don't want."

Pete Najarian geared up to perhaps launch a new buzzword, but how he ended up with "quadrant" we can't figure, saying, "There's a quadrant of these that are absolutely in the old days of 1999."

More from Thursday's Halftime and Fast Money later.

[Wednesday, May 15, 2013]

Karen: AAPL ‘could test’ 390

The Fast Money gang tackled GOOG and AAPL on Wednesday, but it was the latter name that produced fireworks.

Karen Finerman said, "I don't know what's going on at Apple, again, it feels like you could test that 390 level again."

Guy Adami at one point said the cratering will happen if it breaks 405, and then predicted, "I do think we'll test those 381 lows."

Meanwhile, Josh Brown made reasonable arguments in favor of GOOG but also a downright goofy case for being excited about "what the potential for Glass might be."

Jon Najarian minced no words. "I'm with Josh on Google, but I, I'm not with him at all on the Google Glass, I think that's a pig in a poke ... I'm not into that at all ... privacy concerns ... absolutely worthless."

Najarian said the appeal in the stock is for "the apps" for Android and the potential to collect money when Web surfers listen to the Allman Brothers "monetize YouTube."

Brown said that Glass is just one of many Google initiatives that might pay off; nobody knows which one, and said this began when Sergei and Larry took over with the "Jerry Maguire memo."

Guy Adami said of GOOG, "The stock still has momentum."

The article calls Dimon ‘foremost’ among Wall Street ‘heroes’

Lions Gate's Michael Burns is no stranger to shareholder battles, and he apparently once worked for Jamie Dimon, so it's perhaps not a surprise that he would put pen to paper in free labor forum the Huffington Post to argue against a "political" move by "bureaucrats" to split the chairman/CEO jobs at JPM.

What was bogus, said the Vice Chairman of LGF who makes all the public appearances while the CEO toils in anonymity, was his argument on Wednesday's Fast Money that "A company like this needs to be led by a single voice."

Burns said, with a curious amount of vigor (perhaps he thinks Carl is behind this?), that it would be "insanity" for JPM to split the jobs and risk losing Dimon.

Karen Finerman insisted, "There's no bigger fan of Jamie Dimon than me," but questioned if the board could ignore shareholders if that's what they vote.

Burns, who irked Carl Icahn with various defenses designed to prevent certain pro-Carl votes, told Finerman, "I do think they should be ignored," because JPM's board is not one of "idiots."

"If it's not broken, don't fix it," Burns concluded.

Karen Finerman, who often advocates for shareholder activism, didn't seem that taken with Burns' position. "I've never owned a company for who the chairman is," Finerman said.

Josh Brown also wasn't impressed with Burns. "It seems like a very qualitative argument," Brown said, and fine to take a "moral stand," but "I'm not sure you can actually manage money professionally that way."

CSCO sponsors CNBC’s ‘Disruptors’

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Fast Money credited Stephanie Link for her bull call on CSCO earlier in the day, "she nailed it," even though to be honest both said at the time they didn't expect much from this earnings call.

Guy Adami advised against buying the stock now and being disappointed, saying he would wait for it to break out above 23½ or 24.

Mike Khouw was more enthusiastic, at least relatively speaking. "I would absolutely own Cisco before I'd own an Intel," Khouw said.

Brian Marshall, assessing Cisco's earnings, came through with the panel's lone "at the end of the day," explaining that "gross margins were pretty solid in the quarter, and I think the guidance was decent." (But Guy Adami was not heard to say "Drink," nor did Mel issue a shout-out to viewers in hot fuchsia.)

Julia Boorstin returned for another day of Disruptors, which included navigation-type companies. Guy Adami made a wishy-washy call on GRMN, apparently backing the stock despite the fact it figures to be affected by the Disruptors.

Karen Finerman observed, "When Nokia bought Navteq, that seemed like the beginning of the end for Nokia."

‘Shocker’ from Coop

Josh Lipton reported on Wednesday's Fast Money that Berkshire dissolved stakes in ADM and GD and took new stakes in CBI and bought more IBM and (of course) WFC. Lipton said Lee Cooperman is dabbling in the GLD, GDX and SLV, and that Dan Loeb has added APC, HES and AAPL, dissolved stakes in MS, COF, and reduced positions in MUR, YHOO and AIG.

Karen Finerman said she was intrigued by the HRB filings and a Lone Pine stake in the name. Guy Adami said not to pile into CBI on the "maelstrom" of the Buffett news and to wait for a breakout because it's had trouble at 63.

Jon Najarian called the revelation of Lee Cooperman's gold/gold miner stake a "shocker." Josh Brown said the only reason for this move is a "mean-reversion" trade.

Too bad Steve Cortes wasn’t tapped to opine on the solar space

Josh Brown, who just this week was making the bull case for TSLA that involved hoping and praying for a secondary to buy on the pullback, admitted in the afterhours on Wednesday's Fast Money that "I'm actually surprised this stock is higher, not lower."

"I would still hold off for a better buying opportunity," Brown said.

Jon Najarian said the game changed for Tesla "when Fisker filed for bankruptcy," but from what we could find, Fisker hasn't actually filed yet (though it seems imminent).

SunPower CEO Tom Werner unloaded on Pavel Molchanov's recent gripes about GAAP and EBITDA and asserted, "He was wrong about a hundred and 50 percent ago," and then asserted, in a rather reserved manner, that they just had analyst day and declared they would "make money on a GAAP basis for the year."

Werner sought to diminish concerns that the solar business is a never-ending race to the bottom of cheap panels. "What we're selling is kilowatt hours," Werner said. "We're not playing that game anymore."

Mike Khouw reported buyers of October 20 calls in LLC. Jon Najarian said, "Delta's the clear outperformer in the group."

Najarian said normally he'd be interested in a name like CSC on this volume, but it's not the 3rd day of the flush yet.

Josh Brown said he prefers PFE to BMY.

Mike Khouw called DE currency concerns "overblown" and said, "I would buy it now."

Karen Finerman said the boost to RH is "really kind of a meltup more than a pop." Guy Adami said TM "is the better play" in the auto space over F. (This writer is long TM.)

Mel Lee said Jon Fortt had a "very special jest (sic)" at the Google event, which was Vic Gundotra.

Guy Adami said JACK hit an "all-time high today ... I think it was a pretty decent quarter," and thinks the stock's OK despite the afterhours trim.

Melissa Lee disputed Adami's "date nights" contention during the JACK discussion, saying "We have never gone," but not elaborating.

Doc virtually called AAPL top

So, whatever happened to those Tim Seymour/Dan Nathan forecasts of 505 AAPL?

All it took was 3 hours of morning trading — to which Halftime Report commentary is always highly overleveraged — for traders to go completely south on the name that just last week was being hailed for its new breakout.

"You don't need to be in Apple," Mike Murphy told viewers.

Steve Weiss said he was under the impression the stock was pressured by Tiger (not Woods) liquidating some shares, and that he bought the 500 calls last week, and "I'm just about wiped out in them."

Jon Najarian a week ago Monday with the stock in the 450s/460s very impressively said he got out when it filled the gap, and equally impressively didn't mention that Wednesday, but did say, "This is a short term, it's a flip, it's a trade, it's not an investment."

Ilczyszyn: Gold ‘looks weak,’ close below 1,320 and watch another hundred points disappear

CNBC's Futures Now team helmed by Jackie DeAngelis took up gold on Wednesday's Halftime Report, with Anthony Grisanti explaining that at 1,418, "large orders came in to sell this thing."

Rich Ilczyszyn said "the dollar's the tallest midget in the room," and that "this looks weak" for gold, warning that with a close below 1,320 it could "break another hundred bucks."

As far as we recall, Brian Kelly made the only recent Fast Money call to short gold, his best in some time.

Does Stephanie like Juniper,
or not like Juniper?

Sometimes, people can phrase things in the darnedest ways.

Stephanie Link was enlisted on Wednesday's Halftime Report to make the bull case for (Zzzzzz) CSCO, and happened to say this:

"In their core business, switchers, they're actually gaining market share to companies like Juniper, which I like."

Which to these amateur ears sounded like she likes JNPR.

The odd thing was, at the end of the program, she was asked in an unrelated discussion to comment on JNPR and said, "It's not one I would buy."

So apparently, what Link meant the first time is that she likes the fact Cisco is gaining market share.

Which is kinda redundant. If (fictional example) you're making a bull case for Chevron and you say, "Chevron is taking market share from Exxon, which I like," why do you really need to add "which I like"? Is there any chance you would dislike that given that it's one of your bull-case arguments for Chevron?

But whatever.

Link argued that CSCO is getting "into security software," and of course there's the valuation; "I think you're protected on the downside."

Jon Najarian agreed with much of what Link said and asserted there's "not a lot of downside," but that the stock hasn't done well in 2013 and that "underperformance might be a tell." He said he'd buy it below 20.

Stephen Weiss, who prejudged the case, grumbled that it "seems like they were agreeing on a lot of stuff" and then argued the company is "way too big to move the needle .. I would stay away from it."

AMZN ‘actually is undervalued’

Moments after the CSCO debate on Wednesday's Halftime Report, guest Ken Allen revealed he's been buying CSCO shares "fairly aggressively" for 6 months and that the market just needs to feel "somewhat better about its durability."

Allen also argued MSFT has 3 things going for it, valuation, enterprise potential and capital allocation options. But his most intriguing call was on Amazon's valuation.

"The stock actually is undervalued," Allen contended, "underearning its business model by a lot."

Stephen Weiss questioned when it's ever going to stop underearning its model. Allen said "they'll moderate investments" over time as they start paying off.

Jon Najarian said "I still like Microsoft" but since it broke through 31, "I've been selling at the money calls."

‘Inning No. 3 or 4’

Mike Murphy, indicating he's all aboard the Barry Bannister Bandwagon, said on Wednesday's Halftime Report there's "no reason to jump in and short this market ... I think the S&P has a beeline for 1,700."

Jon Najarian stressed the 4 stages of the Templeton bull market and declared, "We're not seeing that euphoria yet," so it's more like "Inning No. 3 or 4."

Guest Jurrien Timmer seemed to be parsing to the max, saying he was on a month ago and called for a "tactical correction" that actually was a "stealth correction" (was there actually a correction this year?).

Timmer said he favors U.S. and Japan and would shun emerging markets, China and the rest of Asia. He said he likes defensives and sees 1,539 as support in the S&P though that's a long ways back.

Both Steve Weiss and Stephanie Link cast doubt on lingering strength in staples, with Link arguing at best it's "1-2% organic growth."

Weiss isn't ready for standup, making a joke that Tepper was "very stoop-shouldered, bent over" yesterday from propping up the whole market.

Halftime gang decides they’re not getting a Mayo clinic

Mike Mayo came up a little bit short in the Profound Department on Wednesday's Halftime Report when he claimed, "I think Morgan Stanley is like the Boston Red Sox before they won the World Series ... a couple years away."

Ummm, isn't basically every team before they win the World Series "a couple years away"?

Mayo's best, perhaps only, argument was that in an improving landscape, MS has far more catchup ability than its rivals, including "single digits" ROE that could reach 12%.

Stephanie Link skeptically asked if Goldman Sachs isn't better. "Morgan Stanley is going to narrow the gap," Mayo asserted.

Mayo contended that the stigma/aftereffects from previous combinations is fading, the notion that "there's a lot of disgruntled people out there, used to work at Morgan Stanley" is becoming irrelevant.

We wondered if Mayo was going to mention Morgan Stanley's outside-the-box hire of former CNBC Capital Markets Editor Gary Kaminsky as a catalyst; he didn't, but did say that "brokerage and asset management; I think that should do fantastic," calling the stock a "leveraged play" on the current bull market.

Stephen Weiss was not the slightest bit impressed, pointing to retail investors and saying "the costs can actually strangle them," and adding, "ETFs are killing the retail investor."

Weiss also took issue with Mayo's curious reference to Erskine Bowles at the company meeting, calling Bowles a "career politician" and "hardly the director that I'd be quoting."

Stephanie Link called MS a "perennial underperformer."

Weiss, who said he sees no reason to be long the name, questioned the leadership at the top. "What's Gorman done?" Weiss said.

Jon Najarian said GS is better. "The beta is not Morgan in the space," Najarian said.

52-week lows in miners
‘easily’ ahead

Mike Murphy on Wednesday's Halftime Report said "we actually bought Deere today" in the 89 range as well as some calls, then blamed the stock skid on management doing a "terrible job handling the call."

Stephen Weiss said he bought UAL on Wednesday and argued that "crude's gonna come down," and then issued a Brag Trade in saying that AAMRQ has doubled since he got into it in April, and he also likes BA.

Judge Wapner apparently doesn't think Cramer gets enough credit, so he credited Cramer with endorsing LCC recently.

Stephanie Link suggested UPS and FDX.

Weiss said he's hoping to add to M, that he did buy more THC on Wednesday, and that he would neither buy nor short PCLN. His Final Trade was SODA.

Mike Murphy said that if you're in NFLX, "use some options," and "I think there's a lot of upside in Ford." His Final Trade was VLO.

Stephanie Link said "you can still be buying" PF, and her Final Trade was EBAY.

Jon Najarian had the funny of the day, addressing NEM for Judge and saying the gold miners are "takin' it in the pants really hard here. Uh, that's technical term Scott," and adding they're headed "easily to new 52-week lows."

Najarian said he's not long GOOG but it's "hittin' on all cylinders." He likes GNW and sees mid-teens in the "not too distant future." His Final Trade was BG.

Prettiest Hair on Cable Television Mary Thompson spoke of the new AIG and concluded, "A number of people think the stock looks a little rich."

[Tuesday, May 14, 2013]

Melissa issues shout-out
to keepers of Fast Money
cliché scorecards

Little did we know that the Day 2 installment of the CNBC Disruptor 50 would quickly prove to be our favorite feature of Tuesday's Fast Money.

It started innocuously enough with Julia Boorstin on hand again (this page already gushed about that yesterday), this time to single out cloud disruptors such as Box.

Box's chief, Aaron Levie, then took part in a Fast Money interview, saying he didn't expect to go public this year while explaining the strengths of his business.

That prompted Melissa Lee to ask, "At the end of the day though," isn't cloud storage becoming a commodity business with razor margins.

Levie acknowledged that's true on the consumer side but stressed that what Box does is "absolutely" different than the consumer side.

After the interview, Melissa rebutted that she asked the question because "we've heard more and more about price drops," but "at the end of the day, again ..."

Guy Adami, who gets it, chimed in, "Drink-"

Then Lee added, with a double point, "Exactly. That's for you out there."

Now, honestly, we have no clue how many folks who post things about Fast Money might actually be keeping a tally on "at the end of the day."

But this time we'll race to the front of the line to return the favor in the form of flirt and, for example, cheer whichever lucky individual gets to squire Mel and her dazzling necklace-V-top-new-hairstyle combo to a Times Square establishment post-show for that "at the end of the day" drink.

Tim Seymour suggested the megacaps will own the cloud storage space. "I think size matters when you get these big boys. They will probably be buyers of Box," Seymour said.

Guy Adami ‘very apocalyptic’

Tuesday's Fast Money brought a curious, 360-like assessment of the world's financial picture from Guy Adami.

"I'm still very apocalyptic," Adami assured panelists and viewers at the top of the program, even though there's a "disconnect" between the stock market and however else the global economic picture is measured.

Adami even said later on in the program, "A lot of this rally has been built on sand."

But on the other hand, Guy told everyone that "there's nothing to indicate it wants to slow down," and he sees 1,570 as a healthy level of support.

‘You chase commodities’

It's not just "at the end of the day." The strength of this bull market is quickly exhausting much of the original material on Fast Money.

Karen Finerman, perhaps with thoughts focused on upcoming book reviews, said at the top of Tuesday's Fast Money, "I don't really know what to make of it," and then made of it the same comment she made of it last week (Tim Seymour calls that "regurgitated," more on that below), which is that people will start saying "My stuff isn't overvalued but everything else is really starting to get frothy."

Finerman noted the VIX was higher Tuesday. Mike Khouw said, "People are buying more insurance."

Jeff Kleintop, pointing to commodities, said the market, perhaps like Col. Kurtz, is "in conflict with itself," and is "due for a little bit of a consolidation ... you wanna buy the cyclicals."

Brian Kelly said "I'm not wildly bullish," and he finds the refiners "very interesting."

Tim Seymour called Turkey and especially India a "great place to be" and rattled off HDB, IBM and TTM.

Seymour said you don't buy commodities when they're getting hammered, "you chase commodities" and buy when they're expensive.

What we really like is when Karen winces at stocks surging on split announcements

Unfortunately it was one of her more subdued performances (there's that book-tour-reviews-speaking thing on the agenda) or else viewers of Tuesday's Fast Money might've really heard Karen Finerman cut loose with the TSLA valuation.

"It just seems absurd, absolutely absurd," Karen winced, calling it "so disconnected" but not finishing the sentence, but the real points in that discussion were scored by Tim Seymour ("dcf") and Melissa Lee, who defined "dcf" for viewers and mentioned "15 years" in this case but didn't get credit for a Trade School.

Meanwhile, Karen called the day's AAPL rumor-mongering "ridiculous," but instead of a soapbox moment, shrugged, "I can't get worked up over it."

Tim Seymour said a report of slowing Apple orders out of Taiwan was just "regurgitated news."

That set off our Regurgitated Meter, as "regurgitated" tends to be one of those words that smart people like to use because 1) it sounds fancy and sophisticated and 2) there's not really an eloquent way of saying "old news," but 3) it's not really that sophisticated because little kids learn what it means when they're taught how a mother robin feeds the young, and 4) it's actually just kinda gross.

Maybe there’s a way to own SNE in yen terms?

Guest Ken Squire tackled the Dan Loeb/Sony situation on Tuesday's Fast Money and suggested SNE might be ripe for something like this because the government seems eager for activist reforms here, it "could be the precipice of something that's gonna take many years." (Or is that what they said at Halftime? Sometimes we lose track.)

But Squire refused unlike Paul Richards (well, actually he sort of refused too) to make a call on the yen; "that's not to my expertise." (Well, who else should do it? Gemma Godfrey?)

Meanwhile, Melissa Lee hit RPAI's Steve Grimes with Barbara Marcin's day-ago take that certain high-yielding plays might be in bubble land. Grimes asserted that "people are believers of real estate again" and of retail real estate.

Karen Finerman did ask a good question, what kind of inflation is ideal for this space. Grimes suggested maybe a "couple percent."

Grimes said there's a "bit more upside" in the smaller shop space.

‘Banks. Good. Today.’

Brian Kelly and Guy Adami conducted a lackluster debate over CSCO on Tuesday's Fast Money, with Kelly starting off with Internet traffic, then you could probably guess the rest of the drill, valuation, dividend, who knows maybe even John Chambers' tone...

Adami conceded Internet traffic but said CSCO must "dominate" that space for it to count as a catalyst. Meanwhile, Adami said the stock has been in a "very well-defined downtrend."

Tim Seymour likes the name; "you have to stay overweight this stock." Karen Finerman agreed with the valuation; "couldn't bet against that."

Finerman said "I like Citi" and suggested it "has the most upside here" of the banks, and later summed up BAC's big day with "Banks. Good. Today."

Guy Adami said he owns C, and it "can continue to rally."

Adami said BBY's a mystery but it "seems to me like this can continue higher." His top trade of the day was Capt. Willard's promotion GPS.

Tim Seymour said copper will have trouble at 3.35. Mike Khouw said he'd "maybe" buy WY on a pullback.

If the Japanese bond pricing were really alarming it would’ve been tackled at the top of the show

Mike Khouw said on Tuesday's Fast Money that BBRY May 15.5 calls were hopping.

Tim Seymour took a stab at Chinese Internet stocks and said "I would marry SINA before I would marry BIDU."

Karen Finerman said "Nordstroms (sic)" (that's another drinking game by the way) but said she prefers M.

Guy Adami seemed to be overdoing it a bit on "JGB" (that's the Japanese bonds, not a stock), trying to say "The move has been unbel- ... they shouldn't move that quickly."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell GMCR. Brian Kelly said CORN. Tim Seymour said TTM, Guy Adami said MA, and Karen Finerman offered a CVS "sell sacrifice to the bull gods."

A ‘bull’ and a ‘bear’ make practically the same argument on TSLA

It was billed on Tuesday's Halftime Report as a bull-bear showdown over Tesla.

Josh Brown, the purported bull, said it's not a story about earnings or valuation, but "we could be very very early" in the development of a "4th automaker."

Stephen Weiss, the purported bear, contended that the margin per car is 2%, "they barely make money" and need tax credits, and to justify this valuation, "They'd have to be selling 200,000 cars."

Brown suggested Weiss replace the ticker symbol TSLA with AMZN or WFM and consider whether those were worth buying in the early stages. Weiss dismissed that point and said a couple times that the cars cost $70,000 (vs. U.S. average, he says, of $30,000); "it's a finite market."

It was a high-quality discussion; Mr. New World was asked to judge and said "I wanna hear more."

The problem is that Terranova clarified, and neither party disagreed, that no one is calling for a short ... and in particular there was Brown's advice to "hope and pray that they do a secondary."

Which sounds like 1) neither side is advising a short, and 2) neither side is really recommending buying it at Tuesday's lunchtime price, and so 3) the only "debate" is whether it should be bought on a hypothetical pullback for secondary reasons.

Joe concluded that the issue to him is whether Elon Musk can duplicate that '77 Trans Am Joe used to drive "scarcity," and "can they actually make enough cars ... so Stephen won the debate."

Sight for sore eyes

A fairly crisp Tuesday Halftime Report got soooo much better just when a certain long-absent correspondent resurfaced to discuss whatever it is the BlackBerry folks have got going, and when you hear Seema Mody mention a "social engagement," your ears perk up.

Josh Brown didn't sound too interested in the stock, saying, after Anthony Scaramucci even raised the going concern issue, "The risk here is that they don't get acquired, and they don't gain traction in this bring-your-own-device-to-the-enterprise market."

Steve Weiss, who has defended the company since last year, reiterated his case that market share is overblown; "Porsche doesn't sell the most cars ... there's a place for this company."

Joe Terranova was most skeptical, saying, "I think it's a tremendous short opportunity" and wondering when Whitney Tilson will pull the trigger.

Joe gets a boost from
the MSFT support group

Joe Terranova got Fast-Fired on Tuesday's Halftime Report for dumping on MSFT in April and said he had been "underestimating the way the market was actually positioned in Microsoft."

But now, Terranova said, "short interest has come down dramatically," so the "fundamentals must be getting better," but "I wouldn't buy it here."

Lest anyone think the panel was going to jump all over Joe for this one, Josh Brown stepped in to say "this is not happening in a vacuum" and that MSFT has been part of a tech surge higher.

Even Steve Weiss said it's more a case of "you can't be short anything" in this market; there's a buyer for everything.

Anthony Scaramucci cautioned viewers that shorting dividend-paying stocks involves a negative carry.

Joe wastes little time before uncorking an ‘in essence’

Nobody was about to rain on the stock parade of Tuesday's Halftime Report.

"We're in a rip-roaring bull market," said Stephen Weiss.

Anthony Scaramucci, who said (presumably jokingly) that if David Tepper would just come to SALT he would rename it "The Tepper Conference on his behalf," borrowed a page from Mike Santoli's report Friday that "this feels like 1995," but cautioned that in 1995 there were "better economic fundamentals" (yes, Wall Street was heartily shoveling cash at dot-coms and just beginning to heartily shovel cash at subprime mortgages).

Josh Brown said "the fact that everyone is still so skeptical" indicates there's more to go on the upside.

Dr. New Land, employing his top cliche, said there's another step before plunging into the economic-upturn trade. "So before I make the cyclical trade, I wanna bet in essence against Treasurys, and I'm doing it by the TBT," Joe said.

Steve Liesman pointed to some actually helpful charts outlining an estimate of the Fed's 6-month buying of about $510 billion. Josh Brown said the Halftime crew isn't alone in analyzing and assessing this stuff, the Fed has 250 Ph.D.s studying it, and "It's crazy" to think the Fed is going to suddenly pull the carpet out from under everyone.

Scaramucci cautioned that if the Fed did step away, it would be a "nightmarish scenario."

Weiss allowed, "You wanna be away from commodities," but said he's in AAMRQ, SODA and GMCR.

Judge Wapner made an excellent observation, that having a respected market beacon in Tepper publicly back the Fed's actions is a big PR boost for the central bank; "he's helping the Fed do its job."

It’s a ‘sweet spot,’
but a volatile one

Paul Richards seemed to be offering mixed messages on Tuesday's Halftime Report regarding the yen, telling Judge Wapner he expects "volatility" in the short term that some traders may not like, but "It's not a crowded trade right now," and there's a "sweet spot" for the next 2 months.

Richards practically gushed about Europe, pointing to Angela Merkel's re-election and saying "austerity is being wound back ... Europe looks like a pretty good story starting to evolve."

Anthony Grisanti told Jackie DeAngelis that copper's trouble related to Chinese data "could be a signal for U.S." But Jim Iuorio advised that U.S. investors "should ignore the copper slide."

Joe Terranova, who touted TBT at the top of the show, revisited it later in an ETF discussion, saying "The TBT is what I've owned the last couple of week (sic) ... excellent vehicle to hedge your portfolio ... actually my biggest position." Steve Weiss said he was previously in TBF and that with the 2x element in TBT, "you really have to be right" in the latter option.

5-year inflation plan

Andres Garcia-Amaya returned to the Halftime Report set on Tuesday and, echoing the bullishness of the day, told Judge Wapner that once rates begin to rise, "equity markets could actually rally in the back of that."

However, Garcia-Amaya said he'd be pulling away from commodities in favor of U.S. cyclicals, but not global cyclicals.

He told Judge Wapner he doesn't see inflation for 5 years, which drew kudos from Anthony Scaramucci.

Josh Brown pinned Garcia-Amaya into a neat corner about JPMorgan (not Garcia-Amaya specifically) making a similar call in 2011 that went bust. Garcia-Amaya acknowledged the Europe/downgrade disaster of that year but defended the shop: "Just because it didn't work the last 2 years doesn't mean it's never going to work."

Weiss: ‘Likely that Icahn can win’

Stephen Weiss on Tuesday's Halftime Report made an interesting defense for what sounds like a minimal payoff on DELL, explaining, "I could care less about earnings," and acknowledging a ceiling on the Michael Dell bid, but "I don't know at this point why I wouldn't buy it," and arguing that it's "likely that Icahn can win at this point," a point at odds with Joe Terranova's comments yesterday, but Joe didn't argue.

Moments later Scott Wapner said he spoke to Rich Pzena, and "he supports the Icahn bid."

Josh Brown said if he had to choose between GOOG and YHOO, "Google has products that could be the next iPhone," whereas YHOO is "more of a financial engineering story," and if we're talking a 5-10-year time frame, he'd pick GOOG.

Joe Terranova revealed, "I traded Google last week; I got my butt kicked in it," and again spoke of what he sees as the correlation between former AAPL cash going into GOOG and what might happen if that unwinds.

"I like 'em both," said Anthony Scaramucci, who wondered why choosing between GOOG and YHOO is necessary.

Joe: NFLX ‘next stop’ is 248

Stephen Weiss said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that Dan Loeb made a "brilliant play" on SNE. Anthony Scaramucci agreed and said this is the right Japanese company to target with U.S. activism and if that catches on, it "bodes very very well for other companies."

Joe Terranova made one of the most provocative calls of the day in predicting the "next stop" for NFLX would be 248.

Terranova also predicted MA goes to 600 and that WMT beats on earnings. His Final Trade was TRIP.

Anthony Scaramucci praised C management and said to "look for accelerated earnings;" he also praised ZNGA's "very good management team." His Final Trade was APC.

Steve Weiss retrumpeted SODA, "this is a phenomenal growth story," called BBBY "inexpensive" but not much of a moneymaker, and made SPY his Final Trade.

Josh Brown said Janney hung a 27 target on DF; called DDD in the "2nd inning of a secular trend," made PFE his Final Trade, and regarding DD issued another "I gotta tell you," his cliche that is quickly gaining on all others on Fast Money, "We are long it, and I gotta tell you, I think this is the next leg of the rally."

[Monday, May 13, 2013]

‘Gatsby’: Fashion show for the 1%

Around here, we barely have a clue about the Internet Age, let alone the Jazz Age, so take this mini review for what it's worth.

"The Great Gatsby" is a great book but not a great movie, nor even a usable one. The 2013 version, even in non-3-D, looks cartoonish. It seems like someone hell-bent (as with the 1974 version) on depicting a Roaring '20s party bought the rights strictly for that reason; the rest of it is elite actors in exquisite tailoring sitting in rooms reciting unnatural lines to each other. ("Old sport" is heard more often than "at the end of the day" on Fast Money.) And a T.J. Eckleburg sign, over and over again. And the Atlas font.

Some rough things happen here, but there is zero "edge" to this film.

The gut here is that viewers who are not actually familiar with the book may decide this film makes not an ounce of sense.

But there's a silver lining here: The amount of people who have expressed interest in this picture suggests the appetite for thought-provoking entertainment in this country is more robust than just next week's "NCIS."

Seymour: Look for auto-parts exporters out of Japan

It's the hottest trade going, like the refiner slam dunk during Eric Bolling's 2007 spree on Fast Money, and if anything, despite the daily discourse, the Fast Money gang probably hasn't spent enough time talking about it:

The yen/Japan trade.

Tim Seymour on Monday's Fast Money pointed out huge gains in KUB and NMR, but also noted that CAJ doesn't have the same tailwind.

Seymour, while using "commensurate" as a verb, advised viewers, "I would be running into the auto-parts exporters especially those out of Japan."

Dennis Gartman reiterated the history of dollar/yen and stated, "I think we're moving to 125 at least." Guy Adami said he still likes TM.

People are still laughing
at Dennis Gartman for the long-gold-in-yen-terms trade

Melissa Lee on Monday's Fast Money broke away from the live production for a rare taped interview, this one with Silver Wheaton chief Randy Smallwood, who of course is optimistic about his business and said he's "comfortable that we're close to a bottom."

Dennis Gartman was more than happy to point out that gold in yen terms, even though "people laugh at it," remains a success, and allowed, "If you need to buy a miner, buy these guys; I think it's the best bet."

For the record, this page has never "laughed" at Gartman's gold-in-yen-terms trade; rather we have figuratively done the eye-roll only because we've heard it for about 3 years running (and quite frankly if it's so awesome and great, why bother doing anything else?).

Tip that’s a little late: ‘Disruptors’ is a fine term, but a lot of people will struggle to spell it (and dictionary prefers ‘ers’ to ‘ors’)

Jane Wells on Monday's Fast Money set the table for Dennis Gartman on crops, pointing out how much of the corn crop is still to come.

Gartman said farmers with GPS can plant so much in a hurry these days and hailed how well the genetically modified seeds performed in last year's drought.

Gartman reassured Tim Seymour, who was hoping that fertilizers are worth more than the market said Monday, that "they comically sold off."

Julia Boorstin, and you can tell from the image above why she made this site's Mt. Rushmore of CNBC Hair, presented hot tech names from the "CNBC Disruptor 50," which included Aereo, Buzzfeed, Spotify, Tumblr and of course Twitter.

Guy Adami said P has a lofty valuation but might be vulnerable to these disruptors and is worth a look as a short, though it "could be painful." Tim Seymour said Facebook was an old disruptor that might be a new disruptor.

Chartist Richard Ross said there's a "lot of overhead resistance here" in JCP and, it seemed, didn't really make a concrete call, pointing out it may be temporarily going higher, but "this is kind of a little bit of a death spiral" and it "could see a retest of that $14" if the market goes south. Pete Najarian said he likes TJX.

Guy Adami said ZNGA might be "fine" for a trade but is going lower long-term.

Tim Seymour said JOY was affected by negative news out of China. Pete Najarian said to "stay away for a while" from PBI. Dennis Gartman opined that "crude prices are still going lower, maybe dramatically so."

Pete Najarian's Final Trade was CAT. Tim Seymour said MOS, Dennis Gartman said "short the bond market," and Guy Adami said MSG.

Adami: Can be long DELL

Hours after the Halftime gang downplayed the possibility of a DELL pop, Guy Adami on Monday's Fast Money predicted that Carl Icahn could make something happen and said, "I think you can still play Dell from the long side here," provided you use an "extraordinarily tight stop."

Meanwhile, Pete Najarian opened the program hailing CAT, saying "this is a company that's going higher." But Tim Seymour questioned that "materials are not really holding a bid" and said the CAT chart looks "precarious."

Guy Adami said CAT looks good to him as long as it holds 87½.

Dennis Gartman insisted to the panel that "I have been bullish of stocks for a while" and claimed in February he was only "agnostic."

Seymour said he would "short the European banks still here."

Pete Najarian predicted that Jamie Dimon, if barred from having 2 titles, "would really seriously consider dropping out." Tim Seymour, in a confusing date-marry-dump discussion that was based on apparently 2 conditionals (if Dimon leaves the company and then more iffy, whether the stock would immediately sell off), said he'd take the advantage of marrying the company if Dimon exited. Guy Adami called it a date on a selloff.

Pete Najarian said there's not heavy options activity in AMD. Tim Seymour said, "I would not be chasing this stock here."

Brian Stutland said there was a big buyer of May 48 calls in M for 50 cents. Guy Adami said he'd still pick JCP right now over M; "I think the beta trade still wants to go to JCP."

Tim’s question leaves
Barbara speechless

Barbara Marcin visited with Monday's Fast Money apparently to make the point that stocks being bought for yield may represent bubble sectors and said that seeking dividend-paying stocks as an alternative to fixed income "doesn't really make sense."

Tim Seymour, in a long-winded question, asserted "that extra 1% is significant for bond players," and asked Marcin if there's not continuing strength in dividend-paying stocks.

Perhaps trying to figure out exactly what Seymour was saying/asking, Marcin paused, then reiterated, "To buy a dividend yield as a fixed-income replacement, I don't think that makes sense."

Marcin said the stock market has a "mediocre valuation overall." She likes AIG.

More from Monday's Fast Money later.

Joe: ‘Really long odds’
against Icahn-DELL success

Joe Terranova contended on Monday's Halftime Report that it's best to stay out of DELL. "There's too much risk right now," Terranova said, and though Carl Icahn has been hitting 'em out of the "pawk" recently, "I think that the odds are really long here against him."

Jon Najarian said DELL holders who are interested in any kind of turnaround plan are better off with the Icahn plan. "I'd love to get that 12 bucks a share and have that stub," because to just take the $13.65 cash from the Michael Dell group, if you think it's possible for something to happen here, "that makes no sense," Najarian said.

Simon once again parlays his COH bungle into a Stephanie flirt

Judge Wapner — apparently being too nice to bring up "game over" on LULU — on Monday's Halftime Report Fast-Fired Simon Baker on his awful COH call, one that was flying under our own radar screen in the wake of Simon's LULU numbskull monstrosity.

Baker grimaced on Monday that his COH call was a "long-term thesis" which happened to be wrong in the short term, and that the best point he made in April was that Stephanie had a "Ferragucci" bag; "women aren't buying Coach anymore."

Jon Najarian said he doesn't own GPS but likes the name. But, "I like Ralph Lauren, RL, much better," Najarian said, also mentioning ANF but saying CHS is probably a casualty of what's happened at GPS.

Simon Baker, in his most interesting call, said, "I like JCPenney here ... now's the time to buy it," explaining he bought 2 weeks ago.

Joe Terranova's recent KORS call around 59, which had taken a beating, is in the black.

Pete’s not on, so others pick up the AAPL-as-2nd-half-story baton

Enis Taner chimed in on Monday's Halftime Report to declare AAPL has "put in an important long-term bottom," and then saluted Pete Najarian for calling it a 2nd-half story.

"I think Apple now is a value stock and no longer a growth stock," said Taner, who added that if the stock can be had around 435, that would be a "great buying opportunity."

Jon Najarian mentioned anticipation toward a June announcement. Joe Terranova made the most interesting point, suggesting GOOG has been sucking a lot of potential AAPL dollars away, and it would help AAPL shares if the "air comes out of the balloon right now that is Google."

Judge told Taner that it seems like, "at the end of the day," technicals will "drive this train."

Terranova: TM to 150

Monday's Halftime Report got partly short-circuited (partial translation: fewer commercials) by the Barack Obama-what's-the-British-guy's-name-again? press conference, after which Steve Liesman took up the Fed and in essence concluded, "To quote David Byrne, same as it ever was."

Joe Terranova had the boldest stock call, saying, "The world is fighting deflation. There is no inflation right now," and so TM looks good; "I think this stock sees a 150 print relatively soon."

Stephanie Link said if JPMorgan splits the CEO/chairman post it would be a "clear negative" in the short term, but that she'd buy the stock on a pullback because of improving fundamentals.

Simon Baker said AIG merely got a valuation call to equal weight from Barclays.

S&P: ‘One of the most beautiful patterns I’ve seen in some time’

Mike Harris told Judge Wapner on Monday's Halftime Report that "this is one of the most beautiful patterns I've seen in some time" in the S&P 500, and he likes the continuing Nikkei/yen trade.

Harris said the near-term risk to stocks is that one of the Fed speakers this week might go a little rogue.

Stephanie Link took on Joe Terranova in a debate of cyclicals (Link) vs. defensives (Terranova). Neither side was particularly exciting, as Link argued that monetary policy is setting the stage for 2nd-half growth.

Mr. New World contributed a couple tongue-twisters to the debate, saying that despite the efforts of central banks, "we're not seeing the global growf (sic) refrected (sic)," and added that defensives had a higher multiple in the 1990s than they do now.

Simon Baker said he backed Link, predicting a "flat tape for a while, and so you've gotta be a stock-picker."

Baker: Short TSLA

Judge Wapner introduced Erin Gibbs on Monday's Halftime Report as calling for a dumping of consumer stocks, which Gibbs sought to clarify.

"I wouldn't say dumped. That wasn't exactly the word," Gibbs said, explaining that consumer stocks simply look more like market performers, while she likes tech and financials.

Gibbs likes KLAC and WU, as well as AVB and BXP, "they are definitely value plays."

Mr. New Land suggested DLR, "I think you own here, great name." Stephanie Link said, "I like the health-care REITs."

Simon Baker congratulated the student chaps last week who picked HTZ. Stephanie Link said she "wouldn't get involved" in BBRY. Joe Terranova said to stay with LLY. Jon Najarian said "the baby's born" in OIS, and to "reload in the mid-90s."

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was LNKD, which he said he bought Monday. Stephanie Link said take profits in XLU. Jon Najarian said DNR but as a more longer-term, September type play. Simon Baker, who needs a hot pick to snap an embarrassing streak in retail blunders, seriously rolled the dice in getting "a little aggressive" and suggesting a TSLA short.

Put Steve Cortes over the top

This week we've been able to catch up a bit with the CNBC Twittersphere (a lot more to come about that), and among the happy things we noticed was that, as of Saturday afternoon, Steve Cortes is sitting on the threshold of 5,000 followers.

The Contrarian in fact has tweeted, "I'm near 5,000 followers. To my Mr or Miss 5k, I will send choice of: a signed copy of my book...or a fruitcake next Christmas..."

So there you go.

[Friday, May 10, 2013]

Grasso sells AAPL, GOOG

Steve Grasso, suggesting that trouble signs in the stock market are being "telegraphed," told viewers of Friday's Fast Money "I sold my Apple, I sold my Google."

Grasso said one problem with energy is that the "whole sector is done" with quarterly reports, so the catalysts will be minimal.

Perhaps the day's most interesting fact was revealed by Josh Brown, who said Ryan Detrick has researched JNJ's performance and found it has 19 straight weekly gains, which may not have happened before, and Brown said the stock could remain strong through another year, he "would not be shocked" to see it north of 100.

Dan Nathan said "the slope of the ascent here is getting a little steep" and was chided by Melissa Lee for being predictable.

Enis Taner said, just as he did at Halftime, "I would be staying away from commodities and energy names."

Melissa Lee revealed at one point, "Our viewers out there, they tend to be younger people."

Like Ron Johnson never left

Tom Stemberg told Melissa Lee on Friday's Fast Money that for retailers in general, "the problems transcend the weather," and the results will reveal "mediocrity," but in particular Stemberg said, "I think JCPenney will be a train wreck."

Stemberg explained that "retailers like to see modest inflation," but the biggest short-term winners he sees are those grabbing the former JCP customers, basically KSS and M.

Longer-term, he said JWN and KSS are well-run.

Enis Taner said, "I actually like JCPenney ... in the 2nd half of this year, same-store sales might actually turn positive."

Taner: Icahn bid
‘by far the best’ for DELL

One advantage (cough) to having a Friday Fast Money is to evaluate what occurred on the Friday Halftime Report, which involved Carl Icahn discussing the DELL board.

That apparently won over Enis Taner, who told Melissa Lee on Fast Money that "of the 2 bids, it's by far the best."

Dan Nathan made a good point in questioning, "I don't really get why anybody wants it, to be very honest," except we know the answer to that; Michael Dell wants to 1) make one last haul out of it while there's decent meat on the carcass and 2) avoid the embarrassment of being publicly traded and seeing the shares slip under $5, and Carl only got in the game because he smelled a board deal that seemed like a "giveaway."

Steve Grasso said, "I'm always going with Icahn." Josh Brown said that if the bidding parties wait a year, they can get it for a lot less; "it's a melting iceberg." Melissa Lee had mike trouble and couldn't be easily heard.

Apparent implication being, this year could end up with 1995-like total return

We spoke too soon.

Michael Santoli didn't make his customary appearance on Friday's Halftime Report, but nevertheless took a turn with Friday's Fast Money gang at Nasdaq.

But it's hard to figure out what Santoli said that was actually helpful, as he explained, "This year's rally kind of maps to 95 relatively well, to this point," but then carefully noting he wouldn't take "any kind of a tactical cue at all" from it.

Santoli said that in the current market, he thinks the notion of retail investors or weak hands or whatever is "way overplayed" because the market is driven by a few "hyperwealthy" people who own stocks.

Steve Grasso said you can trace certain years to others and find "there's a lot of similarities," but everything's still a little different.

Josh Brown said YHOO is trading on expectations of an Alibaba IPO. (Who knew.)

Steve Grasso said he wouldn't be a buyer of CLF. Dan Nathan explained the week of WFM without opining on the stock. Enis Taner said he wouldn't sell the XLU but he "wouldn't be a huge buyer."

Taner said "I do like First Solar, Sun Power." Nathan reiterated his call not to short TSLA.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was QCOM, saying he "got long today." Enis Taner said JCP, and Josh Brown said IEO.

Carl on Dell deal:
‘It’s almost grand theft’

To be honest it probably didn't merit a half hour's worth of discussion (at least the DELL portion), but Judge Wapner once again hit a homer with Carl Icahn on Friday's Halftime Report.

It seems clear that Icahn's keen interest in this company stems not from an appreciation of PC potential or financial/stock engineering but from his uncanny 6th sense — actually even a layman would probably smell something fishy here — about the acceptance of Michael Dell's offer by the DELL board.

At $13.65, Icahn denounced this plan throughout the interview as a "great giveaway" ... "it's almost grand theft" ... "at 13.65, I believe he's stealing the company" ... "the shareholders in this case are literally getting screwed" ... "I think it's ridiculous" ... "It's really a travesty ... "out of 'Saturday Night Live' " ...

"We don't have a great respect for this board," Icahn said, though at least 3 times insisted, "We're not saying they're bad people."

Clearly there's a bias issue in the board's receptiveness to the Michael Dell offer. But there's also an issue as to whether the stock, were it not in play, would be trading above the $9 it reached last year.

To that, Icahn insisted the answer is yes. "You can sort of do a leveraged recap," Icahn said, explaining perhaps better than Wapner's chart that existing shareholders would get under his own plan $12 a share in cash but retain a stub of ownership with a nominal value of $1.65 that Icahn insists, with certain reasonable "synergies" and cost-cutting, will be worth far more than $1.65, just as, according to Icahn, his Nabisco $1 stub went to $8.

Icahn at times stressed the non-PC elements of Dell without a great deal of authority, to be honest, and late in the interview made the case that "companies like Microsoft and Intel need companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard," a fair point but a debatable one that did not get follow-up.

Carl proved a bit unprepared for Judge's good question about Jim Chanos, telling Wapner, "I heard him say he wasn't short Dell."

Had Icahn simply read this page, he would've seen on April 24 that Chanos told Wapner, "We are short both Dell and HP," more clearly than in the clip Wapner re-aired Friday (and then incorrectly stated was on April 27).

Icahn nevertheless said he respects Chanos but cracked, "I don't see Chanos on the Forbes 400 list," and then said he knows Chanos has done well but then backpedaled, "I really have no damn idea" because he hasn't followed Chanos recently.

Icahn merely could've said "Chanos is a smart guy, but there are other smart folks who think I'm right," but his way was indeed more colorful.

Icahn insisted "We haven't sold a share" of NFLX.

He offered nothing new on HLF but repeated that Ackman "ironically did me a favor," and "I would question all the great research he said he did" based on "Indigo Girls."

"It's completely foolish in my mind" to make such a big announcement of a short, Icahn said, while protesting to Wapner that he wasn't going to get into another one of those street fights.

Wapner was heard to say, "At the end of the day."

Stephanie claims Cramer was way ahead of the Fast gang on cyclicals

Simon Baker said on Friday's Halftime Report that the stock market is strong and deep, evidenced by the Russell 2000 hitting new highs, and so "I think you've gotta be long the cyclicals."

Stephen Weiss agreed "the market looks very very strong" and said he's recently bought OC and OI but that he would avoid the PG types in favor of names like airlines, GMCR and SODA.

Stephanie Link said it "bothers me," apparently in terms of an overcrowded trade, that everybody now seems to be talking about cyclicals "when we were talking about it for the last 2 months."

Link suggested taking profits in a name such as UTX but she likes SWK, ESV and even JPM.

Enis Taner said, "I actually still like health care," but would avoid commodities.

‘Hall pass’ for 2 months

Morgan Stanley's Adam Parker and Vince Reinhart visited Friday's Halftime Report to suggest that things are OK — for now.

Parker claimed long investors have a "hall pass," but for only the "next couple of months," during which time, "Nothing I can hear will make me worried."

But, Parker continued, "I might be worried later in the year ... you don't wanna buy the cyclicals until their earnings revisions trough vs. the defensives, and we don't think that's till at least October."

Reinhart said we're in a "soft patch" and seemed to pin the economy down to 2% vs. 2¾%, the latter growth figure being possilbe if corporations are to "amplify" capex spending.

Wapner pointed out that Parker is suggesting a couple months of calm while a lot of folks are suggesting a couple years of calm. Parker asserted, "I don't think there's gonna be a surge in capex."

Weiss: Gold in free fall

Josh Lipton reported on gold's slide on Friday's Halftime Report and said Mike Harris is calling 1,400 the next line of support.

Simon Baker, showing no signs of reeling from his disastrous "game over" in LULU call, made the bull case for HPQ without really citing an instant catalyst (and without Judge offering any Jim Chanos blowback unlike what Carl got), asserting it's "slowly starting to turn around," that there's a "party scene" these days in the HQ, and investors should just "give Meg a chance."

Stephanie Link countered that "50% of their business is commodity business," and that HPQ has "lost major market share in PCs."

Enis Taner, who had prejudged the case, said "I go with Stepanie," because a lot of the service revenue/profit is tied to the hardware.

Link said GPS had "much better same-store sales" and she would buy on a pullback. Simon Baker said he's not sure why PCLN jumped so high but would take profit. Stephen Weiss said "stay away" from gold and miners and sees the spot price below 1,400. Enis Taner said energy is under pressure and that's why TSO had trouble Friday. Stephen Weiss touted DXJ in the ETF space. "It's one that I would buy," Weiss said.

Normal Friday regular Michael Santoli didn't get the nod, presumably because of Carl Icahn, and neither did Bellevue's Greatest Hockey Fan.

[Thursday, May 9, 2013]

Dan Nathan makes an impressive stand against not only Guy but Lee Cooperman

Perhaps following the lead of Lee Cooperman at Halftime, Guy Adami on Thursday's Fast Money made an intriguing case for FB, based largely on "operating margins ... I do think this has some room to run."

Adami said people have been pointing to Mark Zuckerberg and "using that against the stock," but, "I think that dog's gonna stop hunting."

Opponent Dan Nathan, in an impressively blunt call, seemed to get the upper hand. "I think Zuckerberg's gonna be a massive failure. I think we're gonna see an Eric Schmidt sort of guy in there," Nathan contended, before asking, "Who is the incremental buyer" and pointing out that almost everybody in the stock is underwater (except of course for Aswath Damodaran).

Punctuating his argument, Nathan said, "I think actually the product stinks," and will "continue to get worse."

Brian Kelly avoided the tiresome Zuck-as-Jobs point he's made before and instead chose the best argument he's made in months, that FB simply hasn't produced anything new to get people excited about.

Karen Finerman said she likes GOOG better; "Facebook has always been too expensive for me," and of course readers of this page from a year ago know that Karen apparently turned down an allocation of Facebook IPO shares (at least that's what she indicated on Fast Money).

Mike Khouw suggested Facebook's latest offerings might be a "bit of a fad" and "I've gotta go with Dan on this one."

Dennis Gartman on yen:
‘This is not good for gold’

Dennis Gartman said on Thursday's Fast Money that what he noticed about the dollar/yen move was the "going through par without any difficulty," which has to be "bearish for the metals," and "ridiculously bearish for the miners."

"This is not good for gold. This is not good for copper," Gartman concluded.

Gartman also said it was a "very poor showing for the bond market today."

‘Still got some room to run’

Guy Adami on Thursday's Fast Money, unfortunately probably overreacting to run-of-the-mill market activity, suddenly took a hard line on S&P 500 support, saying, "1,614 in the S&P becomes the line in the sand that it has to defend tomorrow."

(Editor's note: If it somehow doesn't, don't worry, this is the Barry Bannister Market®.)

Dan Nathan argued the rally is "fairly well extended," and "things are getting a little overdone here."

Karen Finerman said she took notice of Plosser's comments regarding the "punch bowl," and it "gives me a little bit of concern" that everyone might be in for the party. (Editor's note II: We've heard this concern raised before. Um, about 500 times in the last 4 years.)

Then viewers got a treat as Rebecca Patterson, in a beauuuuutiful striped outfit (above), addressed the chorus of yen shorts from famous investors and admitted, "I'm kind of in the same boat with them," and even while stating this policy longer-term keeps her up at night (we're not totally sure about that one), "I think we've still got some room to run."

Ed Yardeni said it's a "very big deal" that markets seem to be relaxing on Europe, even though he thinks "Europe's still a mess." He said commodities are indicating the "global boom is over," including the commodity "supercycle" that Eric Bolling once used to assure Fast Money viewers was a 14-year thing, but that it's not a bust.

"I think Europe is a big deal," Yardeni said, but for now, "I think the U.S. is the safe haven," and to be fully invested in U.S. stocks is fine.

Brian Kelly said he's been bearishly wrong "since 1,552."

Tyler Mathisen reported the news of Alan Abelson's death.

Gold miners ‘might be waiting for the next rally’ to hedge

Gold watcher Stephen Cucchiaro sort of used a Brag Trade at the beginning of his appearance on Thursday's Fast Money, saying that back in July 2012 his firm "began to reduce our max overweight position," on the theory that short-term holders would lose patience and sell.

Cucchiaro said he's not ready to plunge in now but is waiting for a further selloff. Karen Finerman asked a good question about miners looking to hedge. "They might be waiting for the next rally," Cucchiaro said, explaining they might have decided they missed the downtrend.

Cucchiaro crowed that his "biggest overweight" is being "long Japanese exporters and short the Japanese yen," and so (of course) Thursday was "another good day for us."

But he refused to pick stocks, saying his compliance folks will be "proud" that "I can't talk specifically about tickers," but anyway, with the run we've had, "gotta expect some kind of correction."

Nathan: TSLA to ‘at least’ 100

Dan Nathan curiously said on Thursday's Fast Money that if you're long PCLN you actually need a pause, "I don't think you wanna see it break out."

Karen Finerman said her top trade for the day was buying puts. Dan Nathan also said he was buying puts in the S&P 500.

Guy Adami said he likes APA as long as it's above 81. Brian Kelly said "I bought natural gas" but claimed the homebuilding stocks have gotten "way ahead" of themselves.

Kelly said if you're long GRPN, "take it as a gift and sell it," and we're not sure we agree with that one; we still think Joe is going to come out on the short end of that GRPN with the Najarians after the CEO got ousted.

Jane Wells suggested that the Hubbanator would come through on Mother's Day (if he doesn't, we're gonna have a talk with him) because "my son is gonna be a loser about this," and yes, it's astonishing, but Jane (not a day over 38) actually has a college-age son. Guy Adami said "I love Jane."

Tom Shapiro told Melissa Lee his company owns 30,000 lots across the country, some more developed than others for housing, but the "greatest upside is always a piece of raw land." Shapiro said they're "very active in Texas."

Guy Adami said he likes BA. Dan Nathan said not to short TSLA, "it's unhinged here ... probably going to at least a hundred." Karen Finerman said, "I like Goldman Sachs right here."

Karen Finerman delivered a Trade School that wasn't developed enough, saying she pays attention to EBITDA, and that P.E. ratio makes for "easy shorthand," but she only uses it to find the "best" companies and not the "cheapest."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was puts in the XHB. Dan Nathan said to avoid FB. Brian Kelly said CHK. Karen Finerman said TKR. Guy Adami said to sell PCP.

Lee Cooperman: FB can
achieve GOOG market cap

Jeff Gundlach, as always a spectacular CNBC guest, told viewers of Thursday's Halftime Report that "the easy money on Apple on the short side has been made" and that he's already covered.

Gundlach even praised the stock's current valuation; "it's just not expensive at all," but said he hasn't gone long by any means, "I've just kind of moved on."

Lee Cooperman, himself always a spectacular CNBC guest who famously exited AAPL last year (he said it was around 650), told Judge Wapner at SALT, "We did get back in, the low 400s.

Cooperman said that the company had "destructive" cash management policies and that last year he couldn't see an equivalent upcoming product that would get the bang that the iPhone 5 did. "I give David Einhorn a bit of credit," Cooperman said, for focusing the company on a capital-allocation plan.

Nothing earth-shattering there, but Coop raised eyebrows in suggesting Facebook's mobile potential is understated, and "We think ultimately they can achieve a market cap comparable to a Google."

Grasping for a relevant question, Jon Najarian asked Gundlach if he plays AAPL with options strategy. "I don't really get involved in that stuff," Gundlach said.

King unable to convince Coop
that bonds not a ‘bad bet’

Lee Cooperman sort of tried to indicate there's no debate here, but in fact there does seem to be ample disagreement between Coop and Jeff Gundlach as to the ongoing strength of bonds on Thursday's Halftime Report.

Gundlach asserted, "I think everything kind of begins and ends with quantitative easing," and said we should be hoping that bonds are underperformers 10 or 15 years from now, but concluded that for 6-18 months, "bonds are not gonna be a terrible investment."

Cooperman said "50% of stocks today yield more than government bonds," the first time that's happened since the 1958 repricing, and there are names such as KFN yielding 8% and TCRD yielding 9%, and Coop even threw in an "at the end of the day," likening the P.E. ratio of the '60s to today but with far different yields.

Gundlach, who indicated being long TLT is smart, countered that the 1958 repricing launched a new era that could also persist today, and that if rates do rise, it's not just bonds that will be in trouble, but an "awful lot of investments that are gonna be in trouble," for example, if rates go to 5% and you're in master limited partnerships, "you are gonna get killed," and if you're buying housing, at 3% and the rate goes to 7%, you better prepare to live there a while.

Cooperman said "if you listen carefully to Jeff, I really wouldn't disagree," and stressed he's not short bonds, but nevertheless thinks bonds are a "bad bet."

Gundlach: Try silver

Lee Cooperman told Scott Wapner on Thursday's SALT-based Halftime Report that "I think the stock market is probably a little bit ahead of itself," and that the historically unusual elements of this economy include this kind of deficit/growth combination and low interest rates.

But he thinks stocks will remain strong. "The notion of a big decline, I just don't think makes sense," Cooperman said.

Cooperman touted a London-traded stock, Monitise Plc, saying, "This is the mobile wallet" and "they've been blessed by Visa," predicting "100 million subscribers within 4 years."

Cooperman said 2 great parties are interested in S and he's neutral as to who wins, he only wants the best price for his investors, so he's hoping for a "bump" in the price.

Josh Lipton reported that David Einhorn said at Sohn he likes OIS. Jon Najarian pointed out there was heavy options activity before OIS surged from 76 to 95.

Michael Karsch briefly joined the setup and told Judge "I feel like the consumer should be fine," and then, in not the greatest endorsement of higher education, said that only now in his finance career "for the first time I'm thinking back to my finance classes" in which teachers spoke of what multiples should be.

It's "reasonable to believe that multiples will continue to expand," Karsch said. "I am focused on consumer discretionary, and I'm focused on industrials," he added, mentioning KMX, ULTA, M, ADSK, TYC, plus "intermodal" names NSC and JBHT, as well as VOD and LBTYA.

Curiously, Karsch seemed to pronounce "Norfolk" as "Norfork" multiple times.

Jon Najarian got a quick "call me Lee" when referring to "Mr. Cooperman." Judge's crew evidently botched the description of what Jeff Gundlach said about gold at Sohn; Gundlach said he didn't say be long gold or even short gold, but "avoid gold." Gundlach did suggest silver as an inflation hedge.

[Wednesday, May 8, 2013]

Meyer: No Fed housing bubble

Talk about a sight for sore eyes.

The best thing — by far — Wednesday's Fast Money had going for it was a surprise appearance from gorjus Michelle Meyer, The World's Cutest Economist, who sought to allay fears of those skeptical of housing's roaring comeback.

First, Meyer said investors are not driving the market; "they're not the primary force ... we are certainly seeing a return of primary homebuyers," and "non-distressed prices are turning higher."

TWCE® chuckled at the concept of a Fed-induced irrational exuberance. "I think that's fiction. I don't think we're in a bubble," she said, adding that the fears of higher costs stopping builders is "fiction too."

We thought it was going up because they banned telecommuting

Colin Gillis defended his $24 hold on YHOO on Wednesday's Fast Money with something of a Brag Trade, explaining, "I was a big bull on this name" with the stock in the teens, until by March he had come to realize the core business was doing poorly, and that "people who are investing in this name right now are investing for Alibaba."

But Gillis scoffed, "We don't know what the valuation of Alibaba's going to be."

Mike Khouw said options sentiment in YHOO remains strong as sellers of the October 26-27 YHOO calls were buying January 28-29 calls.

Gillis also Brag-Traded AAPL, saying he "upgraded at 390, and, uh, there's still room to run."

Who’s most famous: Tina Fey,
Tina Turner, or Tina Louise?

The most curious term to surface on a flat Fast Money Wednesday was "TINA," Josh Brown's apt acronym for being stuck with stocks for return.

Brown asserted that as far as sentiment indicators go, there is "zero value to be found in week to week surveys," but that pension funds are finally warming up to stocks.

Guest Kenneth Tropin said he basically agrees with TINA, because the Fed is on autopilot; "I don't believe they're gonna tighten this year," or in the 1st half of next year, so maybe we're in the 5th or 6th inning of this.

But Tropin thinks global growth is going to slow, and so "I think commodities are gonna be choppy and tough to trade."

Guy Adami said he sees nothing to indicate a correction is coming "anytime soon."

Steve Grasso said he's hanging onto SO because he's not convinced defensives are done.

Karen Finerman said a lot of money managers are looking at the market with a certain bias of, "My stuff's still good but ... maybe everything else is getting overpriced."

Near the end of the program, Finerman said, regarding TINA, that the art world in fact is a departure from stocks, "this is an alternative actually," and is a "bet also on the creation of wealth around the world." But Finerman said BID is really the only pure play out there and lamented, "I don't own it now."

Karen’s got a book

The CEO of Logic e Cig, Eli Alelov, visited the Fast Money gang Wednesday for a chat about e-cigarettes; because Mel Lee bungled Alelov's name and the screen text never bothered to mention it, we had to look him up. Alelov claimed the reason not everybody is smoking these things right now is "lack of education." But a well-done review by someone at Business Insider effectively explains why this stuff really isn't that popular.

And, if you're trying to put together a picture as to how well an entity has got its act together, note that Logic e cig's Web site (we're not even going to bother to link) is grotesque, all kinds of tiny gold type on black background, so you do the math.

Speaking of Web sites, Karen Finerman has launched karenfinerman.com to promote her new book.

And while few can trump her business acumen, we happily discovered that Karen can actually be trumped in the editing department, specifically hyphenation problems and a couple clumsy clauses. (Oh yeah, also spacing, text justification, some unnecessary words, etc.)

She's good.

But not infallible.

OCN: The ‘turbocharge’ play

Kate Kelly reported on Wednesday's Fast Money that Steve Eisman was gushing at Ira Sohn about OCN, "the upside is a lot," as well as FOR.

Karen Finerman said she saw Eisman recently but didn't talk about this unfortunately, but that OCN is interesting because it's linked to subprime and non-performing loans, and so when it works, you "really get that turbocharge."

Kelly also said that Jim Chanos wants to short STX and WDC, while Guy Adami suggested that's tricky.

Later, Josh Lipton reported that Jonathan Jacobson is urging folks to beware T, LINE (Lipton got the symbol wrong) and especially DLR. Guy Adami said DLR shorts may pounce on these comments tomorrow, so if you want to get into that name, better wait.

Mike Farr, who was not presenting at Ira Sohn, recommended viewers with 10 years until retirement give their portfolios a 50/50 split between stocks and bonds, and he apparently also likes YUM, FDX and SLB.

How much is AOL’s
Alibaba stake worth?

Herb Greenberg on Wednesday's Fast Money basically danced around the usual minefields of GMCR while admitting there are bright spots, prompting Guy Adami to salute Herb's "thoughtful work" but stressing that stock movement is different than long-term journalistic analysis.

Josh Brown pointed out that GMCR and NFLX recently got kicked out of the Nasdaq 100 but have been monster winners recently in a short time.

Karen Finerman said VCLK took a shellacking, and "I'd stay away."

Steve Grasso said if you're still long WLT, "sell the stock right here."

Guy Adami, asked to opine on AOL, admitted, "I forgot it was even a stock to be honest," but said he'd wait for the low 30s.

Mike Khouw mentioned the WFM split, which didn't bring any comments from Karen Finerman, and said the stock "looks a little rich on valuation."

Josh Brown said stocks that have the leadership news of FIO often bring "heartbreak" and so don't plunge in just yet, you "might get it cheaper."

Brown also advised not following others into GRPN, "really tough industry right now; I would avoid it," and that one is going to be watched for that recent debate between Jon Najarian and Mr. New World.

Karen Finerman pointed out very articulately that the JPM shareholder vote on splitting chairman and CEO is nonbinding, but when it happened at DIS there were 38% in favor, and so if 50% of JPM votes to back it, "it would be hard for them to ignore the shareholders."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was FLR. No. 386 said GOOG with an 860 stop. Josh Brown said DD, Karen Finerman said ADT and Guy Adami said TM.

Tim Cook is obviously
not at SALT

The SALT discussions on Wednesday's Halftime Report were interrupted by a half-hearted, run-of-the-mill debate over GOOG by the Najarian brothers in which only one interesting comment was made.

Jon Najarian made the bull case, saying the company has "paid clicks up 20% year over year" and "50 different channels" of something or other.

Pete Najarian warned that "the ad rev growth is slowing ... margins are starting to compress a little bit," and there's no presence in China.

Then the purported bull, Jon, admitted that he's concerned about 1 thing, "do they own that content on YouTube." (Of course they do ... the Allman Brothers couldn't possibly own their own material.)

Pete Najarian shrugged, "I'd rather be in Yahoo." Anthony Scaramucci delivered a dis to Apple's CEO, saying he's not a risk-taker like Steve Jobs and that the innovation at Google is "very different from Apple."

Honestly ... who cares?

There's really no need to report on speaking-circuit mumbo jumbo.

But Judge Wapner gushed on Wednesday's Halftime Report from SALT that Nouriel Roubini was giving CNBC an "exclusive" interview, so we might as well point out that Nouriel sees "reduced" global risks since last year but "now you have bailout fatigue" in Europe and China's purported 6% is "close to a hard landing" and that the re-doom runway has now been pushed out to "2 years from now," when current conditions "might lead to a generalized credit and equity and asset bubble next year or two," to avoid further ongoing prognostication embarrassment.

Whatever solid credentials Roubini once possessed are clearly gone; this might as well be Meredith Whitney on munis.

We were curious if the format of this year's Halftime Report SALT coverage would mimic last year's, or more resemble 2011, which brought full panels and great discussions with Fish and Dan Niles, but unfortunately it looks like last year's tepid pull-up-a-chair routine despite the presence of regulars such as Dr. J, Anthony and even Gary Kaminsky spotted with cell phones and coffee in the background.

BAC: Better than C

Brad Berning, as chipper of a guest as the Halftime Report gets, made a spirited case from SALT on Wednesday for MS, asserting, "The death of the financial advsior has been greatly exaggerated" and that the stock could receive a higher multiple.

Berning also made an argument for BZH, which he sees as the last of the big homebuilders to really come around, and OCN, which he called a "30% free-cash-flow-yielding company."

Berning showed he can handle a Fast Money cliche, saying "at the end of the day" twice while referring to Citigroup, explaining, "People are a little ahead of themselves on this relative to a Bank of America right now." BAC proved to be Pete Najarian's Final Trade.

Housing oversupply ‘dropping fast’

Housing was a big part of Wednesday's Halftime Report discussion from SALT, starting with Josh Birnbaum's report that a bellhop (he said it was in Vegas but it seems like he meant L.A.) noticed his Milken conference badge and asked him about housing.

But Birnbaum would say later that he thinks some of the housing stocks are "far ahead of the reality" and so "we actually prefer playing it from the debt side."

He said that at the housing peak the U.S. had about 2-3 million more housing units than it needed, and now is down to "500,000 to a million" in oversupply, "and it's dropping fast."

In a lukewarm bond call, Birnbaum said, "You can't say that Treasurys are cheap," but the Fed's in the game, and "there will be an opportunity down the road," and luckily for his own portfolio, "more than 85% of those bonds are floating rate."

Jon Najarian for whatever reason took the opportunity to hail his own Brag Trade of a year ago at this time, when "we bought JPMorgan" and shorted Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank against it right after the London whale loss (and we remember that well; he was actually initially barely right in the afterhours, and then JPM continued to fall), and lamely with no correlation to anything admitted that Birnbaum doesn't even trade that way.

Najarian said that right now he likes OC but he's not in HD or LOW.

Birnbaum admitted his Goldman Sachs testimony didn't help business. "Nothing stops the momentum of a hedge fund like, like appearing in front of Congress," Birnbaum said.

Buy NYC with SLG

Brian Shapiro told Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report from SALT that "the markets are priced for perfection" but there are at least 3 names he likes, starting with SLG.

"I'm a buyer of New York City," Shapiro said, making the case for NYC's Wall Street recovery and status as an international gateway (you'd think that might've been priced in a while back) and revealing, "we caught the low" several years ago.

Shapiro also likes FDX, because its moat and post office contract, and HIG, in which he claims the "book value's probably in the mid-40s." HIG became Anthony Scaramucci's Final Trade.

Kyle Bass evidently got a better offer this time from Sohn

Not only is there a SALT Conference going on, but CNBC's Kate Kelly reported Wednesday that Paul Singer at Ira Sohn finds long-term debt "overvalued" or "distorted," and that Kyle Bass thinks the yen may go to 120 but he's bullish on Dex Media (and look at the algorithms jump all over that news).

Bass, like Nouriel Roubini, has done far better on the speaking circuit than in the prognostication business, stemming from this end-of-the-world forecasts a couple years ago on The Strategy Session that haven't exactly, um, come to fruition just yet.

Anthony Scaramucci told Judge Wapner that people have been asking him how much assets under management are represented at SALT. But, "I don't care about assets under management. I care about I.Q. points," Scaramucci said, although one could make the case for either.

Scaramucci said the best performer since last year's conference has been "Greek sovereign debt," and he thinks there could be a "continued run in the sovereign debt market."

Pete Najarian said to hold off on WFM; "I wouldn't chase it at these levels."

Jon Najarian said Jon Corzine was early on European debt and of course his investors and MF Global customers (which included, we know from old Fast Money highlights, Steve Cortes) "really got screwed up with that." Najarian's Final Trade was to buy NTAP.

[Tuesday, May 7, 2013]

Are you offended
by the financial crisis?

An intriguing debate took place on Tuesday's Fast Money as Steve Grasso, who didn't pipe down all day, tried telling Tim Seymour that AIG is a buy.

Grasso said the company must be viewed as a property/casualty outfit now, and that he doesn't care how much of its value was lost 4-5 years ago.

Seymour said the property/casualty angle is "more than priced in," but what Seymour was most interested in saying was that he couldn't buy the stock "philosophically and almost on principle" because of AIG's disgraceful debacle in the financial crisis.

Then, Seymour said the shares are simply "overbought."

Grasso couldn't stop making his case, saying the stock's only trading at 12 times earnings and was resilient on a day of negativity from Goldman Sachs.

Guy Adami sided with Seymour. "It was AIG that brought us to our knees," Adami said, so he'd have to agree with Seymour, "philosophically and emotionally."

Undaunted, Grasso concluded, "You do want to be with a momentum player right now."

Once again no talk of the AAPL ‘Ponzi finance’ bond sale

Like a kid on Christmas Day, Steve Grasso on Tuesday's Fast Money couldn't stop talking about how much he liked his gift of GOOG shares.

"I'm still long my Google, I'm still long my Apple," Grasso said, as well as PXD.

Later on, Grasso contended that he's traded GOOG shares around 801 and was afraid he'd missed the move GOOG is "creeping its way to a thousand."

Also later in the program, Grasso took up AAPL with nearly equal enthusiasm. "It still has a lot more steam left," he said calling AAPL bullishness "unanimous across the desk" and predicting the shares will get "all the way back up to 500."

Tim Seymour predicted AAPL would fight with 465 for a few days, then proceed up to 505. Guy Adami grudgingly offered that you can be long AAPL, but "trade it against 450."

Nothing this time about
‘high in for the year’

Guy Adami, a class act, unfortunately continued on Tuesday's Fast Money with his hapless "apocalyptic" view of the financial world, though he pronounced the bull run "intact" as long as the S&P 500 holds 1,570.

Guest J.C. Parets said 1,600 was huge resistance for the S&P, and he's "more comfortable being long above that."

Parets said he sees 1,636 and then 1,660 as the next stops, and possibly even 1,700 if bearishness persists. But he allowed that defensives can't keep carrying all the load; "I think we need participation from the other guys."

Tim Seymour said the low volume "scares me" and asked Parets what he thinks. Parets shrugged, "I've been hearing about the lack of volume for 4 years now."

After Parets spoke, Guy Adami reaffirmed his own "somewhat apocalyptic" (as opposed to completely apocalyptic) world view and warned viewers who might be enjoying the rally that at some point "it's gonna end," and not in the 5%-esque correction people may be wishing for.

Melissa multiple times
calls it a ‘drug’

Honestly, we went through the Kim Popovits interview on Tuesday's Fast Money a couple times ... and still weren't sure exactly what the heck they were talking about.

It sounded like Popovits' company, GHDX, has in its prostate cancer research realized a new way of evaluating the "individual signature of each patient's tumor" so that men who don't need aggressive treatment can avoid it.

About half of men with the condition will be "low-risk patients," Popovits said.

Melissa Lee used the term "test." Popovits did too. But Lee also used "drug." And the screen text called it a "tool."

Tim Seymour stressed that this is a very important health concern — it certainly is — but that he finds the lofty valuation of GHDX "still a little surprising" because there are a lot of ways that exist to adequately diagnose the condition.

Brian Kelly is now shorting gold

Guy Adami contended on Tuesday's Fast Money that Carl Icahn was playing a game of "Press Your Luck" (which Adami said was "rigged"; it wasn't actually rigged but savvy players figured out the pattern of the lighted squares) with his HLF stake, and "I do think at a certain point this stock gives up the ghost."

Adami said he feels that way because he doubts that Bill Ackman would've done that much research and made this such a priority if Ackman wasn't sure. Tim Seymour asked if that means Adami believes this is some kind of "Ponzi scheme." Adami admitted that's basically the position he's taking.

Adami said RDN "at 13 is probably still a buy here," and he also called CAT a buy. But he said of JCP, "I do think it's wrong to short it here" and that it's "not unlike" HPQ.

Scott Carter joined the show to assert a point we didn't really understand, something about the demand for physical gold being at an "all-time high" even if that's not reflected in the paper demand, or something like that.

Tim Seymour said VZ should have continued buyers because "people are still chasing yield."

Steve Grasso pointed to resiliency in XLU, "I'm staying long the utilities." Tim Seymour said "I think you buy the cyclicals," and Germany, but Seymour warned that in MELI, "don't chase the valuation."

Brian Kelly, who for a long time during his bearishness streak argued in favor of being long gold and silver, said today was the "last straw" and that "I shorted gold this morning," because it's somehow a "great risk/reward area here ... 1,500 as my stop."

It was a good WFM call by Guy, even if took a bit more than a few weeks

Tim Seymour, in one of the great Wall Street understatements, said on Tuesday's Fast Money that strength in Alibaba "is why you own Yahoo."

Oh, yes, and Jack Ma is probably doing something awesome.

Steve Grasso said if you're long ANF, "you're OK to stay in the name."

Guy Adami said he's a little bit "fraidy scared" in APC and cautioned viewers to be "really careful being long the stock right here" and then suggested you can even go short with a close above 90.

Adami said the DIS "quarter was fine" but to wait for the stock to drop $1 or $1.50 and then buy it.

Mike Khouw said CSCO May 21 calls were hopping for 35 cents. Steve Grasso said he doesn't like the CSCO chart and "probably wouldn't be in the name."

Guy Adami said he predicted after WFM's last earnings that the stock would be back to 100 in "a few weeks" and was almost right except it took longer than a few weeks. Adami suggested getting out of the name if it trades to 102.

Adami said CLF bottomed around 19.50. Tim Seymour said MCP is struggling because there isn't as much Chinese exclusivity in this space as once thought.

Anthony Scaramucci said that Dan Loeb at the SALT conference apparently will talk about good opportunities in Japan. Scaramucci noted that Gary Kaminsky was "wining" (or was that "whining"?) poolside in "1970-style sandals," which prompted an apparently impressed Melissa Lee to add, "not to mention the Speedo."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was a DE calendar spread. Brian Kelly said BAL. Tim Seymour said BIDU, Steve Grasso said SO and Guy Adami said PCP.

Belated shout-out to mamas,
papas and WXOU bar owners:
Entering the world when
‘Monday, Monday’ was No. 1

Had we known it was Tim Seymour's birthday (apparently Monday), we would've issued a shout-out, but unfortunately (gulp) this site was off by a couple days.

Kilburg: ‘Time to get short’

Tuesday's Halftime Report crew was virtually unanimous about strength in the stock market.

Which made Jeff Kilburg's short call all the more interesting.

Anthony Grisanti had contended it's "more dangerous to try to pick a top" than getting into stocks now. But Kilburg predicted the S&P would "tick back down to that unemployment level of 1,595," and if it gets through there, would find "1,552 and test."

"Right now it's too much too fast, it's time to get short," Kilburg said.

Kilburg on the move

Regardless of whether his S&P call pans out, Jeff Kilburg is doing well.

Quite by accident, this page happened to stumble upon a real estate listing for Kilburg's Chicago home, described as a "three-story home that comes with high-quality details and appliances around every corner, plus a luxe roof deck with city views and four fireplaces."

It's way out of this site's range; you'll have to look it up for the listing price.

We certainly don't want to over-extrapolate here, but perhaps this listing is another sign of health in the real estate market.

YHOO’s up; better hike the valuation on Alibaba

Stephanie Link argued on Tuesday's Halftime Report that AOL is a "restructuring story" that's only in the "5th inning."

Josh Brown though called it "a re-ratings story ... but now that's already in the stock."

Brown contended "it is a very tough and crowded business creating online content ... this is not a layup by any means," and oh brother, is he right about the "crowded business" of creating online content, people are tripping over themselves to analyze Gemma Godfrey's Halftime Report remarks on various Web sites.

Mike Murphy said the debate was a "great job by both parties," and he was correct. Murphy said he'd side with Brown, because having prejudged the case, he sees trouble in revenue growth. Simon Baker though suggested that Patch could be eliminated and sided with Stephanie.

What nobody bothered to tie together was another segment featuring YHOO, which like AOL is benefitting from recent interest in Web portals just because they're Web portals.

Mike Murphy said YHOO "looks very extended here ... I'd wait for a pullback."

Josh Brown frankly observed, "The analysts can't seem to keep up with uh, both the estimates and the growth of the Asian assets, and it seems like they want to keep expanding what the multiple- you know, what it's actually worth," but concluded, "the trade has kind of been made here at this point."

Simon admits getting ‘burned’ over last 18 months waiting for pullback (but not for calling ‘game over’ in LULU in mid-60s)

David Bianco told Tuesday's Halftime Report he thinks there's a good chance of a "moderate" pullback of maybe 5% in the summer.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who looked great, said she took note of the fact this is the first 3-year stretch without a 5% pullback since 1960 and wondered how sustainable that might be.

But Simon Baker said waiting for a pullback has been a bad move recently. "We're a tactical manager and we got burned over the last, you know, last 18 months or so trying to do that," Baker admitted, stressing that cyclicals look like a good play now.

Josh Brown said "there's still a lot of room for this beneath-the-surface rotation" in the market, and Mike Murphy suggested financials, asserting "you don't wanna fight the market here."

Stephanie Link proclaimed, "We've been bullish for a while," and she thinks now's the time to be in the "cyclical trade." Gemma Godfrey, who looks good but is otherwise the most boring regular pundit on the Halftime Report (by far), said European banks got a break only because they didn't disappoint as much as people thought they would, and she's a "lot more confident" in U.S. and Asian banks, though she stressed to the panel, "I'm not gonna be picking names" (lot of help there).

Simon bungled FSLR call

Josh Brown made a case near the top of Tuesday's Halftime Report for buying DD, claiming that's "where the puck is headed next ... this could break out to the high 60s."

Stephanie Link revealed, "We bought DuPont before the quarter and we actually added to it today."

Link said "I would wait for a pullback" in MDLZ. Simon Baker predicted DIS is "gonna continue to go higher."

Mike Murphy, in one of the weakest, clumsiest apparent bull calls, said WFM could get back toward 100 if gross margins don't contract as much as people are looking for.

Josh Brown said TSLA has been a "funeral pyre for the shorts recently." Stephanie Link said Cramer "trimmed a little bit" from the TKR position.

Simon Baker said only that there were good things for both sides in the FSLR report and made no reference to his immediately embarrassing bull case of a day ago.

Simon pulls a junior miner
out of left field

Gotta give Goldcorp chief Chuck Jeannes credit for honesty, telling Tuesday's Halftime Report that "we don't hedge at all" and faulting industry blunders for the collective miner share gasping.

Josh Brown made a really long question about how gold rises faster than miners' stocks but miners' stocks go down faster. "The discussion is around why that has been the case," Jeannes first said in an apparent dodge, before refreshingly admitting it's been "frankly a series of missteps" and missed guidance by the miners including his own company.

But, "We're very profitable at prices much lower than this," Jeannes said.

For whatever bizarre reason, Simon Baker used the moment to suggest something that sounded like "Lidium," a purported junior miner from what sounded like "Almenia." (We're not about to investigate this company by any means.)

Stephanie Link said if you're going to play it just pick the GDX or GDXJ (the old Dennis Gartman wake up to a flooded mine thing) and added, "I think silver's interesting."

It’s not clear if Stacey Widlitz understands the legislation OK’d by the Senate

In the category of the semi-bizarre, Stacey Widlitz told Tuesday's Halftime Report that Amazon.com is supporting the online-tax-collection legislation in Congress because "they're looking for a national tax to level the playing field."

That isn't our impression at all, as the legislation approved by the Senate merely requires retailers such as Amazon to collect various sales taxes assessed by states.

Does Amazon really think states are going to forgo sales taxes they stand to collect from this in exchange for turning over this process to the federal government?

And how in the world is Amazon concerned about a "level playing field"???

Thankfully, guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who looked dynamite in blue, asked rhetorically, "is it a national tax or is it that every state has to do it," which also wasn't the correct way to put it (but we're getting a lot warmer here) and then impressively kept talking to prevent Widlitz from further digging a hole on this.

Simon Baker said to buy AMZN, this is "a non-event." Mike Murphy though said "valuation is through the roof."

Kate Kelly reported that David Einhorn is excited about waiting for the next AAPL product and sees strength in gold.

Kelly said it seems like Einhorn "successfully badgered them" at AAPL, but Mike Murphy questioned the wisdom of that endeavor, saying "it seems like a lot for him to bite off."

Josh Brown concluded, "He forced Tim Cook's hand."

Simon Baker's Final Trade was CTSH. Stephanie Link said CAM, Mike Murphy said IP and Josh Brown said DD.

[Monday, May 6, 2013]

Dennis Gartman: ‘Beginning’
of the bear market’ in bonds

Someone tell Tony Crescenzi that not everyone agrees with "Bond Bubble Babble."

A rather grim Dennis Gartman bluntly told Melissa Lee on Monday's Fast Money that he is now "being short of the bond market for the first time in a long time" and doing this by selling the long bond and buying the 10-year.

Gartman's argument, in essence, was that the bond market has priced in more Fed purchases than will actually happen, and so we've "started the beginning of the bear market."

Warren Buffett had pretty much said the same thing Monday. Dan Nathan said, "I think he's probably on to something here." Guy Adami said that's quite possibly true, but there are different time frames, and 10-year yields, "for a trade, they're goin' lower."

How about another round of Warren Buffett events next weekend?

Doug Kass wearily told Monday's Fast Money, while someone else was in the room where he was speaking, that he stands behind his BRK short call, but conceded, "I've been bearish since January," refreshing for its honesty but ... good grief ... doesn't anyone listen to Barry Bannister? ...

Stock returns are important, but far more important is that Kass is feeling good. This page wishes Kass the best.

This page has been out front in speculating on the possibility that Whitney Tilson of all people could be the Buffett successor; of course, no one brought that up on Monday's Fast Money, but Dan Nathan, after pointing out that AAPL went up for a year after Steve Jobs died, said "no way" would Buffett's successor get the same kind of GS, BAC and GE deals that Buffett did.

‘Gonna continue until it doesn’t’

In a wearisome go-round on the general state of the market at the top of Monday's Fast Money, Steve Grasso contended that "It's all about Ben," and he wasn't referring to the Steelers' 2013 season though he might as well have.

Guy Adami, still clinging to that beleaguered high-in-for-the-year-end-of-the-bull-market-imminent theme, described the rally as, "it's gonna continue until the day that it doesn't," and hopefully the Fast Money gang will let viewers know ahead of time.

Grasso contends "the jobs number last month was horrendous"; he said he's holding onto SO but thinks crude is near the top of its trading range.

Guest Joan Solotar, a pretty woman, asserted that "stock markets look expensive in the U.S.," and that a multiple of 15 "seems pretty reasonable." Solotar said there's value in "energy broadly around the world" but utterly avoided addressing Melissa Lee's good question about whether everyone will exit the residential housing fixer-upper trade at the same time.

Dan Nathan said his big move Monday was adding to his JNJ short.

So it’s like not only buying Countrywide, but also buying MBIA

Benjamin Lawsky, a New York superintendent/regulator of some insurance, etc., praised the BAC/MBIA solution on Monday's Fast Money, "We feel really good about the deal," and concluding that for MBIA, it "takes them out of the realm of insolvency going forward."

Guy Adami said that given what happened to MBIA shares, "it's impossible to be short specific names," and he suggested that in the wake of the news, "RDN makes a lot of sense here."

Steve Grasso said he'd be a buyer of AIG.

Analyst Doug Freedman refreshingly acknowledged how his INTC lags the gains in the stock; "I would actually admit it is late," but then used the excuse that he had to know who the new CEO was going to be.

Scott Nations said he "saw big call-buyers today" in DIS, especially the May 67.5 calls for 48 cents. Guy Adami said to buy DIS after earnings and not before. Dan Nathan in fact made sell DIS before earnings his Final Trade.

Steve Grasso said he's studied the limited instances of Amazon's state tax collection and found it "really has had zero impact on it."

Once again, no one follows up on the purported ‘Ponzi finance’ of AAPL’s bond issue

Guy Adami on Monday's Fast Money made the bull case for BBRY, first asserting that Z10 return rumors are false, that there are more than 100 apps, and "sizable" short interest.

Curmudgeonly Dan Nathan however countered that the margins, like the Jack Nicholson-Helen Hunt-Greg Kinnear movie that no one has seen more than once, are "probably as good as it gets," and "we don't know if returns are very hot or not."

In the stores, Nathan argued, "There is nobody looking at these things."

Meanwhile, Steve Grasso said "I'm staying long" of Apple, and Guy Adami predicted GOOG will go higher, toward 900.

Steve Grasso said FSLR is too risky in either direction. "I would still be out of the name," Grasso said. But "I'd be a buyer" of AIG. Grasso's Final Trade was DPZ.

Guy Adami advised viewers to hold GMCR into earnings because it might get to 65 or 70, conceding "it's risky here." Adami's Final Trade was BX.

Dan Nathan said of PCLN, "I don't think you buy it here." Brian Kelly's Final Trade was EWW.

We had joy, we had fun,
we had seasons of AAPL bottoms...

For those who don't find PFE particularly sexy, listen to Diane Jaffee.

Jaffee on Monday's Halftime Report gushed about PFE and its "luscious dividend yield," which scored points with Jon Najarian, who uttered the word himself a couple times.

Meanwhile, Jaffee claimed she's not big on AAPL at the moment because "Apple currently meets 2 of our 5 valuation characteristics," ultimately telling Judge Wapner, "its price to book is still expensive."

Most intriguing was Jaffee's prescription/description of AAPL: "We like all the hot money out and, um, you know, we- we prefer to let it season along the bottom ..."

That's correct: "Prefer to let it season along the bottom."

Oddly enough, like Nicole Sherrod in an unrelated appearance moments later, Jaffee also mentioned GE, saying she likes the "back orders." (Note to Jaffee: The TD Ameritrade account holders are way ahead of you.)

Jon Najarian said he's no longer a buyer of HD but endorsed PFE, predicting "higher highs throughout the year."

Simon Baker did endorse HD; "I think the danger is not being in it." Anthony Scaramucci claimed SkyBridge's Troy Gayeski is "probably the best on housing in the last 24 months" and said Gayeski "sees the strength in housing continuing."

Portfolio model: Judge brings
a fox to Halftime Report

TD Ameritrade's Nicole Sherrod was such a treat on Monday's Halftime Report, we wondered why she's not on all the time.

Curiously, Sherrod's big news was that "TD Ameritrade clients own more shares of Apple, um, than ever before in the history of our company."

Which, you'd think, might signal a top in the shares, that dreaded "overowned" or "weak hands" thing, but the Halftime gang, perhaps transfixed by Sherrod's beauty, didn't bring that up.

And if you want to consider the TD Ameritrade client holdings as indicative of something important, note that Sherrod said their collective AAPL holdings are 2nd only to ... General Electric.

Sherrod actually said CLF draws interest from "yield-seeking" investors.

Anthony Scaramucci — who utterly had to know what answer he would get for this question before he said it — actually asked Sherrod if, 10 years from now, we will say retail investors are a lot smarter than they were 25 years ago (yes, that requires very taxing math that we think is a comparison between 2023 and 1998).

Sherrod said yes, they will be.

How in the world is it
a ‘stock-picker’s market’ if anyone can make 13% in a quarter just being long SPY?

Scott Black said on Monday's Halftime Report that the stock market looks good to him because it's "still only 15.3 times," below historical averages.

Black touted QCOM, then also mentioned TCAP and WLL, the latter having hit "home-run ball after home-run ball." Judge Wapner seemed fascinated that the latter 2 names haven't come up on the show before.

Stephanie Link said one of Black's holdings that he didn't mention, ESV, is interesting.

Judge Wapner, once again utterly bungling a characterization, told his panel that Black was making the case that "at the end of the day this remains a stock-picker's market."

Last year at SALT, Roubini rankled some with the permabear theme (that has now been pushed back)

Simon Baker, citing how he spoke to 25 high-end folks in Miami (apparently none were LeBron James or Dwyane Wade or surely he would've said so) recently and how they're all looking for a pullback, told Monday's Halftime Report "I think you have to play offense in this market," and suggested being long the XLK against the XLP.

Stephanie Link said Cramer's been long some cyclicals and it's been "painful" but she still likes ETN, SWK and ESV.

Jon Najarian pointed to JNPR and FFIV, which he called "vastly undervalued." But Najarian apparently sees the run in AAPL over; "I exited the position today when we filled that gap."

Anthony Scaramucci, warming up for SALT week, said the improving jobs data is "the Catch-22" of the stock market, and "you've gotta be very very careful as a market timer."

Oh joy — buying FSLR at 48

Simon Baker, who tends to be one of the more popular fellows on the Halftime Report but has recently been in the doghouse on this page for the most bone-headed, lunk-headed, mind-numbing stock call in perhaps a year ("game over" for LULU), decided on Monday's Halftime to make a bull case for FSLR, which he called "a Lindsay Lohan of stocks" that has "finally started to stabilize."

(Come to think of it, Gordon Johnson's once spectacular FSLR short call has also morphed into lunk-headedness given what that stock's done.)

Anyway, Anthony Scaramucci took the other side, asserting "management here is constantly raising expectations."

Asked to pick a winner, Jon Najarian had trouble figuring out which end is up, noting there was put-buying Monday but the stock's been up 77% in a month; "I have to side with the bear case."

What in the world does Anthony mean when he talks about getting ‘dunked in a dungeon’?

Jon Najarian said on Monday's Halftime Report he likes DIS to keep rising, and also said he likes both HUM and HNT. Anthony Scaramucci cautioned that short squeezes are possible in CLF.

Stephanie Link said those interested in HON can likely get it at a better price. Link gave INTC a grudging nod but said she prefers EMC and VMW.

Anthony Scaramucci grumbled at being Fast Fired on GM so soon; "Did I just break the Fast Fire record for 4 days," then said he was "being dunked into the Scott Wapner dungeon," the first of 2 such bizarre references on the day.

Stephanie Link chortled, "I prefer the auto parts companies" to GM.

Jon Najarian said MBIA calls were hopping. Najarian also blasted the "phantom liquidity" of high-frequency trading and grumbled at the "co-located servers over there in Aurora, Illinois" that are getting a sneak peek at CME or CBOE activity.

Pick HTZ, win $100,000

Judge Wapner on Monday's Halftime Report introduced 3 grad student gents, Rahul Raymoulik, Richard Hunt and Stephen Lieu, as the "next great value investors," because they picked HTZ in a Bill Ackman/Pershing Square contest.

(So what does that make Ackman, who picked JCP and Ron Johnson?)

Stephanie Link said of HTZ, "think it's going a lot higher."

Link's Final Trade was WYN. Anthony Scaramucci said BRK, Simon Baker said HOG, and Jon Najarian said BAC.

[Friday, May 3, 2013]

At the end of the day:
How Fast Money gang gets
through a half-hour Friday show

The most curious angle from Friday's Fast Money is that someone who, just a couple weeks ago, was as bearish as he's ever been, covered his S&P short around 1,611, but "I didn't go long though."

Steve Grasso said the latter remark is evidence that there's "more powder here" and more people left to go long.

Karen Finerman said she's "a little nervous" about the uptick in oil and what that might mean for retail; in fact her Final Trade was XRT puts.

Josh Brown said he did some "nibbling" on the VAW, also his Final Trade, which Brown said is 65% exposed to chemical names and 35% to miners.

Steve Grasso said he'd pick PG over DD — goodness only knows why someone would sit around comparing which of the 2 is better — saying he's "a little too afraid still" to plow into DD.

Josh Brown scoffed, "I have to go the other way," because of valuation.

Grasso said that made sense 10 years ago but this is a different market. Brown said "'this time it's different' makes me very nervous. This time it's the same."

Karen Finerman without much explanation picked GOOG over T. Steve Grasso explained again that he got into GOOG around 801 and that he's traded around it. (And Pete Najarian dialed in to say AAPL is a 2nd-half story.) "One day, it's gonna be about YouTube," Grasso said.

Josh Brown called picking the XLE over the XLU a "no-brainer."

Kate Kelly reported that SAC was up about 1% in April, and a bit over 5% year to date.

That's presumably a chic watch, and not an over-21 bracelet on Karen Finerman's hand, but she's an absolute card.


Karen calls AAPL floor

Melissa Lee asked Karen Finerman on Friday's Fast Money if the AAPL floor is in.

"I think it has actually," Finerman said, though conceding it's only had a couple good weeks.

Steve Grasso said AAPL is evidence of, "Don't short a dull market."

Finerman said she likes DIS and owns the shares but would hate to buy into a box-office weekend. Steve Grasso said it's all about "streaming" and you have to buy the content providers.

Finerman said when you have news CHE did, "that's not a good thing." Josh Brown said of AMD, "There's no one left to sell the stock." Steve Grasso said THC's move is "all about reimbursements," but "I think you take profits here."

Brown did a victory-lap Brag Trade on BRK-A/B, saying for those who thought it market-like last summer when he recommended it, it's up 32% since last summer. "We think it's got legs," Brown said.

Steve Grasso said he wouldn't buy FB right now.

John McDonnell of Patron spirits — what the angle to this interview was besides a take-off on Eric Bolling's Fox Business Happy Hour, we have no clue — said his company has "3 peak times of the year," which are Christmas, July 4 and Cinco de Mayo.

Melissa Lee, in a couple of close-ups that unfortunately were bungled by the camera operator, showed she could more than handle her own if given the daytime opportunity to be one of Barker's Beauties.

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was M. Brian Kelly said JJG.

Joe seems more intent on a cliche call than a stock call, but he had the essence of the LNKD trade correct and smartly put a number on it

A day ago, Guy Adami got a little blowback from his LNKD bull call.

It's true that on Wednesday, Adami said, "I think LinkedIn is gonna surprise some people to the upside." Which wasn't the right call, obviously.

But that came a couple weeks after Adami trumpeted the stock on April 16, when it traded 182, saying "I think it goes higher," which it did, and if you bought then and held, you're not really that much worse off.

In terms of precision, it's hard to get much better than Joe Terranova, who on Monday, with the stock in the upper 180s, said "I think you're gonna see a $200 handle on LinkedIn shortly."

(The only problem was that Joe also said, "I've been saying 'be in LinkedIn' for many many years," which either means A) Terranova has been saying this for many years, which is doubtful because it went public in 2011, or B) Terranova wants people to hold the stock for many years, which is at odds with what he said Monday which is in the next paragraph below.)

Terranova told a skeptical Judge Wapner ("why wait?") on Monday's Halftime Report that he'd get back into it but would wait at least 2-3 days, the Jon Najarian Rule, explaining with several keywords, "I don't know how much selling pressure, or, the weak hands in ess- um, in essence are gonna move out of the stock."

Stephanie Link flat-out said, "You have to let the dust settle here," but there's still a lot of potential; "I don't think this is broken by any means."

Jon Najarian said, not surprisingly, "I agree with Joe 100%," though Doc suggested the stock might touch the "167-170 area ... I would wait."

Pete Najarian had nothing profound to say on LNKD, explaining this is what happens when a stock is priced to this kind of valuation.

Panel bristles at anti-tech call

Barbara Reinhard didn't exactly impress the Friday Halftime Report gang with her recommendation to get long consumer discretionary, health care and financials and lighten up on tech and utilities in this market.

"The defensives leading isn't necessarily a bad thing," Reinhard said, pointing out it's happened a decent number of times.

Reinhard said dividends will continue to remain attractive, MLPs will continue to be popular, and she also likes "high-yield, senior leveraged loans."

And, "any way you can play housing, it's a good thing," Reinhard said.

Stephanie Link said, "I don't get the tech call."

Pete Najarian said the movement in tech has just been starting.

Joe Terranova said, "I don't get the utilities call actually," stressing they have "pricing power."

Joe scripts opening line

Now he's pouring it on.

Dr. New World opened Friday's Halftime Report telling viewers, "I think it's prudent at this point to, in essence, buy some protection here for the market," but adding that he likes energy, sensing the "trough is in place for the year."

"Copper has changed the momentum today," Terranova also said, adding, "I shorted gold today," which must be full of weak hands.

Pete Najarian said that even when this market has pullbacks, there's no sign of downside fear. Pete likes BAC and CAT.

Jon Najarian said the names he'd get into here include CTXS, because it and other tech names have steeply sold off and figure to recover, based on big activity he's seeing in XLK. The screen text said Najarian also likes TXT.

Steve Liesman told the panel he was going to suggest that Friday's rally amounted to short covering by people who had the other side of the trade, but after hearing the Halftime gang he feels like he's attending one of those "condo sales jobs." Liesman contended, "ultimately the Fed creates a floor," but it's up to everyone else to supply the furniture.

Pete Najarian later in the program called Friday's surge "too far of a reaction" to the jobs report. Mr. New Land said, "I agree with Pete. It is a little bit too much and I would fully expect to see a correction here in the next couple days."

Steve Grasso cited 1,625, 1,677 and 1,790 as upside resistance points and said the market is humming as long as Ben S. Bernanke keeps the "foot on the pedal." But can he keep the foot on the pedal of Joe's GM car (above)?

X and CLF, unless you
find them ‘real dirty stuff’

Mike Santoli, the star guest of Friday's Halftime Report, likened the performance of defensive stocks to football; "the defense has kept the other guys off the field this long, and it just really can't go that much longer."

Santoli curiously said there is "relative opportunity" in names such as X and CLF, which, if the global economy has troughed, "have to start performing better."

It was curious, because moments later, Pete Najarian sought Santoli's endorsement of CAT. "I do agree with that," Santoli said, then further agreed with Pete that investors don't have to go into the "real dirty stuff" such as coal.

Unless, apparently, you're looking for the "relative opportunity" in CLF that Santoli cited earlier.

Pete Najarian called PSX a buy and said coal will recover if natural gas keeps rising. Joe Terranova said, "I think steel's a sleeper."

Doc: 45 possible for TDC

Paul Richards said on Friday's Halftime Report he was more "relieved" than anything at the data after having worried about the effects of the higher payroll tax. "I think you buy property, you buy stocks," Richards said, first declining a stock call and then saying tech looks to be the next sector to perform.

Richards suggested that 1.90 is more likely than 1.60 in the 10-year.

That went over well with Mr. New World, who said, "sell Treasurys in May and go away."

Rich Ilczyszyn said the markets were pricing in a "dismal to flat" number, and that we "probably have seen the floor" in 10-year yields for 30 days. Jim Iuorio said "these numbers aren't that great" and they only suggest there won't be a spring swoon; he thinks the 10-year rate could climb to 1.8% before heading back toward 1.5%.

Pete Najarian wearily made a non-catalyst case for WFM, saying it's 90% U.S.-based (funny how he likes CAT too) and is opening a lot more stores.

Stephanie Link made an equally weary counterargument, saying at "31 times earnings, it's expensive," and that there's competition.

Joe Terranova completely punted on a verdict. "If Whole Foods is higher after earnings next week, I will buy it," Terranova said, claiming lingering Sandy impact.

Pete Najarian called KRFT a hold. Stephanie Link said MS is merely a "beta trade." Joe Terranova said SCCO is better than FCX, which brought a nod from Pete Najarian. Stephanie Link though said "Freeport's very cheap."

Jon Najarian predicted TDC could see 45.

Stephanie Link squeezed in an "at the end of the day" with THC, saying it's fine but "I prefer Universal Health."

Joe Terranova said he'd rather be in MLM than VMC.

Jon Najarian said BBY is "hittin' on all cylinders."

Pete Najarian advised XLV as an ETF you might want to try.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was TRW. Joe Terranova said to take profits in SJM (that means sell), Jon Najarian said buy CPRT and Pete Najarian said buy GILD.

[Thursday, May 2, 2013]

Guy reads the riot act toward reasonable guest who simply made accurate observation about QE

Guest Ted Truscott told Thursday's Fast Money that the message is, "don't fight the Fed," and that "low interest rates are here for a while."

Guy Adami, chippy and grim all day, vented his anger toward public policy at Truscott, saying that this quantitative easing strategy sounds too good to be true in that "we'll never have down times again."

Truscott wasn't interested in defending and didn't address Adami's question. But he did say, "I think you need to take a look at something else," which is that the central banks have been battling deflation for a long time, we "haven't seen it but don't want to," and that it will be a challenge to unwind what they're doing.

Truscott didn't see a top in AAPL's bond issue, nor did he see anything related to "Ponzi," explaining, "The investment-grade market is very, very healthy."

He said he agreed with Tim Seymour that he's "somewhat surprised" that emerging markets are underperforming, and despite that, there are "huge amounts of flows going into emerging markets."

Guy’s taking these things
way too seriously

Melissa Lee introduced on Thursday's Fast Money a curious segment called "Date, Dump or Marry," which involved GM's shares.

Unfortunately this feature was just the beginning of Thursday's Fast Money giggles, as Dan Nathan said he wants to pick Tesla as sexier than GM, which he would dump.

Taking a page from "Saturday Night Fever," Tim Seymour said GM is a name where you want to "get into the seat, feel good," and as always, had to parse a simple answer, calling GM ultimately a marriage but for now a date; "I am married to Fiat right now," which of course "stole" Chrysler.

Karen Finerman said, "I'm married to GM ... I am a marrying girl."

Guy Adami for some bizarre reason went out of his way to stress this is just a TV feature and not how he leads his life. "I'm gonna date it for a while," he said of GM. Mike Khouw said GM is worth a date, but it's still an automaker, which are highly vulnerable in downturns; "you never wanna marry one of these things."

Non-GAAP accounting, ‘gimmicks,’ etc.

Pavel Molchanov told Thursday's Fast Money crew that SPWR "certainly had a good quarter," but he wasn't impressed, because "they still lost 46 cents a share," that's the "magic of non-GAAP accounting."

Molchanov reaffirmed FSLR as his top short, using the term "gimmick" a couple times related to First Solar's revenue recognition. (Nothing like an industry on solid accounting ground.)

He told Melissa Lee "I'm not optimistic" that Congress will allow solar companies to convert to MLPs, not because there's opposition, but because it's too much of a "technical, narrow topic" for Congress to deal with.

Guy Adami said you could've made the same short case for FSLR about $15 ago, so "it's not for the faint of heart." Tim Seymour said he thinks there's "massive supply out there" in solar and advised avoiding the space.

Karen: Buy ADT

Dan Nathan contended at the top of Thursday's Fast Money that the stock-market money was moving into laggards more than any specific sector, a point Karen Finerman agreed with.

Guy Adami sort of concurred, saying he was reminded of Dave Edmunds and "Crawling From The Wreckage."

Dan Nathan said his top trade (and ultimately Final Trade) was short IWM, conceding that people can sound "snarky" calling tops.

Tim Seymour said he's "shorting Aussie dollar ... we're shorting Europe." He called DB a sell.

Karen Finerman likes ADT, which also became her Final Trade, it "seemed overdone" on Wednesday.

Guy Adami mentioned strength in LMT, "I think there's a lot of room left in defense."

Mike Khouw views VOYA as "probably an OK stock here." Dan Nathan characterized CLF as "probably a do-not-touch for a while." Guy Adami said he thinks CHD continues higher, and Tim Seymour said there's concern that WLT could breach debt covenants.

Maybe Melissa will tweet the objective of the homebuilder-credit-rating discussion

Bob Curran, in an appearance on Thursday's Fast Money in which the topic was murky at best, apparently sees upside for bond ratings in the homebuilding sector.

Curran said there's a difference between how housing stocks and housing credit are perceived, "it's a little more complicated" with the latter, where they're concerned with "financial stability."

He said ratings of builders, "pre-crisis, they were very good." He said the bonds recently have traded well, but it's a question as to "how long and vibrant this cycle's going to be."

Karen Finerman said her play in this space is RLGY, not the builders. Tim Seymour said he's talked to cement companies (he didn't actually say Cemex this time ... come to think of it, he didn't mention Samsung in this show either) and that demand is up and in housing, "the materials part of the trade is the better part of the trade." Guy Adami said HD continues to work if the tape "is benign to decent." Dan Nathan said he likes autos and retailers as better plays now on housing than the builders.

Guy overdid it on LNKD

Normally there's a gag for everything on Fast Money.

But nobody on Thursday's program could put a smiley face on Guy Adami's bungled LNKD bull call.

"I was wrong. Which was unfortunate," said Adami, who quite frankly should've taken the day off. "I still think it's a great story," he said, but it's a "no-touch" around 181.

Dan Nathan defended Adami's call, saying the shares had already rallied 10% before earnings and was "priced to perfection."

Curious DD bear play

It was hard to take the last 15 minutes or so of Fast Money seriously given the fake-mustaches, etc., although that's kind of par for the course with the program, but give Dan Nathan credit for trying to put together serious commentary in the face of wisecracks.

Nathan said Microsoft looks less attractive now than before its big run, and said FB is "probably gonna be range-bound," with a "lot of resistance" around 30.

Karen Finerman made a good buy call in COH in February and a bad sell call in MSFT recently. Finerman explained that NNA and DRYS are in a "totally different space," with NNA handling refined products.

Tim Seymour scoffed that AIG is "only down $990 from the all-time high." Seymour also said either other entertainment multiples need to catch up with DIS, or DIS is overpriced.

Seymour said there are still a "lot of risks" in BP volatility, and for his Final Trade suggested short POT vs. long MON.

Mike Khouw said there was a buyer of a DD 52½/47 put spread. Guy Adami a couple times that a move from 53 to 47 in DD would be "huge" and would take quite a catalyst to get there; meanwhile, "sorta still like the chemicals here," he said.

Adami said INTC is climbing "maybe McAfee is kicking in." His Final Trade was GPS. Khouw said he'd pick CMCSA over VZ, and his Final Trade was sell CL.

Gold bull makes the works-in-inflation, works-in-deflation, ‘weak hands’ arguments

Jim Rickards joined the Halftime gang Thursday to argue the bull case for gold, which included Karen Finerman's favorite line (that's being sarcastic): "Gold does very well in inflation and does very well in deflation."

Rickards said there was a "panic" on April 15, and "that has now been wrung out" as there has been a "transition from weak hands to strong hands."

He predicted the gold price is "gonna go sideways for most of the rest of this year."

Rickards also asserted, "The euro's not falling apart ... how can the euro fall if the dollar's getting weaker."

Stephen Weiss summed up Rickards' commentary by concluding, "It's like talking to 2 different guys."

Anthony Grisanti attributed Thursday's gold move in part as a "hedge against tomorrow's jobs number." Jim Iuorio said 1,500 will be the next near-term stop for gold.

Joe’s back on the
‘in essence’ bandwagon

Mike Murphy said at the top of Thursday's Halftime Report that stocks will reach 1,600, and then "I think we go through it."

Murphy suggested there's actually a rotation within the market that favors tech. Stephen Weiss didn't seem too enthusiastic but revealed, "I am long the market ... you just can't fight this tide of liquidity."

Anthony Scaramucci said central bank easing is "like a performance-enhancing drug" but then sounded the lone bearish voice, saying "short-term, you could see a correction here."

The most exciting thing Dr. New Land could say was, "I bought natural gas." But then Joe fired up the cliche machine while issuing a borderline Brag Trade for hanging onto IBM which "in essence" has come back, and then, unrelated, explained, "In the last 20 minutes, the price of oil is up in essence over a dollar."

The ’77 Trans Am doesn’t count

Mike Murphy tried making a bull case for GM largely on a Europe rebound. Anthony Scaramucci came far better prepared, saying the "smart money's in the name," which would boost Murphy's argument, but contending the smart money will be wrong; "the pension liabilities there are gigantic ... design problems with their SUVs ... the Europe stuff is overstated."

Scaramucci added, "The entire world is in this stock," and thinks it's "still a health-care company that makes cars on the side."

Mr. New World questioned if anyone on the panel, in essence, owns a GM car; "I in fact do." He said Murphy is right, the name has a lot of momentum. (No, the automobile pictured above is not Joe's (that we know of — but you know, absolutely, that at some point decades ago Joe was as capable of owning this type of car as Anthony Scaramucci was. Joe yes. Anthony yes. Steve Weiss no.). It's a joke.)

No better tailwind than free labor

Anthony Scaramucci said on Thursday's Halftime Report that he likes V for the long-term. Joe Terranova said the stock is heading to the 200 level. Stephen Weiss said he'd own V over MA. But Mike Murphy said AXP is the best name in the space, and he would wait to buy V in the "160 range."

Kayla Tausche reported on how Blackstone is buying up a bunch of houses around the country and forming a company with it. Anthony Scaramucci praised the practice, saying "they're almost reverse-engineering mortgage-backed securities." Stephen Weiss referred again to his buddy who has been doing this and calls it a crowded trade.

Mike Murphy praised STX; "this is a name you wanna own." Jon Najarian said there were a "whole bunch of calls trading" in OIS, and he's long stock and options.

Dr. New World said YELP will move toward 35, it's "using mobile incredibly well ... they have a tailwind behind them."

Tyler Mathisen conducted a pretty good overview-of-Schwab-type interview with Marie Chandoha, who insisted Schwab can still make a "little bit" of money on money funds, and that Schwab has been waiving fees on those or else people would be paying Schwab to hold the money.

Gemma Godfrey (yawn) said Europe has yet to show it has U.S. kind of follow-through, then surprised Judge by saying investors Thursday saw the action as a sign of growth in Europe. Godfrey said it's a short-term positive for banks but she'd be wary of exporters.

Weiss: EMC a ‘dog’

Aswath Damodaran, one of Judge's best Halftime Report guests (but nobody's quite at the same echelon as Porter Bibb), uncharacteristically hailed a Brag Trade on Thursday's Halftime in noting he bought FB at 18½.

Basically he sees the shares as about fairly valued and liked the earnings report; he'd "rather have a stock be boring at this stage of its life." Facebook, Damodaran said, is "getting the pieces in place."

He acknowledged buying AAPL at 450 in January and said he's keeping it but not doubling down, because that would be the "height of hubris" to think he's going to outsmart the market.

Mike Murphy stuck by his weak call on EMC, saying, "I like EMC here at these levels," and that he would add if it clears 23. Joe Terranova backed the stock. Steve Weiss though called it a "dog" and said, "I don't see anything particularly special there."

Anthony Scaramucci's Final Trade was to sell USO. Joe Terranova said buy SPLK. Mike Murphy said F, and Stephen Weiss said LCC.

[Wednesday, May 1, 2013]

Karen tells viewers not to take a position she herself is taking

JCPenney's forgiveness commercial got rave reviews from 1 member of Wednesday's Fast Money gang.

"I thought that was fantastic," Scaramucci said. "I think that plays unbelievably well in Middle America," he added, explaining he's been to Davenport, Iowa, as well as Omaha.

"I thought it was kinda lame," scoffed Karen Finerman.

Steve Grasso argued that JCP has found some support and has short interest, "you can't sell it anymore."

That's when Finerman uttered her most dubious comment of the day: "I wouldn't jump in and short it here. I still have a small short position left for no great reason to be honest," Finerman said ... and here we've always been told that when Karen closes up shop every night, every position she has is the equivalent of putting it on right now.

In other words — or, should we say, at the end of the day — Karen is doing the cost-basis thing that she loves to mock.

Guy Adami, who said "I like JCP," pointed out that NFLX went from 50 to wherever it is now after Reed Hastings issued a mea culpa. (That's not quite exactly what happened, but close enough.) Finerman took issue with Adami though, pointing out the stock has "reversed all the Soros pop."

Day 2: AAPL $17 bil. borrowing
not called ‘Ponzi finance’

We were curious to hear Wednesday's Fast Money crew take up the AAPL bond offering, if only because just a day earlier a rather attention-getting word beginning with a "p" was associated with it.

It almost didn't come up, until Melissa Lee said late in the program that Wilbur Ross — who spent his time talking about coal, nat gas, Treasurys and shippers — actually had wanted to say on the air that the Apple debt might mark the corporate top.

This time around, the Fast Money panelists didn't see anything dubious. Karen Finerman cited the interest rates and said "it's really hard to do better than that." Anthony Scaramucci said that for Apple, it was a "magnificent time to get in there," and if you're short the stock, "I would get out of the way of this thing."

Dennis Gartman: ‘I think it’s time to start selling gold’

Viewers who actually watched both the Halftime Report and Fast Money on Wednesday likely noticed that Wilbur Ross, on Fast Money, echoed what Bill Eigen said on Halftime about Treasurys.

Eigen (see below) said that buying the 10-year at 1.6% in hopes of it moving to 1.4% is equivalent to "gambling." Ross said that in the future, people will be asking, "My God, How could people have bought 10-year Treasurys at 1-something."

The funny thing about all that is that on the same show with Ross, Dennis Gartman asserted that "Dr. Copper is sick," we're looking at "very weak economic growth ... I suspect we're gonna see very bad numbers on Friday," and Gartman even agreed with Guy Adami that the specter of deflation is out there.

Like they say, there's always someone on the other side of the trade.

Gartman told the panel, "I think it's time to start selling gold," though he didn't opine as to whether it's safe to own in yen terms. Anthony Scaramucci said for his Final Trade to sell the GLD.

Guy Adami first suggests margins might not be sustainable, then by the end of the question wonders if they’ll get even better

Anthony Scaramucci was first on the "at the end of the day" scoreboard on Wednesday's Fast Money, calling FB possibly an "early-stage Google."

If you want to know about its reach, "ask your kids about Instagram," Scaramucci advised.

Guest Channing Smith, however, told viewers, "You have to be very careful here," that there are a "wide range of possible outcomes ... could be the next Google, and it could be the next Apple."

And if it's either of the latter 2, "this company could easily be a double or triple," Smith said.

Mike Khouw, noting the after-hours FB action, said the options players were "expecting a much bigger move than this." Steve Grasso said he likes GOOG and AAPL but that you can take a small position in FB.

Guy Adami contended, "I think LinkedIn is gonna surprise some people to the upside."

The 1% view: Karen actually thinks Wall Street expense accounts are being pinched

Bryan Elliott sounded like he'd just been comped some free meals at DFRG, saying on Wednesday's Fast Money, "This is the highest-margin, full-service, you know non-franchised restaurant company I've ever seen in 30 years of following restaurants."

Quite honestly, around here we're far more likely to end up at a Denny's than a Del Frisco (#budget), although we've tried both, Del Frisco might've been that Giants-Saints Monday Night Football game ...

Anyway, Elliott has raised his price target to $22. He told Guy Adami that the margins are "absolutely sustainable," and he told Karen Finerman that he hasn't seen "evidence" of Wall Streeters on expense accounts feeling a "pinch," at least not "a whole lot" of pinch, in this economy, maintaining the restaurants are also a "high-end leisure spend."

Anthony Scaramucci blessed the shares, saying "petite luxuries" work well.

Steve Grasso actually said that while you can try this name, it might be volatile, and for less volatility, try MCD.

Guy: Safe until 1,520

Steve Grasso bluntly declared at the top of Wednesday's Fast Money that this year isn't the year to try the May effect; "I don't think we're going to see it in 2013."

Anthony Scaramucci disagreed, predicting we'll see "technical selling" in May.

Karen Finerman said she trimmed a little CVS, only because it has reached a point where it is "no longer what you would call value," but called the Fed's position "rather uneventful."

Guy Adami said, in a clumsy opening, that "for this to be the top is wayyy too predictable," and said the market is probably OK, if it falls below 1,520, "that's when I get worried."

Steve Grasso raised that a bit, saying 1,576 is a key support level, and then there's 1,556, "that's where I start to get worried."

Things Melissa hasn’t tweeted about yet: Openly gay NBA player

Wilbur Ross told Wednesday's Fast Money panel that it will take a prolonged nat gas spike to prod power plants to switch over to coal, "maybe something closer to $5."

Ross said ACI is a fine company but he wouldn't pick a coal stock for Steve Grasso. Karen Finerman asked if a sustained nat gas move into 4.30, 4.40 "for a while" would be enough to get plants to switch, which would make coal an "interesting sort of turbo-charged risk/reward." Ross shrugged and said in that case, just buy the natural-gas producers.

Ross also said he likes the shippers, based on simple "supply/demand." He predicts a recovery sometime in 2014. Karen Finerman got a little too inside baseball as to which names to play and not play, but was clearly heard to say "Golar."

Guy Adami said V might be starting to diverge positively from MA, but "I still like 'em both. Karen Finerman said that V is a little higher than the typical valuation she likes, but in this case it's OK because of that recurring revenue.

Melissa Lee a couple times urged viewers to check out her Twitter feed. Those who did likely didn't see anything controversial. (Nor did they see any retweets of Karen Finerman. If we had a Twitter account we'd be retweeting Karen Finerman all day.)

‘And we remember why we came’ — Rosemary Butler sings ‘Stay’ in Jackson Browne’s ‘The Load-Out’

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's Fast Money that STX will "probably grind higher," its product has "not been commoditized yet."

Adami said AGN isn't a buy yet but will be if it gets to 90; his Final Trade was DRI.

Mike Khouw identified a buyer of May 41 calls in AIG. Anthony Scaramucci opined that the stock could be 15% higher by year-end. Steve Grasso assured he is not hearing any bear cases on the stock.

Karen Finerman said the selloff in SPW was not an overreaction and warned viewers, "Don't jump in right away." Finerman's Final Trade was long AIG.

Steve Grasso said to "take some profits" in HUM, said S is his play in the wireless space although TMUS is good for competition, backed WYNN and LVS in the casino space, and made EQT his Final Trade.

Mike Khouw said he'd "still stay on the sidelines" in MTW.

Viewers got a nice "Brady Bunch" go-round with Jane Wells, who isn't a day over 34. Anthony Scaramucci's shout-out to Omaha and Davenport, as well as Columbus and Cincinnati and Kansas City, prompted in these parts a fresh playing of Jackson Browne's tribute to roadies.

Judge bungles characterization
of FB bull case vs. what
Porter Bibb thinks

Pete Najarian argued on Tuesday's Halftime Report that Facebook stock is a buy because its mobile percentage has risen from 14% to 23% and if that continues, look out, and oh by the way, Home is a success, "they already got a million downloads for this thing."

Pete also asserted that Mark Zuckerberg has a "plan."

Enis Taner countered, "I think the bullish case is in 2014," and said the "$30 level has a ton of supply."

Simon Baker took Najarian's side, saying "longer-term Facebook looks really, really strong."

Porter Bibb, The Greatest Regular Halftime Report Guest, disagreed with Najarian and took Taner's case even further.

But before he did, Judge botched the description, telling Bibb that the FB bull case "revolves around the if," when "you're more of a when." (Actually it's the other way around.)

"I would push it further out than 2014," Bibb said, arguing that the only growth is in emerging markets, "they're stagnating in Europe and the U.S." Bibb also said Facebook is losing membership viewing time, and hours are down according to Comscore.

Jon Najarian said he, like Pete, likes FB. "When I look at the Alexa ratings, uh, these guys are No. 2 in the world, as far as traffic," Najarian said.

Bibb said he does like GOOG, it's smarter than the others, and he also likes AAPL, "basically it's the software."

1,400-1,523 gold range

Bill Eigen said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that you may not want to short bonds right at this moment, but "it's time to start thinking about it."

Eigen contended that buying the 10-year in hopes of seeing the yield drop from 1.6% to 1.4% is "more gambling than it is investing." He does, however, like lower-quality high yield.

Jeff Kilburg said we're seeing a "back and fill" trade in gold to 1,523; "I think we're stuck in a band." Jim Iuorio said the Fed can only "green light" what it's already been doing, and that the factors of recent months that have smothered gold appear to be still in place.

Jeff Jonas revealed that HUM is succeeding because "they really have the secret sauce to controlling health-care costs," which is "putting the doctor on salary."

Jonas likes CVS, which he called best in class, but also said rival ESRX is a winner under ObamaCare. Jonas still likes WFM and thinks there is ample room for more penetration. He also praised JNJ and GIS.

Josh Lipton reported that AMT took a dive at the opening, and FMC did too.

Actually it sounds like what Pete really means is that it’s a larger-screen story

Pete Najarian said at the top of Tuesday's Halftime that he likes PFE and MRK, and that the latter easily found buyers at 45.

Simon Baker said June or July might be trouble, but "May looks OK right now." Jon Najarian said nobody's fleeing this market, just buying protection. Enis Taner said he'd like to buy QCOM, which became his Final Trade, or ORCL.

Pete Najarian said he likes PSX and made it his Final Trade.

Jon Najarian said WU benefitted from strong results. Simon Baker bumbled his way through ORCL thinking he was supposed to talk about CHK.

Enis Taner said CLF was getting only a dead-cat bounce. Pete Najarian said someone hung a 12 price target on X, "right now this is a toxic area." Pete said he wouldn't jump into WLT either.

Simon Baker said JCP's ad, beautifully presented by Courtney Reagan (or should that be "presented by beautiful Courtney Reagan"), is "kinda like cheating on your girlfriend," you can say you're sorry, but she might not take you back. As for the stock, "it's dead money at least in the short term," Simon said.

Enis Taner though said a lot of bad news is priced into JCP. But Pete Najarian backed Baker, "I don't see what the upside is right now."

Pete came through again with one of his most tiresome cliches, that AAPL is a "2nd-half story," then basically said the "2nd half" amounts to producing a larger-sized iPhone.

Simon Baker scoffed that the Will Danoff/Contrafund lightening of AAPL was getting news coverage; Danoff had just "right-sized" the portfolio, Baker said.

Jon Najarian reported that that there was "really fast money today" in the EEM, the 42.50 puts being active.

Kate Kelly reminded viewers that Ackman bungled last year's Ira Sohn Conference (it seems like there's an Ira Sohn Conference every 3 weeks) with his JCP call, that Gundlach got the best of Einhorn regarding AAPL, and that Larry Robbins did great; this year she expects Ackman to talk about HLF.

Jon Najarian advised viewers eyeing ADT to wait for a "significantly lower move." Najarian's Final Trade was May 16 calls in BZH. Simon Baker said AZO has "still a lot further to go" on the upside. Baker's Final Trade was GNW. Enis Taner contended that MU has risen "too far, too fast."

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