[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive — November 2015]
[Monday, November 30, 2015]

Eric Jackson doesn’t go far enough; Apple should launch a pro football league

Eric Jackson brought up pro football on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

But like Guy Adami, Steve Grasso and Tim Seymour after him, missed the forest through the trees and whiffed on the subject.

Apple should not be bidding for NFL games.

Apple — or anyone else with deep pockets — should create its own pro football league.

Oddly enough, it's cheap.

$1 billion buys a great new stadium ... 45,000 seats practically on the field, full of luxury boxes ... without the San Diego- or St. Louis-esque mess of negotiating for tax dollars.

Another $1 billion buys a $200 million annual payroll for the next 5 years.

So we're talking $2 billion — less than the price of Beats — to field an elite football team.

Apple just needs to talk about 9 other investors into doing the same. There's no NFL team in L.A. (at the moment), San Antonio, Omaha or Louisville, but regardless, the new league could put 4 teams in L.A. and 4 teams in New York if it wanted to. The point is having only 10 teams with great stadiums and $200 million payrolls.

After those investments, TV, ticketing and licensing revenue will pour in. The games could be played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

NFL teams at this moment are paying about $125-$150 million a year in salaries. A competing league with 33% larger budgets is going to sign a majority of the top college talent. And with only 10 teams, that talent will not be highly diluted. That's huge, because NFL careers are quite short, and within just a couple years, the new Apple league would be at least as good as the NFL.

NFL teams are bound by a salary cap. Most couldn't afford to suddenly up their payrolls 33% anyway and compete.

Of course the NFL wouldn't take this lying down. But if Tim Cook wants to pay a team $200 million to play football in L.A. and show it on television and court a worldwide audience, it's hard to see how congressional lobbying would stop that.

Yes, such a move would greatly disrupt fandom. If the Packers won the Super Bowl, but everyone thinks the Apple team in the new league is really the best pro football outfit, then ...

Obviously the Apple league would soon compel the NFL to seek a merger. Not all 32 teams would make it, but we'll eventually have a 40-team league with steep revenue-sharing.

Jackson, meanwhile, isn't thinking nearly big enough, suggesting instead that Apple purchase the rights to NFL games so it can prompt people to watch them using Apple devices.

If a company wants to have the No. 1 media hit, they can either do it the obvious way, or they can always reach back for the Nazis.

Weiss won a little
and lost a little in LULU

Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime Report was the first to bring up the notion that Black Friday isn't the biggest shopping day of the year.

Stephen Weiss observed that "cheap has become cheaper" in names such as Macy's.

Mike Santoli said clothing, footwear and electronics are "in deflation" in terms of pricing power and have been that way for a "very long time."

Judge brought in Jon Najarian from Chicago to recap Najarian's visit to the Mall of America on Black Friday. Najarian said he showed up at 10:30 a.m., and, "I wanna tell you, it was the thinnest crowd I have ever seen."

However, by 2 p.m., the place was "packed," Najarian said.

Judge suggested that the Minnesota weather on Friday might've been unusually mild because a lot of people in the footage didn't appear to be wearing heavy coats.

Doc said the temperature was actually 22 degrees Fahrenheit and that "a lot of those folks left their coats in the car."

Doc said that despite the slow traffic Friday, the LULU store and MSFT stores were both buzzing.

Susan Anderson of FBR said LULU traffic was strong but "clearance was almost double what it was last year."

Anderson said the stock looks more attractive in the lows 40s than around 50.

Stephen Weiss said LULU still looks expensive but that he has traded it a bit. "It was OK; won a little, lost a little."

Josh Brown said he wouldn't buy LULU; it's in "no-man's land."

Steve Weiss said there's "more room" for AMZN.

Not sure which is more relevant: 1969 bond market, or ‘open’ presidential years

Visiting with Monday's Halftime Report crew, Adam Parker said Morgan Stanley does a "collaborative" review with its strategists around the world, and they "came out of it a little bit more cautious."

So he's forecasting for 2016 a "low to mid-single-digit return" in U.S. stocks.

Parker pronounced the consumer "in good shape" (Drink).

Steve Weiss asserted the fixed-income bull market "is clearly over" and asked Parker about the 1969-70 environment when the 10-year and stocks both fell.

Parker said, "I was born in 1969, so I don't have a perfect recollection of that."

Parker said his "personal opinion" is not that fixed income is done but that it's in a "mid-expansion kinda correction thing."

Sara sighting

In a post-holiday treat, Sara Eisen on Monday's Halftime Report delivered breaking news on the IMF adding China to its international currency basket at 10.9%.

Steve Weiss said for that to happen, it means the IMF believes China is "really liberalizing their economy."

Josh Brown called it "another baby step" in China's growth as a financial power.

Weiss said this move doesn't mean you should buy China stocks; "that's a whole different set of problems."

Rex Tillerson, preparing
a shopping list

Bill Baruch on Monday's Halftime Report said he's buying the rumor on rising crude. Jeff Kilburg said it seems there's "seller's fatigue" and that a close over 42.50 would be bad for bears.

Judge brought in Guggenheim's Michael LaMotte, who upgraded 23 oil equities to buy, suggesting oil would rise 30-50% in the next 12-18 months and that "the market is very much underweight" and "hedge funds are very net short."

LaMotte doesn't think OPEC does anything this week and pointed to "soundings" from Ali Al-Naimi that "perhaps they've gone too far" in projects taken offline.

Stephen Weiss said balance sheet is the crucial component of evaluating oil equities.

Josh Brown scoffed at LaMotte's suggestion of ocean drillers and recommended HAL instead.

Sheryl Sandberg is never taking the Yahoo CEO job

In the weekly Halftime Report Parlor Game, Judge took up Bob Peck's list of 10 possible Yahoo CEOs on Monday.

Stephen Weiss noted Peck still actually has Sheryl Sandberg on his potential YHOO CEO candidates list, but "I don't see her doing it."

Josh Brown said "Ross Levinsohn certainly jumps out" from Peck's list, but he doesn't understand what someone else would do with the company. Judge said Levinsohn will be on the show Thursday.

Josh Brown said CME has an "almost perfect correlation" to the Treasury yield index for both the 5-year and 10-year. "Citadel's been buying it," Brown added. (Also it's a stock in $90s, and those are the ones he likes in his Halftime portfolio.)

Brown called CME a "giant financial company" though not a bank. But Mike Santoli said it's really not a "financial company" but a "platform company" such as Visa. Stephen Weiss of course likes the banks. (Drink)

Brown said the Barclays upgrade of FIT is overdue, but he's not sure it's a reason to buy if the company doesn't have a "blowout" season.

Mike Santoli called the Raymond James upgrade of MSFT "a little bit late."

Santoli suggested FOSL, BBBY, WMT and WFM as "fallen angels" that might be due for a turnaround. Steve Weiss called WFM a "private equity play" and said "barriers to entry have really fallen."

Jane Wells said nosebleed seats for the Lakers' final game are going for $500.

[Wednesday, November 25, 2015]

Wharton alumni gatherings (cont’d)

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said sentiment in the retail sector at a recent Morgan Stanley conference "absolutely could not have been worse," setting a low bar for a bounce for many retailers with "extraordinarily" good balance sheets.

Finerman said the KORS valuation is so low, it's "ridiculous."

But David Seaburg asserted, "there's nowhere to hide in this space."

Tim Seymour said UA has "grown too fast" and has a valuation that "can't be supported."

On the Halftime Report, Jon Najarian lamented not getting out of BBY fast enough in his Halftime Portfolio after getting a quick pop.

But Joe Feldman of Telsey Advisory Group suggested BBY will have a good holiday season.

Then again, Steve Odland, a former CEO of Office Depot and AutoZone, predicted a "margin bloodbath" for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Josh Brown pointed out the National Retail Federation's bungled post-Black Friday sales forecast of a year ago and told Feldman, "I think most surveys are largely clueless."

Feldman said there's hype around Black Friday, but the 10 days before Christmas are actually the biggest shopping days of the year.

Besides the Morgan Stanley conference 10 days ago, Karen Finerman at 5 p.m. said, "I was at Wharton 2 weeks ago, and they said they sent more people to Google than Goldman," and then the panel talked over each other to offer some of the many reasons that is presumably the case.

Karen is able to call
Jamie Dimon hot

After the 2nd Obama-remarks-related interruption of the Halftime Report in 2 days, Judge on Wednesday stressed to Josh Brown and anyone else listening that maybe Meg Whitman deserves the same level of pressure as Marissa Mayer.

Brown said that was a good point and observed of HPWhatever, "They missed on the whole ... it doesn't matter that they missed in 2 pieces."

Brown argued that the issue isn't so much the CEOs but that both HP businesses and Yahoo are "industries that are in secular decline."

Jon Najarian said he disagrees with Brown on Yahoo being in a declining industry.

Brown said there are "much bigger" execution problems at YHOO than HPE or HPQ or HPWhatever.

Doc said as a "storyteller" of what's happening, he believes more in Meg Whitman than Marissa Mayer.

Stating expectations for Marissa Mayer were "much higher" than those for Meg Whitman, Joe Terranova made probably the best point of the group, that Mayer probably understands the product but not so much the balance sheet, while Whitman "clearly understands the balance sheet" but perhaps doesn't understand the product(s).

"So that's why, in both cases, there's deficiency in the C-suite," Joe said.

Judge had another take, suggesting Meg Whitman is very communicative with business media, while "You don't often hear from Marissa Mayer." The only problem with that notion is that you don't often hear from Jeff Bezos, Larry Page or Tim Cook either. You DO hear from Carl Icahn rather often, so take that for what it's worth.

Doc said there was "strong" activity in YHOO December calls.

Jon Fortt told Judge that HPE doesn't really control its own destiny in any of its businesses. "It's obviously got challenges," Fortt said.

One thing we find interesting — and this is probably the only corner of the planet drawing this comparison — is that one of Marissa Mayer's attributes is that she is cute. She is charming. That is independent of her obviously considerable skills and Silicon Valley wherewithal. It may not be particularly deep or even what she would like to hear, but it is certainly far more of a positive than a negative.

We've never heard a Halftime/Fast Money panelist mention that subject.

Yet it's totally fine for Karen Finerman to call Jamie Dimon a "stud," as coincidentally happened Wednesday, producing the happy picture you see at the top of this day's report.

If it's OK for a businesswoman to compliment the appearance of a businessman, isn't it OK for a businessman to compliment ... Don't. Go. There

Much more than a day off

Impressively striding into the realm of foreign policy, Judge on Wednesday's Halftime asked John Harwood what Harwood thinks it would take for the president to commit ground troops to fight ISIS, drawing praise from Harwood for noting Francois Hollande won't even go that far yet.

Harwood said it'll "take a lot more than it-, uh, than has occurred so far."

Jim Iuorio said "the dollar's strength is really the euro's weakness." Jeff Kilburg said of the dollar, "it's gonna be very challenged to sustain above 100."

Judge and Pete seemed to think it was absolutely hilarious to hector Kilburg over Notre Dame's uniforms at Fenway Park.

Pete Najarian reaffirmed he likes airline stocks and noted HA has been "on fire."

Judge aired a clip of panelists expressing holiday thanks; Doc mentioned "all of you who tune in and watch us."

In a spectacularly classy and moving commentary on living in the present, Joe Terranova spoke of a difficult situation a year ago and virtually brought the program to a standstill.

[Monday, November 23, 2015]

Preempted by politics

Tuesday's Halftime Report was wiped out by the Obama-Hollande news conference. (But what really matters isn't the timing of the hike but the pace of future increases.)

Steve Grasso said on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that, in the wake of global tension, "counterintuitively," the stock market will move higher.

Guy Adami said if he had to play SUNE, he'd look for another bounce Wednesday and then lay into it on the short side. Steve Grasso, who backed FSLR, said he "definitely" wouldn't short a stock with a $4 handle and that if you're going to play it, go long.

Pete Najarian predicted GILD and CELG will go shopping.

Guy Adami and Pete Najarian trumpeted BMRN if it gets an 80 handle.

Guy Adami suggested that if "God forbid, something else happens" in Europe and people stop booking trips, then PCLN could potentially test $1,000.

Dan Nathan suggested Google might have to buy PayPal next year and said a March 31/36 call spread in TWTR caught his eye.

Julia Boorstin stumbled from the outset on explaining that the NFL has been "talking to every possible company" about Thursday night football rights for next year and beyond.

On that subject, Pete Najarian said, "It's gonna be really interesting to see how this negotiation really ends up going," calling the money in pro and college football "absolutely outrageous."

Grandpa Dan Nathan chortled that if stocks go flat in 2016, as Goldman Sachs predicts, "we actually have a potential for a massive selloff."

Fast Money tackles 9-month-old news; Tim Seymour says he won’t touch it after he already does

Addressing Carl Icahn's interest in Xerox on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Melissa Lee pointed out it's another example of an activist targeting a female-led company and that Andrew Ross Sorkin "actually wrote a column about this."

Sorkin did — in February.

Tim Seymour stammered, "This is a case where, first of all, whether this is an empirical analysis that is very clear or not, I mean, you know, the companies we just talked about are companies, with the exception of Pepsi to me, um, are companies that I think are flawed and I think they have businesses that have been kind of rudderless for a long time, so the attack on the boardroom is one that's probably justified."

But moments later, after that conclusion, he protested, "To try to classify them across the board, I mean, I'm not gonna touch that."

Dan Nathan cited the numbers from the February article and suggested, "There's something there, right?"

Mel said "at the time of the column" — (which was FEBRUARY) — Bespoke tweeted that female-led companies outperformed male-led companies over the last year by 5 percentage points, but "we don't know what the updated number is." #kensho

Sounds like Pete is on board with a corporate tax cut

Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime Report struggled to tell Judge why both AGN and PFE were down Monday.

"There's a lot of reasons why this makes sense in the longer term," Pete said.

Pete contended that "Jack Lew and the rest of these guys," rather than "complaining about it" when companies try inversions, "they need to make this a much better fit so people don't need to have to- don't have the need to go overseas to be able to get these tax benefits that they're gonna be getting."

Sarat Sethi called Pfizer-Allergan a "smart business deal."

Joe Terranova retraced the PFE 1-year chart and noted that the deal figures to be the "conduit to split the 2 companies" of PFE and not as late as 2019 as Judge suggested; "if they wanna get the split done, I think they can get the split done."

Jon Najarian said, "I think this gets done regardless." But he took issue with Pete's jab at Jack Lew, stating, "They don't make law."

Pete said the move represents M&A activity but that it's "almost impossible" to determine who BMY or other pharma giants might team up with.

The fact Barack Obama can’t seek a 3rd term means there’s a bubble about to explode

For starters, it seems Judge and Joe both mispronounced Luciano Siracusano's first name as "Looch-ee-AH-no" when it's probably "Loose-ee-AN-no" (we don't know for sure).

Siracusano on Monday's Halftime stressed the difference between "election year" and "open election year" and said the latter is "where the market historically has run into trouble."

Well, we're hardly experts on this kind of research, but it seems as though in recent memory we have about a sample size of 3, those being 2008, 2000 and 1988.

2 of those 3 years were trouble; the other was great.

We didn't know we could pin 2000 and 2008 on the presidential candidates.

We also checked and found that 1968 was up, 1960 was up and 1952 was up.

Siracusano moved on to recent performance, stating, "We haven't seen this big of divergence between momentum and value since 2007 and before that, since 1999."

He added, "The real risk to the market next year is the contraction in the multiples of the high-flying stocks."

"The big story for '16 is the pace (Drink) of the Fed hikes," Siracusano added.

Siracusano wasn't the only one urging momentum caution. Sarat Sethi said you have to be "very careful" about the FANGs.

Joe Terranova said "the only thing you do" with AMZN is "look when momentum fails."

But citing Dana Telsey's upgrade, Doc said you should buy CMG on pullbacks such as e. coli, even though Joe called CMG "a momentum stock that has lost its momentum in an environment where momentum is favored."

First mover advantage is definitely a skill in dating

Victor Anthony of Axiom Capital said on Monday's Halftime Report he sees Match margins expanding and a defensible core; "there's just a lot more single people," he said, calling Tinder "the growth driver."

Judge pointed out that BTIG agrees on Tinder but, in an opposite call on MTCH, wonders if it will "cannibalize" the core business.

Anthony said that argument is "misguided" and shows a "fundamental lack of understanding of the evolution of online dating businesses."

Anthony acknowledged the competitive landscape but pointed to Match's diversity and "first mover advantage."

What happens when we have a flat market entering an open election year?

Mike Santoli on Monday's Halftime Report said the flatness of the stock market actually extends to July of 2014.

Santoli concluded, "On balance, they tend to break to the upside, eventually, but not right away, necessarily right now."

Joe Terranova said he liked Santoli's article on CNBC.com/PRO and especially the part about "the game being played between the 30-yard line (sic not plural) right now."

Joe asked Santoli where the crowd will be wrong in 2016 but didn't get a satisfactory answer. Doc said people could be sitting around waiting and end up chasing in 2016.

Pete Najarian predicted another spike in volatility before year-end.

Brian Stutland said copper is "definitely a warning sign" to the stock market but he said it helps tech and consumer discretionary names. Scott Nations said the dollar and global growth and technicals are weighing on copper.

Joe Terranova said copper's slide suggests a "new economy" and not something "ominous."

If a company is not growing, how does splitting it into thirds make it grow?

Sarat Sethi said on Monday's Halftime Report that "Star Wars" anticipation is fully baked into DIS, and he's actually "been trimming it."

Sethi said AA has been a "painful trade" for a couple of years, so he cheered the news Monday. "We're aggressive with it," Sethi said.

Sethi said he agrees with the Barron's call for PG to split. Pete Najarian said "the problem is," there's no growth.

Joe Terranova said that splitting AIG into thirds "makes sense" but that the healthy stock price is working against Carl Icahn's plan.

Jon Najarian agreed that AIG has "continued to migrate higher" and that Carl will have to be "very patient" to sway the board.

Pete Najarian downplayed the "chatter" in LULU about "somebody" being interested. Pete said any buyer would have to pay a "pretty interesting price."

Doc said MNK reported gross margins "out of the park" (translation: Andrew Left's most recent visit about the study that's never been done on the 50-year-old drug was a bust).

Doc ditched STT and JCI in his Halftime Portfolio and added APC. Joe endorsed the move.

Pete Najarian said "things are not going great right now" at GME, which he said issued an "absolutely awful" report.

Sethi said you own F and GM for "the products."

Joe Terranova grumbled about GoPro's strategy; "they don't have a product for the holidays," Joe complained.

Joe got a chance to trumpet PANW (Drink) (but not J.M. Smucker) and predicted a run by the end of the year. Doc said he'd like to own TIF but doesn't.

[Friday, November 20, 2015]

‘Day trader:’ Term that hasn’t really applied to anyone for 15 years

The hit of Friday's Halftime Report was Jason Zweig explaining his book, The Devil's Financial Dictionary.

Kate Moore said Zweig's definition of "market strategist" hit "a little close to home," though we're not sure what that definition was.

Doc seemed fixated on the definition of "genius."

The "bull market" entry was kind of a bust.

In a curious twist, Zweig suggested Leo Sayer to play him in the movie.

Kevin O'Leary praised the book for making people aware of "the risks inherent (Drink) in investing."

Zweig's definition for "idiot" apparently is "day trader;" we could think of some better alternatives.

Kevin O’Leary complains to Judge about ‘really brutal’ treatment from the pro-AAPL haters

Kevin O'Leary on Friday's Halftime Report said he eliminated his AAPL stake because it "broke the rules" on certain fundamentals, but most importantly, he is "getting an odor of consumer electronics creeping into the story." So he switched to MSFT.

Indicating why he's not eager to criticize AAPL on television, O'Leary said, "I get a lot of hate mail when we have these conversations, I gotta tell ya Judge it's really brutal."

Josh Brown agreed with O'Leary on MSFT.

Taking up SQ, O'Leary said "the last 3 years of private placements are all under water" and suggested the unicorn space has the same kind of "perfume" as 2000.

Doc pointed out that 2 years ago, Bill Gurley of Benchmark said that unicorn valuations had "topped out," when Uber was worth only $8 billion.

Josh Brown suggested that the worst moment of investing in these IPOs is hearing that you can get all the stock that you want.

$90 for GPRO, oh joy

Alex Gauna admitted on Friday's Halftime he still has a $90 target on GPRO, pointing to developments in virtual reality on YouTube (snicker).

Judge questioned if that's an "awful lot" of faith in something that's not even GoPro's core business.

Gauna called that a "fair point" but said it's a belief in management, which is actually different than the virtual reality space on YouTube.

Kevin O'Leary pointed out GPRO is below the IPO price but praised Nick Woodman for getting the stock as high as he did.

Meanwhile, Gauna said he's been making "trade show checks" and "other industry investigations" that led him to conclude that the cloud is driving better growth out of Intel.

Judge pointed out that Gauna called INTC a sell in March and demanded to know if things had really changed so much in 7 months.

Gauna said yes and "that was a good call back in March" because of "real serious PC headwinds."

Jon Najarian stressed that INTC is "focused on cloud, not on PCs."

Doc reported that NMBL earnings and guidance really were 50% bad.

Josh Brown said the storage business is terrible and pointed to BOX.

Brian Sullivan has said for months the gasoline savings only goes to convenience-store cigarettes

Kate Moore on Friday's Halftime Report said of the consumer, "it's not just about the retail" (Drink), but by broad measures, the consumer's doing OK.

Jon Najarian pointed out that the dip in UA "was a buy," but he's saying that now north of $90, not a few days ago at $85.

Josh Brown suggested the ANF pop was a short squeeze and advised not plowing in long now.

Kevin O'Leary grumbled about Nike planning a buyback rather than just shipping out a bigger dividend.

O'Leary wasn't buying TSLA and its valuation at 30 times other automakers; "I don't get it."

Doc said he "occasionally" owns TSLA "at the right level" and for a trade.

Josh Brown said people buy TSLA because "they're overpaying for growth" and pointed out the stock is the same price as in February 2014.

Judge gave Pete Najarian a mini-Fast Fire on FL. Kevin O'Leary suggested a confusing trade of converting U.S. dollars to Canadian dollars and buying energy stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

If Steve Weiss is one of Judge’s experts on health care, who’s the other?

Kevin O'Leary said on Friday's Halftime that he's long both AGN and PFE and predicted this will be the "test case" for business schools about global tax rates.

O'Leary brushed aside Josh Brown's excellent point about $120 billion AGN buying $200 billion PFE and spinning something off. "They'll do whatever they have to do," said O'Leary, suggesting "this could be considered a merger of equals."

Kate Moore acknowledged health care figures to face headwinds in the 2016 election, "so we're watching this very closely."

Nouriel’s 1.25 (cont’d)

Kate Moore on Friday's Halftime Report said "those scary things are off the table at this point" for a Fed hike, and forgive us if we've heard that one before.

Jeff Kilburg said the 10-year is saying that a December rate hike is "immaterial."

Kilburg said, "Look for lower rates as we go into 2016."

Anthony Grisanti said he's watching 2.19/2.20 on the downside and 2.34/2.35 on the upside of the 10-year.

Kevin O'Leary said that in this environment, what he cares about most are dividend growers (Zzzzzzzz). He said he'd underweight REITs and utilities.

Kate Moore called financials "structurally underowned."

Kate Moore seemed to say that in terms of yields, people are "dying" for a "return to normalicy (sic pronunciation)."

[Thursday, November 19, 2015]

Still trying to figure out Aswath Damodaran’s loopy AMZN rationale

Kate Kelly began her interview with Citadel's Jack Woodruff on Thursday's Halftime Report stating, "You guys have been very hospitable."

Woodruff politely said he focuses on the "idiosyncratic stories within our consumer book" and doesn't "spend a lot of time" on the "general view" of the market.

But Woodruff said he's got his eye on the Fed and "the level of corporate profits."

Woodruff said they've detected a shift into consumer "experiences" rather than goods.

Kelly asked Woodruff to define SG&A, probably not a bad idea.

Woodruff took a pass on an important subject, stating "it's kinda hard to say" whether AMZN is overvalued and suggesting AWS has been a "pretty big part" of the stock's outperformance.

That reminded us of Professor Damodaran's visit last Friday (not to Citadel but the Halftime Report), when he sort of implied that AMZN will go up for those investing for the "right reasons" but perhaps not for those who see the same scenario he does.

Gundlach expects December hike (a/k/a The Joy of 0.25%)

Apparently, The New King of Bonds is buying the consensus.

DoubleLine's Bonnie Baha, one of our favorite Halftime Report guests, said Thursday that boss Jeff Gundlach believes there will be a rate hike, though he doesn't think it should happen.

"It's baked in; it's gonna happen," Baha said, but not without skepticism.

"We're nowhere near their 2% inflation target," she said, adding, "The quality of the jobs being created I think is a little bit suspect."

Jon Najarian said only a "minority" of people don't see a December move, and if they don't move in December, "it would be a dramatic kick in the market's teeth."

Pete Najarian predicted certain sectors will respond favorably to a December hike, but not all.

Steve Liesman reported on Bob Weir and Phil Lesh jamming together in New York more irrelevant news that hopefully no one trades on, that Dennis Lockhart is saying, "I'm comfortable with moving off the zero rate soon."

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Liesman reported Stanley Fischer is also hinting at December. (Zzzzzz.) Mel suggested Fischer might be coy by suggesting central banks "around the world" are thinking about moving away from ZIRP.

We'd be foolish to bet against a Gundlach prediction, but we'll do it anyway and side with Mike Block and Steve Grasso's call that there's no hike this year.

Pete’s really hung up on Twitter’s 300 MAUs every quarter

Jon Najarian on Thursday's Halftime took a crack at the "down round" of the Square IPO, pointing out the company "promised" it would make up any deficit to IPO buyers who got in at 12.

But, "I would buy the stock," said Doc, who said the allocation was "thin" and that clients got it, but he didn't.

Doc said "everybody" who uses Square tends to "love it," however, "they're not making any money."

Pete Najarian suggested waiting "a couple quarters" before plowing into TWTR.

Pete cracked up himself and the gang when he said of Match, "It's a business that I don't really understand well enough."

Bonnie Baha said SQ and MTCH both have "lots of competition" and isn't sure about a "compelling thesis" for either.

Guy Adami on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said if he had to pick 1, he'd take TWTR over SQ.

Weiss: Stay out of health care until year-end

Judge on Thursday's Halftime Report called Steve Weiss "one of our experts" on the HMO space; Weiss said the UNH carping might prompt him to consider "getting back into the hospitals at this point."

Weiss did offer an interesting analysis as to why healthy people are spurning Obamacare, indicating the fines are cheaper than the insurance.

But basically, according to Weiss, it's no-man's land. "I would stay out of health care ... till the end of the year," Weiss said, when there's a "massive redemption cycle from all the health-care funds."

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money admitted pain from ANTM and MOH but said both were "very overdone" on Thursday and that she likes both.

CNBC superfox Meg Tirrell wore glasses on the 5 p.m. Fast Money. "I dig the glasses," said Melissa Lee.

Seema sighting, in fuchsia

The keys to Futures Now were turned over for a day to Seema Mody, who on Thursday's Halftime Report elicited from Brian Stutland that 40 can be a floor for crude temporarily before ultimately reaching 36-37.

Scott Nations said to look at gasoline's divergence with crude Thursday as possible evidence of a bottom in crude.

Jon Najarian said the turnover at WEN was "dramatic" after Goldman Sachs added it to the conviction buy list. Doc said WEN has more upside than MCD for the next 12 months.

Joe Terranova said GMCR was "perculating" (sic) for 1 day but won't last.

CNBC superfox Jane Wells detailed prices of typical Thanksgiving ingredients.

Ticker symbols that should
exist (cont’d): BRA

Bonnie Baha said late on Thursday's Halftime Report that there's been a lot of borrowing for dividends and buybacks, and "this is just dead money ... sort of the corporate version of Helicopter Ben."

Baha scoffed at "somebody else's forecast" of $60 crude in 2018 but couldn't offer a guess to Judge as to where she thinks it'll be in 2018. (Translation: The scoffing was as much about just making a prediction and not solely about the predicted number.)

Pete Najarian predicted a pullback in LB.

Pete didn't seem that excited about Williams-Sonoma but did pound the table for ROST. Jon Najarian said he didn't see as much ANF traffic at the Mall of America as he would like so he'd prefer FL. And he said he bought JCI.

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money mentioned FL's earnings coming out Friday morning, so prepare your hazmat suit.

[Wednesday, November 18, 2015]

Must be in the How We Trade Options book (free to first 250 callers): All you have to do is buy current $80 stocks when they were only $68

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime Report twice took up the subject of Goldman Sachs calling AAPL a conviction buy because it's switching to "recurring revenues" as a "service" business.

Jon Najarian blurted, "I agree with 'em" and wondered who on the desk didn't already feel that way.

Mike Block noted GS already had a buy on AAPL and suggested an ulterior motive; "are they about to do a bond deal and, uh, you know, someone wants to be in their good favors? Oh did I say that out loud? Sorry."

Block suggested "apparently no one" carefully read the GS note, which cautioned against choppiness in the data and stock price; otherwise why were people bidding up the stock Wednesday?

Steve Weiss said AAPL is "inexpensive" but needs catalysts.

Mike Block said a "very esteemed macro-economic powerhouse" upgraded XOM "several dollars higher" a couple weeks ago; he noted Raymond James' sell rating and suggested people seeking an oil rebound will buy the more levered names that Joe (who wasn't on the show) likes.

In a double bungle of commentary which does viewers nothing except remind them of trades they could've made, Jon Najarian said he isn't that impressed by XOM at 80 but reaffirmed his late August buy on the stock and actually said with a straight face, "if you're gettin' in where Rex Tillerson got in, down at 68 bucks a share, makes a heckuva lot of sense."

Bill Baruch said the only thing affecting gold is the "impending" Fed rate hike. But Jim Iuorio said the gold chart "looks like death" and he sees 1,015 to 1,000. "I don't like it here at all," Iuorio said.

Funny how in all the years of doing the show, Doc never did an anti-stop-loss Trade School

Bob Pisani on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the NYSE wants to eliminate stop orders because of the volatility of late August.

Pisani showed charts that basically only showed that someone who puts in a stop at 55 when the stock ends up back at 58 gets burned.

"The only real solution is for retail investors not to put in stop orders and to pay more attention to what they have and when they might want to sell what they have," Pisani said.

Actually, the only real solution is for stocks to never go down.

Overdramatizing the situation, Jon Najarian said that "ultimately," the exchanges eliminating the stop orders "are saving the customers money, because when you give a stop order out there folks you're basically opening up your wallet and encouraging somebody to lift all the money that's left in that wallet out of it. ... You won't see any pros using a stop order that uh, Bob Pisani just described."

Stephen Weiss agreed it's a bad idea to use a stop-loss but indicated stop-limit is fine, although frankly, if stop-loss doesn't make any sense, then stop-limit isn't much better; you're going to enter an order for a stock at 60 that if it gets to 55, you want to sell it at 58 when it presumably bounces. And what if instead of surging back to 58, it keeps sliding to 48. #valeant-esque #what'sthepoint

Pete Najarian used the conversation as an opportunity to tout put protection (Drink).

How come this person in the GE commercial is male? Don’t women write code too?

It was an impressive encore.

Mike Block, fresh off his last Halftime Report appearance in which he correctly pointed out that Jim Cramer's sell-health-care-as-rates-rise call made little sense, on Wednesday noted econ-pest Nouriel Roubini predicted 1.25% by the end of 2016 (see below), and "that means 5 jumps up, or some larger than 25 jump up. I don't get it."

"I don't think they go next year from where I'm sitting right now," Block said, and we'll second that notion not because we know anything about the Fed but only because betting against ZIRP is like betting on the 7 castaways being rescued.

Oddly enough, Judge wrongly told Block that Block's view is like being on "Gilligan's Island."

Stephen Weiss decided that the top of the program was the perfect time to unleash a many-months-old cliche: "I think that 25 bps is absolutely meaningless ... What I'm looking for after is the rate (Drink) of increases going forward."

Patrick O'Shaughnessy said it's been a "really bad policy" to make portfolio decisions based on interest-rate forecasts but that "value has done well in periods of rising rates."

Addressing recent global shocks, Steve Liesman told Judge about those Dead & Co. shows that, having done this for 3 decades, "Markets, uh, business journalists, uh, economists tend to overreact to these incidents," because they tend not to have a "pronounced effect" on macroeconomic growth indicators.

Steve Grasso on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said, "I don't think the Fed is gonna raise." Guy Adami curiously suggested the Fed could raise 25 bps in December and then go the entire 2016 without another raise, which sounds kinda like that 10-or-12½-bps nonsense we were hearing in August.

Judge goes several days without asking if AAPL’s best days are behind it

One stock whose best days are clearly behind it is IBM.

(Speaking of the headline above, that's actually an interesting topic for Scott Wapner's Halftime Report. AAPL is hardly the only company whose best days are behind it. GOOG and AMZN are never going to have another 10 years like the previous 10 years; MSFT's best days were the '80s or '90s; GE will never have another Jack Welch; Costco and Wal-Mart and Berkshire Hathaway aren't going to do what they did in the '80s, etc.)

But Patrick O'Shaughnessy on Wednesday's Halftime Report called IBM a "quintessential value stock."

Stephen Weiss and Judge debated whether it's easier to build a bull case or a bear case for a falling-knife stock such as IBM; not clear who won.

Courtney Reagan spoke with Target chief Brian Cornell and at one point mentioned a "tee- key tenet of your trategy- strategy."

Other than that, Reagan got almost nothing besides a spoken press release.

Judge had to relay a question to Cornell through Court, is it possible "the quote-unquote honeymoon is over." Cornell answered that Target has laid out "very clear plans" and is "delivering against" them. (Zzzzzzzz.)

Jon Najarian said "there are so many new online retailers," such as Jet. Pete Najarian said on both Halftime and Fast Money that if TGT lingers at current prices, it's a buy.

Hardeep Walia touted the Digital Dollars Motif, basically anybody connected to non-cash payments. Judge wondered about the omission of one name; Walia guessed Square but Judge said Apple.

Walia said AAPL is a "relatively small" player in digital payments. Judge said they were "literally (sic) just talking about" the AAPL upgrade by GS but literally, they were just talking about the elimination of stop-loss orders in which people open their wallet and have all the money in it taken out.

Walia said the Motif is popular because the "disruption" hasn't happened in this market, it's a defensive play, and it has prospects of China exposure.

Stephen Weiss said he's not sure who needs a GPRO "that's not very, very active."

Doc said he ditched GPRO from his Halftime Portfolio a day ago.

Mike Block said the housing sector has remained strong, and the stocks haven't had a pullback to buy them.

[Tuesday, November 17, 2015]

It’s ‘COSS-toe-low,’
not ‘Caw-STOLE-low’

Well, this was curious.

Dick Costolo, agreeing to talk to Judge at the CME's Global Financial Leadership Conference on Tuesday's Halftime Report, unleashed none of the comedy he's capable of and was less comfortable than Andy Dalton under the Texans' pass rush last night.

Dick sounded like he was speaking from talking points, specifically the word "fluently" in regard to Jack Dorsey.

"Jack's the guy," Dick said, calling him a "great, um, editor of the product."

"He's got the moral authority of the inventor of the product," Costolo added.

Sounding like a hamburger huckster, Dick claimed Twitter has "billions and billions of users that it reaches," which can't be accurate.

Dick finally got a chance to lash out at Judge's Bob Peck refrain about the "good chance" Dick would be gone/until they had a good quarter/then they had a bad quarter, etc. And in the process, Dick clarified something this page has asked about for ages.

"I appreciate that he pronounced my name correctly. 'Caw-STOLE-low is gonna be gone,' that's what really gets me," Costolo cracked.

But Dick indicated Peck's assessment had an impact. "You've got recruiters who start to call people that are thinking about coming to the company and they say, 'Hey did you just see what this guy said on CNBC, Dick might not- you're going there to work for Dick, he might not even be there in a year.' ... In hindsight, I would've paid a little bit more attention to that," Costolo said.

Dick chided Judge for stating the search for a new CEO took "seemingly forever," stating, "there's a difference between a hundred days and seemingly forever. 3 months."

Judge also suggested no one wanted the job. "That's nonsense," Dick retorted.

Costolo, who despite being in Florida looked to be dressed warmly enough for an Iditarod, insisted there's no need for the company to sell. "Everyone on the board felt strongly that Twitter can be a vibrant, independent company," he said.

Judge asked a good, relevant question about social media companies sharing data with the feds. "Those are nuanced discussions; there's a balance there ... lots of ongoing conversations," Costolo said.

Josh Brown suggested, "I think, uh, things probably would've been different if uh, if Jack were the CEO from Day 1. ... I feel bad for, uh, for Dick; it seems like he made a real go at it. ... I thought it was kind of a sad story, and, uh, I hope Mr. Costolo lands on his feet."

Pete Najarian called Jack Dorsey the "right man" for the job.

"I'm very intrigued by this," said Stephanie Link of TWTR, adding, "This reminds me of Facebook when it was in the 20s."

Lots of people in August said they had to move in September because they never raise for the first time in December

CME chieftain Terrence A. Duffy took a victory lap on Tuesday's Halftime Report, claiming he predicted stocks in 2015 would end up "within a couple percent" of last year's close.

Duffy, enjoying the spotlight with Judge as host of the Global Financial Leadership Conference, predicted a hike in 2015; "I think they will move in December," Duffy said.

Joe Terranova asked Duffy a question that didn't make a whole lot of sense, citing 2001 and the recent Paris attacks in asking how does the CME protect the "integrity of the futures contracts" from cyber threats.

Duffy called it a "great question" and took the opportunity to stress how CME has been taking advanced measures for "5-6" years. (Whew. CME is not just sitting around idle, oblivious to the concept of hacking.)

Judge asked about spoofing. Duffy got tripped up with the grammar, stating, "The real question is, what is the intent? The intent is to, you said, to order enters (sic words reversed) they have no, uh, interest in executing. That's spoofing."

"Bad actors are there," Duffy said, "but 1 is too many."

Judge had video delays and technical difficulties the entire hour and was caught asking "Huh??" before interviewing Duffy.

‘I’m not Dr. Doom’

Judge launched Tuesday's Halftime with, of all people, Nouriel Roubini (Zzzzzzzz).

"Growth is gonna be mediocre around the world," Roubini said.

Roubini said he's assigning a "bumpy landing" to China and sees "very low" odds of a U.S. recession.

Suggesting a hike could happen in December or not until next year, Roubini contended, "The Fed funds rate is gonna be between 1 and 125 by the end of next year."

Joe Terranova asked, "Where are we in this cycle of deflation?"

Roubini answered this is a world of "lowflation" and "disinflation" that we'll be in for "a number of years to come."

Judge irked Roubini telling him "not 2 or 3 months ago, you were warning of a liquidity time bomb in the markets. You had been talking about, uh, China, being a possible, uh, big issue."

Roubini responded that his outlook has "not changed," insisting he had been saying China will have a "bumpy landing" (Drink) and there won't be a global recession. He said there was market illiquidity only because of changes in market-making. "I'm not Dr. Doom, I'm Dr. Realist, and you have to be right; you have to be right."

Ticker symbols that
should exist (cont’d): BRA

Mike Harris told Judge on Tuesday's Halftime his models continue to suggest being short oil.

"I think the big level to watch here is $40," Harris said. "I think that we're not alone in thinking that this market's gonna go lower."

Joe Terranova asked Harris about ag and precious metals. Harris said he's taking a "short commodity position across the board. I haven't seen our book this short commodities for quite some time," suggesting a December Fed hike will further pinch commodities.

Pete Najarian said he continues to be long Dick's but thinks "the bad news is out."

"I think at these levels, it's a buy," Pete said.

Stephanie Link pegged the retail winners as auto, TJX and HD.

Josh Brown shrugged off WMT's gain and cautioned that HD is an outlier on new household formation.

Pete Najarian likened the clampdown on dietary supplements as being "very similar to the whole DraftKings thing" and said he wouldn't jump into GNC now.

Josh Brown said "Lowe's, technically, is set for a breakout."

Joe said of LB, "Small clothing, that's what sells."

[Monday, November 16, 2015]

Lee Cooperman plunged
into VRX before October

Even the greats make mistakes.

Kate Kelly on a sleepy Halftime on Monday reported a serious bungle in the hedge fund community, the disclosure that Lee Cooperman initiated a position in VRX by Sept. 30.

(We looked it up, it closed Sept. 30 at 178.)

Kelly also said Cooperman had doubled his stake in FB to over a million shares, had taken a 500,000-share stake in JCP, and had sold all of his GM. (Here's a complete rundown.)

Kelly said Loeb stepped into KHC, YUM and Nomad Foods. She also said Seth Klarman and Carl Icahn loaded up on LNG.

Josh Brown said virtually every "name brand" hedge fund he knows is down double digits and asked Kelly if anyone is "radically shifting their strategy" because of that. Kelly said the mood is "lousy" but that many popular trades are still "pretty crowded."

Pete Najarian said it's "surprising" to see Warren Buffett lightening up on GS.

Kelly said she's going to interview Ken Griffin at Citadel HQ on Thursday.

Suddenly, CNBC debate questions no longer seem like the Western World’s greatest outrage

Judge on Monday's Halftime Report updated viewers on the latest from Paris.

That involved an assessment from Gen. Barry McCaffrey about Barack Obama's handling of ISIS.

McCaffrey said the president made a "very disappointing statement," not just because of the president's prior "JV" rhetoric, but "the notion that nothing's changed, nothing's failed."

McCaffrey said we've been "incapable" of identifying and training Syrian fighters we like.

Josh Brown said he "wouldn't be shocked" to see the Fed mention the Paris attacks in its next statement.

In terms of growth, "The rest of the world is in trouble, and this just doesn't help," said Jim Lebenthal.

Russ Koesterich said he's "cautiously optimistic" that the market will look past the terror attacks in the near term, but he's concerned about longer-term implications in European politics.

Koesterich told Pete Najarian that if you believe "that the market is gonna move to the Fed's dots," then you "probably" want to get long some of the big banks and regional banks.

Koesterich conceded department stores "are under some pressure."

John Kilduff, who like McCaffrey isn't a big fan of recent presidential moves (specifically Keystone pipeline), said there was "short covering off the 40.06 low" in crude and that 37.75 is the next big number if 40 is broken.

Jeff Rossen of NBC News reported on the day's hot new terror angle that was mentioned on every CNBC program, which is terrorists communicating on PlayStation4 and even these instant messaging apps that can disappear. Pete Najarian called that "unintended consequences" and said these are things we want to use "each and every day" (sic redundant).

Joe Terranova declared that "the U.S. is the leader in global technology and obviously can combat better than any other nation what the concerns might be on ISIS' use of technology."

Jim Lebenthal called the problem "imminently (or was it "eminently") solvable" and said he expects the problem to be solved now that it has been identified.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman, in attractive new ensemble and glitter collar that resembled what Seema Mody was wearing, said, "Sad to say that the market is just getting a little bit used to these attacks."

Brian Kelly bristled at the notion of bitcoin being "untraceable" because "every transaction is public."

Guy Adami said stocks are just back to Thursday's level.

Carter Worth suggested 1,800 on the S&P.

Karen Finerman called the URBN pizza acquisition "astounding" and seemed to say "restauranteur" (sic mispronunciation).

Brian Sullivan has said for months that gasoline savings aren’t going to shopping but rather convenience-store cigarettes

Jonathan Krinsky sat in with Monday's Halftime crew to revisit his sell NKE call, suggesting the stock could go "another 10% or so lower."

The problem with that Oct. 20 appearance, as this page noted (hit PgDn a few times), is that Krinsky tried to cite 4 reasons why NKE was due to fall, and neither this page nor Judge does more than 3.

Krinsky said Monday the risk is that Nike is not immune to the overall retail debacle.

Josh Brown told Krinsky he "usually" reads Krinsky's notes and asked him to evaluate Tom Lee's opinion that energy and consumer discretionary are going to turn around in opposite directions.

Krinsky pointed to breadth and noted the market has moved sideways for a year, but "less and less stocks are participating."

Judge said Goldman Sachs suggested in a note that while the breadth is narrow, the FANG stocks could still outperform for a while. Krinsky insisted, "We would sell Amazon right now."

Jim Lebenthal agreed that FANG leadership is "not gonna last" but contended no one knows when it's going to turn.

Stephanie Link said she likes TJX based on the same inventory arguments we heard about every day last week. (Translation: Already baked into the stock.)

Link said Wal-Mart is going "head to head" against Amazon but that TJ Maxx is not going head to head against Amazon.

Pete Najarian said he has a position in DKS but not FL. Josh Brown said the sector's a "minefield."

[Friday, November 13, 2015]

Bob Peck says YHOO investors have ‘already discounted’ shoddy management, actually thinks Sheryl Sandberg could take job

It was fall-out-of-the-chair funny.

Bob Peck actually suggested with a straight face on Friday's Halftime Report that Sheryl Sandberg might be interested in the Yahoo CEO job.

Like Buster Posey accepting a promotion to the Pacific Coast League.

Peck said he put out a memo to the YHOO board regarding concerns about core fundamentals, tax liabilities and management that he has been hearing from investors.

Peck said that over the 3½ years since Marissa Mayer has been in charge, revenues are down about 10% and EBITDA is down about 45%.

Going out on a limb, Peck said, if "the core continues to deteriorate," there's a "good chance that in 12 months from now, Marissa Mayer may not be there."

Josh Brown suggested it doesn't matter who the next 2 or 3 Yahoo CEOs are because "at the end of the day (Drink), this just isn't a good business to be in anymore."

Peck of course pointed to Ross Levinsohn's plan a couple years ago (not the one about Twitter buying YHOO) to cut costs and boost ad exchanges and a deal with Microsoft.

Peck, who called the company an "unsuccessful turnaround," suggested quality CEO candidates include Peter Chernin, Levinsohn and Neal Mohan, and "obviously Sheryl Sandberg would be fantastic" (snicker).

In a curious new angle on this story, Peck told Sarat Sethi, "I think private equity is sharpening their pencils."

Josh Brown contended that private equity won't be handing out perks and won't be able to attract top execs and would only "make it worse."

But Stephen Weiss insisted "No it's not, no it's not ... They'll give 'em stock, they'll give 'em tremendous upside financially if they hit their targets."

And isn't that what Marissa has spent 3 years doing?

Sarat Sethi seeemed to back Weiss, stating, "This is a cash-flow play" and that an outsider would come in to cut costs, grow the cash, and then sell the company at a higher multiple.

"Who would you rather have running this company? Bain, or Marissa Mayer?" asked Weiss.

Well, that's a fair question.

Weiss also asked Peck why Peck has a buy on the stock. Peck said "investors have already discounted this," so "the core's being given to you for free."

Why not pay Herb to research it and go ‘over the heads’ of most analysts?

After much ballyhoo from Judge on Friday's Halftime about how Professor Aswath Damodaran, one of our long-running favorite guests, was going to shoot down some lofty valuations, Damodaran began by saying, "I'm gonna argue that the P.E. ratio is perhaps the worst possible multiple you can use to gauge these companies."

Judge protested that Judge was being bamboozled before Damodaran suggested there are 2 reasons for investing in Amazon.

Those reasons, according to the professor, are a simple momentum trade (he didn't say "Greater Fool" but that's basically what he meant), say, hoping it goes from 625 to 650, and the fundamental belief that AMZN ends up dominating retail, media and the cloud space.

To the latter, "The odds of that story unfolding are low," Damodaran said.

Well, talk about a lot of gobbledygook.

Viewers would've been far better served had Damodaran simply identified WHY there is such demand for the stock. Chances are, he would single out 3 things: revenue growth, customer loyalty and the fact it's an Internet stock.

What Damodaran proceeded to say made no sense: "If you're doing it for the right reasons, go ahead. I mean I- I think that each investor has to make his or her own decision on Amazon."

We have no idea if AMZN is going up or down. We do know that AMZN shares do not care in the slightest about how you arrive at a decision to buy them. It doesn't go up simultaneously for those who bought with a great rationale and down for those who didn't. You buy it if you think it's going higher in value, and you sell it if you think it's going lower in value.

"My last valuation of Amazon is about $200 per share," Damodaran said.

Not sure how it’s any more crucial than any other time

Jon Najarian offered a stark assessment of the retail scene on Friday's Halftime Report, stating he'd go looking for a "pony" in the "excrement" of the retail sector, but he's not sure there is a pony there.

"This sucks," Doc said.

Stephen Weiss said the consumer is "fairly flush" (Drink) but just isn't buying retail because it's too warm.

"The market looks like it looked before 6 weeks ago, 3 months ago," Weiss said. "I think it's overvalued right here."

Josh Brown noted this is retail's worst week since May 2009 vs. the S&P, curiously happening while oil is sliding.

"The market is still in a no-man's land," Brown said.

Steve Grasso, not mentioning S&P 1,700 this time, told Judge, "It's global growth. It's oil reflecting that lack of it ... Crucial times for the S&P."

Judge complained "6 people" were speaking for the Fed a day ago, and the market doesn't know what it all means.

Person calling Judge’s cell was probably Sandy Cannold, telling him to liven things up a bit

Karen Firestone of Aureus enjoyed a fine stint on Friday's Halftime Report, contending that consumers have deleveraged and that "wage growth has started to pick up."

Firestone likes FBHS as a play on the "later stages of housing."

Firestone thinks DAL is the "best-run airline" with a "very disciplined" capacity-growth plan. But likely to the disappointment of Pete Najarian, Firestone didn't say anything about that incredible refinery.

The odd thing was, Firestone agreed with Doc that she doesn't "jump into a lot of airlines," only to have Sarat Sethi tell Firestone moments later, "We own a ton of the airlines too."

Firestone also likes ALNY, which is a toughie to pronounce; she said it "fits perfectly" in the mid-cap biotech space with 2 products "in Phase III" and is a buyout candidate. Grandpa Stephen Weiss wondered what happens if those drugs don't make it through Phase III. Firestone insisted she knows the ALNY management well, and "we understand the clinical trials."

Firestone said VRX is "just not my style."

Meanwhile, Josh Brown said the market is "sick and tired of taking insiders out of these stocks" such as FIT.

Sarat Sethi said it'll be a "tough go" for Fossil competing with AAPL.

Stephen Weiss used the PRGO rejection to point to the "huge" arb spread in CVC.

Jim Iuorio told Jackie DeAngelis crude will break 40 "when the euro goes below 107 even" but expect support at 39.22. Anthony Grisanti said he sees no crude relief for 6-8 months and will continue to short.

Doc, obsessed with RL recently, said he'd re-add the name to his Halftime Portfolio if it reaches 113.

Steve Weiss admitted he sold some of his JD.com.

Short seller says he didn’t
make any headway when Mel
guest-hosted in May

Back on May 14 (see the archive), this page reported that Missy Lee gave VIPS short John Fichthorn of Dialectic Capital a "grilling" while Lee guest-hosted the Halftime Report.

Fichthorn sure hasn't forgotten.

Fichthorn joined Friday's Judge-helmed Halftime Report to reaffirm the short and stated, "There's a bigger question here around all the Chinese companies that I tried to bring up with Melissa last time I was on your show but really don't think I got the point across."

That point is, "They're unregulated and unaudited entities," Fichthorn said, clarifying that while audited in China (he said some form of "audited" dozens of times), "they are unaudited to U.S. legal standards."

Judge said the company has pushed back "pretty hard" against short sellers. Fichthorn said, "My reaction was the same thing that I tried to bring up with Melissa, which is, there are serious claims. There are serious questions that are being leveled against these companies, and the fact of the matter is, there aren't any answers."

Mel was not available for comment on Fichthorn's claims.

Fichthorn said VIP Shops claimed that it had $1 billion coming from a subsidiary facility, but when this site was visited, "there is no VIP Shops even there."

Josh Brown said VIPS wasn't down Friday because of "accounting stuff" but because of a lowered outlook. Fichthorn admitted Brown raised a good question, telling Brown, "If it's a fraud, do they not even have enough control over their fake numbers to know what they were gonna be when the quarter ended."

Fichthorn said it might be the first Internet company reliant on mobile usage to blame bad numbers on the weather.

Doc credited Fichthorn for "several great calls" including GPRO but said Friday's drop is based on soft sales and not fraud, so if the fraud allegations "pick up," then it could get "much worse very quickly."

In that May appearance, Mel paired Fichthorn against VIPS bull Gene Munster, who said the "magnitude" of difference between VIPS Chinese numbers and SEC numbers is wide enough so as to cause less concern about the whole operation.

But Fichthorn's worst grilling came from Joe Terranova, who suggested (sort of like this week with BABA) that someone making the case of Fichthorn should know whether the big banks were all "misled" before the VIPS 2012 IPO. "No. I'm debating a situation now," Fichthorn insisted.

More from Friday's Halftime, including Bob Peck's take on Marissa Mayer, later.

[Thursday, November 12, 2015]

Herb sees how Andrew Left got TV mileage out of old work, likens BABA to the mortgage market pre-2008, claims his research is ‘over the heads’ of nearly everyone

Judge's special guest for Thursday's Halftime Report was Herb Greenberg, whose latest anti-BABA hook is that Jim Chanos was "kind enough" to mention Herb's research on the name (even though Chanos' research is independent of Herb's research, yada yada yada). (This writer is long BABA.)

The problem is that Herb already trumpeted this research (his, not Chanos') in September and at that point claimed he identified the Barron's concerns on June 2.

So, we couldn't really tell what he had up his sleeve this time, except perhaps that he hasn't met his CNBC-appearance quota.

Herb told Judge that when you get away from the "noise" of Singles Day, etc., "then you have a company where you have to say, 'What are the true numbers?' And you don't know what the true numbers are."

OK. Got it in September, got it in November.

Herb recited the credentials (about 4 or 5 professional distinctions) of his business partner and said that after the partner explained Alibaba's finances, "My head blew apart ... This is like untangling a ball of knotted, wet yarn."

Judge then overdid it with the counterargument ("refute" is a matter of debate at this point), saying that after the Barron's article predicting a 50% drop from 64 (snicker), the company issued a "quite stunning rebuttal, literally line by line Herb, refuting almost everything that- that Barron's had suggested."

Herb dismissed that, declaring he and his CPA/forensic CPA/overqualified CPA/supergreat CPA partner are doing a better job on this than everyone else.

"I think- I think the issues we raise are over the heads, uh, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, but over the heads of most analysts. They're not looking as deep as we are well into the guts of the company," Greenberg contended.

Herb implied that he's on a fishing expedition, stating he tells skeptics, even his own subscribers, "Look, you have to start somewhere. ... It's sort of like CDOs, collateralized debt obligations, years ago."

Judge pointed out that the bull case is based on Singles Day, mobile monetization and earnings leverage, and told Greenberg, "you can't push back" on those fundamentals.

Greenberg retorted that he can, "You don't know what the real numbers are, Scott!"

Things derailed when Judge presented Jon Najarian as a BABA bull, only to have Doc praise Herb and link BABA to specialty pharmacies.

Doc told Herb he applauds transparency rather than "root against it" and credited Herb for being so good at what he does. Then he said people are wondering about the BABA logistics business, "is that kind of like Philidor?" (Something Herb's super CPA partner never thought to suggest, apparently.)

Frustrated, Judge stepped in and asked Doc if he's bullish or bearish on BABA. Doc insisted he's bullish on BABA. Herb then pretended Doc is bullish and said, "Jon and I are very good friends. And I respect the heck out of him."

"The pleasantry's great; we get it from both sides," snapped Judge.

"But can I just tell you something? They're- they're- they're in it for the trade," Herb said, referring to Najarian and Josh Brown recently touting the stock.

Joe Terranova finally brought down the curtain with by far the most relevant point, that this name has been studied for years by far more than just Herb, including during the BABA road show 12-18 months ago, and "why are we not assuming that they did their homework."

Herb trumpeted his own (and the megastar CPA partner) greatness.

"They I would suspect have not gone this deep," Herb said, stating since the IPO, the situation "has evolved much broader."

Judge hasn't bothered to ask Herb why he is so fixated on BABA and whether the same conditions might exist with Baidu, Tencent, CNOOC, China Mobile, Melco, etc.

Look — AMZN has been going up while all the brick-and-mortar retailers are going down


Jim Lebenthal on Thursday's Halftime Report predicted JWN wouldn't have a Macy's-style disaster. (This review was posted after market close on Thursday.)

But Lebenthal wasn't really alone. Pete Najarian didn't go quite that far but expressed enthusiasm for the name, which Pete correctly referred to multiple times as "J.W. Nordstrom." Pete suggested maybe Macy's "bought the wrong items" while JWN and KSS perhaps got it right.

But the Goat of the Day was basically M. Jon Najarian said Macy's and Wal-Mart are "not able to get out of their own way right now." Joe Terranova sort of said "JCsPenney" (sic) in suggesting JCP is taking some share back from M.

Steve Kernkraut, who said he's the most bearish he has been on retail in 5 years, pegged the disaster on M, stating, "If a consumer's able to buy at 50% off at Macy's, why're you gonna go to the Gap, or why're you gonna go to Kohl's."

Kernkraut said "the consumer's doing pretty well," but traditional retail is doing poorly (Drink).

Doc said "you can still be selective," and that's not the same thing as a "stock-picker's market" (Drink).

To that end, Mario Gabelli told Judge he bought 1,500-2,000 shares of M after the shellacking yesterday. "This is also cyclical and seasonal," Gabelli said.

Gabelli drew a contrast between the retail he likes (auto parts, good) and the retail Jim Lebenthal likes (clothes, not so good).

Judge asked "why in the world" Jim Lebenthal would add JCP for AAPL in his Halftime Portfolio. Lebenthal said "JCPenneys" (sic plural) is doing 2 things right, "continuing to execute on the back to the bargain hunter" (suggesting newspaper circulars are "working"), and online presence.

Doc trumpeted his put spreads in RL. Pete trumpeted TJX and ROST.

No inflation, commodities in free fall ... so let’s hike!

On Thursday's Halftime Report, Jon Najarian noted that Bullard is a "non-voting member" enlisted to distribute Yellen's let's-hike! message to the markets.

Joe Terranova asserted the Fed is content enough with "market stability" to hike rates in December.

But this is only mid-November, and Lawrence Summers said it best on Anthony Scaramucci's "Wall Street Week," stating, "I don't know why, what the strong case would be, uh, for raising rates."

In fact, calls to hike are bizarre, mostly stemming from 1) wishful thinking of a stronger economy and 2) people who are sick of ZIRP and in many cases likely never wanted it.

Mario Gabelli on Thursday claimed a rate hike is "long overdue" and thinks the market has already priced in a 3% rate on the 10-year.

Gabelli told Joe Terranova he likes FLS in the energy space. "This is when you start looking," Gabelli said.

Jon Najarian said he's been in and out of SUNE, but, "I haven't been in on the falling-knife side of it before."

Pete Najarian said "the amount of debt" is dogging SUNE while FSLR has "minimal debt."

Joe said it's harder for SUNE to sell assets as its stock falls, so he thinks SUNE's liquidity position "has not really improved that much."

Jim Iuorio told Jackie DeAngelis that "nothing is really new" in the oil story on Thursday and said 39.22 "is in the cards," but he doesn't see it much lower. Jeff Kilburg claimed he was going to "push back" a bit on Iuorio but in fact seemed to say the same thing, claiming "we're still range-bound."

Pete Najarian said February 60 calls in MSFT were popular. Doc said he didn't see "a ton" of option volume in CSCO.

Karen Finerman said on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that a lot of notable stock shellackings are setting up for a deal environment.

[Wednesday, November 11, 2015]

Undeniable greatness (a/k/a so much for that NYT story on Amazon’s work environment)

It looked like an early rout. But it wasn't.

A comparison of 2 Web retailers proved an intriguing conversation on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

Josh Brown said of BABA, "I don't think that the Street believes the numbers." (This writer is long BABA.)

Pressed by guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera as to what the Street doesn't believe, Brown said nobody believes 100% in numbers coming out of China and that there are "trust issues" with BABA.

"However, I'm long the name; I think it probably formed a bottom in the high 50s," Brown said.

Joe Terranova asserted that AMZN is a better bet than BABA, citing a bunch of current fundamental factors that are about 15 years in the making before finally getting to the point, stating, "technically, it looks absolutely sensational." (Translation: #momentumstock)

Pete Najarian gushed about Jeff Bezos, calling him "one of the best, if not the best."

Joe made a point that people made 10 years ago; "the products and goods that are being sold are being sold on Amazon right now."

"It really is a perfect storm for the stock," Joe claimed.

Doc said of Jeff Bezos, "My hat's off to him." But then the tide began to turn a bit.

"However, I think you can get 20% a lot faster over in Alibaba," Doc said. "I'll grant you that there's more risk, but I think there's a lot more than 20% upside if you believe in Jack Ma."

Josh Brown seemed to agree, suggesting all the greatness of Amazon and Jeff Bezos is already in the stock, whereas BABA has the chance to overcome trust issues.

Mark Mahaney on the 5 p.m. Fast Money hung a $775 on AMZN.

Does Doc think people can just start up their own Social Security program?

Wednesday's Halftime Report enabled the gang to unload on headline-grabbing politicians and anti-gambling interests.

It started when CNBC's Eric Chemi assessed Eric Schneiderman's determination on fantasy football, with Chemi arguing it is a combination of skill and chance.

Mr. New World (that came up again) said "of course" fantasy football is gambling. "It's almost like day trading," Joe said.

"But day trading's legal!" Jon Najarian bellowed.

"I know that," Joe said.

Josh Brown got philosophical, stating it comes down to, "Can you lose on purpose? ... When you apply that test to a lot of things in life, it turns out that there's way more randomness and chance than you might've originally thought."

"There is a heckuva lot of skill, though," said Pete Najarian.

That's when Doc got a little loopy, bellowing, "You can't say Mr. Schneiderman that it's illegal to have a lottery in New- er, legal to have a lottery in New York, and illegal to have this form of fantasy football gambling and/or any other fantasy sport, because they're the same thing."

Huh???? Governments can very much say it's OK for them to do Powerball but that nobody else can do it.

"Attorney General Schneiderman just wants a headline every single day. That's what he does," said guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

"This one will not stand up," Doc predicted.

MCC referred to Joe Namath as an "NFL (sic) Hall of Famer."

Judge didn’t exactly have any blockbusters from Kenneth Cole

In the first of 2 Fast Fires on the day, guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Wednesday's Halftime Report brought up Jon Najarian's retail Labor-Day-to-Black-Friday trade and asked, "How's that workin' out for ya?"

"Not so swell," said Doc, who said the seasonality this time is "mainly pointing towards the ecommerce sites."

As the day was spent with everyone and his brother identifying that AMZN is doing great this year while brick-and-mortar retailers are not, Judge, who isn't sure he could walk 26 miles, had a chat from the Iconic conference with Kenneth Cole, asking Cole about the "refresh" and "rebrand" and "new logo" of his company.

Cole explained, "As a public company, we couldn't do a lot of what we knew we needed to do, and some of the big, kinda holistic changes that ..."

"I look at my closet every morning and I say, 'What do I wish was here,' and I go to work and make it," Cole said.

Pete Najarian 3 times (including the 5 p.m. show) impressively got the corporate name right, saying, "I would look at Nordstrom right now as an opportunity."

After months of dormancy, Joe Terranova finally caught fire in the comedy department when Josh Brown claimed retailers blame the weather like Brown blames his metabolism.

Brown said, "The market has already figured this out."

Joe asked, "The metabolism, or behind the scenes of Macy's."

"Little from Column A, little from Column B, thank you Joe," Brown said.

Brown made the distinction between the XLY and XRT. "So retail is not doing well. The consumer is doing great," Brown said.

Betting against ZIRP has worked how many times in the last 7 years?

Rick Rieder on Wednesday's Halftime Report told guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera he's "pretty convinced" the Fed will hike in December and like everyone else who believes that, insisted that they should've done it in September.

Rather than the start date, Rieder said the "more important dynamic" is the "pace they go at (Drink) and the destination they're going to," predicting a "very gradual" climb.

Joe Terranova asked Rieder to outline the "metrics" the Fed would use to justify a cycle of hikes. Rieder confirmed he doesn't expect that but allowed, "the Fed's gotta be sensitive to the currency" and what the rest of the world is doing. For those not thinking they already are.

Underestimating the challenge, Rieder said the Fed will try "to keep the long end down." Which is great news to fans of the inverted yield curve.

Rieder said it's "hard to say" whether duration or credit risk in bonds is higher, suggesting it depends on the situation.

What happened to Doc’s trade of looking up Wisconsin stocks upon elevation of Paul Ryan as speaker?

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime called the beer M&A a "fantastic deal."

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said with a wink, "Hyphenated names are so overrated."

Pete Najarian used the iPad Pro as a reason to pound the table for AAPL again.

"I walked into a McDonald's this weekend in Wisconsin for the first time in decades for breakfast and walked right out," Joe said. "Smelled awful."

But he likes the stock. "Technically it's pristine," Joe said. (Translation: #momentum)

"The fact that they're not doing the REIT is actually a good thing," Joe added, advising, "below 110, you're out."

Josh Brown was unfazed by Marc Andreessen's curious unloading of half his FB stake (with an Oculus breakout purportedly in the works according to Gene Munster). "I don't think it's shocking that he sold some," Brown said.

Scott Nations told Jackie DeAngelis that crude could see a 3-handle and said a floor is "not gonna happen anytime soon." Brian Stutland said crude volatility is actually down from a few months ago and called 40 "very reasonable by the end of the year here."

Remember SUNE’s not supposed to trade with the price of oil

Pete Skibitski on Wednesday's Halftime said former military personnel want a "helping hand up, right, they don't want a handout."

Skibitski said "most people" are not talking about cuts to the defense budget. He likes BA, RTN and HRS.

He said he's in "a little bit of a pause mode" now in LMT.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera called Skibitski a "great Polish name."

Doc got Fast Fired on SUNE, except he claimed he actually got out of SUNE on the short squeeze based on unfounded rumors of Tepper taking a position and "faded" the 11% spike.

"That was a nice trade," Najarian said; it did spike the day after he mentioned it but has been Dog City since.

Pete Najarian said November 10 calls in XRX were popular. Doc said December 75 calls in STT were popular.

Doc said RL is looking to backfill a gap. Pete said to keep an eye on ACAS. Josh Brown noted the volatility in FCX.

[Tuesday, November 10, 2015]

Judge maybe wants to bring on Woodward & Bernstein to talk about their presidential scoop

Andrew Left is eager to milk his newfound celebrity, and Judge is only too happy to be an enabler.

Left issued another tweet that landed him an invite on Tuesday's Halftime Report, where Left began by telling Judge, "Let's talk about yesterday."

Left explained Mallinckrodt presented results of its "first real robust study" on Acthar and that it "failed to meet its primary endpoints."

Judge questioned if Left isn't just "repackaging an old story." (Ding-ding-ding)

Left admitted he has written about this subject "many times" and regarding Questcor, previously "underestimated the ability of someone to buy them."

"But, I still stand by all that research as being valid," Left said, stating, "It took longer for the story to play out, uh, than I expected it to."

Except not much has played out. Left is like John Grisham's publisher after The Firm exploded; suddenly there was a demand for anything Grisham, so his excruciating first novel that no one even knew about, A Time To Kill, suddenly got repackaged onto the best-seller list and even found a home in Hollywood.

Left proceeded to make almost no argument for shorting MNK, grumbling that CEO Mark Trudeau was on CNBC earlier and was asked what percentage of profits come from Achtar, and "He said he would not disclose that." But Left said he would "guarantee" that Michael Pearson could tell you what any Valeant product, within 50 basis points, contributes to the bottom line.

Oh joy. Stop the presses.

"This is not Valeant. This is worse," Left concluded. How so?

Judge, waving this one through like a sleepy third-base coach, suggested Trudeau might go on CNBC to rebut the interview later. Left argued nobody should listen to either Trudeau or himself but the studies, which haven't been done in 65 years. "This drug is older than the Edsel," Left said.

OK. So what?

"This is a tax-inversion, platform-type roll-up strategy. This is not a pharmaceutical company," Left contended.

And Judge deemed this analysis worthy of an interview because ... ? ... (Carl Icahn wasn't available to declare the world is going to end?)

Judge only reluctantly asked Left about his MNK position. "Yes, I'm short Mallinckrodt," Left said, apparently out of deference to Judge giving him this much time to trumpet old reporting. "I guarantee Trudeau is long more than I'm short."

Judge finally realized that this interview was ghastly overpromised and underdelivered, noting MNK was spiking during their conversation. Left said he doesn't comment on "moment-to-moment movements; it's irrelevant," suggesting not that investors didn't give a hoot about what he supposedly had that was so important but instead expected some "gotcha-type journalism thing."

On to other matters, Judge asked Left what his short case against W is. "Uh, because I have a garage full of furniture of things that I bought online until my wife said, 'If you buy one more piece of furniture online, we're done here,'" Left said, which, uh, doesn't seem like a very scientific case.

"Uh, it's a stupid business model; it doesn't make sense," Left added.

Judge asked Left if he still sees VRX at 50. "You know, I- there's gonna be a lot- I'm gonna wanna see what the next few quarters look like," Left said.

Josh Brown pointed to MNK's climb during the interview as proof that shorting isn't as easy as Scooby-Doo taking the mask off the bad guy; you have to time it.

Joe Terranova, who had a quiet show, said it's "obvious" to him that MNK was doing some buybacks during the show.

Pete Najarian observed that Left suggested MNK is worse than VRX, and "I don't know that he was able to prove that it's worse."

Of course not. However, we'll say this: Left is funny, perhaps borderline hilarious, and there's potential here.

Judge is going to ask every AAPL-related guest for weeks if company’s best days are behind it

Credit Suisse's Kulbinder Garcha, apparently in defiance of all of those purported "Apple haters" who email the Fast Money/Halftime crew whenever they say anything negative about AAPL shares, told Judge on Tuesday's Halftime that channel checks have detected a "slightly earlier weakening in Apple's supply chain" in Asia.

But despite lowering estimates, Garcha still has a $140 outperform even while suggesting AAPL could have multiple quarters of sluggishness. Garcha said "we'll have to see them go through" the comps of the iPhone 6 and 6+ but that growth will re-accelerate mid-2016.

"Over time, the stock will work, but certainly we're not gonna see the growth that we saw in Apple in recent years," Garcha said.

Josh Brown scoffed that he's been ignoring AAPL downgrades "for, I don't know, 10 years," and suggested the buyback will "mute" the effects of supply-chain slowdowns.

Stephanie Link (yes) argued with Brown (no) over whether portfolio managers have to overweight or underweight a position; Link said there's no catalyst to be overweight AAPL right now.

Pete Najarian mocked Dialog Semi's warning and how it dropped AAPL from 119 to 116.

Good thing Sully wasn’t guest-hosting, would’ve told Paul Pagnato how he said months ago that the gasoline savings wouldn’t be spent except on convenience-store cigarettes

Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime Report said this week has been "just a mean reversion of a significant rally through the month of October."

Paul Pagnato said "the consumer's the main story here. ... This would not be a time to be taking chips off the table."

Pagnato said "one of our major themes is consumer discretionary. Specifically, we like Cabela's," adding he fishes professionally.

Josh Brown pointed out how the XRT has been "way underperforming." Brown also harped on how USA Today revealed that 100% of the gains in the S&P 500 comes from the top 10 stocks.

"Hedge fund trades are blowing up left and right," Brown contended.

"It's very hard to make money," Brown added.

Pagnato said there are a lot of money managers "behind the 8 ball" who will pour money into stocks by the end of the year. "The energy pullback that we've had has put $700, per person, in their pocket. They're spending 78% of that."

Late in the program, Phil McConkey visited the set to talk about Hiring Our Heroes, which meant we had to see those obnoxious Super Bowl XXI images again. (Why not Harry Carson putting on the security guard jacket and hiding from Bill Parcells while dumping the Gatorade?)

McConkey said he thinks the Fed moves by the end of the year, but "what's the big deal?"

McConkey claimed the Giants have "another run left in them."

Josh Brown credited Stephanie Link for being bullish on MCD.

[Monday, November 9, 2015]

Karen paints a far more realistic portrait of department stores than the dudes on the Halftime Report

Pete Najarian, in contrast with Citi's TGT upgrade, said on Monday's Halftime Report, "I think it is an easy stock to love" and mentioned the magic word, "omnichannel." But Jim Lebenthal shrugged that Target is just another retailer trading at fair market value.

Josh Brown warned that if you buy TGT, "You're buying another victim of Amazon and possibly Jet.com."

Fair enough. But Judge's lukewarm gang got stomped on this subject by Karen Finerman, who told it like it is on the 5 p.m. show.

Finerman said there's "something very serious going on in the department store space" and admitted "I'm sad" about her M investment (but because she has hedged her position, "50's the worst-case scenario for me").

However, Finerman and the other panelists suggested retailers are doing OK, it's just an issue of where and how they're buying.

At Halftime, Steve Weiss and Josh Brown noted M has lost about a third of its value in 4 months. Weiss said he doesn't buy stocks in front of earnings, but if he did, it would be M (Drink) because of low expectations.

Jim Lebenthal said that if JCP is to have a stumble, this is the quarter, but he thinks they'll right the ship.

Pete Najarian on the 5 p.m. show referred to "J.W. Nordstroms (sic)."

Didn’t hear anyone congratulating Jerry Yang for scooping up BABA

On Monday's Halftime Report, Kara Swisher summarized her scoop on Yahoo hiring McKinsey, telling Judge that the problem with Yahoo is, "they haven't been able to create innovative products."

Eric Jackson called Swisher's report "accurate in every way," then told Judge, "Well, I think the message is that Marissa Mayer doesn't really know what she's doing."

Jackson said Mayer has "strategically lurched around" for 4 years, and that for example, we're not hearing anything anymore about Yahoo winning over search on the iPhone.

"It's a comedy of errors," Jackson said, stating, "She isn't- was not qualified, now it's obvious to be a CEO at- at Yahoo or any other place, and she should leave."

Swisher called the company a "troubled asset" and conceded, "Whatever strategy she did, it- it- it didn't work."

Swisher admitted, "I don't know what it needs, but it needs something different."

Josh Brown asserted that YHOO has "nothing there" and asked Jackson, "What is the asset that you think has value," a great question, as we're not sure why Jackson is so enamored with this stock.

Jackson called it a "top 5 Internet property" and claimed Comcast, Fox and CBS would all like to own it "for next to nothing."

Swisher said it's got a "global footprint." But so does this site (snicker). So does practically any website.

If you’re long APA, you gotta hope it’s Rex Tillerson

Liz Ann Sonders, among the very prettiest of business television, told Judge on Monday's Halftime that it's "the trajectory of hikes that matters more than the start date" (Drink) but conceded the market on Monday might've been concerned the Fed will be moving a little more quickly than previously thought.

Sonders was as expected totally middle of the road, saying we're not too stretched and that she doesn't see "anywhere resembling an egregious valuation problem within technology."

Pete Najarian said it "certainly" looked to him like PCLN was extended. Jim Lebenthal said he's just going to come out there and say, "I'm starting to get worried about growth."

Stephen Weiss explained the ideal central bank: "You want a Fed that- that is smart, that's good, that's convict (sic) in their direction."

Josh Brown called PCLN "the very definition of high-beta."

Jim Lebenthal said APA's rejection of a presumed integrated takeover isn't necessarily the opening of the floodgates in oil M&A and suggested crude will be "lower for longer."

Stephen Weiss said "we don't know anything" about what APA rejected.

Josh Brown said HTZ has been a "hedge fund hotel," so someone's been "getting blown out of this thing." Brown added, "I don't know what anyone sees here."

Pete Najarian used the timber deal to endorse GS.

After a long speech about online that didn't really arrive at a point, Stephen Weiss said he'd be "content to be a seller" in WTW.

Stephanie Link touted GE's spinoff of Synchrony (SYF); "I would be buying a little bit this week, and I would be buying into next week."

Pete Najarian said, "I'm in GE." Josh Brown said, "GE is a legit breakout" and "it's just getting started."

Jim Lebenthal suggested "a lot of portfolio managers" will dump the SYF spinoff, which would make it an attractive buy.

Kate Kelly reported on Bill Ackman's quarterly call. Jim Lebenthal grumbled that VRX didn't disclose the $100 million Philidor option.

Stephen Weiss said the VRX story is damaged "for the foreseeable future."

Pete Najarian said someone's in the 20.50 POT calls expiring Friday; Pete got in too.

[Friday, November 6, 2015]

Earth to Judge: Cramer’s call makes no sense, at least not enough to be mentioned on your program

Some moments are made for people to rise to the occasion; such was the case when Mike Block unleashed a tour de force on Friday's Halftime Report.

At one point, goosing the cross-promotion obligations, Judge aired a morning clip of Cramer recommending banks at the expense of health care, which quite frankly made little to no sense.

Judge actually struggled to defend it, eventually arriving at the notion that people would start buying banks and get rid of the losers, which have included health care recently.

Block revealed, "I don't get the health-care call from Jim," though unfortunately Block felt obligated not to rock the boat too much and that "Jim actually to his credit had, has had some great calls past couple of months. I went back yesterday and looked."

Judge demanded, "What don't you get."

Block said, "Why are we calling health care on a rate hike ... why is he pressing that button. I don't quite get it."

"The button's already been pressed, has it not," Judge tried to argue.

"Exactly!" said Block. "So why is he pressing a button that's already been pressed. Someone help me out here. I don't get that."

Stephen Weiss tried to defend the Cramer call, stating, we're "still seeing that unwind" in health care through Jan. 1, "then you'll see a lift."

But that doesn't explain how in the world health care is a sell on rising rates.

We never heard a word in this program about anyone pairing a long LeBron James of Banks against a short XLV.

Block said, "I'd be looking to sell industrials and materials."

Jim Lebenthal said he's not sure the extent of the move in banks Friday was warranted and cautioned we could still have the Fed pulling the football away from Charlie Brown like Lucy.

Anyone betting against ZIRP for years has been taken out feet first

Mike Block, with a little help from Rob Sechan, was also adding a dose of needed reality to the rate-hike euphoria on Friday's Halftime Report.

Paul Richards said the Fed is "definitely" going in December, "it's not 60%, it's 90%."

Sechan said the jobs report "raises the odds" for a Fed hike to 60%, but the "final chapter" has not been written.

Block called the jobs report "great" but wondered, "what if we were back to 200, 150, 200 points lower on the S&P? Would we still be having this conversation? ... There's a month and a few days until the next Fed meeting; let's see what the market does here."

Honestly, this happens every couple of months: a robust economic report, expectation of a pending Fed hike, then a weak economic report, some kind of distress overseas, and a middling stock market, and then we're back to the same level of rates as the last 7 years.

Sechan said he would "absolutely" buy a dip if there is one caused by a Fed hike. But, he said you have to be "much more" selective in the U.S. than anywhere else. He likes technology, health care and is "broadly more bullish outside the U.S.," specifically Europe and Japan.

"I'm really worried about emerging markets," Sechan said.

Paul Richards, who has argued for months if not years that the economy's booming like nobody's business, asserted the dollar's rally is only in the 5th inning.

Steve Weiss said he's still bullish despite the chance of a 3% 10-year in mid-2016.

BABA was at $64.63 when the
Barron’s article was published

Judge on Friday's Halftime reported that Jim Chanos is pitching BABA as a short and suggesting JD.com as a long against it. (This writer is long BABA.)

"Jim's making a great call," said Stephen Weiss, who said he's long JD, "the quality play," and not BABA because of BABA's "opaque" accounting.

Weiss also said hedge funds are making "the exact trade." (Yes. But are they making the Cramer trade of buying banks and selling health care because of expected rate hikes?)

Mike Block said BABA also has an issue with Alipay that might be making the Chinese government frown.

Jim Lebenthal said BABA's valuation is "not insane" but actually warned that the Barron's article and Chanos' apparent presentation could be a "1-2 punch" for the stock.

Chipotle stumbles are no longer a laughing matter

Kate Kelly on Friday's Halftime reported that Goldman Sachs sold a bunch of VRX shares because Pearson couldn't make a margin call. "I can't say for a fact that the entire Goldman sale happened yesterday," Kelly said.

Stephen Weiss said he wouldn't touch VRX at 82, stating, "This is a roll-up" and there's "no surprise as to how this was going to end."

Meanwhile, Mike Block pointed to a 2012 Chipotle incident in which the company brushed off a spike in meat costs, and "everyone laughed it off," but "investors are not gonna laugh off little foibles like that anymore."

Jim Lebenthal said there's "no question" CMG has suffered bad publicity from those ads over the summer and this e. coli concern, "so the real question is, how long does it last? ... You gotta wait right now," Lebenthal said.

Sarat Sethi pronounced CMG a "momentum stock."

Stephen Weiss called it "crazy" that the Baird analyst reduced his CMG target by $200 basically on the e. coli thing.

It was Pete who said he unloaded all his FB position

In a curious presentation of "What's Bothering Mike Block" on Friday's Halftime, Block said he's seeing "a narrowing of breadth here that worries me. ... People are crowding into all the same stocks."

Yes. Everyone has to have the LeBron James of Banks.

Plus CELG. The stock that is never, ever, ever a sell.

Block pointed to CMG being punished, which Stephen Weiss shrugged off as representing "efficiency in the market."

Weiss also cracked, "I'm looking directly at ya, I see no narrowing."

Jim Lebenthal though said Block has a point, asserting "900 basis points of difference between growth and value is way, way outside of the norm."

Judge said Block's point was not ridiculous, but Judge couldn't remember whether Josh Brown said a couple days ago he sold his FB stake.

Weiss said, "We're at the upper end of the trading range."

John Kilduff: U.S. will regret
Keystone decision

Judge on Friday's Halftime Report found an instant critic of President Barack Obama's Keystone Pipeline decision in the form of CNBC oil go-to guy John Kilduff.

Kilduff called the Keystone decision "a bit worrisome" and one the U.S. will "come to regret" years from now not building the pipeline.

Perhaps. But we don't recall anyone mentioning the pipeline in CNBC Republican debate (the one featuring the "comic-book campaign.")

Much less controversial, Robert Frank spoke Friday of people who buy props from James Bond films.

Jim Lebenthal said JCP is "executing very well" and that it's "definitely headed in the right direction."

Judge declared, "Retail's not good."

[Thursday, November 5, 2015]

Judge bring tears
to hockey tough guy

We were wondering how a hockey player discussing dyslexia was a relevant topic for a momentum-stock-picking program.

Then we got our answer: Nelson Peltz

Former NHL pugilist Tie Domi told Judge on Thursday's Halftime about his new book; "I want to make some, kind of, generational values and lessons that I went through."

Then Judge brought in Peltz via phone to congratulate Domi; apparently Domi views Peltz as sort of a father figure and was momentarily choked up to have Peltz on the line.

"If I ever had to be in a foxhole, I'd want Tie right there with me," Peltz said.

Apparently not realizing this was going to happen, "You caught me off guard there, Scott," Domi said.

We wondered if Judge might ask about the status of DuPont, or whether Jeff Sonnenfeld's contention that 5 of 11 of Peltz's companies have had share price fall since landing a board seat while Peltz says nearly all of his companies have gone up since he started buying the stock is accurate. Domi didn't really go there.

Buying Valeant recently
over $100, ouch

Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report said the VRX options activity was "absolutely extraordinary," even over 200% "in some cases."

Pete said it's an environment not really seen since the big banks in 2008, people were buying next week's 70 puts that went from $1 to $5 and "were even going down to the 50-strike puts."

Pete said he's not in the trade because it's too expensive, while Judge protested that Judge wasn't even going to ask.

Josh Brown said there are people with "serious career risk" in VRX.

Stephanie Link called CELG's stumble "crazy" and wondered why anyone would buy VRX with (incredibly mighty always-a-buy) CELG out there.

Pete Najarian of course called the CELG pullback an "opportunity" (Drink).

Kate Kelly on the 5 p.m. Fast Money noted how many Ackman stocks were hit and asserted, "There really seemed to be a Pershing Square effect in the market today."

As for VRX, "It's way oversold unless there's a massive fraud," Kelly opined.

Now it’s an Oculus story

Just a day ago (see below), this page noted that every element of Facebook's business was touted on Wednesday's Halftime Report, except one.

So Thursday it was Oculus' turn to be called the greatest thing since sliced bread, Josh Brown stating "it could be even bigger than social networking."

Brown even asked Gene Munster to describe Oculus Rift. "This is gonna come across as, uh, being, uh, a little bit out there, but ultimately this is the new paradigm in computing," Munster claimed.

"This Oculus Rift is gonna change how investors think about the entire thing and have an impact on Facebook's multiple," Munster actually claimed.

Meanwhile, Brown said FB's report was "better than flawless," even "magical."

Pete Najarian said "it almost feels like it's as good as it gets" for FB but he still sees a healthy "runway" in front of the stock, though he took his entire position off in his personal account.

Jim Lebenthal doesn't own FB but said he's not sure a pullback will happen, and "this is a growth stock that is actually starting to really justify its multiple."

Lebenthal asked a great question of Munster, whether FB can do a "transformative acquisition." Munster said Snapchat gets thrown around but then suggested Magic Leap, "probably the most important private company in the tech world right now."

Josh Brown believes the stats that 1/7 of the world's population is doing something on Facebook every day.

Dave DeWalt probably needs to start hitting the airwaves again

Josh Brown said on Thursday's Halftime Report "there are better places" to be in cybersecurity than FEYE and this notion of the U.S. and China agreeing on fewer attacks is a "farce."

Pete Najarian said it "would make some sense" and then "a lot of sense" if Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's teamed up.

Stephanie Link said EXPE isn't a buy today but over the longer term; expect no payback "for quite some time."

Jim Lebenthal said QCOM's stumble "is overdone" and that the market is setting a new "baseline" for the stock, and "I think all the bad news is in the stock."

On the other hand, Josh Brown said he likes RL, but he's not sure all the weakness is out.

Stephanie Link said KATE posted "really big numbers," but she's not eager to chase the pop.

Pete Najarian said things at RIG are "not so great."

Jim Lebenthal said JBLU deserves some premium but warned of how LUV once equaled the market cap of all the legacy carriers and then became just another legacy carrier.

‘Star Wars’ is underestimated?

Anthony Grisanti on Thursday's Halftime Report said there's "definitely a disconnect" between stocks and copper. Jim Iuorio said copper would need a "fundamental reason" to fall below the trend line it's at right now. (Zzzzzzz.)

Judge read a novel about the Andrew Liveris-Dan Loeb standoff.

Pete Najarian said he noticed somebody buying December 45 DOW calls who is moving up to 55 calls, so Pete got in the trade, unlike VRX, which he thinks is too pricey.

Stephanie Link claimed DOW longs "kinda win either way."

Josh Brown said DOW looks like it's breaking out and if it gets above 53, expect a "major, major move."

Revisiting his defense of WFM, Pete Najarian said "Krogers (sic) is absolutely eating into everything that they've got" but that this level for the stock is appealing.

But Steph Link said WFM is trading at "19 times forward" and suggested the new concept will "cannibalize" some of their older stores.

Josh Brown said if WFM feels the stock is a buy, why aren't the insiders buying?

Jim Lebenthal said of the "Star Wars" movie, "No matter how much you underestimate (sic) it, it's gonna exceed expectations."

Stephanie Link said DIS has had a nice rally up to now and that other media names have sold off upon reporting.

#BragTrade: Pete noted he bought DIS under 100.

[Wednesday, November 4, 2015]

Yes, just about every conceivable FB business angle was mentioned (except Oculus)

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the FB report comes down to a couple things; "how far along are they on Instagram monetization," and video ads. (This review was posted after the actual earnings report.)

Joe Terranova said we'll be looking for 2016 ad budget guidance and 2016 expenses.

Neil Doshi said he's looking for results on Instagram, video and content. He told Josh Brown that the WhatsApp monetization model is based on TenCent's WeChat and other services.

Doshi conceded "some sizable sales" by FB insiders but asserted that it's people "just trying to diversify out."

Pete Najarian said Facebook could experience "huge" growth in India.

Karen Finerman said on the 5 p.m. Fast Money that FB might be at the level of declaring a split, which is "ridiculous" for having a market effect, but it does work.

‘Reflexive Catch-22’

Steve Liesman told viewers of Wednesday's Halftime Report that Janet Yellen insists a December hike is "a live possibility."

As opposed to a "Dead possibility," which could be, hmmm, "U.S. Blues," "Bertha," "Franklin's Tower" ...

Liesman somehow said the Fed has "this terrible, reflexive nature of really being a Catch-22 situation."

Pete Najarian mentioned the VIX, which gave Joe Terranova the chance to link the Fed's decision-making to the VIX, but he didn't.

Jon Najarian doesn't believe the Fed will hike in December but thinks Yellen needs "some of the buy-in if you will that they could move," because most of the folks on the panel think this is "crying wolf."

Jeff Kilburg told Jackie DeAngelis the dollar's bound by a 94-98 range but asserted Yellen "cannot allow it to get stronger." Anthony Grisanti said "this could be a classic example of buy the rumor, sell the fact."

Doc called the bottom in big caps on Aug. 25

Joe Terranova said on Wednesday's Halftime that Dick's is outperforming Hibbett and Cabela's and he thinks the first step in the space is "sell to neutral" as Goldman Sachs advises.

Joe said CAB has an "inherent" (sic) (Drink) store problem in that customers want atleisure that Cabela's isn't providing.

Pete Najarian mentioned "Nordstroms" (sic) and said DKS isn't getting enough dollars per square foot for its "huge space."

Doc gloated about buying DIS, FB and XOM on the big August drop.

Pete Najarian said AAPL is starting to break out; "maybe 130's in its sights."

Joe said he was right in October about the Royals winning the World Series and AMZN going to 650. (He was wrong about the Miami Dolphins winning the Super Bowl, but he jacked one out of the park on AMZN.)

Josh Brown actually claimed with a straight face that Reed Hastings "does not care about meeting the Street's expectations;" Brown said a new high in the stock by Christmas wouldn't surprise him.

Ticker symbols that should
exist (cont’d): BRA

Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the setup in KORS is "pretty easy," you can get long with a stop at 38.

But Dana Telsey said to "look under the hood" on KORS, pointing out the quarter overachieved because of lower SG&A, lower tax rates and a buyback, while the handbag industry is "decelerating."

Judge then questioned how Telsey could knock the handbag business but recommend KATE. Telsey said KATE is a "smaller business" with a "more extensive product offering" and not as much department-store exposure.

Pete Najarian mentioned "Nordstroms" (sic) (Double Drink) for the 2nd time and asked Telsey for a call. Telsey said she wanted to wait for the earnings report, though she said the magic word, "omnichannel."

Jon Najarian asked Telsey if she dislikes the KORS gross margin as much as he does. Telsey indicated yes.

Telsey likes LB for holiday and for next year. Her case for VFC is that 80% of the business is "outdoor and active."

Joe Terranova called LB "tiny clothing, big profits." Joe said he has "loved this stock since $40" but somehow hasn't owned it.

Joe’s WFM question a bit clumsy

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said the bear case for WFM is that the stock's "on its backside," which sounds like a classic momentum trade.

Doc said there's pricing pressure and fewer stores opening.

But Pete Najarian said WFM is trading at 13 times free cash flow, much cheaper than KR.

Apparently expecting history to repeat itself, Joe Terranova said WFM a year ago at this time soared from 40 to 55 "over a basic 3½-month time period" and couldn't it do the same thing and asked Doc if this time it could sustain the higher move. But Doc said there'll be a "sub-30" opportunity in the stock.

Josh Brown said he agrees with the WFM bull case, "this is a very low-risk entry."

Not everything is the next YouTube

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he "luckily" unloaded DDD from his Halftime Portfolio early in the year.

Najarian called the CEO change a "very positive step" for Groupon. Brown and the Najarii pointed out Groupon turned down a $6 billion offer from Google.

Josh Brown said X is in "a terrible business."

Joe Terranova said he won't touch CHK.

Doc said he'd be checking the afternoon options to see if FEYE is active again. Joe called PANW (Drink) "the much better trade."

Pete Najarian said CELG (Drink) "could be very, very interesting."

Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said VRX still has a lot of debt.

[Tuesday, November 3, 2015]

People on stock-picking shows sure recommend a lot more buyouts than actually happen

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime Report issued a message to any company looking at GoPro: "If there's a time, now might be the time."

Joe Terranova said he has no interest in ETSY but is kind of interested in Party City. "If I were Disney, I'd gobble up Party City and just sell my products right in the store," Joe said.

Joe predicted GM takes out the March highs. Jon Najarian said he likes BMW. Stephen Weiss said he likes GM and "conversely," it makes the rental-car space a sell because "they're flooding the market with used cars."

Pete Najarian grumbled about FIT changing the lockup; "that part, I-I just don't get," he said, bemoaning that "it makes it very, very difficult" for his November calls to pay off.

Steve Weiss said if you like FIT, then the "great buying opportunity" is when it prices the secondary.

Joe touted VIRT and demanded people "stop" classifying Virtu as HFT.

Guest admits missed call in ’98

Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report asked Doug Terreson "why now" for Evercore ISI to call big oil a buy.

Terreson said they've only recovered "about 20% of their underperformance."

Terreson predicted 55-60 Brent this year and "65 or so" next year.

Joe Terranova asked Terreson if Einhorn's "motherfrackers" have found a bottom. "We think they're pretty close," Terreson said.

Terreson suggested the industry is ripe for consolidation and that in commodity industries such as oil, "If you have 2 or 3 mergers, you end up having 6 or 7."

Terreson refreshingly told Judge, "For full disclosure, when I made this call in 1998 ... I missed it, I didn't get the combinations correct."

"I love the call," said Doc, dubbing it "gutsy" for making it now rather than a month ago.

Stephen Weiss said it looked like the long-energy trade was setting up a couple weeks ago; "I just haven't pulled the trigger."

Joe noted energy was holding up despite "incredibly warm weather this late in the fall."

Scott Nations told Jackie DeAngelis that traders are expecting more demand for crude, boosting the rally, and that producers will "have to finally get serious about curtailing production." Jim Iuorio said if crude holds 47, then expect 51.50, which sounds like a Van Halen album.

Still seems like not a good time to restart Bill Fleckenstein’s short fund

Jeremy Siegel on Tuesday's Halftime Report predicted "a good next, uh, couple months" and said "I think the stock market really likes what the Fed said in October."

But Siegel added he'd "like to see small stocks join in here."

Joe Terranova admitted he's "surprised" by the strength of the rally and conceded he just recently said November might be a pullback month.

Pete Najarian said "big cap" was driving stocks Tuesday.

Judge cut in to Andrew Ross Sorkin's Dealbook conference to air a speech by Gary Cohn about how well Goldman Sachs is disintermediating itself from certain things during its transformation.

We get it. Weiss asked a long question

On Tuesday's Halftime Report, Stephen Weiss offered his take on Japan to Melissa Otto.

"I think Japan's cheap," said Weiss, who pointed out that it has underperformed in terms of inflation, wondered if the government "will lose their appetite" for further stimulus because it hasn't had the hoped-for impact, and then pointed out it's an old population.

"There's a lot going on in that question," said Otto, who decided, "I'll attack it by going after the fiscal stimulus," stating the government is trying to boost lower-income folks and also "open up Japan more."

"My sense is that this is gonna become an excellent stock-picker's market," Otto contended.

Judge called Weiss' query a "12-part question." Joe Terranova called it a "3-hour question."

Joe said to "buy and hold Japan."

[Monday, November 2, 2015]

Ed Yardeni called the bottom

Ed Yardeni was the first guest on Monday's Halftime Report, and given what he said, we can't figure out why he isn't on every day and why Judge even bothers with other people's opinions.

Yardeni boasted he "didn't flinch" during the August-September selloff, which he called an "ETF meltdown."

He boasted that Judge should remember that 2 days after Aug. 25, Yardeni said, "I think that was the low," so "Yeah, I did" see the October rally coming.

Yardeni called this a market of "financial engineering" but said "it is what it is."

Joe Terranova was suddenly warning about a collapse of pricing power in 2016, then curiously asked Yardeni how pricing power might actually accelerate. Yardeni said, "So he's answering my question of why I'm cautiously optimistic." But we don't know what the question was or what the answer is supposed to be.

Josh Brown went to great lengths to state the rally may be broadening.

Yardeni actually said the strength of big tech names "kind of reminds me of 1999 all over again (sic last 3 words gratuitously redundant)."

Pete Najarian mentioned AMGN, GILD, CELG (Drink).

Brian Stutland told stunning-but-glasses-less Jackie DeAngelis that oil volatility seems to be subsiding. Jeff Kilburg said if crude breaks out over 48, then look for 54.

Pete Najarian called the DIS pipeline "extremely strong." Joe Terranova said DIS should be a core holding. Doc said he's in CBS and likes DIS "a lot."

Doc thinks FIT still has upside.

Josh Brown said SHAK is still trading at a lofty multiple. Joe said RRGB might offer a tell on SHAK.

Andrew Left seems to think he’s getting the John Harwood/Becky Quick treatment from Judge

"Mixed emotions, Buddy. Like Larry Wildman going off a cliff in my brand-new Maserati ..."

Judge's chat with Andrew Left on Monday's Halftime Report proved an impressive confrontation for both sides.

The only problem was, despite an otherwise fine performance, Judge practically made Valeant sound like the Girl Scouts, when
news articles this weekend have indicated otherwise.

As Judge stressed — about 100 times — that doesn't mean Valeant is a fraud or is going under.

Judge's focal point was Left's overpromised/underdelivered tweet from Friday.

Judge rehashed the new report and told Left, "Truth be told, there's nothing new, uh, in here."

Left started, "So, Citron's been publishing for 14 years ..." then eventually stated, "It would be a lot easier for me to give it to mainstream media, uh, who has deeper legal teams, uh, who can deal with the fallout of any accusations that would be made.

"I don't want to be the center. The focus should be on the company," Left complained, explaining he asked himself, "What can I do to remove myself from being the center."

Judge brought up Charlie Munger's quote — not sure how Charlie moved to the forefront of this subject — and asked Left what he thought of it. Left said "house of cards" came from the bankers at Morgan Stanley when Valeant was pursuing Allergan, "so that was not my term."

Judge said Left said Friday, "This stock was gonna go to zero faster than Herbalife."

Left said, "Read my tweet again: It has a better chance of going to zero than Herbalife."

Judge then took a curious angle, asking Left, "Is this more about trying to hit Bill Ackman." (sic period instead of question mark, that's how he sounded)

"Oh no. I have nothing with Bill Ackman," Left said. "Why would I have anything with Ackman?"

"Haven't you played on the fears of investors?" Judge continued.

"I put out information that turned out to be true in 4 days," Left said.

Judge said, "Maybe there was some monkey business going on, uh, at, at Philidor. ... that doesn't necessarily make what Valeant is doing a fraud or Enron-like, does it?"

Left responded, "I'm confused; so you're telling me that there's something that could be a half a fraud."

"Does that make Valeant an Enron and a possible zero," Judge insisted on asking.

"Where did I write zero," Left demanded. "I wrote $50 with the Enron story. So if you're going to go ahead, call me into your studios and accusing, please get my tweet right, please get my story right. That's exactly how it was. And does it make it Enron? Yes, it makes it Enron-esque. And I explained it very clearly."

Complaining Judge was trying to "demonize" a short seller, Left said he doesn't control stock moves. "There's no magic button, or magic words that I have," he said.

Judge asked about disclosures. "I don't discuss my trading," Left said, which maybe isn't the greatest approach in our opinion, but given all the problems we've found with CNBC's disclosures, at least it's direct.

"See, I knew- I knew you were gonna say that," Judge said.

"I'm not a publicly traded comapny," Left said. "I just don't find it intellectually honest, the questions you're asking. As for my trading- as for my trading, it's not relevant." (But it is. Nevertheless, what Left accomplished for a short seller is equivalent to a newspaper prompting a government change a day or two after a scathing investigation.)

Judge said he heard Left made $150 million from VRX options.

"I would love to know who told you that. I hope not my ex-wife's attorney," Left chuckled, by far the best line of the interview that even prompted smiles.

"From here on in, any information that I get will be given to mainstream media," Left declared.

Judge asked Left if he has any regrets putting Valeant and Enron in the same sentence. Left said, "Absolutely not."

Left suggested it might be "desperate" or "flattering" for Valeant to issue a press release about him.

Left said he includes "a slice of humor" in his reports because "Wall Street research tends to be boring, and people these days are just inundated with things to read."

More from Monday's Halftime later.

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