[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, October 2012]
[October 31, 2012]

Karen: JCPenney ‘sucks’

The things you find on the Fast Money Web Extra.

Karen Finerman on Wednesday was heard to say that JCP probably traded in the downtrend of other retailers, but "I like to think that JCPenney in particular sucks."

Now, if Karen said that, why is there a picture of Melissa Lee above this item? Because we had to get at least one shot Wednesday of Mel in her dazzling blue top, extending a DiMaggio-like hit streak of clothing that almost makes one stop thinking about the possibility Seema Mody might be in need of rescue somewhere out there in the stormwaters; Lee pointed out that it's good Finerman's comment is Web-only, because "We might've been censored by the FCC."

Expert: Exchanges ‘could’ve’ gone electronic this week but for stigma of Knight

Steve Grasso, sort of echoing on Wednesday's Fast Money what Judge Wapner said at Halftime about the reopened markets; "for all apparent purposes, it was a win."

The market return was "absolutely what we needed today," said Mike Murphy.

But host Melissa Lee actually impressively suggested another angle of that story to Michael LaBranche, wondering if the NYSE possibly should've been testing its contingency plan before the storm so it could operate electronically and not miss 2 days of trading.

"I don't think it's their fault at all," LaBranche said.

Of course, zero surprise here, Steve Grasso chimed in, "I don't think you could blame- the New York Stock Exchange, you know, definitely did everything they could right here."

But after Mel opted not to push, Enis Taner restated the question for LaBranche, that being whether years from now we'll have a reliable system that will allow trading on days like Monday and Tuesday. "Well I think they will," LaBranche admitted.

LaBranche did say, "It's gonna become more virtual over time," and actually contended "they could've done it" this week, but there was the specter of "Knight Trading in everybody's mind," and the exchanges didn't want to "take a chance."

LaBranche also made a genie reference: "I don't see it going back to a physical trading floor the way Steve and I used to know it."

"I think Friday's gonna be OK," predicted Grasso.

‘Really was a normal day’

Karen Finerman told Wednesday's Fast Money that she dabbled in "a little bit of Macy's, a little bit of Netflix," listened "carefully" to GM and CMI, and "to us it really was a normal day."

But it wasn't till much later in the program when Finerman described what that "little bit" of Netflix was about — specifically, a sell plan based on an Icahn interest that didn't strike Finerman as all that aggressive.

"We are short now; I think this is overdone. On top of the move today, there was a very odd move Friday," Finerman said.

Steve Grasso said, "I'd rather be with content providers" such as LGF, or for streaming purposes, AMZN.

Bertha Coombs said the Twittersphere wasn't terribly kind to the Lucasfilm deal, complaining about the next "Star Wars" movie apparently having a "numerical 7 instead of a Roman numeral 7."

Karen Finerman said $4 billion may be a lot of money to most of us, but "to Disney it's actually not that much money."

AAPL ‘probably warrants a lower multiple,’ but price target based in part on possibility of higher multiple

Melissa Lee couldn't let a show go by without an AAPL analyst, so Brian Marshall was asked to dissect Wednesday's tough day.

Nowadays, when there is Apple news, "it's viewed in the worst light possible," Lee said.

Marshall wasn't concerned, though. "Let's not get focused on too much tertiary data; at the end of the day, demand's greater than supply," Marshall said.

Karen Finerman told Marshall one of her concerns is that the company's phenomenal century has been based on inventing new markets, and right now, what's next. Marshall at first didn't answer the question, "I think the numbers are gonna go up quite dramatically over this quarter and next quarter," until admitting the company has "increased the cadence" of product rollouts, and "it's becoming much more of a product-cycle-driven company, and arguably, that probably warrants a lower multiple over time."

Except moments later he said, "I think the multiple has an opportunity to go higher as well."

Marshall also predicted a "700 handle again in the not-too-distant future."

Mike Murphy said everyone is looking at 586, 587, "waiting to see if it can hold that level."

Storm derivative discovery:
Many CNBC reporters cute in caps

We gotta admit, we're sure tired of the generator-home improvement trade.

Brian Shactman started off his Wednesday Fast Money hit from the Shell gas station with a Shields & Yarnell Trade, but when the mike finally caught up with him, the most interesting thing he reported was that there were "even some fights" in the gas-pump lines.

Then Shactman spoke about the possibility of price gouging and assured, "We're on the lookout for it," getting a free pass from the panel as to what might constitute said gouging.

Mike Khouw said that for all the headlines about the storm and refiners, for a name like PSX, "This is probably gonna be a relatively short-term impact."

GNRC chief Aaron Jagdfeld told Mel Lee "you have to bifurcate the 2, the 2 issues" regarding his company's great results that didn't include generator sales this week. Many people, Jagdfeld said, "hit the tipping point" recently of being fed up with occasional power outages and are seeking a permanent generator backup plan.

He said 60% of his business is the residential market. Mike Murphy suggested the stock has higher to go; "looks like there's more room to the upside there."

Courtney Reagan reported from LaGuardia in the newfound CNBC fashion accessory, the cute female reporter baseball hats. Steve Grasso said that Warren Buffett famously avoids airlines and auto stocks, because "there's too much unknown, there's too much union stuff that we can't get a handle on ... no one wants to say that."

Grasso said he's long F, and "I should pull the trigger on a day like today," but he has a "soft spot" for the automaker. Mike Murphy said of F, "We bought more today."

CMI: Value, or value trap?

Enis Taner, in perhaps his first stint on the actual Fast Money desk at the Nasdaq, took on a Karen Finerman favorite with his call to short CMI Wednesday.

"The international sales trends are very poor," Taner said. "I think Cummins is a value trap here."

Finerman countered that CMI has maintained "pretty impressive" margins despite revenue slowdowns and contended, "They don't like to underdeliver."

Neither was swayed by the other, as those respective short/long picks constituted their Final Trades.

Mike Murphy, whose Final Trade was long V, said he'd like to see it get through 143 to be certain.

Steve Grasso said URI is a beneficiary of the "massive transformation" from "renting vs. buying," and made URI his Final Trade, albeit under 40.

Enis Taner said he likes CB and the property and casualty insurers. Karen Finerman said she thinks HD/LOW buyers are "late to the party there" but that she too likes the property and casualty names.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell calls in NFLX if you were lucky being long Wednesday.

Mike Murphy said he learned during the show that his building is closed for the week, so "I'll be home with the kids for the next 2 days," then said in fact he might be trading stocks at Starbucks.

Shock rating: Analyst with $1,111 price target still likes stock at $595

AAPL bull Brian White joined Wednesday's Halftime Report, and Judge Wapner evidently decided that White doesn't have enough things keeping him awake at night.

"If concerns about iPhone 5 sales don't worry you, if concerns about the biggest management shake-up at the company in more than a decade don't worry you, what would worry you about Apple?" Judge demanded.

"A demand issue on iPhone 5 or iPad products would concern me," White said.

White called the iPad Mini a "home run" and regularly suggested a contrarian buying opportunity. "Yeah, it's amazing," he said, "when the news cycle turns negative, it really turns negative."

"I think, fundamentally it's significantly undervalued," White added. "I wouldn't be surprised if the stock bottoms after this big correction ... you have got to be a buyer at (sic) Apple at this level."

White said Jony Ive, who no doubt is a talented guy but is starting to take on the aura of a high-school-aged Lloyd Daniels, is "probably gonna be the next CEO of Apple."

Judge balked at the management turnover, but White insisted, "Scott Forstall did not get along with other executives at Apple."

"Yeah who cares, there are a lot of executives don't get along with other executives, it's a big deal," Judge insisted.

White said "our price target is 1,111," certainly a convenient number arrived at through intensive statistical analysis.

Jon Najarian said even a recent AAPL bear such as Doug Kass found the selloff too much to take; "Dougie jumped back in with me this morning on the long side" once it hit the 200-day MA.

White, by the way, said MSFT's Surface has an opportunity in the enterprise market.

And all those WU holders were saying, ‘This doesn’t feel like victory’

It sounded graceful enough for a speech somewhere, but maybe it was just a bit overly flowery when Judge Wapner launched Wednesday's Halftime Report with the observation, "The victory is in the fact that we are trading stocks at all."

Simon Baker contended, "I think there's a lot of emotional trades going on today ... lot of head fakes," and then referring to the batch of movers cited by Bob Pisani, added, "I wouldn't be chasing any of these trades."

Mike Murphy noted, "Traffic is crazy."

Judge early in the show stumbled over PVH and for whatever reason cracked himself up, saying it's "getting its hands on, uh, Calvin Klein ... you know what I mean."

Evidently either Judge or Baker or both, we're not sure which as we didn't keep a scorecard on the gag, recently had dinner with Klein.

Jon Najarian, meanwhile, is on a first-name basis with the "Star Wars" guy. "George has done a fabulous job with that franchise," Najarian said, adding "there will be a whole bunch of new Harrison Ford characters."

Enis Taner said he prefers the Disney deal to the PVH deal. Taner called CB and insurance plays "good buys" but wasn't so high on HD as a storm theme; "I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment."

Mike Murphy begged to differ, saying HD is a play on the "recovery in the housing market, and that hasn't stopped."

Murphy might've embellished when referring to WY chief Dan Fulton's visit a day ago; "he did say that 4th quarter is looking very strong," actually we think he just said it's usually a weaker quarter and this year they had more momentum going in.

Jon Najarian, like Murphy, believes the home improvement play is sustainable. "I think this plays out for months and months," and rattled off names such as HD, MHK, AWI, FAST and MAS; "I don't think this is a 2-day story."

If this is what CNBC gets for the Yahoo partnership, they oughta renegotiate

Enis Taner said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that WU is "behind on the technology curve."

Simon Baker said MAS is a play on "top line growth in new housing starts." Mike Murphy said VLO "looks oversold," and "I think Valero's a buy."

Addison Armstrong told Judge, "24% of uh, the refining capacity that was in the line of the storm is out."

Anthony Grisanti said the nat gas market "is still very well supplied" in the wake of the storm. Salutin' Rich Ilczyszyn said hedge funds will "defend the 3.60 area ... you have to be an opportunistic trader; play the range."

Mike Wallach told Judge, "After first (sic) 15 or 20 minutes it was, um, pretty much, you know, business as usual" in the stock market Wednesday.

Jon Najarian said he calls Wallach's shop all the time, and "Kudos to him and that firm" for scrambling to get open Wednesday.

Simon Baker tried to pass off BEAV as an airline play and Judge didn't fall for it. Baker clarified that he doesn't like the airlines in the wake of the storm; "those games are already been (sic) played."

Judge spent a few minutes near the end of the program discussing whether China has bottomed with Michael Santoli, the likable Barron's columnist who now is some kind of Yahoo employee (or consultant or free-lancer or whatever). Yet, Santoli's maybe-it's-bottomed-maybe-it-hasn't buttoned-down commentary was a complete bust, as he pointed out that maybe mainland shares are done with their washout but that China "has not yet closed the gap" in providing a "signal" that the global growth story is a go.

[Tuesday, October 30, 2012]

Dr. J: Watch pent-up VLO

Jon Najarian, who has been Jonny on the spot with his availability this week for the various Fast Money programs, said on Tuesday's Fast Money that there's no need to take your time with stocks this week but that you can trade Wednesday "right with the opening prints I think," predicting it would be "more or less like a normal day."

Stifel ETF expert David Lutz, however, said, "We are gonna see, you know, lighter volumes," and pointed to Nasdaq futures as the thing to watch. Lutz said stocks "might be a building crescendo as far as trading is concerned tomorrow."

Mike Khouw said traders of weekly AAPL options would be "wringing their hands" if there was a longer wait but thinks Wednesday is an OK start for them, and to expect a "fairly normal volume day."

Tim Seymour indicated it's been all systems go. "We actually layered in even some EEM puts, some IWMs which were very effective for us ... we are global investors, and our markets have been open," Seymour said. (Surprisingly, he didn't say Brazil's sugar/ethanol play looks really "interesting" here, or maybe now's the time to like China Mobile.)

Exelon exec Chris Crane pointed out how they're trying to hard to get power back up everywhere, but "it could take a week or a little bit longer."

(Honestly, we gotta say — and we don't know any utilitymen this side of Tim Flannery — these power-company guys have a monstrous job, probably working round-the-clock in front of tired/angry residents while their own homes might well be powerless; it's one of those times to remember those "This Bud's for You" commercials if you're in the vicinity of one of these crews.)

Tim Seymour said EXC is a decent dividend play but this kind of "one-off" event isn't a reason to buy the stock.

Mike Khouw maybe got a bit overly analytical in assessing the car-sale divide between individuals and businesses, saying at some point we'll "see that incongruity begin to converge."

Papa John's exec Tony Thompson really didn't have much to say except that a bunch of stores in the Northeast were powerless. Jon Najarian said that between PZZA and DPZ, "I don't know that you get a lift on these 2 stocks tomorrow," but because people figure to be ordering deliveries for a while, "I like both" for a trade a little further down the road.

Mike Khouw said that BGG and GNRC just haven't in general, year over year, been gangbusters, so if you're "expecting a lot of growth ... I think you're likely to be disappointed."

Howard Mills assured that insurers can handle a possible $50 billion tally; "the industry is extremely well capitalized and is very capable of absorbing these losses."

Dr. J's Final Trade was VLO. Tim Seymour said China, based on the PMI. Mike Khouw said to sell CAT puts.

Not only are many CNBC regulars in devastated neighborhoods and/or without power, so are many readers of this site, which in times like this appreciates the miracle of electricity. Be safe and hang in there; we're pulling for you.

Humma humma — Mel hints she might celebrate Halloween as Princess Leia

Now, we're getting somewhere.

In what was starting to look like another weather-update-version of Fast Money (nothing wrong with that, it's obviously the news), Melissa Lee — wearing a sharp sweater-like outfit in Steelers throwback colors — brought up the Disney purchase of LucasFilms and, in the process, set the curve for mid-week festivities with this suggestion: "If I buy a Princess Leia costume for Halloween — if, if, if ..."

The only problem was that Mel didn't mention which Leia costume; many will undoubtedly be hoping for that garb on the left knee of Jabba the Hutt.

Julia Boorstin reported on the deal and mentioned George Lucas' long partnership with Disney as a Pixar investor. Jon Najarian noticed and said, "I'm gonna correct her even though I love her to death. That was Steve Jobs' relationship that sold to Iger," and that Lucas sold to Jobs.

Mike Khouw said he'd normally fade pops on acquisitions, but Disney does a tremendous job with the companies it acquires. Tim Seymour called it a "fantastic purchase" but allowed, "I think the stock's fair-priced here."

Stunner: Dave Barger available for appearance on Fast Money

The only question was, why did it take him 2 days?

Not even a megastorm could keep JetBlue boss Dave Barger from a chance to chat with the Fast Money gang on Tuesday, and Barger stressed that "we can literally move our entire LaGuardia operation over to JFK ... if we had to." But he thinks LaGuardia will be open on Thursday.

More from Tuesday's Fast Money later.

Murphy: Watch insurers pop

Even with markets closed for a couple days, the narrative can change dramatically.

On Monday's Halftime, Mike Murphy spoke about insurers in terms of the Rod Stewart Trade®, suggesting dip-buying would be in order this week: "A lot of times, the first cut is the deepest."

On Tuesday's Halftime, referring to European trading and the assessment of damage to Chubb, Allstate and Travelers, Murphy indicated no cut would be deep at all: "I think these things may get a pop at the open tomorrow."

Jon Najarian singled out Swiss Re, Munich Re and General Re as already recovering in Europe because of the "damage not being as bad as some had predicted."

Guest Josh Stirling, who donned a bow tie for the Halftime Report, differed with the instant-pop theory, saying, "All of them are likely to be weak for a few days," but said they had momentum going into this quarter and agreed there is "probably gonna be an opportunity."

Jon Najarian asked Stirling if Chubb isn't his top pick. "I think Chubb is a fantastic stock," Stirling said, but "relative to Allstate," he likes ALL better.

Dana Telsey predicts sales will be up at Home Depot and Lowe’s

Jon Najarian suggested on Tuesday's Halftime Report that BGC is a name to watch for all the rebuilding that will be needed but that casinos are "neither" a buy or sell based on weather news.

Stephen Schork said the East Coast refinery network (if that's the right term) "looks like it's going to be relatively unscathed," but he's "perplexed" by the "lack of price follow-through" in gasoline, calling it an "extremely bearish telltale."

WY chief Dan Fulton, who didn't note that Brian Kelly and Stephanie Link mention his company every chance they get, said things are fine at WY distribution facilities but, "Because of the weather, we're not operating today." Mike Murphy asked if WY will get more pricing power after this storm; Fulton didn't really answer except to say normally things slow in the 4th quarter but this time, "supply channels are so tight," so apparently the answer to Murphy's question is "yes."

Mike Murphy reported that he's "unscathed up on the Upper East Side," but that the dangling crane prevented him from going to work; "our entire office building is empty today."

Cute Dana Telsey said (without a whole lot of drama) that "the retailers that will benefit, it'll be the home-improvement retailers." Judge asked Telsey if people didn't stock up in October and thus will take a bite out of November's sales. "You did get some of that," Telsey conceded.

Judge presented Dr. J with Jim Cramer's assessment that the "psychology behind Apple" has changed in a negative way. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh/Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .... I don't view it that way," Najarian said. "I think it's very positive."

Bob Pisani said it's "so far, so good for a normal opening tomorrow," then later confirmed that will happen.

Judge said Dr. J was "chompin' (sic) at the bit" again.

Herb finally notices the catheter commercial that airs all the time on CNBC

Stuck at home in the aftermath of a storm, Herb Greenberg is catching up with CNBC the way the masses do — watching TV.

In fact, he is even paying attention to the advertisements: "Current commercial on @cnbc... for men's catheter. 'Even portable you can put right in your pocket.' Making me squirm."

Dicker: ‘Controlled restart’ baked in

Dan Dicker tweeted Tuesday "Gasoline up 4/10ths of a cent in nymex trading....no #Sandy pop means controlled restart expected."

McCullough powerless

HedgEye staff tweets on behalf of Keith McCullough: "@KeithMcCullough is without power and Tweet Show may be postponed today."

Brown electrically challenged

Prolific tweeter Josh Brown revealed Tuesday he was forced to conserve. "Shutting phone off to save power, can't charge it anywhere. Hunger Games begin shortly. Later."

Ilczyszyn: Futures Now scratched Tuesday

Rich Ilczyszyn notes Tuesday, "Futures Now will not produce a show today."

[Monday, October 29, 2012]

Joe Terranova: ‘Under water everywhere’

The same day Joe Terranova turned 46, disaster struck not only much of the East Coast but his own neighborhood, according to what Terranova tweeted Monday evening.

"The devastation is beyond our greatest fears. Here in East Rockaway we are under water everywhere, house facades shredded," Terranova reported on Monday.

It's not the right moment to say "Happy Birthday," but this page wishes Terranova the best and hopes everyone in the path of this devastation, and their families, are safe.

Dr. J: Buy the downturn on Apple’s reorganization news

We sort of expected to see "American Greed" or "The Costco Craze" or "Inside the Mind of Google" on CNBC Monday afternoon and were slightly surprised to discover the network gamely clutching its typical business-day schedule, despite the fact most of the programming involved reporters getting soaked, politicians giving press conferences and everyone talking about refineries.

The big news on Monday's Fast Money was the shake-up at Apple, including the exits of Scott Forstall and John Browett, called by CNBC's Jon Fortt the company's biggest "reorganization" since Steve Jobs returned.

Melissa Lee, observing this is an important time in the retail business, told Fortt, "this looks pretty negative." Fortt wouldn't quite go there, saying, "I really need some time to talk to some people and think about it."

Jon Najarian said "I would not be surprised" to see some AAPL downside once trading resumes, and that he's also not surprised Browett is out. "I think this hurts the stock in the near term," Najarian said, but for his Final Trade he opined, "This shakeup is exactly what Apple needed."

Simon Baker called the AAPL changes a "net positive." (Translation: Maybe not ready for James Altucher's $2 trillion market cap just yet, but not going to $300 either.)

Dennis Gartman makes sort of an ‘Argo’-style exit from wrath of Sandy

Dennis Gartman cheerily revealed on Monday's Fast Money that he got the last flight out of the East Coast/Norfolk and said markets will "continue to get strength in the products" of petroleum, but "crude oil however is backing up already," to the point where we could see "$80 under pressure."

Brian Sullivan touted PSX, "if they can come through this storm OK," and also mentioned VLO.

Melissa Lee asked guest Paul Newsome what would it take to reach the "sweet spot" for insurers that they wouldn't be capsized by losses but would have enough to substantially raise prices. Newsome said it would take a disaster of Katrina dimensions or worse, or something "unique in, in type of loss." He said the ones facing the most claims are the usual names, big East Coast insurers such as State Farm, Travelers, Allstate.

Simon Baker made a very curious stock suggestion, Crawford & Co., which he said handles "overflow" claims in situations like these, and will benefit from a "big concentration of claims." The curious element is that this is a tiny marketcap, not to mention share price, to be mentioned on Fast Money.

Jon Najarian said, "You don't wanna be cold-hearted about it, but there'll be a lot of rebuilding because of this." Brian Stutland likes the generator play GNRC, which he thinks can get to $30 and "maybe pushing a little bit higher." Simon Baker suggested SSD.

Honestly a lot of the trading/clearing (electronic and otherwise) scenarios being bandied about for Wednesday are way over this page's pay grade, but Jon Najarian said the issue with the futures is, "you can't do the baskets against these futures" or play options such as with IBM or AAPL.

Simon Baker's Final Trade — for Wednesday or whenever stock markets reopen — was GOOG. Jon Najarian said MHK, and Brian Stutland said PSX and that he'd also be a buyer at 1,390 S&P. Jon Najarian predicted that FB holders won't flood the markets like the streets of Manhattan with un-locked-up shares; "I don't think they'll be selling down here."

It's not really the right day to gush about anything; hopefully it's OK to say Mel looked dynamite in her gray dress.

Whew — a day without losing money

Honestly, most suggested trades during big storms like this are almost cliches, but some intriguing names did come up at the end of Monday's Halftime Report.

JJ Kinahan, for example, suggested the storm means "opportunity for the Pricelines and Orbitz (sic not plural) of the world," and also HTZ.

Mike Murphy backed the Hertz call, mentioned a Joe Terranova favorite, LPX, and then suggested, "Facebook should see a lot of traffic in this downtime."

Judge Wapner for some reason wasn't impressed with that one, saying, "I don't think people are gonna be staring at the ads too much on Facebook."

But they've just started to monetize mobile.

Dr. J: Watch for airline dip

Brian Kelly said on Monday's Halftime to "look at the reinsurers" as a play on Sandy, and Mike Murphy concurred, "I couldn't agree more" and said the history of insurance stocks shows they recover well after disasters, invoking the Rod Stewart Trade®: "A lot of times, the first cut is the deepest."

Jon Najarian pointed out it's not as bad for Chubb or Allstate as the reinsurers, which include Berkshire Hathaway.

Kelly said it's "a little late to buy a Home Depot or a Lowe's" but suggested trying LL or AWI at the end of this week.

Jon Najarian suggested MAS will benefit, but, "I wouldn't be chasing Briggs & Stratton, Home Depot and Lowe's right here."

Addison Armstrong, who hasn't been on for a while, delivered fine commentary but much of it already known; "the longer those refineries are out, uh, the more bullish this impact will be." Armstrong said West Texas Intermediate has been "set up for, for a bearish move anyway before this."

Mike Murphy said, "I'd be getting involved with some of those nat gas names," mentioning APC and VLO, "I'd be buying that also," as well as XCO, "I think that could get a spike here in the short term."

Jon Najarian noted all the flight cancellations. "That is a killer for the airlines," he said, and noted LCC, DAL, UAL as affected names; "Look for all of those to take a little bit of a hit here."

[Friday, October, 26, 2012]

Pete: If Windows 8 flops,
Ballmer’s out

Pete Najarian declared on Friday's Halftime Report that Microsoft is finally providing a "user-friendly tablet experience."

But the stakes are high, and guest host Brian Sullivan asked Najarian whether, if Windows 8 and the Surface are flops, Steven Ballmer is out.

"Yes. I would say yes," Najarian said.

Henry Blodget grumbled, "They have completely missed the move to mobile."

Najarian and Blodget both mentioned that Tim Cook, according to Sullivan, "bashed" the Surface.

"This sort of mentality came from the days when Apple was a big underdog," Blodget said. "Now they look like they're beating up on a company that they've left in the dust years ago."

"I think it's all about apps," said Steve Grasso.

‘Yahoo could be a huge winner’

In a fairly tiresome AAPL redux on Friday's Halftime, Ryan Jacob defended the iPad Mini as "clearly superior to the low-end tablets" with a "very attractive price point."

Jacob said he likes AAPL shares, but "near-term it's very difficult to predict."

Henry Blodget, who gets paid for blogging about business/CNBC stuff and is now a semi-regular on the Halftime Report, questioned whether the new-product cycle is exhausted for now, and "aren't we gonna have a big drop where they're effectively in a black hole" until the next refresh?

Jacob conceded there will be a black hole early next year but insisted there's a "lot of demand elasticity" on existing products, and that the financials will actually improve.

Jacob also admitted to Guy Adami that YHOO is "one of our largest positions" because the "risk was extremely low ... Yahoo could be a huge winner."

And, Jacob said SINA is "turning into a Twitter/Facebook hybrid."

Could AAPL be a value trap?

Brian Sullivan challenged Henry Blodget on Friday's Halftime Report with the notion that investments paying off in the future "has been the Amazon story for the better part of, what, a decade?"

"It has paid off! Wonderfully!" Blodget cheerfully said.

Sullivan said AAPL's ecosystem is like a roach motel. Steve Grasso asked Blodget whether it might also be like a value trap. Blodget didn't really answer but shrugged, "the stock could fall a lot before you get to there."

Guy Adami suggested again that maybe AAPL ends up like Sony.

Jon Najarian, notably quiet Friday, said of AAPL, "I think there's a lot of upside coming here from this."

It took a while,
but a ‘benign tape’ sighting

Guy Adami said on Friday's Halftime that EXPE's pop might not last; "I think you short it against 60" and cover if it breaks.

Jon Najarian said CSTR had "just a fabulous move."

With the presidential debates over, Steve Grasso said "I sold my ACI" and BTU and will buy back later.

Kate Kelly reported that John Paulson is "betting big on Nexen." Steve Grasso backed that position, saying, "I think he's optimistic for good reason," because CNOOC has been lobbying hard for this, and at 23.35, NXY is "pretty good upside potential here."

Guy Adami called CERN "continually worth owning." Pete Najarian said of DECK, "Tom Brady can't even hold this stock up anymore."

Steve Grasso "I'd wait until the smoke clears" on DF. Jon Najarian explained VRSN's fall and said, "I like it right around here though," but because of his 1-day rule he's not buying Friday, but "I'll be looking on Monday." (And this writer was so impressed as to get long VRSN Friday afternoon.)

Willie Williams advised selling sell euro/Aussie at 1.25. Steve Grasso said WNC could be your GDP trade, but beware the "fiscal cliff issues."

Pete Najarian told Seema Mody that GNRC and BGG will get at least a "blip" off the Frankenstorm, but he suggested HD and LOW. Guy Adami said "the story remains intact for HD" and said it works in a "benign tape."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was to beware a selloff and do nothing for now. Guy Adami said NFLX, Pete Najarian said EBAY, and Jon Najarian said KMX calls.

[Thursday, October 25, 2012]

Apparently, Guy Adami was upset at the declaration that the Fast Money gang hadn’t looked ‘carefully’ at the AAPL report

Guy Adami opened Thursday's Fast Money with a comment on the AAPL report — "what struck me was the guidance for the next quarter," an "11-handle" — and then proceeded to forget Dalton's "Road House" rule 2, and basically rule 3, for testy confrontations.

It was Apple bull Larry Haverty who, minutes later, told freshly-back-from-vacation-in-burgundy Melissa Lee, "I really don't care where- where they're guiding Melissa; I think, what I care about is the cash they're generating."

Apparently miffed by the Fast Money discussion of the guidance, Haverty asserted, "The earnings miss — if you look at the statement carefully, which heaven forbid, nobody has done that I've been listening to — the earnings miss was a function of the interest income turning to interest expense because of some charges."

Adami quickly cut in — and veered into a Travis Bickle-style monologue. "Hey Larry I know you're- I'll clear you, if you wanna say it was us, you can say it was us, because the only thing you've been listening to has probably been us, which is fine, but, we talked about their guidance, which was an atrocity, we didn't even bring up the earnings miss, so if you wanna address that, that's fine, but don't sort of talk around, I mean, just if you've got a problem with us, just say, I've got a problem with you guys, don't say what you've been listening to."

Haverty, who likely won't be appearing again soon, sputtered, "I just, I just think the, the, the deal here is that you look, you're, you're an owner of a business, and the reason you own a business ..." he said, and you get the drift, concluding AAPL has a "lower multiple than almost any consumer product company that I follow."

Steve Grasso tried to play peacemaker, introducing himself as "the other Sicilian on the desk, but I'll be a little bit nicer," and explaining "I'm not impressed" with the iPhone 5 and "I'll miss 2 cycles" (have fun with that if you like), but questioning Haverty if he ever liked Amazon because the valuation has been high for the last hundred dollars while shareholders were making gobs of money. Haverty conceded the stock's strength but didn't answer the question, saying he hasn't understood the "hall pass" for Jeff Bezos, whereas he was outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store a week after the iPhone 5 was launched and even though the phone wasn't available, the "store was absolutely packed ... tremendous pent-up demand."

After Haverty signed off, Adami (sort of) explained his irritation. "Yeah I mean, I, you know I, people gettin' mad at me because I was rude, I wasn't rude, he see- what we said was, their guidance was lousy, we, we didn't make any reference to the miss in the quarter, at least while I was sitting here, and it's been the last 24 minutes."

Apparently, Guy was implying that the Fast gang did indeed "carefully" look at the earnings statement, but chose only to emphasize the guidance angle.

So, take that, all you potential guests who think the Fast gang likes to coast.

Steve Grasso definitely regrets upgrading to iPhone 5 (and apparently so does ‘everyone’ he’s talked to about it)

Karen Finerman on Thursday's Fast Money seemed to sum up the stock market's reaction to the AAPL report with, "I don't know what to make of it right now."

"They are serial sandbaggers," Finerman said, saying the guidance of $11.37 or whatever, "we know it won't be that because that's what they told us it will be."

Mike Khouw said that buying puts on the Q's was a "pretty smart play" on AAPL earnings, and then wondered, "who's the incremental buyer here."

Karen Finerman said it would be "tremendously accretive for them to buy back stock."

Steve Grasso reiterated that he's not floored by the iPhone 5; "everyone that I've spoken with would have passed this phone up."

Brian Kelly, who barely said a word Thursday, questioned "what's left for people to get excited about" in AAPL.

Yes, probably at least half the show involved AAPL

Colin Gillis joined Thursday's Fast Money to crow a bit about his AAPL doubts, saying, "The forecast was definitely weaker than we were all expecting," but that there's a trend; "3 of the last 5 quarters" have seen disappointments, and "there are a few cracks to worry about."

(Thankfully, Gillis never challenged anyone to "carefully" look at the release.)

Guy Adami asked Gillis if the product saturation is such that "Apple just becomes Sony from 1984." Gillis didn't answer that question but said AAPL "may have trouble getting scale and retaining those margins."

Karen Finerman asked if it will take a "complete new product," such as a TV, to ignite the stock again. Gillis didn't answer that one either but cautioned that an Apple TV "may not actually even be enough to get the stock going again" because consumers buy them infrequently.

Steve Grasso asked about the iPad Mini's target audience; "is it a necessary product." Gillis said, "That's another great question," and didn't really answer that one either other than to say the products are getting "confusing."

Goldcorp CEO: ETFs have taken ‘some of the demand’ for miner stocks

GG chief Chuck Jeannes said on Thursday's Fast Money that the "optionality value" of gold has changed since the days it traded 300-500, and "the upside from where we are today is not quite as easy to see as it was back then," and that's why the miners have underperformed the spot price.

But then Jeannes said it used to be you either had to buy real gold or the miners; "now you've got ETFs, and so that has taken some of the demand, uh, for the stocks."

Guy Adami asked a good question, pointing out that Steve Forbes was on the program this week endorsing a gold standard and asking Jeannes if his company has been "taking any reaction with respect to" that possibility. Jeannes chuckled and said not really, that the "likelihood is probably pretty slim."

Karen Finerman also asked Jeannes a good question, whether there's ever a "big enough disconnect" to "short the ETF to buy your own stock," in a form of a "giant arbitrage."

"No," Jeannes chuckled.

Mike Khouw, in a bit of a long-winded point, said he'd be inclined to use call-spread risk-reversals to play the gold miners.

Brad Silverberg almost sounded like he’s still on the MSFT payroll

Steve Grasso on Thursday's Fast Money resorted again to the Internet Fairness Act argument in favor of P, "that could double the value of Pandora" and mitigate the AAPL competition, so there's a "huge question mark."

Aaron Kessler, who was asked by Melissa Lee in a question that probably wasn't direct enough about whether holiday-season potential for AMZN offsets the high multiple, only sort of answered, acknowledging it's "still a pretty healthy multiple in our view."

Brian Kelly was incredibly wishy-washy on whether to buy AMZN; "we'll see how it opens tomorrow; might be something you wanna get into."

Guest Brad Silverberg proved a dud, sounding like he was handed a script from Redmond and explaining that Windows 8 is "really a new beginning," MSFT's biggest launch since Windows 95, and (here's the telltale commentary) a "bold, creative, exciting, innovative product," but also, "it's a very risky product for the company right now."

Karen Finerman noticed the Surface. "I thought it looked great, however, sometimes that doesn't matter," Finerman said.

Kelly: Avoid FFIV

Mike Khouw said on Thursday's Fast Money that the January 14 puts in BBY were active, a sign of "more trouble ahead." Mel Lee noted "there was no bounce" in the shares Thursday, and Guy Adami suggested he read BBY's last report carefully and "it feels like there's another couple days left in this thing to the downside."

FFIV was a name that Adami said a day earlier would be a buy on Friday, but Brian Kelly said Thursday (that's a confusing order of days) that "I would stay away from this name."

Guy Adami said of AN, "I still like the name," but expect "another day of downside left."

Steve Grasso said of PHM, "I wouldn't be a buyer at these levels." Mike Khouw said ZNGA "might be worth a speculative bet to the upside."

Grasso's Final Trade was CLF. Adami said CERN, Karen Finerman said CLUB and Brian Kelly said EWT.

Guy Adami said 1,379 in the S&P 500 "is very realistic."

Karen receives Visionary Award

Karen Finerman wore a show-stopping dress and necklace to Thursday's Fast Money — quite possibly because she was headed to the St. Regis on Thursday evening to receive a Visionary Award from the Council for Economic Education, in an event hosted by CNBC's Sharon Epperson.

According to the group's Web site, "Each October the CEE honors leaders who promote economic and financial literacy to create a better-informed society."

Congratulations to Karen, and the other recipients, which include Sheila Bair, Mel Martinez and Duncan Niederauer.

Trading ideas, for those viewers yearning to buy 30-year-old defaulted Cuban debt

Nathan Sandler offered something of a slow money trade on Thursday's Halftime Report, declaring "China has 4 issues right now," which amount to growth model ... macro and financial imbalances ... increasing risk of financial crisis ... and endemic corruption, and he threw in "income disparities" as a bonus (or maybe that was part of the corruption).

Sandler started to say that if Beijing doesn't engage in snicker reforms, then something bad apparently would happen, but while pausing, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera chipped in "hard landing."

Either "hard landing," Sandler said, or "costly financial crisis."

Sandler also wasn't really prepared to name top picks, given a universe of basically anything from MCC, eventually settling on Mexico, where Sandler said reforms are in place to "unlock the productive capacity."

The most interesting part of the conversation involved Sandler's bid to buy the "defaulted debt of Cuba," saying he had several reasons why it should be OK for U.S. investors, but only given time for 1, said it has "no direct, uh, impact whatsoever" on giving cash to Fidel Castro.

Joe: Look for AAPL ‘flush’ at 586

Given a choice between AAPL and AMZN by guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on Thursday's Halftime Report, Joe Terranova said "Apple is the name that I trade," then identified the 200-day moving average as 586 and said if there's a "flush" below that, "that'll be when I get back in again."

Mike Murphy sort of concurred. "I think Joe is probably spot-on with that," Murphy said, except then he explained "I'm long Apple right now" because right now seems like a "great time to get long the name," especially given the new mini iPad and the fact you can hold it in 1 hand.

"Any conversation that involves the size of your hands Mike Murphy, that's fine with me," said Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

Enis Taner said to "wait until December" to buy Apple.

Stephanie Link said Cramer's trust owns AAPL, but she's not so high on AMZN because "margins are gonna have a hard time going materially higher."

Toni Sacconaghi said that "Apple is very likely to miss revenues," and then added that he expects "substantial cannibalization" from the mini iPad of both the regular iPad and the iPod Touch, so the company's overall "net impact ... is gonna be very very small" financially.

Later in the program, Joe Terranova fielded a query from Seema Mody about sentiment towards AAPL. "Right now there's really no catalyst," was the best Terranova could muster.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked her panelists, "You think you could do a whole show about Apple every single day. I think it's possible, don't you think?" Which of course was an idea already suggested by this page many many months ago, which means for that kind of lapse, MCC owes this page her attendance at a dinner engagement (no one has to call it a "date").

Those speedy Europeans

Guest Gina Martin Adams told Thursday's Halftime Report that the "fundamental case is actually weakening" for stocks, and asserted to Stephanie Link that "I'm not sure that a lot of bad news is discounted in."

Enis Taner said economies tend to move in 4-6-year cycles, and "we're on the downturn part of the business cycle."

Meanwhile, Steve Liesman seemed to be talking about things taking forever to happen in Europe. He advised panelists to "divide by 2 the amount of time you think it's gonna take, and then multiply by .5," just as guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was saying ".4."

So ... and remember, around here we can barely figure out the score of a perfect game in bowling ... if you think it's gonna take 10 months, then you do the division and you're at 5, and then multiply by .5 or .4, and suddenly we're down to 2.5 or 2 months.

Rich Ilczyszyn, once again performing math that's a bit too complicated for us melon heads, said "Don't fight the Fed" in regard to Treasurys but to "fade the move."

So, Ilczyszyn is buying December 10-year note futures at 131.28 with a target of 133.28 and a stop at 131.04. "My risk is 781.25 to make 2 grand."

Sean Gourley thinks some speeds — specifically those for HFT — are too high, and maybe they should enact a "speed limit" to better balance the stock market, "maybe to a speed limit of 10 milliseconds."

Stephen Weiss claims both he and Stephanie Link were right about VALE

Stephanie Link was able to declare victory on Thursday's Halftime Report in her campaign against Stephen Weiss' curious VALE skepticism, saying the "stock's down 50% from its high" and it's a "play on China" as 2 reasons to buy.

"Definitely a bottoming going on in China," Link said. "I'd still recommend holding the stock."

Weiss, something of a Twitter toughie, wasn't on the show, but he wasn't silent, and contended on Twitter well before the show that VALE "May bounce today on relief rally so Stephanie right but fundamentals worsening so I'm right too."

Stephanie Link manages to say a lot about UA without really taking a stand

Stephanie Link said on Thursday's Halftime Report to "wait for a pullback" in PG to the mid-60s; "I don't know if you wanna chase it at 70."

Mike Murphy said "I agree completely" with that call. Enis Taner said he'd much rather buy health care than PG.

Enis Taner said "I don't think Microsoft's a buy," but Stephanie Link was more open to the idea, saying 27 is "kind of interesting," even though "I don't think this can go to 40."

Mike Murphy said it's clear from Steve Ballmer's comments that "they do need the PC to pick up."

Joe Terranova said the problem with Microsoft's Surface is that "they do not have the apps in place yet."

Mike Murphy told Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that PHM is nearing a buy. "I don't think you jump in right here Michelle but it's getting interesting ... comes down a little bit more, you're a buyer of Pulte," Murphy said.

Stephanie Link said UA is "interesting," but "let it settle here for now."

Joe Terranova said of WYNN, "I think you can own the name utilizing a 110 stop."

Enis Taner's Final Trade was long ABT (this writer is long ABT). Mike Murphy said TWI, Joe Terranova mentioned the reversal in nat gas, and Stephanie Link said HUM.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera opened the show saying she was "in for Squat (sic) Wapner."

[Wednesday, October 24, 2012]

Incredibly, nobody asks him about the future of the financial-media business (print and otherwise)

Steve Forbes paid a visit to the Nasdaq to tell Wednesday's Fast Money gang that Ben Bernanke, "in the nation's service, he oughta resign, year-end, Christmas present for the nation."

Despite Brian Kelly's assumption that stocks would immediately fall, Forbes insisted, "That's gonna be good for stocks, assuming President-elect Mitt Romney "makes it clear we're gonna have a stable dollar."

Not surprisingly, no one mentioned the real problem with Forbes' suggestion, which is that Federal Reserve machinations are the product of massive consensus and not the whims of a lone rogue banker and that the real key to the job is ability to get along with a lot of different interested parties. Tim Seymour tried to haggle a couple of times that the dollar already is in a strengthening trend. Forbes shrugged that it's now a "98-pound weakling instead of an 88-pound weakling."

Simon Hobbs persisted in eliciting an answer from Forbes as to how a stronger dollar produces a stronger economy. Because "you get real investment again," Forbes said, while also illustrating his gold standard that he said didn't rely on stockpiling it at Fort Knox.

Tom DeMark’s recent call goes unmentioned, and perhaps underappreciated

Brian Kelly, who on Sept. 13 advised everyone to "buy everything that's not nailed down" and who since then has claimed that the "biggest risk" (to stress-test scenarios or whatever) is an improving economy, opted against those declarations on Wednesday's Fast Money in favor of something sounding rather bearish regarding Spain's assessment of its financial condition.

"So now when Spain goes to the market, nobody's gonna show up for that auction, at least that's what I'm afraid of," Kelly said.

Happy Tim Seymour showed up, saying that from Spain, "You've got at least some feeling that some of the, the, the tail risk is off the market."

Guy Adami said "I think the market's in a new trading range" and that it could bottom, short-term, around 1,379 or 1,380.

Simon Baker said he agreed with Adami and claimed "the market's expensive here, it's gonna go lower," and that staples have been "overplayed," so after raising cash you should prepare to enter the cyclicals.

Mike Khouw said there has been "more put-buying than call-buying." Tim Seymour said major indices are in "no-man's land" and revealed, "We're playing options opportunistically" (as opposed to "against our will").

Tim Seymour: AAPL in a range with ‘nothing to support it’

Guest host Simon Hobbs on Wednesday's Fast Money tapped Jon Fortt to explain how AAPL analysts are parsing Tim Cook's comments about 100 million iPad sales being reached 2 weeks ago.

Fortt articulated what the ramifications of Cook's remark might be and noted there is uncertainty as to whether iPads will sell on typical holiday schedules or more like iPhones do, but unfortunately Fortt did feel compelled to delve into this ridiculous orders-vs.-shipping debate, saying if Apple did sell 15.8 million iPads in the 3rd quarter, "they might've shipped a few less than that."

Tim Seymour actually claimed the stock "is in a range where there's nothing to me to support it," then said the hedge fund "pain trade" has been short FB vs. long IBM or AMZN.

"It's an overcrowded trade," Seymour concluded of AAPL. "I think the stock goes down to 580 before you get good support."

Simon Baker contended, "It's just trading really heavy ... I think it's gonna be difficult for Apple to hit 700 before the end of the year," adding that people have "Apple fatigue right now."

Inadvertently, camera catches wonderful left side of Jackie DeAngelis

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's Fast Money that there's "no compelling reason" to be in BBY.

Tim Seymour got a little gasbaggy on that name before Simon Baker asked him if he'd short it. "I wouldn't short a stock like this," Seymour allowed, adding that the stock has event risk and has tested a level and if it should find support, "it's a buy-trade, uh, but something to be careful."

Some producer threw a curve to Jackie DeAngelis, who apparently thought she was going to talk about some company that beat earnings but was caught empty-handed when Simon Hobbs asked her not once but twice for details on BBY's day.

However, the camera from the left caught Jackie in her state of flummox, in which she looked quite good from that angle.

One guy who's not worried about BBY — or AMZN, he claims — in the slightest is Toys R Us boss Jerry Storch, who distributed toys to the Fast Money crew at the Nasdaq the way Irwin Simon hands out organic cheeseburgers.

Storch made a point of showcasing the Tabeo tablet for kids (just what the world needs) and One Direction dolls and while Patty Edwards has probably heard the music of One Direction, we can't say we even know what they are around here.

Storch noted that Toys R Us is "price matching" this year. Simon Hobbs tried a couple times to get an answer as to why they're doing that this year while not having done it before and mostly got the "We've got more toys than anyone!!!!" response, but at one point Storch insisted, "The customers are clearly value-focused." (Translation: It was some other company's idea, and we better start doing it or else.)

"Layaway is a phenomenon in retail this year," said Storch, who told Tim Seymour his company, like presumably most others, is a "major Oracle user."

Adami: You can get long NFLX

Guy Adami, about the only panelist on Wednesday's Fast Money with several usable trades, told viewers "You're gonna have a capitulation-type trade in FFIV again," not necessarily Thursday, but he thinks that "Friday, you step in and get long this name."

But Adami wasn't interested in ZNGA, calling its gain a "classic short-covering rally." Brian Kelly agreed; "their business model is strange at best."

Likewise, Adami said he thinks WYNN might be worth a short on the pop, with a stop around 120. Kelly concurred, "I would be probably on the short side with this one as well."

Simon Baker, who on the one hand thinks staples are overcooked, touted MSFT with not much of a case, citing dividend, possibility of a special dividend, and a 27-35 range, and still made it his Final Trade.

Guy Adami said of NFLX, "I think you can actually get long this stock tomorrow," just put a stop below 55.

MNST overdone?

Guy Adami on Wednesday's Fast Money conceded that it's the "coward's way out," but he'd wait for Amazon's report before buying (if at all).

Brian Kelly, who sounded like Mitt Romney in the foreign policy debate, agreed again with Adami, saying "I'd wait," but that 216 or 217 is perhaps "not a bad place" to get long.

Simon Baker wasn't nibbling, saying "this thing is priced to perfection."

But Baker said of UA, "I like it here, be long," despite the fact Mike Khouw reported that UA options traders have been "targeting $52."

Khouw said someone was buying RCL November 32 calls for 81 cents. Khouw also cited a UBS report suggesting the "headline-risk impact's gonna be minimal" on MNST, and he suggested selling UPS as his Final Trade.

Very chipper and very good-looking Amelia Bourdeau recommends shorting the Aussie vs. the dollar at 1.0360, with a target of 1.02 and stop at 1.0420.

Tim Seymour, in not much of a surprise, called CHL "one of your best China plays," and said buy VALE into earnings as his Final Trade.

Brian Kelly said WHR activity "looks like a blowoff top to me" and advised selling EWA as a Final Trade. Simon Baker said he has "low expectations" for RFMD. Guy Adami's Final Trade was HAS.

Simon Hobbs couldn't resist chuckling when mentioning the "climax of the show."

Weiss: Facebook is just
a ‘hope and pray’ trade

Evidently this page can no longer do the "How-much-more-money-did-Facebook-make-in-mobile-this-week-than-last-week" headlines. (But we can still do that with "search.")

Jordan Rohan told Wednesday's Halftime Report that FB's "magnitude of the growth and revenue was, was shocking I think to everybody."

"We actually now have turned the corner," Rohan said, saying mobile "is actually a friend of Facebook, so to speak."

Mike Murphy wasn't so enthusiastic, saying, "I didn't see enough there. This looked to me like a short-covering rally."

Rohan then explained, "Here's my calculus on it," and argued that with AAPL not going up every day and GOOG recently plunging, "tech investors are gonna look for somewhere to put that money."

Pete Najarian hailed the gains in FB and said "I see no reason to get out of this position right now."

Stephen Weiss, with ego talking, told guest host Simon Hobbs, "For voice of reason you came to the absolute right spot, Simon ... As Jordan just said, this is hope and pray ... I'd still be on the sidelines." Weiss scoffed at Hobbs' assertion that FB brass is trying to make the stock go up; "everybody needs their share price higher."

This correction is the ‘healthier’ variety

Aswath Damodaran, standing by his 24 FB target, said nothing has changed in his assessment and that FB and AAPL are both "victims of the expectations game," which is why one recently went up and the other down, and that FB being down was due; "you could almost see this one coming."

But Damodaran said that to "sustain their market value ... they need to show me a lot more."

Damodaran tried to assure Joe Terranova that if there is a wave of Facebook selling, "the market can overcome that." He told Simon Hobbs that for the broader market, "This is a much more conventional correction ... so I think it's a healthier correction."

Pete continues on the Apple-is-still-playing-offense warpath

Mike Murphy said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that he's short puts in AAPL and "buyers of the stock around 620 ... we expect a positive reaction on the earnings call."

Guest host Simon Hobbs prompted Murphy to explain that with the stock around 650 he didn't want to have to buy it so he sold puts.

"I'm still long the stock, I still like the stock, I think it's gonna go a lot higher from here," said Pete Najarian, continuing to stress that the iPad Mini is a "very offensive" type of product (he means "offensive" as in playing offense, not something that will repulse you).

Pete scoffed at price concerns, saying, "I would be amazed to say, to hear, that they didn't go out and absolutely make sure what the pricing would be for this to be a successful launch." Simon Hobbs said Steve Jobs never did focus groups.

Najarian contended, "I think in the short term I think we could easily get back up to those 660 levels," and that something like 720 is "attainable."

Stephen Weiss complained that AAPL has "tremendous opportunity in the educational market" but is "possibly ceding part of that market."

Bizarrely, perhaps referring to Jordan Rohan's innocuous comment earlier, Weiss said it's "way too early to call the death of Apple."


"Come on, give me a break here," said Simon Hobbs.

Hobbs aired a clip of Tim Cook saying, "I'm thrilled to tell you" that 2 weeks ago Apple sold its 100 millionth iPad, but he didn't look all that thrilled.

We nominate Barry Bannister, who’s great at 1) being an optimist and 2) stiff-arming pesky questions

Dennis Gartman revealed on Wednesday's Halftime Report that he's short a "small amount" of the 10-year, because of the Fed. "They're not there supporting the long end," Gartman said, saying he's "breaking dead solid even on the trade."

Referring to an emerging theme on CNBC sparked in part by Gary Kaminsky's report yesterday, Gartman, saying "Let's hope that Mr. Romney does win, I'm obviously a supporter," told viewers "you can rest very much assured that there will be a new Fed, uh, chairman" in a Romney-victory scenario.

Gartman this time didn't have to say he's only a gold bull and not a gold bug because he doesn't think the world is coming to an end, and said that in gold, "I'm down to what I call a, a, a core position," and that people should own "some gold, a modest amount, a small amount, a meager amount, but nothing dramatic." Gartman then delivered a facial to the gold-bull crowd, saying if crude remains weak, "you're gonna see 1,700 taken out on the downside."

Sam Stovall beats Aswath Damodaran to the fiscal cliff punch

Evidently it's hip now to fear the fiscal cliff. (#somuchforcomingtogetheronelectionday)

Sam Stovall, another one of those guests who tends to be on other CNBC shows now proliferating on Fast Money/Halftime Report, managed to give himself on Wednesday's Halftime a couple of chances on that year-end S&P target, saying his own target is 1,450, but that S&P's chief technician Mark Arbeter is saying possibly 1,500 or 1,550.

The latter could happen, Stovall said, as the markets "continue with this digestion" and the "uncertainty of the election (is) lifted ... we could end up with a nice Santa Claus rally."

Bizarrely, Stovall actually thinks that's possible despite his belief that "I think there's a very good possibility that we do end up falling off the cliff on December 31st but, but we end up seeing some sort of a resolution in the first quarter that then gets back-dated to the beginning of the year."

So, let's try to figure out how the algorithms are gonna play this ... buy on the mid-December weakness as government declares impasse on cliff negotiations, as it will get resolved in Q1 anyway and just back-dated.

Later in the program, Aswath Damodaran singled out the fiscal cliff and claimed he is "much more scared of that than most people seem to be."

So we've got a couple of outliers, one of whom thinks it's no big deal.

Stovall suggested people jittery about stocks can try the S&P low volatility index, where you end up "riding the merry-go-round rather than the roller coaster."

Taking an off-the-wall guess:
BAC for high-beta

Joe Terranova highlighted a tepid (to say the least) panel on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

"I'm not stepping in just yet and buying this election correction," Terranova said.

Mike Murphy said "that 1,425 is gonna be resistance to the upside," and he'd wait for a move above that, and gave viewers an early look at his FB strategy; "I think there's downside there" after the pop.

Stephen Weiss said "China came out with some unexpectedly positive news in terms of their manufacturing," but then said, "I would not buy the materials stocks."

Pete Najarian cited the VIX futures and assured "there is still some calm in the marketplace," but he likes strength in the financials ... "some of the housing stocks" and whatever it is WHR is doing.

Pete then rattled off a beginner's course in which bulge bracket bank you pick for each varying level of beta.

Stephen Weiss, referring to Scott Cohn's report about the Countrywide case, said, "I own B of A, and I can tell you it's not affecting my view in (sic) the stock at all."

Rich Ilczyszyn does 2,940-multiplication math in his head faster than most people could

Rich Ilczyszyn and Anthony Grisanti didn't take the opportunity to compliment Jackie DeAngelis' fetching black sweater, but they did take the opportunity to identify a possible bid in gasoline.

"I did get some technical buy signals, short term," said the saluting Ilchmeister, whose trade is to buy December RBOB at 2.58 with a target 2.720 and 2.51 stop. "I'm risking 2,940 to make 5,880 bucks," he said.

Grisanti concurred, "I do like getting long gasoline right now." Ilczyszyn said if crude happens to fall to 78-80, "I'd be a buyer of both those in a big way."

Joe Terranova opined, "If natural gas goes higher tomorrow, go with that move."

Things That Make Simon Go ‘Wow’ (possibly cont’d)

Gary Kaminsky, making back-to-back appearances in the Fast Money/Halftime franchise, brought decidedly more low-key subject matter to Wednesday's Halftime than the Romney-not-so-good-for-markets theme of a day earlier.

Kaminsky, at the Goldman Sachs Asset Management alternative investment symposium, spoke with commodities investor Todd Edgar, who said we're in an environment of the "3rd player ... which is the government," in the global macro scene.

Edgar said he's "thankfully flat" in gold but sees continued tailwinds from central banks wanting lower currencies.

For trades, Edgar said he watches central bank decisions with the goal of "risk 1 to make 3 (Rich Ilczyszyn could probably triple 2,940 like nobody's business but we can't)... it pays for you to bet that they will be more dovish than hawkish."

Mike Murphy cautioned MNST watchers that "this to me looks like a dead-cat bounce, I would stay away."

Seema Mody, wearing black as did Jackie DeAngelis, asked Stephen Weiss about his advice to possibly panicked investors ("have faith, the direction's still up") and Pete Najarian about DD ("can jump into this name").

Stephen Weiss' Final Trade was long QCOM. Joe Terranova said SBUX long, Pete Najarian said PBR long and Mike Murphy said F long.

"Wow you're good. Wowwwwwww," Hobbs told the panel.

[Tuesday, October 23, 2012]

Pete critiques the Halftime gang (and implies they’re a little bit gun-shy)

Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money spoke about seeing activity in PBR and putting in bids for both the stock and options, and eventually getting the option order filled.

What was curious was the contrarian rationale Pete employed that he apparently picked up from none other than the Joe Terranova-Brian Kelly-Josh Brown-Guy Adami variation of the chaps who spoke on television at lunchtime (see below).

"I was listening to the Halftime with Fast Money and I heard a lot of guys say, 'Boy, I'm staying out of this market, I don't wanna touch anything,' and I'm thinking, I'm exactly the opposite," Najarian thundered, stressing it's a stock-picking market.

Mike Khouw cautioned that, in general, "chasing something simply because it's cheap isn't necessarily a great strategy."

Funny how Mitt’s poll numbers seemed to take off around the release of the 47% video

Maybe the foreign-policy debate was a bigger difference-maker than we thought.

CNBC Capital Markets Editor Gary Kaminsky, who typically opines on Carl Quintanilla's Squawk on the Street, revisited Fast Money on Tuesday and after congratulating Pete Najarian's shirt, asserted, "People are beginning to realize, whoever wins that election in 2 weeks, that in both scenarios it is negative for the stock market in the short term."

Set that aside for a moment. If the 3rd debate had some role in triggering the Tuesday selloff, at least 1 of 2 things must've happened: Either Romney caused concern for Wall Street as Kaminsky indicated ... or Wall Street suddenly believes Obama is more likely to win.

Kaminsky's theory met heavy resistance from the Fast Money panelists, including Tim Seymour who wondered how "what was positive 2 weeks ago" is suddenly a negative, and Karen Finerman, who once battled Kaminsky on the tennis court but now noted the "perception" that Obama is viewed by many CEOs as anti-business and so wouldn't they see Romney as a better choice regardless.

Finerman didn't say it, but what she was really inadvertently suggesting is that perhaps big business viewed Monday's debate as a serious setback for the Republican ticket. Kaminsky didn't say that either.

Rather, Kaminsky contended that the run-up through late summer was a "relative performance catch-up," and told Seymour that when people get fully invested they start looking at risks, and "people realized that a Romney win is not necessarily gonna be good for the stock market," and as Romney indicated Monday, "he's gonna take a very strong standpoint in terms of the strengthening dollar ... very tough on China," and his dislike of Bernanke's regime, and that Tuesday was a reaction to the Romney surge this fall that had "really been priced in."

Pete Najarian took a rather odd tangent, suggesting lingering strength in the market because tech companies have so much cash and they'll likely "deploy some of that."

Bob Pisani was putting little stock in Kaminsky's argument, insisting that the biggest futures move of the day was 8 points when the DuPont forecast came out in the morning, and "it's pretty obvious ... that's what's moving the market."

The first debate was Oct. 3, when the S&P closed at 1,450.99. It went up 10 points the next day, but within days — before Joe Biden and Paul Ryan tangled — it was in the 1,430s, before climbing back to 1,460, before tumbling Friday and Tuesday and much of the day Monday.

Selling a perceived Romney pop — the stats don't indicate there really was one, at least pegged to a singular moment or 2 — and Election Day hangover, as Kaminsky indicated trading desks are doing, is quite possibly a savvy strategy.

But it's contingent on people with serious money actually believing that what's said in presidential debates is actually going to happen (see, when they add the word "but" — or any qualifying phrase actually — at their debates to, "But when it comes to our national security, I mean what I say," it does kind of make you wonder about the other things), and to that end, we're a bit skeptical; if Kaminsky's assessment is correct, expect a potential President Romney to announce Nov. 8 that Ben Bernanke is his favorite Fed chief and that China has taken the necessary steps to not be listed as a currency manipulator.

Dan Nathan and Pete Najarian agreed that VIX futures were not signaling trouble down the road.

It's now been several days since we've heard the term "binders of women," which Ed Mills claimed would "really haunt" the Romney campaign.

Barry Bannister adds Pete Najarian to the Stephen Weiss/Joe Terranova stiff-arm pile

One of our suddenly favorite Fast Money guest personalities is now Barry Bannister, simply for Bannister's dogged determination not to actually answer the (valid and relevant) questions he is asked by the panel.

Bannister was brought in to hopefully provide a ray of hope on Tuesday's Fast Money, and began by corroborating Gary Kaminsky's assessment of the stock market's view of a Romney presidency. "Ever since the first debate, uh, as your earlier speaker said, uh, Romney's rise has been associated with a, deflationary strong-currency, anti, uh, central-bank, uh movement," Bannister said, and then pointing to Japan, declared "that's exactly the wrong prescription."

Bannister conceded, perhaps to make Bob Pisani happy in case Bob was summoned yet again, "The market's had a great deal of worry and doubt about the level of earnings."

But like facing the mechanical bull at Gilley's Club, it was Pete Najarian's challenge to rope Bannister into details on banks and materials, "can you be more specific" about which ones will perform to bring the S&P to that 1,600 target, and all Pete got was a 1.38 euro target, a generic "banks" benefitting from "prospective loan growth," and a shout-out to copper & iron ore.

Karen: ‘It did look brutal’

Bob Pisani, who for whatever reason got 2 hits on Tuesday's Fast Money, told panelists that "it's the revenues that's the problem" in Tuesday's selloff.

Karen Finerman conceded, "It did look brutal," but then indicated the world really didn't change much overnight, and "we actually bought a little bit of a hedge back ... buying some weakness today ... didn't see anything materially change in the world."

Dan Nathan grumbled that "I still think we have lower lows."

Tim Seymour, in a discombobulated go-round on whether he thinks stocks are going lower or not and never really answering Simon Hobbs' question, said there are "sectors that people have no conviction on."

Finerman said she was interested in "something like a Macy's."

Actually Dan Nathan’s punch line was used by someone else as far back as February

David Carnoy on Tuesday's Fast Money tackled the iPad Mini and said "people are a little disappointed they didn't come out at 299 on this," and then conceded some element of cannibalization/regret, "Personally I feel a little burned because I bought that iPad 3."

However, Carnoy suggested that sometimes people aren't impressed by Apple roll-outs, and then they get in the store and handle the product and it's tough for them not to buy it.

Karen Finerman said the various stages of Apple products remind her of Gillette's "triple-blade razor ... quadruple blade razor ... five blades," and also admitted, "I was a little disappointed in the price point."

Dan Nathan contended that the iPad Mini is Apple's "first defensive product" in a long time and is sort of the "Kindle Fire extinguisher," telling Carnoy, "you can use that."

"We've used that one before," Carnoy said.

Pete Najarian stormed back at Nathan that he thinks the iPad Mini is an offensive not defensive weapon, and that AAPL is "on the attack."

Carnoy body-slammed Microsoft, saying the Surface is already "forgotten," and happens to be a "weird product because it isn't even a Windows 8 product."

FB: A double in 2½ years

Tim Seymour asserted on Tuesday's Fast Money that "no one really knows what monetization means," and meanwhile, Facebook has "2 big lockups" ahead but also has posted "2 pretty decent quarters in a row."

Guest Bob Peck gushed about Facebook, saying, "They actually beat the buy-side consensus too," and that the important metric is the "re-acceleration of the advertising revenues," and the company has "new products coming out" such as the Facebook Exchange.

Peck said there could be a "doubling of the stock over the next 2½ years or so." Pete Najarian made it his Final Trade.

Karen Finerman was wary of NFLX even after the plunge and advised for her Final "Trade" staying away. "The red ink here is pretty significant ... I would not step into" it at this level, Finerman said.

Dan Nathan said "short interest is mounting here" in NFLX. Nathan claimed that over at Yahoo, "investors are buying into the short-term results."

‘Buying opportunity in Tronox’

Guest Peter Hayes told Tuesday's Fast Money that maybe risks to the muni market aren't fully factored in yet.

"The market is largely ignoring what might be a negative outcome," as the 2 parties seem to be at tax-reform loggerheads that could affect muni bonds. "If you're chasing total return, now's not the time, but for income they make a lot of sense," he said.

Karen Finerman said COH is "kind of in no-man's land." Finerman said her recent favorite, RLGY, was "just kind of down on the market in general."

Tim Seymour said, "This is a buying opportunity in Tronox," then repeated the Mikey-Life-cereal kid urban legend.

Pete Najarian said of WDC, "I like this name ... great opportunity," and pointed to WHR's strength south of the border.

Mike Khouw said UPS seems "a little bit expensive," and observed that someone was selling the 35 March puts to buy the 42½/55 call spread in MNST, a "fairly favorable risk/reward relationship."

Dan Nathan advised CL put spreads in December to counter the "massively crowded trade" in staples, which became his Final Trade. Mike Khouw said if long DISH to sell Nov 38 calls, and Tim Seymour said ERJ long.

200-point down morning turns Halftime panel into sky-is-falling mode

All it took Tuesday was a morning of 200 Dow points down for the Halftime Report gang to head for the hills even quicker than Baltimore Ravens fans.

Joe Terranova asserted, "Fundamentally the market does not look as good as it did for the very first time since late July."

Josh Brown assured that the chase-for-performance theme is suddenly "discredited."

Guest host Simon Hobbs suggested the Fed's money-pumping is over if Mitt Romney wins the election.

But none actually went as far as Brian Kelly — who has recently been saying that the biggest risk (to what, we're not sure) is a stronger economy than people think — suggesting that the post-2009 policy-over-fundamentals theme suddenly "may be reversing here ... I don't really see any reason to go jumping in and buy right here."

Kelly said Fed policy within 18 or 14 months suddenly "is extremely important in this case."

Guy Adami, stressing that "at a certain point the Fed doesn't work," offered a mixed bag of non-advice; "my sense is, at some point we're gonna test 1,379 but I also think we're probably gonna retest this 1,425 level."

New guest Michael Santoli, on the other hand, noted it's been "one of the longest stretches" in a decade without a 5% pullback, and cast further doubt on the Fiscal Cliff Trade, asserting "Most of this uncertainty has probably peaked."

Joe Terranova allowed, "I have no clue whether the market's peaked for the year." But Anthony Grisanti said it "certainly looks that way."

Grisanti said, "The next support is 1,400," and then 1,387, and if that cracks, then 30-40 points lower.

Rich Ilczyszyn declared, "Any rally in this mark (sic) I'm selling it till the S&P futures close above 1,525." Grisanti's trade is to sell the December e-mini S&P at 1,425 with a target of 1,387.

Josh Brown admitted to Hobbs, "I don't know" if the market goes higher, but urged viewers, "Don't chase the coal rally ... we're overweight housing-related stocks" and health care.

Joe Terranova suggested bonds should be rallying more; because they're not, "the chance may be that equities go down and fixed income go down at the same time."

‘Misreaction to earnings’

Meanwhile, Thomas Lee, who probably hasn't made a bearish appearance on CNBC for years, suggested on Tuesday's Halftime that stocks actually look pretty good.

Lee asserted that there's "somewhat of a misreaction to earnings," that companies are stockpiling the "highest cash balances in history," and that bonds are holding firm so perhaps equities are seeing something that fixed income isn't.

Lee also suggested that hedge funds have been "disproportionately de-risking" and that they'll be under pressure to play catch-up. He indicated he likes a lot of stocks, but asked to list just 3 for show purposes, suggested AAPL, AMT and SBUX.

Josh Brown said "I really disagree with the thesis" by Lee that "people should buy the riskiest stocks" as dummies play chase for performance. "I actually don't think that's a very good idea." Brian Kelly said he likes AMT.

Adami: LLY has ‘lot of room on the upside’

Apparently swayed by Marissa Mayer's granular display advertising observations yesterday, Guy Adami said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "I think the risk/reward for Yahoo sets up extraordinarily well still," and that he does like major pharma and LLY, which has a "lot of room on the upside."

Adami also called the HD story "intact."

Brian Kelly said, "I think you can be a buyer here of Yahoo, and I think the downside's certainly limited."

Joe Terranova called XOM an "OK" way to play oil.

Terranova also said of WHR, "I'd be very cautious here" and take off the day's gains, and of RF, "I still think you stay in the name."

Guest Martin Pyykkonen said he thinks Facebook has been "better than the general consensus opinion" at making money off mobile, and "you can actually get higher rates on a tablet," which is a "bright spot."

Pyykkonen said the key from the report will be the run rate with sponsored stories on mobile.

Josh Brown revealed, "we have a long position on" in AAPL, and that was his Final Trade. Guy Adami said AAPL buyers can use "610 as sort of your pivot," and not to lament the selloff; "this has been what you're waiting for ... here's your opportunity."

Guy Adami said UPS around 71 is doable; "it's a relief rally but I think you can trade it against yesterday's low."

Adami added, "Maybe today was in fact caplitu- the capitulation day for WDC," and made it his Final Trade.

Brian Kelly said, "I would not trade the VIX itself," but just buy puts. Kelly said to take HOG gains off the table and made INTC his Final Trade.

Josh Brown said he likes R but is not sure he'd chase here.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was TRV. Paul Richards advised buying the dollar yen at either 80.10 or 79.50 (the commentary and screen graphics weren't exactly in synch there).

[Monday, October 22, 2012]

Grains of wisdom from Marissa: People either know less, or more, about display advertising than Yahoo does

The Fast Money crew was in Emperor Has No Clothes mode again on Monday as panelists, just like they did with Mark Zuckerberg at TechCrunch, tripped over themselves to rave about the stupefying Yahoo conference call that was partly shared with viewers.

After Marissa Mayer's introductory remarks in which he said she came to Yahoo to "grow" and "redefine" the company and that "companies are all about people," guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera insisted, "That was pretty bold, isn't it" for Mayer to say "out of the gate" that she thinks she's right for the job.

Jon Najarian assured, "This lady is really gunning," and when somebody says they can do something in 3 months, Mayer is saying "I want it next month."

Joe Terranova declared, "Marissa Mayer is the put in the Yahoo market." Terranova also said Mayer is "dynamic, clearly," and said "investors will reward that in the long term" (isn't the management supposed to reward investors, not the other way around?).

The more listening the Fast gang got to do, apparently the less impressed they got, as Tim Seymour questioned mobile as a YHOO catalyst; "how are these guys gonna be that much farther ahead of Google."

Mayer was heard to say during this "dynamic, gunning" call, "Many of the other people who operate in terms of display advertising are either less granular ... or are much more granular."

The secret to mobile is ‘how brands behave on these platforms’

In the category of emperors and clothes, watching Monday's Fast Money we had to wonder exactly what the specialty of Andrew Essex is, other than apparently doing business consulting.

Essex explained, more or less, that making money off mobile phone Web activity isn't easy, but wasn't too clear about 1) what companies should be doing about it or 2) if it's even their fault. "It's how brands behave on these platforms ... you don't wanna be annoyed ... annoying messages work even less ... bad advertising never works, it works even less on a small screen," were some of Essex's pearls of wisdom.

Essex said mobile ads or doohickeys "have to add value to people's lives." Then he finally admitted, "I don't think there are any precedents yet that actually work," though he was happy to cite "a great campaign for ID Gum," which he only mentioned because it's one of his clients.

Essex used the term "incumbent" at least twice; perhaps he's channeling Barack Obama. Perhaps inspired by the upcoming presidential debate, a toothless panel let Essex spout New Age gibberish unchecked.

Speaking of New Age, Gary Burnison told the panel about the concept of "borderless CEOs" and stated, "You don't have the conspicuous consumer."

Scott Nations said there was a big buyer of November 21 Facebook calls for 80 cents. Jon Najarian, on board with the Hope & Change Trade, said, "I like Facebook, and I think they will get mobile." (Remember a year ago at this time how every other day it was a story of 1) when Facebook is going public and 2) how much is it worth. Ron Insana correctly lowered the boom on social media stocks this spring, but he's never on Fast Money anymore; they must've tossed him out of the union.)

Darren Chervitz said if AAPL prices the mini iPad at $300 or $350 it would be a "huge mistake," but the right call is "maybe 250 or less." Joe Terranova said semiconductors are "secularly challenged."

‘Long, extended decline’ ahead

Tom DeMark, who actually identified himself as a "market timer," told Monday's Fast Money that his goal is to "identify trend exhaustion."

Exactly how he does that wasn't clear — it has something to do with 13's conveniently appearing at every market inflection point — but the outcome is that DeMark expects a surge that "should occur within the next 10-to-12 trading days" in the S&P cash to as high as 1,485.33 before the pain really hits.

"I think we probably made the highs for the year, definitely, in a number of these indices," DeMark said, before comparing right now to last year at this time. "We're on the same cycle right now," and he sees a "long, extended decline," which can only fortify Brian Kelly's point that the greatest risk to Wall Street/investors/Main Street/unclear is an improving economy.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera let DeMark go rather abruptly, citing a "little bit of a satellite delay," even though there really didn't appear to be one.

Tim Seymour questioned if DeMark's results will be affected by everyone now believing his analysis, and called DeMark's outlook "pretty scary."

What exactly does automaker bankruptcy have to do with foreign policy?

Dennis Gartman told Monday's Fast Money gang that there's "a lot of crude oil out there ... I'm really quite bearish ... there's just a lot of crude oil, bidding for storage."

But Gartman's more intriguing point is that gasoline is facing a permanent headwind because people are trading in cars that get "12, 13, 14, 15" mpg and replacing them with cars that get "25, 28, 30" mpg, and so "we're driving less, and we're driving more efficiently."

"I think rallies are to be sold into," Gartman said of oil.

Joe Terranova fairly unenthusiastically suggested XOM as the "right strategy" in oil.

Jon Najarian trumpeted SLV because "5 calls traded today to every 1 put" and made that his Final Trade. Tim Seymour suggested GM, not because it's got some new product people actually want to buy, but because it was "definitely" going to be talked about at the presidential debate.

Scott Nations' Final Trade was long volatility; Karen Finerman said BAC and Joe Terranova said LNKD with a stop at 100.

Marissa’s conference call bails out Dr. J’s clumsy introductory analysis of AAPL

Karen Finerman, in sleeveless light gray turtleneck, sounded less than interested in AAPL's stock swing Monday, "$2 billion here, $2 billion there," and that nothing matters until some sales numbers start coming out.

Mr. New World said AAPL was "oversold" technically. That got Jon Najarian rehashing last week's AAPL trades and moves and shorts and, without ever really getting to a point, saying Monday caught an "awful lot of folks flat-footed."

But the AAPL talk was short-circuited by the YHOO conference call. Marissa Mayer (sorry to say but it's just an honest observation) doesn't have the sexiest voice on the planet don't you dare say that and unfortunately sounded a bit like Zuck's report to his 11th-grade social studies class, telling listeners in the stalest of scripts, "This job is tailor-made for me."

"She's dynamic clearly," declared Joe Terranova, and he actually meant it.

Scott Nations went more overboard than that Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell movie, gushing that YHOO has "tremendous potential ... if you go to the Yahoo home page it gives you news. If you go to the Google home page, it doesn't give you anything," an observation that's only about, oh, 15 years old.

Yahoo shores up the meal department, bound to introduce great new products now that employees dine free

Darren Chervitz, who actually has made YHOO his 3rd-largest holding, first tried to make a maternity-leave point on Monday's Fast Money with MCC and Karen Finerman listening, then claimed it's important that Mayer has changed the culture by giving "free lunches, iPhones for everyone" and, while he at least stressed there needs to be more, failed to explain what Yahoo product he's using today that he wasn't using yesterday (#megwhitman2.0).

And, at least Chervitz hinted that Yahoo is becoming a piggy bank for weary Google 1%-ers, saying the compensation has been "frankly a little bit egregious."

More from Monday's Fast Money later.

Marissa fan doesn’t satisfactorily answer Stephen Weiss’ question about the cash argument

Barry Bannister isn't the only Halftime Report guest who doesn't answer Stephen Weiss' questions.

Weiss had the pleasure on Monday's Halftime of querying longtime tech watcher Ann Winblad about the prospects for Marissa Mayer's YHOO.

Winblad threw out every possible metaphor after invoking the Meg Whitman theory that the turnarounds can "take a while," but that Mayer has "really strong technical chops."

Winblad said monetizing mobile making money "is a big experiment," but with everyone facing the same challenge, "it's jump ball," and Yahoo has supposedly "a lot of strong cards to play ... the deck is stacked in her favor."

So Weiss told Winblad that while she mentioned cash, everybody out there has got cash, so how does that make Yahoo stronger. Winblad then said Mayer came from the Google "tribe," and then said "tribe" 3 more times, as in, knowing all these people in Silicon Valley, and "that's a competitive advantage for her on acquisitions."

Later Weiss concluded, "I think she's being very diplomatic in terms of the time frame."

For his part, Weiss said earlier of Mayer, "I don't know her" (translation: he says he rolls with the 1%, but apparently not all of the 1%), but she did a "phenomenal job at Google."

Steve Grasso actually claimed, with no evidence, "She is slowly but surely gaining the investment community's respect here."

Simon Baker said "Maybe it's gonna be Yahoo 2.0," but we weren't sure if he meant "Yahoo 2.0" or "Google 2.0" and just misspoke.

Stephanie Link said "no we're not jumping in here" into YHOO, but that Cramer owns EMC and finds IBM "interesting." Steve Grasso said he wouldn't buy YHOO but he did buy GOOG on the dip.

Brian Belski doesn’t take too kindly to Simon Baker’s carping about cyclicals

Brian Belski, whose S&P price targets are 1,425 (this year) and 1,575 (next year), pointed out on Monday's Halftime Report that S&P earnings of $100 are a "record by the way," but "I think we're dicing a little bit too much," and that staples are the key as in the 1990s, and stocks and multiples will rise next year when people start "believing that denominator of earnings."

Simon Baker asked a perfectly good question, if you're making a bull call, why only staples, "why not cyclicals specifically."

"Hold on a second," Belski protested, "We are overweight technology, industrials and energy. That's pretty cyclical," but then he proceeded to make Froot Loops of what was a dubious point to begin with, saying tech isn't as cyclical as before.

Steve Grasso said, for either the 2nd or 3rd time, he's in ACI, BTU and CLU and is "sort of bullish on them" and credited Joe Terranova for noting BTU on Friday. Stephen Weiss halfheartedly endorsed CNX.

Steve Grasso likes his coal stocks on Monday, Part II

Simon Baker really threw guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera for a (stunning) curve on Monday's Halftime by noting the significance of "the linearity" of earnings reports (except he pronounced it "linarity").

Stephanie Link protested that we're "only 25% in" to earnings so far.

Stephen Weiss, rather clunkily, tried to say he's both short CAT (which he is) and yet thinks the stock is going higher; "I covered most of the short," then referring to CEO Doug Oberhelman without naming him, "He said there'll be no recession anywhere in the world next year. That's just flat-out wrong."

Cute Kathy Lien said she'd be selling euro/pound at 0.81 with a target 0.7975.

Stephen Weiss questioned why Goldman Sachs kept Greg Smith around; "how could they employ this guy for 12 years." Weiss insisted that Goldman Sachs is one of the "most ethical firms on the Street."

Steve Grasso said if you play FCX to keep it on a "short leash ... please use 39 as an exit strategy."

Grasso also said, "I'm still staying long coal space."

Gee, ya think Steve Grasso was excited about his coal stocks Monday???????

Stephen Weiss told viewers of Monday's Halftime Report that "I don't care" about the presidential debate unless "there's a knockout punch ... which I'd like to see" for a certain candidate whose name rhymes with Dillard.

That would be "very very positive for the market," Weiss said.

Steve Grasso said he's "long Aetna" as sort of a politics play, and when it comes to the election, "it really does matter."

Stephanie Link said it's "too close to call anyway." Simon Baker, in one of the best lines of the day, cited the "Ralph Nader Index."

Stephanie Link actually said of HAS, "I think you wanna be long," without any caveat of a pullback.

Simon Baker said the pullback's already here in VFC, "I'd be buying this on weakness."

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera enjoys being stunning but has all she can handle in CNBC's heaven-sent Twicker correspondent (unfortunately the network wasn't so generous in providing video of this appealing white-sleeve ensemble although MCC did air footage of it at the top of Fast Money), who mentioned some suggested names for the iPad family but reported on one blogger's concern that there's "very little room for an in-between product."

Steve Grasso said AUO is the AAPL derivative play.

Grasso's Final Trade — yes, it was a great call, as we heard several times Monday — was ACI. Stephen Weiss said C, Simon Baker said AKAM and Stephanie Link said BA.

[Friday, October 19, 2012]

Judge actually thinks there’s no difference between buying at $85 and $89

So who peed in Judge's Cheerios?

(We're inclined to say Stephen Weiss, but Weiss was nowhere near the Halftime set Friday.)

Judge first brought in a HedgEye guy, Howard Penney, to explain the MCD results, but Penney was barely heard through a lousy smartphone connection (nobody's monetizing that call) saying it's "really hard to connect the dots" with the quarter, and his "conspiracy theory" is partly about the beverages getting too "complex."

But Judge rightly 86'd Penney's connection, then served up an Unhappy Meal to Guy Adami.

Adami observed that "maybe some of the Jim Skinner premium is out," but "at some point though" the stock is interesting.

"What does that mean though, what does that mean, at some point, I mean at some point," Wapner balked.

"I'll give you an exact point: I think 80- the stock gets down to 85, you go in with both hands," Adami said, unfazed.

Then from the realm of the bizarre, Judge asked Adami that in the "bigger picture ... for the longer-term investor" who watches the show, "You can't tell me 85 is really looking more attractive than, than 89. I mean, we're talking 4 bucks, right."

"I mean Judge, I'm not, if you want a long-term guy, I mean, I'm the wrong person," Adami mostly coolly said without sputtering too much, "these are trades ..."

That prompted some math around here (but remember, we sometimes can't even recall how many degrees there are in a circle), and we found that at $100, the difference between buying MCD at 85 and 89 is 17% vs. 12%; at $110, it's 29% vs. 24%, and at $125, it's 47% vs. 40% — all of those higher returns, according to Judge, not looking any "more attractive" than the lower ones.

Basically — and this page has stated this point countless times — even if you plan to hold for 20 years, why in the world would you buy a stock today if you think the price over the coming weeks or months will be lower???

Because we want to be helpful, we'll straighten out Judge's likely point for him. Which is, it's possible Adami is wrong, and the stock will not drift as low as 85 (that would basically be the 52-week low), and thus the long-term-wannabe buyers might be overguessing it and end up chasing just to get in, when they can get in now on a dip and possibly a seasonal bottom.

(It's also possible Adami is wrong the other direction and it falls far below 85, but that's beyond the scope of this conversation.)

Steve Grasso said MCD's problem is its pricing. "They're focusing too much on that dollar menu, and that's killin' 'em," Grasso said. Pete Najarian said McDonald's U.S. results were "kind of dodgy."

Actually, in the case of GOOG and CMG and several others, it really was

Not only was a simple recommendation to buy something at 85 instead of 89 enough to trip Judge Wapner's wires on Friday's Halftime, he also managed to take personal offense at an innocuous assessment of the media.

Scott Wren told Judge that earnings weakness has been reported by the media "as though that was really unexpected."

"I mean we're reporting the facts man aren't we?" Judge butt in.

Wren never said they weren't reporting the facts. (#talkaboutsensitive)

Wren, who unfortunately got to deliver Judge's 2nd-favorite feature after euro directional calls (year-end S&P targets), said "the market's hanging in there," and that he likes tech and materials.

Research tactics of Wall Street analysts (cont’d): Asking their friends

Guest Kim Forrest introduced a very unscientific survey to Friday's Halftime Report gang.

Asking a bunch of friends and acquaintances, Forrest said, she found "only 1 person really fessed up to having bought an airline ticket, you know, using their smartphone exclusively."

Forrest said she wouldn't buy GOOG at Friday's levels, because the trends are down, and "I don't know where the low is."

But things gradually got better, as Forrest said MSFT is a "tougher thing ... Win 8 is gonna be a huge thing for this company," and then claimed she had a "little more conviction" on IBM than any other name Judge was going to ask her about Friday.

Jon Najarian asked Forrest if Google doesn't need to increase its efforts related to location, in other words hitting you up with ads just when you're walking past your favorite shop. In a bit of hyperbole, Forrest said she agreed; "you're gonna think I'm your biggest fan."

Steve Grasso said he'd prefer to wait for IBM at 190, "but I wouldn't be afraid of buying it here."

Pete Najarian pounded the table for SNDK, at least compared with Intel. "They are in the right spot at the right time," Najarian said of SanDisk.

Najarian claimed people actually use Google's social media. "You're gettin' to a very close competitor with Facebook right now through that Google+ community," Najarian said.

Purple. Power.

Jon Najarian on Friday's Halftime Report offered curious trading advice for those perhaps a bit overeager to do some bottom-fishing in a name such as CMG.

"There's usually a 2- to 3-day period" of such stocks' cratering process, Najarian stressed.

Curious advice, given that on April 18, Najarian denounced the chuckleheads who sold the $110.56 afterhours low in FFIV.

"There were a bunch of people that hit that sell button way too quick in the afterhours, and that's where the big, big girls and big boys play in the afterhours. Somebody shouldn't have been there or should've had some adult supervision," Najarian said in April. "That's a very expensive lesson."

Funny thing is, while that was indeed a bad trade, within 6 weeks, that $110 FFIV price was a pipe dream, and is today.

So, for those keeping score of Fast Money Advice, when a stock starts to crater, it's over "usually a 2- to 3-day period" ... except the times it's over a 2- to 3-second period.

On Friday, Najarian said its notable that CMG being "around 245" is around its March 2011 lows, but he's not saying he'd buy it here.

Steve Grasso insisted people not compare CMG with Taco Bell; if you don't like CMG, "You're shorting it unto itself."

Guy Adami said that if the S&P holds 1,425 (see, this was a trend Friday) and you like SBUX, then "get in with both hands."

Beauty of staggering dimensions visited the Halftime set Friday in an unbelievable dress that deserves to be posted here full-screen, but the geniuses at CNBC.com omitted the cut-to-commercial video footage that would've revealed it in full glory, so the above picture is the best we can do. Jon Najarian said SBUX was hurt by concerns of "food-related costs" experienced by MCD and CMG. Pete Najarian made SBUX his Final Trade anyway and said buy it for the drinks.

Guest gives viewers
a 25-year-old trade

Jon Najarian had a gold observation (no, it wasn't, "I'm a gold bull, not a gold bug; I don't think the world is coming to an end...") more than a gold trade on Friday's Halftime, saying the 50-day moving average is 1,720.55, and it's "fluttering back and forth across that line."

Steve Grasso said "I would say stay away" from ETFC because low rates are a killer, but if we start getting higher rates, "you wanna run in and buy this stock."

Pete Najarian said "valuations are still not stretched" at COF.

Mike Murphy, who always used to be getting long URI, revealed, "We got short the name early this morning" after the 30% move this week, and "we think there's a lot more downside here," at least to the 36.50 range.

Guy Adami said RHI has had a "series of lower lows, and lower highs" and recommends getting out now and buying it later cheaper.

Adami did mention a "benign" tape possibility in suggesting KSU is an $85 stock in such a scenario (you know, if the S&P holds 1,425).

With considerable difficulty, Adami also said ANF CEO Michael Jeffries resembles Joan Rivers.

Sister Golden Hair Mary Thompson updated viewers on company misses/beats this season vs. historical averages.

Boris Schlossberg began his very limited talk-about-the-euro time with an anecdote about the 1987 Wall Street crash, saying there was short covering for a couple hours, and, "If you were nimble you actually could've made money being long during the Great Crash."

Schlossberg's trade was to buy euro/dollar at 1.3175, with 2 targets, the top one at 1.3450.

"I am Fast Fat Money" Steve Grasso's Final Trade was ACI (that is, if 1,425 holds). Guy Adami said JACK, and Jon Najarian said DLTR.

Don’t worry, just 1,425 it

Guy Adami said on Friday's Halftime Report that it's hard to buy a big market dip on a Friday, but all hope isn't lost.

"1,425 is your line in the sand. We've seen this movie before," Adami said, suggesting it could be a great "buying opportunity thing," though he doesn't use terms like that.

Jon Najarian said there are different ways to view Google's troubles, and "I view it as an opportunity," and 665 looks like the "next major support."

Pete Najarian pointed to Riverbed and SanDisk (actually a recent Joe Terranova call) as rare winners on the day.

More from Friday's Halftime later.

[Thursday, October 18, 2012]

Dennis Gartman on Google:
‘The world’s passing them by’

Concerns about Google were rampant on CNBC on Thursday, but none more stark than Dennis Gartman's anecdote on Fast Money.

"I have to watch the younger guys in my office to tell me what's going on," Gartman said. "They're past what's going on in Google. They're moving quicker, every minute, every day. I had a meeting last night with somebody who was so far beyond what I have seen going on on this machine right here. Yeah, the world's passing them by, it's very quick."

Yeah ... and what the heck was he talking about again??

Tim Seymour wasn't a whole lot better. "Larry Page, even though he didn't sound 'cited, (sic) was exactly talking about his excitement, and that's, that's, that's why it almost seemed like he's reaching," Seymour said.

Few lines, if any, were better than Joe Terranova's instant self-Fast Fire (see below) on choosing GOOG over AAPL Oct. 8; "Let's go to confession here for a second."

Heather Bellini (see further below) vs. Colin Gillis

Many probably feared Judge Wapner would turn Thursday's Fast Money into an hourlong Google-fest (thankfully, there was nothing Thursday about Vikram Pandit); thankfully things came to a halt during the Colin ("I'm always an Apple skeptic") Gillis interview.

Gillis said, "You have to be worried about the impact of mobile," and declared "it was not" a strong quarter.

Gillis has a hold rating and 690 target (but we never heard him urging a short on Fast Money prior to Thursday.

On the other side was Larry Haverty, who visited the Nasdaq to positively declare GOOG a "no-brainer ... you have all this tech discussion, and the tech discussion is missing the way the company eats ... this company's a cash machine."

However, Haverty did concede that "Motorola's a science project," or in other words, basically just like everything Google does besides basic search.

Jon Najarian asserted, "Mobile is gonna be a problem for 'em."

How Wall Street analyst business works (cont’d): Standing behind 471 CMG price target

If Joe Terranova's "confession" wasn't the line of the day on Thursday's Fast Money, then the day's best quip certainly came from permanently supersexy Jane Wells, World's Hippest Business TV Reporter, who listened to the CMG report and said "the big burrito hanging over the conference call" was Taco Bell, but maybe most noteworthy was the implication of "possibly no growth at all next year."

Joe Terranova singled out CMG's competition, in fact. "That's the right trade here, stay with Yum, I don't touch, uh, CMG," Terranova said, and complaining about the CMG call, added, "These are excuses by the CEO ... how come Domino's Pizza's OK ... same environment."

But things veered into absurdity when apparent CMG bull Nicole Miller Regan dialed into the show (with at first, like everyone else, a mike glitch) and declared the stock still has "scarcity value" in the restaurant space, and its "premium is justified," and it can repurchase shares.

In fact, claimed Miller Regan as the screen text showed her "overweight" rating and 471 (that's correct, 471) price target, it's the "best growth story and the best human capital story."

The 471 got Joe Terranova's attention, and he asked Miller Regan, "Do you think that's just a little bit too optimistic and you need to lower?"

Miller Regan said, "The answer is 'not really' ... there's nothing for Chipotle to be embarrassed about."

Perhaps thrown off her game, Miller Regan stammered and stumbled in her MCD assessment but concluded she's "not looking for anything heroic" there.

Scott Nations said the options markets indicated "people were worried" about CMG during the day.

Exciting MSFT — Dennis Gartman might buy it for his pension fund

Colin Gillis said on Thursday's Fast Money he sees "upside to Windows 8 and its Surface tablet."

Tim Seymour sort of promoted MSFT, claiming, "In terms of the chart it's actually a great place to be buying."

Jon Najarian said the stock was dipping to 28.80 (or 28.60 if you squint) in the afterhours, and "I would be a buyer down there."

The most tepid endorsement by far came from Dennis Gartman, who said of MSFT, "We've been thinking about buying it for our own pension fund ... I look at it as a bank ... I don't know anything about the technology involved in it."

Joe Terranova backed EBAY. "I think you hold it, use a 46½ stop," Terranova said.

Jon Najarian got to pick up the MRVL baton from superfox Seema Mody, pointing out, "their CFO resigns effective immediately .. that's a warning sign."

Judge thinks Joe was going
to ‘have a Bellini after work’

Tim Seymour made a halfhearted defense of (what else, emerging markets that are "interesting" every day he's on Fast Money) China on Thursday's Fast Money, claiming, "The Street is coming around on this. So money is flowing into China ... they are playing the miners." (Um, actually, Stephen Weiss is but not in a necessarily good way, if you saw the Halftime Report.)

Todd Gordon recommeded shorting the euro at 1.3060 (screen said 1.3050, with a target of 1.2850.

Joe Terranova said the 10-year "looks like it wants to go to 2%." That prompted fond memories from Dennis Gartman, who said, "I remember trading the long bond, the 30-year, at a 15 and a quarter yield," and that there was a time he'd "yawn" at 2%.

"Lock in those mortgages now," advised Tim Seymour, and Gartman agreed.

Jon Najarian said he jumped into ALGN; "I bought a little at 26.50." Tim Seymour said of MS, "Stay out of this one." Scott Nations said he thought he was doing PCLN but got DF instead and (instead of like Mike Khouw crediting Karen Finerman) said it looks like a subsidiary spinoff is going to happen.

Nations said somebody bought "a bunch of the October 21 calls" in CHK that expire Friday. Judge Wapner aired a teaser clip of Cramer's interview with Aubrey McClendon (wonder if Aubrey was asked if the CHK board really took custody of his map collection when they "bought" it).

Dennis Gartman fondly recalled his experience with the Kansas City Board of Trade and said he wishes he had bought a seat.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was to take profits in WLT. Dennis Gartman said sell the yen vs. Aussie & Canadian dollar. Jon Najarian said LGF March calls. Joe Terranova said of GOOG, "I'm gonna go with Heather Bellini's price target of 660" and buy at 675. Judge Wapner curiously added, "I thought you were gonna go have a Bellini for uh, after work."

‘Downright weird’ Google call

In an impressive mea culpa, Joe Terranova took the fall on Thursday's Fast Money for recommending GOOG over AAPL a couple weeks ago (possibly so that he could preempt the bloggers from trumpeting his Oct. 8 comments about how "We're not gonna self-promote here and say how well we did" in nimbly getting out of AAPL and into GOOG).

Terranova said Thursday, "I'm wrong." Then noting the GOOG report, warned, "If this is monetizing mooble (sic), uh, mobile, better than anyone else, this is a big problem for the monetization of mobile."

Jon Najarian said it wasn't Google's fault for the timing of the release, but "this thing was a debacle today."

Tim Seymour said "lack of enthusiasm's an understatement" on the Google call, and it was "downright weird."

"There was no enthusiasm in that delivery whatsoever," said Dennis Gartman, who has seen these types of things in business for 35 40 years.

Judge Wapner, given the helm Thursday during Melissa's absence, defended Larry Page for his ailing voice; "that's a subjective thing to, to, to say, uh, and we just don't know what the case is."

Simon Baker bungles GOOG

Prior the GOOG lunchtime hurricane, Jon Najarian and Stephen Weiss proved remarkably prescient on Thursday's Halftime Report.

Najarian, insisting about 3 or 4 times that the options markets weren't calling GOOG a short, said, "There's folks thinking that uh, Google may have topped out," because they were "selling right out-of-the-money calls."

Stephen Weiss said at this point, you're "better off buying Apple," because with AAPL being down 10%, it has "reduced expectations."

Simon Baker unfortunately plunged headlong into GOOG (hopefully he wasn't buying for his personal account during commercials), saying, "I think you go long before the earnings ... it's all about mobile ... go long Google into earnings tonight" (rather than "tonight" he should've said "for brunch").

Baker said late in the program, "OK but I reiterate our buy here. ... It's better than it was 15 minutes ago" (which sounds like he's in the Joe Terranova just-a-little-17%-pop-to-get-out-of-CHKP land).

Stephanie Link luckily issued her pro-GOOG outlook with a pullback (what else) caveat, suggesting, "Cost per click actually looks like it's bottoming" and predicting "that metric will actually get better this quarter ... if this stock is weak I think you buy it."

Another bust — sort of — was likely Rich Ilczyszyn's futures trade (buy Nasdaq e-mini Dec 2762, stop at 2732, target 2826) that wasn't a specific GOOG buy, but "I think you buy the market" based on the aggregate MSFT, GOOG and COF results, saying his Nasdaq trade is "risking 600 to make 2 grand here."

Jon Najarian said the idea was for Google to score with clicks from Android, and "that's not working out at all." Najarian insisted the options were "not betting on a miss," but because of what he saw, "I am not" on the GOOG bandwagon now.

Judge to Weiss: ‘Enough nonsense’

Lo and behold, the Thursday Halftime Report gang got an instant verdict on their Google calls, which unfortunately gave Stephen Weiss a chance to brag.

"I'm used to being right," Weiss said, trying to point out it usually takes longer.

"Seriously, come on, enough nonsense," snapped Judge, who seemed in disbelief at the midday GOOG release; "this is ridiculous."

Weiss then said he's "pretty interested in the stock at this level."

Brian Sullivan claimed, "I literally have no idea what happened," but it's "a humongous miss."

Stephanie Link said cost per click was down 15% instead of 16% last quarter, and "3% sequentially is disappointing."

Colin Gillis invoked a less obnoxious Brag Trade than Weiss, claiming, "We thought that the runup into this number was overdone."

Judge told Sir Martin Sorrell they were lucky to have him on when the Google release came out, but Sorrell questioned whether it was lucky or not. "Obviously they have some challenges," he said of GOOG.

Slow money: 2nd show in a row advocating a 10-year stock horizon

Gus Sauter, the star guest of Thursday's Halftime Report before Google's lunchtime indigestion, echoed the Mellody Hobson long-term-stocks argument of a day earlier.

"You can get reasonable rates of return" on stocks for 5-10 years, as opposed to bonds, Sauter said. "Stocks are reasonably priced."

Sauter contended people overrate economic data. "There is no correlation between, uh, economic strength and equity returns," but rather, it's "how much you're paying for earnings."

Simon Baker argued that we're actually "halfway through a secular bear market" and don't people have to "still be tactical" and not believe in a 5-10-year timeline.

Sauter rebutted, "If we're in a secular bear, I guess we've gotta go back under 666 on the S&P ... I do think that we're in a longer-term bull market."

Judge gives HFT fan a pass

Stephen Weiss challenged Gus Sauter's 5-10-year stock-market optimism on Thursday's Halftime Report with a tough but undeniably valid point: "I don't think you carry a short book so it pays for you to be positive all the time ... most investors aren't looking 5 and 10 years," Weiss said.

Sauter admitted, "We don't have a short book. We actually don't think investors make money that way," because they end up selling at the lows and buying at the highs.

Judge Wapner asked Sauter to comment on Sauter's "really interesting view" on HFT; "you think it's a big benefit."

Sauter said, "We are not high-frequency traders," but said he thinks "our investors do benefit from that," pointing to transaction costs that over 15 years have become "a third" of what they were.

Jon Najarian questioned if Sauter wasn't really praising electronic trading and not HFT. Sauter said there used to be just 3 places stocks traded and now there's 45 and Reg NMS is supposed to make the pricing fair, and "Reg NMS only works if there's somebody to arbitrage and bring the markets together."

Najarian also asked about dark pools. Sauter said it's not the way he'd set up a marketplace, but they're there, and "we'd be crazy not to use them."

Stephen Weiss aware that
John Travolta is basically bald

Stephen Weiss said on Thursday's Halftime he doubted the positive Chinese data. "And I believe John Travolta has a full head of his own hair too, come on," Weiss said.

That launched him into a fracas with Stephanie Link, who said, "It's slowing, it's not crashing ... these stock prices are expecting hard landing ... you're in the bottoming process ... not going to 3 or 4%."

Weiss pointed to the fundamentals with VALE.

"Their costs per ton are far lower," Link said.

"That's actually not true," Weiss said, pointing to reduced VALE capacity from closing a plant.

"Because of environmental issues," Link stressed.

"So you shut a mine in Brazil, but that's not shutting capacity?" Weiss said.

"It wasn't them shutting it," Link retorted.

Getting the last word, Link said Cramer was buying FXI and looking at CAT and JOY.

Gus Sauter said China is undergoing an "engineered slowdown."

[Tuesday, October 17, 2012]

Fast Money failed to mention the most interesting thing about Mellody Hobson — she dates George Lucas

In a delightfully energetic appearance, Mellody Hobson visited the Nasdaq for Wednesday's Fast Money — which means this is possibly the only time this page will ever be read by George Lucas.

(Lessee ... best behavior, try to be coherent, no getting sidetracked by Stephen Weiss' 18th holes with Dave Tepper or Brian Kelly's greatest risk is the economy getting better or Patty Edwards' iPod/iCloud, and absolutely nothing about that decrepit American football squad in Western Pennsylvania.)

Hobson, photogenic and so chatty she sometimes finished the Fast Money panelists' questions for them, stressed 2 themes, one of them quite interesting ... the other, not so much.

The latter was an impromptu debate with Guy Adami over whether the retail investor should believe in the stock market.

Hobson noted, "Money has moved decisively away from equities into fixed income," then rattled off a series of arguments for why investors need stocks.

"1. You need stocks for growth. That's just a non-starter," Hobson said.

A "non-starter"? Doesn't that mean it doesn't work?

Hobson continued, "Secondly the stock market has outperformed all other investments over the long term since 1926. Thirdly, we've never had 2 back-to-back decades of negative returns for the S&P 500; it has never happened. So the lost decade that we had, the likelihood that that would happen again; it, it just, it, it wouldn't happen. Thirdly, which I think is very important, is that when you look at businesses, especially American businesses, they are actually in great shape."

So, we've got a tie for "thirdly," nothing unusual about that.

Adami, though, said some feel "disenfranchised."

Hobson had a good rebuttal for that, pointing to the return since the Flash Crash.

She continued, "If you look over the long term, you win in the stock market ... patience gets rewarded."

Adami countered, "We can play the 19- you know, the last hundred-year game, or you can play the last 10-year game..."

"But if you believe in mean regression," Hobson cut in, "the last 10 years is an alom- anomaly, the pendulum should swing back the other way, if you look at all the- of the statistics out there."

Well, Luke once told the Emperor, "Your overconfidence is your weakness." But we won't go that far here.

Either the Dolans got a vote of confidence, or it’s a Jedi Mind Trick

Mellody Hobson, one of many guests with a "turtle" approach recently on Fast Money, nicely articulated an interesting sports-related trade that, back in the day, would've been the type of extended conversation one would hear on The Strategy Session.

Hobson raved about 2 stocks in particular, one of them International Speedway (ISCA). "It's sports, but media, so tied to broadcasting ... we're buying it while attendance is down."

Hobson called it a "perfect opportunity" to take advantage of an "economically sensitive stock."

She also trumpeted MSG. "We like that one a lot ... you cannot replicate that real estate here in New York," she said, although we're not sure it's that big a deal that "they own the Liberty."

Karen Finerman started to question Hobson about the Dolans and "their stewardship of the assets." But before she even finished an actual question, Hobson commandeered the subject, saying the issue is whether the Dolans will maximize shareholder value, and "we actually believe that they will."

Most interesting, tying together both of these sports trades, was Hobson's dismissal of the NHL impact. "Even if the whole season gets locked out, it means nothing ... that creates a buying opportunity," she said, the implication being that televised sports plays are decidedly cyclical and that the business perception may not equal the next-TV-contract reality.

Jon Najarian said some sports cost a lot for television rights, but "For hockey they virtually have to pay to be on television!"

Europe: Not exactly Cloud City, but ‘priced in’

Mellody Hobson explained on Wednesday's Fast Money, "I'm a value investor" who sees "hiccups as opportunities," and contended the disaster in Europe is "priced in" and that China is "still growing very fast."

Hobson likes BX, KKR, LAZ, JLL and CBRE.

Hobson happened to be around when the Lance Armstrong/Nike flap came up and said Nike "probably in being conservative about their brand did the right thing."

Brian Kelly said there is "zero upside for them to keep him on." Mike Khouw agreed, "I certainly think that they made the right choice."

Dr. J reveals the 3 directions a market can go

Guy Adami on Wednesday's Fast Money complained about the market rally because "it shouldn't be this easy."

(That's just what the Atlanta Falcons are saying, "if only our games were tougher.")

Adami predicted the market would push to 1,525, with the next catalyst being "Spain raising their hand."

Brian Kelly questioned, "What's the catalyst to get us out of this trading range," and suggested "perhaps there's some kind of grand bargain in Europe."

Then Kelly reiterated, "The biggest risk is, people aren't pricing in a better economy."

Karen Finerman said the Federal Reserve is "forcing you" to get into risk assets. Jon Najarian said people try to insist there isn't chase-for-performance, but "I know you, and I know you are chasing," and that, plus housing and Spain, "that's why we're getting the sort of lift we're getting."

Finerman said that for performance-chasers, "It may be too late" and wondered if the VIX was at levels of "capitulating." Dr. J then helpfully pointed out that there are 3 directions a market can go — up, down or sideways — and because the "down" option has been "reduced," that's why the VIX is where it is. (Surprised he didn't point out how HFT makes the "flat" not be so flat.)

Mike Khouw noted that not everything is so great; INTC and AMD are "not participating."

eBay exec claims redesign of the logo has brought people who left 5-6 years ago back to the site

You hear things at presidential debates, and then you realize, corporate earnings calls really aren't any better.

Bertha Coombs, listening to the eBay call on Wednesday's Fast Money, reported that an exec claimed that the "redesign of the logo" has been bringing back people who left "5-6 years ago."

There was even more in the binder, according to Coombs, who said management insisted it's not taking a blunt ax; "they say this is not about cost-cutting, it really is all about streamlining."

Ah. Not "cost-cutting," but "streamlining."

Guest Aaron Kessler said eBay had a "good quarter," and told Karen Finerman that 60% of the company's value is payments/PayPal, and about 40% is marketplace; "we think payments is worth more today."

Brian Kelly issued a bunch of conditions about eBay reaching lofty numbers and concluded, if those are met, "I think eBay is a buy here."

Jon Najarian indicated eBay has 108 million active users.

Karen Finerman said "We like eBay," both parts of the business actually.

Kessler said he has a $53 target.

Guy Adami said AXP "probably breaches 59" and slides to 56½, 57. Superfox Seema Mody (good grief, every day that Sony TV melts a little more, this time from that gray ensemble) told guest host Brian Sullivan, "Brian, take your vitamins," an inside joke from Street Signs.

What happened to F as the best play on the housing recovery?

Diana Olick, she of the robust biceps, gushed about a number of housing stats on Wednesday's Fast Money and in particular said permits are "off the charts" year over year.

Olick said some have questioned valuations for names such as AVB, EQR, UDR, Tatooine, but Price Waterhouse has taken a look too, and "they see apartments as still a strong bet."

Karen Finerman spoke again about how much she likes RLGY, calling the IPO "fantastic" timing and explaining, "I like it because it doesn't seem to me have (sic) priced in as much of a recovery as the home builders already seem to."

Brian Kelly said he bought NLY Wednesday. Jon Najarian said, "Keep an eye on Zillow."

Mike Khouw said it's "probably time to take profits" in the builders.

Olick concluded by emphasizing "single family rental REITS ... this is where there's a lot of action."

What about Knotts Landing?

China bull George Iwanicki tinkered with the lexicon on Wednesday's Fast Money, suggesting China is experiencing not a hard or soft landing, but a "bumpy landing," but the good news is that the bear case based on a real estate debacle looks weak. "We've had a correction in real estate. We haven't had a crash," Iwanicki said.

Iwanicki conceded that, regarding complaints about the reliability of Chinese economic data, "some of that is true."

Brian Kelly questioned what might happen if the European lending gets pulled back. Iwanicki contended it's the "emerging Europe area that's most exposed" to that lending rather than Asia or Latin America, and thus Eastern Europe could pose "value trap opportunities."

Iwanicki predicts "a positive from here for China ... as China goes, emerging markets go."

Mike Khouw said that in the FXI, there was a "substantial seller of the January 34/38 strangle," indicating a belief that it will remain range-bound, or perhaps since it's near the upper end of that range, a bit of a fall.

Adami: MA to $500

Karen Finerman said on Wednesday's Fast Money that FDO was down apparently because of a statement at a conference that DG "may have made" (and what was Guy Adami saying earlier about faith in the markets?)

Guy Adami said he'd look to get in to IBM in the low 190s.

Jon Najarian said FB was up but has "earnings though next Tuesday ... I am long the stock and the options here."

Brian Kelly said "I'm short XLF," and Mike Khouw credited Karen Finerman for finding DF.

Kelly's Final Trade was "I like Intel right here." Adami said MA goes to $500, Finerman said BAC, and Jon Najarian mentioned MET.

Someone during the program was heard notably chuckling when Sharon Epperson reported that a terrorist was planning to build "a 1,000-pound bomb."

Paid political analyst claims ‘binders’ of women will ‘really haunt’ Mitt

Ed Mills told Wednesday's Halftime Report he watched the 2nd presidential debate and "I call it for Obama last night," particularly because Mitt Romney referred to "binders" of women, and "that is going to be something that really haunts him in the next couple of days."


What exactly kind of evidence does a professional political watcher such as Mills have to bolster that opinion (which to be honest didn't sound anything different than what Chris "POLITICS IS ABOUT POWER" Matthews, or a guy in his living room armchair, might say), who knows.

(So, there go all the algorithms, reprogramming everything for the "Obama wins" scenario because Ed Mills said the "binders" of women will "really haunt" Mitt Romney.)

(Sigh) then Judge unfortunately derailed into another which-stocks-do-better-based-on-who-wins (your trade for Nov. 7), with Mills saying if Obama wins you want "anything levered to housing," and if Romney wins, "all financials do get a bid."

Josh Brown contended, "Romney in real life is probably a lot more moderate" and recommended Berkshire Hathaway B shares, one of his year-long picks that has done quite well, saying it goes to $100.

Steve Grasso said if Romney's elected he'd be a "seller of hospitals" and buyer of HMOs, and a "huge buyer" of energy.

"I think under either president, the financials are gonna work," said Pete Najarian.

Josh Brown shrugs off Joe’s claim that there’s no ‘alternative’ to IBM

Dan Niles said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that stocks and fundamentals are "2 different things," and specifically had concerns about IBM and its "5th quarter in a row that IBM has missed their top-line revenue," a point Niles was compelled to make twice.

Niles said if it were Europe, that would be one thing, but "the problem was North America and their growth markets."

Investors may ask, "Why am I paying 13 times for a company that can't grow the top line at all," Niles said, and he indicated he'd sell the stock. "Yeah, because everybody's hiding in it," Niles said.

Joe Terranova disagreed on the importance of IBM's report and said he won't sell, only to run headlong into Josh Brown.

"This is not a hardware company anymore," Terranova said, adding, "I would call it moderation more than anything else ... it's slight misses each time."

Pete Najarian basically seconded that and invoked the $20 EPS for 2015, saying, "They've always looked ahead ... they are reinventing themselves once again ... great opportunity ... I think this is just a technical blip right now for IBM ... $20 earnings by 2015 ..."

Terranova might've pushed the IBM envelope in saying, if you've got money in big-cap tech, "what's your alternative."

"The alternative's Apple and Google," said Josh Brown with a scoff.

"Totally different companies within tech Josh," said Terranova, which didn't exactly bolster his original point.

"It's not buy or sell IBM, it's, are there other things you'd rather do than IBM or cash," Brown said.

Dan Niles also said "the PC space is suffering," and then, telling Judge Wapner about things his "co-anchors" or "anchors" said, mentioned SanDisk, eBay and LGF as names he likes.

‘It’s really just Apple, and a handful of names’

At the top of Wednesday's Halftime Report, Pete Najarian said it "makes a little bit of sense, maybe," to buy IBM on Wednesday, but in general, "I still think this stock's going a lot higher."

Joe Terranova said "I like IBM here around 195, 200," and also mentioned the "very strong quarter out of SanDisk."

Josh Brown disputed the notion that the "tech sector" has been awesome; "it's really just Apple, and a handful of names." Brown said one of those winners though is QCOM, "winning everything that Intel is losing."

Steve Grasso questioned how sustainable the rally is. "There's a lot that's not OK ... I would take profits," Grasso said.

Steve Grasso predicts growth would ‘rip through the roof’ if Mitt wins

"BRIC" guy Jim O'Neill is a fine, astute guest, but unfortunately that Lancashire accent tripped up some of his commentary on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

O'Neill indicated he likes stocks, "there's plenty of ways we get decent returns going forward," and suggested "maybe" the growth could be "2% going on 2½ or more."

O'Neill said he pegged the S&P 500 at "1,500 to 1,550 at the start of the year for year-end" and is sticking with that.

He specifically named 3 sectors, suggesting housing will be the "next leg" to help financials; "the regional banks are the next leg of that to benefit."

He briefly mentioned consumer multinationals, and rather vaguely said "I think we're getting a repricing of energy going on."

He said one outcome of a Romney win actually figures to be a "repricing of the U.S.interest rate curve," which would trigger a "potential significant bond trade."

Steve Grasso said good things could happen from Mitt Romney lowering the tax rate. "I don't wanna pound the drum for him," Grasso said, but if we "get some closure there, there's gonna be a lot more discretionary spending," and then we'll see "everything, growth included, rip through the roof."

Joe: GS ‘reputational risk is gone’

Joe Terranova, who said on Wednesday's Halftime "I bought Goldman Sachs," risked one of those statements that could come back to haunt in one of those 99%-vs.-1% documentaries, asserted "the reputational risk is gone."

(In other words, the Muppet Show is over.)

"They are still undervalued," Terranova said.

Pete Najarian suggested BAC is more of a slow money play right now. "Do I think this is just gonna go flying up to 11 or 12 dollars right away? Absolutely not," Najarian said, but "it's probably not gonna kill ya either."

Najarian said to try C or GS for beta, and that GS has "very very strong fundamentals."

Joe skeptical that candidates were straightforward on coal

Pete Najarian said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that USG has a "strategic initiative" with GE in "ceiling & lighting," but then, by far the most important reason for mentioning it, the October 25 calls were "extremely active," though they expire Friday.

Joe Terranova said he doubted what he heard at the debate regarding coal and energy. "I think it's a campaign platform. I don't believe either of them," but then Terranova halfheartedly recommended BTU and CNX.

Steve Grasso reiterated that he owns ACI, CLD and BTU; "I do think it matters who's the president for the space."

Pretty Jackie DeAngelis said selling gasoline has been the trade, and Rich Ilczyszyn suggested that continues; "the market starts to set up, uh, for a pretty good selloff ... I think you play this market from the short side. Seasonally, you're short from September, into December."

Anthony Grisanti on the other hand said to buy the dip; "buy it around 2.72" for November, stop at 2.70, and "get out at 2.90."

Joe regards 17% gain as a
‘little bit of a pop’

Joe Terranova said on Wednesday's Halftime that it "looks like the trough is in" for CREE, and "this is a stock that I think targets 33."

Steve Grasso said, "You wanna buy Schlumberger, you wanna sell Halliburton ... you wanna be a buyer of all energy here."

Grasso conceded that P has been "somewhat of a lemon," but with the Internet Fairness Act as that well-known catalyst, "I'm still staying long," adding P can "monetize mobile," the fancy way of saying "make money."

Pete Najarian said DF was gaining like others have by spinning something off. Joe Terranova admitted that CHKP is "a name that I'm long" (he did mention it a few times on Fast Money, but in Joe's defense it was back in August), and then offered the ultimate Wishful Thinking Trade, saying he would "wait for a little bit of a pop, back towards 48, 49," and then get out, like he did with SBUX.

Josh Brown said APOL has been a "controversial stock since I was born ... there's nothing to like here."

Brown's Final Trade was QCOM. Steve Grasso said URI, but "be careful ... give it a day to simmer." Joe Terranova said long NFLX (without that 80-before-64 thing), and Pete Najarian (again) said PSX.

[Tuesday, October 16, 2012]

Who in the world summoned Larry Goodman for Fast Money?

It started with the revelation (twice) that he doesn't know the difference between Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Maria Bartiromo.

It ended with his belief that somehow a presidential candidate is going to craft a 5-year plan to address a series of fiscal "issues."

Larry Goodman joined Tuesday's Fast Money purportedly to declare which candidate is better for the markets, and began with, "Thanks Maria," before revealing, "The issues that exist right now are unbelievably, uh, complicated," launching into a recap of the last 5 years.

Actual guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera had to cut Goodman off, saying, "I'm known for being a little bit witchy, tell me something I don't already know. You're giving me a history lesson."

Goodman protested, "Look Maria, we're an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and it's the candidate that comes up with the game plan to address these issues."

Steve Grasso said it sounds like Goodman would be voting for Romney. "I see Obama slipping," said Tim Seymour.

Goodman closed with his 3rd "Maria" of the day.

According to Jeff Sonnenfeld, Pandit suddenly had to go 20 hours after earnings report over ‘regulatory issue’

It would've been difficult to accomplish regardless, but Jeff Sonnenfeld was a big bust in actually advancing the Vikram Pandit story by anything more than a couple millimeters on Tuesday's Fast Money.

Sonnenfeld did claim, as a few have suggested, "You could see there was a regulatory issue here," except he never said what the "regulatory issue" was, only that Pandit "definitely was feisty," and that even though Citigroup was "nowhere near as hostile" to Washington as other banks' execs, it got a raw deal because of its disorganization.

Sonnenfeld suggested another reason, besides this mystery "regulatory issue," was that 8 of Citigroup's 11 board members weren't there when Pandit was hired and that Dick Parsons and Win Bishop "ran cover for him."

When Pandit was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo in 2007 "he was defensive, mercurial," Sonnenfeld said.

Things faded to mush when Joe Terranova, who's on a cold streak recently of getting guests to actually answer his questions (or is that actually a hot streak?), asked not one of his better questions, a slightly confusing query about how well Blankfein and Dimon and bank CEOs have done, and perhaps we should "acknowledge" that "maybe we looked at them incorrectly in 09 and 2010."

Sonnenfeld, perhaps legitimately confused as to what Joe was driving at, said, "That's a part of the job," then pointed out that Ken Lewis got a bad rap for criticizing Maxine Watters, and there was a stark difference between Alan Mulally and Rick Wagoner.

Sonnenfeld happened to note that Morgan Stanley's James Gorman is "doing an excellent job there" (aside from the whole Facebook IPO thing).

Who was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win Texas?

Joe Terranova declared on Tuesday's Fast Money, "I will say that my level of concern surrounding the election has been raised. The concern that I have is that potentially one candidate does win the popular vote and the other candidate does win the electoral college."

That would be "bad for the markets," Terranova said. Even worse, there's also the possibility of "potentially seeing a tie in the Electoral College."

This discussion came up at CNBCfix HQ this week, where the argument was made to dump the Electoral College, an argument Terranova did not make Tuesday.

Rather, we say, enjoy it while it lasts.

Candidates change and maps morph. George H.W. Bush easily put California in the Republican column in 1988 (map above), and Jimmy Carter actually claimed the Lone Star State from Gerald Ford, who managed to win Illinois.

Yes, we're a little bit sick of Ohio and Florida too. But historically there have been gobs of ways to get to 270; just not many this competitive.

Flash: Someone likes COST, WFM

Chuck Grom was hailed as a veritable retail-stock genius by "Maria" Caruso-Cabrera on Tuesday's Fast Money and advised, "Through the end of the year you wanna stick with the winners," which to him means COST, TGT, M, JWN and WFM, which he said is in a "paradigm shift."

Grom identified Big Lots as a possible takeout. He said that in the mid-$20s, "we'd avoid" JCP because of the "uncertainty" of Ron Johnson's plan to get affluent shoppers in there.

Grom was the guy whose negative WMT call in September of 2011 prompted Guy Adami to mention it for months, though without Grom's name.

Dan Nathan said, "Wal-Mart's clearly working."

Dan Nathan makes the day’s most provocative stock call

Probably the same guy who booked Larry Goodman for Tuesday's Fast Money also snagged "Banging the Beehive" theorist Paul Rowady.

Rowady had considerable trouble succinctly explaining what his theory means, suggesting it involves a "known piece of data," and then "somebody yells 'fire' in the theater" to create some kind of synthetic momentum in, for example, nat gas futures.

Joe Terranova questioned, "What does it matter, who cares that they do this," and actually got an answer this time, with Goodman conceding, "It's really in the gray area. I'm not aware that there's any legal, uh, issue here."

Mike Khouw said there was a "big institutional buyer of the November 57½-60 call spread" in LYB. Joe Terranova stressed that "MLPs are a good investment."

Steve Grasso said "I wound up buying ACI, CLD, BTU." Tim Seymour said, "I think that the entire tranny space is ready to make a move."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to sell November 95 FOSL calls while holding the stock. Tim Seymour said RSX, Steve Grasso said DPZ and Joe Terranova said GS.

Dan Nathan called for a C short.

After a while, who cares?

We understand it's a big business story and it's a big deal.

But not necessarily an 8-hours-straight-breaking-news big deal.

Citigroup isn't about to fold.

Vikram won't have trouble putting food on the table.

This isn't Steve Jobs or Jack Welch (and if it had happened to Jack, you know it would've been a conspiracy), and really nothing to see here, move along.

‘Existing positions that I already have’

Even Steve Grasso is now buying.

Grasso said on Tuesday's Fast Money "I added to risk," particularly in the coal names and WYNN, explaining he "bought the high-beta."

Even occasional curmudgeon Dan Nathan agreed investors "have to add to things" that they like.

Time is money on television, but Joe Terranova chipped in 4 unnecessary words (and perhaps inadvertently emphasized the day's enthusiasm), saying he was "adding to some existing positions that I already have." Mr. New World (we always get that confused with whether it's Mr. New Land) said he was buying GLW, NXPI, SNDK and SBUX.

Terranova pronounced Tuesday's rally a "rebound" but insisted "I still think the market here is in a range."

Tim Seymour, in another round-robin of self-commentary that ultimately made no sense ("why is risk aversion back on?"), said "I think it is rotation."

Mike Khouw said in the options market there were "more bullish bets than bearish ones."

INTC’s daytime gift to longs

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, revved up with the nicknames after a quiet Halftime, insisted on Tuesday's Fast Money that behind the Citigroup story, "Something happened and there's intrigue there, we all wanna know what it is."

But Mr. New World said, "I don't think anything happened."

Tim Seymour (we warned ye) said that, as to what happened between the Citi board and CEO, "We have no idea, it's about vision."

Seymour did have a very good line, saying Sheila Bair was "talkin' her book today."

Joe New World said he was alarmed by IBM's hardware report. "If IBM's not doing well in hardware, how are the Dells of the world doing here?" Terranova asked, a rhetorical question that requires no answer.

Guest Dan Berenbaum tackled INTC, saying "guidance was nowhere near as good as consensus was expecting," but he said the market was already down on that consensus and insisted, "I do think that Intel is moving pretty aggressively into mobile."

Steve Grasso probably astutely said the Intel rip will be sold and the IBM dip "will be bought."

Mike Khouw said the most active INTC options were the October 22 puts.

More from Tuesday's Fast Money later.

Maria Bartiromo: ‘I frankly think this was about compensation’

Maria Bartiromo delivered a rare Halftime Report exclusive on Tuesday by reporting in the last 10 minutes on her call with Vikram Pandit — and suggested it all came down to money.

"I frankly think this was about compensation," Bartiromo said, explaining Pandit is thinking, "I was the one who worked for a dollar," and, "I can't work for a dollar anymore."

Pandit is "saying this was his decision," Bartiromo said, not a huge surprise there, and that Pandit said he was "thinking about this for some time," called Mike O'Neill, said "now is the time."

The Money Honey said the company's made an "aggressive move" toward more commercial banking and less risky endeavors, and that Pandit insists there are "no blowups on the horizon."

Adami, Weiss: Buy C

At least a couple of Tuesday's Halftime Report panelists were calling C a buy on Vikram Pandit's exit.

"He should've gone a long time ago," said Stephen Weiss, who opined, "If I had to guess I'd say Vikram overplayed his hand." Weiss concluded the show saying "buy the stock," it doesn't matter why Pandit is gone.

Guy Adami first rattled off half-sentences about conspiracy theories; "to me, smells a little fishy," and the official story "seems implausible to me," but nevertheless he thinks the shares are "probably going higher," though he likes BX better.

Guest Tim Ghrisky said Smith Barney was a "bad deal" and it was "time for an operator here" and the changeover is a "good surprise." Gerard Cassidy called the news a positive and said Michael O'Neill has been "unbelievably good" at creating value.

Mike Murphy shrugged that Pandit's exit in the "overall scheme of things" is not a major event. Brian Kelly also called it "not that big of an event."

Ross: Big banks ‘have gotten too complex to manage’

Wilbur Ross, in condensed time on Tuesday's Halftime Report thanks to Vikram's departure, said he thinks at Citigroup there was "interaction between board and management that came to a head," but one wonders what role the regulators might've had in this.

"Maybe banks have gotten too complex to manage," Ross said, suggesting "I think they're gonna simplify themselves."

Ross was asked about XCO and defended its performance by insisting it's tied to the price of nat gas, and praised the company for "living within its means." Revisiting a recent Fast Money appearance, Ross also said the Chinese may have even more shale gas than the U.S., and that there's a "very major auction" on Oct. 26.

Obama ‘blew it’

In a very low-key interview given the day's news, Byron Wien on Tuesday's Halftime stood by his pleasant S&P 500 forecast (which you also might've read about in Barron's).

"I think 1,500 by the end of the year," Wien said, telling a persistent guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, desperate for catalysts, that an earnings deceleration is factored in, but "maybe it won't be that bad."

Brian Kelly, again suggesting that the "biggest risk" to stocks is not pricing in a recovery, asked Wien if QE3 is a good thing or bad thing, and unlike Barry Bannister, Wien essentially answered the question: "QE3 helps," Wien said.

Wien added, "I'm very positive on real estate," and in a global money-printing environment, "gold has to do well."

Wien also took a stab at politics. "Obama's in trouble," he said, after maintaining a "clear lead before the first debate. He blew it in the first debate."

Grisanti: Buy gold at 1,670

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who scaled back much of her flirting and pet names on a heavily news-laden Halftime Report on Tuesday that really didn't have to be so sober (it's not like anyone at Citigroup died), did call Mike Murphy the "heir" to the Murphy Oil dynasty and got called out by Guy Adami, who said viewers sometimes believe those things.

(That's a good point; sometimes it's hard to know for sure whether Dennis Gartman is just joshing when he says "I am not a gold bug.")

Adami said don't chase MUR on Tuesday but look toward PSX, which "is where you want to go."

Jackie DeAngelis, very pretty Tuesday and building on the success of Seema Mody, Karen Finerman and Melissa Lee a day earlier, introduced a gold trade between Anthony Grisanti and Rich Ilczyszyn. Grisanti did the Shields & Yarnell thing for a moment but quickly got the mike and said he'd wait for a "little bit of a correction" in gold before buying.

Ilczyszyn called gold's volatility a "day-trader's paradise." Grisanti said he'd buy at 1,670 with a 1,649 stop and a target of 1,720.

Guy Adami said, "I wouldn't go piling into UNH on this dip." Stephen said of JNJ, "gotta be tremendous value there." Mike Murphy said MAT "looks a little bit extended here."

[Monday, October 15, 2012]

Brad Hintz says ‘automating fixed-income operation’ is what passes for excitement in the Bulge Bracket these days

Brad Hintz spoke in mostly eyes-glazing-over industry terminology when detailing banks on Monday's Fast Money, particularly when Karen Finerman asked what Goldman Sachs would have to say to get people excited about the business again.

"It's very simple," Hintz said. "We're automating our fixed-income operation, the comp ratio is coming down modestly, largely in the capital markets businesses, we've got- we're liquidating some of those merchant banking, uh, positions that we have..."

Forget that 9th inning of the Cardinals in Game 5; when you've got comp ratios coming down, there's no substitute.

"The key thing" for Goldman Sachs, Hintz said, is "will we start seeing changes in terms of the capital allocated to fixed income?"

Tim Seymour asked a patently convoluted question/statement (one of about 3 he had on the day, check out that emerging markets guest) as to what kind of identity GS has nowadays. Hintz said there's a "metric" about where they're going and it's not a prop trading kingdom anymore, but they're "being very politically correct" in how they explain it.

Hintz also said there's a place for MS: "Morgan Stanley's got 2 broken businesses," he said, but in the category of beating the cost of capital, it's "half a mile behind Goldman." However, "certainly the value guys love this."

Pete Najarian said the 125 strike in GS was "extremely active" and people were also buying the 130s, "expecting this to be a big number."

Scott Nations said he has owned C for 11 months and it's "still cheap on any basis" with margins that have room to improve. Nations' Final Trade was long C, BAC.

Karen did not purchase that
traffic-stopping dress at Wal-Mart

Steve Grasso was the biggest skeptic among the panelists on Monday's Fast Money, saying "Everyone was scratching their head" at what the day's catalyst was, and "I don't think there was (sic) many."

Grasso said this looks like the "3rd tranche" of market bouncing.

Pete Najarian suggested that those who are going at this with ETFs are making a wrong move; "this is a stock-picker market," Pete said.

This despite the fact that he opened the show trumpeting how people were buying 2014 $8 out-of-the-money calls in XLV.

Najarian said BAC had 3-to-1 calls vs. puts activity, which makes him think the company "on Wednesday's gonna have some solid numbers."

The top of the program was most notable for the revelation that Karen Finerman does not shop at Wal-Mart; "I'm not exactly their core customer." Unfortunately, in our search to produce an image of Karen actually smiling in her dazzling ensemble on Monday's show (and you won't believe how much time that encompassed), we came up empty, just one of those days, too bad given she had also done something different with her hair in a potential 12-car-pileup day, so we'll just let the above photo illustrate what we'll call a tie with Mel Lee, whose frock also set off the smoke detector.

Tim Seymour says 2 names mentioned by Karen are apples & oranges but says he doesn’t think she’s comparing them anyway

Pete Najarian on Monday's Fast Money incredibly admitted "I still love Intel," while conceding he's not sure it's going to go up, but "I'm very bullish on IBM."

Karen Finerman said INTC has been taking its lumps but that it doesn't seem to be unraveling quite like HPQ. "To me the bar seems low on Intel," Finerman said.

Tim Seymour, whose overcaffeinated commentary was marked by many such needless digressions Monday, told Finerman, "I think they're apples and oranges and I don't think you're comparing them," but "I would actually own Intel into these numbers."

Pete calls WLT a ‘steal’

Tim Seymour, crediting Adam (not Pacman) Jones for Jones' "top pick," said on Monday's Fast Money that he likes Ford because as Jones put it, "these guys really are the way to play U.S. housing recovery," and are not reliant on the Chinese market.

Practically in awe, Steve Grasso said he too likes that stock, "I believe in the comeback story," but there was no need for him to say more, because "Tim made an amazing case," even though the case was apparently Adam Jones'. (Notice Grasso didn't say the same thing about Seymour's emerging markets thesis.)

Karen Finerman said, "I like Cummins Engine ... the bar is low," and the multiple took a hit "well south of 10." Pete Najarian said he thinks the pullback is ending in refiners such as PSX and MPC. Najarian also said there was "unreal" activity in LYB's November 55 calls.

Meanwhile, the panel sees brighter days for coal (without mentioning Mitt at the debate). Steve Grasso pointed to CLF and said "these names have stopped going down ... at a certain point, they are buys." Tim Seymour believes that "the worst of that drawdown in China is over," and Pete Najarian said "I love Walter down at these levels ... I think it is a steal."

Scott Nations: Amazon needs to ‘clean up the business that they’re in’

Steve Grasso said on Monday's Fast Money that now might not be the time to jump into S, it's "hittin' a little bit of a wall here."

Scott Nations said there's a big seller of Spring February 6 calls for 19 cents.

Pete Najarian said it's "probably time to exit that trade and move on."

When the subject though turned to the report of Amazon's interest in the TXN unit, Najarian opined, "For a lot of different reasons this makes sense."

Grasso unleashed some pent-up philosophical thoughts about the Amazon business model, saying, "Who could sell a cheaper phone than Amazon," and after Mel Lee scoffed that Amazon doesn't have people lined up around the block, Grasso added, "I think they're gonna be moving hardware exponentially more than the rest of the space."

"I agree, that's what they'll tell you, but I think it's a bit of a stretch," said Tim Seymour.

Scott Nations flat-out bashed AMZN's existing "terrible" margins. "I think that they need to clean up the business that they're in before they launch a new business," Nations said, adding that there were more puts than calls moving in TXN Monday.

Melissa Lee assured viewers that the show was not rumor-mongering, but that this report was affecting the markets and it's just "purely speculation" at this point.

Patty sees ‘Argo,’ calls it ‘Amazing. Just amazing.’

(No spoilers, but some general observations you may wish to avoid.)

Fast Money/Halftime panelist-in-limbo/(hopefully future panelist) Patty Edwards (there are about 3 others with that title but we won't belabor that subject right now even though people who have been on the show for a few months are in ads stating "I. Am. Fast. Money.") took advantage of some free time over the weekend to see the new Ben Affleck thriller, "Argo."

And evidently, came away highly impressed.

"Just saw Argo. Amazing. Just amazing. Cannot recommend it highly enough," Edwards posted to her Twitter account.

"Argo" is definitely a good movie, and you won't look at your watch. At all.

Still (sigh, this is what critics do), it seems to fall a bit short of greatness, for a couple reasons — a humor vibe that erodes some of the powerful edge, and a series of Hollywoodish drama of something happening just in the nick of time that, like the bevy of anti-Hollywood punch lines, quickly becomes overdone to near-parody.

Unfortunately the script insists on dabbling with the protagonist's depressing household failings (at least there's nothing about forgetting to attend the kid's birthday party) as a completely unnecessary (and undeveloped) subplot to what should be a crisper contrast of global values vs. grievances.

Patty's call is akin to trumpeting AMZN: Not gonna go wrong here, but maybe not quite worth a triple-digit P.E. ratio.

The quarterly CNBC cybersecurity update

Greg Peters thanked Mel Lee for inviting him back to Fast Money on Monday while conceding that his pro-emerging markets call hasn't really worked.


"Was the call early? Yes it was," Peters said, but it "looks like it's stabilizing."

Tim Seymour was given the green light to author an on-air column, saying "this is really more about an allocation trade" and that the EEM seems to be "grinding around in a range."

Peters said "the EM technical story is phenomenal."

But if that segment seemed like a bust, consider the cybersecurity update from Amir Orad, a subject occasionally pushed by CNBC that has really no traction with anyone because CNBC's examinations of cybersecurity never explain to viewers what if anything they should be doing in their living rooms and how there's really nothing for anyone except the people hired by the government and big companies to do about this.

Orad said the obligatory "I think people are waking up" and "we are vulnerable," though we're "not at a Pearl Harbor moment yet" and the key is establishing layers of security.

Pete Najarian said it's "very difficult to find a pure play" on government security.

PCS ‘stagnant money’

Karen Finerman said on Monday's Fast Money rather sarcastically, "What can you not love about Groupon here," and sure, we just went and saw "Argo" with Seema Mody; Finerman then seriously noted GRPN's "severely challenged" business model; unfortunately it was another near-miss by the cameraman in catching Karen smiling.

Cute Kathy Lien said she'd go "long dollar/yen at 78.25," with a 77 stop and target of 80.25.

Steve Grasso predicted PCS would be "stagnant money" for a couple months.

Pete Najarian said LLY is "still cheap ... I like this name."

Tim Seymour said of NEM, no surprise about a miner, "I'd stay with this name," and that South Africa concerns are overdone.

Pete Najarian said of TRV, another Joe Terranova regular, "I think this thing's going higher."

Karen Finerman said she thinks PHM rose only because it was an up day for the market.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was listed as sell TUR but he actually said buy WLT. Steve Grasso said buy ACI, Karen Finerman reiterated buy CMI, and Pete Najarian said long AGN.

Melissa Lee said she's on vacation for 9 days.

If Romney wins, ‘these coal names are all gonna double’

Nothing is worse on Fast Money/Halftime these days than people doing the which-stocks-win-if-Obama-wins vs. which-stocks-win-if-Romney-discussions, but Mike Murphy uncorked a whopper on Monday's Halftime that seems pegged to one simple remark at a recent debate.

"If you see Romney come in and win the election, uh, Alph- you know, these coal names are all gonna double from here," Murphy said, saying he likes ANR and thinks it will "try to get up to that 12 level."

Jeff Kilburg, in an analogy that was clumsy at best, claimed coal has been "decimated" like the Notre Dame defense has "decimated" opponents (knocked players out of the game?), and warned of end-of-year "tax loss selling pressure" on the sector.

Kilburg's topic was actually crude, suggesting that "some form of action" in Israel will boost the geopolitical trade, and "I'm prepared to see oil go back up to a hundred dollars short-term Judge."

His advice was to "buy some upside calls" in USO because he thinks the "geopolitical tension is gonna outweigh the slow, global growth forecast."

Stephanie Link said Cramer likes natural gas and bought SWN.

Anton Schutz thought Judge said ‘Great Citigroup for us’ instead of ‘Grade Citigroup for us’

Judge Wapner might want to reconsider the type of command verbs he uses with guests based on Anton Schutz's answer to Judge's introductory question Monday.

Judge asked Schutz to "Grade Citigroup for us," and the answer was, "It really was ..."

Schutz said, "It's a top holding, it's a top pick," trading at a "fraction of its tangible book value."

Schutz also predicted "really nice numbers out of Goldman," but took the Fifth when Josh Brown asked him to name some shorts. "Unfortunately I never talk about shorts; those managements will never, ever talk to me again," Schutz said, though he did broadly mention "regionals" as presumably an area to look.

But he did say he's not short JPM, though he doubts there's a great "encore" in the works and notes it has "Libor" surprise potential.

Joe Terranova asked if Goldman Sachs' reputational hit the last few years has lifted. Schutz only sort of answered yes, saying, "You're making an important point ... fundamentals appear to be improving" and it's a "risk-on" type of play.

Stephanie Link said she thinks what happened to JPM on Friday was "ridiculous" and said Wells Fargo is "not as cheap on a tangible book basis."

Larry Kantor spends some of his time telling Halftime gang about the fiscal cliff stuff he just heard on their show

Guest Larry Kantor told Monday's Halftime Report that he thinks it's time to "move out into some of the cyclical names" with a 3-6-month horizon.

Stephanie Link said that cyclical numbers are "probably at risk," but Kantor said that the Fed's open-ended commitment to keep buying until growth returns is a powerful theme.

Joe Terranova, continuing a spree of difficulty getting his questions answered by Barry Bannister on Friday and then Anton Schutz (sort of) and Kantor on Monday, told Kantor that some people fear a selloff in late 2012 because of capital-gain hike concerns in 2013 and asked how likely that scenario is. Kantor would only acknowledge, "Yeah I think there are risks here ... it's very hard to handicap this," and then morphed the "answer" into doing what Mike Murphy had moments earlier said to do if the "stupid" cliff happens, to hang around for the V-shaped recovery.

Josh Brown said, "I'd be much more worried about earnings" than the fiscal cliff and claimed "it's suicide for both parties."

Herb implies Fast Money panelists aren’t telling viewers about their serious ETF/algorithm conversations

Josh Brown reiterated on Monday's Halftime Report "I love Chevron .. this is the type of stock that you buy on cautious quarterly guidance," and that was convincing enough for Joe Terranova, who said he rolled out of refiners into that name.

Mike Murphy predicted a "huge 2013 in Caterpillar ... lot of bang for your buck."

But the discussion involving both ends of the Dow ran off the rails when Herb Greenberg showed up to argue that SHW, ROST, HD, GPS, DIS and VZ are all candidates for taking a pause, based on no other criteria really except that they've been outperforming the market by more than Herb thinks is sustainable.

Stephanie Link though said ROST in the lows 60 is "very interesting," and Josh Brown, who wrongly said "adverse," said a lot of money managers won't sell longer-term winners like ROST.

Mike Murphy did agree with Herb that it's time to get out of the Gap, and Stephanie Link allowed that "Verizon could continue to see weakness."

Grasping for a catalyst to his point, Greenberg brought up, curiously, ETFs. "You guys talk off air about this all the time," Greenberg said, and it's a question of "what will the basket do ... the algorithms kick in."

Josh Brown predicts HFT ‘legislation’ by next year

Josh Brown said on Monday's Halftime it "makes perfect sense" for AMZN to be buying a TXN unit, for supply chain and cost reduction reasons, and "maybe it also means phone if it happens," and that's just what the world needs, another smartphone.

Joe Terranova insisted, "I have not liked Pandora," and it needs to reverse the cost-of-revenue trend it's got, which comes down to the "Internet Fairness Act," a subject Judge didn't pursue.

Mike Murphy said "High-frequency trading is here to stay." Josh Brown said there's a "huge difference between electronic trading and high-frequency trading ... HFT continues to be a predator ... I think there will be some legislation."

Marc Chandler advised selling the euro at 1.3020 with a target of 1.26 by year-end.

It was all we could do to climb back onto the chair after being utterly blown away by Seema Mody's sand-colored dress Monday (Joe Terranova again being the lucky beneficiary of having the seat next to Mody though he didn't crow about it this time); we think she asked Mike Murphy about MO ("I think you can get into the stock here") and Stephanie Link about INTC ("20 is where I would be buying it"), but we'll only know more after we get the fire extinguisher out.

Mike Murphy is bullish on TWI still; "I think this will be back in the mid-20s pretty quickly." Josh Brown, noting LLY, said it and the XLV as a whole is "lined up for continued outperformance."

Stephanie Link's Final Trade was INDY. Mike Murphy said BX, Joe Terranova said both NXPI and SNDK, and Josh Brown said XLV.

Raise your hand if a year ago
you thought Barack Obama was a 1-termer

Last December, several folks at CNBC issued predictions for 2012 that quite frankly, most would probably like to forget.

There was John Carney suggesting that Lloyd Blankfein will retire as CEO of Goldman Sachs because Lloyd is "exhausted." (And if we had a dollar for every time we've heard that on CNBC (and from the guy now on Fox Business with initials "CG"), we'd be wealthier than Lloyd Blankfein. Not only that, Carney said Jamie Dimon would retire too.

Brian Sullivan proclaimed "The euro reaches parity with the U.S. dollar."

Sharon Epperson actually thought "Gold will top $2,400 an ounce."

Suze Orman put gold at $2,000, and tossed in that "the great 29-year bull market in bonds ends."

In the category of wishful thinking (in many parts), Julia Boorstin claimed "Traditional publishing will rise from the ashes" in part because "people have been trained to pay for content via apps."

Alex Crippen said that Warren Buffett "will bag another elephant" this year, in part because he's getting "zero" return on cash he doesn't spend.

Then there was Diana Olick opining that home prices would "fall another 5 percent through Q2 before bottoming toward year's end." Did not happen. This one is practically beyond our pay grade, as home prices, typically measured by Case-Shiller, are reported in year-over-year and month-to-month terms, and the folks who run this site can't even compute a batting average. You'd be amazed how difficult it is to find a useful Web page featuring this information, but this recent graphic by the WSJ shows 2% was the Q1-Q2 bottom.

Now, these selectors were supposedly limited in focus, and most did have some decent calls, although it's not as many as you would hope, and quite frankly, most were boring, difficult-to-quantify predictions of sluggish growth in a variety of markets that could've been made by Tina Louise.

One notable call stands out, however, and it was actually made by 2 people in this feature: Greg Valliere and Gary Kaminsky.

Valliere asserted, "Mitt Romney defuses concerns over his religion, and flip-flopping, and narrowly wins the presidency. The winner is not decided until the morning after the election. The GOP completes a 'trifecta,' holding on to the House and gaining control of the Senate by one seat. This touches off a euphoric stock market rally for a couple of days..."

With much more brevity and without naming a victor, Kaminsky forecasted, "President Obama will lose the 2012 presidential election."

When these predictions were made in December 2011, we didn't/wouldn't believe it.

And, we don't think very many others didn't/wouldn't either, especially evidenced by Dan Nathan's recent suggestion that people forget about having a president besides Barack Obama.

Now, we're not so sure.

Intrade's Web site indicates Obama has been above 50 all year, and just about all of last year except dipping during that August-September downgrade/Europe slide.

If Valliere and Kaminsky do indeed prevail with this exceptional call, no need to do backflips, as Valliere also predicted "Regardless of whether he wins re-election, President Obama will kill the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in December of 2012," and Kaminsky said the 10-year yield hits 1%, both seemingly less than 50/50 propositions.

[Friday, October 12, 2012]

Terranova & Weiss are right:
Barry Bannister didn’t answer their questions

If a guy's gonna make a startlingly bullish call on the S&P 500, the least he can do is attempt to entertain a few questions from those who may be skeptical.

Barry Bannister, on the other hand, acted on Friday's Halftime Report like the 1,600 came down from Mount Sinai.

In Q4, Bannister said, expect a "lot of policy maneuvers here and overseas." Fair enough; it's another way of saying the markets are pricing in extended trouble with Spain and the fiscal cliff that he doesn't believe will be realized.

Then Judge Wapner informed Bannister that his panelists were "chomping (sic sted "champing") at the bit" to ask a question, and the first came from Stephen Weiss, who asked Bannister what China and Europe have to do, if anything, for the S&P to reach this target.

Bannister's bizarre non-answer was that "energy is in the lead since June 1," and he expects the typical end-of-year/early-next-year rally to continue regardless.

Then Joe Terranova asked if 1,600 S&P would involve a "massive reallocation out of Treasurys."

Bannister then obfuscated in the most laughable, follow-along-with-the-math-lesson way, explaining, "A narrowing in the equity risk premium, which is the earnings divided by price, is the upside down P.E. ratio, or the earnings yield, minus the 10-year Treasury yield, is my forecast," and that rising yields would help banks but punish utilities.

And moments later, the "Good Will Hunting"-style wasted Potential For Interesting Television kicked in.

Terranova remarked, "I didn't like the answer that Barry gave me to, to my question," and then was seconded by an interruption from Weiss, who grumbled, "At least he answered yours partly. He didn't answer mine about China and Spain," before Terranova insisted that Bannister had failed to identify who the new marginal buyer of stocks would be ... and simply concluded, "It's gotta be a rotation out of fixed income," a point that took no position on the 1,600.

Instead of agreeing with Weiss and comparing notes about Bannister's ridiculous interview, which at a minimum would've been entertaining, Terranova merely sought to answer his own question and put a cap on the subject, which is why his Fast Money/Halftime Report repertoire often lacks edge and tends to be more David Robertson than C.C. Sabathia.

Rather, Terranova could've said "I'm still waiting for Barry to answer my question, and Stephen's too," and then Judge would do the obligatory "Well let's see if Barry's still there, do we still have Barry?" etc., and then regardless of whether Barry has already unmiked for the day, you've actually got some vibe going on this show instead of another go-round with "I think LPX is your trade here."

(Note: If they're concerned that guests will refuse to appear on the show if they're going to be challenged when they deliver little more than price-target mumbo jumbo, know that 1) skipping the price-target conversations is no big loss, and 2) Irwin Simon and Michael Burns and Dave Barger will continue to show up.)

Bannister did actually opine that "a fire Bernanke platform would be negative for the market."

Josh Brown, in his own brand of gobbledygook, claimed that it's too hard to know if a 1,600 target will be reached and that people should ignore that and just focus on "sector selection," ignoring Steve Grasso's correct observation that 70% of all stocks move with the market.

Pete Najarian was nothing if not definitive. "We're not gonna get to 1,600 by the end of the year. I'll give you an absolute on that," Pete said, before giving viewers anything but an "absolute" on what to buy right now, suggesting "you've gotta find the beta" and indicating it's maybe in LOW. Brown seconded that, under the highly dubious "mean reversion" argument.

In just 2½ minutes, Joe goes from ‘I think you own Best Buy’ to ‘I would not own Best Buy equity’

Joe Terranova is a bit of a toughie, so if we keep this up we're liable to get our butt kicked (which is why we often pay particular attention to Dalton's Rule 3 ("be nice") and 1 ("expect the unexpected") when trying to make multiple points around here).

But it would be a dereliction of duty for this page not to note that on Friday's Halftime Report, Joe got buffaloed by Pete Najarian on BBY, which went from stock buy to options "maybe" in a matter of minutes and made Barry Bannister's "advice" sound useful.

It started when Terranova, even briefly assertively cutting off Judge Wapner, took up the WMT/AMZN/BBY situation and said "it's all about speed," and that BBY should worry about WMT and not AMZN.

Boldly, Terranova said, "I think you own Best Buy on the belief that they will be taken private."

Weiss challenged that, saying buyout speculation "is no reason alone to own a stock."

But it was Najarian who laid into it, saying that people who hold BBY on this basis could be waiting a long time, look at NOK, RSH, etc.

Terranova at first valiantly protested, insisting "the CFO's stepping down" and that the board cleared the way for Richard Schulze to seek buyout partners.

Then Pete piled on, stressing the difference between being able to look and actually finding the cash.

That prompted Terranova to cave like a run-and-shoot quarterback, now telling Najarian, "I would not own Best Buy equity. I would walk into your world and maybe own the December 22 calls, 23 calls," and conceding it's a long shot.

Pete merely shrugged, "I call it like I see it."

Just as bad was the lapse by Terranova's colleagues in focusing on BBY and not questioning Terranova's revelation that "Amazon scares me." (See, there's this thing about Potential For Interesting Television that often gives way to Standard Stock Picks.)

Najarian did opine that trading any of the 3, AMZN, BBY or WMT, on same-day delivery or going-private speculation sounds "ludicrous" to him.

Josh Brown said he likes WMT the best but also scoffed at the delivery hype. "You get a flat screen delivered in 30 minutes or it's free?"

Let’s face it: 2 of the 3 people on stage Thursday night can point to their hair as a major reason why

Fred Cannon, perhaps the most likable bank-stock guest in the Fast Money franchise because of his low-key demeanor and articulate assessments of the sector, told Friday's Halftime Report that WFC and JPM slumped because of "net interest margins" despite otherwise robust numbers.

(Admittedly, maybe Fred is likable because in the world of television, where success is often spelled "h-i-r-s-u-t-e," he's an overachiever.)

Cannon did bury the lede a bit, saying, "The banks got ahead of themselves coming into the quarter," and then he made at least 2 arguments for C going into earnings, that it doesn't have the same net interest margin issues but does have exposure to emerging markets.

Joe Terranova said he likes JPM and regional banks including TCBI. Stephen Weiss said he likes AIG and JPM. Pete Najarian made BX his Final Trade.

Josh Brown puts USG on autopilot to 30

Home-improvement type stocks got extended mention on Friday's Halftime Report, with Josh Brown calling the risk/reward in USG "staggeringly easy."

Should the stock break through 23½, 24, "I don't see any sellers up till 30," Brown said, adding he also is interested in MAS.

Stephen Weiss drew chuckles for suggesting TGT as a home improvement/decorating play. "I'm not gonna go toe-to-toe with Pete on interior decorating," Weiss backpedaled, before adding, "I like Home Depot," but that USG isn't one of his favorites because there aren't enough new houses.

Joe Terranova recommended TRV. Pete Najarian said BBBY, and also WHR, "absolutely." Josh Brown re-recommended LOW as his Final Trade.

Dennis Gartman is a gold bull, not a gold bug, he does not think the world’s coming to an end...

Dennis Gartman insisted on Friday's Halftime Report that Mitt Romney's affection for coal has "nothing ... zero ... nada" to do with his own enthusiasm for it, although he allowed that he's "much more bullish on thermal coal than I am on, uh, met coal."

Gartman indicated that it's been tied to nat gas and that the KOL has bounced along an apparent bottom and is going in the right direction.

Pete Najarian — and it's tempting to wonder who peed in Pete's Cheerios on Friday — wasn't convinced, saying the coal exit comes with nat gas at 3.

Stephen Weiss also cast doubts on this trade, saying "I think it's kind of specious actually" to make the argument that plants suddenly switch from nat gas to coal and back based on daily price movements of the commodity.

Playing a 13-cent upside in copper

Pretty Jackie DeAngelis, in striking blue Friday, moderated the day's Rich Ilczyszyn/Anthony Grisanti showdown on copper that failed to produce much of an incentive to take either side of this trade.

Grisanti said they "still have 6-7% growth" in China, and there's "always the possibility of Chinese stimulus."

Ilchmeister countered, "I think the market's disappointed by China data," and that China is only a "big fuel" to the copper market when growth was 8-9%. "I think copper needs a bit of a catalyst," Ilczyszyn said.

Judge Wapner tried to argue that U.S. housing could be the catalyst, but at any rate, Grisanti recommended buying at 3.69 with a 3.65 stop and 3.82 target.

Stephen Weiss does not mention Tepper’s 18th hole but brags about the elites he ‘rolls with’

Boris Schlossberg told Friday's Halftime Report, "I like buying euro/pound at 81."

Do with that what you must.

Joe Terranova conceded that it's "inside baseball," but that the 10-year yield "is not going to stay in this range."

Terranova also revealed selling VLO and said he likes the "large megacap integrated names."

Stephen Weiss said he has liked VZ and T but now is a bit concerned about Softbank in the sector, though he did notice it needs a "$23 billion loan."

Josh Brown had to explain to Judge why he said "I would not take a full position here" in WDAY while indicating some people might have to buy.

Superfox Seema Mody, increasingly confident in her rapid-fire delivery to the Halftime panelists, asked Pete Najarian about CELG. "Yes I love this name ... goes a lot higher," Najarian said.

Stephen Weiss told Mody that regarding TJX, "The next entry point I see as lower ... I'm not anxious to get in." Josh Brown told one questioner that one play he'd recommend for a year or two would be the dividend-focused emerging markets ETF, DEM, a trade he reiterated with LOW as his Final Trade.

Joe Terranova conceded to Judge — presumably referring to that 80-before-64 — "I made a bad call the other day on Netflix ... 63 that's my stop where I'm out," and Pete Najarian this time didn't attempt to convince him otherwise

Stephen Weiss saved maybe the day's most provocative call until the very end, saying Intel has been calling around large investors (those are the people Weiss "rolls with") to talk down the quarter, and so Weiss' Trade is, sell INTC, "I think you can buy at 16 to 18."

[Thursday, October 11, 2012]

Karen strikes back against a guest’s apparent political point

The last thing utterly any person in the world needs is to listen to a person on CNBC opine as to which health care stocks will do better if Barack Obama wins and which ones will do better if Mitt Romney wins, so we probably would've taken a pass on Scott Gottlieb's Medicare assessment on Thursday's Fast Money ... had Karen Finerman not forced our hand.

Gottlieb's point — which, to any person not keeping a political scorecard at home, was basically like the VP debate, too much inside baseball — apparently is that President Barack Obama, by capping or suggesting capping Medicare growth at 0.5% plus inflation, is turning it into a more Medicaid-like system.

Actually, in fairness to Gottlieb, he did describe this theory in articulate terms, but it doesn't really have anything to do with anything, so we won't rehash here, except to note that Gottlieb concluded that all the good Medicaid reforms involved giving states flexibility.

Which prompted Karen Finerman to wonder openly, "50 times the government, 50 uh, of government entities, vs. 1," how is that a more productive reform.

Mel of course won't go there, but that reverberates into a basically conceded (by both parties) yet still very relevant debate over state's rights and how different various parts of the country are allowed to be from each other. This page has long pointed out that rather than being based on some philosophical theory, what really happens is when a bunch of people care about something we get a national rule, and when not so many people care, we let states and municipalities figure it out for themselves.

Guy Adami reiterated he still thinks THC has momentum.

Karen represents the 1% viewpoint quite well in Beverly Hills discussion

Good thing Karen Finerman wasn't taking part in Thursday night's debate, or some could've accused her of sticking it to the middle class.

In an extremely dubious Fast Money topic (sure, every one of those 120 minutes a day is important, otherwise Stephen Weiss couldn't reveal how Dave Tepper did on the 18th hole), Mel Lee on Thursday brought in 99 Cents Only chief Eric Schiffer to answer the raging question of whether he's really planning to put a store on Rodeo Drive.

As a baby cried in the background throughout the conversation, Schiffer revealed he publicly floated the idea "so we could try to avoid the cost of a real estate broker to get a better deal," which, who knows, might put a dent in one of Karen's favorites on the day, Realogy (see below).

Even after a technical glitch, Melissa Lee persisted in questioning whether such a store would go over well on Rodeo Drive. Karen Finerman took the bait, explaining her own Beverly Hills background and indicating that if such a move were to occur, the reaction would be, "There goes the neighborhood ... that's what would happen."

It’s not a political show, but Karen praises company that can avoid paying taxes

Usually Karen Finerman tends to write off big IPO bursts as too pricey for a "value girl," but on Thursday's Fast Money she practically gushed over RLGY and even revealed "we bought some on the open" at 33.

"I really think there's a lot to like here," said Finerman, saying it figures to be "turning EBITDA into free cash flow," enjoys a big net operating loss that'll mean no taxes for a while, and is "very levered to a real-estate recovery here."

Keith McCullough noted "Toll Brothers is down 9½% since Ben Bernanke's top," and Guy Adami said he wouldn't be surprised if LEN falls another 5%.

Finerman said Burberry did a "good job of managing expectations."

Keith McCullough said the pop in COH is appealing; "this is precisely what a short seller looks for ... at the end of the day, Coach has a slowing top line, margins compressing."

Finerman added, "We are short Coach."

Guy Adami singled out V and MA; "they still work."

A bank discussion involves no mention of Dodd-Frank or Volcker (but we did get the less-than-book/tangible book)

Charlie Bobrinskoy visited with Thursday's Fast Money to share how much he likes the banks — but not really WFC.

It's "just not an attractive stock," Bobrinskoy said, explaining it trades at 1.4x book.

Bobrinskoy said he likes financials because "the market has run so hard" and financials haven't had the same participation. Also he thinks Jamie Dimon will be really positive on Friday. (But what about John Chambers' tone?)

"I think capital markets activity is better than people think," Bobrinskoy said, referring to JPM. "I think they're gonna have a great quarter."

Keith McCullough later said he thinks C could be back to 33ish "in a hurry."

Ron Johnson apparently embarking on ‘590’ different sales again

Guy Adami, finally snapping out of his Lee Cooperman/Mark Cuban HFT funk (see below), tried to sound maybe a little bit too profound on Thursday's Fast Money when dramatizing a point that maybe INTC has been trying to tell us all something since May. (Yes, it's been telling us that Pete Najarian bungled big time when he kept hailing it through July including pestering Dan Niles about Niles' dislike of the stock July 20.)

Dan Nathan said the dollar stores have "a lot of room to go" on the downside and later handled DLTR and said he "wouldn't be a buyer here."

Mike Khouw said there was a buyer of ANR November 8 calls for $1.06.

Guy Adami said if you're interested in shorting JBHT that he sees a "huge opportunity" at 60 as a place to take a "chance on the short side."

Guy Adami, in confusing rhetoric, twice said the Sprint story is "far from over," but also said David Faber would likely disagree, then said Faber's probably right, and meanwhile Adami said he would "take some profits ... I think it's gonna do the whole back-and-fill thing," even though he (apparently sorta) thinks the story is "far from over."

Dan Nathan explained that S is a "complicated story" and that the "options market was on fire with Sprint."

Keith McCullough pointed to the slide in AAPL as "the real suspect part of this market."

Karen Finerman said she sold put spreads in AAPL and bought back some of the way out of the money calls.

Karen Finerman said the fact OSK is trading below Carl Icahn's offer price makes her "nervous," and Karen needn't be nervous about anything.

Ice-T, a class act, visited the gang with fellow musician Tim Seymour to promote the charity A Leg To Stand On, and, echoing the show's 1% theme of the day, said there's a "misconception that people on Wall Street, you know, everyone's bad and no one's doing anything to help people."

T also promoted Azad Watches.

Karen Finerman noted that JCP issued a $10 coupon that apparently worked.

1,430, 1,425, 1,450

Thursday's Halftime Report gang indicated sellers are going to be squeezing this downturn to the last drop.

"I don't know that it's over yet," said Mike Murphy.

Josh Brown said "I'm not sure" if the rally can re-engage, then said "1,430 becomes very important."

"I'm around 1,425," Murphy said.

Stephanie Link was more optimistic, saying "you still have a global Fed at, at work."

Guest John Stoltzfus also was optimistic. "Overall the rally is set to resume," and he never expected a "correction" (at least the standard 10% variety that Tim Seymour couldn't define the other day), but his target of 1,450 might be a bit low. "We can easily go through the 1,450," he said, before taking a fiscal cliff-related pause.

Meanwhile, his favorite sectors are energy, materials, financials and consumer discretionary.

Stephen Weiss grumbled on Stoltzfus' casual attitude toward earnings season; "you seem to have equivocated on it," and questioned Stoltzfus' interest in materials. "You can't say I'm gonna wade into it, I'm lookin' to buy, because they're not gonna get much cheaper if that's your view," Weiss said.

Stoltzfus said if you like materials, "Why not start to own it now."

Mike Murphy made a great trade in FDX that is now over

Stephanie Link observed the hike in S but said Cramer "wouldn't chase it here today," though she likes CCI, AMT and said "watch for AT&T below 35."

Mike Murphy crowed about nailing 10% or so in FDX, but "We're out of the position completely here" and would wait to 86 or 87 to re-enter.

Stephanie Link said Cramer was "buying Southwest Energy this morning."

Josh Brown downplayed the ANR climb as a "rally in a bear market" and said "I prefer KOL ... found a bottom in June," though it hasn't skyrocketed.

Yet another edition of the most boring Fast Money subject recently: Which health care sectors win under Obama and which win under Romney

Sam Isaly declared on Thursday's Halftime Report that the vice presidential debate is "not gonna be definitive in any way" and stressed that Barack Obama is still at 60/40 in InTrade, a forum Isaly apparently thought Judge had never heard of though Judge assured they've been talking about it for a while on the show.

Isaly (sigh) said HCA is "most exposed" to the expected hospital gain if Obama wins, while HMOs and medical devices are better under Romney.

Josh Brown said XLV again. Stephen Weiss said to "start shaving" the HMOs.

Weiss said he doesn't like C's management very much but does like BAC in part because it's "below book," and he also suggested JPM has potential to go bottom-fishing in Spain.

Mike Murphy said "you wanna be long" Goldman Sachs and said if there's a pullback across financials, "you'd really want to enter the position" because there will now be "clarity."

We might take a crack at Steve Liesman's Blankfein/Erskine/Bowles debt-scolding a bit later.

[Wednesday, October 10, 2012]

‘This really seems like it seemed in early ’08’

Well-known bear David Tice spoke humbly on Wednesday's Fast Money (unless you count that Brag Trade reference when everyone thought he was crazy in the late '90s) about his now-personal portfolio, saying he's had his "head handed" to him in a long VIX position "that's been a horrible trade," and thinks that gold stocks are "incredibly well priced."

But when Steve Grasso pestered him about having to change positions while remaining bearish, that's when things really got cooking, as Tice said, "I never claimed to be, you know, a great trader like you guys on Fast Money are for sure ... This really seems like it seemed in early '08."

Karen Finerman wasn't around to be irked, but she surely would've been upon hearing Tice say, "Gold does well in deflationary circumstances and also inflationary circumstances and oftentimes that's forgotten."

‘Gonna see things shoot up’ in housing

Billy Procida might've been a little too optimistic but still made some eloquent arguments for real estate on Wednesday's Fast Money.

"When liquidity returns to the market, you're gonna see things shoot up, and that will happen in 2 or 3 years," Procida said.

Tim Seymour issued a note of caution, asserting it depends on the location and that there are "markets that actually will never come back."

"I agree; the sand states are dicey," Procida allowed.

Procida revealed, "Our new fund is called the Hundred-Mile Fund because I wanna be investing 100 miles from right here because there's no more land," and (whew) thank goodness they could look that far away and didn't have to call it the Second Mile Fund because, um, let's not go there.

"There's nothing like home ownership to build wealth," Procida said. #yeahsure

Kilburg: Crude to par

Jeff Kilburg talked crude with Mel Lee on Wednesday's Fast Money and said, "I think there's a back and fill here in the next 5 to 10 trading sessions back up to a hundred."

One person he didn't convince was Brian ("the markets voted on economics today instead of policy") Kelly, who said, "I would not buy oil here ... may even short it tomorrow."

Scott Nations said someone "bought 1,900 of the Jan 72 puts in XLE" for $3.20.

Steve Grasso rattled off MPC, BHI and PXD and said "those are the names that guys are waiting for on the next dip in the marketplace."

Flash: JPM and C are in the same business

Itay Michaeli was the recipient of a rather clumsy introductory question from Melissa Lee (who still looked quite good in new jacket and white T-shirt top) on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about a setback in Japanese auto exports to China and whether that opens the door for U.S. growth.

Michaeli said there are a lot of different automakers operating in China and so no one company will cash in, and that it's different than the tsunami of 2011. He also told Brian Kelly that he doesn't see much of a U.S. backlash in China because the U.S. automakers are building cars there.

Guy Adami asked about DLPH. Michaeli said "We still like Delphi here," but his top pick is American Axle.

Scott Nations said that even though GM's Buick is a very popular car in China, he was "seeing some call-selling in F."

Brian Kelly persisted with his backlash-against-the-U.S. theme, suggesting it could even reverberate to Foxconn and then you're talking lower Apple sales (#snicker).

Tim Seymour added gasoline to that fire, saying "I think that's a good call" and mentioning an 18-25% tariff on Chinese solar panels (wonder if Mitt brings that up in the next debate).

This is the place where Steve Cortes' opinions of China's ultimate status as either a progressive or regressive nation would come in handy, but apparently show honchos aren't planning on making that happen for a while.

The funniest thing in the dialogue was Mel telling Michaeli, who works for Citigroup, that JPM is "one of your competitors out there."

Josh Brown’s more-to-fall call on EW: Instant bust

He didn't say pull the ripcord, but Guy Adami said on Wednesday's Fast Money that it's time to take profits in COST.

Steve Grasso agreed and said "95 looks like the pullback."

Brian Kelly said he hit it big in Big Lots, but now it's time to cover shorts in the dollar stores.

Scott Nations said selling puts in WMT is a "tough way to make a buck."

Guy Adami said EW, a stock that Josh Brown insisted is going to fall further and trap people into buying it on Tuesday's plunge, experienced "a drop that was unjustified ... I think it pops again tomorrow."

Brian Kelly didn't mention losing a round of golf to Dave Tepper on the 18th green but he did refer to himself in 3rd person while seemingly thinking MNST belongs in the sand trap; "I would stay away from this."

Steve Grasso said "I'm long Aetna personally" but to "stay away" from TSO. Scott Nations thinks TRLG has "even more room on the upside." Guy Adami said he's not a fan of reverse splits such as what's happening with THC, but "I think that mojo will continue."

In hailing WPI, which he said will grow into the valuation, Adami actually said "there's nothing generic about CNBC's Fast Money."

Scott Nations' Final Trade was to sell CAT. Tim Seymour issued his monthly buy recommendation for MBT, Guy Adami reiterated WPI with a "girl" for Mel Lee, Steve Grasso said MPC and Brian Kelly said buy TLT, which will be great if the market realizes that "air pocket" he warned about.

Guy Adami: ‘We are in the apocalypse’

We thought Scott Nations' rhetoric regarding the earnings environment on Monday was an outlier — and then we heard from Guy Adami on Wednesday's Fast Money.

Adami said the market has bounced off 1,425, and in fact he thinks "we're gonna do it again," even though "we are in the apocalypse side of things."

Tim Seymour said "who cares" about Alcoa, and said he's not so sure the world is a scary place; "the price action is somewhat without direction."

"Right here the S&P's not expensive," said Seymour, who had to ask the panel for a definition of "correction."

Steve Grasso wasn't so sure, claiming, "It seems like the buyers are fading now."

Brian Kelly, like a day earlier with his irrelevant policy-vs.-economics theory, cautioned that "if you break through 1,425, it's conceivable the market hits a pretty big air pocket."

Kelly even added that pension funds are "not even in this market as they should be," which suggests Stephanie Link's money-on-the-sidelines claim from the Halftime Report is correct.

Seymour got a chance to crow a bit about his YUM call, saying the valuation makes sense assuming "India is really their next China."

Guest Rodger Baker, who was on a time delay but unaffected by the sound glitches causing Mel Lee to become momentarily discombobulated, said the China-Japan tiff involves "fairly short-term issues" but said for Japanese industry, "certainly in this quarter at least there's going to be a hit."

More from Wednesday's Fast Money later.

Enis Taner: ‘It’s over’

The typical watered-down stock-rally-continues-to-look-good theories continued on Wednesday's Halftime Report, until upstart Enis Taner stepped in.

"I think it's over," Taner said, asserting "the earnings picture doesn't look very good," although he didn't call it "apocalyptic" like Scott Nations did a few days ago (nor did he mention losing to Dave Tepper in golf on the 18th hole).

Pete Najarian asked Taner if it'll really be over "if they just continue this kick down the road."

Taner conceded, "If they kicked everything down the road that's a benefit to GDP growth."

And what in the world does either one of them mean by "if"???

Joe Terranova claimed the market still looks promising because of "capital allocation," or put another way, dividends are coming.

Mr. New Land said he's starting to like SBUX, "beginning to build a position long in there again," and that he sold mini-S&P futures (so why wasn't he on the Jackie DeAngelis/Rich Ilczyszyn program?)

However, Joe hasn't revisited recently his tangled Oct. 1 opinion that 1,422.38 is the key S&P level, "as long it (sic) is above there, I think the market goes higher," while the market is indeed above 1,422, but not "higher" since Oct. 1.

Going out on a limb, Pete said Friday will bring some answers about financials; "are they undervalued or are they actually fair value."

Stephanie Link, as the flight attendants union chief said in "Wall Street," sketched some really broad strokes and many would like to see the fine print as she explained that Cramer is watching "materials, industrials, staples and discretionary," and "if they are weak, you buy."

Link said, "There's also a lot of cash on the sidelines."

But they let Ron Johnson get away

Jeff Sonnenfeld, an expert at identifying whether someone's a good CEO or not, told Wednesday's Halftime Report that "we are way out of bounds questioning" Tim Cook's leadership.

Cook, said Sonnenfeld, is "managing expectations" and succeeding at retaining Apple's elite executives. And, Cook, compared with Steve Jobs, is much faster to admit mistakes, and "that's very encouraging ... he definitely gets an A, A+."

Sonnenfeld pointed out that Steven Ballmer is "bringing in Mark Penn," for what who knows, but hopefully not to advise on a Yahoo takeover.

Joe Terranova drew a curious analogy between wide receivers and iPads, insisting "it's the players, it's the products that matter," and people wanted to run Tom Coughlin and Joe Girardi out of town when they didn't make the playoffs, and then look what happened.

Tony Dwyer admits S&P 1,575 by year-end sounds ‘insane’

Tony Dwyer, protesting with somewhat of a Brag Trade by saying stocks are up 11% since he was last on the Fast Money/Halftime show June 26, conceded his 1,575 S&P year-end call "sounds like an insane, uh, an insane idea."

He continued the Brag Trade theme by claiming he called for a correction to about 1,400, but insisted, "I think we're in the fundamental sweet spot" to make a run at 1,575.

Dwyer told Joe Terranova, who felt compelled to interrupt and ask twice, that it would be "arrogant" to call the Goldman Sachs 1,250 forecast ridiculous/ludicrous, but, "yeah, I don't think it's right," which makes sense, because if he did, it would undermine his own call and his whole reason for being on the show. Dwyer also made an odd reference to this being a "high-frequency world," but obviously he knows precisely what Judge wants to hear.

Dwyer downplayed Stephanie Link's concerns about corporate margin compression next year, saying he could see "temporary margin compression."

Dwyer told Judge Wapner that regarding sector calls, "If I traded on how I feel every day, I'd be all in or all out ... I remove my opinion from it because really, who cares."

Dwyer said he has analyzed whenever there has been a "sharp drop in interest rates followed by a pivot back up," and "every time," 6 months out, "information technology, consumer discretionary has outperformed." Finally he got to the strongest point he or anyone else made Wednesday; "the Fed is telling you to buy risk."

Taner: Sell AMZN

Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report essentially scoffed at Wal-Mart's foray into same-day delivery, suggesting it will cut into "razor-thin margins."

"eBay tried this," Najarian shrugged, and encountered "lot of cost, lot of headaches."

Judge asked if the "bald guy" has anything to fear, explaining he meant Jeff Bezos and not Pete.

Enis Taner, previewing his sell-AMZN Final Trade, said, "I actually bought Amazon puts yesterday and today ... Amazon has even thinner margins." He predicted you could "buy Wal-Mart, sell Amazon" and come out a winner over 1 year.

Joe Terranova assessed the AMZN-WMT battle this way: "At the end of the day, it boils down to the holiday season ... I go Wal-Mart."

Stephanie Link said Dollar General is one that Cramer likes.

At least Judge didn’t accuse Joe of calling for NFLX to hit 75

Anthony Grisanti halfheartedly endorsed nat gas on Wednesday's Halftime Report, but it was salutin' Rich Ilczyszyn who made the call as pretty Jackie DeAngelis didn't get much screen time.

Grisanti pointed to a "lot of buying in the natural gas calls right now, and a lot of selling in the puts ... almost like they're treating it like Texas Hold'em."

Ilczyszyn first stressed that nat gas is a futures play now and not a stock play, but, "I think there's a phenomenal play here," which he said would prompt him to "defer to the chart" and explain he's "buying 3.56 on a stop," with that stop being 3.36 and a target 3.96. "I'm risking 2 grand to make 4," the Ilchmeister said.

Grisanti said the 4-handle could happen, maybe in late January, but it depends on the weather.

Stephanie Link said Cramer has been in CVX but "trimmed this position last week," and that Wednesday's selloff is "definitely an overreaction ... I like the story on weakness, we're buying it."

Joe Terranova in one of the most lukewarm recommendations ever suggested XOM to Judge as an energy play, "however I'd throw caution" behind that. Terranova later gave too long of an explanation of VLO that didn't really register.

S was shown at $4.99

Pete Najarian said on Wednesday's Halftime Report that DLTR and WMT "both can survive," but "I think Dollar Tree's got more upside from here."

Najarian shrugged off electoral concerns regarding the financials; "either way these stocks can go higher," and he finds MNST an "interesting name at these levels."

Joe Terranova said he's back in NXPI, "I added here, I'm long."

Stephanie Link actually recommended Universal Health, which is UHS, "should it pull back materially from here," but the screen guy showed a chart of UNH. Link also mentioned AET.

Curiously, Link said rather contradictorily of S, "I'd still avoid the stock, buying under 5."

Enis Taner actually called TRLG "a good buy."

Link's Final Trade was buy FXI. Joe Terranova said JPM, and Pete Najarian said WFC after gushing about Jamie Dimon's interview the same way most of the Fast Money panel gushed about Mark Zuckerberg saying the word "search" at the TechCrunch thing.

[Tuesday, October 9, 2012]

The longer Herb talks about The Chanos Rule, the flimsier it gets

Herb Greenberg on Tuesday's Fast Money introduced for television what he had already established on CNBC.com, "The Chanos Rule."

It's "when a company sells 25 to 30 million units, or a subscription business gets 25 to 30 million subs, the growth is either about to slow, or stop altogether," Herb said.

The question now, he said, pointing to HBO and George Foreman grills, is "will the same happen at Netflix."

Melissa Lee demanded Herb outline the "potential audience" that he's talking about so as to, likely eliciting giggles in living rooms, "understand what, what full penetration is."

Greenberg didn't answer the question but insisted, "It is almost flawless, at least as a trigger point."

Brian Kelly claimed that selling 50 million iPhones would make AAPL "fairly vulnerable to the Chanos Rule." That's when Herb began the backpedaling, saying AAPL is different, "You can't draw the same comparison ... you've got your exceptions to the rules."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was selling NFLX calls.

Marc Faber tells Karen Finerman to stop believing so much in policy

Brian Kelly, who just recently said to buy everything that's not nailed down, on Tuesday's Fast Money called the day's market drop a "warning sign" given that the investors for the first time in a while chose economic fundamentals over policy.

Keith McCullough said it's "very much a stock-picking environment, uh, from here on in."

Mike Khouw said that going into Tuesday, the options market had been pessimistic on AA and YUM. Karen Finerman said that YUM essentially justified the current price, leaving little upside. "I'm not about to jump in here," Finerman said.

Marc Faber told Melissa Lee "yes, yes," he thinks you can wait for stocks to fall 20% before buying, athough he conceded, "I might go for a rebound in Chinese stocks."

Karen Finerman then made the mistake of asking Faber if there's a scenario that would change his mind. Faber said he's been "rereading Milton Friedman's works" and told Finerman he's astounded that "people like yourself can all the time point out policies that will save the system. We need less policies, not more policies."

Brian Kelly told Steve Grasso he prefers nat gas to CLF, which also became their dueling Final Trades.

Only about a half-dozen buy suggestions in 1 day for AAPL

Apparently because the $1,001 price targets are now passé, Tuesday's Fast Money decided to entertain some AAPL commentary from Stuart Jeffrey, whose rather humdrum neutral rating is pegged to $710.

"We don't really think they're gonna be gaining much market share," Jeffrey said, explaining the iPhone can be an elite but niche product, or they could be "going downmarket" for a "mid-range" product in which "there'll be some margin compression."

Keith McCullough said a few things about the stock then boiled it down to, "oversold really is what our signal said today."

Karen Finerman stressed a couple times that the margin percentage was the argument against Google before it finally ran up recently, and maybe that's the wrong way to look at it; "it's EBIT margin dollars."

Both McCullough and Finerman said buy AAPL for their Final Trade, the 2nd time in a day that 2 panelists made it their Final Trade.

Brian Kelly suggests banks might be at serious risk of being traumatized by an improving economy

Steve Grasso, illustrating how jaded and cynical people can get about government regulation (because there are all those people who otherwise could be operating banks out of their garages), claimed on Tuesday's Fast Money that the latest case against Wells Fargo will amount to nothing; "it'll all be settled, it'll all be swept underneath the carpet," and the price will be cut in half and cut in half again.

Later in the program, Kate Kelly reported on how banks conduct stress tests, and she thinks — but went to great pains to alert viewers this is not happening now and not to be alarmed — maybe the most significant one they're doing might be a 0% Chinese growth rate.

Brian Kelly, in the head-scratcher of the day, said he thinks they should consider the impact of "improving economic growth; that's the one thing that nobody is testing for."

Mel Lee, in another sharp outfit Tuesday, and Karen Finerman agreed that banks can test for these events and assume they react correctly, but if every bank is having the same problem at the same time ...

Karen Finerman compared CMI's outlook to the one from the last quarter and said this seems "a little worse than that," though it's generally the company's goal to "underpromise and overdeliver." Finerman expertly pointed out to Lee the timeline and that CMI rallied after releasing numbers that matched — not beat — the lowered guidance.

Guest Mark Kiesel of (where else) Pimco said housing still has "a lot of pent-up demand," and it "looks very cheap right now relative to most other assets."

He said he'd look for companies involved in timber, building materials and title insurance.

Kiesel acknowledged to Steve Grasso that the stocks have priced in a housing recovery, but Kiesel said in bonds, we're only "less than halfway through that," and WY bonds have a "high-single-digit return possibility."

Keith McCullough scoffed at the housing theme. "I hear it at hedge-fund idea dinners every other night," McCullough said, calling it "long in the tooth."

Karen Finerman, in what could be considered a crisp, Pro Bowl-caliber performance for the day that actually started a day earlier with a brilliant take-the-money-and-run Final Trade on NFLX, explained the day's ride in PAY and said she's still short; "I do think there are some major headwinds against this company." Mike Khouw said someone bought 1,200 November 28 puts in PAY.

Apple Schadenfreude (cont’d),
practiced Tuesday by Doug Kass

This page tends to view AAPL much like Dennis Gartman views gold ("I am NOT a gold BUG; I don't believe the world's coming to an end, but..."); unfortunately we didn't hang onto a bunch of it when it won the first Fast Money March Madness Tournament bracket, but no matter how tiresome it is to keep hearing about it, it's undeniably been the easiest stock-market money since about 1999.

Which doesn't sit well with a lot of pros, such as Jeff Gundlach or Doug Kass, who likely see headwinds in the stock not for their stated reasons but in all likelihood mostly because they find it frustrating to believe that all the Cramer home-gamer types have outperformed seasoned pros by simply holding this name for nearly a decade.

So Kass didn't hesitate on Tuesday's Halftime Report to pronounce the company in a grim tailspin, citing 3 reasons, those being market, technicals, and a curious interpretation of first-mover concerns.

Moreover, Apple is "vulnerable to profit-taking," Kass said. "They have massive delivery issues." Kass told Joe Terranova it's not a black-and-white determination that the recent slide is merely a trading phenomenon; "it's more gray ... there are for the first time chinks or bruises in the Apple story."

Gemma Godfrey helpfully said AAPL watchers can't overlook the economy.

Josh Brown rightly claimed it's "premature" to be "booking a funeral home" for the Apple story and suggested people "pretend it's a $63 stock that just came down from 70," which quite frankly sounds a lot like Tuesday's NFLX story.

Brown, like Mike Murphy, made AAPL his Final Trade. Murphy said, "I don't see the iPhone 5 slowing down" and predicted it would be a "massive home run" and suggested getting in the stock around $620.

Guest Brian White gushed with enthusiasm, saying the pullback is a "gift ahead of the holidays."

Yes, but one can buy a lottery ticket and risk $1 to make $20 million, and that’s not necessarily a likable trade

It seems like even CNBC's new futures program can't avoid making AAPL calls.

Jackie DeAngelis posed the question on Tuesday's Halftime as to how to play AAPL and the Nasdaq 100 in the futures markets.

Rich Ilczyszyn revealed that when AAPL was $700, "I had customers calling me" and asking how to hedge up, and his advice then was to "sell mini-Nasdaq futures." So he advises selling at 2,771 and risking $600 to make $1,620; "I like that trade."

Anthony Grisanti found this topic so uninteresting, the best thing he could say was that the question comes down to whether techs are going to be hit harder than the rest of the market.

‘Rebalance out of equities, into stocks’

It's hard to be on the wrong side of this one.

Josh Brown on Tuesday's Halftime Report pointed out that stocks are coming off a big quarterly win over bonds, and so "you're going to see people rebalance out of equities, rebalance into stocks."

Sad when this page actually is paying closer attention to Joe’s calls than Judge is

Judge Wapner decide to cap Tuesday's Halftime Report by hectoring Joe Terranova on Joe's curious NFLX 75-before-50 (that was a week ago Wednesday) and then 80-before-64 calls (that was Monday).

Except Judge, embarrassingly unprepared, twice tried insisting to Terranova that Terranova said on Monday the stock is going to 75.

Mr. New Land corrected Judge, then conceded the troubling fundamentals of the stock; "tell me something I don't already know."

Then Joe uncorked a jaw-dropper that has to be one of the more dubious reasons for buying a stock — gauging market reaction to Herb Greenberg's reports on CNBC.

"I bought the stock today at 67 bucks after Herb Greenberg came here and terled (sic) the whole world in very proficient fashion how horrible of a company this is. Stock didn't go down once he did that."

Maybe it's because too often the public yawns when Herb makes a report because 1) the significant things Herb mentions are already known and 2) the inside-baseball things that Herb mentions are just typical media gripes, like sportswriters and political beat writers who complain about jocks who don't talk enough after games or politicians restricting access to fundraisers, and don't actually move stocks.

The implication that Herb's report was the first time any CNBC viewer had heard anything bad about Netflix is something of a reach.

Meanwhile, Terranova said he actually owns CSTR and VZ because he thinks they'll "beat the snot out of 'em" at Netflix, but that doesn't change his trading opinion that Netflix seems poised for an "80 print."

Josh Brown wasn't buying. "Longer term, I'll see you in the 50s with this thing," Brown said. "I don't get involved with battleground stocks."

Guy Adami wasn't on the show, but while his short-it-at-68½-or-69 call may have been a day or two premature, it was looking pretty good Tuesday.

Judge’s latest installment of uninteresting HFT complaining

Judge Wapner, who appears hell-bent on spotlighting every unusual trading blip on the Halftime Report, tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to push Bob Pisani into a machines-taking-over conclusion regarding activity in P and WFR before Pisani insisted we need to know more.

"We're so fractionated," Pisani said.

Josh Brown said the exchanges need this type of HFT-related business or somebody to pay them to run algorithms, because the NYSE, for example, "can't be a full-time TV studio." (What, he doesn't like the tent background at Post 9?)

Joe Terranova said that to discourage unwanted behavior, they have to hit 'em in the pocketbook and "raise the cost of doing business," which probably is not going to be on the agenda of either Joe Biden or Paul Ryan on Thursday night.

Don’t you have to first set the new all-time highs before you take them out?

Jim Paulsen insisted — with the typical "China just might really heat up" Hope Trade — on Tuesday's Halftime Report that stocks still have a lot of things going for them, perhaps even multiple expansion, and suggested, "We could, uh, well take out the new high- new all-time highs next year."

Mike Murphy said if CLF holds the 100-day, he thinks it's a buy.

Joe Terranova said of crude's move, "I would not fight this, I would not short this." His Final Trade was long XOM.

Terranova also touted XLV and said "I think there's further run (sic) on the upside."

Josh Brown called EW's fall a "teachable moment" in that many people will see this as a buying opportunity but it's not; rather it's a "great company, but a really bad time to own it," and those who buy now are "catching a falling knife." He suggested waiting for the mid-$70s.

Brown also said the RSH reaction to an upgrade shows there is "not a lot of enthusiasm for this call."

Mike Murphy said of the F upgrade, "I like the call here and I like the name."

Paul Richards advised buying euro/yen at 100.25.

Gemma Godfrey, She Whose Teeth Are Too Perfect To Keep Off Of Live Television, was as quiet as the Jacksonville Jaguars offense but did suggest "health care" as her Final Trade.

[Monday, October 8, 2012]

Scott Nations claims this is an ‘apocalyptic’ earnings season

"Fundamentals have been tepid at best," declared Guy Adami, and he could've said the same of the content on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

But fortunately, Scott Nations supplied not only the hour's Brag Trade, but hyperbole.

"I was the only one last week on the show who was bearish, and if you listen to the pre-earnings announcements, then, it's just apocalyptic," Nations said.

Pointing to the VIX, Nations said "people are way, way too complacent."

Karen Finerman said she thinks we could see a "very good quarter" out of Macy's.

AAPL is deemed overowned

Guest Chris Verrone said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that AAPL is taking a "pause or a rest ... could probably see 575, 580."

Verrone posited that there's been a "subtle leadership shift" from AAPL to GOOG, and without really answering Karen Finerman's question about the extent to which fund managers will shift from AAPL into GOOG, merely said a lot of people "own too much Apple here."

He later said AAPL needs to hold 575-610, a spread of only $35.

Verrone said he likes health care to continue to outperform, and his S&P focus would be on holding 1,360 to 1,370.

Karen Finerman, in sort of her own version of a Brag Trade, reiterated that she was selling upside AAPL calls, but "we unwound part of that trade today," and then said she was invoking Bill Clinton phraseology, "There's nothing wrong with Apple that can't be fixed by what is right with Apple."

The coal debacle has reached innings stage

Guest Michael Dudas said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that there's already some shifting back from nat gas to coal, but he told Karen Finerman he expects "nothing in the near-term" in terms of coal industry consolidation.

Dudas told Tim Seymour that we're in the 4th or 5th inning of the coking coal recovery, but it's the "7th or 8th inning on thermal side."

Pete Najarian, whose Final Trade was PSX, said he's in WLT (one that only got a neutral from Dudas) and TCK and also hailed GE for goodness knows what reason.

Tim Seymour said Japan's interest in those dispute islands is purely political and has no resource ramifications. Across the globe, Seymour said "Anglo American looks very interesting to me" and so does "AngloGold," and when do South African miners ever not look interesting to Tim Seymour?

Guy Adami touted AUY and wished Canadians happy thanksgiving.

Scott Nations said of MPC, "options traders wanna be long this."

Karen: Unload NFLX

In an unfulfilled feature that promised more than it delivered on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Melissa Lee said 1/3 of public pension plans have determined they won't hit their target return over 5 years, then brought in Derek Young to perhaps explain why, except Young did little more than point out that returns these days are low.

Young said pension funds are looking at a "liability-driven strategy" in which they get into investments that pay off as cash is needed. Karen Finerman rightly asked if they haven't always been doing that. Young said they could've locked into something like this a while back and would do so if snicker they get fully funded again.

Then, Lee brought in Texas' Bruce Zimmerman, whose most noteworthy comment was that they have "27% of our portfolio in private investments."

Scott Nations said someone sold 10,000 FXI February 30 puts and bought February 40 calls, "net-net they collect 30 cents," but they're looking to tap into an unlimited score.

Guy Adami said ACN will probably run up into its conference this week.

Amelia Bourdeau, who looks good on television, said she would short the euro vs. Canadian dollar at 1.2660.

Guy Adami told superfox Seema Mody that AIG "still has legs."

Scott Nations' Final Trade was to buy puts in this market. Tim Seymour said buy UNH, Guy Adami said buy CELG and Karen Finerman said to sell NFLX.

Jack Bogle claims Romney campaign has been ‘far left’

Jack Bogle twice referred to his most recent book while telling Monday's Halftime Report next to nothing about the financial markets.

Bogle said that people investing for the day, week, month or even year are actually "more like speculating." He finds the market neither "terribly overvalued" nor "terribly undervalued."

"Nobody knows the future," Bogle revealed.

But despite not knowing the future, Jack declared that the odds that stocks outperform bonds in the "next decade" are "probably 85 to 90%."

Bogle said it's impossible to say how presidential politics will affect stocks because the agendas are unknown, and in a bit of a jaw-dropper, claimed that the Romney campaign has moved "from the far left ... almost to the middle."

In one of his most impressive moments recently, Judge asked Bogle about whether Vanguard fund managers are doing enough to effect corporate change as Bogle suggests. Bogle said Vanguard management has decided the best policy is meeting with managements and "making changes from within," and he takes that approach "at face value."

Stephen Weiss’ golf bets involve mentioning people’s names on TV

Usually in television, it's a no-no.

Stephen Weiss opened Monday's Halftime Report explaining he was obligated to salute Dave Tepper, who "kicked my butt on the golf course ... he rallied really big."

(Yes, those 120 minutes allocated each day to the Fast Money franchise are totally precious.)

Judge Wapner, either for purposes of making conversation or to do a little chiding, told Weiss, "You're nothing if not a name-dropper."

Weiss said that weak 3rd-quarter earnings are "discounted in the market at this point" and predicted that Spain "will come in and ask for a bailout."

Joe Terranova said he'd buy tech on weakness but he's not buying energy and materials, and said the 3 big earnings reports will come from YUM, JPM and WFC.

Stephanie Link agreed with the notion that weak earnings are expected, and if the earnings surprise to the upside, "We go a lot higher."

Simon Baker said "we like cyclicals opposed to staples" and singled out SWY and what he said is 30% short interest; "I think it's overdone."

Joe implies Brag Trade, then refuses to detail what it was

Joe Terranova said on Monday's Halftime Report to hope for a continued AAPL slide and then "buy it after earnings."

All fine and good, but where he got tripped up was the point where he contrasted AAPL with GOOG and tried to crow about his impeccable timing and promote more of it, saying he got out of Apple at a good price, "we're not gonna self-promote here and say how well we did," and that now he'd buy GOOG and then be "very quick" to get out of it and back into AAPL after earnings.

Joe didn't reveal whether he could beat Dave Tepper if it came down to the 18th green, nor did he name-drop any celebs when presented the opportunity by Judge.

Stephanie Link questioned why not just buy AAPL ahead of the quarter. Stephen Weiss said he'd buy AAPL now over GOOG.

Joe says dropping 14% on HPQ call ‘looks really good’ (because it could’ve been a lot worse)

It was Gordon Lightfoot — whom we're fairly certain was at least a candidate for Patty Edwards' iPod despite protestations to the contrary — who sang "Summer Side of Life," but no one on Monday's Halftime Report was experiencing that concept more than Joe Terranova, who admitted that a while back he "loved HP up at 27 bucks," but got out at 23, and "that looks really good right now."

To others, it looks like a loss of 14 and a change, but whatever floats one's boat.

Steve Milunovich, who apparently has sought an HPQ breakup for some time (but how will they unravel the Palm division?), was able to crow about Carly Fiorina's sum-of-the-parts commentary, saying "10 years later Carly and I are finally on the same page."

Milunovich said a breakup is "increasingly making too much sense" and contended that "at the end of the day it's gonna be worth more broken up."

Judge rightly asked Milunovich if Meg Whitman has any credibility left on the Street. (Unfortunately he didn't ask how Meg inherited the credibility that Leo was never given.) Milunovich insisted she does, and "She probably has 1 to 2 years" left before they kick her out for accomplishing nothing as she begins to think about how great life could be as a rich retiree rather than hanging around the HPQ board to finish the HPQ turnaround.

Simon Baker claimed, "There's some really really smart value investors love (sic) this stock."

Stephen Weiss wasn't so enthusiastic. "It smells more like Eastman Kodak — although not that bad — than it does of an IBM ... Meg Whitman's not Lou Gerstner. She's just not."

Stocks to buy if Mitt wins (translation: no need to watch this program for another month)

Gina Martin Adams (what is it with these 3-name Halftime guests) on Monday's Halftime mentioned the fiscal cliff 2 or 3 times and claimed earnings are dwindling more than the Street will "cop to" right now.

Stretching a notion that has to be one of the most ridiculous we've heard and yet it's lingered for weeks on Fast Money — what sectors to favor if a guy deemed less than 50/50 of winning office should win (talk about day-trading) — Adams claimed that a Romney win would be good for financial, energy and consumer discretionary stocks.

Joe Terranova asked the best question, would a Romney win mean an instant overhaul of the Fed as Romney has implied, and an end to the QE sugar high? Adams tried to dodge the question by saying it "totally depends on who he picks," but conceded, "suddenly the monetary policy environment does change."

Terranova, meanwhile, upped his NFLX range, saying, "I see 80 before I see 64."

Terranova said Hain and other organic food giants "all work," and on the heels of Mary Thompson's report on the credit card companies, Terranova said he likes "all of the above," meaning V, MA, COF, AXP, DFS.

Stephanie Link said Cramer sold DIS and "actually put it into News Corp," but she disagrees with the analyst's fully valued downgrade because margins in 2013 could improve, and she'd buy (yes, on a pullback) in the 48-50 range.

Stephen Weiss said he likes the health insurers, WLP, CI, UNH, AET, the "cheapest group in the market."

Stephanie Link told superfox Seema Mody (who again sat next to Joe but because Judge and others were at Englewood Cliffs, Joe didn't get to crow) that Cramer was buying BBBY. Simon Baker said he doesn't like the homebuilders so much but does like the suppliers, HD, MAS, SSD, WFC.

Stephen Weiss' best casino pick is LVS, and he doesn't know enough about PENN to opine. Joe Terranova said "I don't like what I heard" from recent conference calls by ASCA, PENN, BYD.

Stephanie Link's Final Trade went unheard because a mike was out. Simon Baker said SWY, Joe Terranova said "I was wrong" and that the SPLS short is over, and Stephen Weiss said T.

[Friday, October 5, 2012]

Michelle likes talking about knockouts

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reported Goldman Sachs' 1,250-turned-1,575 S&P call on Friday's Halftime, prompting Guy Adami to explain how he used to trade something in options called "knock-ins and knock-outs."

"Is that about women?" MCC dutifully asked, prompting a round of chuckles.

Adami said he'd be "hard-pressed to believe" both of those calls could be accurate.

Jon Najarian disagreed with the 2012 selloff notion and said the 2013 Goldman Sachs call reflects that the "willingness to kick the can will not stop."

Pete Najarian pointed to the low VIX and said "don't forget" the purported exit from low-yielding bonds; "that money's gotta go somewhere."

At least one person thinks HPQ is a knockout (or would that be a knock-in?)

Guest Paul Meeks insisted on Friday's Halftime Report that HPQ is not the next Kodak, but it was Jon Najarian who made the most compelling case to buy the stock now.

Meeks said that for trading purposes, "you can probably wait" to get in (and so why wouldn't people with "investing" purposes also wait?), but "I think 14 is a screaming buy" for long-term investors, and "I would be shocked" it's not up 50% in a couple years.

Less convincing, Meeks said "Windows 8 could bring some momentum," but overall, just given the price, "they're going to stage enough of a comeback" to make this more than a value trap, the stock is "too cheap."

Meeks said the challenge for FB is to monetize mobile, and it's not worth owning right here, "just look at something else."

Jon Najarian pointed to the volume washout Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Karen Finerman's suggestion of bigger names getting in here, and said he bought HPQ.

Pete Najarian said AAPL is "selling off for the wrong reasons" and cited Gene Munster's 49-million-iPhone forecast. Brian Kelly said he too likes the stock, "it's a buying opportunity," but it "has to hold 650."

Brian Kelly: ‘Fuel for a big, big rally here’

Jack Welch evidently is not alone, as Pete Najarian asked himself a question about the unemployment number on Friday's Halftime Report.

"Do I believe the number? Probably not," said Najarian, who clarified he attended prom in an El Dorado (or is it Eldorado?).

Brother Jon, though, said he doesn't think the president "manipulated" the number, but he does think "it's about jobs" (as opposed to a percentage).

Brian Kelly was the only cheery chap over this statistic, saying, "I think you buy this jobs report," and calling it "astounding" to hear people's conspiracy theories.

Kelly said there's "fuel for a big, big rally here."

Guy Adami, grim since squaring off against Lee Cooperman and Mark Cuban on HFT this week, said stocks such as HD continue working.

Dark pool called ‘safe zone’

Apparently "HFT" remains toxic on Judge's show, but "dark pools" do not.

Liquidnet's Seth Merrin joined Friday's Halftime Report to bash high-frequency trading, but foxy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera was anything but convinced by his explanations, even though he's a "noun, and they're a verb."

Merrin said he provides a "safe zone" for investors, but Caruso-Cabrera said either a dark pool or HFT is an early peek; "it's like front-running regardless."

Merrin said "not at all," that institutions need "very different tools" than retail traders because (here's the everyman argument) they're investing public pension cash. (Translation: Unlevel playing field meant to make you still feel good.)

Jon Najarian said he doesn't have "near the problem with dark pools" that he has with HFT. Merrin said HFT risks "massive public disasters," and the goal should be to provide a "safe zone for the retail investor."

"What we need is massive depth back into the market," Merrin said, but MCC scoffed away Merrin's attack on HFT, saying she's skeptical that bringing in more regulations will solve whatever problems exist.

Dr. J crushed one in PSX a day ago

Guest Tom Petrie said West Coast gasoline supplies are stretched, "we're on a knife edge," but we're also coming out of the driving season and so it shouldn't last long, maybe "2-4 weeks."

Petrie predicted crude would test the low 80s and even the 70s.

Guy Adami hailed VLO and PSX, and Jon Najarian touted PSX, WMB and MUR, and Pete Najarian made sure to mention MPC.

Boris Schlossberg delivered a tribute to Reggie Jackson and recommended buying dollar/yen at 79.

Dueling foxes Jackie DeAngelis (leopard print dress) and Seema Mody (impossibly elegant white gown, with a walk) handled news updates and the Twicker, respectively, with Mody eliciting from Brian Kelly, "I think Yum's probably a buy here" with 63 as decent support, and from Pete Najarian, that calls in big banks are outnumbering puts.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was DBB. Jon Najarian said BMC, "huge activity in January." Pete Najarian said LINE, and Guy Adami said OI.

[Thursday, October 4, 2012]

Someone alert Judge — guest gives a legitimate reason why the system’s broke, and it has nothing to do with HFT machines taking over

Guest Ana Gupte on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, taking part in the dubious stock-picking-based-on-who-wins-the-presidency game, said "Republicans focus on cost," while Democrats focus on "access before cost," and so if Romney wins you would want to "overweight managed care," and "underweight hospitals" and medical devices.

Gupte told Guy Adami that the trajectory of HUM "really depends on how they guide for 2013."

But the really significant thing Gupte said was an acknowledgment to Melissa Lee that Wall Street buyers somehow know the outcome of these things before the general public does. "I think the investment community is usually ahead of the news flow as far as public disclosure," Gupte said, and doesn't that scream "level playing field."

Meanwhile, Kevin Book tackled the prospects for energy regarding which candidate wins, saying one thing Romney could do for coal is reverse some regulations on Day 1 via "executive fiat."

But Book — who made an interesting point for history buffs, saying the Boston Celtics in the '80s went public in an MLP, spurring tax reform — said there figures to be a "stronger demand market" for natural gas in an Obama 2nd term, and "MLPs are actually at greater risk if you have an all-Republican Washington."


Either. One.


Not only did viewers of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money get Seema Mody in sleeveless black, they got Mel revisiting that smoldering beige/gray dress we raved about a few weeks ago.

Some days, it's almost like, if 1) Seema Mody asked you to dinner at Campagnola, or 2) Mel asked you to dinner at Campagnola, or 3) someone handed you a winning lottery ticket, you'd find it really difficult not to take 1 and/or 2 over the typical no-brainer of 3.

CZR: Not too big to fail, apparently

You might think 2012 would be a tough year to be a short.

According to occasional Fast Money guest Brad Lamensdorf, it's actually a "target-rich environment."

Lamensdorf assured that performance of his fund "has a lot to do with beta," and things are looking good right now because "the market's gotten so overbought."

His top short pick is CZR, saying he's not sure the heavily debted company could make it if there were even a "soft recession."

Lamensdorf also singled out VSAT as facing heavy competition from Dish, and said the auctioneer Ritchie Brothers is charging a special fee and without it would be -2% growth rather than stated 11% growth, so there's a "disconnect" there with the Street.

Finally he suggested JCI, because of its "very weak cash flow."

Joe Terranova asked if puts aren't a good way to play these shorts. "I don't think that's a bad strategy at all," Lamensdorf said.

Jon Najarian said he agrees JCI has headwinds and likes that short idea.

Gag me with a spoon (cont’d)

Nothing against Irwin Simon, who seems like a fine businessman and a fine chap, but even fans of organic food had to find his extended chat with Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang nauseating.

"Business is good ... trend is your friend," Simon said, before rattling off about 15 Hain Celestial products in the most shameless product placement on a "news" (note the quotes) program since, oh, Michael Burns a few days ago.

At least Simon conceded that organic food carries a "10-15% premium," but he tried to insist that if you don't pay that kind of cash now, you'll more than pay for it later.

Simon predicted trouble for Campbell's and Progresso. "5 years, cans of soup will not- maybe not go away altogether but will go away in a big way," Simon said.

Guy Adami, remaining grim this week ever since duking out the significance of HFT with Lee Cooperman and Mark Cuban, halfheartedly said HAIN still works.

Joe Terranova said, "I think Hain is fine, you still wanna buy it," and added BNNY and SMBL.

Karen unprepared for colleagues’ follow-up questions on HPQ

Given that Meg Whitman gets credit for any tiny little positive with HPQ and Léo gets nothing but scapegoating, it was no surprise to hear Mel Lee tell viewers of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that HPQ shares "made a heroic comeback" after Whitman's interview with David Faber aired Thursday.

Joe Terranova said they've been saying since 2010 that HPQ is in a "secular change," and "I think IBM continues to be the beneficiary here," as well as EMC.

Karen Finerman had the most interesting trade idea, suggesting, "When 13F filings come out, I think we're gonna see some very big stakes been (sic) having built here."

Apparently unconvinced, Terranova asked Finerman if she'd buy DELL, because that's in the same boat. As Karen waffled, Dr. J asked if she'd buy ACN for the opposite reason, it's succeeding at HPQ's expense. Karen did answer that one, saying she doesn't know enough about ACN to say for sure.

Just what the home-gamer needs: Picking stocks based on election outcomes a month before the election

In a category that couldn't get much more dubious, Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money not only cherry-picked investment themes from the Wednesday debate, but brought in a couple purported experts to help.

Joe Terranova said financials have been the "most undervalued" sector and predicted that a Romney win would bring the "return of normalized earnings much faster."

Then, rather clumsily, Terranova said he likes financials no matter who wins, but "I like 'em even better if Romney wins." (So, in a month from now, you'll know whether it's a good trade, or a really good trade.)

Guy Adami said you might see a name like LLY get back to 2007 levels. (We're just waiting to see Fannie and Freddie get back to 2007 levels.) Mike Khouw suggested the solar stocks would take an inverse route to Romney's electoral prospects.

How much are these consultants paid? Guest dissects ‘Mondelez’ without mentioning the most obvious connotation

Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money brought in corporate branding expert J. David Placek to assess the strengths and weaknesses of "Mondelez."

Placek said the name is difficult to pronounce and has a Russian translation problem, and could be problematic as a "recruiting tool."

Ultimately, Placek admitted, it's nothing more than "small print on the back of the label."

Guy Adami said he doesn't want to get into conspiracy theories, but this seems like an "insignificant company but for the name," and maybe they picked this name on purpose to get the kind of attention they're getting right now.

"I sure hope not," Placek said.

What's bizarre is that Placek didn't even acknowledge the most significant effect of that name — it makes this Kraft division sound like a Latin American enterprise, rather than the suburban-America behemoth it is. Which is fine, an international name might help, but seems like curious window-dressing at a minimum.

Joe Terranova pointed out that people used to crack wise about the iPad, and now everybody says it without a 2nd thought.

Dr. J might dabble in NUVA

Jon Najarian declared on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that if you can short ZNGA, do it. "This thing's just circling the drain" and going to zero, Najarian said.

Kathy Lien, who is cute but overwhelmed/outnumbered on the female front on Thursday, said the risk in the jobs data is to the downside, and so she would sell dollar/yen at 78.25.

Jon Najarian said he's genuinely hoping for a good jobs report, but this one will be bad, and while it might be a case of "bad is good" for the markets, it's "certainly not gonna be good for the president."

Najarian said NUVA might have trouble remaining a $15 stock, but it's possible he could "pick up perhaps though tomorrow."

Najarian said "I like the move" in R, and suggested going long SU, "they were buying upside calls in here."

Guy Adami said to sell NFLX when it reaches 68½, 69. But "I think the run continues" in VLO.

Karen Finerman said "I'd stay away" from KSS. Joe Terranova advised not to bottom-pick in X. Mike Khouw said there was a "very big institutional buyer of the Jan 62½ calls" in MUR for $1.90.

Khouw's Final Trade was to sell the Nov 65 calls in HAIN. Jon Najarian said PSX, Guy Adami said PAAS, Karen Finerman said TGT and Joe Terranova said to sell AGCO.

Josh Brown claims there’s an impressive ETF that is ‘literally completely impervious’ to China, Greece, fiscal cliff

It wasn't until later in Thursday's Halftime Report that Edward Yardeni correctly characterized everyone on Wall Street as being a "fully invested bear," but the regular panel, with the possible exception of Mike Murphy, fit that description to a T, and we don't mean AT&T (or is it a tee).

Guy Adami practically sneered, "I think we probably push toward 1,525-ish" before it gets ugly.

Josh Brown semi-gushed, "It's really tough to not like the setups in individual stocks ... there are some great setups," and when you hear "setup" on Wall Street, you've gotta wonder.

But Brown cautioned that small caps haven't taken part, and "the transports still look spectacularly horrible."

But he veered back into the type of comments that should make one skeptical, saying, "I think that I shall never see a chart as pretty as XLV," which was fine, before calling it "literally completely impervious to Greece, to China, to fiscal cliff," and also hailed MRK and its "clear as day breakout."

"Literally completely impervious." Hmmmm.

Mike Murphy said he's longer financials, likes "a ton of industrial names," and is long Apple, and that's all possible because the VIX is so low.

Stephanie Link, asked by Judge "Jim Lehrer" Wapner to be specific, struggled worse than Barack Obama to make an actual point, saying she/Cramer like financials but just took off JPM, that they're fans of KeyBank, the ever-popular-and-broad "still like the industrial stocks" ... the even more ever-popular-and-broad "technology," with a single shout-out to BRCM.

Yardeni said 13 P.E. has been a jinx for the S&P, but "I think the outlook's actually uh still pretty sanguine," and "I think 14 is reasonable." For stocks, he would "stay home rather than go global."

Stephanie Link claims ‘it’s very very early’ in the presidential race

We'd never accuse Stephanie Link of being born yesterday, although it sounded on Thursday's Halftime Report like she's pulled a Rip Van Winkle in the category of presidential politics.

Pressed to make a political-stock call that she didn't want to make on the heels of Wednesday's debate, Link somehow claimed "obviously it's very very early."

So there could still be President Gingrich?

"You can't really play it on who's gonna win, who's not gonna win," Link asserted, though the gut feeling here is that many on Wall Street have been doing just that since about, oh, February.

Link did reveal, "We have been buying iron ore, Vale," and looking at CLF.

Josh Brown claimed new ground was broken in that Romney suggested Dodd-Frank was "too favorable" to the big banks, which might make the regionals interesting, though he wouldn't buy just some obscure little bank out there but perhaps the KRE, and he likes MTB.

Deputy editor of blog makes growth call on FB

Nicholas Carlson of The Business Insider told Judge Wapner's Halftime Report on Thursday that "Facebook is uniquely positioned in mobile," and even hailed the Instagram acquisition as a "very positive sign for the company."

Carlson dubbed Facebook "Yahoo Mail 2.0," claiming Yahoo Mail has been an ad king "for a long time" because "people leave it open all day."

And how much more money did Facebook "search" earn this week over last week?

Adami: Wait to short NFLX

In what seems to be more of a Halftime Report fixture than an online-only venture, Sister Golden Hair Jackie DeAngelis (yeah, we know she's a brunette) introduced the saluting Rich Ilczyszyn and his nemesis, Anthony Grisanti, on Thursday's Halftime Report to issue dueling futures trades (that honestly once again seem no different than GLD and SLV calls).

The Ilchmeister said gold is at a "potential breakout point," and he likes that better at 1,794 with a 1,774 stop.

Grisanti countered that "silver has the least path of resistance," a point he made twice and finally said he'd have a 34 stop. Ilczyszyn said "I'm already long silver at a lower price."

Guy Adami suggested that rather than chase NFLX, let the shorts capitulate. "I'd rather get in on the short side now," Adami said. "I'd much rather let the shorts cover and then take the other side."

Josh Brown said, probably correctly for many although it can still be fun to try, nobody should waste their energy in this name. "We saw this movie though; in January it doubled ... who has time in their life for that kind of aggravation," Brown said.

Guest Tom Stemberg said there's a "bifurcation here" in retail, that middle-class names such as TGT and M are facing more pressures than names such as COST and JWN, but overall, "Nobody did great."

Andy Busch said short-term Romney strength means lower dollar, but longer term means stronger dollar. His trade is euro/yen at 101.50.

Stephanie Link, who will only buy something (er, Cramer's Action Alerts Plus will only buy anything) on a pullback, said ROST as a Final Trade but in the "low 60s." Josh Brown said MRK, Mike Murphy said TGT, and Guy Adami said PAAS.

[Wednesday, October 3, 2012]

Picture of Seema Mody promised in this page’s Halftime Review

Every time people get a hint of regime change around Iran, it's 1) wishful thinking and 2) careful what you wish for, but that didn't stop even venerable "I've been doing this for 40 years" types such as Dennis Gartman from playing the game on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Gartman said regime change is "very much upon the table," and hopefully there are "enough people who would like to see an end to this regime."

Gartman assured that Mr. Ahmadinejad "has his hands absolutely full right now" and that the Israeli red line is on the backburner for the moment.

Stephen Weiss told Gartman he doesn't see a pop coming from this; "I think the momentum is clearly down." Gartman tried to assure Weiss he's on the "same side of the trade" and if it goes to $70 it doesn't matter, but Gartman has to care about $1 moves.

Brian Kelly posed the question, "What happens if there is a regime change in Iran?" And he answered it saying it's great for the U.S. economy and "ultimately" stocks, but then Kelly suggested "I think oil could go much lower" as we could "see OPEC start to fracture ... now that's further into the future." He prefers nat gas.

Jon Najarian said VIX futures would come down dramatically if we see regime change and expressed great hope that such a regime change would happen. Josh Brown said he'd like COP in the event of a crude disruption, but was about the lone voice of reason in suggesting a new regime won't do us any good anyway and would hate the West just as much. "Well not in the beginning," was Najarian's inadequate rebuttal.

The camera found knees-to-gelatin'ing Seema Mody in fabulous sleeveless gray quite often on Wednesday's show.

One member of the CNBCfix community insists guys who used to work on their cars now just upgrade their Apple ecosystem products

Jon Najarian on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, said, if you're one of those AAPL lovers afraid of yet another iPad (the Mini), "you should not be."

"They need to move down to the 7-inch version," Najarian said, suggesting that it's a device that people buy things on and is needed for Apple to burst into the Amazon tablet niche. "I think that's a game-changer for Apple," Najarian said.

Guest Scott Stein painted rosier scenarios than even Thomas Kinkade could gin up for this useless invention, suggesting it might appeal to some buyers as a "2nd device," and also to those who can't afford a standard iPad.

Brian Kelly agreed with Najarian that it's not a detriment to the stock, and "I'd buy Apple right here."

Mel should’ve known where this interview with a top Romney advisor was going

Celebrated economist John Taylor gave Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money some insight into how Mitt Romney's campaign was going to strike a chord with voters in the debate — check that ... let's try, "going to strike a chord with voters by pointing out how lousy the other guy is despite Mel's questions to the contrary."

Of the economy, Taylor said, "Basically it's not good," contending it's "largely a problem of policy ... it's been short-termism."

This page won't necessarily disagree with that, except to point out it's also about a retiring baby boomer generation not succeeded by enough kids of their own, who in many cases can't find enough things to do of any value and who have long since gone whole hog on things like 401(k)s and home-equity loans.

The best question came from Brian Kelly, who wondered if Taylor is advocating a possible President Romney to fire Ben Bernanke. "I don't get into personnel issues," Taylor explained, but "I think that quantitative easing has not been helpful."

Once again, Meg gets the benefit of the doubt

Josh Brown said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "Hewlett Packard is basically the Europe of tech stocks," and it's not worth owning unless you've got some extra cash and no lottery-ticket dispenser nearby.

Stephen Weiss rattled off a list of old tech names (you know what they are) and suggested they could just fade into GDP-like stories.

Brian Kelly though sort of defended the HPQ news, stating Meg Whitman said a year ago that the HPQ turnaround would take 5 years, and now she's apparently got 4 to go.

But, Weiss said, "I don't think she has the pedigree to turn it around."

Speaking of dinosaurs, Josh Brown said there was "really nothing new here" in Wednesday's BBY move, and "I would avoid." Brown also said not enough people had already sold PCS, and "the premium was disappointing."

Neel Kashkari claims MSFT has P.E.-expansion potential

Occasional Fast Money guest Neel Kashkari, on the other hand, defended old tech with some presidential-like talking points.

Specifically, MSFT, which Kashkari said "still has a very important role to play."

Microsoft is "much more than just Windows," Kashkari said, and is "still a very cheap cash flow story ... very good long-term holding."

He said Pimco would look to hold such a name 2-3 years and that there's "potential for P.E. expansion from here."

Kashkari's other picks were LOGI, which he conceded is "not a sexy name," and the old reliable AIA Group out of Hong Kong that virtually no Fast Money viewer is ever going to play.

Amid a round of bald jokes, Jon Najarian said that when he asks his barber for a haircut, "he asks me which one."

Let’s play the Guess Which Company Josh Brown Is Talking About Game

Brian Kelly said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I'd stay away" from FDO. Stephen Weiss said much the same about WAG; "I'd still stay away from this one."

Jon Najarian actually said "kudos" to Citigroup for raising LEN from sell to hold (and where have you been lately, C?).

Stephen Weiss said he got out of LLC, "I sold it today on the pop." Mike Khouw said NFLX enjoyed a pop, but "they really need to hit their forecast for the 7 million new subscribers I think to justify the multiple they're currently trading at."

Khouw also said there were "buyers of the weekly 215 puts" in CF for 60 cents.

Jeff Kilburg offered a 3-point rationale for selling "half of my gold position;" 1 being to book profits, 2 because it fell short of 1,800 on the Charles Evans remarks, and 3 because gold would go lower "if Mitt Romney can land a single punch" in the debate.

Stephen Weiss suggested Kilburg should check out the price of crude and consider selling the rest of his gold position. Kilburg said oil is different and the Iranian situation is a "lot of convoluted waves over there," and as for regime change, "I don't see that."

Coming back from one commercial break, an open mike caught Josh Brown saying, "It's ridiculous, it's not the same customer." Could be any number of retailers, could be referring to the Chipotle/Taco Bell of a day earlier, or could be anything really.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was UNG. Stephen Weiss said short VALE, Josh Brown said XLV and Jon Najarian said MUR.

Kyle Bass’ twist on Brian Kelly’s QE trade: Buy everything that is nailed down

Just a couple weeks ago, Sept. 13 actually, Brian Kelly told Fast Money viewers to "Buy everything that's not nailed down."

Kyle Bass must've been listening, because the noted housing short invoked the same terminology — with a twist — during a chat with David Faber on Wednesday's "Squawk on the Street."

In this globally over-debted environment, Bass said, "You're gonna have to own anything that's not nailed down … er … anything that is nailed down, I'm sorry," meaning "productive assets" such as apartments, oil wells, gas wells and even gold as a currency diversification.

Bass said he's back long in subprime and alt-a and actually has 1% of the whole market. He declared housing may not be soaring, but "it's not gonna go down anymore."

Zuck could’ve told the TechCrunch dude he wears plain-pocket jeans, drinks Green Mountain, thinks Iran will cross Netanyahu’s red line, given a boost to JCP, GMCR and crude

Judge Wapner asked Henry Blodget on Wednesday's Halftime Report — a stock-picking show turning more and more to writers — why the world even needs an iPad Mini.

Blodget suggested it's a defensive measure for Apple, because the smaller tablet tried by Amazon and Google "appears to be resonating very well with consumers," and "people seem to like them."

For Apple, though, Blodget said, "You may see that this is much lower-margin product."

Blodget said he's not concerned about Apple's map fiasco because even in the Steve Jobs era, "Apple has rolled out a bunch of dud products," and he said "I have no idea" if they will split the stock, but they don't seem interested in that.

Enis Taner, in one of his few remarks on the day, said "I much prefer Apple" over AMZN and GOOG, while Steve Grasso called AAPL "a little bit lofty here" and that it's being "forced into" the mini iPad by Samsung.

Brian Kelly helpfully noted that if you haven't been in GOOG, "You've missed a good portion of the run."

Joe Terranova said "I think you buy Google," and credited of all people Mark Zuckerberg for the stock's surge because of what Zuck said at the TechCrunch conference about mobile search.

Someone on Fast Money finally points out to viewers they can avoid Flash Crashes/Spikes with limit orders

Somehow nobody ever bothered to say it a day ago, when Judge spun the Fast Money/Halftime wheels on his pet project, electronic trading glitches, but it only took a few moments on Wednesday's Halftime for Brian Kelly to tell it like it is.

Judge, all up in arms over the "Mt. Everest" peak in Kraft Wednesday, got his first 3 panelists to take the bait, with Joe Terranova saying "I think the exchanges did the right thing," Steve Grasso drawing a complicated analogy about bidding for IBM at $50 ("It's called top of book protection"), and Enis Taner insisting "The problem is that there should be pre-emptive rules."

Yada. Yada. And more yada.

Kelly, though, scoffed that KRFT is just "1 stock out of 7,000 different stocks out there."

Judge, taken aback, insisted "it happens every day."

"Just don't put a market order in," Kelly finally said. "That's the simple answer."

Yeah, "you can't be stupid," Grasso admitted.

‘I wouldn’t cancel the trades’

Joe Terranova's call that the exchanges did the right thing Wednesday on KRFT ended up clashing on Wednesday's Halftime with the suggestion of the Flash Crash expert, Eric Hunsader, who suggested one way to tackle the problem of electronic-trading glitches is to "Let 'em stand … let the market sort it out. I wouldn't cancel the trades."

Hunsader tried to make an authoritative assessment on what happened with Kraft before admitting he actually doesn't know, insisting, "It wasn't a market order, I can tell you that," then saying it might've been "the world's stupidest algo," before clarifying, "I take that back."

Terranova asked a question about the "bully in the schoolyard" and whether the problem is that bulge bracket prop desks are not engaging. Hunsader said that's a good question, but "one I'm not qualified to really answer."

David Rosenberg tries to insist he wasn’t as bearish as everyone thought

David Rosenberg, who has spent the last few years in his sporadic Fast Money appearances unsuccessfully fighting the Fed, the ECB, and basically every global government entity with recession/depression calls, insisted to Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report that his newfound interest in dividend-paying stocks is not a flip-flop.

Rosenberg said he's "not so sure that I changed my stripes … there's parts of the market that I have liked and continue to like … I never told anybody to go hide under the table and buy Treasury bills."

Rosenberg said gold makes sense and dividend payors make sense now; "it's risk-adjusted returns that matter most," and that high-yield bonds (which he apparently has liked) have matched or outperformed stocks without taking on the "inherent equity risk," and when someone starts saying "inherent," you know that's filler.

Curiously, in a comment that made us wonder exactly what Rosenberg's position is, Joe Terranova asserted, "I think he's wrong … it sounds like he's talking about how to build a portfolio," and that there's no "euphoria" in the stock market that would signal a top.

Enis Taner needs work on the cliches

Meg Whitman, unlike her predecessor, once again got a free pass from the Fast Money gang on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

Someone — we can't remember who — actually trumpeted Whitman's credentials while lamenting the glacial-pace "turnaround" of HPQ.

Mr. New Land said HPQ needs to become a cloud play, and "this is not a stock you wanna buy here."

No. 386 said the problem is perception, "they look like a PC company still."

Enis Taner had the biggest clunker, "If you look in the dictionary for value trap, you'll find HPQ."

A lot of ‘durable’ themes

Kris Jenner 3 times on Wednesday's Halftime Report said health-care is a very "durable" investing theme, and that many sectors are pricing in an Obama win, but if Romney prevails, "I think all bets are off."

Judge mentioned Gilead as a top Jenner pick, but Jenner spoke more about PCRX, a sub-$1 billion market-cap (which is usually a no-no on Fast Money) that he likes but is "gonna be volatile."

Jenner predicted "continued performance" in hospitals if Obama wins but that Medicaid is a "very durable theme," and he likes CNC.

But he said "we actually are pretty sanguine" toward CI and managed care, though he has a "soft spot" for UNH because UNH is interested in keeping consumers' costs low.

Brian Kelly suggested the biotech ETFs and made a worse punchline than Enis Taner about being a doctor or playing one on TV.

Joe: $75 before $50 in NFLX

Jackie DeAngelis, like the Duane & Stevie planned sister show of "The Brady Bunch" that hopefully unlike that show will get beyond pilot stage with her online online futures go-round with Rich Ilczyszyn and Anthony Grisanti, tapped Wednesday's Halftime for a little promotion, with the Ilchmeister calling an SPR release "way off the table.

In crude, "the technicals are deteriorating as we speak," Ilczyszyn said. That prompted Grisanti to suggest a range-bound trade of buying November crude at 88.50 and "get out around 93."

Addressing NFLX, Joe Terranova said "my screaming content trade is Coinstar and Verizon," but "I think you're going to see 75 before you see 50" in Netflix.

Brian Kelly said the IPO that stuck out to him was JMI, although mortgage rates are low, you "probably get that capital appreciation."

Steve Grasso said if you trade MON to use 87.57 as a stop-out.

Alan Fournier spoke with David Faber at the Kyle Bass conference and said utterly nothing except the question is "when does velocity pick up."

Joe Terranova, who bristled via Twitter yesterday at critics of his 1,422 S&P level by claiming those critics will be "complaining" if the market tumbles while he's defining risk (actually some critics only questioned how significant of a call it is to say the market is going higher as long as it's above 1,422.38 and/or how easy is it really to sell just before everyone else does), didn't complain at all about being awash in gorgeousness Wednesday when sleeveless Seema Mody pulled up a chair to ask about oil and the airlines (no picture because CNBC.com didn't feel the need to post video of that conversation). Terranova said UAL and Delta have been the right trade, but "oil has been impossible to trade this year."

Terranova's Final Trade was, "I am adding to Corning." Brian Kelly said AAPL with a 650 mark, Steve Grasso said TOL though he'd wait for the 34 range, and Enis Taner said AMGN.

[Tuesday, October 2, 2012]

Steve Grasso is under the impression that Bill Ackman is a gun-control advocate (and how come no one suggested MagicJack)

In probably the most interesting discussion on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Mel Lee led the panel in a guessing game of what Bill Ackman's "good for America" short actually is.

Steve Grasso was first to opine, suggesting it might be a gunmaker, not because Grasso thinks they're bad, but just because he's speculating as to what Ackman thinks might be good for the U.S.

Karen Finerman had the best answers by far, particularly for-profit education and also ethanol, though she thought the premier name in that field was too small to short.

Simon Baker, not taking this particularly seriously, suggested Dunkin' Donuts.

We've gotta think FSLR would make sense here, or perhaps YHOO.

Herb’s supposedly hot AAPL post could’ve been (and probably was) written 4 years ago

In a sign of how hard up the crew was for new ideas Tuesday, the 5 p.m. Fast Money brought in Herb Greenberg to explain that AAPL is at an "inflection point" because "it's a phone company."

And the issue, Herb said, is whether the wireless carriers will continue to pay the subsidy premium.

Mel Lee correctly asked, "Don't we ask that question every single new iPhone?"

Greenberg said yes, but now the competitors are "narrowing the gap technologically," which has nothing to do with carrier subsidies; it's either one argument or the other, the carriers get sick of paying the premium, or the competition simply gets better.

Herb claimed that he's written a lot of skeptical AAPL stories, but the one that made waves at CNBC.com on Tuesday provoked "almost zero hostile reaction."

Dan Nathan said, "I think you see a new high in this stock at some point in this, uh, in the balance of the year, but I think it could come in a little bit more."

So what else is new in Virginia Beach?

Dennis Gartman assured on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I'm not a gold bug, I don't think the world is coming to an end."

Link: JCP in low $20s

Patrick McKeever joined the set of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to sorta tout TJX, DSW and ROST as names that are succeeding in today's retail environment.

Simon Baker though said he "actually put a short on Ross today."

Dan Nathan said he "bought a put spread in the XLY," but that there was a "massive trade in the staples," someone buying XLP 38 calls.

Stephanie Link sort of trumpeted DG. Link also said JCP might be nearing a buy; "in the low 20s, I think you can pick at."

Mike Khouw called RSH a "broken stock, broken story."

Grasso: Buy S under $5

Don Wood insisted to Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that for long-term players in the retail REIT space such as himself, location is more important than financing, but that said, he's got "one of the lowest costs of capital in the REIT sector."

"Northern California right now is on fire," Wood said.

Steve Grasso said that under $5, Sprint might "gain some traction back ... I would be a buyer underneath 5," and he made that his Final Trade.

Stephanie Link said "the tower companies are kind of interesting," such as CCI.

Karen Finerman, who had a lot of good commentary from the powerful women's conference in SoCal, said there was talk that the decline in paper is detrimental to forests, which are being sold for other purposes now.

Stephanie Link addressed the Kraft spinoff and said "I like them both" but suggested Kraft is a little expensive for flat growth, while Mondelez despite being more expensive at least has a "premium growth rate."

Simon Baker cited a study showing spinoffs generally outperform, so "longer term it's definitely a buy," presumably meaning Mondelez.

Baker hailed CSTR and made it his Final Trade.

Dennis Gartman said the right trade now is "being long of nat gas, short crude." Mike Khouw said he agreed with Gartman about avoiding junior miners and argued that the bigger miners' exploration costs go up with the price of gold (he didn't explain how) and so they aren't as levered to higher gold prices as people think.

Stephanie Link said of RIMM, "I'd sell into strength."

Steve Grasso predicted WLP and HMO names would return to favor. He said he prefers a name like CIT over C, which he said is around a "technical resistance point," and told superfox Seema Mody (who has done something different with her hair) that big-bank litigation is going to be a "political football," and "I wouldn't be a buyer going into the election."

Mike Khouw said there were some "buyers of the weekly 10-strike calls" in F for about a nickel. Khouw's Final Trade was to buy November puts in MON.

Stephanie Link said her/Cramer's Final Trade was BWA. Dan Nathan said to short XLY through November put spreads.

Guy Adami takes on a legend and — in terms of pure debating points — wins

Ya gotta give Guy Adami some credit for — in not quite these terms — advising legends Lee Cooperman and Mark Cuban on Tuesday's Halftime Report to worry about something else for a while.

Cooperman was ranting about the lack of a crackdown on HFT, arguing, "How many incidences does the SEC have to see?"

Adami said he doesn't know that much about it but doesn't get worked up about it and started to mention Bill Ackman in JCP for some reason before asking about the individual investor, "how hurt are they being."

"How hurt? Why should they be hurt at all," Cooperman responded.

"Because we're talking about tenths of cents and hundredths of cents," Adami said.

Cuban bellowed, "Why don't you just get the individual investors to write them a check. That's crazy."

Adami continued, "Nobody convinced me by the way that it was HFT that caused the Flash Crash, candidly, nobody's been able to identify what happened."

"That's so not true," Cuban said.

This conversation is way above our pay grade. But we can definitely say that by debate standards, Cooperman and Cuban accomplished nothing; they did not specify what exactly they are complaining about and failed to quantify any damages.

Basically Cooperman and Cuban are like a couple concert promoters who succeeded the traditional way by identifying hot acts and staging tours that proved profitable ... and who now notice there's a bunch of guys writing computer programs to dupe Ticketmaster into selling them gobs of underpriced tickets they can scalp. Except the HFT guys don't even want the tickets, just the minuscule price disparities that their clever algorithms identified.

The solution? Put in standing $199 bids for AAPL and $40 bids for PG, and see if you get lucky. (But don't cancel 4 out of 5 of them, or you'll face Sean Hendelman's "censure.")

Mark Cuban: Unemployment tied to the IPO rate

Mark Cuban came fired up to Tuesday's Halftime Report, but unfortunately forgot to bring a few extra talking points to Judge Wapner's HFT discussion.

Cuban said several phrases about 2 or 3 times, including, "There's no such thing as bug-free software" (so let's ban computers), and "the idea of a kill switch is just ridiculous" (that came up probably 4 times), calling that little more than "cya on their part" at the NYSE.

Sean Hendelman agreed to appear on the program to (sorta) defend HFT, asserting "there's good eggs and bad eggs," and wasn't that from "Rocky" (or maybe "Caddyshack")?

Curiously, Hendelman claimed he's in the sphere of taking liquidity, and other guys are adding liquidity, and found himself in a showdown with Stephen Weiss, who insisted guys who are taking out the liquidity, "those are the bad guys ... no offense."

Hendelman suggested a solution in the form of an order "cancellation tax." Those who cancel over 80% of their orders are censured, and those cancelling over 95%, "they should be fined and banned from trading."

If that sounds a little unrealistic, consider that Mark Cuban was basically devoid of any solutions other than to argue "dial it down" before conceding the genie's out of the bottle and that the exchanges are for-profit (that too came up about 3 or 4 times for those who didn't hear him the first time). Near the end he uncorked a head-scratcher, somehow linking HFT to a dearth of IPOs "60 million and under," then positing, "as the number of IPOs in that range goes down, unemployment goes up."

He also called HFT pros a dubious name, saying Wall Street exists to facilitate capital and is "not a platform to enable hackers."

The Ilchmeister’s back, though Anthony Grisanti thinks he’s overpaying on his gold buy

Jackie DeAngelis — and when Jackie DeAngelis says "jump," we always say "how high?" — is helming a new CNBC production wrinkle, an online-only futures show, and brimmed with confidence in promoting the show on Judge Wapner's Tuesday Halftime Report.

"You guys talk futures every day on Halftime," Jackie said, which isn't exactly true, but whatever.

The show features Anthony Grisanti as well as one of this page's old favorites, Rich Ilczyszyn, making futures calls that, quite frankly — based on Tuesday's subject — don't sound a whole lot different than stock calls.

Grisanti claimed that because of the fiscal cliff, gold will be good, and the futures are better than the stocks.
Ilczyszyn said, "I think we're gonna disconnect" between the miners and gold itself, that gold will perform "irregardless of what the dollar does," and "I don't think this is a top."

Unfortunately he never did explain the disconnect as Jackie pushed him into a trade, which was to buy spot gold at 1,769, with a 1,749 stop, targeting 1,809, basically "risking a couple grand to make 4."

Grisanti said Ilczyszyn is paying too much and suggests a "1,750 area to get in."

Jackie asked Judge if he had any questions, and Judge to his credit alertly asked the Ilchmeister to explain that "disconnect" he's predicting. Ilczyszyn said "this is a short-term pop" in the miners that has driven the outperformance.

Jackie said Dave Barger is going to guest on the show, and when has Dave Barger ever turned down a CNBC interview?

When Jackie gets Hillary to discuss that $100,000 profit in the Arkansas futures markets, that'll be the big score.

Adami: Trade S from Tuesday’s low

Hard to believe, but about the only stock-picking advice of note on Tuesday's Halftime Report came from Kate Kelly's encounter with David Einhorn on a train/street (one or the other, it couldn't be discerned).

Kelly said Einhorn is amused/troubled by his reputation, that a "stock can get Einhorned," and that some stories of his purported shorts are blown out of proportion.

Kelly said Einhorn's most curious long is CI, because of its "relatively small" exposure to the vulnerabilities in ObamaCare.

Stephen Weiss said he's back in WLP because it's a "compelling space."

Josh Brown said Einhorn is singling out CMG because perceptions about its competition are wrong; "Taco Bell is the big threat." He also said Einhorn thinks GM long is "really interesting."

Stephen Weiss said Einhorn has a "good sense of humor."

Guy Adami said S sets up really well, with today's low as your mark, "trade it from the long side from there." Jon Najarian said to "take a look at LEAP wireless as well."

Lee Cooperman told Judge Wapner, "My optimism is tempered" about the stock market.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was SPY. Jon Najarian said TEVA, Stephen Weiss said to short materials, and Guy Adami said long AMGN.

[Monday, October 1, 2012]

Joe’s advice: Time the market better than everyone else

The opening of Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money brought an interesting array of stock-market opinions — including some suggestions from Joe Terranova so circular, they ought to be forwarded on to David Axelrod and Eric Fehrnstrom for consideration as strategy in Wednesday night's dueling press conferences.

Terranova said S&P 1,422.38 is the key level for stocks; "as long it (sic) is above there, I think the market goes higher."

Which is another way of saying, if the Arizona Cardinals win 19 games, you can book their Lombardi Trophy.

JJ Kinahan, in a rare New York appearance, said 1,410 is a likely test, but "I think we may go up and test 1,500" before year-end; there's "one more really good run in us."

Brian Kelly said he's bullish, but that's assuming Spain gets a bailout by the end of October.

Scott Nations said "I'm a little bit bearish," citing, of all things, China PMI.

Guy Adami grumbled, "This has to be the most unsavory rally in, in my, you know, 25 or so years in the marketplace," and likened it to the time he ate 19 cheesburgers at McDonald's at the walk-up (not drive-thru) window, a theme that resonated throughout the show. Enjoy it for now, but "in my heart I know this does not end well at all," Adami said.

Terranova, in a bookend with his introductory comments (no, he actually didn't bring up LPX this time), offered the equally useful advice for when selling this market: "Make sure you are first, when you get out."

Terranova said chasing the underperformers is a "recipe for disaster."

Good thing Guy Adami isn't a professional journalist because he just asked the most embarrassing question of all time

Michael Burns, who regularly uses Fast Money to rip Carl Icahn and promote the newest Lions Gate films, many of which aren't that good to shed important light on his business for informed viewers of business television, assured Melissa Lee on Monday's 5 p.m. show that he doesn't really favor NFLX or anyone else, "We're pretty agnostic to who's gonna carry our content."

Guy Adami, who unfortunately came across like one of those bogus "interviewers" in those overnight infomercials, noted Lions Gate getting an 800 million credit facility and asked Burns, "is that sort of not that interesting" to talk about. (Translation: Is that one of the positive things about your business you'd like to tell us about, or would you rather stick to promoting movies?)

Burns assured that viewers will find it interesting, "it's gonna save us a boatload of money" because it means some kind of refinancing at lower rates, and they're getting the money now when they don't really need it.

Burns told Mel Lee that "The Impossible" has award potential (translation: likely not doing much at the box office).

Guy Adami (see, there's that paid infomercial hint again) said of LGF, which peaked at the "Hunger Games" launch, told viewers, "To me there's no reason not to own this stock."

Analyst seems to have trouble deciding on national TV whether he likes a stock

Brent Thill indicated on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that MSFT has the fb/rb or de/olb problem.

"I think Windows 8 is a tweener," said Thill, who went on to waffle like a Denny's chef over whether the stock is worth buying or not, insisting you can be a Microsoft bull while acknowledging the decline in PCs, then conceding Windows 8 is pretty much just a consumer thing.

"Q1 looks to be a light quarter," Thill said, declaring, "The December quarter will be the make-or-break."

Thill said it's fine if you want stodgy dividend names, but not so great if you're looking for tech growth. But he insisted it's not just a Windows story, "There is a bigger picture," and Windows is just $19 billion of an $80 billion organization.

According to the screen text, Thill's UBS has a $37 target and "buy" rating.

Guy Adami mumbled that MSFT is not going to 40 tomorrow but not going to 25 either. Scott Nations didn't sound so certain of that, saying, "Options traders are just starting to believe that Windows 8 is not gonna be the fire under this stock that they were hoping for," and that there was a big buyer of the October 27/29 put spread.

Joe was most excited on Monday about being able to name-drop a celeb sighting on a plane

It was kinda cute when Mel Lee was trying to talk through the barking dogs on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, but Joe Terranova took it a bit too seriously, declaring PETM is a cheap stock.

Brian Kelly called PETM a "great company; it's something I wouldn't cut back on."

Guest Ric Edelman played along with the barking theme but posited that this is the time for investors to go into "extraordinary diversification mode" and focus more on risk than return.

"At the end of the day we don't see any of the European bloc countries going broke," Edelman allowed.

Ken Squire, who runs the 13D Activist Fund, didn't really have a lot of stock tips or information to divulge about his tactics, except to explain that he tends to get out completely when the agitators sell their 1%.

Squire said that his goal isn't agitation but return, he's a "totally passive investor." He asserted that Carl Icahn doesn't really on agitation for his bread and butter, but "he makes more money taking companies private."

Guy Adami said THC has a 4-point plan, and "I think it still goes up."

Adami said of Sprint, it's "probably a good opportunity to get back in the name on the long side."

Joe Terranova said to "stay with natural gas, overweight." He also said to stay with the refining sector, and pointed out he was on a flight with Danielle Jonas. (#whotheheckisthatagain?)

Brian Kelly said "airlines look great here," and wasn't fazed by the JPMorgan/Bear suit; "I wouldn't be selling JPMorgan on this news by any means," he said.

Kelly trumpeted DBA with the drought over, harvest coming in, and made it his Final Trade.

Amelia Bourdeau, who can more than match Danielle Jonas, advised viewers to short the Aussie at 1.0350 with a goal of 1.02 and stop at 1.0410.

Scott Nations' Final Trade was long VIX. Guy Adami said JACK, JJ Kinahan said HD and Joe Terranova said YNDX.

Whitney Tilson actually claims NFLX 2011 is similar to AMZN 2001

Whitney Tilson brought his own headline to the Value Investing Congress (how exactly is it a "congress" by the way?) that brought CNBC's Monday Halftime Report on-location (to do little more than sit in a room somewhere), suggesting that AMZN seems a lot like another tech great of recent years.

In 2001, Tilson said, "Amazon's revenues, its market cap, its number of customers were virtually identical to Netflix in 2011 ... that's the kind of upside that Netflix has ... Amazon's been a 20-bagger since then."

Tilson said Netflix is "inherently a higher-margin business ... could be this decade's Amazon."

Generally speaking we haven't associated NFLX with the "value stock" stable, but whatever floats one's boat.

Stephen Weiss implies Whitney Tilson would’ve been offended if Weiss had been short NFLX on Monday

Stephen Weiss, who said he covered in NFLX, told Whitney Tilson on Monday's Halftime Report that "I'm not short out of deference to you in coming here" but can't get behind the stock with content costs so perilous. Tilson conceded "the cost of content will probably rise over time," but said Reed Hastings talks about only needing to pay $1 more than the next bidder, and "who's the next bidder here" ... Hulu?

Tilson said he now has "10 or 12 positions on the long side," and for every long idea he unearths in the market, he has 5 to 10 short ideas.

Stephanie Link was asked to opine on NFLX but instead shifted the conversation to boring C.

Tilson said he used to like JCP but now isn't so sure, and that the "short term has been much rockier" than Ron Johnson or anyone thought.

Thomas Lee: Corporate earnings
‘kind of miraculous’

It's been a long time since we can remember — if at all — Thomas Lee being bearish on CNBC, and true to form on Monday's Halftime Report, Lee said, "We're pretty optimistic about October."

Lee thinks it's "way too early to be calling a peak in earnings," and then claimed, with housing starts 50% below peak and auto sales 10% below peak, that companies being around "nearly peak earnings today" is "kind of miraculous actually."

Lee's investment advice was, "still wanna focus on domestic cyclicals."

China bull notably doesn’t mention the gambling stocks

Michael Kurtz, whose phone interview on Monday's Halftime occasionally went flat, said that China is part of the "trifecta" that concerns investors, but "We think that things are beginning to look up from here."

Stephen Weiss insisted that "everything coming out of China's weak." Kurtz countered that "there are some data" nobody talks about that "are pointing in the right direction," including developers' land purchases being up "substantially" in August, plus new housing starts and properties sold.

Kurtz said he likes the "direct plays" on Chinese infrastructure (as opposed to John Rutledge's Australian mining companies) including the rails, CMBN cement company, BIDU, the retailer Belle and ICBC.

Pete: AAPL undervalued

Stephen Weiss said on Monday's Halftime Report, "This is clearly a market that's a half-bull market."

Steve Grasso said "less bad is still good."

Pete Najarian offered, "I still think Apple's undervalued," and mentioned BX and KKR, and later trumpeted C with one of his signature lines, "I think it goes a lot higher," and slightly different on WFC, "I think it's ready to break out of this range."

Steve Grasso said he's still in S but only with 20% of his position left. He was more skeptical of GS, saying, "I'd rather let it prove itself in the low 120s."

Stephanie Link said she likes AIG even though "you still have about 15% exposure to the government." Link/Cramer wasn't a buyer of RIG; "Ensco is way cheaper and the one to buy."

Stephen Weiss said of MDRX, "I think it should be acquired," but that's not a reason to buy the stock.

Link's Final Trade in a clumsy disoriented-camera-delay-plagued Final Trade round was KO. Steve Grasso said WYNN, Pete Najarian said GE and Stephen Weiss said AAPL.

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