[CNBCfix Fast Money Review Archive, September 2012]
[Friday, September 28, 2012]

‘9-10% return’ in 2013

It wasn't quite the same emphasis as Brian Kelly's recent "buy everything that's not nailed down," but Chris Leavy told Friday's Halftime Report he expects "another good year for equities" in 2013, and a "9-10% return for equities next year."

Leavy isn't so worried about Europe because he thinks the ECB has signaled that it will backstop the problem areas (which quite frankly are many).

Leavy said he likes money-center banks over regional banks and argued that C is trading "well below tangible equity" (and what's so catalytic about that?).

"Our favorite in technology, uh, is Google," Leavy added, arguing that "pricing for mobility search is only going to improve from here."

If you had a dollar for every time someone estimated China’s GDP on CNBC ...

Guest Tao Wang, who started off with the Shields & Yarnell Trade on Friday's Halftime Report, got things going with a proper mike connection and told the Fast Money gang that she doesn't see hard landing in China; "we are not a believer" and, in a direct challenge to Steve Cortes (who unfortunately is virtually never on Fast Money anymore), said they think China has "landed as hard as it can."

Wang, who is actually kinda cute though the UBS colleagues passing by didn't seem too impressed with her live interview, said "property sales have rebounded," and her growth estimate is apparently in the 7% range.

In an utterly tiresome go-round, the panelists were asked for China picks, with Guy Adami halfheartedly saying CHL, Pete Najarian saying SBUX, Jon Najarian offering YUM and BHP and Mike Murphy touting CMI (which became his Final Trade after he took some time to think about it).

MCC puts together the curviest episode of Fast Money/Halftime ever

Pete Najarian downplayed the significance of the breaking Spain news at the top of Friday's Halftime Report, asserting, "There's always a shark circling the boat ... I remain bullish."

Jon Najarian knocked the stress tests, asking rhetorically, "Does anybody think they're not gonna pass?" Najarian also said there was minimal reaction in gold, with the GLD up 8 cents.

Dr. J did note at one point the bad data in the morning and said "I'm lightening up here."

Mike Murphy continued his own bullish theme saying he expects the market to get to 1,475 and then 1,500 or whatever the next leg is and that he expects "a strong 4th quarter."

Basically if you missed this entire episode of Fast Money, you missed virtually nothing, except that guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, beaming throughout, was in full-lean mode for the entire hour.

Pete: Sheryl Sandberg speaking on Monday is the next FB catalyst

Jon Najarian crowed on Friday's Halftime Report that FB was recouping the damage that a certain weekly business publication did to it, and that "Barron's has been dead wrong on this at least for this week."

Mike Murphy seemed unconvinced that FB is headed to glory but said you can keep trading it; right now, "I think this is a short-covering rally."

Pete Najarian said Sheryl Sandberg is going to be talking on Monday. #ohjoy.

Pete and Guy Adami teamed up to advise viewers to take the RIMM profit and exit, as it's just a "relief rally."

Najarian: Apple’s map fiasco ‘reason to be nervous short-term’

Jeff Kilburg on Friday's Halftime Report (see, this was a really redundant program) insisted "gold is goin' higher" and recommended GLD, GDX and GDXJ.

George Davis suggested buying the euro at 1.2760.

Jon Najarian said Apple's map problem is not a reason to sell the stock, but "I do think it's a reason to be nervous short-term."

Guy Adami said wine isn't an Amazon specialty, and "I'm not a wine online guy."

Without really endorsing either, Adami said INTC is a better play than MU.

Jon Najarian said ACN has been a "great ride, I'm not gettin' off yet." Mike Murphy said, "You can buy TOL here."

Murphy said there are banks you can "selectally" trade but he's long WFC for a longer horizon.

Jon Najarian said JPM might be the best bet of the big banks entering Q4. Pete Najarian said either JPM or C. Guy Adami said BX still looks good.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was TXN. Pete Najarian said MCD and Guy Adami said FINL.

[Thursday, September 27, 2012]

Melissa actually claims geopolitical concerns don’t seem to be factored into oil

Dan Yergin's interview on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was prefaced by a curious introduction from Melissa Lee on oil — that "geopolitical doesn't seem to be factored into the price at all."

Yergin, surprised by such a claim, insisted "that's very much in the price" as there remain concerns over Middle East tension.

What followed was a very slow-developing line of questioning to Yergin about the extent of the fear premium, starting with Mike Murphy, who got Yergin to say "the fear premium's probably around 10 or $15 a barrel," and followed by Karen Finerman, who asked who's buying it and why it's not reflected in tanker rates. Yergin said it's "really reflected in the futures markets."

DDS — the phenomenal stock no one on Fast Money ever talks about

Greg Taxin of the Clinton Group used Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money as a platform for advocating board and management change at WTSLA.

Taxin contended that recent upward moves in the stock are based on the potential seen for replacing the CEO but that the notion of the company being for sale is "probably a little farther down the road."

Taxin was light on specifics about what exactly this company should be doing but said he's trying to oust current leadership "before this board does any more damage."

Melissa Lee asked Taxin about suggestions that the Clinton Group is just intent on making a quick flip. Taxin called that "irrelevant to the campaign" and argued that Clinton invested in Dillard's at 16 and saw it climb to 75 but that the 13D Monitor claims his result is "down 40-50%," and boy would we like to figure out what's up with that sometime, but Taxin said "it's a methodological issue."

As for goals, Taxin said, "We think the stock can get 5-8 dollars."

Josh Brown claimed he's been tracking this kind of stuff for a long time, and "there's a rhythm to these things," but after an initial pop, it can take a long time to get results, assuming you get them.

Before Taxin's interview, Karen Finerman cited 3 reasons why the stock might be ripe for improvement during a "disastrous year," that there's a "clear path" to board change, it's cash heavy, and the brand is viable.

But Karen said of the business, "Normally this kind of product is a little slutty for me."

Brian Kelly claims to skeptical colleagues there actually was new news from Spain

Josh Brown said at the top of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the news is incidental to the buying. "There's just pent-up money," Brown said, and "flows are trumping fundamentals," as "there was nothing to like" about the data in the morning.

Karen Finerman noted the market seemed to do well once AAPL did and knocked the fact that about $20 billion in market value sloshed around during the day.

Brian Kelly dialed in to enthusiastically offer that there was real news Thursday, and that it was that Spain "basically agreed to a bailout without agreeing to a bailout."

Karen Finerman said "BK, it's Karen, let me ask you something," and asked Kelly how much actual news occurred Thursday. Kelly insisted there had been uncertainty about Spain, and this "completely takes out that uncertainty."

In the category of irrelevancy, Kelly had to explain that he bought back half of his DAX position, which we didn't know or didn't care that he had or didn't have.

Josh Brown handled the Dow Theory discussion. "There are 4 major Dow Theory newsletters; none of 'em agree with each other right now," Brown said, but the chasm "can't be ignored."

"I don't see a scenario where the trannies snap higher," Brown said, suggesting we might get maybe a "week or 2 of a slowdown in the industrials."

Value Investing Congress doing the equivalent of declaring which team had the best draft 1 day after the draft

Determined to promote Whitney Tilson's endeavors as much as possible (except the school reform thing), Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money was compelled to bring in the 3 finalists of the Value Investing Challenge to present their ideas in 30 seconds.

Steven Wood touted Fiat, because the "entire auto space is interesting," it has the "best management team," but trades at a discount.

Matt Kirk said CBB has a "rapidly growing data center business" and based on sum of the parts, could be worth $7-$8.

Ryan Fusaro promoted a Guy Adami favorite, JACK, which he said in nearing "completion of a 7-year refranchising effort."

Mel promised viewers the Fast Money gang would evaluate those picks, but it never happened and then Mad Money started.

Dan Nathan buys into the Goldman Sachs call on YHOO

Guest Mark McKechnie said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that RIMM went up because "they are doing well in survival mode," and the expectation of a "train wreck" proved to be a "fender bender."

Mike Khouw said he thinks options premiums will begin to come down after Thursday's news and provide an opportunity to take a shot at the name.

Josh Brown complained that NKE is still not cheap. Dan Nathan said it's "probably one you want to avoid" and maybe buy in the $80s.

Josh Brown said the market likes the TPX deal because it "takes capacity out of the market." Mike Murphy said of LEN, "I think it continues to go higher," and said WHR can continue to climb with the housing rally.

Mike Khouw said GMCR is probably up on short covering, and he thinks the stock is probably fairly valued. Khouw also noted someone was buying 10,000 of the January 35 calls in CCE for 26 cents.

Dan Nathan actually bought the January 17½ calls in YHOO on Thursday.

Misek: Average age of PCs will rise from 3½ years to 7-9 years

Maybe it's because it was all negative, although we're not trying to beat up on HPQ, and if you have a position either way, best wishes, just make sure you have an exit strategy in either direction.

But Peter Misek on Thursday's Halftime, in trashing this bloated stock, delivered one of the most convincing analyst calls heard on Fast Money.

Most eye-opening was Misek's contention, sort of in line with Dan Niles a day ago although Niles didn't address PC ages, that PCs are going to sit around on desktops for an average of 7-9 years rather than 3½ years of current life span; people will "replace it like a refrigerator."

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera argued that people won't tolerate the slowness, but Misek said, "You're gonna notice very little difference coming forward when you look at these browser technologies."

Misek predicted that HPQ would re-enter the smartphone and tablet markets and "waste" $5-$10 billion there.

He has a $14 target and told Caruso-Cabrera, "We think it is a short," and then in a curiuosly ambiguous take on management, said "they probably need to be looking elsewhere" while claiming "Meg inherited an awful mess."

(Yes. Because when Léo was handed the job and basically recognized the same things, he was scapegoated, but for Meg it's just a bad break.)

Jon Najarian said "I think Peter's dead-on here," calling the stock "dead money" and a "value trap."

Mike Murphy pointed to Jim Chanos' famous conference presentation declaring the stock a short a few months ago; "looks like Chanos was dead-on on this one."

Stephen Weiss said he disagrees with Misek's 7-9-year call on PC life, "too aggressive."

Mike Murphy claims the AAPL Brag Trade when it was Dr. J who nailed it for viewers

Mike Murphy crowed on Thursday's Halftime Report, "We did buy the Apple dip" this week on the selloff because the purported iPhone 5 sales slowdown was "completely overblown."

"As luck would have it or as fate would have it, or we were just great on the call, the stock turned and it looks really good right now," Murphy said.


Jon Najarian, who quite frankly expertly nailed this one at the end of last week and beginning of this week, reasonably squeezed in his own 2 cents' worth, saying "they've got the weak hands out," and not to be "denigrating" the retail investor, but unfortunately "a lot of retail got flushed."

Mike Murphy said HPQ and RIMM are "2 companies killed by Apple." Jon Najarian, who last year predicted a RIMM buyout at 23, said "there's no buzz at all about any RIMM product."

Finally, Zach Karabell is heard from again on Fast Money (sort of)

Thursday's Halftime Report featured Steve Liesman suggesting the economic data was a mixed bag, but Mike Murphy said it validates Fed action.

"Obviously, we needed this QE3," Murphy said, saying "you add on weakness here."

Jon Najarian singled out the cancellation in durable orders and that one key is whether it persists to Boeing's report, "then I think you're really worried." Najarian said there's a question as to whether we're at the "leading edge of sequestration," and in a fine shout-out, he said he spoke to Zach Karabell — unfortunately only the first time Karabell has been heard from on the show since early summer — who told Najarian "perhaps it is."

Stephen Weiss at one point told Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, "You're tough to impress." MCC said, "If only you were taller Steve."

More stocks that Stephanie Link/(Cramer) likes on a pullback

Stephen Weiss said on Thursday's Halftime Report he still thinks the market can go higher, but "I've been increasing my short positions" in names he dislikes such as materials.

Later, Weiss tangled with Stephanie Link over VALE, saying there is no chance "in hell" for a Chinese stimulus plan right away.

"Vale's not gonna make money," Weiss said, before Link said Vale's the one that is making money; Weiss then said "I'm not saying they're gonna lose money."

Later Link talked about housing and banks (yes, on a pullback) and spoke positively of DFS (yes, likes it on a pullback) for its net interest margin expansion. "I would love to buy if you do see uh, a blip, mid-30s or below," Link said.

Weiss, obviously better than any stepchild himself, asked Link why DFS has been the "stepchild of the credit card companies" for so long. Link chuckled that it "trades at a discount to the group."

Camera catches Kathleen Kelley generally with a frown

Speaking of commodities, Kathleen Kelley seemed downright unimpressed with her own decision to spend the lunchtime hour with a seat at the Halftime Report table.

Kelley, bearish on commodities, said the platinum market "is still in surplus," but struggled to really pin down a pound crash, only to say it's gonna be "real money-driven when it rolls over."

Despite the Fed and governments' intervention, Kelley insisted commodity demand is slowing, and "at the end of the day," demand will make the difference.

Mike Murphy questioned if it's wise to be on the other side of Bernanke. Kelley insisted commodities are a supply/demand play, and the demand is "just not there." She identified crude, soybeans, platinum and silver as shorts and said crude would probably be No. 1.

Dr. J, who didn’t note that the real refs negated Calvin Johnson’s legitimate TD vs. the Bears, implies Steelers, Packers, 49ers, etc. lost because of the refs

Jon Najarian, rewriting history in ways it would take half a day to fully address on this page, ripped the NFL for locking out refs over a "rounding error" in financial differences that created a "horrible result" with replacement referees.

Najarian actually claimed, "9 different dogs won this weekend by the way, first time ... it was because of bad calls in many cases."

Oh, if ONLY that were the case in Oakland. If only.

First, the replacement refs were bad, no disagreement here. The biggest problem is they didn't know all the rules, where to spot the ball on multiple fouls on a punt, etc.

2nd, the Packer call was a bad call but hardly the worst we've ever seen, and the real refs quite possibly would've called it the same. (How about the real refs wiping out Troy Polamalu's interception and refusing to call a safety in a key 2005 playoff game??)

What does Dr. J think of how the real refs handled the Tuck Rule?

The truth of the Packer game is that the Packers, despite their ridiculously inflated reputation, cannot score. They couldn't score against San Francisco, or Chicago, or Seattle. If you can only score 12 points on the road, you are probably going to lose. Usually players — even though this is a cliche, it's accurate — will admit as much postgame, "we shouldn't have let it come to that."

So, great to have Ed Hochuli back, but shouldn't affect anyone's weekend plans.

Meanwhile, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera introduced Brian Shactman as "our sports business reporter," a new title we weren't aware of. Shactman said the new agreement is good for the NFL, "they get out of the pension business in a few years" and move on.

Stephen Weiss said the Packer game had a terrible call but it's "a lot more fun talking about though."

‘Tale of many different cities’

Thomas Flexner opined on real estate on Thursday's Halftime Report, invoking a dreadful cliche, "Generally we're off the bottom, uh, but it's a tale of many different cities."

Flexner said "I don't think QE3 is going to do very much at all" and pointed out that even with rates low, "credit criteria" has made getting a mortgage or credit much more difficult than before.

Stephen Weiss asked if REITs are the play. Flexner parsed, saying you have to separate the equity REITs and mortgage REITs, and asked about which mortgage REITs he likes, said he "can't talk about specific names."

Murphy: Stick with TWI

Mike Murphy said on Thursday's Halftime it looks like the "sell Rosh Hashana, buy Yom Kippur" trade worked this week.

Jon Najarian said people "bought a ton of upside calls" in HLF, perhaps anticipating that Einhorn won't rip the stock anymore.

Mike Murphy said NKE has beaten in 17 of the last 19 quarters but he's out of the name. However, hit with a Fast Fire on his wretched TWI call, insisted that's a "cheap name that has just gotten a lot cheaper" and predicted it can hit the "mid-20s still."

Superfox Seema Mody asked Jon Najarian about FIO. "I still like it," Najarian said, giving Doug Kass kudos for a "great call by him 2 days ago."

Stephen Weiss told Mody that NFLX is actually "more expensive in the 50s than it was at 104," and people should take their losses and move on. Stephanie Link told Mody that CRUS is not suffering demand but rather supply issues, and longer term, "this is your Apple derivative."

Murphy's Final Trade was TWI. Link said DG, Najarian said WMB and Weiss said to short RIO.

[Wednesday, September 26, 2012]

Dan Niles is not asked for an AAPL price target

Dan Niles spent much of his appearance on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money knocking the future of PCs.

"I am bearish on Microsoft," Niles said, saying the stock has been up because "most portfolio managers were expecting them to increase their dividend, and they did."

But, they're "gonna have to report earnings soon," and the last time they had a major product upgrade cycle (2007 Vista), there wasn't a smartphone or tablet market.

Basically in PCs, the "importance and rate of growth is gonna diminish in the future," Niles said.

However, he told Tim Seymour that ORCL is indeed "a lot better" than MSFT because it's not selling hardware to consumers.

Niles was asked about GOOG vs. FB and pointed out that GOOG faces the same mobile headwinds as FB does, and that GOOG has to absorb its own hardware maker in Motorola, and "I don't think that's necessarily going to be a great transition either."

Brian Kelly said if he were going to try something in this space it would be ARMH; "that chart looks fantastic."

Mike Khouw said that in INTC, "We saw almost 12,000 Jan 13 20-strike puts trade in this thing, at about 46 cents."

Likely nowhere to be found: ‘Gasland’ in Shanghai

Wilbur Ross on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gave a very articulate, concise and informative summation of the fairly brand new state of fracking in China ... but, as is the case with most Fast Money/Halftime guests these days, didn't really give much of a trade.

Ross said that the U.S. formations are late paleozoic era vs. earlier in China, and that while the reservoirs in the U.S. are large, China appears to have a "series of smaller ones."

On top of that, "Water is in somewhat short supply" in China. And the resources are deeper in the ground. But Ross said China does have cheaper labor costs, and he thinks XCO is in a good position to help.

Dennis Gartman questioned how little drilling China has done and wondered how it could be so tricky for them to drill down and then sideways. Ross chided, "You make it sound simple," when it's not.

In fact, Ross said China really needs the technology, and so "I was very well-welcomed" when visiting China. "I'm a China fan and have been for a long time."

Guy Adami suggested PNR as a possible fracking trade.

Ross said he is not concerned about a Chinese economy he thinks will grow 6-7%, but he is concerned that "the street people" are "really wound up" over the island standoff with Japan.

Protesting European austerity — you’d think they were dealing with replacement referees

Brian Kelly said at the top of Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "it's hard to say that social unrest is a good thing," but ...

Actually, Kelly was pointing out that the closer Spain gets to a bailout, the more the market will like that.

Tim Seymour said there are parallels between Spain and Greece in the "threat of secession."

Later, Seymour insisted he is not making a call on whether the European union needs to hold together.

Guy Adami said "1,425 to me is the line in the sand." Brian Kelly basically agreed and either predicted or did a what-if; "1,425 holds, it's a successful test."

Cincinnati took the Throwin’ Samoan, Jack Thompson, at 3

Kathleen Gaffney, who like nearly all the guests on Fast Money/Halftime these days had no real trade to offer on Wednesday's 5 p.m. show, said "there's good value" in Spanish corporate and sovereign debt, and there is "less risk in Spain" than Greece.

Paul Hickey visited the Nasdaq set to say that the market reaction to the presidential cycle has played out exactly as anticipated but noted, "sentiment is not too robust right here."

Dennis Gartman said "I'm not a gold bug, I don't believe the world's coming to an end." Gartman also called coal a nat gas story, and "I like coal at these points."

Guy Adami said JBL might hit capitulation on Thursday. Adami also called Styx "one of those overrated bands of the '80s."

Brian Kelly said "I'd stay away" from PHM, and discussed PAY with the equivalent of a hazmat suit; "I would not buy this name at all."

Tim Seymour touted TCK a couple of times and also said X is a buy; "I think this trade holds" with an $18.25 stop. Of DB, Seymour said, "We stay short."

Mike Khouw said "I'm still a little bit skeptical" of the Best Buy buyout (one of those things designed to spare large holders public embarrassment). Khouw congratulated Karen Finerman (who wasn't there) for calling DF a buy around 7 but said it's not so interesting around 16.

Khouw's barely audible Final Trade was short RGR. Guy Adami said PNR just like he said during the Wilbur Ross chat. Dennis Gartman said he was going to say TCK but Seyour did, so he picked gold and Brian Kelly picked SLV.

Guy Adami, admitting his blunder in the CNBC stock draft several months ago when he took RSH in the $5 range with the 7th pick, correctly noted that in 1979, "the New York Giants, with their 7th pick, took Phil Simms," and people booed.

Baker: Opportunity to get in

If you're distressed by the markets this week, don't be.

At least that was the message of Simon Baker on Wednesay's Halftime Report, saying "this is an opportunity to get in" to stocks on the heels of the European fracases.

Pete Najarian pointed to big pharma and said there's "another couple of dollars left" in the "XLF," but we think he actually meant the XLV.

Stephanie Link said "we" are adding to GE, VALE and BMY and said she likes the cyclicals. Steve Grasso though warned about what could happen, given that there hasn't been a big dip in a while, if people start losing money; "the real big level here is 1,395."

Link countered, "I'm not sure you're gonna get this massive dip."

Guest Philippe Gudin had all that he could handle from guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's inside-baseball questions on the European situation. Gudin said Friday will be a big deal for Spain and eventually, after not seeking the money earlier, will likely "request a full-fledged program."

Pete thinks AMZN would suffer a bigger drop on a ‘misstep’ than EBAY

Simon Baker did little more than agree with Baird on Wednesday's Halftime Report that AMZN, EBAY and GOOG might as well keep going higher even if the broad market doesn't because they've got first-mover advantage.

Pete Najarian stumbled a bit in evaluating the AMZN P.E., saying he prefers EBAY to that name because, "You don't have that worry about, if there's a misstep, how far of a drop are you gonna get."

Stephanie Link insisted that "EBAY is definitely cheaper," but Steve Grasso successfully challenged Link to identify a time when Amazon's valuation was not considered too high, and look what the stock has done regardless.

The Baird discussion with Baker offered little more than a chance to spotlight the complete attire of guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who wore chic gray skirt with white top. The camera loves Michelle, and she enjoys being gorgeous, so it's happy happy, win-win.

Pete manages to identify 100% of the reasons people would buy KBH puts

Will Duff Gordon, a Halftime Report regular of Judge Wapner, said Wednesday that "on average, 10% of the homebuilders' shares are short," and some shorts are climbing back onto DHI, KBH and TOL.

Pete Najarian said the greatest put/call ratio activity in the builders was in KBH, which either means people are scrambling to protect long positions, or people are making a downward bet.

Stephanie Link, who brings up WY even more than Joe Terranova brings up LPX, mentioned it again. Simon Baker suggested a pairs trade of shorting builders against long HD or LOW.

Michelle’s adobe joke was creative but a bit flat

Ron Sloan tapped the Cliche Book — probably one from the William McKinley era — to caution investors against euphoria on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

Sloan said too many people have put the EPS eggs "in the 4th quarter basket."

Despite acknowledging that "margins probably aren't going to disappoint because companies are already taking the margin bull by the horns," he posited that "fair value is probably somewhere down 5-10%," Sloan said, or in the "low 1,300 area."

He said he prefers companies that are redoubling efforts to improve and perhaps taking a hit for spending money to do so. "I like businesses that are short-term underachieving," Sloan said.

Sloan said he really likes Adobe, which he said is taking a "short-term hit to revenue growth to rechange the whole model" from license to subscription (and remember how well the model change worked out for NFLX).

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera congratulated Sloan for his "overuse of metaphors; you could have a job in cable."

Protest footage ‘sensational’

Jeff Kilburg, constantly summoned to the Halftime Report to say again and again that Treasury yields are heading or remaining low, said that again on Wednesday, telling Michelle Caruso-Cabrera that they haven't lost favor and "don't call it a comeback."

Kilburg told MCC her airing of violent protests in Greece and Spain "was sensational" and stood behind his ultimate 1.19% call on the 10-year. "I don't wanna see it, but I'm just telling you what I see technically Michelle," Kilburg said.

Andy Busch, in a rare appearance, advised buying the euro at 1.2850.

Steve Grasso said he likes DG more than FDO. Grasso suggested $88 as the crude floor, and said you won't do yourself wrong by being in VZ.

Pete Najarian said he's sticking with WLT and is not in ANR but cautioned, "they're not for the faint of heart." Najarian also told Seema Mody, who asked about CLF, "I tend to like this name still."

Stephanie Link said KO might surprise to the upside, but that before buying JBL you "have to let the dust settle on this one."

Simon Baker said there "could be a buying opportunity" in DB.

Pete Najarian said what's helpful about Germany's approach to HFT is that it would require the players to know what they're doing. Steve Grasso said the goal is to "make the HFT guys stand up to their bids." Simon Baker said he talks to retail guys about this, and "they just think the game's rigged," so Germany's action is a positive.

Pete Najarian defiantly stood behind his INTC Fast Fire, saying he likes "what they are doing in the mobile." Stephanie Link, once again suggesting pullback, said "the yield starts to get interesting in the low 20s." Steve Grasso said INTC has been punished by more risk-on seekers in the last several weeks; you "have to wait for those dividend plays to come back in favor."

Grasso's Final Trade was MO. Stephanie Link said SBUX, Simon Baker said ABT and Pete Najarian said POT.

[Tuesday, September 25, 2012]

John Rutledge humbled to witness communism at work

John Rutledge, who you'd think is one of those grizzled veterans of the financial markets who has seen it all, told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money crew about his recent (umpteenth) trip to Beijing and actually sounded like a little kid on Christmas day.

"The first thing I feel is humility," said Rutledge, having seen a billion and a half people working so hard. "This is not a crisis."

As he always does regarding emerging markets, Tim Seymour said of China, "This is a great time to own it ... way oversold."

Seymour said later, "I think China Mobile is one of your best plays," and also SINA.

Rutledge reiterated (for about the 4th or 5th time) that he doesn't like direct China stocks but the Western companies who do business there; the chart said FCX, YUM, BHP, RIO and CAT. Steve Grasso cautioned, "He's playing the market ... you could've got killed on a lot of these names if you were buy and hold ... he's investing on Western sentiment."

Fast Money unable to get a crack at Jerry Brown’s class warfare

This page can't help but admire, on some level, the resiliency of Jerry Brown (you'd think there'd be at least one other person in the entire state of California capable of governing it, but the people there don't seem to feel that way), a guy who — like Harry Reid 2010 and Barack Obama 2012 — probably never should've won, but because of a series of years-long political trends ran into an opposition candidate who achieved essentially no traction.

Anyway, Jon Fortt was able to score an interview with Gov Moonbeam (maybe that's a little harsh) on, of all programs, Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, during which Brown touted driverless cars, a fascinating concept which got basically zero follow-up from the asleep-at-the-switch gang at CNBC.

We can't fathom how a driverless car is going to make that left turn as the light turns yellow, but evidently it works, as Jerry insisted it'll bring a "greater efficiency to the roads."

Things heated up, though, when Brown defended Proposition 30, which would soak the 1% of Californians to pay for education, which Brown called the "most effective way to get the job done ... in terms of fairness and ability to pay."

Evidently Jerry's staff kept a tight leash on the questioning. Neither Steve Grasso, a professed Reagan Republican, nor anyone else on the show got a chance to express the typical Fast Money views of economics to Brown.

If AAPL gets into search, what does that mean for Zuck’s big TechCrunch interview revelation?

Just a day after Mark Mahaney said GOOG is removing the headwinds of its Motorola acquisition, Darren Chervitz visited the 5 p.m. Fast Money gang on Monday and said Motorola is an "overhang" on the stock.

Chervitz admitted he's been lightening up recently, which "hasn't been the best move so far," because there are "just a lot of question marks surrounding the company."

Most significant, he pointed to Apple's map treatment and suggested there exists "the potential for that kind of move within search, uh, in the mobile space as well," from which 30% of Google searches occur.

There are "just a bunch of things there," Chervitz said, and then made a joke about AAPL and GOOG having "simultaneous possession" of the Internet/device world, or something like that.

Chervitz told Tim Seymour, who questioned how a money manager who isn't sure what's going on in SINA could invest in the name, that "we feel comfortable with the company, but, it is China."

"I think Apple looks toppy," said Seymour.

Richard Moroney tells you nothing about Dow Theory you didn’t already know

Richard Moroney was a chipper and willing guest on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, except he had nothing more to offer than a "yellow flag" about the "long period of divergence" between the Dow transports and industrials that everyone's been aware of for months.

At some point, viewers were treated to a soup of numbers, as Moroney said the red flag would be both indexes hitting short-term lows, which would be something like 12,101 in the industrials and below 4,847 in the transports, "that would be a sell signal."

He said if the transports recover, then 5,368 would be the buy sign. But he told Steve Grasso that a Dow Transports sell signal/bottom would probably occur with the S&P from 1,250 to 1,300.

Tim Seymour asked a good question, can you get killed by doing the wrong thing waiting forever for this theory to achieve a sign. Moroney acknowledged it could be a long wait, that industrials would have to fall 11% to reach the tumble of the transports.

Pete Najarian said that he's not in a name like UNP right now but if he were planning to buy some rail names, "I would use this as a great buying opportunity." (This writer is long UNP.)

Steve Grasso though asserted that the "highest cargo margins are on coal" and you can't be bullish on the rails without being bullish on coal. We'll slightly disagree with that, as the coal debacle has been known for a while, and at some point it gets priced in.

Khouw: Big seller of MRO 29 puts

Steve Grasso acknowledged at the top of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that the demonstrations in Spain were a little disconcerting as to calling a market direction.

"That footage does not help. I'm bearish," Grasso said.

Tim Seymour noted that a "little bit of bad news has people selling."

Pete Najarian said he saw people buying December 26 calls in PFE, while Mike Khouw said there was activity in the weekly 5½ puts in RIMM. "I'd be pretty skeptical" of a RIMM recovery, Khouw said.

Khouw also said there was a "very substantial seller of the October 29 puts" in MRO. Steve Grasso said, "I actually like the refining space."

Tim Seymour suggested there might be too much hand-wringing over CAT; "This is not a disaster."

How’d you like to announce to those Seattle fans that the ruling on the field is overturned?

Karen Finerman made a remarkably enthusiastic case for MHP on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying the separation of the education division frees up the S&P division, or "when dead money comes to life."

Finerman said of DECK, "things seem to be getting worse." She also said of SPLS, "I wouldn't buy it right here."

Steve Grasso said he'd "probably still be a buyer" of WAG. And he is in fact long P. Grasso's Final Trade was LF.

Pete Najarian said the "January 40 calls were extremely active" in WMB, and his Final Trade was PFE.

Mike Khouw said he'd "probably stay away" from PHM in its "stretched" sector. He also said he thinks Safeway "might be a good buy" and made it his Final Trade.

Tim Seymour said the 6% yield "keeps Cliffs interesting." His Final Trade was to buy TCK.

Pete Najarian, like brother Jon, opined on the officiating in the Green Bay-Seattle game, explaining it was an "unbelievably awful call ... that was absolutely 100% an interception."

Maybe Mike Murphy doesn’t watch the 5 p.m. Fast Money

Seema Mody asked the Tuesday Halftime Report crew about casino stocks, getting some thumbs up from Jon Najarian on WYNN ("there will be money flooding into these guys") and Josh Brown on SHFL.

Mike Murphy pointed out an interesting fact — that a big shareholder of LVS thinks the company has a breakup value of $85 if it tried a REIT.

Guy Adami noted that the shareholder proposing that just outlined that trade on the 5 p.m. Fast Money a day earlier.

Hate the market long enough, bound to be right sometime

After Kenneth Fisher made the halfway-through bullish case on Tuesday's Halftime Report, Robert Rodriguez was given a crack in the other direction.

But given that Rodriguez has been bearish since 2009, there's really nothing new under the sun in his distrust of the market.

"Our funds are above where they were in 2007," he said, saying of QE, "it's excessive, it's dangerous, it's untested" and will lead to "unintended consequences."

Rodriguez reported he's 35% in cash. Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said Rodriguez turned around what had been a positive market before his interview began.

Guy Adami said, "The points he makes are excellent points."

And now they’re into driverless cars

In a Q&A that wasn't such a bad idea on Tuesday's Halftime Report, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked the panelists whether AAPL or GOOG is the better stock right now.

"Right now, I would much rather own Apple," said Mike Murphy, who said the company is executing Steve Jobs' 5-year plan.

Guy Adami though picked GOOG, predicting an "unabated move higher."

Josh Brown admitted, "Google probably has more momentum."

But Jon Najarian evened the tally at 2-2 by picking "Apple absolutely," saying 674 or 666 is the number to get back in.

It’s been a while since someone made a bull call on a sector’s laggards

Steven Kim took on the almost-always-bullish-on-housing-this-year Halftime Report gang Tuesday and more than held his own — even if his strategy quite frankly is a bit dubious.

Kim said there are supply constraints now in housing, but he thinks "home price appreciation's gonna exceed what most people think," and this year has revealed how "the best names get picked off real early."

So, he sees only about 15% more upside to DHI, LEN and TOL and recommends people try KBH and PHM instead.

Mike Murphy questioned if there aren't more deferred tax assets that will still help the former. Kim said yes but that the latter 2 have greater upside.

Jon Najarian congratulated Kim. "Stephen had it exactly right," Najarian said, arguing that taking profit makes sense. "I don't disagree with the call at all."

Bad call. Not a horrible call.

Mike Murphy said at the top of Tuesday's Halftime that he thinks the S&P will get to 1,475 and then climb to 1,500 (although that's not the direction it was going by the end of the day).

Guy Adami said (for the thousandth time), "The market doesn't give you this long to sell the highs."

Throughout the day, CNBC conducted more conversations about the end of a football game between a a pair of 1-1 NFC teams (The. Packers. Cannot. Score. Points.) than about, say, AAPL or QE3. Jon Najarian offered his 2 cents worth, saying, "I hate the Green Bay Packers but that was an interception ... this is as bad as the regulators in our country" and how they deal with HFT, Najarian claimed. "That was a terrible call."

Jens Nordvig advised selling euro vs. pound at 0.800.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera New York-ified the program by pointing out that traffic was "doubly horrendous" to accommodate this ridiculous U.N./Clinton Global exercise.

Wait for RHT at $53

In a show mostly devoid of usable trades, Jon Najarian said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that he wouldn't touch RHT until it hits $53.

Guy Adami reiterated (there was a lot of repeating going on) that BKS should "charge admission."

Adami said that in DECK, "the shorts are cleaning up in this name," and he'd stay away, though there could be some short-term capitulation.

Josh Brown hailed the XLV. "This is the mother of all secular bull market trends," Brown said.

Brown said he'd "probably lay off" CCL as it's had a lot of resistance in the low 40s, although it certainly hasn't had the kind of resistance predicted by Dennis Gartman who claimed to have done an analysis of Amtrak bookings after a rail crash and found a precedent for less travel after the Italian ship went aground.

Mike Murphy said to stay away from WFT unless you've got a tight stop.

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was long AKAM. Josh Brown said XLV, Mike Murphy said LPX and Guy Adami said AMGN.

Only Dr. J realizes Barry Diller just wants to ‘suck up’ to FB brass

Tuesday's Halftime Report gang, overseen by guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, had little use for Barry Diller's Facebook gushing from earlier in the day.

"I think he is a brilliant guy," Jon Najarian said, but scoffed at Barry's praise of Facebook that "they couldn't be doing anything better."

"OH MY GOD … I then question the rest of what he's doing if he thinks these guys are doing so damn well," Najarian said, even though he later conceded of IACI, "It is a better trade than Facebook absolutely."

Mike Murphy said "We have no position right now" and would be interested a "little bit lower" for a trade. Josh Brown scoffed that Diller was merely saying that Facebook has got a bunch of users, and "where are they gonna find the rest."

Kenneth Fisher says stock-picking at this stage works against you but still suggests picking stocks

Since when is picking for size not "picking"?

Kenneth Fisher, another of the recent wave of non-traditional "Fast Money" types showing up on Fast Money programs (and who we think in the very early days of the show touted Goodrich, for having no takeover defenses), said he still has a "fair amount of skepticism" but thinks we're only "halfway through the bull market," and the big caps have started to lead.

Specifically, "big" meaning bigger than $80 billion market cap.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera rattled off INTC, PEP, XOM, SNY and BHP as "favorites" of Fisher. Fisher, perhaps embarrassed by INTC showing up, told MCC that while she calls them his "favorites," it's just, "I give those as examples of megacaps."

Fisher insisted, "I'd argue against picking and argue for size," which is picking in its own right, but whatever. "Beta is actually not a forward predictor," he added, recommending a "fairly diverse universe of big stocks" of maybe 30 stocks or so; "if you own 3 of 'em, you're stock-picking."

MCC concluded after Fisher exited, "Basically he said size matters."

Mike Murphy questioned Fisher's $80 billion strategy. "I think that's definitely oversimplifying things a little bit … Intel has missed almost an entire cycle," Murphy said.

Josh Brown called Murphy "100% right … I do agree bigger is better" but did allow that "Sanofi's a great pick." Guy Adami also touted SNY without commenting on the big-cap theory.

Jon Najarian said he knows Josh Brown isn't a fan of BHP but "I like a lot of the miners here at this level." Brown said "I think you'll get a better crack at it" lower.

Fisher said he agreed with Guy Adami on QE even though that might not really be the case based on what Adami said: "I think the Fed's been absolutely stupid the whole time," Fisher said.

More from Tuesday's Halftime later.

[Monday, September 24, 2012]

Unbelievably, Guy Adami has touted IBM’s EPS road map to 2015 for 3 years but says it is ‘startling’ when CAT does the same

In some of the fairest fair-weather commentary heard on Fast Money in some time, Guy Adami said on Monday's 5 p.m. show that it's "startling" that CAT has clarity to 2015.

This from a person who often suggests viewers take IBM up on its 2015 EPS guidance.

Tim Seymour said CAT's warning is a blow against "the commodity supercycle."

Tim Seymour predicts AAPL ‘uglier’ by end of the week

Gene Munster told Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "today was a tough day" — and he was referring to FB, not AAPL's 5 million that was well below his own forecast.

But Munster indicated the FB Hope and Change Trade is alive and well, saying they still have "3 major levers they can pull in terms of monetization."

Guy Adami asked a great question, whether an older, more seasoned CEO would be better at handling the media. Munster naively claimed, "I think that fixes itself," before asserting that investors just want results, not talk.

Munster, like widow's-peaked Brian Marshall at Halftime, insisted "5 million doesn't tell the story" of the AAPL weekend that came in below his forecasts. "Unfortunately I got this wrong," Munster said, but "these things are understandable."

He said only 6% of frustrated iPhone buyers jump to Android.

Tim Seymour was not so enthusiastic about the stock. "I think you've gotta cut and run on a, on a lot of guys ... I think end of the week it's uglier."

Regarding Jonathan Litt’s LVS breakup thesis, there’s really only 1 opinion that matters

Jonathan Litt was so emphatic on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about what he really thinks LVS is, he said it twice.

"It's a real estate company at the end of the day," he said.

Later for fun he reversed it. "At the end of the day it is a real estate company," he said.

Litt said the mall portfolio, if spun off, would trade at 23 times, and lodging would trade at 16 or 17 times.

He told Guy Adami the Street doesn't see this kind of potential $85 value because it sees the stock as consumer cyclical. But the best question came from Karen Finerman, who wondered if Sheldon Adelson would want this kind of structure.

Apparently yes. Litt said moguls might be hesitant, but "I think he'll be the most open to it."

Someone’s not exactly betting the ranch on a big YHOO move

You know it's a slow day in Options Action land when the best Scott Nations could do on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money is identify that someone was buying the quarterly 16 YHOO calls, for 11 cents, which "expire at the close on Friday."

The Yahoo "home page is gonna be redesigned," Nations said, as one of the big expectations this week.

Joe Terranova claimed the company (finally now) has the "right management team in place," and to buy the stock in 2 weeks if it's still trading 16.

Joe Terranova said you "don't wanna touch" INTC as PCs give way to tablets. Scott Nations said RMBS has a "really really really ugly" chart. Guy Adami advised viewers to "take the money and run" in TIVO. Karen Finerman said of P, "I don't get it."

Joe now talks about Travelers nearly as much as he talks about LPX (but better that than bungling the tiger joke)

Mel Lee threw her Fast Money gang an unwanted thesis on Monday's 5 p.m. show, asking what "catch-up" trades they would make here.

(Incredibly, no one said HNZ, which we were dreadfully expecting.)

Tim Seymour, not surprisingly, called emerging markets the "great catch-up trade here."

Guy Adami was the only panelist taking this subject seriously, pointing to LMT, which he said "could be extremely interesting" in the 4th quarter, even a "coiled-spring situation."

Joe Terranova spent most of his limited time on this matter decrying what he does NOT consider the catch-up trade, that being builders or energy, but did suggest (again) property insurers and reiterated he's long TRV.

Karen Finerman bluntly told Lee, "I don't like to do the catch-up thing ... I don't even know what I'm hoping for."

How much QE will it take to reach Rick Rhoden?

Guest Robert Pavlik pulled up a chair to tell Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that talk of expanding QE3 are "a big crazy" and that anyone playing the market based on QE3 ought to be "ashamed," but in fact there are a "lot of positives out there," and so he would "rotate into the early cyclicals."

Joe Terranova, impressively but still a botch, first mixed up the order but then asked Pavlik about P.E.s going from "Phil Rizzuto to Thurman Munson." Pavlik said "Caterpillar's where you wanna start to toe in," and, conceding these aren't fast money trades (yet the show is somehow still called "Fast Money") offered CLF as another you "wanna start to toe in."

Tim Seymour, after Terranova first uttered Thurman Munson before Rizzuto, impressively came up with Oscar Gamble on the fly.

Rizzuto has actually been a big problem at CNBCfix Golf HQ, regularly blunting the momentum we've had coming off 9. (And, you should see how many Torre's we put up the other day, and we don't mean the British politicians).

Scott Nations was cautious on this market, saying "I think you have to be a little worried" about the calendar here, and "just have to have a little protection," which was his Final Trade.

First time in a very long time Mel mentions Dress Barn, but only as a Cramer promo, and Karen doesn’t comment

Unfortunately, Mary Thompson's much-ballyhooed interview with Greg Fleming — at least the parts shown on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money — was a bust, as Fleming described an investment advisory shop in terms of a car.

Karen Finerman, underprepared and hoping the ball wouldn't be hit to her all day, said she didn't know why BKS was up, maybe for not carrying the Kindle?

Finerman said that JCP might've been hit as people allowed Ron Johnson' presentation to "marinate a little bit."

Guy Adami said the transports did well on a down tape and advised in his Final Trade owning FDX against its June 5 low (closed then $84.07) and said the stock "maybe can have a relief rally."

Adami said he thinks THC "continues to go higher."

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks good on Fast Money, advises shorting the Aussie vs. kiwi at 1.270.

Tim Seymour pronounced "euthanize" as "euthanaze," which Karen corrected.

Seymour's Final Trade was to sell DE. Karen Finerman said to sell upside calls in GOOG, and Joe Terranova said put in a buy order at $15.25 in STFC.

"Trampled Underfoot" is the Led Zeppelin song that describes a woman in terms of a car.

Stephen Weiss calls analysts’ AAPL estimates (as represented by Brian Marshall) ‘all b.s.’

Brian Marshall, like many a political surrogate on Sunday morning this time every 4 years, had a good talking point on Monday's Halftime Report for reducing the impact of his AAPL weekend-sales-call blunder.

You see, there are "probably a couple million of units in transit," Marshall said.

"We think the story is intact," he said.

Judge Wapner flat-out told Marshall that when he heard about "this whole in-transit thing ... I couldn't help but roll my eyes."

Marshall at one point argued that it's the same predictably conservative AAPL accounting as usual but didn't explain why his own model, knowing that information, would be so far off.

Stephen Weiss demanded to know, "What are the data points you're using," and Marshall proceeded to talk about full production meriting 475,000 iPhone 5's per day, then said they're probably only doing 275,000 iPhones per day right now, and then later said they're doing "a little less than 300 million phones per day" (which is quite the understatement), and 1) never answering the question and 2) never explaining why, with this product rumored for many many months, Apple was only making half the expected order.

Stephen Weiss assured Judge, "It's all b.s. He's assuming they started manufacturing 3 weeks ago." Judge went out of his way to point out they're not trying to dump on Marshall alone.

Steve Grasso said he and his wife haven't gotten their phones yet, and this could be a developing positive and "the analysts might be right."

Sell the news

This time, the Brag Trade is somewhat deserving.

Jon Najarian said on Monday's Halftime Report that it's "stupid" if AAPL is selling off because of the 5-million-plus iPhone number, and pointed out that last week he advised waiting for the stock to pull back early this week.

"You can't sell 8 million iPhones if you don't have 8 million iPhones in stock," Najarian concluded, saying 674 or 676 represent "great entry" for the stock.

Stephen Weiss said the last thing he was going to do was trade a stock such as this based on analyst weekend phone sales estimates. Steve Grasso said so far every pullback has been a buy, and "You still wanna be a buyer of Apple on pullbacks."

Brian Kelly was the lone panelist saying why wait. "I think you can buy it right here; I mean, I don't understand what the negativity is about it," Kelly said.

Once again, Stephanie Link likes stocks on a pullback

Stephanie Link on Monday's Halftime Report delivered a thesis on IP that really sounded like, without actually hearing it, Link recommending buying the stock right now, whatever its price is.

"There's a lot of leverage here" in the containerboard space, Link said, and she likes IP.

But Stephanie came through when the conversation involved JOY: "I would wait for a pullback in the mid-50s or below," Link said.

Link also told Seema Mody that URI is a "very volatile stock," but "the low 30s is interesting."

To top those off, Link said of VALE, "I think at 18 or below it's attractive."

Link said (as always) that "we" like energy and the trust owns CVX, SLB and DVN. Steve Grasso said SLB was OK with him, "you're not gonna go wrong there," but he's concerned about crude's reaction to QE3.

Brian Kelly mentions WY even more than Joe mentions LPX

LPX didn't come up in Monday's Halftime Report discussion about containerboard/paper, but Brian Kelly managed to mention WY for the 2nd time of the day, after Stephanie Link had already brought it up.

Link said the regional banks might be the best housing play right now, so she/Cramer like SunTrust and KeyBank.

Brian Kelly had the line of the day linking housing to AAPL (thanks to a nice alley-oop from Judge), "The only homes (sic) in transit is Grasso's double-wide."

Stephen Weiss reaffirmed the Floyd Trade, suggesting HK's assets might be undervalued now and that the company is going to be "making many more acquisitions ... I'm still committed to this. I guess I was a little early ... this stock will triple."

Weiss trumpeted 2 shorts from a soapbox, AKS and CAT. "I'm short AK Steel," he said, because steel companies are in "highly leveraged business models." And, "I am short CAT," because the company's expectations are "way too high."

Steve Grasso said he kind of agrees with Weiss on steel but that Grasso is "still gonna buy that seasonality trade" at the end of November.

Steve Grasso told superfox Seema Mody that "I wouldn't be a buyer at these levels" in FCX," which is kind of what Stephanie Link says about everything.

‘You can skip this ad in 6 ... 5 ... 4 ...’

Mark Mahaney said on Monday's Halftime Report that GOOG has been clearing some of the headwinds of its Motorola acquisition and has a plan to "reduce the employee base there" (which is not exactly Google's specialty, but whatever), and also has something going in video advertising on YouTube (and who in the world ever watches those) and in the 4th quarter has a new product of listing ads, all of which prompt him to issue an $850 price target.

Mahaney was far more reserved about Mark Zuckerberg's clumsy and vague TechCrunch interview (the clumsiness by the way wasn't Zuck's fault but the underprepared host who was about as sharp as the Steeler defense last Sunday) than most on Fast Money have been, saying "He said some of the right things" but that the stock only "may be a reasonable value a year from now."

Stephen Weiss said, "Why mess with Facebook," and said Mahaney sounded a bit "conservative" on GOOG.

A ‘sideways correction’

Jeff Saut, whose own anecdotal poll of NYC money managers found only 1 of 22 outperforming the S&P 500 as of 2 weeks ago, predicted on Monday's Halftime Report that stocks are "gonna pause right here" because things got "pretty overbought" on QE3.

He said there might either be a pullback, or a "sideways correction," and he's predicting the latter.

Steve Grasso questioned Saut if the market absolutely must hold 1,396 to remain in bull territory. Saut insisted he's no technical analyst, but thinks it will hold the "1,400 to 1,422 area." Judge then made the obligatory monstrously stale joke about not being a tech analyst but playing one on TV.

Saut said he likes RYN.

Steve Grasso said he's concerned about the UNH and hospital space; "if you have some profits, probably should take 'em."

Doesn’t do price targets, but can do ‘substantially higher’ in 3 months

Rick Rule said on Monday's Halftime Report that the gold pullback will be "temporary," and "I don't have a specific target except higher."

Pressed by Judge Wapner to be more specific, Rule said he thinks gold will be "substantially higher" by year-end.

However, Rule advised viewers to focus on gold and not silver; "I think silver's gonna be much more volatile."

"I'm gonna stay long GDX," said Steve Grasso, and Brian Kelly again made the pro-GLD argument but only mentioned mine "strike" and not "flood" as Dennis "I've been doing this for 35 40 years" Gartman would say.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was long TIP. Steve Grasso said long TOL, Stephen Weiss said long M and Stephanie Link said long BBBY.

Marc Chaikin’s Power Gauge
0-for-2 last week

Always remember, when hearing free financial advice on TV, you get what you pay for.

Marc Chaikin on Tuesday told Fast Money about 2 stocks on his momentum meter, saying "Our Power Gauge model is bearish on Autozone," which closed that day at $357.84, and the "Power Gauge rating is bullish" on BBBY, which closed that day at $68.39.

As of Friday's close, AZO is $371.80, and BBBY ended the week at $61.57.

Mary Ann Bartels’ 10% September correction never materialized

Savvy Fast Money viewers who heard Mary Ann Bartels' bullish forecast Wednesday that the S&P 500 is on course to the 1,600s might well have wondered if they were getting the ultimate contrarian call of a market top.

Because barely a month ago, on Aug. 22, Bartels told the Fast Money crew to expect an "8-10% correction in the month of September."

It's OK to be wrong, but this one gets flagged because of the curious criteria Bartels cited, saying first it's "traditionally the worst-performing month."

Seasonality trades are dicey enough (because, if you're hearing about them on TV, the pros are already able to game them). What Bartels, like other CNBC guests around that time, never explained was the calculation for "worst-performing" month.

If it's simply taking the percentage-point gain/loss of every September and dividing by the amount of years, then you've got the potential black swan/standard deviation problem of major distortion going; in other words, Lehman Brothers doesn't fall every month. If it's some kind volume-correlated logarithmic function that minimizes the extreme years, well, around here we can barely calculate the QBs' completion percentages on Sunday.

A glimpse inside the ‘kennel’
of Mag Black Scott

Certainly one of the most curious Fast Money guests in recent memory has to be Mag Black Scott, who manages money for folks in Beverly Hills (that's the old stomping grounds of Karen Finerman & Peter Schiff) with a formula that takes about as much research as ... oh ... clicking on this Web site.

There you'll find AT&T as the top dog of the Dow at present time, followed by Verizon, Intel, Merck, Pfizer, Johnson&Johnson, DuPont, Procter & Gamble, Chevron and GE.

Of course, it would take a different theory to get some AAPL in your portfolio.

Like Black Scott says, investors want to keep it simple.

[Friday, September 21, 2012]


Joe gets it — even admits on TV how awesome it is to be in the presence of superfox Seema Mody

Judge Wapner and most of the Fast Money gang at the top of Friday's Halftime Report chortled at Joe Terranova for being the only panelist at Englewood Cliffs and not at the (non-visual and unflattering) CNBC NYSE Post 9.

But Joe got the last laugh and then some when he frankly admitted at the end of the program what phenomenal luck had just befallen him.

"With Seema sitting right next to me Scott, so (sic) I'm happy to be alone right now with you guys away from me," Terranova said.

"Easy Joe," cautioned Judge Wapner, as Mody was apparently heard whispering something along the lines of "tsk tsk."

For what it's worth, Terranova addressed AIG and said "I'm long Travelers."

Mody also asked Steve Grasso if JOY is in trouble on fundamentals. Grasso said those fundamentals haven't mattered recently, "the market's relying on QE3" and the stock's recent run "might be a little bit long in the tooth."

Dr. J and Joe argue over whether VZ or T has the more appealing iPhone plan, but Joe drops the ball on SWKS

Jon Najarian said on Friday's Halftime Report that he likes the AT&T value compared with Verizon on the iPhone launch.

But Joe Terranova said iPhone 5 is "incredibly faster" than the 4S and said VZ is the "right trade" because of its expansion of LTE coverage.

Najarian said "Joe, even though I love ya," he disagrees, that the AT&T plan with the 10-share devices is the "key" to drawing iPhone buyers.

Terranova said Verizon has that plan as well. But Najarian said AT&T users don't switch over to Verizon for it.

"When you do the math, I just switched from AT&T to Verizon. My Verizon bill will be cheaper," Terranova asserted.

Later — and you knew there had to be an AAPL derivative trade involving either 1) QCOM, 2) NXPI, 3) BRCM, 4) etc., Najarian said QCOM figures to be a winner and noted it's a Lee Cooperman (who was recently claimed by Doug Kass to be all-in on the market) favorite.

Terranova though said SWKS "gained" in iPhone components this time, and so "the most upside potential is in Skyworks," which of course might be totally true but sounds totally oblivious to the stock's nuclear meltdown on Thursday.

Najarian clued viewers in, asking rhetorically, "Didn't it just have a big selloff," but not disagreeing with Joe, "that gives you a better entry."

A couple cracks taken at Gene Munster’s 83% longer-AAPL-lines estimate

Judge Wapner said on Friday's Halftime Report that longtime AAPL liker Gene Munster has reported 83% bigger lines this time for the latest iPhone.

Stephen Weiss said, "I'm sure Gene's had the time to go and at least see 2 lines, so that makes it unanimous."

Later, even Jon Fortt got into the act from Palo Alto, saying the iPhone line was "definitely not 83% longer here" and that the Apple store had done an efficient job of surveying customers before they went in.

Fortt told Judge, citing Munster's weekend sales estimates, that 8 million "would be a good number," that 10 million would be the high end and lower than 8 million would be "disappointing."

Jon Najarian scoffed at purported issues of aluminum back-scratching and told Judge sales will live up to the hype, and "and I think we've got another week's worth of it." But he suggested that would-be buyers wait. "I think you buy it Tuesday next week rather than today," because Monday could be a "soft day," but by then the "weekly options" will take off.

Henry Blodget points out that world’s largest company by market cap is no longer the underdog

Henry Blodget, who gets more airtime on Fast Money the Halftime Report these days than Steve Cortes, Zach Karabell and Patty Edwards (who used to own Fridays) put together, said the flap over maps is "a small issue" for Apple, but the risk right now to the company is "that people start to get angry about these moves" because the company is so powerful and reclusive.

But, Blodget conceded, "it's nowhere near a monopoly," so that helps the image.

Blodget noted "the effort that people go to" just to buy a new iPhone but also noted that buzz around an Apple TV has gone quiet. Overall, "so far Tim has done a spectacular job," he said.

Steve Grasso asked Blodget "when does the ecosystem work against Apple," pointing out Grasso wanted to get a Samsung recently but decided he couldn't because the rest of his house is Apple. Blodget agreed he too was interested in Samsung which he found "bigger" and "cooler" and so AAPL has "gotta be careful" of something or other, because instead of being the likable underdog of years ago, "Now they are the overdog."

Joe suggests markets could top in early 2013 with fiscal-cliff ‘grand compromise’

Small-cap watcher Steven DeSanctis told Judge Wapner on Friday's Halftime Report that "I think we're gonna stall here" in small caps, "gonna be some headwinds coming," and in fact bigger caps won't be immune either. "1,450's our year-end target for the S&P," he said.

Stephen Weiss scoffed at concerns about the fiscal cliff. "Fiscal cliff, it's not gonna happen, there's gonna be no cliff," Weiss said.

Joe Terranova said that euphoria is "what coincides" with market tops, and such a case might just happen if there's a "grand compromise" Q1 of 2013 on the fiscal cliff. "That's the most euphoric moment that the markets can have," (short of sharing the table with Seema Mody), Terranova said.

Euphoria: Most controversial element of long-gold call is whether to pick miners or GLD

Gold bull Michael Purves trumpeted gold and especially the miners on Friday's Halftime Report and didn't waffle in the slightest.

"I'm looking for 2,000 by the end of the year," Purves said, predicting gold as well as the miners and silver will "move aggressively up higher."

He said this is an unfolding trend, and "don't be so fast to take profits here ... the bullish sentiment on gold and silver is still very low compared to where it was in 2010, 2011."

Joe Terranova neatly pinned Purves into quantifying his call to "weight heavily" your portfolio with gold and the miners on the "nice double-bottom" in GDX. Purves said "weight heavily" amounts to "5-10%, uh, and perhaps more."

He told Steve Grasso he expects the GDX to outperform GLD because, "Right now I think there's a lot of momentum to the downside in the gold-to-GDX ratio."

Stephen Weiss insisted, "I think you play just the commodity," pointing out the difficulties of being long NEM, and "why mess around with the company analysis."

Tough call. If we had to take a side (this writer has no position in GLD or GDX), it seems like GDX is the better short-term play.

11 of 12 months, but no sign of euphoria yet

Judge Wapner cited an interesting fact on Friday's Halftime Report, that if September holds serve, stocks have been up 11 of the last 12 months, and "it's been one helluva rally."

"I think we do" go to Dow 14,000, said Stephen Weiss, because so many are "underinvested."

Steve Grasso said being bullish "doesn't mean buy the losers," and to stick with the winners, and Weiss agreed.

Jon Najarian for some reason offered a "tip of the hat, a shout-out to Clarence Otis ... this is a great manager."

How much more money did FB make in search and mobile monetization this week than it did last week?

Guest Colin Sebastian on Friday's Halftime Report sounds like he's drinking the FB Kool-aid, hailing Mark Zuckerberg's clumsy TechCrunch interview as "the first catalyst to get the stock moving. He sounded more confident, more upbeat in the company's future."

Sebastian claimed, "The company is also showing some early signs of success on mobile platforms."

Stephen Weiss issues ambiguous non-trade regarding KORS

A few of the final moments of Friday's Halftime Report between Judge Wapner and Steve Grasso on the NYSE floor were lost in Shield & Yarnell Trade-land when the mikes failed to work (but Judge only complains about computer glitches in stock trading).

Boris Schlossberg said to sell the Aussie/kiwi at 1.2575, and that the euro seems headed for either 1.32 or 1.28, which feels more like a top to him rather than continuation.

Jon Najarian said an EU commission's rejection of VVUS' drug is "very good for Arena Pharmaceutical." Steve Grasso said "the bleeding has stopped" in refiners, and "I'd still be a buyer" of CVI. Stephen Weiss indicated KORS is too expensive for him but growing much better than COH.

Joe Terranova's Final Trade was "stay long" EMC. Stephen Weiss said he was adding to his CAT short. Jon Najarian hailed 146.org and said ATVI. Steve Grasso said MO.

[Thursday, September 20, 2012]

Health-care portfolio managers clueless; don’t even know sector’s at all-time highs

Guest Chris Verrone told Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money gang that "we think health care continues to go higher here," and then dropped this bombshell: "I even know a couple health-care PMs who don't know the sector's at all-time highs right now."

So there are a couple PMs who should probably be switching to Mag Black Scott's "simple" Dogs of the Dow strategy (see below).

Verrone asserted that "health care gives you a hedge" in what could be a "tough couple months for the broader market."

He spoke positively of PFE, saying, "We think this one can challenge 30."

Tim Seymour said the attraction to health care is the dividend yields.

Dr. J says he had to pay 6-figure fines over people’s purportedly not-quite-accurate allegations

(Sigh) After a couple treks through Kate Kelly's report on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money about dividend "stripping" among SPYder call holders, we think we finally figured out what's going on: Holders of SPY calls don't really want to exercise but they do want the dividend. (And on Wall Street, as everyone knows, there's likely a neat little scheme available for doing just that.)

Kelly said that many exchanges allow the practice, though Philadelphia doesn't, and "losses to retail investors can be in the hundreds of millions per year."

Jon Najarian, in the most dramatic Fast Money testimonial in months, revealed, "I was a stripper ... I call it flipping," but it was different then, because back in the day they would arrest you if you were trying any of the "preplanned trade" schemes that they do now.

"They'd say you're painting the tape," Najarian said. "I've paid 6-figure fines in the past for even people alleging that I did that sort of activity."

Kelly pointed out that people might not want to exercise the SPYders for the dividend because it could be a large amount of money. Mike Khouw said that if you hold those options you might want to sell on Thursday and buy back on Friday. "Really the only people who are being disadvantaged here are the people that hold options and fail to do the right thing," Khouw said.

Funny how no one mentioned the ‘risk’ that Judge Wapner is obsessed with: Flash Crash

Keith McCullough said at the top of Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that for all the market risks outlined by Mel Lee, such as fiscal cliff, inflation, China, unemployment, he thinks "earnings" is actually the "summary of all the above."

Jon Najarian asserted, "The unemployment picture has to get better," then said, "11 days from now they have a vote in Greece," and so we should really be focused on the calendar as much as anything else.

Mike Khouw said there are "geopolitical risks" to the market, such as "territorial disputes that are going on in Asia." (Yes, this time is REALLY the time that China is going to make a provocative move on Taiwan ... and how many times was Gilligan going to get the castaways off of the island?)

Tim Seymour tried to be cool by showing off his Michael Kors tie. But Mel Lee instantly cut in, "That's Michael by Michael Kors and that's a lower line ... you walked right into that door Tim, and I slammed it."

‘Big seasonal issue in oil’

Guest Ed Morse on Thursday's 5 p.m. show was just the latest to claim oil might be fading.

"There's a big seasonal issue in oil," Morse said, asserting crude is "sliding down."

"North America's become the new Middle East," he added.

Keith McCullough tried to argue that Bernanke is boosting crude, but Morse wouldn't take the bait, saying if the Fed had done nothing last week, "I think the price of oil would be where it is now." Josh Brown asked if the oil-stocks positive correlation is ever going to end; Morse said not "until some normalcy returns to the market."

Morse said that the commodity boom of 2002-08 spurred enough development of resources that will ultimately create a supply cycle.

Jon Najarian said people have another month to play the refiners, "it's not over yet."

Jeff Kilburg once again runs into Keith McCullough but this time doesn’t have to defend Bernanke

Jeff Kilburg insisted on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "technically we're going there" to 1,934 in gold.

Keith McCullough pointed out how long the gold rally has lasted and wondered when the bubble will burst. "I don't think anytime soon, it's not gonna end," Kilburg said, while conceding "there's a bubble growing."

He said the run lasts "at least another 2 years."

McCullough fought back that the key to spotting a bubble is lower highs, and that gold presently is at a "lower high vs. February."

Josh Brown said the risk to gold is that "the world doesn't fall apart." Jon Najarian said that if Barack Obama does well in the first presidential debate, look for gold and guns to be strong, and if Romney does better, "watch for gold to break," maybe to 160 on the GLD.

Kilburg said "this is a dollar story" and not a debate story.

Josh Brown is ‘actually surprised’ that FB went down

Tim Seymour said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that for the iPhone, the "global rollout's gonna be much faster this time," but cautioned that "a lot of good news has been priced in here."

Keith McCullough said people have "gotta be really weary (sic, meant "wary") of expectations" for AAPL.

Mike Khouw said that despite the steep selloff in SWKS, he "did see some people making some bullish bets," specifically the January 26/30 call spread at a "net debit of $1.40."

Josh Brown said of FB, "I'm actually surprised it went down."

Brown hailed NUAN, asserting, "It double-bottomed at 20" and offers a "really good risk/reward setup." The "stock probably trades into the 30s ... this is way bigger than just the iPhone," he added.

Tim Seymour said of ORCL, "steady as she goes," but added, "The Sun Micro purchase was, was, a major waste of money."

Lovely Jackie DeAngelis revealed, "I still am on the BlackBerry."

Stephen Weiss may have missed his chance to reload the JCP short

Mike Khouw was assigned JCP in Pops & Drops on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and pointed out that Ron Johnson's tour was less than convincing, and that if it works it'll take time anyway, so "not very good news on 2 fronts."

Tim Seymour said, "Love the VIX this low ... volatility's going higher."

Seymour also suggsted FCX watchers could "take another shot" at $37.50.

Josh Brown called CAG a "very expensive stock ... I'd probably lay off."

Keith McCullough said NSC delivered a "big economic concern going forward" and said "at the end of the day" regarding FSLR, "now it's down on gravity."

Jon Najarian said "I'd hold off a little longer to buy" LVS, and recommended that if/when European banks fall on the Greece vote, "buy on those dips."

Mike Khouw said he's not "all that enthusiastic" on LTD.

Khouw's Final Trade involved Kate Kelly's SPYder options report that is too head-spinning to make sense of. Tim Seymour said buy MBT, Josh Brown said NUAN, Keith McCullough said UA and Jon Najarian touted EMC, "I'm buying upside calls here."

David Faber should’ve focused more on touchdowns than sitcoms

David Faber made a rare appearance on the Halftime Report, corraling Les Moonves on Thursday to discuss whether CBS — and man, if you remember watching CBS in the '80s and '90s, the notion of them owning a decade is preposterous — can continue to reign in primetime.

"I think we're like the Yankees," Moonves crowed, explaining that the network gets rid of shows maybe a year too early rather than a year too late, and that for "CSI: Miami," for example, "It was time."

Moonves said there are now 4 "buckets" of revenue stream, 1 being ad revenue, 2 being syndication revenue, 3 being "retransmission consent" and 4 being "Netflix."

He wouldn't call Q3 light, but told Faber, "We'll get the same bundle but not quite as much in the 3rd."

Stephen Weiss for some reason felt compelled to take words out of Moonves' mouth, asserting that even though Moonves specifically mentioned "Netflix," he was really just referring to that type of content delivery and is "agnostic" about the carriers.

Unfortunately, Faber's interview, while otherwise strong, missed something important (and it's not just because this site is officially an AFC football fan site): Whether regaining football in 1998 put CBS in the big leagues or, in fact, if CBS has an inferior football package and should've sought the Sunday night or Monday night lineups of NBC and ESPN.

HFT critic: ‘I know because I was told’

Judge Wapner asked Haim Bodek on Thursday's Halftime Report how he came to be such a vocal critic of HFT, and this was the answer:

"I've been banging my head against a particular trading strategy, you know, since 2009, and at some point you just wanna win and move on," Bodek said, calling HFT algorithms "actually unbeatable without regulatory change."

Bodek, who resembles Billy Corgan, said the tactic in question is "queue jumping," which allows a "sophisticated trader to get ahead of typical institutional traders ... it happens during a price move ... this is a corruption of price-time priority rules," and that its legality "will be debated."

Judge asked Bodek how he's so certain of this. "I know because I was told," Bodek said, and when he went to tell his story, "I had to make sure that every 'I' was dotted and every 'T' was crossed."

Afterwards, the Fast Halftime panel took a crack. "Maybe they've built a better mousetrap," suggested Stephen Weiss in a curiously ambiguous opinion, adding "it does have to be legislated out ... at some point it harms the greater good."

Dennis Gartman said, "I don't get as concerned as everybody else gets. I think that they really do create liquidity." He said if line-jumping is indeed happening, "That's wrong, that needs to be stopped," but that it would be an "illogical and idiotic decision" to stop HFT.

Guy Adami said, "I'm not convinced the game is rigged ... I don't think the public is as disenfranchised as this gentleman would like you to believe they are ... Don't get crazy with this high-frequency trading," he said, but he assured there will be more Flash Crashes.

Guest who could improve her soundbites delivers interesting throwback trade

Guest Joan Lappin, another fresh face on the Halftime Report who doesn't come across as Fast Money, began a bit clumsily by acknowledging on Thursday to Judge Wapner that "I'm talking my book" of value investing, but she thinks bonds are "extremely dangerous."

For 3 decades, "it was hard to buy bonds and lose money," Lappin said, but now, "bonds are overowned," and the trade "should've reversed already."

Her top pick is rather unusual, GCI, citing dividend increase and suggesting it's a good thing that it's a long way from its early '90s peak of $84. Stephanie Link asked if Gannett wouldn't split the print media from the TV as Murdoch is doing. Lappin said it's the content that matters, and "I don't see that they would divide the 2 up."

Lappin also said she's been a fan of MMR for years, though Judge gave her way too much time to make that point.

Guy Adami laments the underpinnings of the rally

Stephen Weiss said on Thursday's Halftime Report that equities are "probably the only place to be" in this market.

Guy Adami said that stocks are indeed the place to be, even though "you're in it for the wrong reasons," which is the Fed contribution and not organic business growth, and that this is "extraordinarily frustrating" for shorts.

Stephanie Link said she thinks "industrial companies" have troughed.

Weiss spoke about Wal-Mart's decision to boot the Kindle and said he has "no concern about it whatsoever," but that it illustrates "how tight the margins are" at Amazon.

Dennis Gartman asserted that Microsoft is a bank.

CBS isn’t the only TV network with impressive chart

Guy Adami predicted on Thursday's Halftime Report that the drop in BBBY is "gonna be an opportunity," as long as it can hold the 61½ or 62 level.

Stephanie Link said "we've (i.e., Cramer) actually been trimming" NKE because "we" got into it on the previous (you guess it) pullback, and that she'd probably (said with a wink, we think) be buying on a (you guessed it) pullback into the low 90s.

Dennis Gartman warned about oil, "It can still go a great-good deal lower."

Stephanie Link said DIS has "upside to margins going forward."

‘Benign tape’ sighting

Herb Greenberg told Judge Wapner on Thursday's Halftime Report that the key phrase in Howard Schultz's K-Cup statement is "for the time being," as in, GMCR will be the producer.

"If I were a betting man on this, I would say that the margins of Green Mountain will continue to come under pressure," Herb said.

Andy Busch said he wants to "buy the euro just a little bit below these levels," specifically around 1.2850, where he could see upside into 1.31.

Superfox Seema Mody first got a pre-commercial teaser and utterly melted the camera, then took a seat next to Dennis Gartman (lucky guy) to rattle off some (sigh) "Twicker" chatter.

Guy Adami said MCD goes higher on a "benign tape." Stephanie Link told Mody that she likes both JPM and SBUX after one tweeter said he sold JPM to go long SBUX, though it doesn't hurt to take profits. Stephen Weiss insisted JCP won't be the retail winner this fall and in fact said Macy's, "they're picking up shares." Dennis Gartman said going long the dollar depends on what you sell against it.

For the Final Trade, Gartman said to own gold, and issued a shout-out to 92-year-old Violet for watching the show.

Judge puts Halftime viewers to sleep with canned HFT interview; Guy says ‘disenfranchised’ 4 times

Judge Wapner aired a non-live interview with HFT critic Haim Bodek during Thursday's Halftime Report ... and his panelists somehow managed to stay awake for commentary afterwards, with Guy Adami actually using some form of "disenfranchised" 4 times: "I don't think the public is as disenfranchised as this gentleman would like you to believe they are," Adami said, but they were disenfranchised by the Flash Crash, and there'll be another.

Full report from Thursday's Halftime to come later.

[Wednesday, September 19, 2012]

Dogs of the Dow player implies clients need ‘simple’ ideas

Mag Black Scott — another one of those non-Fast-Money-type of investors gradually appearing on the show — told Melissa Lee on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that her Dogs of the Dow strategy is to pick 10 of the highest-yielding names and "hold them for a year and a day."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who noted the year-and-a-day tax considerations and asked Black Scott if she's concerned about the Bush tax rates evaporating.

Black Scott indicated it's not a concern, "We're dealt whatever we're dealt by the Congress."

But moments later, Joe Terranova asked if Black Scott thinks dividend taxes are going up. And Black Scott said, in fact, "I do expect them to go up next year Joe." (#thanksforthequestionkaren)

It's notable that Black Scott twice used the word "simple" in describing her strategy, as in, "Clients like simple ... You don't have to be a rocket scientist" to do it. She didn't mention, however, why clients need her to do something that simple on behalf of themselves. (#hopefullynota2and20operation)

Sounds like the world of stock market punditry is getting tired of AAPL

Around here we tend to think Apple euphoria goes a little too far ... but isn't nearly as misplaced as Mark Hulbert sort of suggested on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Hulbert actually said he looked at the Wall Street ratings on Enron just 2 weeks before its bankruptcy and found "just as lopsided a bullish consensus for it as you'd find for Apple today."

Come, now.

Dan Nathan grumbled that so many analysts have a "personal attachment" to the company, and that whenever you say anything skeptical of the company on TV, your inbox "lights up like a Christmas tree."

Hulbert argued that there's "career risk" in questioning a juggernaut like AAPL because as long as you're bullish, if you're wrong you won't lose your job, and thus that leads to "herd-like behavior."

He added that, assuming the great stock arc of AAPL will eventually end, "You'll never find it from Wall Street because they uh, they tend to say buy all the way up to the very end," which brought a rebuttal from Joe Terranova.

"I disagree completely" that Wall Street "will not quickly chime in when the reversal is in place," Terranova said, questioning why people seem obsessed with talking about some kind of impending collapse of Apple. Mel Lee countered that those with price targets only in the $700s are "almost a pariah."

Nathan assured, "At some point it will top out." Mike Khouw essentially agreed, saying that with tech devices, "Basically consumers turn against them at some point."

Ron Johnson ‘a little hokey’

Karen Finerman came loaded for bear in Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money dialogue on JCP.

"I am short," Finerman said, conceding there was something for both sides in Ron Johnson's presentation, but it was the comment about the last 2 weeks being tough that hit the stock.

By the way, "I thought some of the presentation was a little hokey," Finerman said.

Dan Nathan assured, "We're not gonna see immediate results here," but that the bull-bear argument in the stock "seems pretty fairly evenly matched."

Mike Khouw singled out a buyer of a JCP November 27/22 put spread, buying 1 of the 27 puts and selling 2 of the 22s for a "net debit of about 82 cents," a trade costing $2 million hoping for a $22 price.

Mary Ann Bartels actually names her 2 volume models

Mary Ann Bartels visited the Nasdaq on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, pointed to the years-long S&P 500 chart, and basically said if it continues, it can get to the "low 1,600s for the S&P 500 and that would be a new high."

Bartels said financials are in a "stealth" bull market that no one notices, and to "look more at the regionals." She cited a sector rotation out of utilities and said materials are the "catch-up trade."

Karen Finerman asked if Bartels had volume concerns. Bartels said she's got "some proprietary volume models" named "Vim and Vigor," and "both of them are bullish ... this can actually persist for several months."

Bartels told Joe Terranova that a breach below 1,422 would be the sign of trouble but asserted that it's "still a global catch-up trade."

Guy Adami grumbled, "The foundation of this market is an overly accommodative Fed."

Karen neatly points out how Dan Nathan’s point is inadequate

Guy Adami insisted at the opening of Wednesday's Fast Money that "there is an inflation problem on the horizon," and that you're "sorely mistaken" if you think the crude plunge will help at the pump.

So he thinks you can trade VLO on the upside against 30, 30½.

In fact, Joe Terranova said he "added to my Valero position today," arguing that an IAEA release limits the upside in crude while Iran provides a floor.

Dan Nathan predicted crude will "stay challenged," because "global growth is very weak."

Karen Finerman sharply challenged Nathan, "That may be, but why the $7 in the last 36 hours."

John Kilduff thinks the top for crude is in for now, because it's a "tough road to hoe here" and among investors it's "losing favor fast." Kilduff said there "could be some welcome relief at the pump."

Joe goes a day without mentioning LPX

Joe Terranova said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "everyone should own LPX gold, everyone should own silver," and also to take a look at PPLT for platinum.

Guy Adami said selloffs like NSC experienced during the show have been eased by the Bernanke rally, and "My instinct says that within a week from now, NSC is probably back to levels we saw earlier today."

Adami was excited about MON, saying, "I think it trades triple digits," adding that CAB is a "real story" while also delivering a brief history of "That Smell."

Joe Terranova said "garbage to that call" by JPM on underweighting WM.

Trade of the Day evidently requires a bit of rehearsal

Joe Terranova touted GLW on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying "EPS will go positive here in the 4th quarter for the first time in 2 years ... Fundamentals are coming together. Technicals are coming together," and he expects the dividend to climb.

But after a break, Terranova corrected himself based on what Karen Finerman told him, explaining, "Corning has had positive EPS. It's positive EPS growth they have not had for the last 2 years."

Terranova suggested not owning DELL here, not even with excess cash, and prefers PIR to BBBY as a "direct beneficiary of the housing recovery."

Dan Nathan said at Sprint, "The CEO is doing his job to get this stock higher."

Nathan said GOOG on Wednesday had "no news here ... seeing a rotation."

Karen Finerman said of FB, "There's no way that I'd jump in."

Mike Khouw saw a "lot of put-buying" in QCOR.

Guy Adami said he was wrong about shorting the purported AMZN double top and said to use 245 as a "pivot."

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to short MBB. Dan Nathan said to buy November puts in JCP. Guy Adami said AUY, and Karen Finerman said long M.

Could Brian Kelly’s commentary resurface in a Charles Ferguson documentary?

Given what's happened to financial markets since 2000, bulls might find it helpful to be circumspect in their soundbites if they don't want to end up in one of those anti-greed movies.

We wonder about this only because last week on Fast Money, Brian Kelly happened to gush, "Buy everything that's not nailed down," the type of comment that might be 100% accurate and appropriate at the time he said it ... but maybe not so preferable if certain Fed critics such as Jeff Gundlach or perhaps even Keith (you could buy things in October 2007 too) McCullough are proven correct months or years from now.

Kelly doesn't seem to be worried about that, saying on Wednesday's Halftime, "I still think you can" buy everything, and even that the "next catalyst" could be progress on the fiscal cliff, given that Ben S. Bernanke and senators met "behind closed doors."

"The fundamentals just don't matter right now," Kelly insisted.

Stephen Weiss, in love with stocks recently, said Wednesday that this is a "very forgiving market."

Weiss said it's a "bifurcated market," but didn't explain how.

Jon Najarian, who said there have only been 3 down days in September, neatly dissed a semi-regular Fast Money guest from Florida, saying he continues "to unfortunately be against Doug Kass on this," but funds "are chasing performance here," and "gonna continue to chase I believe for the next quarter."

Steve Grasso though called the Bernanke rally "a little extended" and claimed "it's been 80, 90% priced in before it happened."

Grasso did hail the XHB.

Brian Kelly: Gold ‘is the ultimate bubble ... circular thing that can go as high as anybody wants it to go’

Hussein Allidina was a little more excited about gold than black gold on Wednesday's Halftime Report.

In crude, "We think the 4th quarter is a softer quarter," and the "flat price gets challenged," Allidina said.

But, "I think the picture is, is positive for gold," he said.

Stephen Weiss questioned if it's trouble that everyone seems to love gold now. Allidina said, "There is growing concern, uh, surrounding inflation ... I just don't see a whole lot of downside."

Steve Grasso said he's still in the GDX, which he said is up 35% since the end of July and is still better than the GLD.

"I'd much rather be in GLD," countered Brian Kelly, who then unleashed this attention-getter: "It is the ultimate bubble. The fundamentals of the gold market are impacted by the price that investors put on gold. So, it's this circular thing that can go as high as anybody wants it to go."

Grasso, ignoring that provocative thought, narrowed it to a GDX/GLD debate and insisted of Kelly, "He refuses to be confused by the facts." Jon Najarian though said there's been a "lot of buying of upside calls" in gold names into January 2014.

Dr. J: Shiller ‘knows in his heart’ that the bottom is in for housing

Building on Robert Shiller's appearance a day earlier, Seema Mody — in the 1st of 2 program hits — reported on Wednesday's Halftime Report that existing home sales hit a 2-year high and housing starts were up August.

Steve Grasso said that despite Shiller's wait-and-see commentary, "The stocks are saying that we hit a bottom ... You wanna be in a name like TOL, Home Depot, USG."

Jon Najarian flat-out stated Shiller is covering in an effort to come to grips with the truth. "I think Professor Shiller knows in his heart that the bottom has been in, but he didn't call it, so he's missed it, and he's, you know, just like all of us, loath to actually," and would surely call it a bottom if there's a pullback.

Brian Kelly declared, "The home market has bottomed, I can tell you that right now," and suggested WY. Stephen Weiss offered some REITs, such as CLNY, MTGE and AMTG.

How much more money did Facebook make in search and mobile monetization this week than last week?

Now that the "Fast Money Halftime Report" is simply the "Halftime Report," it's become safe for typically-once-a-month pundits such as Porter Bibb, who is proving capable of reaching the Rushmore of Fast Money franchise guests.

Bibb, almost Reaganesque (and we don't mean Courtney although there's nothing wrong with that either) in his commentary about the media/business world and someone who should get strong consideration as a "CNBC contributor" (although honestly we couldn't tell you what that distinction really means), told Judge Wapner on Wednesday's Halftime Report that, "My feeling is Mark Zuckerberg is in over his hoodie," before accurately stating that Zuck, despite the Fast Money-generated hoopla for a simple, clumsily handled interview, has "yet to come up with anything close to a model that monetizes mobile."

Bibb said that if Zuckerberg thinks search is the answer, he should ask Steve Ballmer how much "traction" Ballmer got with Bing.

Jon Najarian, who despite being a grizzled ex-jock got starry-eyed over the whole TechCrunch thing, insisted that Zuck gave a "very positive talk last week ... he talked about ways that they could use search."

Bibb, though, said that Facebook is starting a competitor to Google's Adsense, which could have potential, but "he didn't even mention it" at TechCrunch.

Bibb suggested people don't own into the next earnings on Oct. 25, "It's gonna be a bummer as well."

Demonstrating he's not Mr. Negative, Bibb was enthusiastic about GOOG, saying it's "really on a fast track right now" and predicts it will have "a lot more movement upwards" over 60-90 days than (gasp) AAPL.

But it was a couple China names that got his biggest endorsement. "I really like RenRen," he said, as well as SINA.

Bibb said patience is wearing thin for Andrew Mason before Mason's Power Lunch interview with Julia Boorstin. "I think it is his last shot," Bibb said, adding that Groupon has "no barrier to entry."

Jon Najarian offered an interesting GRPN trade: "I'm gonna be selling into Mr. Mason's speech," Najarian said, insisting "there is no moat whatsoever." (There also aren't that many people interested in the product anymore, based on our anecdotal evidence of former Groupon users.)

Stephen Weiss claimed Bibb's Facebook-Microsoft search comparison "doesn't hold water" because Microsoft's goal is not to get people to a certain Web site, but that's Facebook's goal and it does it well.

Guest suggests multiple expansion

Guest Craig Johnson wasn't shy on Wednesday's Halftime Report about predicting 1,550 S&P within 6 months.

He said he can see a sustained fixed income selloff and the 10-year yield hitting "higher highs and higher lows."

Johnson also claimed we can or will see "the multiple of the market get assigned a higher value." He said he likes tech, consumer cyclicals and financials, and that the banks in particular have "really begun to re-engage over the last, uh, several months."

Meanwhile, "the average hedge fund is up less than 5% for the year," added Johnson, who 3 times used the Patty Edwards favorite, "at this point in time."

2 votes for TGT, COST

Jon Najarian said on Wednesday's Halftime Report "there sure is" more to go in MON, which is "doing a lot of things right."

"I love Monsanto," said Brian Kelly, who recommended using 90 as a stop level.

"I like POT, I like MOS," said Stephen Weiss.

Weiss also rambled through a selection of 4 retail names from Morgan Stanley, saying, "I think GNC's OK ... I like Whole Foods," and "I would buy both" Target and Costco.

Steve Grasso said he too likes TGT and COST as well as WFM.

Weiss said he likes TOT and the Floyd Trade, HK; "I actually bought more." He also said Ron Johnson is giving a tour of a new JCP store, and he'll short the stock again when it creeps higher (though he didn't mention it's a long ways from his single-digit prediction).

Steve Grasso said if you're tempted to get into VLO, "leg into your position" because it could still go down. Jon Najarian said there have been put sellers in VLO at 29.

Jon Najarian said "people are piling on" to GLW based on the GS call. Brian Kelly said if transports catch fire it could add a leg to the bull market. Steve Grasso said of THC and hospitals, "I probably wouldn't play them."

Silver: Buy high, buy higher

Dueling CNBC beauties shared the spotlight on Wednesday's Halftime Report, as Jackie DeAngelis first reported on FB before Seema Mody got a couple of cracks with housing and later, a series of Twicker questions (1 by 1 now for greater effect) for the Halftime gang.

Stephen Weiss advised someone fearing market "indigestion" to just wait until the next leg comes. Brian Kelly said regarding silver to "buy high, and buy higher," and in fact, "I actually bought some yesterday."

Jon Najarian pointed to the rollercoaster of Questcor and said the "bears feasted on this one today." Steve Grasso predicted a market retreat that would still keep the S&P above 1,400 once profit margins begin to slide.

Brian Kelly's Final Trade was DBA. Steve Grasso said XHB, Jon Najarian said AXL and Stephen Weiss said VALE.

Gundlach: AAPL ‘overbelieved, and overbought’

Jeff Gundlach's specialty is bonds, but if he doesn't watch out, he's going to replace Edward Zabitsky (who doesn't do interviews anymore) as Wall Street's lone AAPL skeptic.

"I think that the obsession with Apple is truly a remarkable social phenomenon," Gundlach told CNBC's Gary Kaminsky on Wednesday's Squawk on the Street, pointing to a "fixation, obsession with Apple."

Then Gundlach dropped the hammer. "To me, that's (sic) means that the stock is overbelieved, and overbought."

Gundlach acknowledged being negative on the stock a while back but insisted he spoke of AAPL in a pair trade, and at the same time recommended natural gas, which has outpaced AAPL since then.

Gundlach: Markets being ‘grossly manipulated’ by government intervention; expect QE-forever

In a refreshing blast from the past, Jeff Gundlach, who easily proved among CNBC's best guests while appearing on The Strategy Session, spoke with the one-time TSS co-host Gary Kaminsky in L.A. on Wednesday and took a crack at Treasurys — and the Fed's willingness to buy them.

"I think the 10-year Treasury yield's uh, bottomed out. Prices peaked in July this year," Gundlach said, emphasizing the yield's about the same as when he went on CNBC in April, when he asked the same question, what are you really hoping for as a 10-year investor, 1.25%?

He's unethusiastic on the 10-year because "it's so unattractive as an investment at 1.8," he said, adding the yield within a year "could rise a hundred basis points."

Curiously, Gundlach pointed to an "exact mirror image of where we were a long time ago, in the mid-'80s," with Volcker and double-digit rates, though the parallel wasn't clear and the conversation quickly moved on.

But Gundlach insisted QE3 is "not gonna be very effective ... there's no addressing of the real issues in this country," and complaining that the Fed seems to be in the mode of, "We're basically trying to get jobs now," which he doesn't see as connected to QE.

The Fed has "done a good job," Gundlach said, only if its assignment is to "backstop" the economy, but in the process, it's got the "markets being so grossly manipulated" like a "hall of mirrors."

"Price discovery is being destroyed by government intervention," Gundlach said.

He said he didn't make any major moves on the QE3 announcement, but he was buying mortgage-backed securities beforehand.

‘It’s more likely that the Fed buys all the U.S. Treasury bonds that exist’ than it starts selling

Not only did Jeff Gundlach question the usefulness of QE on Wednesday, he questioned whether it will ever end.

In fact, "there's no exit," he posited, before Gary Kaminsky asked if he'd buy bonds from the Fed once the unwind starts.

"I think it's more likely that the Fed buys all the U.S. Treasury bonds that exist than that they're going to work the opposite direction," Gundlach said, explaining he has no concept of what a QE exit looks like because "it's way out in the future."

Kaminsky, covering an impressive amount of ground in 2 hits, pressed Gundlach on what kind of returns long-term savers with big accounts should expect in coming years. Gundlach suggested that kind of value isn't in Treasurys, but maybe "bank debt type of funds," international bonds, mortgage securities, and perhaps "really safe dividend-paying stocks" such as Campbells soup, Kraft.

Gundlach said you could expect 5%; "if you're a buy and hold person you're gonna be disappointed."

Kaminsky questioned if banks, which will pay dividends, might be one solution. Gundlach said they're "reasonably valued" but challenged; "there's too much risk," essentially the one big question, will Germany pay the debts of the European periphery.

Gundlach also said, "I don't think we're gonnna have another lost decade of equities. But I wouldn't buy 'em today, just because everything is so high."

Pressed also by Kaminsky on what the ideal size of a firm is, Gundlach first stressed that "we are extremely concerned about counterparty risk," but then said ideally it would be something maximized at $100 billion and probably "somewhere south" of that. He said his own firm is "mid-size staff, mid-size culture," and he's not interested in offices in Singapore and Mumbai.

Guest’s advice for retail investors to handle Flash Crashes: ‘They can buy the supercomputers and get the quants’

Guest Eric Hunsader on Wednesday's Halftime Report offered a great solution for those retail investors disturbed by what they see as ticker-tape irregularities.

Judge Wapner was trying to get Hunsader to apparently denounce the machines on Wall Street and declared to Hunsader that it feels like "the individual investor has no shot ... I mean Mary and Joe sittin' out there and trading somewhere have no quants on their staff."

"Well they can buy the supercomputers and get the quants, there's nothing preventing them from doing that," Hunsader said.

"Capital. The cost," said Jon Najarian, and he could've added a host of other reasons if he wanted.

Frustrated, Judge pressed Hunsader if the algorithms and machines aren't in control.

"But hasn't it always been that way," Hunsader said.

"Is it getting worse .. I'm looking for some answers, Eric," Judge said.

"Yeah, I believe it is ... the faster it goes, the more expensive it becomes," Hunsader conceded.

Hunsader suggested the crude drop this week happened because there was a "fundamental seller," and whoever was making the market "absorbed as much as they could take," and then "as soon as they got to their breaking limit, they turned around and dumped their position immediately."

Judge complained that Hunsader can break down what happened, so why can't regulators. "I do not know the answer to that and I'm looking forward to hearing the answer to that," Hunsader said.

Steve Grasso crowed that, "When the machines fall down they call a human being."

Judge countered, "It's not going back the other way."

Grasso insisted, "A computer goes along and jumps off a cliff, a human being doesn't."

More from Wednesday's Halftime Report later.

[Tuesday, September 18, 2012]

Housing accounts for 2.6% of GDP; Ben S. Bernanke accounts for the rest

Melissa Lee on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money brought in an unusual voice to comment on the housing market, that being Rebecca Patterson, who generally serves as a Money in Motion currency fox.

No argument here — about the fox part, or asking Patterson to opine on housing; it's a free country. Patterson asserted "the housing cycle has turned for good" and predicted "better data in the months ahead," while explaining her shop added to mortgage-backed securities last month.

Patterson, who said housing now only accounts for 2.6% of GDP, said housing stocks look to be at a "temporary top," and reassured Keith McCullough, who has noticed housing surges forecast on business mag covers, that "some of the print journalism can be contrary indicators on a short-term basis."

"The issue is credit quality," Patterson said, pointing out the average credit score is up 2 points in 2 years. "It's not easy money."

McCullough shrugged about the bullish Goldman Sachs housing call. "Up here, you're taking on boatloads of beta risk," McCullough said, thankfully using "boat" instead of another prefix beginning with "s."

Mike Khouw said the options market saw a "sentiment shift to the downside today."

Joe Terranova wasn't on Tuesday's 5 p.m. show, so no mention of LPX.

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good: Dennis Gartman laments only making 40% on AAPL trade

Apple-neutral Walter Piecyk wasn't going to stand for Melissa Lee suggesting on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money — in a slightly overtime session cutting into Cramerland because of a bizarre extended tech glitch — that he's missed a couple hundred dollars in the stock.

"I think the downgrade was around 630 or 640," Piecyk told Lee, before arguing that unlike previous iPhone launches, this time 4S owners are "not eligible for an upgrade" and thus will have to pay full price for the new thing.

Piecyk said the next big metric is whether AT&T will update guidance on expectations of 25 million smartphone sales.

Karen Finerman said to Piecyk, "It's Karen let me ask you real quick," but all she really wanted to know was what Piecyk thinks of the iPad. Piecyk called it a "great product" that could face some cannibalization from the mini, assuming the mini happens.

Finerman said casually that she was "selling some way upside calls" to buy some out of the money put spreads in AAPL just to manage the position that has become large.

Dennis Gartman claimed, "I bought Apple at 25. Yes, and I sold all of it at 35," and of course there was no law against buying it back at 45, but whatever.

Tim Seymour, always a Samsung fan, said of AAPL's run, "this does not go on forever."

Dennis Gartman tired of getting heckled for missing price targets by 1/5 of 1%

Dennis Gartman took a while to do so but managed to reassure viewers of Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I'm not a gold bug, I never have been a gold bug," but he's buying on weakness.

"Of course QE is driving gold prices higher," Gartman said, and added that he's wary of issuing a price forecast, because he might say $2,400 and then it only gets to $2,395, and "believe me people will call you upon that."

Gartman reiterated that just recently, miners look to be outperforming the gold commodity, which he called a bullish "new trend." He made long gold his Final Trade. (But he's not a gold bug, just a gold bull, and never has been a gold bug, he doesn't think the sky is falling.)

Mike Khouw said someone was buying 30-strike IAG calls for January 2014 for 80 cents, a bet the stock could "potentially double by January of '14.

Keith McCullough interpreted the morning clip of Richard Fisher's commentary as, "I feel like I'm watching the miniseries 'Lie to Me'," asserting that commodities are moving at .96 inverse correlation to the dollar.

McCullough told Melissa Lee he's not a commodity bull now despite Ben Bernanke's actions; "not any more because he's out of bullets." McCullough said the criteria for determining a bear case in gold and other commodities is "lower highs."

Tim Seymour hailed GFI and said, "I would be shorting Harmony against this."

Dennis Gartman said he's "erring upon the bearish side" in crude and said "grain's breaking, that's important."

Marc Chaikin says he doesn’t want to own a stock the Power Gauge likes

Marc Chaikin visited again with Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money and reported, "Our Power Gauge model is bearish on Autozone," which had some "interesting action late in the week last week" and has "very little room for disappointment," if so, the quadruple bottom is in jeopardy.

Chaikin said that BBBY has beaten 4 out of the last 5 quarter, and the "Power Gauge rating is bullish," but that the stock tends to trade down a week after earnings, so actually, "this isn't a stock I'd want to own into the earnings report."

Chaikin conceded to the panel that Power Gauge has a "momentum trend aspect to it."

Mel Lee said Power Gauge was neutral on LULU.

Karen: Viniar could’ve realized he was never going to be Lloyd

Upon hearing the Goldman Sachs CFO news on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Tim Seymour suggested "the stock gets a little bit of pressure," but that it won't last long.

Keith McCullough said if he were Goldman Sachs' CFO, "I'd have a huge headache" dealing with regulation, etc.

Karen Finerman though said the timing of Viniar's departure "seems like smooth sailing" and said, with no inside knowledge but if she had to speculate, "he's thinking I'm never gonna get the top job."

McCullough said financials aren't shortable at the moment until there's an "event." Dennis Gartman questioned if longtime BAC employees would consider a stock move from $6.50 to $9.50 a big deal then answered, "not so much." Tim Seymour asserted, "The status quo right now is actually very positive" for banks.

Louise Yamada seems to bring an unusual amount of uncertainty to the day’s chart analysis

Louise Yamada pointed to the chart — the incredibly basic chart that's interesting enough to warrant being pictured here — of the S&P 500 since the '90s, which she said "allows the possibility that you're gonna go back up to these 2007, 2000 levels."

Yamada said it's quite possible we stage "an assault on the 2007 peak," given that the Federal Reserve has probably fueled a "hot-air balloon."

Yamada said crude is "stuck between 95 and a hundred ... unclear which direction is coming next."

Melissa Lee pointed out transports have underperformed. Yamada conceded that's a Dow Theory sell signal and, "Everything's not a hundred percent here." Yamada said a gold breakout through 1,800 would reinstate a 2,000 target.

Listen to Tim Seymour talk about the BRICs, and you’d have no idea the 2-year charts look like they actually do

Dennis Gartman on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money called ANDE the "last of the great grain traders that hasn't been bought out by somebody larger."

Keith McCullough singled out ANR as another commodity-oriented stock that's in trouble if the dollar rises.

McCullough also chortled that some people (that would be Brian Kelly) say fundamentals don't matter in this market, but "they do on earnings day," exemplified by FDX.

Tim Seymour advisted "stay on this short" in MTL, for anyone who is actually doing so. Mike Khouw said he's not inclined to chase THC. Karen Finerman made an "Ugg" pun regarding DECK.

Superfox Seema Mody, who looked better and better Tuesday upon each sighting in pink dress with extremely short sleeves, pointed out that Microsoft raised its dividend.

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was EWZ. Karen Finerman said BAC, and Keith McCullough, who made the case for trucking, said long PCAR.

CNBC drops ‘Fast Money’ from title of ‘Halftime Report’

Man, is this page asleep at the switch, or what?

(Sometimes almost literally, unfortunately, but that's another matter.)

It suddenly came to our attention, with a spotter's help, that the "Fast Money Halftime Report" is now (apparently) officially just the "Halftime Report."

At least that's what Judge Wapner and the screen graphics were calling it last week and this, if not earlier.

Of course, that didn't stop the Qmeister, Carl Quintanilla, from calling it the "Fast Money Halftime" when leading into the show on Tuesday, and Managing Editor Tyler Mathisen also was heard to utter "Fast Half" during the Power Lunch teaser. And, vestiges of "Fast Money" remain, including the logo above Judge's head during Tuesday's intro that said, "What Fast is Following."

Fidelity obviously remains the sponsor.

The guess here is that it's an attempt to open up the lunchtime hour to guests who might be squishy discussing trading, perhaps explaining why Mike Farr made his first appearance last week.

Judge apparently thought Zack Shafran was booked to talk about AAPL splits

Judge Wapner on Tuesday's "Halftime Report" suggested that 1) he was going to talk about the potential of an AAPL split with guest Zack Shafran, and 2) that, oddly hypothetically, Shafran would be in trouble if AAPL was his top holding and his fund was down.

"If that were the case, I'd have real problems," Shafran agreed.

But when Judge asked about an AAPL split, assuming he would get a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, Shafran shrugged, "Ya know, I don't know that we have a real strong opinion here, I mean it's just, uh, you know it's more shares at a lower price."

Can't really argue with that.

Shafran said he expects an AAPL dividend hike "in the next 6 months or less."

Meanwhile, Shafran went on to talk up 3 of his top picks, which were PNR, MON and DAR. Mike Murphy enthusiastically backed PNR but apparently for Tyco reasons; "I'd be long Tyco after this split-up." Guy Adami seconded MON; "it is a biotech stock."

Doug Kass tries to drag
Lee Cooperman into his hedge-funds-overbought thesis

Doug Kass, who said a few weeks ago (ouch) that the high was in for the year in stocks, insisted to Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Halftime Report, "To me last week was like a scene in Mel Brooks' 'Spaceballs'," with Ben S. Bernanke as Dark Helmet, deciding "light speed is too slow, they had to go right to ludicrous speed."

"I didn't expect Pavlov's dogs to be barking so loud but I feel today's cheers will become tomorrow's tears," Kass said, obviously another one of his patented pre-scripted lines.

Kass fielded a question and follow-up from Pete Najarian about whether hedge funds have increased their exposure to stocks enough to not chase.

Kass curiously then tried to say that people like Lee Cooperman who run the "larger hedge funds ... who's a bull, and heavily invested ... have not changed their concerns" and have "confidence in their investor base," apparently an argument that big hedge funds are all the way in and plan to continue to stay that way.

Judge Wapner felt compelled to defend the Coopster, saying, "I think Cooperman's position is a little more cautiously optimistic perhaps than a full-fledged bull."

Kass also came prepared with "my basic 5 concerns" for why the markets are running into headwinds, one of them (the 4th, we think) being that the Romney wheels are falling off and while he's not making a political point, the markets would prefer Republicans, and if that were a serious headwind, how in the world would stocks be up so much since the conventions?

Robert Shiller: All that supposed housing strength might be a head fake

For all those (like most of the Fast Money/Halftime Report gang) seemingly getting carried away with housing, Robert Shiller put a damper on things during Tuesday's Halftime Report.

There are a lot of positive indicators, but "people tend to overreact to these," Shiller said, pointing to the overall "trend which has been down since 2006, it's a pretty strong trend."

Shiller said "the seasonal has gotten stronger," and there has been momentum, but the housing market has made 4 surges since the financial meltdown, and "I think it's too soon to call." He said he'd need "at least a, a solid year, uh, of price increases."

Shiller noted that long-term mortgage rates have been in a downward trend since the Volcker era, and so yeah, sure, "this could be a major turning point," but who knows.

"We have lower interest rates than the Great Depression," Shiller said of the Fed, adding, "it's not a slam dunk that they can fix it."

Shiller also didn't sound terribly impressed with Jeremy "Livingston" Siegel's Dow 15,000 prediction in 2013. "He has a 45% chance of being right," Shiller said, then suggesting maybe it's 30%, clarifying, "he's a smart guy I respect him a lot," but "nobody knows what the stock market's going to do ... my model is still predicting something like 4% real return on the stock market."

Mike Murphy suggested that the bullish Goldman Sachs call on homebuilders "seems like a top in the market." Murphy reiterated that he's out of the builders, but anticipating a "small pullback" of 3-5%, "then I'll be back in these names." Pete Najarian said the homebuilders still "have seen a lot of activity recently" in the options market.

Mike Murphy wants people to know about a successful trade from 2 weeks ago

Pete Najarian said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "I'm seeing a market that just does not seem to want to go down," and Mike Murphy basically concurred, saying 1,500 S&P is in sight and that money managers are setting up for Q1 of 2013.

Guy Adami insisted the "fundamentals are somewhat negative" but said he agrees with Murphy on the short-term market direction. "The market doesn't give you this long to sell the highs," Adami said.

Jon Najarian said VIX futures have tumbled below 20, and so there's plenty of opportunity to buy cheap protection.

Mike Murphy crowed about a Brag Trade in FDX. "We bought the stock on the first, uh, downgrade, when they first lowered their guidance about, uh, 2 weeks ago, down just over 85, it rallied right back up that day," Murphy said, saying the company can cut costs, and selloffs are an opportunity to buy.

Jon Najarian said of RIMM, which last year was one of his predictions for a $23 takeout, "I think this is just dead money."

Dr. J: Some see gold ‘superspike’

Judge Wapner introduced Francisco Blanch's gold call on Tuesday's Halftime Report by airing a morning clip of Richard Fisher, who said "our job is not to provide Ritalin to the traders," but to look out for the "long-term interests of the American people."

Blanch then asserted $2,400 gold because the Fed figures to be adding $2 trillion to its balance sheet over the next couple years, a "tremendous expansion of the monetary supply."

Guy Adami told Blanch, "I'm with ya 100% ... all fiat currencies end well," and noted the lack of interest in gold hedging. Blanch said there could be a Fed reversal if inflation resurfaces, and also there's a fiscal cliff problem.

Pete Najarian asked about the SLV. Blanch called that "playing gold on a levered basis" and said he sees "some resistance at 38 to 40," when producers start selling.

Jon Najarian said he's still long gold and has been selling puts on the way up but said people are buying GLD calls in the 180s, 190s, 200s perhaps expecting a "superspike," which would be a "lot of upside in a very short term."

Both Guy Adami and Pete Najarian said they prefer GLD to GDX.

Mike Murphy suggests oil drop could be ‘conspiracy’

Mike Murphy on Tuesday's Halftime Report seemed skeptical that the oil plunge a day earlier was the result of a "fat finger."

"Whether it's a conspiracy or not Judge I don't know," Murphy said.

Pete Najarian did a backhand dis of colleague Simon Baker's enthusiasm for Manchester United, saying, "I feel bad for our good friend Simon Baker ... I believe he was a little bit more bullish than I was on this."

But Mike Murphy said a squeeze could be coming to MANU; "We're getting close to 50% of the float being short this name."

Guy Adami said biotech should continue its decade-long run and he'd pick either CELG or the biotech index.

Seema Mody finds that by going 1-by-1, traders will answer her questions

CNBC's daytime show-stopper Seema Mody got a lot more mileage than usual out of her Twicker presentation on Tuesday's Halftime Report, this time by asking the Fast Money Halftime panelists to make a call, one by one.

First was, what would the Fed do if Treasurys plunge. "That's the Fed's worst nightmare. I think that's what keeps them up," said Guy Adami, the 3rd "what keeps people up at night" reference on the Fast Money franchise in 2 days. That's also why "the gold market could go parabolic," Adami said.

Pete Najarian touted IBM and made it his Final Trade; "This name just continues to work." Mike Murphy agreed with another of Mody's suggestions, SWK. "We're long, love the name here," Murphy said.

Guy Adami said THC could maybe get to $6.50; "don't wanna fade this one." Pete Najarian called MPC a "buy." Mike Murphy said BRCM is a "great way to play Apple."

Jon Najarian's Final Trade was MPEL. Mike Murphy said TYC, Guy Adami said BX again.

Gary Kaminsky on stock unwind: ‘It’s gonna make 2008 look like nothing’

Maybe someday they'll have to rename the (Fast Money) "Halftime Report" the "Armageddon Report."

Gary Kaminsky, teaming up with Rick Santelli at the CME/CBOT Tuesday morning during Carl Quintanilla's Squawk on the Street, suggested a harrowing end is in the cards for QE. (Speaking of cards, whoever came up with the idea of pulling random impromptu questions from the deck, regardless of wherever the questions came from, is onto something.)

"When this trade unwinds ... when these people who have been forced into stocks are forced to sell ... we know that this is gonna end terribly, it's gonna make 2008 look like nothing," Kaminsky said.

Quintanilla said Kaminsky and Santelli would be dining at Gibsons Tuesday, but Santelli insisted that's for 1%ers, and he eats at McDonald's.

[Monday, September 17, 2012]

Tim Seymour actually tries to suggest that thoughts of Amazon encroaching on Apple’s businesses keep him awake at night

Tim Seymour, who shortly after Aug. 27 looked like a genius predicting a "significant top" in AAPL after its Samsung victory, admitted on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, "I was wrong."

But, he contended, "So much good news has been priced in ... I think it's a very crowded trade."

Pete Najarian said that "some of the orders are just extraordinary ... this stock I think could very easily see 750 in not too many sessions."

Scott Nations said he "actually saw some September 995 calls trade today."

Guy Adami, invoking one of our favorite Fast Money terms we haven't heard for a while, said AAPL should probably go higher on a "benign tape."

Steve Grasso said he tried to get into Samsung mode but discovered he just can't get away from the Apple ecosystem.

Brian Marshall tried to explain how the AAPL margins go from high to low (or was it the other way around?) and conceded to Melissa Lee that his $710 target feels low, but it was that low based on supply concerns.

Lee actually asked Tim Seymour what keeps him up at night regarding Apple. Seymour said "maybe even Amazon."

Steve Grasso actually entertained that question as well. "The law of large numbers? That's what keeps you up at night with Apple," Grasso said.

"That doesn't keep me up at all," shrugged Pete Najarian.

Melissa actually asks the ‘what keeps you up at night’ question twice in 1 program

Shutterfly chief Jeff Housenbold got an instant question on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money from Melissa Lee about his stock price reaction to news that Apple is toying with its business, in the form of, "Does this keep you up night at all?"

"It really doesn't," Housenbold said, insisting that "the long-term holders keep adding to their position on the dips ... we're gonna monetize photos more profitably than any other player in this space."

Guy Adami asked Housenbold if it's really true that Shutterfly is a standalone business with high barriers to entry. Housenbold answered creatively, with a word that has never appeared on this page. "I think the barriers to entry in any consumer Internet are actually asymptotic to zero. But the barriers to scale, and profitability, are quite high," Housenbold said.

Pete Najarian said SFLY "valuations are awfully high," that's why he wouldn't jump in.

David Henry of Kimco didn't face the high-barrier question but rather explained, "We have close to 500 mortgages" that are maturing with an average 6.5% interest rate that will be redone at 3.5%, leading to "powerful earnings."

Henry said a lot of high-end names are doing great, and so are the dollar stores, with names like ROST and TJX undergoing "dramatic expansion." He said Kimco is "beginning to be able to raise" rents, and "it's all good."

Grasso: Oil dip amounts to ‘free money’

Steve Grasso on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money pointed to oil's sudden dip as an opportunity and that SPR, if it happens, is only a short-term effect anyway. Grasso recommended taking advantage of dips like this when "buying that momentum trade ... just think of it as free money."

Guy Adami noted that PSX got a higher price target ($49) while being downgraded by Citi. Pete Najarian agreed it's a good stock and called 49 "well within its reach" and made it his Final Trade.

In a bizarre segment on trading QE (as in "QEternity"), which is basically the same as trading the market in general, Tim Seymour asserted that "platinum goes over 2,000." Steve Grasso said he's still in GDX, but then touted MO as one to think about again while making a Brag Trade: "I sold mine it's actually lower from where I sold it" 3 weeks ago, Grasso said.

Guy Adami said he thinks CLF will pull back to 40. Steve Grasso said he'd rather try AKS some other time; "the time to buy steel is November-December." Tim Seymour said of FCX's day, "I don't think there's anything broken here."

Seema Mody once again rattles off 3 stocks for the Fast gang but they’re not interested

Seema Mody on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money asked the panel in vain what they think about JPM, GS and BAC, only to hear Guy Adami go "off card" and repeat his BX "QEternity" trade from earlier in the show.

Adami said BAC "scares me for a lot of different reasons."

Steve Grasso agreed with Adami and said BBT, WFC and USB, which he said avoid the greater headline risk.

Scott Nations issued a JPM Brag Trade (as everyone on Fast Money seems to do now), "I finished taking profits today," and recommended viewers take profits as well for his Final Trade.

Pete Najarian hailed KFN for the "very very safe" yield and made it his Final Trade.

Melissa doesn’t say anything about LULU in spin class

Scott Nations said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that someone was a big seller of the April 27/29 put spread in MSFT, but "I don't think this makes a lot of sense."

Pete Najarian said he's interested in NFLX in the lower 50s, partly because of its TV ventures, "that's where their biggest gains are."

Najarian said he disagrees with the 61% who said in the CNBC poll that LULU will fall the farthest of Herb Greenberg's ripe-to-fall picks that included RAX and TIF.

Guy Adami said GPS needs a breather but will push to 40. Scott Nations said "there's gonna be margin compression" at GRPN. Tim Seymour identified "major resistance at 34" for TSLA.

Seymour also hailed one selection from each of the BRICs, including CZZ (which was his Final Trade), CHL, YNDX and TTM.

Todd Gordon said to buy euro/yen at 102.50 with a stop 101.50 and target of 105.50.

Guy Adami's Final Trade was TMO; Steve Grasso said AET.

Josh Brown congratulates analyst for call that could turn into a bust

Citigroup's Faisel Khan told Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the refiners have enjoyed a "phenomenal 3rd quarter," but "these stocks now look fully valued," and so he has downgraded PSX, VLO and MPC.

Khan told Joe Terranova that the fundamental case involves a "significant slug of new pipeline capacity," and that he has "no more buy-rated names."

Perhaps a bit premature, Josh Brown congratulated Khan, saying "that's a great call" to do the downgrade now and not after a new low like what happens with NFLX. But Mike Murphy said he'd rather be long the names on a call like this, and "I like Valero here," though he doesn't own it yet.

Joe’s Web critics evidently turn focus from LPX to P

Joe Terranova on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report indicated without saying as much that Pete Najarian was basically right in denouncing the buying of AAPL puts last week, conceding, "at the end of the day probably should've just done nothing."

Terranova also complained that "some folks say I've got it in for Pandora," which is hardly an inaccurate view on the part of those folks given that Mr. New Land called P an "absolute screaming sale" recently.

Terranova on Monday said the NFLX "price target should be below $50," that the price of a license with A&E is going up as content costs rise, and it's a "completely broken fundamental story."

The cameraman had big troubles during the whole show, for some reason trying to hide head-turner Jackie DeAngelis behind a stack of computers like that lawyer in the "Bill Bates" office in "Wall Street."

As usual, Stephanie Link says a stock would be interesting on a pullback

Josh Brown said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that CMG is filling a 70-point gap, and "I'd be careful" about getting long here.

Brown said if you like TSLA, "Sit back and watch what happens … I think there'll be a better chance" to buy.

Mike Murphy said he has no homebuilder exposure for the first time in a while, and he's "feeling a little naked here."

Stephanie Link called ODP "interesting" but said she "wouldn't chase it up 13% today." Link said she'd be interested in BWA if it pulls back.

Scott Redler was the last person on Fast Money to talk about spin class, and boy did Tim Seymour let him have it

Herb Greenberg turned up on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report to name 3 high-flying stocks — RAX, LULU, TIF — he thinks could fall.

Josh Brown took the RAX bait, telling Greenberg the company has been "morphing their business model away from managed hosting to cloud hosting," that "they took over a shopping mall in San Antonio, Texas" (hopefully not the one used in "Logan's Run," or maybe that was Dallas), and that Herb is making the "same arguments since January."

Herb admitted he's been arguing against RAX for 2 years.

Stephanie Link took TIF, saying "expectations are low" and that the raw material story is improving there.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera handled LULU herself, saying that in her spin class, "nearly every guy — GUY! — was wearing Lululemon."

But Mike Murphy said LULU "looks extended" and is "setting the bar way too high for themselves."

MCC’s shout-out to Richard Bach

Foxy guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who flaunted a stunning sand-colored dress on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, issued a great nickname for "Jeremy Livingston Siegel" which only Siegel got.

Unfortunately Prof Siegel did little more than say the odds are good for Dow 15,000 by 2013, which he said would take about a 10% gain, and that 17,000 in a couple years is "very, very attainable."

Siegel said, "I still think the euro is gonna sink," perhaps eventually reaching parity, and that he expects housing to add a point to GDP over 2 years.

Josh Brown asked if P.E. ratios aren't a bit high for a continued upswing. Siegel said that when they've been under 10, it's been with double-digit interest rates.

Bill Nygren rejects the notion that models need more of a macro tilt

Bill Nygren rather quietly issued 2 stocks on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report while stating, "We think the market's undervalued somewhat."

Nygren said AIG has been "unloved," but now its business has been streamlined, and there's excess cash flow being used on share repurchases. Stephanie Link questioned how great the banks are. "We're not trying to argue that these are fantastic businesses," Nygren conceded.

Nygren also touted TE Connectivity (TEL) as a play on "emerging market auto demand." He insisted he hasn't changed his stock evaluation models to tilt more heavily toward the macro situation, calling that "flawed logic" from firms that do that.

Judge Wapner was missed in this segment, as guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who (yes, is foxy) is more interested in broader business trends than stock moves and did not push back the way Judge generally might with a fund manager.

How much more money in search did Facebook make this Monday as opposed to last Monday

Mike Murphy, as you knew he would, issued a Brag Trade when the subject of FB came up on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, referring to his 19.50 calls of last week.

Murphy booked profits, he said, and "we actually added to our position the next day … we're still in this for a trade." (Although if you booked profits, how are you adding to the trade?)

Josh Brown said he doesn't like the FB story, saying it was "overly hated" and that's why it spiked last week, but "now what … I think it could be back in the teens."

Joe Terranova conceded, "I have no clue where Facebook is going."

Once again, Seema Mody makes more stock-call requests than panelists are willing to entertain

Joe Terranova said on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the stock market is moving into "end of quarter" stage.

Josh Brown said it's now less about bonds vs. stocks and more about stocks vs. stocks. He said you might want to look at emerging markets, which have "lagged substantially," and small caps.

Stephanie Link mentioned KeyCorp again and HD.

Mike Murphy said the ECB is the key now, and while he sees resistance in S&P 1,475 to 1,500 "there's really no ceiling on this" and predicts gains into year-end.

Kate Kelly spoke about divergent views on platinum, saying bear Kathleen Kelley is not short right now but points to slowing auto demand in Europe. Joe Terranova said you could buy PPLT on pullbacks and pointed out "it is a tight market."

Superfox Seema Mody, wearing a light blue dress we've seen once before, asked traders about oil, CLX and KFT. Stephanie Link only addressed CLX, saying (surprise surprise), "Keep an eye on that one."

Link/Cramer's Final Trade was OXY. Joe Terranova said to short euro, Mike Murphy said long EBAY and Josh Brown said long MRK.

[Friday, September 14, 2012]

The Facts of Fast Money:
Dr. J talks about AAPL about as much as Joe talks about LPX

We hate to sound like a teenage girl of the 1980s — on 2nd thought, that seems kinda fun, hence the picture — but Judge Wapner put together a Bernanke-Cook-Zuckerberg feature on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that had to make any viewer say "GAG ME WITH A SPOON."

Stephen Weiss said he wants to give Tim Cook a "big ol' wet one on the lips" and insisted that at "13 times earnings," AAPL "still has lots of upside."

Jon Najarian gushed that with the success of the iPhone 5 rollout and the court victories he keeps talking about, "that makes Apple an $800 stock within 6 months."

Pete Najarian said, "I like what Zuck had to say," and ... these are actually Pete's words, not this page's ... literally invoked the Facebook Hope Trade®, saying Zuck "came out and actually gave us reasons why we should have hope."

Jon Najarian agreed, "He did perform." Steve Grasso gushed, "He had the most to lose ... this could've been horrific ... the kid turned it around."

The key term there is "perform." What the hell did the "kid" do? And how much more money this week did Facebook make off of search and mobile monetization than it made last week?

Steve Grasso later said people should play AAPL now with a "defined risk strategy ... no one's gonna pay 696 when they feel like they missed it."

"Oh, there's some people are," said Judge Wapner.

What happened to Doug Kass’
high-in-for-the-year call?

Stephen Weiss said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he'll let the academics debate Keynesian policy; Weiss' policy is to be long this market, and he likes it so much, "I bought the stuff that I hated the most," including VALE and MT, and he also likes TOT and QCOM.

Jon Najarian said the market's going higher, citing as one reason the fact Apple sold out new iPhone orders in an hour.

Pete Najarian insisted low volume is not an issue for this market, in fact, referring to Gary Kaminsky's comments on volume, he's going to "pound the table" on how high the recent activity in options is; "when guys say there's no volume, there is volume," although interestingly neither Najarian referred to Kaminsky's point this week showing how costly it has been for fund managers who haven't been long AAPL (but then again, maybe they're hitting the jackpot on NFLX).

Mike Farr, who hardly seems like a Fast Money guy, curiously showed up at the table Friday and asserted the "market's going higher ... you can't fight this," and suggested ORLY and FDO as top picks for a not-perfect economy, and also hailed JPM and GS; "you just can't bet against 'em."

David Bianco, who has already basically seen the S&P (1,474) reach his year-end target of 1,475, stressed, "Do not chase this market ... the world economy has clearly slowed." But he said stocks are trading in a "fair P.E. range" and cited "the large universal banks, I think that's what continues to climb to the upside."

Steve Grasso conceded he's been the most cautious of Friday's panel, and then explained, a bit clumsily, that he sold XLU, D and MO all around 1,415 S&P and in a backhand Brag Trade, said, "All of those are at the same level I sold them."

"I would probably get on board with this, slightly. Slightly," Grasso said of the rally.

Grasso challenged Stephen Weiss' newfound enthusiasm for junky coal names, pointing out ANR earnings are coming up and they've already had a great ride.

Weiss insisted, "This is Fast Money Steve. I'm not getting married to those names." But Grasso later called the coal names "toppy" here; "the risk is so huge on a lot of these names." Pete Najarian lamented that he owns ANR but compromised it by selling upside calls; "I got out of it way too early."

Christopher King may not have realized that Stephen Weiss loves to stick it to analysts

Guest Christopher King of Stifel said he's cutting T and VZ to holds because in the wake of the iPhone 5 launch, "earnings estimates need to be trimmed a little bit" to account for the $10 billion total subsidies.

Stephen Weiss, given a crack at this one, started off, "You're wrong, OK. This is the most obvious trade, it happens every single time they launch a phone," and claimed VZ doesn't expect a margin hit, and in fact, "the subsidies did change" according to Weiss' own subscription plan.

Weiss said that given the attractive yield and likely additional customers, "I buy more, down a buck, thank you for the opportunity."

King was given a chance to rebut and said the carriers are more disciplined, but the "absolute subsidies haven't changed" and the valuation is at "all-time highs" while the market is moving to risk-on mode.

Jon Najarian crowed that S has been a winner.

Kilburg: $103.27 next crude test

Jeff Kilburg was probably happy on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report not to run into Keith McCullough this time and told Judge Wapner that, "Right now oil is gonna continue to go higher ... $103.27 technically is the next test."

Kilburg complained, "I just paid $5 a gallon," and then tried to make a political complaint, which Judge blocked, about a previous SPR release before suggesting that if it happens, it "takes down 3, 4 dollars. It gives you a buying opportunity."

Steve Grasso said, "I'd still be in the refiner trade until it stops performing," and got credit from Judge for being accurate on this call.

Double-top alert: BAC 52-week
high was $10.10 on March 19

Cute Kathy Lien said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that she likes euro/yen, in part because of a "really nice breakout that's just happening." Her recommendation is to buy at 101.75, with a target of 105 and stop at 99.75.

Pete Najarian said "I think there's plenty more" to come from JPM and that we could "very easily see $50 by the end of the year." Najarian tepidly said "yes" to BAC, but "I don't think you jump in with both feet here."

Pete dismissed ZNGA; "at $3 a share I still wouldn't touch it."

Jon Najarian linked LVS and WYNN to the Fed; "I would pile into those as a QE trade," and said, "I like the homebuilders still."

Dr. J said coal options are "where people are getting alpha."

Steve Grasso predicted UNH will get a Dow boost. "I look for this stock probably to move higher on this news," Grasso said.

Stephen Weiss said of AIG, "I still think it goes a lot higher."

Weiss got the handoff from superfox Seema Mody's Twicker presentation on QE, etc., and declared, "I'd start to take profits right before the election actually." (And we'd have to declare, if you had to pick between the two pictures above on this day, Lisa Whelchel and Seema Mody, we would have to abstain, because we definitely wouldn't want either one mad at this page.)

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was LNG. Stephen Weiss said the Floyd Trade (that would be HK), Pete Najarian said LLY and Jon Najarian said IAG (note that's not the same thing as "AIG").

Patty sees interesting people at soccer practice

Nothing makes a Friday more than an appearance by Patty Edwards on the Fast Money Halftime Report, and because that didn't happen this Friday, we figured we'd catch up on Patty's QE-related comments via ... (ugh) ... Twitter.

Unfortunately Patty apparently wasn't sharing public stock tips, but — and this is the downside of hitting PgDn a few times — did report this recent sighting at an outdoor event: "Dear hip soccer mom, bikini panties under tight stretch pants is only comfortable for you." That one was not accompanied by a Twitpic. (We're guessing hip soccer mom didn't ask Patty for an opinion on LTD.) (We only report this stuff; nobody's blushing.)

[Thursday, September 13, 2012]

Brian Kelly tells short side researcher, ‘You’re gonna go out of business’

Brian Kelly on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money uttered the line of the week regarding the Fed's message:

"Very clear — buy everything that's not nailed down," Kelly said.

Kelly argued without reservation that the Fed gave the all-clear signal. "They're still gonna step on the gas," even if the economy does get a little better, Kelly said, and started off suggesting FCX and emerging markets, later adding "trashy" names such as the coal stocks or junk bonds.

Pouring it on, Kelly revealed, "I had a guy call me today trying to sell me research on the short side, and I said I'm sorry, but I think you're gonna go out of business because you shouldn't short anymore."

Karen Finerman suggests a wonderful question; Tim Seymour’s answer is inadequate

Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money did not, as she did a day earlier regarding AAPL, call the Fed's move and market reax "ludicrous."

But Finerman seemed to think something was overblown here in posing a phenomenal statement/question that deserved far more discussion but was blipped over by Melissa Lee:

"What is keeping unemployment high is not high interest rates," Finerman said.

Tim Seymour was heard cutting in that it's "fiscal policy ... it's a joke."

In fact, what really is keeping unemployment high? Deficits? Stimulus? Tax rates?

This page dislikes the belief in "policy," so Seymour doesn't get a free pass.

The truth has to be, either 1) the movers and shakers know what causes unemployment and are too afraid to admit it (e.g., there's nothing for a lot of people to do), or 2) nobody really knows.

Tim Seymour complains about what the Fed does then basically praises what the Fed does

Tim Seymour, in (his usual) extended commentary, started off with some reservations about the Fed on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

"I have a lot of questions about what the Fed did today," Seymour said, arguing that the Fed isn't really in the position to be "greasing the labor market."

But later in the program, Seymour cheerfully crowed that he's an emerging markets investor, and, "This is fantastic for EM ... these things were overdone on the downside."

Keith McCullough — hell hath no fury like a temporary bear scorned

Keith McCullough on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money suggested the Fed is bonkers.

"At the end of the day, let's just get real," McCullough said, conceding the Fed is stepping on the gas pedal, but, "I mean yes it was gas, but you know there's a fire too, and it's called in your currency ... everything that you need to buy is going straight up."

McCullough pointed to oil and gold rising recently and the dollar declining for 5 weeks. "It's pretty clear that people took on some level of orange-jumpsuit risk that knew that he was gonna do this" and said Ben Bernanke has a "huge credibility problem globally."

McCullough, who on the Aug. 16 Halftime Report issued an 11:55 a.m. timestamp on his call to sell stocks, vented his frustration not at the non-present Fed chief but the happy stock-buyers on Fast Money (namely a guy known as BK), nit-picking over the agreed interpretation that Bernanke is suggesting QE3 will improve GDP.

"It could very well be the biggest broken promise in the history of monetary policy," McCullough said.

He explained, "The economy actually slows when gas goes up."

Unfortunately, McCullough whiffed on taking a direct position as to whether Kelly's original "buy everything" statement is valid regardless of whether one likes what the Fed is doing, only feebly offering up a counterexample: "Look at something like Och-Ziff. It refutes Brian's point. Basically, risk management is on," McCullough said, not actually refuting anything.

Yale hockey vs. Notre Dame football: At least you can’t say that Keith should pick on someone his own size

Keith McCullough found another target of his outrage on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money in the form of fairly innocent bystander Jeff Kilburg, who merely reaffirmed his belief in bonds, which in fact was McCullough's trade suggestion.

Kilburg predicted the 10-year would be under 2% for "another couple years," after hearing how Bernanke "put some tiger blood in his coffee this morning."

Kilburg said it'll take time, but he can see the 10-year eventually hitting 1.19.

McCullough decided to ask whether Thursday's Fed move increases or decreases the risk of a recession in 2013.

A good question, and Kilburg merely had the gall to say that, as opposed to the White House or Congress, Bernanke is "attacking jobs," and that "the strategy is to stick with it."

McCullough scoffed, "Stick with more of what has not worked is gonna magically create jobs. This is an interesting one."

He told Kilburg that as far as investing, "From here, you absolutely have to get economic growth right." Kilburg insisted Treasurys are safe. "You have to really be honest here Keith, you will not see this mass exodus," Kilburg said.

Mike Khouw opined at one point about bond yields; "something is broken here and this simply can't last ... eventually something's got to give."

Kelly: QE helps Romney

Brian Kelly on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money had another one of those comments that merited more attention, asserting, "The stock market hasn't been tied to the economy for 3 years."

Karen Finerman said of QE3, "I do think it helps Obama," and even Keith McCullough agreed, "It absolutely did."

Kelly, though, countered, "I think this actually hurts Romney a little bit ... sorry, sorry, helps Romney," he clarified, saying that if you're an older voter fed up with low savings rates, "you might go to Romney."

Mike Khouw, actually sort of like Keith McCullough but without the bombast, said that equities are traditionally discounted by a risk-free rate, and "at some point you must become concerned ... when that starts to reverse, that has to hurt equities."

If Roger Goodell eased NFL rules, would fundamentals matter?

Brian Kelly and Keith McCullough on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money prolonged their murky debate on QE3 during Pops & Drops.

Pointing to USG's midday bounce on lousy news, "It proves my point that fundamentals don't matter," Kelly said.

McCullough said NKE will prove that "fundamentals do matter" in fact.

McCullough later though was forced to concede on ANR, "Fundamentals didn't matter today," but insisted they did when the shares fell from 23 to 5.

Tim Seymour said X has faced "heavy resistance at 24; I would sell there."

Karen: Sell the dollar

In what had to be the most anticlimactic segment in recent Fast Money History, on Thursday after talking about QE3 for about 45 minutes, Mel Lee reserved a few moments at the end of the program for traders to deliver their Bernanke Trades.

Tim Seymour reiterated, buy emerging markets. Brian Kelly reiterated, GLD. Karen Finerman said, curiously backing Keith McCullough's original argument, sell dollars. McCullough said to buy bonds and short pro-cyclical stocks such as CAT and FDX.

Karen tries to get CEO to opine whether his stock is worth it

Guest Aaron Gurwitz gingerly endorsed QE3 on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, saying there are a "whole bunch of risks out there, most of which are political ... what they did I think was probably fine ... we should not expect miracles."

Gurwitz indicated he likes dividend stocks but stressed "there's no floor under them" unless you have puts, but "they should outperform in a weaker market."

Much of Hans Humes' limited time was wasted with job comparisons of Ben S. Bernanke and Mario Draghi; "I think Bernanke's got an easier" job than Draghi, Humes said, advising listeners to "steer clear of Italy and Spain right now" on the sovereign debt scene and even "wait for things to really crater."

Meanwhile, CEO of Annie's (BNNY) John Foraker played the cards as close to the vest as possible during a cautiously generic interview with Melissa Lee, saying he's got "2,500 points of distribution" for his new organic frozen pizza, which tastes great, and the company is "about a quarter ahead of where we expected it would be last year."

Karen Finerman boldly asked Foraker, more or less, what he thinks of what the stock has done. "I really can't comment on the stock price," Foraker said, but he admitted, "It's been gratifying to get the investor reception.

He also said he can't speak to the 2nd quarter, but seemed to make excuses about meal/snack mix concerns in the first quarter, claiming there's a "certain timing around Easter" that affects results.

Finerman, revealing where her question was going, concluded of the stock, "For me it's just kind of expensive here." Brian Kelly said he'd like to see a "mac and cheese pizza." Keith McCullough did not refute that argument.

How much more money did Facebook make on mobile monetization and search on Thursday than it made on Wednesday?

Karen Finerman, for a 2nd straight day wearing the glasses we're not totally sold on, said on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that she sold DIS, and revealed that a while back, "I actually sold Staples right around here," and wouldn't buy on the Bain rumor.

Karen sounded skeptical of JCP; "I'm very pessimistic on the turnaround," and said, "Long Google, wouldn't be a Facebook buyer here."

Keith McCullough said it "could be great for the stock" if Mark Zuckerberg simply spoke every day.

Mike Khouw said BAC calls were on fire, the September 9s and October/November 10s.

Tim Seymour said "I would be cautious" of European banks, such as DB, saying they still have yet to unwind leverage. Seymour also hailed BHP Billiton, including as Final Trade, for being "best in class" for "valuation" (based on spot iron ore), and for ... incredibly ... the "best management team in the world" (and how's that Potash acquisition working out?).

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was November 75 calls in BA. Brian Kelly said SWK (one of many picks on the day), Karen Finerman said PACD and Keith McCullough said to short CAT.

Josh Brown speaks too soon; downplays ‘barely up’ market moments after Fed statement

Josh Brown, unconvinced by the Fed's decision Thursday, scoffed on the Halftime Report that the immediate stock reaction was only "barely up" and suggested people "rotate out of the things that are screaming" into defensive names.

Judge, apparently consuming more caffeine than usual, chided Brown's definition of how high the Dow was up, asking him if he needed to see 500 to be convinced it's risk-on.

Somebody else mentions LPX on Joe’s behalf

Jon Najarian got tripped up in an instant Fast Fire on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying he detected some big put-buying in the GLD, and so "I'm short gold."

Judge Wapner later chortled to Najarian that the Fed news amounted to a "helluva lot more than just talk." Najarian conceding those GLD puts and said, "They seemed like they were right," but they're "not right anymore."

Stephanie Link said in the wake of the Fed report to look at WY, and even LPX, "which Joe likes," plus WFC and a "lot of the banks."

Joe Terranova said the direction of the 10-year is crucial right now to whether bond buyers will rush to stocks, pointing out the 10-year's yield of 1.83% is right on the 200-day.

Fidelity Contrafund kingpin Will Danoff said the Fed decision is "positive for equities," and "blue-chip stocks look very attractive ... I think equities are cheap." Danoff also made a point of singling out U.S. regional banks.

Josh Brown's Final Trade was CVX. Jon Najarian said STX, Stephanie Link said KeyCorp and Joe Terranova said LPX "long the American consumer."

‘Every active manager I know is ready to buy the dip’

Thomas Lee set the tone for the day in stocks Thursday when commenting on the Fast Money Halftime Report, before the Fed announcement, that "I think every active manager I know ... is ready to buy the dip."

As well as the non-dips, it turned out.

Lee said it's looking less likely Romney will win the election, but he thinks the S&P would hit "1,550-plus" in a "massive meltup" if he did.

Josh Brown, before the announcement, suggested the good-news-either-way theory in that if the Fed didn't do QE, bulls could take it as a sign that 4th-quarter growth is looking good.

Joe Terranova said with mortgage bonds at lowest yields since 2007, "something is definitely going to happen today ... looking to short the euro currency here."

Stephanie Link said she doubted QE but expected the Fed to extend Twist and push the low rates into 2015. "I do think the market will sell off on that news," Link said, and then it'll be time to buy.

Link and Brown got into a minor fracas over whether, as Link said, stocks are "cheap" with a 13 P.E., which Brown questioned given growth. "In the context of 1.5% 10-year bond yields it absolutely is cheap," Link insisted.

Jon Najarian made an extended argument about how the VIX futures for September/October/November are all in the teens.

[Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012]

Emperor has no clothes: Wednesday’s Fast Money gang (unlike Tuesday’s) figures out that Facebook CEO actually said nothing

Guest Brian Pitz was a bit too genteel on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money when assessing the newfound Facebook Hope Plan, search.

"It could be meaningful revenue, longer-term," Pitz said without much enthusiasm, adding that you "can't build a search, uh, business overnight."

In fact, he suggests FB might be relegated to the dreaded "partnership with Microsoft perhaps."

Pitz pointed out that on Facebook, "You're searching for people, you're searching for companies," rather than the money-making types of searches that occur on Google, and Karen Finerman agreed with Mel Lee that if you're just searching for people, you "can't monetize" that.

Brian Kelly blurted out, "They didn't really give you any clarity on how they're going to monetize."

Dan Nathan admitted that Mark Zuckerberg "didn't really say a whole heckuva lot," but as part of some sort of "Dogs of the Dow" type of trade, FB "could get a little interesting."

Hopefully it’s not Henry Blodget, who actually gets paid for dabbling in these kinds of things

Who woulda thunk that about halfway through Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, we'd be taken aback (even moreso than by that by ANR price on the 12th hole) by Joe Terranova's nod to cyberspace.

"I know there's a blog out there that writes about our show that complains I talk about Louisiana Pacific way too much," Terranova said.

Which sent us fumbling through PgDn and PgUp as well as the archives, hoping there is no commentary here about how little Terranova mentions LPX.

(Whew. Mission accomplished.)

But no recollection on this page, and nothing in the fine print, indicating Terranova talks about LPX too much.

The complaint is undeniably accurate — if you blip through each (sigh) month's worth of reviews on the upper right here, you'll get 1 or 2 LPX mentions by Terranova going back at least to February — though it never occurred to us he mentions it even more than NXPI, and frankly, the way he's going on Apple puts is gonna make Dennis Gartman's gold-in-yen-terms sound fresh.

Terranova indicated there's no reason to carp about LPX; "it's working."

Always a class act, Terranova saluted his critic(s) nonetheless: "But I give 'em credit for being consistent in writing about it."

Joe might get a reversal on Pete’s disapproval with AAPL put spread

Redefining "tepid," Fast Money spent 14 primo minutes with uninteresting commentary about Apple's uninteresting product launch.

Dan Nathan noted the market "didn't get any surprises," and the stock's strength is probably tied to the "rumored iPad mini event."

Nathan later wearily reasserted that "there is risk to this story" if one of these launches fizzles, and that could be trouble in a "story like this that's so overowned."

Brian Kelly said "they didn't disappoint," and to him, the news was that by getting into reservations, AAPL makes OPEN look "a little vulnerable."

Joe Terranova called P an "absolute screaming sale" because of AAPL.

Terranova provided an incremental update on his AAPL put positions derided by Pete Najarian because of how recently they were put on, saying he owns the 655s that expire 9/22, and that he has now "sold the 640 puts." And, "still have my Apple stock."

Good to have it on the record, but Guy Adami even got Fast Fired recently for an excellent call on CBI, who knows how much the facts really matter.

Karen Finerman was telling it like it is. "I find the whole thing kinda ludicrous actually," Finerman said, pointing to the swing in "$14 billion in value today" regarding this mostly non-event, and she's not trading the stock Wednesday and believing she has any advantage.

‘Well above 95%’

Stocks are about numbers, but few numbers seem more rock-solid than the chances of an iPad mini event this year as forecast by CNBC's Jon Fortt:

"I personally think it's well above 95%," Fortt said.

Can't get much higher than 95, so "well above" probably amounts to 98-99 range.

Curmudgeon Colin Gillis, who has a dumbfounding combination hold/$600 target, insisted to Mel Lee that what it means is, "we wouldn't buy Apple right here, right now."

Gillis said it would take a "really big surge coming out of the September quarter to hit, hit the numbers that people are talking about."

He pointed out the stock has gained "90 points since July 26th."

Gillis claimed AAPL in some ways is behind the competition, just warming up to the 4-inch screen, and he did make a very important point, though he waited too long to say it, arguing "the innovations continue to get smaller and smaller and smaller."

Gillis defended his ludicrous hold/$600 target, saying he thinks "it's gonna wobble around quite a bit."

Kelly: Gold is the trade for the next 6 months, maybe year

Brian Kelly said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that "I am still long gold, I think it is probably the trade for the next 6 months to a year," although he didn't say what Dennis Gartman normally does, "I am NOT a gold bug, I don't think the world's coming to an end..."

Rather, "I don't believe that there is no QE3," Kelly said.

Mel Lee, in a misstep unfortunately, ushered in guest Stephen Stanley, who apparently doesn't think QE3 is a done deal Thursday ("odds below 50" that it happens by December, he said later), but in a confusing opening question only opined that "The change in language is pretty much guaranteed."

QE3 may be dicey this week, Stanley said, because "I think things are different," and that the case for QE3 is "quite weak," for one thing it's "stepping on Operation Twist," and the "election does play a role," in other words, the Fed wouldn't want to "interject themselves" and anger conservatives.

Dan Nathan advised, "Don't fight the Fed right here," and said "the fix is in here," but he wasn't talking about this page either.

Rare: Karen in glasses

The last time Karen Finerman wore glasses to Fast Money, the compliments overflowed, both from her fellow panelists and this page.

Wednesday, sporting the specs for the first time in more than a year, something about them didn't seem quite right, maybe they're a bit too big, but definitely seem different than the last time.

Anyway, Karen rattled off a litany of stock calls, explaining, "We actually shorted some Coach today," and "still like Macy's here, long Macy's," even though she acknowledged Coach's results could affect M.

She called ANF "expensive, I wouldn't buy it right here."

Finerman said she's selling upside calls in BAC just because it has run so far, and "I wouldn't jump in right here" in JPM with new money.

Not a surprise — and you think Joe Terranova mentions LPX too much — Karen described AMZN as "impossible to own" for a value investor. Her Final Trade was to sell PLCE.

‘I still believe in Ron Johnson’

Fast Money never asks Whitney Tilson about his extensive ideas for education reform, but they sure do get him to talk up "value investing."

(Which is basically picking a direction on the NFLX rollercoaster at any given moment.)

Tilson and Divya Narendra visited the Nasdaq for Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to tout the Value Investing Conference's first annual Value Investing Challenge, in which the 3 finalists like Jack in the Box, Cincinnati Bell and Fiat.

Which basically sounds like the old CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge, except this time you have to stand up and speak about it in front of big shots.

Melissa Lee called it "the search for the next great value investor like a Whitney Tilson."

Obviously Tilson's a great in his field, as he unleashed a Brag Trade in AAPL in his limited time, explaining, "I bought it late July" anticipating "huge pent-up demand for iPhone 5," and the stock looked "fundamentally cheap."

In what might've been the show's comment of the day (other than Joe's blog battle), Tilson said, "I still believe in Ron Johnson," even though he said he's been out of JCP for 3 months; "I don't own it currently ... wasn't certain enough" that the strategy was going to work, and it's probably a "lot tougher" than Ron Johnson even expected.

Can Facebook monetize EU debt?

Brian Kelly said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that one big key for Europe is "debt monetization," and he recommends being in German industrials and exporters or just playing the EWG.

Joe Terranova said the "euro/dollar settled above the 200-day moving average" for the first time since last October and looks like a "tremendous sale."

Andy Busch had to complicate matters with a 2-tiered Money in Motion trade, saying the bull case for the euro based on QE3 is baked in, and the alternative view, if no QE3, "expect the euro to go down, expect stocks to go down and bonds to rally" is what he would play, suggesting sell euro at 1.2925, but then he'd buy once it gets down to 1.2680.

As they generally tend to do, panel mails in Pops & Drops

Mike Khouw said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he saw "substantial selling there" in XLF October 16 calls.

Dan Nathan said LO fell as money is coming out of defensive names. Joe Terranova mentioned TRV (again, after Halftime), and Brian Kelly said VMC had a pop, and you "probably would wanna buy it on the pullback."

Kelly said if MON gets through 90 it's a nice breakout, and suggested WY as a homebuilder play.

Mike Khouw said regarding CLF that there's "still a lot of pressure on coal here," and not to get carried away with ODP; "the story here is still pretty broken."

Joe Terranova said you can get long PNRA but use a 150 stop.

We figured Terranova's Trade of the Day had to be LPX, but instead he said, "Fundamentals and technicals all aligning in the correct fashion for Southwestern Energy, SWN," including a golden cross.

Mike Khouw chuckled when asked to opine on that one and said chart technicals aren't his specialty, but "these things do seem like they're poised to move a little bit."

Khouw's Final Trade was long SEE, Dan Nathan said to get AIG on pullbacks, Brian Kelly said to buy FCX if there's QE3, and Terranova said LPX BX.

Joe implies that Zuckerberg was supposed to write an essay at TechCrunch

Bob Peck, once again a Fast Money Halftime Report guest, said he "paid close attention yesterday" to Mark Zuckerberg's commentary, always a good idea when you're invited onto the Halftime Report 3 times to comment on this particular company, and came up with "3 key things on why I think he did deliver."

What exactly Zuck delivered, Peck didn't say.

He did say that "over half the conversation was about mobile ... he was also very humble," and that another key was that Zuckerberg revealed a "search" program, and of course when a company does that there's always "some sort of monetization of that," and finally that Mark spoke about "the open graph" that will result in "future services down the road ... subscription services, video, Spotify ..."

And so the Facebook Hope and Change Trade is alive and well.

Joe Terranova rather strangely claimed of Zuckerberg that on the "multiple choice component of the exam, he aced it clearly," but the problem was the "written component" of how do they monetize mobile.

At least it ended in a good question for Peck, which is why Facebook should have a more elite multiple than others for this vague notion of monetizing. Peck said it's "interesting" that Zuckerberg said the "mobile side is twice that what they see on the desktop side."

Pete Najarian said he liked the presentation (but he liked the stock action more) and rolled up his calls.

Simon Baker seemed perplexed by Peck's assertion that he's got a "full position" and said that would in general mean it's down 45% and whether he plans to keep "psychologically holding onto it." Judge got snarky and demanded to know if Baker is buying the stock; Baker said no.

Joe Terranova said "it's just too complicated for me," and then in semi-sarcasm claimed, "I guess I'm not smart enough."

Pete suggests in a semi-gentle way that Joe’s being foolish to buy AAPL puts recently

Pete Najarian opened the AppleTalk portion of Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report suggesting there won't be much of a surprise.

"It's a matter of when this actually hits the stores," Pete said, predicting "well over 40 million in the first quarter of its release."

Joe Terranova called AAPL a proxy for the market "in dire need of a correction" but then triggered Pete's tripwire, saying "you wanna utilize the options market" with AAPL puts, specifically the 655s in Joe's case.

Taken aback, Pete thundered, "You can't be buying puts now because now you're paying an absolute premium," and it's too late to get value, you're buying "right in front of the hurricane that's coming in front of you."

Terranova calmly replied, "The volatility suggests that you have to buy it."

Toni Sacconaghi conceded that the "blogs" have gotten "increasingly accurate" in figuring out in advance what the product is, so the suspense relates to sales forecast, and Sacconaghi said bulls' 45-50 million hope "doesn't feel completely unattainable."

Sacconaghi actually called the smartphone market "underpenetrated," and said AAPL shares follow a predictable pattern before and after announcements; "Longer term I think there's lots of opportunity for appreciation."

Simon Baker said "it's time for a pause and a refresh right here" and predicted the shares would be "cheaper in the next couple of days." Guy Adami said if you want to be long the shares, "you hope it disappoints," and then buy them lower.

How come Steve Grasso wasn’t around to say, ‘Don’t make it complicated. Just buy Apple!’

If you watched Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, you knew the AAPL conversation would eventually lead to a go-around on AAPL derivative plays, and you knew that QCOM and some other coms and maybe even NXPI, or Fusion IO or whatever the heck the video etc. plays are, were going to be mentioned.

Guy Adami and Joe Terranova both did the obligatory QCOM shout-out, Adami calling it a "painful stock to own at times" and prone to selloff if AAPL does but one that will "continue to be rewarded."

Terranova hailed VZ and QCOM.

Pete Najarian made sure CRUS got a mention, "plenty of upside to go," and Simon Baker at least took a mild detour with LOGI and AKAM.

2016: Hillary or Marco,
and a rate hike

Steve Liesman delivered some provocative survey numbers (the survey was from economists, strategists, etc.) about the Fed on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying 77% expect QE3 in September, and 90% expect it within 12 months.

But Liesman said the average amount expected is something like $42 billion/month.

Maybe most interesting, the poll asked when the Fed will finally raise interest rates, and the "2016" column is now up to 18%. "That's huge in my mind," Liesman said.

Judge Wapner brought in guest Joachim Fels, who said he only sees a "50/50" chance of QE3 on Thursday, though everyone seems to expect they will "extend the low-rate guidance into 2015."

Joe Terranova complained that the euro is just getting stronger in all this, which doesn't help Europe. Fels acknowledged "unintended consequences" of Fed activity.

Guy Adami looked into the camera as though he were asking a question of Fels but said "Steve," the question being whether the Fed can pull off the Kerri Strug landing. The panel agreed it might be painful.

Liesman said, "The conclusion that QE has helped is essentially a counterfactual conclusion." That sent us to the online dictionary and we discovered that Steve (no surprise) apparently used "counterfactual" correctly.

Mark apparently has beaten Marissa to monetization, but Guy doesn’t care

Jeff Kilburg said on Wednesday's Halftime that "absolutely ... gold's gonna continue to surge," especially after the Fed delivers more measures Thursday. "The U.S. dollar's getting crushed," Kilburg said, adding that until the Fed balance sheet "drains," the 10-year will be under 2.0%.

Guest Shahab Jalinoos said the Fed will "basically introduce QE3," and meanwhile he'd sell the euro at 1.30.

Guy Adami actually called YHOO "interesting to me ... I like Yahoo here."

Simon Baker said he likes MAS and SSD as housing plays. Joe Terranova said to "look at something in the insurance space" such as Travelers. Pete Najarian, in maybe the most interesting, said to keep an eye on WHR and its "very dirt-cheap valuation."

Simon Baker said to stay away from "American" Micro Devices. Pete Najarian said you can wait to buy MNST. Joe Terranova said he prefers TCK and CNX to ANR. Guy Adami said PSX "continues to go higher" and Najarian agreed, making it his Final Trade. Simon Baker said AKAM, Adami said BBBY and Joe Terranova said to short P.

Brian Sullivan, reporting from Apple-land, got interrupted by a skateboarder with a Web site to announce on national TV. Sullivan said there's been some "flash mob action," and he's gonna "get on that guy's skateboard."

[Wednesday, September 11, 2012]


Mel’s knee-buckling outfit

It was supposed to be Zuck's day, but Mel stole the show.

Unfortunately the camera during Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money spent way too much time on a T-shirted CEO … when the real story was Melissa Lee's utterly … show-stopping … dress.

In a bigger cakewalk than the Jets' engagement with Buffalo, Mel completely owned the camera Tuesday, hair, jewelry, accessories to perfection in an undeniably gorgeous presentation.

Fashion commentary isn't a strength here; we can't begin to try to analyze what type of clothing this is. All we know is, it worked.

Pushover Fast Money gang goes ga-ga for Zuck’s generic commentary

"I thought Gordon was a real tough businessman"Bud Fox, "Wall Street"

Were those real stock traders on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, or delegates at the Facebook convention?

Here we've got a stock that's wiped out roughly 50% of a lot of people's bare minimum value expectation, and you'd think based on listening to the Fast Money panel that this was Apple Inc.

Steve Grasso was most embarrassingly effusive in the aftermath of the clumsy TechCrunch interview with Mark Zuckerberg, saying "look at how excited he got," and "shareholders are equally as excited to get to know him."

"He usually comes across as socially awkward," but he didn't Tuesday, Grasso said, explaining that "perception's reality" and even claiming, "it's 80% of buying the stock … they wanted to buy it off of perception."

Grasso even admitted, "There's nothing that's changed fundamentally."

Mike Murphy felt compelled to issue a Brag Trade on his $19.50 calls he just bought, pointing out they're "now nicely in the money," and said Zuckerberg's vague remarks were "way better than I had anticipated … I don't see why I wouldn't want to add to this position … sounds like he actually may have some clue."

Henry Blodget, a blogger who gets paid to post articles such as how CNBC personalities used to look back in the day, also gushed, "I thought he did great," and even claimed that Zuckerberg has been doing a "fabulous job" as CEO.

Blodget invoked Hope & Change 2012, saying Zuckerberg needed to "kind of tell the story again about what Facebook can become, and I think he did that."

Correspondent Julia Boorstin, who on any other day would've gotten raves for her lavender outfit, hailed Mark because "he addressed the stock price."

At least 2 of the panelists, Simon Baker and Karen Finerman, exhibited some level of restraint, with Baker saying the commentary's nice but "it's all about the execution … do I buy it here? No," he said, suggesting people might want to sell the rip tomorrow morning.

Finerman said the valuation of FB makes sense only if "he's able to monetize mobile and no one else is."

Question for Facebook staffers: When was the last time Mark addressed the company to say the media is being too nice?

Sounds like he's after a P.E. ratio of 15.

Mark Zuckerberg claimed in his remarks Tuesday that he tells Facebook workers not to take too seriously the extremely positive and extremely negative press.

"I always make a point when I think that people are being too nice to us, or writing too nice of stuff about us, um, to get up in front of the company, and say, 'Hey, we're not as good as they, they say we are now'," Zuckerberg said.

New metric: ‘Per amount of time that people spend on mobile’

Dennis Gartman's Rule No. 1 of Trading is never, ever add to a losing position; it's trading's carcinogen.

Mark Zuckerberg apparently thinks otherwise, saying at his TechCrunch interview aired during Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that Facebook employees are getting more stock than they would if it was overvalued, so "it's a great time for people to stay and double-down."

Zuckerberg from the top sought to dispel the notion that mobile is an impediment to success, insisting "how fundamentally good it is" to Facebook by supplying more users, "more engagement and they're spending more time," and that "per amount of time that people spend on mobile, um, we think that we're gonna make a lot more money than we do on, on, on desktop too."

He admitted the stock performance has been "disappointing" but downplayed criticism of the company with the argument that "Facebook has not been an uncontroversial company in the past." (Implied translation: The Winklevi were wrong, and so will the bearish analysts be.)

He called Instagram "great," "super-talented," "killing it."

The TechCrunch dude who emceed this stumbling, bumbling discussion sounded woefully underprepared and out of synch, at one point of dead air explaining he "mistimed" his drink of water.

Zuckerberg basically denied Facebook is building a phone without explicitly saying so, calling it a "juicy thing" to speculate about.

In a shocker — you know, football teams in general prefer to be the underdog each week — Mark explained, "I just personally would rather be underestimated," and "I think a bunch of people are" underestimating the company. (Certainly not Gene Munster or Michael Pachter.)

Karen Finerman said beforehand that the best thing Zuckerberg could say was "we can monetize mobile, we figured it out … i think that he shouldn't focus on the stock price."

Mike Murphy made a very valid point for the beta players, saying there's a "much better chance for Facebook to go from 20 to 40 than Google to go to 700 to 1,400."

Nobody opined as to whether Zuckerberg's T-shirt-and-jeans combo met Jon Najarian's standard, issued during the Halftime Report, that "he has to come out and look like an adult today."

Wonder if Tim Cook can possibly dazzle starry-eyed techsters like Mark Zuckerberg did

Elsewhere on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Mr. Genius Jonathan Geller suggested the iPhone announcement might be as flat as the Philadelphia Eagles' victory Sunday. "I personally think it's basically just gonna be the new iPhone and some new iPods," Geller said.

Mike Khouw said weekly 660 puts were trading in AAPL.

Matt Hougan said the difference in the Pimco Total Return ETF vs. the mutual fund has been narrowing because "the mutual fund has actually caught up with the ETF." Hougan recommends the ETF.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was to roll up FB calls. Steve Grasso said AUO, Simon Baker said INVN, Karen Finerman said to sell upside BAC calls, and Mike Murphy said long DNKN.

Jon Najarian says dress code breach could sink FB

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report issued a dress-code edict for Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.

"First of all he has to lose that hoodie. He has to come out and look like an adult today. If he comes out with that hoodie, watch that stock fall immediately, if he comes out wearing that hoodie" (sic redundancy), Najarian said.

And, Zuck better not be his "usual arrogant self," Najarian added.

Jeff Sonnenfeld: Zuckerberg should learn the CEO business from his board members

Jeff Sonnenfeld took the concept of on-the-job training to new heights on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report regarding (who else) Mark Zuckerberg.

Guy Adami asked Sonnenfeld a great question, whether Zuck is qualified to a CEO of a publicly traded company.

"He needs a lot of tutorial," Sonnenfeld conceded without answering the question, but "he's got folks on his board who can help him ... they can provide the tutoring."


Jon Najarian said that what people need to hear Tuesday is "how they're gonna monetize mobile," and he also wants to hear about how the moat is so high, and if Zuck delivers that, there's "at least 20% upside from here."

"At least 20%." So, the Hope & Change Facebook Trade is alive and well.

Mike Murphy agreed with an even lower standard. "If he just comes out and does a decent job here I think the stock rallies above 20 on the news. We're long the weekly call options here," Murphy said, at 19.50.

Guy Adami said of Zuckerberg, "I think he started off on the wrong foot," and Brian Kelly insisted "he needs to give some clarity."

The odd thing about Jeff Sonnenfeld's remarks is that he began by saying, "As always your panel is dead on; I mean he's gotta acknowledge certain realities," when in fact the panel (evidenced by Jon Najarian's Hope & Change Trade) was not saying he needs to acknowledge realities, but say that things are actually better than people think they are. #bigdifference.

Sonnenfeld agreed that Zuck can't be silly about this, noting that Jeff Bezos in the pre-100 P.E. ratio days would come on CNBC and call himself the "chief crapmaster" until Mark Haines called him out for it.

Late in the program, FB investor Bob Peck said the issue is, "What's his true long-term vision for the company," and then said he wants to hear about a "bunch of metrics" while the screen graphic showed 10 things (that's correct, 10) that Peck wants to hear about. Peck once again predicted the stock would move once there's an "inflection point in the revenues, or the revenue growth rate."

Tech called ‘more growthier’

Guest Jim Boothe of Nuveen coined some new terminology on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report when explaining, "Our favorite sector is tech and, and consumer staples. Tech on a, on the more growthier (sic) side."

It sounded from the beginning like Judge was going to talk financials with Boothe, but all Boothe would say is that his financial exposure is "mostly JPMorgan, Wells and a few regional banks."

Boothe assured that JPM brass "definitely have the ability to raise the dividend," but as everyone already knows, the government is stifling that.

Boothe told a hopeful Guy Adami "we've never owned Intel."

Boothe said he got long AAPL largely because of "the announcement of the dividend."

He said 2 of his top picks are ACN and MSI, for the growth and the 2% dividend. Mike Murphy said he thinks you can get "whipsawed" if you're playing stocks like that just for a 2% yield. Jon Najarian said he'd like to see MRK on Boothe's list but does like the ACN call.

‘A lot of this rally came from Europe’

Mike Murphy said on Tuesday's Halftime Report that "we're still very bullish on the market Scott" and thinks the S&P 500 can bust through 1,445 with 1,500 in sight.

Guy Adami said he could see another 25 to 30 points higher in the S&P before the blowoff top occurs.

Brian Kelly argued with Judge Wapner in contending the "Fed is most likely priced in" because "a lot of this rally came from Europe."

Brian Kelly stumbles and bumbles through a (non-)MCD call

Guy Adami said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the Burberry warning "speaks volumes" about high-end retail, but that MA and V still work.

Brian Kelly declared, "The era of conspicuous consumption in China is over."

Kelly left nothing but confusion in his wake when asked about MCD, telling Judge Wapner he'd look to YUM as the fast-food play on China, but he wouldn't short MCD here, but "if anything I would be short YUM."

Mike Murphy said he thinks you can look at LULU as a short from here. Jon Najarian said he agrees with Adami on V, but "I still think RL and Coach are gonna do fine."

Jon Najarian said he would transition from MRK to BMY here. Guy Adami called WLT the most interesting of the resurging coal names now that analysts have thrown in the towel.

Fast Money Cliches Revisited: Barrick hedges

Goldcorp chief Charles Jeannes told Judge Wapner on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that "we're very positive" on gold (not a surprise) and that for the miners, who think long term, "because we've been, uh, so far down on the valuation metrics, I think we have a lot of room to go up."

For the first time in a long time (and you know you've been watching CNBC's Fast Money for way too long when you remember stuff like this), Guy Adami brought up the Barrick purchase of its hedges (which he called a top in gold at the time) and asked Jeannes at what point he'd consider hedging.

"We're really not considering it," Jeannes said, but assured that even if the spot price of gold falls, there's a "lot of room to go" for his company to remain "comfortably profitable."

Mike Murphy said "I think gold is extended here" but long-term will be higher.

Steve Buscemi omits ‘Fargo’

Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report said he really doesn't envision a disappointment from AAPL and contended, "That moat just got a lot higher with that ruling against Samsung," and more court victories would "easily carry this stock over 800."

He said he wouldn't buy the stock into tomorrow but would use call spreads.

Najarian said the NUAN spike is great news for "people who still like to use PCs instead of Apples." Mike Murphy said he'd stay away from NUAN, but Guy Adami said "I think this rally continues."

Superfox Seema Mody said Twitterers are talking about QCOM and OVTI as iPhone plays. Mike Murphy suggested Taiwan Semiconductor has the possibility of a 15-20% pop. Jon Najarian said, "I would be a Qualcomm buyer, Judge, and Broadcom."

Prettiest Hair on Cable Television Mary Thompson attended the Cantor Fitzgerald charity day and spoke with Bill Nichols, who cited Pat LaFontaine and Victor Cruz as 2 of the bigger guests. Later, Mary spoke with a refreshingly honest Steve Buscemi, who was assisting the Friends of Firefighters charity and admitted "I really don't know" which movie he's best known for, suggesting "Armageddon" or "Con Air" and then "The Big Lebowski."

Guy Adami got the lone Final Trade, BX.

[Monday, September 10, 2012]

Mel, producers should’ve realized in advance that Dennis Gartman’s gold-in-soymeal-terms trade didn’t make an ounce of sense

We're not sure why Dennis Gartman had to speak on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money except perhaps to fulfill an appearance quota, but aside from again hailing gold (this time in all kinds of currencies), the Commodities King said "we're seeing the hedge funds do precisely the right thing" by determining commodities as "the place to be," specifically coal and base metals.

Gartman recommends being long gold in either dollar or euro or yen terms, and even in "soymeal" terms, a distinction Melissa Lee unwisely sought to clarify in a clumsy, unnecessary addendum to a mostly useless conversation.

"It's not for investors; it's for punters," Gartman said, when basically all he meant is that he thinks gold is going up and soymeal is going down.

Joe Terranova informed viewers that what Gartman was talking about was a "little bit of the deep end of the pool, maybe somewhat confusing."

Gartman told Guy Adami he still can't trade silver but if he had to pick a side it would probably be long; "I think there's a shortage of silver out there," he said, and even the potential for backwardation.

Gartman said he was looking over the "Carmel Bay" from the golf course — the planned Monday afternoon CNBCfix HQ outing was disrupted by events beyond our control; let's hope the scores Tuesday are much more Advanced Micro Devices than (gulp) Alpha Natural Resources.

Barbara Corcoran so eager to nail bad appraisers, Mel can barely get a word in

If you're still gloomy about the housing market, you should probably try listening to Barbara Corcoran.

Corcoran visited the Nasdaq to tell Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money crew that homes are now taking 2 months instead of 3 months to sell, and 25% of them are the subject of bidding wars, but the problem is the too-low appraisals, which are "jinxing 1 out of 3 deals in the market today because they're lagging behind the new appraised value."

"Wow," said Melissa Lee.

Lee asked Corcoran what's the best place to put $500,000 if you've got that much to invest in real estate. Corcoran said it's your next-door neighbor, because countless people have been stung trying to buy into the next big thing that they don't really understand, while the territory people know best is that right on their block.

AAPL fans deliver ‘acid’ to Tim Seymour’s borrrrrring Twitter account

Joe Terranova revealed on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he bought 655 puts in AAPL because the price action has to be taken seriously. "Still hold it, you just reduce the weighting size," Terranova said.

Terranova said if the company has a light quarter, "maybe splits the stock."

Tim Seymour, who on Aug. 27 said the Samsung ruling marked a "significant top" in AAPL, a call that quite frankly seemed iffy but hit the jackpot on Monday, said that opinion elicited "the acid that was coming through my Twitter page at me," and like everyone on Fast Money always does, complained that making an Apple stock prediction shouldn't produce so much venom.

(Actually, it's a wonder Tim is able to read his own Twitter page without falling asleep.)

However, if you're planning on iPhone revelations to propel the stock higher, "I think you've set yourself up for major disappointment," Seymour said.

Guy Adami said it may sound like "mumbo jumbo," but the stock is facing a "potential outside week lower," which will undoubtedly drop some acid on his own Twitter page.

Pete Najarian said he would strongly consider adding to AAPL below 660 on Tuesday; "I look at this as a complete opportunity."

Disjointed commentary on LULU is not reconciled by the end of the program

Scott Nations on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money said that NKE is going to be the "beneficiary" as "Lululemon seems to be running of out of gas."

That seemed a bit odd, given the parabolic chart of LULU since August, and got even odder much later in the program when (very good-looking) LULU watcher Erika Maschmeyer affirmed the company's bright outlook.

"They've got a lot of innovation coming, and the product should look really good," Maschmeyer said.

Nations was never offered an opportunity to butt in. But Tim Seymour succeeded in linking Joe Terranova to yoga-wear, prompting Terranova to retort that he got burned mightily in the stock in May, and it's a sore subject.

Pete Najarian made long LULU his Final Trade.

Facebook Hope & Change Trade alive and well, affirmed by Pete Najarian

Joe Terranova said on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that he could hardly think of a reason to buy FB, other than maybe a "new CEO potentially."

Pete Najarian said that what could spur interest is if the company talked about monetization, which "could be in search, could be in ecommerce," and by the way, YHOO could be the next AAPL too if they figure out this monetizing stuff. Pete, downgrading his own strategy, called his FB holdings "more of an investment at this point in time" than a trade.

Terranova noted that PANW had plunged to 62 afterhours; "to me that's a buying opportunity," but by the end of the evening it was a couple bucks higher than that.

Guy Adami said Sprint seems determined, like our general experience at the 17th hole, to not go below 5, and "I think it continues up."

Scott Nations' Final Trade focused on buying LNKD puts. Being short-term bearish, Nations paid $1.55 to put on a September 105/115 put spread, with a stock-price target of 107.

Joe Terranova said there is "no trade" right now in FSLR.

Opinions vary sharply on Chinese economy, but consensus is that the FXI sucks

Guest Christine Short told Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to expect an "earnings slowdown if not a decline."

And, according to a CNBC poll revealed by Melissa Lee, 80% of viewers don't want QE3.

Regardless, Guy Adami once again touted strength in USB, and Pete Najarian hailed the XLF.

Amelia Bourdeau, who always looks great on Fast Money (but couldn't be liking that opening-day loss to the Cowboys, although there's hardly anything to say for the yinz stinking up Mile High Stadium), recommended buying the Aussie at 1.0340.

Scott Nations spied a "giant put purchase" in the FXI, someone buying the November 33s for $1.19.

Nations also said of GMCR, "It's adult swim time in this one."

Tim Seymour's Final Trade was to buy YUM. Guy Adami said long AUY, and Joe Terranova said long NTGR.

A lot of confusion recently over whether Sprint can/should buy somebody else, or be bought

Guest Mike McCormack explained on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report how he came to conclude that Sprint is more likely to be worth $7 than his old price target, $2.50.

McCormack said, "we've actually been one of the bigger bears on the stock," but then in late June they got an update on the Sprint Network Vision progress and found the "Nextel integration process is going on schedule and quite frankly under budget."

He also sees "AT&T and Verizon getting less aggressive on upgrades," and notes that "Sprint's the only carrier out there without a cap to data plan."

So, it's a "turnaround/fundamental story," he said.

Josh Brown questioned the momentum strength of the stock; "I think it's gonna have trouble at 6 bucks," Brown said. Stephanie Link said she'd like it if it pulled back, "maybe 5 or lower."

Stephen Weiss said "I would buy it," and pointed out that when Steve Grasso asked McCormack about whether the integration of Nextel is the sole margin driver and McCormack indicated that S could seek to make a deal but probably not for a while, "he was talking about Sprint buying somebody else," whereas Lee Cooperman said last week the hope is that Sprint is the one getting bought.

Grasso said, "I'm still long the name."

‘Rule No. 1 of short-term trading’

Dan Nathan dialed into Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report to suggest AAPL holders try the weekly 665 puts for $6.

"The higher the stock goes, I think the more risk there is to obviously a pullback," Nathan said.

Stephen Weiss said he's not expecting a big pullback because "I think that expectations are rather muted."

Nathan insisted that when the phone comes out, "I think there's disappointment there."

Steve Grasso, who said he talked to a source known as "Paul" about INTC, said he likes BRCM and QCOM better.

Josh Brown asked, "What does Hewlett Packard do that anyone's interested in?" Stephanie Link said she's skeptical of HPQ given that it's in the "Intel camp" or "Dell camp."

Brown issued a different Rule No. 1 than you hear in "Fight Club" or "Road House," explaining how you need a stop with a name such as P like he bought Friday; "this is rule No. 1 of short-term trading — you don't let a trade turn into an investment ... today the buyers didn't show up."

1,500 ‘all year’

Stephen Weiss had an interesting unqualified assessment of the stock market on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report.

"I think we go higher regardless of what the Fed does, or doesn't do," Weiss said.

Stephanie Link said, "I think you don't fight the Fed."

Steve Grasso said 1,442 S&P remains critical; "we can definitely move to 1,500 if we confirm above that."

Guest Mark Olson wasn't convinced QE3 is a done deal this week. "I would put it at no better than 50-50," he said, before downplaying the effects of it should it even happen; "the only possible impact that it would have would be psychological."

Later, guest Jim Paulsen said he has pegged the S&P 500 at 1,500 "all year," calling that a "reasonable number."

The data, said Paulsen, show "we're exiting from the soft patch here." He said he likes industrials, basics, and "I also still like the financials as well." (So lessee, no mention of tech or coal.)

Judge has a hard time getting Anthony Lazzara to make a call on gold’s price direction

Anthony Lazzara apparently wanted to be on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report to downplay the short-term possibilities of gold.

"It's all about the Fed," he said of the rally, and "I question if it's got legs."

Instead, Lazzara said, "I like the grains, I like soybeans, I like corn ... those are real fundamental rallies."

Judge Wapner, though, wanted more about gold. "Can you take more of a stand?" Wapner asked. Lazzara replied, "Short term I'd say 1,800 ... long term, I think we can see a big gold rally."

Josh Brown said there are 2 camps of gold buyers, one being the people with Europe fears, the other being the "inflationistas," who have been wrong for years.

Stephen Weiss revealed, "I own the UGL."

The Facebook Hope & Change strategy is invoked again with the ‘want’ button

Show-stopping Seema Mody asked the traders to opine about FB on Monday's Fast Money Halftime Report, but this time the traders weren't really biting.

"I don't think there's a lot of risk; I don't think there's a lot of upside," was Stephen Weiss' assessment of the stock.

Josh Brown disagreed with panelists that the company has no hope except to monetize mobile; in fact the "want button" could bring a "whole new line of ecommerce," Brown said.

Meanwhile, regarding GOOG, "at the end of the day, this is an advertising business," Brown said.

Brown said if you're long LULU, "you want it to take a breather here," and that URBN is "overextended."

Stephen Weiss said "I'd stay away" from NAV. But AIG, he said, "I own it and I'm looking to buy more."

Stephanie Link said TIF is "kinda interesting if you see a pullback."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was VLO. Josh Brown said XLV, Stephen Weiss said AIG and Stephanie Link said HAS.

[Friday, September 7, 2012]

Patty’s extended absence:
Producers’ decision

Thankfully we tend to pay scant attention to people's Twitter accounts. But this week we did uncover notable news about a subject that sticks in our craw — the ongoing absence of some of Fast Money's more refreshing personalities.

Patty Edwards told a Twitter admirer that her return to the show "would be up to the producers."

There are a couple others who haven't been seen for too long; we won't overdo that here. As the current rotation — at least on the Halftime Report — continues to grind about the same 5-6 faces into the ground like the Denver Broncos defense on Sunday, let's hope producers see the light again soon and restore some needed punch to the program(s).

Patty, by the way, at least got to take a crack at Pandora on Friday's Closing Bell.

A week after saying he was really starting to like the P story, he still really likes it

Not content to let Josh Brown take a day off, Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report took a call from the Reformed Broker, who spent a couple minutes trying to convince himself he had done the right thing by taking a P buying Pandora.

"I pulled the trigger this morning at about 10.29 a share," Brown said, after identifying "really great risk/reward."

He said the Apple news is significant, but he thinks it's probably overdone, and there's "really no serious resistance here until 12."

He added that he "wouldn't be shocked to see some covering here," and that Amazon might find P very attractive for getting into this space, and even MSFT or GOOG might too, and it's a "very very, low-market-cap situation."

Stephen Weiss said he thinks Amazon "spells trouble for the Microsoft tablets."

Weiss also said of Google, rather half-heartedly, "why not stay with it ... worth taking a look at."

Jon Najarian concurred, saying, "stay with Google rather than get off it." Najarian predicted AAPL would hit 700 "by next Wednesday, next week."

Superfox Seema Mody asked Dr. J to opine about PCLN. Doc cited "huge activity at that 620 call strike" and even 625 as an indicator there might be more to go. Pete Najarian said, "I would actually be involved in this."

We had hoped the QE3 forecasts would end at Jackson Hole, but ...

Judge Wapner opened Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report with a mind-numbing round-robin on QE3 and the jobs data.

Pete Najarian claimed it "absolutely puts QE3 right in front of everybody again."

But Gemma Godfrey, she of the perfect teeth, said that with the machinations in Europe, "It actually makes QE3 less likely."

Steve Liesman settled it, saying, "I think they pull the trigger on this next week."

Liesman said the Fed might opt to "do QE the way it did rate cuts," with "meeting-to-meeting decisions."

He said about all it does is "make things less bad than they otherwise would be."

Anton Schutz implies he planted a question with Gemma Godfrey

A couple parties on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report were quite effusive about the banks.

One contingent was the Najarian crew, I and II, as Jon called the ongoing option interest in banks (both U.S. and European) "huge," and Pete thundering that the XLF is on an "absolute trajectory," and he thinks the coast is clear for JPM.

Later, Anton Schutz said banks are a buy "if you have some patience," and in particular (after thanking Gemma Godfrey for asking) pointed to a "lot of scale to be achieved" by smaller and regional banks, because "the big guys are out of the game" in terms of expansion and being too big to fail.

Schutz told Judge Wapner that among the big banks, the ones probably poised for the biggest bounce are C and BAC, "both in that bucket."

Schutz said M&T's Hudson City deal was great for shareholders of both.

Stephen Weiss said, "I am in AIG."

It wasn't brought up on the show, but official CNBC.com disclosures (snicker) show Dr. J is long CME and CBOE.

Pete swimming against the tide with INTC

Guest Glen Yeung said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that he has been forecasting "the worst 3rd quarter in the history of PCs," and that the "outlook's pretty dire."

He said he likes BRCM.

Gemma Godfrey said "this next quarter could be quite tough" for INTC, but Pete Najarian pushed back against both, suggesting INTC could take mobile growth share from QCOM, and "I would take Intel right now."

Stephen Weiss said it may be boring, but "I'm sticking with Qualcomm," and also dissed INTC; "who cares about Intel Inside anymore."

Jon Najarian pointed to MRVL, BRCM and QCOM being flat or up with INTC down and said the former 3 are names he likes.

Euro ‘tired’

Stephen Weiss said on Friday's Fast Money Halftime Report that his market advice right now is "be long."

Gemma Godfrey said, "We're negative on government bonds from this point."

Boris Schlossberg said the euro is "tired" and said he has concerns because of "the whole QE thing." His trade is long dollar/yen at 79, with a target of 82.

Jon Najarian said of DIS, "I like the stock here."

Stephen Weiss wasn't buying a steel bump in China; they "still have way way too much steel."

Pete Najarian sang of Tevye from "Fiddler on the Roof" (man, can't even remember the plot, that's been a long time). Pete, who's also picking up the slack in the Sports Biz show vacated by Darren Rovell, spoke with Patrick Ewing and assured Fast Money viewers that Patrick after earning gobs of money hasn't like many other jocks gone bankrupt; "he's not one of 'em."

[Thursday, September 6, 2012]

‘Unyielding in my concerns,’ Doug Kass probably spent more time preparing his Thursday televised remarks than Barack Obama did

Doug Kass insisted on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that despite missing the "high in for the year" call recently, he's basically going to be right.

"I remain cautiously pessimistic," Kass said, and "unyielding in my concerns."

Kass said one sober statistic is that the Intrade likelihood of an Obama victory is now at 59%, which he said the markets won't like, while "I suspect it's gonna be a cliffhanger." He said he increased his shorts a bit and added an AVP long.

Keith McCullough undoubtedly had something to say about the presidential election, given his assessment later Thursday of the Obama speech, but was silent on the subject on TV.

Expenditures by Amazon Prime customers apparently doubling every 2 days

(Sigh) It looks like Fast Money guests are going to force this page to keep a scorecard of Amazon Prime assessments.

Gene Munster on Thursday's 5 p.m. program said the "typical Amazon Prime user spends about 6 times as much as a non-Amazon (sic, surely he meant "Prime") user."

That came 2 days after Eric Jackson contended, "Prime customers spend 3 times as much at Amazon as the non-Prime customers."

So, somebody's research is way off.

Munster described the AMZN launch on Thursday as little more than "running in place" for the 100-P.E. Giant, which knows Apple is coming out with a new thing soon in the "brutally competitive" tablet market.

Karen Finerman asked Munster what the secret sauce is for getting a 100 P.E. and wanted assurances it can't be the Kindle. Munster said it's the expectation that online shopping is going from 7% now to 20-30%.

Munster agreed with Josh Brown's assessment that the tax-collection situation represents an "Amazon fiscal cliff," but indicated the fallout from that isn't so bad.

Munster said as far as new AMZN products, "the phone probably comes at a certain point." As for the stock, "next 12 months I think it goes higher."

Keith McCullough: CEO ‘could be a little bit clueless’

Mel Lee and Karen Finerman on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money compared notes on PAY chief Doug Bergeron — specifically Bergeron's insistence in his interview with Lee that he's got nothing to be ashamed about.

"He has nothing to be ashamed about," Finerman said, almost mockingly, but pointed out a host of headwinds, including growth rate coming down, and the fact Bergeron "wouldn't even say Square on the conference call."

However, Finerman allowed, "valuation doesn't seem wildly off here."

Josh Brown, who once hailed this stock like nobody's business during the spring, warned, "There are really no buyers if this thing breaks 30 ... this could be 25 very quickly."

Keith McCullough took that down even another notch. "It's just weird, I mean at the end of the day," McCullough said, Bergeron might be "tone deaf ... there's macro going on too ... this guy could be a little bit clueless here," and if you own this thing, "you could go to 20."

Karen: ‘Felt kind of frothy’

The traders on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money certainly weren't swept away by market euphoria.

Josh Brown said he did a "little bit of trimming" while hailing the strength of the XLV. But he said the "really harsh reversal in oil" is a troubling sign, and said "the jobs number tomorrow could negate everything."

Jon Najarian pointed out there was "clearly a lot of turnover in the leveraged ETFs."

Karen Finerman wrung her hands and said, "I don't know what to make of the whole thing ... I'm a little bit skeptical," and that the market "felt kind of frothy."

Keith McCullough said that "what Karen said is right on the point," and that he's staying with names such as NKE and LVS.

But McCullough said the S&P has been in a 1,395-to-1,419 range, and with this breakout, "short sellers like me are playing defense ... you've gotta manage the risk of the range."

Mike Khouw said in this environment he'd prefer to sell the no-growth or low-growth safety names such as WMT and PG.

It’s a global world

Some honcho at Fast Money evidently thought it would be constructive to bring in Gary Wedbush to opine about the stock market on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

It was bad enough that Wedbush was 1) on about a 3-second time delay, and 2) apparently seated in the dead space of the Wedbush office where the extra desks and computers pile up. To compound it, he spoke almost like one of those vinyl 45 records being played at 33, conceding that "nothing much has changed" overnight in the markets, except "the U.S. economy is in a recovery ... the market today is finally recognizing that."

"Finally recognizing" just today? Seriously?

Keith McCullough questioned how Wedbush can point to recovery when GDP a while ago was 4 and now it's 1.7%. Wedbush said he's taking a "longer-term view" (which apparently was just recognized by the stock market Thursday) and that he's referring to the "upward trend" that is "intact."

"It's Karen let me ask you something," said Karen Finerman, who helpfully pointed out "we're a global world (sic) more now than we've ever been," and don't global growth concerns factor into Wedbush's assessment of stocks. Wedbush said the U.S. is relatively far more attractive than anywhere else in the world.

McCullough, summarizing the Wedbush segment, said, "First of all you gotta get the facts straight ... growth, I mean at the end of the day, is what it is."

Buyer of BAC calls doesn’t believe the old Steve Cortes ‘Eight is Enough’ theory

Jon Najarian reported on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that there was a buyer of a "huge call spread" in BAC. "Somebody wants to own Bank America (sic) at 9, and they sold the upside calls at 10."

Karen Finerman had the line of the day, saying she's been in BAC "forever," probably since it was "NationsBank," and someday it'll pay off.

Mike Khouw said he identified some sellers of MS September 17 calls.

Khouw said WCRX fell because there's a "lot of stock for sale here."

Money in Motion fox Rebecca Patterson said Europe should "enjoy it while it lasts." Her trade is long the Aussie vs. the yen, "roughly around current levels."

Jeff Kilburg says president spoke already knowing the jobless number

Jeff Kilburg on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money asserted that the president is in cahoots with the Labor Department.

"Certainly he knows the non-farm, uh, payroll number tomorrow, and I'd like to know that," Kilburg said.

Well, Joe LaVorgna always knows it ahead of time. Why not just ask him?

Kilburg reiterated his bullish view of gold; "I think it's got more room to run here." He added, "There's more room to run in silver," allowed that it's "not for the faint of heart," and everyone knows the old saw about how Dennis Gartman is too old to be trading silver.

Josh Brown said of CVX, there's "nothing not to like about this stock." Karen Finerman said of SHLD; "this one is just too hard to play."

Brown praised LULU with caution; "I'm long the stock; I would not be a buyer here though." Keith McCullough said owning FDX is "like playing jack-in-the-box."

Guy Adami, not on the show Thursday, was rightly given serious props for an utterly blockbuster call on SWHC that likely is on our top 10 list for the year. Jon Najarian said election forecasts are "part of the reason" for that SWHC demand.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was TJX collars. Keith McCullough said to sell SPLS, Josh Brown said buy RAX (at least if you're a long-term investor), Karen Finerman said to sell WMT upside calls, and Jon Najarian said to buy PXP calls.

Lee Cooperman: ‘Bubble’
in U.S. government bonds

Lee Cooperman joined Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report for a refreshing — if stock-picking-free — session about stocks, politics and the economy, and proceeded to use the term "bubble" in regard to bonds.

"I wanna be out of U.S. government bonds," Cooperman said.

Coop did tout a couple specific names, one of them AAPL of course (nothing said about RIMM), and another being KFN, for which he said "the dividend is very secure, and in fact we'd expect it to grow."

Cooperman also fielded a question from Jon Najarian about KMI, which Cooperman said continues to have great return prospects, but "if the president has his way, and they triple the tax on dividends..."

100-point Mitt

Lee Cooperman, who in the last 12 months has been a bit more shy about trumpeting his support of Mitt Romney than he was on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, explained the market's reaction to politics in numerical terms.

"I think a Romney victory would put the market above the range where we are at presently," which he said is basically a 1,400 S&P baseline, predicting that a Romney win would tack on 100 points from that level, and an Obama win would drop it "50," though the screen text said "15."

"My issue with the president frankly is his divisive dialogue, trying to pit the 99% against the 1%," Cooperman said, explaining that while Barack Obama inherited a tough situation, "I think he made it worse, rather than better."

In probably the first time we've ever heard the term "abortion" on Fast Money, Cooperman conceded that it's tricky to even discuss politics, "that's about as difficult as talking about abortion."

The hope & change argument for Facebook is alive and well

Lee Cooperman said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the last time he was at Englewood Cliffs, it was Facebook IPO day, and he thought it was "priced like a beautiful woman without a blemish."

Since we're talking about beautiful women without blemishes, let's try, oh, why not Anne Hathaway for today's photo gallery.

Later, guest Miles Nadal took up the Facebook story, explaining that the last time he too was on the CNBC set, it was Facebook IPO day and he, like Cooperman, realized that "at 100 times EBITDA, it didn't make sense."

Nadal insisted to Judge Wapner that Facebook is "absolutely good for advertisers," and then plunged whole hog into the Hope Trade, saying, "There are 950 million users of Facebook ... it is a mass audience success story ... its importance isn't declining."

Nadal said being able to quantify advertising these days is working, there's a "bigger shift of ad dollars to digital."

JCP a ‘value play’

Stephanie Link, in a bit of an eye-opener on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, called JCP a "value play" in the retail space (as opposed to financial-engineering play SHLD).

Kate Kelly reported that Moore Global and Brevan Howard were flat for August, while Tudor BVI Global had a good month, and Maverick's up 20% YTD and Greenlight is up 11% for the year.

Guest Bill Mack, a real estate expert, said "I think the recovery has started," but then used terms like "tepid ... spotty ... uneven."

"The best investments I believe today," Mack said, are "probably those in multi-family rental housing."

Guest Stacy Asher, who is cute, trumpeted Portfolios with Purpose, a charity game for stock-picking (if only our losses went to charity instead of HFT), saying "anybody can play," and in fact, Lee Cooperman, David Einhorn, Dan Loeb and Karen Finerman are signed up to do so.

Dr. J: We’re going higher

Leon Cooperman said on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Europe hasn't exactly solved things, but they were able to "kick the can down the road."

However, Coop wasn't pounding the table for stocks, saying, "We think the market's in a zone of fair valuation."

Jon Najarian on the other hand sees a new leg up, "I think it does" go higher, and pointed out that he called the Thursday selloff a great opportunity to buy.

Stephanie Link said now Draghi moves off the "front page" for a bit, and meanwhile, she/Cramer are "adding to our cyclicals."

Panelist Enis Taner, who didn't get much of a crack at commentary, said central banks are capable of preventing a big crisis but aren't experts in driving growth.

HPQ, DELL, NOK and RIMM are also into ‘no-profit hardware,’ so where is their 100 multiple?

Jon Fortt delivered news about Amazon's new Kindle Fire on Thursday's Fast Money Halftime Report, but concluded by pointing out that Amazon specializes in "no-profit hardware."

Enis Taner said AMZN is a "very hopey trade" and that he prefers AAPL and GOOG.

Leon Cooperman, whose goal apparently was to mention at least half a dozen of his employees, explained that his firm is a "value-based investor" shop, and for a bunch of metrics he likes AAPL, which is "3% of our portfolio."

Judge Wapner asked Cooperman about an AAPL split. Coop described that as, "You give me your $5 bill and I give you 5 singles."

Cooperman said he has owned S because "we think it's a consolidation candidate." Stephanie Link said she's iffy on the stock because "I think it's gotta consolidate for a little while," and then asked Cooperman if Sprint would be a buyer or the buyee. Cooperman said he certainly hopes it's the buyee.

[Wednesday, September 5, 2012]

50 for iron ore

For those who snicker took Dennis Gartman's recent bull call on the steelmakers seriously, Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money brought Gordon Johnson to douse the enthusiasm.

Eloquent as always, Johnson posited that there's a "ton of supply" in iron ore, no longer controlled by just a few players, coming on the market, and the Chinese are already overbuilt; "We think iron ore prices are headed to 70, probably on their way to 50, 70 by the end of this year."

Johnson said analysts are missing the hit this should provide to RIO, and that U.S. Steel is locked into higher prices and "will get hit exponentially."

Guy Adami pointed out how Johnson crushed First Solar and warned, "don't bet against him and buy 'em here."

Stephen Weiss said he could go along with the 50 number and later said of VALE, "it's not the bottom ... I'm still short."

‘Storm on the upside’

Guy Adami, in his opening thesis on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, said markets are in the "calm before the storm, and the storm could happen on the upside," before the world starts coming to an end.

Adami found a sympathetic ear in guest Adam Parker, who once again argued that 2013 earnings estimates are too high without divulging many specific reasons why (it's kinda like one of those "Phil Simms is a great quarterback/Phil Simms is not a great quarterback" types of arguments) but agreed with Adami that stocks could spike in the near term; "it's margins for 2013 that are the problem."

Stephanie Link, who said she/Cramer would "tilt toward the cyclicals" on the upcoming Draghi whatever, was also expressing bullish sentiment, and Stephen Weiss said, "I do agree" on that.

The options crew, Dan Nathan and Mike Khouw, weren't so sure, with Nathan pointing to the U.S. stocks' divergence with Shanghai recently, and Khouw arguing that a "lot of names that I think are stretched here."

It starts with Tim Seymour’s plain-pocket jeans

Guest Bryan Gildenberg didn't shy away on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money from rattling off a lot of professional industry corp-speak about the mid-market/mass-merchant-mall-multilevel retailers (or whatever the heck he described JCPenney as) but was one of the few Fast Money personalities to actually say the issue with JCP comes down to "what Penney's actually sells and how they actually sell it."

According to screen text, Gildenberg likes JWN and KSS. He said AMZN isn't really a back-to-school play but that brick-and-mortar had a good back-to-school season, in fact "Wal-Mart did extremely well."

He's skeptical of JCP and even sees headwinds for M, but he likes FDO and CVS (this writer is long CVS).

Mike Khouw reported someone selling near-dated calls in JCP and buying longer-dated, while someone was buying put trees in FDO.

Guy Adami noted that RSH was his pick months ago in Brian Sullivan's "stock draft."

There apparently are also the high 55s, and the low 55s

Guy Adami said on Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that PAY is in the middle of a "washout," and predicted a "pretty huge trading opportunity I think by Friday morning."

At least he didn't predict a washout in NOK (see below).

Adami invoked one of the oldest Fast Money lines in existence (no, not Freeport McMoran "stole Phelps Dodge"), saying AMD exists to prevent Intel from being a monopoly, and there's "zero reason to buy AMD here."

Stephen Weiss said he wouldn't buy GS at this level but wouldn't sell it either. Dan Nathan said YELP is rising on "high short interest." Stephanie Link said AXP was a victim Wednesday of rotation, then said she likes the stock at the "mid-55 level" (sic).

Dan Nathan called AAPL "way overowned."

Happy birthday, Mike Khouw

Anthony Scaramucci dialed into Wednesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money to report on how much better Mitt Romney's convention was than Barack Obama's utterly pointless convention the troubled times of long-short hedge funds.

But Scaramucci said hedge funds are moving into no-lending areas abandoned by the banks, and the macro situation is getting better.

He said he spoke with an unnamed university endowment manager who plans to be "reining back long-short equity."

Dan Nathan recommended a highly exciting put spread in PG. Stephanie Link countered that either the CEO's plan must work, or he'll be ousted, and the stock goes higher in either scenario.

Mike Khouw, who viewers learned was celebrating a birthday, said Sprint "looks a little bit stretched."

Stephanie Link said, "I think FedEx is a buy." Khouw said someone paying a "$1.75 net debit" bought April 67.50 puts in UPS financed by the sale of 80 calls, able to capture the dividend until then.

Khouw's Final Trade was to overwrite MSFT. Dan Nathan said sell PG, Guy Adami said buy SWHC, Stephanie Link said buy IBM and Stephen Weiss said buy UGL.

Melissa Lee hit the trifecta in 1) her cute white top, 2) showing her cute official picture from CNBC.com, and 3) her cute reaction to the story about the Russian guy faking his death to test the devotion of his fiancee, who still said yes, while "I would say no." (Sigh) This page has done the how-to-get-Mel-married routine before; good things sometimes take time.

Barry Bannister utterly fails to answer Steve Grasso’s good question

Barry Bannister, billed on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report as maybe the Most Bullish on the Street for his 1,600 S&P call, wasn't nearly as eager to assess the metrics behind that number as the Fast Money panelists were.

About the only specifics Bannister would cough up were that he likes financials, energy and materials — likening financials to energy of the early '80s — and would favor lower P.E. names.

But when Steve Grasso asked how China's economy factors into an S&P of 1,600, Bannister could only say that the U.S. hit a bottom 3 years ago, and so China is 3 years behind us.

Oh, and when Simon Baker asked an equally good related question about what the driver to 1,600 would be, Bannister said we need "clarity on the policy side."

Pete Najarian insisted JPM and WFC "remain very cheap," but he's more inclined to pick 1,500 than 1,600 as the S&P target.

Simon Baker conceded that the 1,600 level is "not too silly."

Wouldn’t they rather just buy their stuff directly from Amazon.com?

The Fast Money gang on Wednesday's Halftime Report once again expressed the hope and change mantra — not of Barack Obama, but Facebook stock.

Only this time the head cheerleader was FB investor Robert Peck, who insisted "the platform's working," and if only they could turn all those searches into money, it's pure profit.

Then he said that if only they could get just 2% of their users who are logged in all day to buy something in the Amazon store through Facebook, there's another billion of cut.

Rightly skeptical, Judge Wapner wondered why the shares haven't reflected this optimism. "It's a show-me story," Peck conceded, asserting that the market will clamor for the shares once there's "an inflection in the growth rate," and so for now, it's a "tremendous opportunity, we think they'll execute again."

Jon Najarian, wishing Mark Zuckerberg would say great things about the company that obviously aren't true, stuck to the corporate silence line, saying, "Zuckerberg's been a lot like Charlie Chaplin," and the fact Mark is holding on for a year is the "single bit of good news" in the company for months.

Peck cheerily said Zuck will be speaking at a TechCrunch conference, which Judge Wapner humorously called "a day late and, uh, $19 short, isn't it," and then had to explain that.

Simon Baker gave the Brian Kelly put-it-in-a-drawer tiresome refrain a half-hearted endorsement with new terminology, saying if you put FB shares in your IRA until you retire, it "might be higher."

Yet another China-cratering conversation without Steve Cortes taking part

China critic Gordon Chang took a seat at the table for Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report and immediately took a dis from Judge Wapner's intro, where Judge said Chang has been "so bearish for so long" that he's basically been wrong about the China collapse.

Undaunted, Chang said to look at "production of electricity" — there's always a different all-important China metric with different China watchers — as proof that the Chinese economy can't have growth over 0%, and also if you look at manufacturing surveys and price indices, "they suggest zero growth."

And then there are the "mountains of copper."

Chang sort of had an answer for everything, insisting, "The wheels are coming off the Chinese economy," and "we're not at the bottom yet." He said it's trouble for companies such as CAT; "I think they're in real trouble."

Steve Liesman, like Barry Bannister, fails to give a straight answer to Steve Grasso’s good question

Simon Baker couldn't resist uncorking a Brag Trade on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying of YELP, "We bought it at 18 back on the 28th."

Jon Najarian said, "Great call by Simon by the way."

Pete Najarian said the "115 weekly calls were extremely active" in LNKD.

Jon Najarian said someone was buying "call stupids" in S, and Steve Grasso claimed AMZN has a "whole potpourri of an ecosystem."

Steve Grasso asked Steve Liesman if QE has helped lower the jobless rate. Liesman's (non-)answer was, "We did bring down the unemployment rate by 1.7 percentage points ... that did coincide with a time of quantitative easing in the economy."

And who does he mean by "we"?

Liesman said the problem he sees with QE is "diminishing returns."

Seema Mody once again stops viewers in their tracks with eyebrow-raise

Pete Najarian said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that MSFT has the "cool factor" going for it now.

Simon Baker though doesn't think anything can save NOK; "the game's over, personally."

Jon Najarian said there was a "155 million share turnover today" in NOK, if you're looking for the "washout," ignoring the fact people are always spotting "washout" days in cratering stocks such as NOK, NFLX, GMCR, etc., that just keep getting washout-ier.

Judge welcomed superfox Seema Mody to Wednesday's Halftime, to report on positive NOK comments on Twitter. The picture above catches her at the height of her gorgeous expression; unfortunately you have to see the video to get the full effect, so apologies for a still photo that looks a bit goofy, but you get the point.

Najarians bullish; others not so much

For weeks the stock market seems to be stalled, but Pete Najarian is unfazed.

"I continue to be bullish," Najarian said on Wednesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, partly because of VIX indications that people have protection, and also because we "continue to see the financials trade very very nicely."

Not surprisingly, Jon Najarian agreed. "I think we continue to trade higher," Dr. J said, explaining he "scalped in and out of Goldman today" and is looking at Apple plays such as Sprint, where there was a "lot of activity again today."

On the other hand, Simon Baker was recommending people "be careful ... this is a trader's market," and said he likes the metals.

Steve Grasso also hovered around the bearish camp, saying we're either headed to 1,361 or 1,442.

Pete Najarian said the message from the FDX warning is, "Keep an eye on the price of oil," but meanwhile, he thinks there was "opportunity in a name like FedEx" and he didn't snap it up early enough Wednesday.

In the NFL, there are
7 quarterbacks who matter*

Football fans who watch Fast Money got a treat on Wednesday's Halftime Report when Judge Wapner asked "2 former NFL players" — Pete and Jon Najarian — to pick the winner of Wednesday's game, and February's Super Bowl.

(Which forces this page to state the obligatory qualifier that Dr. J's pro football career — according to what he described in one of his books, excerpts of which can be found on the Web — amounted to a training camp stint with the Bears that ended in a preseason cut ... which is, as we always point out, a phenomenal sporting achievement in life nonetheless, to just be invited to an NFL training camp ... but does not constitute an NFL career by any standard except perhaps that of amateur fans such as Judge Wapner and the people who do CNBC graphics.)

Anyway, both picked the Giants (oops; this review was posted after the game), which would be expected, and then Pete chose the Packers as Super Bowl champs, while Jon said, "I like the Niners ... Harbaugh is the real deal."

Jim Harbaugh no question can coach. Unfortunately Alex Smith can't win playoff football games, despite Najarian's claim that he'll lead the 49ers to the top.

There are 7 NFL quarterbacks who matter, and you can put them in any order you like: Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Manning I, Manning II and Rivers.

Now, we have to add an asterisk (*) to that statement, because that list applies to the end of last season. It's possible a couple others — say, Newton, Ryan, Stafford, Dalton, Luck, Griffin — could be on that list as soon as this year ... or maybe never at all.

Basically, if you don't have one of those 7, the only way you're winning a Super Bowl is with a 2000 Ravens or 2002 Buccaneers defense, which nobody really has.

Pete Najarian called the Seahawks his "sleeper" team, which was fair enough; Jon Najarian in an utter howler picked last year's AFC title game participant, Baltimore, as a "sleeper."

Steve Grasso's Final Trade was AMZN. Jon Najarian said GFI, Simon Baker said UA and Pete Najarian said MRK.

[Tuesday, September 4, 2012]

CNBCfix.com 2012 Football Preview: No Super Bowl champion since 2004 has won a playoff game the following season

There's nothing this site prefers to talk about more than football — not even stocks or Seema Mody (scratch that) — and with another season starting up, we've been contemplating a bunch of things to post, but quite frankly, a Wednesday morning, days before nearly all the games kick off, doesn't seem like quite the right time.

For now, let's point out one of football's most troubling trends: Playing in the Super Bowl the previous year is a good way to ruin a season.

Not since the 2005 New England Patriots, a year after winning Super Bowl 39, defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in a wild-card game has a defending Super Bowl champion even won a playoff game.

The Super Bowl stigma always used to be attached to the loser. In fact, the Cardinals of 2009 and the Seahawks of 2006 did win wild-card playoff games — barely — but that stigma remains largely accurate, as only 3 others in the last 20 years (1992 Buffalo, 1995 Pittsburgh and 1996 New England) won a playoff game a year after a Super Bowl loss, and the latter 2 were weak wild-card-and-out seasons.

Only 2 teams in 20 years have lost a Super Bowl and made any noise the next year: Buffalo in 1993, who just went back and lost another embarrassing Super Bowl to Dallas, and the 2000 Tennessee Titans, whose brilliant 13-3 campaign was smashed by the Baltimore Raven juggernaut.

So if you're a Patriot fan, keep your expectations low.

Do the same if you're a Giant fan. The Big Blue of 2011 are certainly part of the "worst Super Bowl champion of all time" conversation, a flawed team likely 1 iffy play away in 3 important games from being knocked out (the Tony Romo overthrow in Dallas, the non-fumble call in San Francisco, the Welker drop). They still put together an incredibly clutch playoff run, but the odds of sustaining that through another season are remote.

Quite frankly, we're having trouble getting pumped for the opener. Wednesday is most certainly not Football Night in America.

Keith McCullough was right;
Facebook is just going lower

Back on Thursday, Aug. 16, when FB closed at $19.87, Keith McCullough nonchalantly told Judge Wapner on the Fast Money Halftime Report that the shares would "go lower, I don't know what else you'd say about that," and proved that by answering "Yeah, why not," to the follow-up question.

Judge complained that McCullough was "being a little bit flip about it."

What was Keith supposed to do? Deliver soaring hope and change like the rest of the Fast Money gang (sigh) did once again on Tuesday, about how if only the company can monetize this or monetize that, it'll be so aweome?

$18 might be a dream price when Zuck finally unloads

Facebook has some issues with its early owners unloading shares.

And aside from that, "The fundamentals really have deteriorated at Facebook in the last several months," according to paid blogger Henry Blodget on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money.

Blodget downplayed the impact of FB insiders and CEO hanging onto their stock for a while, calling it a "slight positive change at the margin."

Evidently, working for Facebook is a good deal, because, "Now what they're gonna do is pay the tax bill out of their own cash, so, cash is gonna leave the company in order to pay this tax bill," Blodget said.

Karen Finerman said, "Henry it's Karen let me ask you something," which was whether the stock decline would be a factor in employees leaving the company over compensation reasons. Blodget said the stock is still worth something, even if it's a lot less than a few months ago.

Blodget told Pete Najarian, who's hoping against hope to break even on this disastrous buy, asked if FB isn't set to make up ground in the monetization department. Blodget said the company could get a boost from sponsored stories, "if that really takes off," but don't get too excited, because "that's still very baked into the stock price."

Steve Grasso said the stock's price action isn't really about the lockup, though that matters; "it's about the monetization of mobile," and if you snicker actually want to buy this stock, you're "shooting against" a level of $17.55.

‘Way too much optimism’

Mark Hulbert argued on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that there actually isn't too much pessimism in the markets, but in fact "way too much optimism."

That prompted Brian Kelly, who said plenty of people he talks to are bearish, to wonder if Hulbert isn't dealing with a "subset" of people who are permabulls.

Hulbert said that's not the case, these are the same people who "picked the bottom of the, of the, correction on early June," which doesn't sound like it disqualifies them as permabulls, but whatever.

Hulbert said that while people talk about rampant pessimism, "I'm just not seeing that," and so he projects a "short-term pullback ahead of us," though he said that markets up through Labor Day tend to finish the calendar year higher.

If you can remember what you were reading on CNBC.com a year ago, you need to get a life

Steve Grasso said on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that with all the things for the markets to worry about, "Draghi is the No. 1 issue," but that investors are getting "tired of waiting" for European progress.

Grasso said there are still buyers in this market, but the "conviction amongst the buy side is not there."

Brian Kelly assured, "We'll know in the next 8 days what's going to happen here."

Karen Finerman made a rather emphatic case for buying puts, perhaps for viewers who earlier heard tough guy Stephen Weiss assert that he takes short positions not as hedges but to make money.

Mike Khouw said he'd rather buy puts in SPY for protection than in individual stocks.

Guest host Brian Sullivan patted himself on the back based on a New York Times article Tuesday; "a year ago I wrote a piece on CNBC.com that Spanish banks were the biggest fear that I had."

Amelia Bourdeau, who basically always looks good on Fast Money, predicted that Draghi's speech would be a "large disappointment to the market," and so her trade is to short the Aussie at 102.65 vs. the dollar in anticipation of a move to parity.

Guest basically tells Steve Grasso his short is infallible

Brad Lamensdorf, becoming a semi-regular on Fast Money, told Tuesday's 5 p.m. panel that his top short ideas right now are TIF, COH and FOSL.

TIF has a big "inventory issue," said Lamensdorf, who suggested it paid high prices for its precious metals and also faces Asian/European headwinds.

Then he said he's negative on COH for the "same reasons," although we're not aware of Coach selling golden purses, but maybe it does.

Likewise, Lamensdorf said that at FOSL, "inventories are sky-high."

Karen Finerman pushed back on TIF, saying gold isn't too far off its high and the company's P.E. is historically low. Lamensdorf countered that it's only a low P.E. "if they come in with their earnings," and said the stock could fall 20-25%. Finerman said it has 9% short interest.

Steve Grasso, who clearly did his homework on this one, said he looked up the "seasonality issue" and found that over the last 10 years, TIF and COH in October are up on average 7½%. So then he asked Lamensdorf what his stop-out exit strategy would be if the stocks are strong. Lamensdorf said that based on recent trading, "there's no reason for us to be concerned."

Mike Khouw said, "I like put spreads in Tiffany."

Brian Kelly said, "YUM I think is vulnerable here."

Dennis Gartman’s a gold bull, but he’s not a gold bug, he doesn’t think the world’s coming to an end, etc.

Dennis Gartman told Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money panel that gold's strength "is really quite impressive," and explained it's going up now because "confusion politically breeds bids for gold- for the gold market."

And, if you're afraid you've got to buy it strictly in yen terms, know that "gold's going up in all currency terms at this point."

Steve Grasso called Gartman a "terrible tipper."

Pete Najarian thundered about call-buying in SLV on Aug. 3 and Aug. 23, then explained that "Today, 4 to 1 calls trading." Mike Khouw identified someone buying the October 105 calls in GOLD for $2.92, which the screen pointed out is a bet that GOLD is above $107.92 by expiration, in case you couldn't figure that out.

Lessee ... NFL opener,
vs. Elizabeth Warren

Ed Mills provided more entertainment than probably even the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders would (if the game were in Dallas) when claiming on Tuesday's 5 p.m. Fast Money that banks were taking to take a verbal beating this week from the Democratic convention, including the "keynote" speech Wednesday night from Elizabeth Warren.

As Mitt Romney might say, that's worth a few guffaws.

On the one hand, Mills predicted, "if Obama's re-elected, I think there's a real chance we go over the fiscal cliff."

And on the other hand, Mills said he expects "some relief in the bank names" if Obama wins.

Steve Grasso declared, "I am a Republican."

Steve Grasso said the FedEx announcement is just one of many from companies that figure to take the S&P into the mid-1,300s, and then there are "political issues" that can take it even lower.

But even Grasso argued that his personal favorite, AMZN, while perhaps affected by the FDX report, does so many other things, you "can't really isolate this" as an AMZN trade.

And Pete Najarian argued that "individual names" still work, such as COP.

Pete went out of his way to take a risk in his top Fantasy Football players list, which featured Cam Newton, Calvin Johnson and Arian Foster.

But in the surprise-player category, Najarian touted Russell Wilson — by far the most eloquent NFL draft pick of 2012 who was interviewed on TV — as one who's "gonna have a huge year this year," and also David Wilson and Eric Decker.

Mike Khouw's Final Trade was long BA; Brian Kelly's was to short BA. Steve Grasso said P, Karen Finerman said FL, and Pete Najarian said MRX.

Guest wants to take
Stephen Weiss back to high school to study definition of ‘contracting’

Guest Stephen Roach had no idea what he was getting into when he said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that China has "slowed to 7.6%."

Roach shrugged it off as "half the down shift" from the peak growth. "I think we're near the bottom of China ... when they have a problem, they use investment."

That prompted Stephen Weiss to ask how Roach could have such a sense of "comfort," given that "they're a contracting economy right now."

Roach bristled, "Wait a second, wait a second, you get- you're, you're saying the economy's contracting, and it's growing 7.6%."

"Yes," Weiss said, amid the talking-over-each-other.

"I don't get the, I don't- I don't get the way you, you measure contraction in a positive 7.6% growth," Roach said.

"You just said it was down 4 points on GDP," Weiss said.

"That's not contracting ... let's go back to high school to figure out that when you have plus 7.6, that's growth, that's not a contraction," Roach fumed.

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera tried to play peacemaker, suggesting that it seems like a contraction when growth has been so high, but Weiss wouldn't let her finish but went right back to Roach.

"Hold on, hold on," Weiss said, "let's not make this a semantic argument, OK. The data is declining, it's been declining dramatically..."

Roach finished it off by acknowledging a "weakening" but calling it a "controlled weakening."

$79 a year, free 2-day shipping

Guest Eric Jackson said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the Amazon-Epix deal is a plus for promoting Amazon Prime, because "Prime customers spend 3 times as much at Amazon as the non-Prime customers."

Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera slipped a bit here, failing to explain what Amazon Prime actually is. According to Amazon's site — it's not like we walked into a physical store — it's $79 a year to get free 2-day shipping, with no minimum $25 order.

Take it, or leave it.

Jackson said there's a "lot of Hollywood love in the announcement" with Epix, and Amazon's "titles just doubled."

Meanwhile, the outsized drop in NFLX is due to "the exclusivity is going away for Netflix."

Jackson said you can still own AMZN into Thursday's announcement, but "on the news, you sell it."

Guy Adami said to watch out if AMZN closes below Friday's low; "I think you're in the deep end of the pool here." Mike Murphy basically concurred, "Stay away from this, I think you can sell the news."

Kilburg: $1,934 on horizon

Jeff Kilburg said on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that the tailwind for gold is strong.

As strong as 1,934.

"At the end of the day, there's a lot of pressure on Draghi" to do something that would propel gold, Kilburg said, pointing to the high of a year ago in September and saying, "Technically, we wanna go test that."

Guy Adami said one of these days we're gonna wake up and find gold north of 2,000.

Adami also suggested people are playing the "historical ratio" for silver as it relates to gold, which Adami said is about 15-1, though he's not saying it's going to reach that again now.

Mike Murphy said, "Gold wants to go a lot higher."

Apple TV: ‘Really expensive remote’?

Jon Fortt delivered breaking news on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report that Apple sent out a really cool Sept. 12 notice about "5."

Joe Terranova said his recent call on NXPI was "horrifically wrong," although he hasn't touted it for a while.

Later superfox Seema Mody — who did an eyebrow-raise at the end of her report that will stop you in your tracks — revealed Twitterers who like AAPL. Guest host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera said that brings out the contrarian in her, that everyone likes Apple, and that her guess for the Apple TV device is that it's a "really expensive TV remote control."

Weiss no longer bullish

Stephen Weiss admitted on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report he "had been somewhat bullish" recently (clarification: he was more than "somewhat"), but now that Draghi is talking about short-dated bonds, "I'm getting more worried." He said to "stay with yield ... and be short global growth."

Joe Terranova cautioned, "It is a hold moment." Mike Murphy advised, "Stay long," and said this is a "great opportunity to buy options," as he did in weeklies for SDS "for next to nothing."

Willie Williams recommended buying the dollar vs. Swedish krona at 6.70, with a target of 7.10.

Joe Terranova said he's not buying IBM, but said generally the stock does well when it launches new mainframes (do those still exist?). Michelle Caruso-Cabrera asked Terranova if he and Guy Adami had a "tanning contest" over the weekend.

Rick Rieder failed to make weekend golf round (apparently)

Guy Adami sort of mocked Gene Munster's $41 FB target on Tuesday's Fast Money Halftime Report, saying there's "absolutely zero reason to date to buy it," and while he wouldn't necessarily short it, "stay away at best."

Guest Rick Rieder said to expect low yields for 3-4 years, but that there's opportunity in commercial mortgage-backed, emerging markets and non-agency mortgages.

Rieder said he's dabbled in front end Spanish debt, but there's "no way that this is gonna be a straight-line process."

Stephen Weiss uttered the most important line of the day, that he didn't see Rieder at the golf course, but at least that means Weiss got at least 1 round in, and hopefully didn't reach the BAC price on holes 2 and 5 like CNBCfix HQ did on Friday and Saturday.

Mike Murphy warned, "I think Halliburton's breaking down here," while Joe Terranova said you can buy it around $26-$27, which would be quite a fall from here.

Mike Murphy said to "take a little nibble, perhaps." But Murphy said financials are appealing, "I think there is upside in a lot of them," and he likes the MS upgrade. Stephen Weiss wasn't convinced but said he would buy GS of the group, "still the top performing bank in the business."

Murphy's Final Trade was JCI. Guy Adami said PAAS, Stephen Weiss said VZ and Joe Terranova said JNPR.

That’s one valuable chair

Always alert for pop-culture gold, this site started wondering over the weekend what price tag the Clint Eastwood chair would fetch in an auction.

Keep in mind this is an extremely rare one-of-a-kind political artifact (ask yourself if there's anything you would actually buy from the 2008 or 2004 presidential campaigns, other than, say, Joe The Plumber's T-shirt from when he shook Barack Obama's hand) of serious interest to Hollywood collectors as well.

So we asked The Official CNBCfix.com Memorabilia Consultant, an amateur but still a giant in this type of field, if Clint's chair could bring $100,000, and his response was, "probably a lot more," given that bigwig Republican donors such as Sheldon Adelson, etc., would probably be happy to bid on it and preserve it as a conversation piece in their living rooms.

In other words, it's worth at a minimum a fistful of dollars, and could be a million-dollar baby.

Which begs the question, who actually owns the chair, and where the heck is it?

If it's presently stacked up with thousands of others at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, then someone should be unforgiven.

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Movie of the week

♦ Bonnie and Clyde
♦ Rain Man
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CNBC/cable TV
star bios

♦ Jim Cramer
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♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
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♦ Jeff Macke
♦ Pete Najarian
♦ Jon Najarian
♦ Tim Seymour
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♦ Becky Quick
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♦ Nicole Lapin
♦ John Harwood
♦ Steve Liesman
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♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

♦ Bill Gross
♦ Dennis Gartman
♦ Diane Swonk
♦ Meredith Whitney
♦ Richard X. Bove
♦ Arthur Laffer
♦ Jared Bernstein
♦ Doug Kass
♦ David Malpass
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♦ Steve Moore
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♦ Joe LaVorgna
♦ A. Gary Shilling
♦ Joe Battipaglia
♦ Addison Armstrong
♦ Jack Bouroudjian
♦ Stefan Abrams
♦ Warren Buffett