CNBC graphics crew thinks CSCO is trading at all-time high


Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime declared, "Cisco is doing everything right."

Pete hailed that CSCO "cumulatively" (he struggled with that word) has bought back more than $100 billion of stock at an average $21 price.

Josh Brown offered "2 minor things," one being that the screen text proclaiming "new all-time high" for CSCO was wrong (yup, but he didn't mention the redundant "new") and that the buybacks were motivated by the need to retire "notorious" options that were "lavishly bestowed" on execs and employees. (Other than that, Pete made a great bull case.)

Jon Najarian said the CSCO leadership handoff has gone "very smoothly."




So AAPL should’ve bought Jet?


Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said he bought WMT "because I think this stock continues to go higher" (that's a typical reason for buying a stock).

Joe called the Jet purchase "sensational."

Josh Brown noted skepticism of the Jet purchase. "They underpaid for Jet," Brown asserted, stating analysts now talk about "GMV" in regard to WMT.

Brown also pointed out the diverging charts of WMT and TGT in 2017.

Jon Najarian called the Jet purchase "transformative" and hung Kevin O'Leary (who was the one who derided it but wasn't on Thursday's show) out to dry. Doc also compared WMT's Jet purchase to AAPL's Beats purchase for the same $3 billion price and said Jet is "clearly" the transformative transaction.

Pete Najarian wasn't as fired up about WMT as Joe was, stating "I wouldn't be chasing it" even though he understands Joe's "methodology."

Pete was more interested discussing his chat with Brian Cornell, who Pete said told him, "We're a couple quarters behind."

Pete suggested TGT is the "opportunity" for 6-9 months rather than WMT.

Barely 3 minutes into the show, Judge quoted Jim Cramer, who apparently calls WMT's success a "reinvention."



Panelists mock MAR ‘clowngrade’


Judge on Thursday's Halftime announced Bernstein's MAR downgrade as the Call of the Day.

Joe Terranova, who has trumpeted that stock, said he has about 7% of the portfolio in this name; he thinks what the analyst is missing out on "is the revenue per available room dramatically grew on the international side."

Judge noted the analyst raised the target from 116 to 132 despite the downgrade, which Doc and Josh dubbed a "clowngrade." Judge said the downgrade isn't a sell but market perform and that the analyst is merely recommending HLT instead.



Joe unloaded RHT day before Nasdaq surged


Gorjus Ylan Mui on Thursday's Halftime Report put together a crisp interview with Republican Congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois.

John Harwood said tax reform is on a "very tough road."

Rick Rieder said the bid for yield and bid for credit will "absolutely" continue.

Judge asked Rieder about the either-high-yield-or-S&P-is-right notion. Rieder said high yield is not cheap, and "I don't know that one is necessarily telling you something aberrational in the other."

Joe Terranova said we're "still seeing the discounting in the Victoria's Secret brand," and he doesn't see the "clarity" of the turn in LB.

Josh Brown said RF has a good chart, and if it gets above 16 "meaningfully, there really aren't any sellers in this stock."

Jon Najarian said RH "caught a huge short interest" but is "doing a lot of things right."

Pete Najarian questioned the amount of upside in ALK but said he can see 70 "in the fairly nearby future."

Doc said 36,000 puts in the XOP at the 32 strike got bought. He also noted how BBY puts had fared since he mentioned them last week on the Intrepid. He's right; this page mistakenly made it sound like his final trade that day was BBY long, which was originally how it sounded like he was saying it, but he did state that he was looking at the put activity. Pete Najarian said QCOM December 70 calls got bought.

Nili Gilbert contended that when the yield curve begins to flattening, "at first, it is often a positive environment for the stock market."

Bob Iaccino said "the weakness in WTI is real." Jim Iuorio pointed to 53.25.

Judge said Notre Dame "got waxed" last weekend.

Have to admit we found Joe letting himself get stopped out of RHT a day ago a bit of a head-scratcher; evidently he should've waited a day, but it's not like we knew anything.

Doc's final trade was COT. Josh Brown cautioned that the primary trend is what matters with EEM (translation: don't get bearish). Joe reiterated WMT but said he'd "wait for a pullback" to buy SJM.



[Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017]


Joe says the only reason to buy DKS is because AMZN might buy it


Wednesday's Halftime crew managed to put together an excellent conversation on another angle of the mall crisis.

That said, there are a couple ways it could've and should've been better (but that's our job, to point out these things).

Things unfortunately nearly got derailed before they got started. Addressing JPMorgan's upgrade of DKS, Josh Brown said, "I'm all about fading Dick's." (Jim Lebenthal struggled not to laugh out loud.)

After that annoyance, Brown said he buys stuff from DKS, "but more and more, I'm just defaulting to Amazon."

Judge said that sounds good, but, "you could've said the exact same thing about Best Buy 5 years ago."

That's a good point. Most of these names are going to be losers, but a few will be surprise winners.

Joe Terranova asserted that "Best Buy is managed completely differently than Dick's Sporting Goods is." He explained, "They don't have the debt levels that Dick's does, they have a better management team" and have "successfully" redesigned their stores. (He could've added that BBY sells more expensive goods.)

Jim Lebenthal said DKS is a "speculative trade," and in that context, "actually not a bad idea."

Jim said Dick's specializes in items that aren't so easy to buy online, such as basketball hoops or specialized football cleats.

Joe said "there's one reason to buy Dick's," which is that AMZN could buy it like it did WFM. But Brown made probably a better point: "That's a reason not to be short it more than it's a reason to buy it."

Here's how the conversation could've been better. 1) The panelists never addressed what the "meal ticket" of DKS is. These stores are enormous. Golf is in decline. Performance apparel seems like it can be made decently and very cheaply and is available everywhere. Fishing seems to be the specialty of Bass and others. Whether footwear or something else is the biggest driver of Dick's traffic, the chain (and its competitors) needs products that people are talking about. 2) The show is supposedly a "fast money" trading show. Which means forget about matching Best Buy's 5-year return. Is it possible DKS is a great buy from now through Jan. 1, or is that in fact a big risk if early holiday traffic proves to be light? If the best argument to own it is for an AMZN deal, we have to doubt that will happen before 2018.

Meanwhile, the panel also took up TGT. Joe Terranova said, "This is brutal," pointing to higher inventory and a not-so-great buyback. "I don't know what's going on with Target other than, it's getting Amazoned," Joe said.

Judge said Telsey (or somebody else) is saying TGT is getting "squeezed" between WMT and AMZN.

"We're overstored; everyone knows that," Josh Brown said.

Jon Najarian said "Guidance was brutal" for TGT and that Pete was chatting up the CEO.

Kari Firestone contended "there's no strategy" at Target. Judge and Joe said Target has a strategy of $7 billion investment including omnichannel.



Gotta admit, Joe’s argument for selling RHT sounds flimsy


Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime said nobody should view a 5-10% pullback in stocks as "out of the ordinary," but it was Joe Terranova who ran into turbulence after revealing a couple of sells.

Joe said that using quantitative models, "I got stopped out of a bunch of names that I have bought along the way since August and September," explaining those were RHT and COST and AMG and TCBI and IBTX.

Judge stated it sounds like Joe is "leaning more defensive."

Joe insisted, "I am running a rules-based system that is dictating to me when to enter the market-"

"I got it," Judge interrupted.

"70% of what goes on in the marketplace strategy-wise right now is rules-based quantitative, so, let's not dismiss it," Joe responded.

Josh Brown asked Joe why those particular stocks generated sell signals. Joe said, "They are breaking down in terms of both mean reversion, in terms of moving averages, in terms of the slope of the moving averages."

But Joe told Judge it's "wrong" to think of that as a "more defensive posture."

Jim Lebenthal bluntly declared, "This stock market is going higher," pointing out the S&P was down about 1%.

Judge insisted he's looking at it "from regular guy on the street," not any "fundamental, quantitative, technical, mumbo jumbo, this that and the other thing."

Jon Najarian said if you've got more capital to deploy, "I think you wait." Doc cited extra put buying in the IWM. Josh Brown questioned if there wasn't heavy put activity before the Brexit vote and 2016 U.S. election.

Judge in the 11th minute brought up Bob Shiller's survey of bearishness (snicker). Jim Lebenthal said that conclusion "flies in the face of other surveys."

Mike Santoli said the HYG has been a "beacon" for the market all year. Doc said HYG puts were outpacing calls 4 to 1 and that people were buying 80 puts into next year.

Within 2 minutes, Judge was airing Cramer clips about a "rollover" and "air pocket."



People in government looking for work (cont’d)


Eamon Javers on Wednesday's Halftime Report said one provision in the Senate's tax reform (snicker) is to require that, when investors sell a partial stake of stock, the oldest shares be sold first. Javers said one person told him this would "ding" active investors in favor of passive investors.

Josh Brown told Javers that the idea is "disgusting" because they're "nickel-and-diming regular households" to fund tax cuts for large corporations.

Brown concluded, "I actually think it's gross" and that any senator who tossed in this wrinkle "should be embarrassed."

Jim Lebenthal questioned the ideas being proposed. "It doesn't feel like tax reform. It feels like it's shifting one loophole or one little rule for another," Jim said. "I don't like this."

Now we're getting somewhere. It's absolutely not "reform." It's pointless activity among a bunch of people who have nothing to do.

Jon Najarian said the idea mentioned by Javers "looks like a negotiating ploy more than anything else."

Josh Brown said it's a "fantasy" that corporations are going to invest their tax savings in hiring.



Kari comes up short in argument for buying AAPL


Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said ALK is down 28% on the year; he doesn't like the Raymond James upgrade but praised JPMorgan for being "dead right" and lowering its target from 104 to 64.

Josh Brown said SQ is on fire but the bitcoin news is a bigger deal for bitcoin than Square.

Jim Lebenthal said IBM "could get really interesting" with another good quarter.

Kari Firestone said she likes AAPL, promising 3 reasons but only saying China (that's 1) and cheap valuation (that's 2).

Doc said AMLP January 10 calls were getting bought. He said X was "hitting again," this time November 26.50 calls.

Brian Stutland said some may see upper 50s as a ceiling for crude. Anthony Grisanti said he could see crude at 60 by spring but below 50 before then.

Doc's final trade was EA. Josh Brown said INTC. (This writer is long INTC.) Jim Lebenthal said CSCO, which proved excellent afterhours. (This review was posted after the market close.) Kari Firestone said FRC and Joe said BAC after a "very powerful" reversal higher.



[Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017]


Pete stumbles, claims Joe’s excellent point is ‘fair but not fair’


If he's not picking stocks, he's scooping Adam Schefter.

In an unusual news update, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly wants a $50-million-a-year contract with lifetime use of a private jet and that it's being resisted by Jerry Jones, but Judge said, "I'm now told from sources that Jones is not the only NFL owner hesitant to give Goodell that kind of money at least right now."

In agreement with those owners, Pete Najarian said, "Why now?"

Judge said, "You could also sort of see why if this is the case that it's, it's Goodell, um, who's pushing for the new deal now, sort of knowing the noise that's out there. Knowing where the business is."

Pete said of Goodell, "He hasn't been proactive at all over the last I'd say 2 years, so I understand Jerry Jones completely right now."

Joe Terranova made a quality point, that the "reality" is that the values of NFL franchises are as high as ever.

"Thank Paul Allen for that," Jon Najarian scoffed. (Paul Allen is the reason the Dallas Cowboys are worth $4.2 billion?)

Joe persisted, "Aren't the value of the franchises still as high as they've ever been?"

"That's fair, but it's not fair," Pete Najarian somehow said in Shiller-speak, because "nothing is traded" and there's "declines in ratings." (Oh sure, the Giants would suddenly fall 50% on the Nasdaq if Sunday Night Football overnights slid.)

This page is not at all endorsing Goodell, but Pete's response is weak.

Pete said Adam Silver makes $10 million a year. Sigh … (Can't believe we're defending Roger Goodell) … The NFL makes more money, and Goodell has been on the job a lot longer than Silver.

The embarrassing thing about Goodell's compensation is that this fellow has never thrown a touchdown pass nor invested a dime in improving this entity but gets his jollies out of suspending players whom society has cleared and issuing $25,000 fines to guys who are putting their health on the line.

Doc mocked, "Where is he gonna go. What's the competing bid for him."

Doc said "Nobody wants this guy" and even claimed, "Disney would rally if they got rid of Goodell."

Obviously, somebody wants him, or he wouldn't be in talks for an extension.



Judge tries to claim
GE is ‘at the lows’


Sometimes, Judge sounds like he'd rather be a stock picker than a TV host.

That was the case on Tuesday's Halftime, after Joe Terranova advised investors to "throw in the towel" on GE.

Judge actually said, "At the lows?"

Joe said, "How do you know it's the lows?"

Backpedaling, Judge said, "I'm just saying this is certainly their- the recent lows."

Stephanie Link said GE's new $1 earnings estimate for 2018 could actually go to 55, 65 cents.

Judge said Stephen Tusa is saying "we had expected more" from GE investor day.

"I think they did a lot," Link claimed, before citing the high payout ratio. "They're basically doubling down in power-gen, And that is, uh, problematic," Link said.

Sarat Sethi said GE would be close to bottoming in the 15-16 range.

Joe noted GE has an 18-member board; "that's unheard of!"

Joe added, "They're staying in power. That- that just makes no sense."

That was around the time when GE-long/identical-chart-to-Kinder-Morgan Jon Najarian showed up. Doc admitted he "bought it at 21½" and isn't happy. "Obviously the Street was looking for more trimming," Doc said.

Doc asserted that most managers aren't giving Flannery 3-5 years; if he's lucky, it's more like 2. (But Ginni has gotten 5 and counting.)

The other day, Joe scoffed at the need to review Nelson Peltz's track record. But it's worth noting that according to an article Tuesday at CNBC.com, Peltz's GE stake, disclosed at $2.5 billion in October 2015, is now worth half of that.




Bob Shiller mentions 1929 but also seems to echo Vinnie Viola (but stops short of giving Donald Trump an A+)


Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime with Professor Shiller, out with a new survey showing individual investors are, according to Judge, "the least bullish they've been in stocks in the survey's history, back to 2001."

We knew of course that Shiller wouldn't give that (or any headline) an unequivocal pass.

"Well, uh, that's true, uh" Shiller stammered, "but they were very bullish just 6 months, 3- several months ago. So it's kind of oscillating."

"Most people are worried," Shiller explained, citing a "concern about overpricing."

Shiller said he's not "alarmist" about that, but, "Maybe I should be. … Maybe I would lighten up my holdings, but I'm not ready to exit, from this evidence."

"The strength of the Trump boom is still a factor. There's something psychological going on. I can't quite fathom it," Shiller said.

"Euphoria isn't a good term to apply to the present situation," Shiller chuckled, suggesting maybe as the Economist says that it's a bubble without the "fizz."

Judge questioned if Shiller is saying that the "main reason" stocks have climbed is because of Trump optimism and not more "fundamental" factors.

Shiller said, "That's the problem with economics, everything feeds back. It's hard to know what is a fundamental factor."

Shiller said there's a "general level of sense that we have a government that supports capitalism and uh that will foster an atmosphere of entrepreneurship and business."

What he's leaving out there is that the modern Fed precedent was established in 2008, which is that the central bank is inclined to act to prevent any kind of crisis in financial stocks.

He said people view the administration as "benign capitalists," but then again, "that could change."

Actually, Shiller sounded much like Vinnie Viola on Friday, except Shiller didn't say "heralding" 4 times.

Judge tried to pin down Shiller on Judge's favorite Question of the Week, whether the next 5% in stocks is up or down, and tried to lead Shiller into saying "down."

Instead, Shiller said, "I would say the same," that after 6 months, "it'll just be where it is today."

Nevertheless, "I think that volatility could come back big-time, quickly. That's what happened in 1929," Shiller claimed.



Still wondering what happened to Carl’s ‘Day of Reckoning’ (and Jeffrey Gundlach’s 400% return on S&P puts that will soar when the VIX hits at least 20 before year-end)


Assessing the latest from Bob Shiller (and, for that matter, Tony Dwyer and the latest quarter of bear warnings), Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime said, "Everyone's looking for signs of caution" but that the issue is what happens with technology.

Grasping as usual for invented drama, Judge said the B of A Merrill Lynch report incorporates the headlines "Frothy FANG" and "Icarus is flying ever closer to the sun."

Stephanie Link said pessimism's fine, but when everyone's euphoric, "That's when I get really worried."

Link said there's some growth in earnings not already priced in.

Pete Najarian said the idea of Tony Dwyer's pullback "makes a lot of sense," and, "I see more of a potential for downside than I do upside."

Sarat Sethi said a 50/50 chance of a 5% up/down move makes more sense because nobody knows when a correction will happen. Pete cut him off, stating, "But year-end is probably why it makes more sense now," calling the first few months somehow "a different category." (Hey Edna, let's make sure we sell NVDA before Jan. 1 so we can pay taxes ASAP.)

Joe Terranova noted, "The tax structure might change, so what's the incentive to sell now."

Joe suggested repatriation would be a "tremendous catalyst" for stocks.

Judge tried to claim, "Apple's down for its 4th straight day. The Russell remains concerning to some …"



Judge doesn’t bring in Mike Francesa to explain why Francesa sold at 125


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime made Deutsche Bank's cut of ALB the Call of the Day and brought in ALB cheerleader Josh Brown via phone. (This writer is long ALB.)

Brown said the call for taking profits is not "unreasonable … but I'm not doing that." Brown said the report is not bearish, and Deutsche Bank's price target (150) is still 12 bucks over the current price.

Brown said "all they're saying" is that lithium prices could be soft in 2019.

Brown said he bought NVDA at 57. "It probably got downgraded 15 times between 57 and $215 a share. … I've ignored it all," he said.

"I'm more inclined to add if this thing comes in, um, rather than heed the analyst's advice," Brown said.

Pete Najarian said "it's a home run stock with incredible growth" but that the "CEO himself" (sic last word redundant) spoke of slowing growth in 2018.

Joe Terranova said, "The growth slowing is troubling, but predicting where price is going to be in 2019, that's more of a problem."




Actually Doc trumpeted BBBY on Sept. 8 when it traded at 28


Jon Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime again touted December 20 call-buying in BBBY.

"Full disclosure: I jumped in when the thing was 40 last time, and it didn't do so swell," Doc said.

Doc also said GGP soared after they talked about call-buying. "It only took a week for GGP to work," he said.

Pete Najarian said there was "pretty aggressive buying" in January 10 calls in BKD.

Pete said he's trimmed his MAC calls but is still holding.

Jeff Kilburg said crude could keep heading to 60. Scott Nations pointed to 58 as an "important level."

Joe's final trade was MAR. Stephanie Link said TJX. Sarat Sethi said FRC. Pete said HD and Doc said THO.



[Monday, Nov. 13, 2017]


Jim seems to sort of predict that 2018 might be a dreadful year


Monday's Halftime Report included this curious bit of wisdom from Jim Lebenthal:

"Remember, 2007 was an exceptionally low-volatility year, and that led into 2008," Jim said. "History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

So … what exactly do we make of that commentary?

Is Jim stating that every low-volatility year in history has been followed up with a 2008?

Or just 2007 … which saw a huge plunge on Nov. 1 (that we think was Fed-related) that opened the floodgates (that hasn't really happened this year)?

2007 was also the year the Patriots went 16-0 and lost the Super Bowl to the Giants.

Doubtful that's going to happen in 2017-18.

We love it when Ivy Leaguers talk about history's "rhyme."

Why is it that the only history that rhymes is the history we know about?

Isn't it possible that every minute of every day is rhyming with some sort of history that was either 1) never recorded or 2) completely ignored?

And both Lincoln and Kennedy were succeeded by someone named Johnson.

Whatever.



Jim doesn’t seem as intrigued by the high-yield market as Joe is


Judge opened Monday's Halftime with none other than Eric Chemi with a curious forecast.

Chemi said we're near about 2,000 days since the last 5% drop. So, "We are due for a 5% drop," Chemi said. (That's probably because history "rhymes.")

But then he also said there's been almost 3,000 trading days since a 5% rise in the market.

Judge said Tony Dwyer is predicting a 3-5% drop in a tweet (snicker).

"I don't think you're gonna get that correction this year," said Jim Lebenthal.

Pete Najarian said the VIX is ranging from 10 to 12 and contended that any spike above that will be "very, very short term."

Stephanie Link said a flat yield curve doesn't mean it's "armageddon" for stocks. "I don't see a recession in the next 12 months," Link said.

Joe Terranova said the lack of tax reform is "a problem for 3 or 4 months from now." As for the present, "What's been going on the last couple of days is a direct result of the high-yield market," Joe said.

Joe said it's a "coin flip" as to whether the next 5% in stocks is up or down. But Jim Lebenthal said it does hinge on tax reform. Jim said, "If you look at the high-yield market, it wasn't across-the-board selling. It was 2 sectors in particular, it was telecom and health care. And you know what, telecom may actually have some problems."

"But Jim, it's about money flow," Joe protested.

Pete Najarian offered that the next 3-5% is "more likely down than up," citing a lack of market catalyst.



Jim insists he’s not knocking Joe but that the facts don’t support what Joe is saying


Probably not aware of the arguing he would have to do, Joe Terranova on Monday's Halftime said he likes UPS and FDX and XPO, citing "positive momentum going around" in the space.

But Jim Lebenthal said that for UPS, "The numbers speak for themselves … I'm not taking shots at you, Joe, I'm just sort of reporting the facts on the ground."

Jim questioned why not just own FDX. Joe said you can own both, "because I think there's enough secular momentum" for both names.

"UPS has an inferior business model to FedEx," Joe conceded.

Stephanie Link said she owns FDX and has previously owned UPS and has "gotten burned on UPS." But Link suggested a "better entry point" after holiday costs are reported.

Pete Najarian wasn't impressed by UPS. "They either have too many employees or they don't have enough," Pete grumbled.

Pete disagrees with Goldman Sachs, calling CSX and UNP buys and suggesting buying NSC and KSU too. But Jim Lebenthal said these names trade at multiples that 5-10 years ago "were unheard of." Panelists had a brief debate about the impact of energy and coal on the rails but without any consensus.



Wonder if the GE chart still looks ‘identical’ to KMI? (That’s history ‘rhyming’ again)


Pete Najarian on Monday's Halftime said GM February 48 calls were getting bought and financed by the sales of downside puts.

Jim Lebenthal said, "The chart is looking a lot like Boeing earlier this year" and that in late November, "they're gonna have a whole conference day about autonomous vehicles. That's why I think your call-buyer is in there."

So someone who expects big news from a November conference is buying February calls?

Pete also said WTW April 60 calls were getting bought.

Joe Terranova said he added to DXC and credited Stephanie Link for buying it early in the year. Joe said it first came to his attention on a "quantitative basis" and that it's hitting on margins, earnings and cash flow. He predicted north of 100 "very soon."

Link said her target for DXC is 130-140. "Great, great management team," Link said.

Joe also said he bought back into DPZ on Friday morning.

Stephanie Link said a MAT-HAS combo would be "very synergistic."

Pete said JD goes "north of 45 very quickly."

Joe said he doesn't think CMG is an appealing stock.

Jim Lebenthal said "frankly," he thinks the Brookfield offer for GGP is a "lifeline" and the "right deal" for GGP.

Jim said LB seems to have its "mojo back" despite missing "the bralette phase or whatever that is."

Judge tried to make a couple jokes about The Buckle. Pete admitted, "I do have Buckle. That's because my daughter is the model for Buckle online."

Joe's final trade was MNST. Stephanie Link said KO. Jim Lebenthal said QCOM; "the stock goes higher from here (sic last 2 words redundant)." Pete said BABA and its "record numbers" for Singles Day.



Doc makes 2% every 2 weeks selling upside calls that ‘cushion’ his downside risk while still giving him ‘a lot of upside’


CNBC's Morgan Brennan, who looked great in blue, said on Monday's Halftime that "a number of folks" were "underwhelmed" by the GE analyst meeting.

Before asking his own panel for opinions, Judge aired a clip of Jim Cramer saying there's a "huge number of warts" at GE and predicting "closer to 17."

Jim Lebenthal predicted GE will fall lower because "some people are shell-shocked by this" and not everyone is out of the name yet.

Jim said there's a "state of denial" regarding the company and added, "15 to 17 is where this stock finds a floor."

Stephanie Link though questioned if that range is too high, stating that would be a 15 multiple.

Link touted EMR and HON. Joe Terranova said HON has been a "great place" to invest.

Pete Najarian said, "You don't buy anything ever for dividend. … You do it for management." Pete said EMR has management and growth.

Link rattled off CAT and CMI and URI and SWK.

Jim Lebenthal decried the "country club culture" of GE and mentioned the "empty jet uh trailing Jeff Immelt everywhere he went."

In purportedly his last decision for the company, Jeff Immelt only left the chairmanship early because of his "determination that the CEO transition has proceeded smoothly" and that Flannery "was ready to succeed" him.

More from Monday's Halftime later.



[Friday, Nov. 10, 2017]


Judge’s tribute to veterans has nice visuals and star power but unfortunately lacks focus


To mark the observance of Veterans Day on Saturday, the Halftime Report on Friday put together a live show from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the Hudson River.

The program delivered classy tributes to servicemen and women; the most earnest comments came from the veterans on the panels.

We note for further consideration that, as is often the case on CNBC, the veterans on the program were from the academies or Ivy League. There are a lot of folks on our front lines who didn't go to college and aren't going to get wealthy managing money.

If we had to identify a theme for this hour, it would probably be exhorting Wall Street to hire veterans. That's a fine statement, but the scattershot format curiously failed to take up a lot of natural subjects. For example, there was zero discussion of defense stocks.

There was also zero discussion of the future of the soldier. Will tomorrow's West Point grads need greater skill flying a drone than firing an M-4?

And equally important: What is America's inclination today toward overseas armed conflict? Is recent military recruiting exceeding or missing goals? A couple of foreign-policy precedents were set in the early 2000s that 2 later presidents have either decried and/or somewhat attempted to walk back.

Finally, there was hardly anything about the Intrepid museum, other than Jim Lebenthal's very quick tour of sailors' quarters.

The star guest of the program was Vinnie Viola, a billionaire former Nymex chairman and Florida Panthers owner and friend of panelist Joe Terranova who was named as Army secretary by Donald Trump but withdrew from consideration.

Viola spoke of how "every day of my life has been informed by my experience as a soldier."

Chance Mims spoke about hiring veterans. Super Bowl touchdown-scorer Phil McConkey, a wonderful guest who has been on the Halftime Report several times, said he played at 158 pounds in the NFL and that the great trait of all veterans is grit.

Dr. Anthony Hassan said Steve Cohen has put $275 million into fully funding a network of military family clinics. Ian Winer, an occasional CNBC guest, said he's trying to help the network expand in San Diego. The conversation did prompt a question about the extent of PTSD. Winer explained that after West Point, he "blew out" both of his eardrums at the Korean DMZ, then landed a job with Goldman Sachs as a phone clerk on the NYSE floor.

Matthew Caldwell, an associate of Viola who runs the NHL's Florida Panthers, said he got to know Viola while working at Goldman when Viola "was a big client of the firm."

Viola said Caldwell was decorated for valor on the battlefield and thanked him for his service.

To all veterans, know that whatever situations we find ourselves in, America's gonna be there for you.




Vinnie Viola gives Trump an A+ for ‘heralding respect’ for the business world


Vinnie Viola on Friday's Halftime Report said he's not surprised this year has been one of such low volatility because of "review" of procedure (and other things) since the financial crisis.

For some reason intrigued by the word "herald," Viola said, "I think this president has done a fantastic job of heralding, heralding trust in terms of his approach to regulation and in terms of his desire to promote a pro-business environment."

And slightly echoing something Kevin Plank said a while back (but this isn't going to have the same kind of blowback), Viola said he gives Trump an "A+" for "heralding, heralding respect, reward and encouragement for the entrepreneurial class and the business class."

Viola said of the president: "And of course, his tax policies are universally accepted if I could be a little bit sort of over the top."

Phil McConkey said the market would go higher on tax reform, but if there isn't tax reform, "I think we're pretty good right now."

Ian Winer said the market looks "a little frothy" but that it comes down to tax reform.

Vinnie Viola told Joe Terranova that the oil market has gone from a "peak-supply paradigm to a peak-demand paradigm."

Judge made an obligatory joke (you knew it was coming) about how the Giants need help from Phil McConkey.



Doc gloats about making money long GE as the shares slide, praises Iger just for doing something that might or might not work


On Friday's Halftime, Jon Najarian was trumpeting a lousy GE trade as if he'd just hit the Powerball jackpot.

"I'm getting 50 cents every 2 weeks for selling out-of-the-money calls," Najarian said. "That's 2% every 2 weeks for selling these calls. I'll take that as far as it cushions any of my, uh, downside risks and gives me a lot of upside still here."

Honestly, that sounded a little too good to be true. Buy a stock, watch it stumble, but somehow make 1% a week selling upside calls while somehow giving yourself a lot of upside. (If you're selling upside calls, aren't you capping your upside?)

Why not just sell upside calls in UAA forever and make a fortune?

Najarian said the GE turnaround will begin "when they finally cut the dividend." He claimed "it'll be the same as Kinder Morgan when they cut their dividend. The charts look identical."

Najarian also seemed to be buying the new Disney narrative, describing Bob Iger's comments this way: "So instead of just sayin', 'Woe is me' and wringin' his hands, he says, 'I've got a solution, I'm gonna spend my way out of this.' The Street'll give him a quarter to see if that's true."

So a media company is going to spend its way out of this, and do its own NFLX, and Wall Street finds that a winner.

OK.




Pete heard on open mike installing Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl


It's one of the greatest stocks in Fast Money/Halftime history (stay tuned for a post on this subject by year-end).

But NVDA's gain Friday was only prompting skepticism on the Halftime Report.

Sarat Sethi said he would be "careful" in the name, advising, "I would take some money off the table."

Steve Weiss said, "The risk/reward in this stock is incredibly unattractive."

Weiss also said he doesn't like the KSS upgrade by a Baird analyst who's been on the "sidelines."

"I think the model's broken," Weiss said. "It's not the mall that's broken. It's the model that's broken."

Jon Najarian said KSS had a "disastrous day" a day earlier. Pete Najarian said it's "not a good sign" when they talk about retailers' real-estate value.

Jim Lebenthal said profit growth should drive stocks higher.

Stephanie Link said, "I do think that you wanna buy any kind of a pullback."

Joe Terranova said the unwind of the Sprint-T-Mobile deal is "spilling over into the equities market."

Engaging in hyperbole, Pete Najarian said he likes BBY, "one of the conquerors over Amazon (snicker)."

Judge said BBY is a "shocking conqueror" (snicker) of AMZN.

Sarat Sethi and Jon Najarian touted LB.

Pete said January 46 MU calls were popular. "This stock is going higher," Pete said.

Doc said KMX 75 calls were getting bought.

Weiss' final trade was XLE. Doc said BBY, Steph Link said DWDP, Pete said CSCO and Sarat Sethi said M.

Asked about Weiss' trade, Joe Terranova said that "any type of exposure in energy right now is very complicated, very difficult."

Jim Lebenthal's final trade was MSG, but the show's technicians at that point somehow botched the microphones and drowned out Jim's comments with backstage chatter from Stephanie Link and Pete Najarian, the latter heard to say the "Vikings will play a home game in February."



[Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017]

Honestly after several questions from Judge, we hardly have any idea what Mario thinks should happen with T-TWX


Judge had to yield the opening minutes of Thursday's Halftime to Andrew Ross Sorkin's interview with Mark Cuban, but after about 10 minutes, producers decided they'd had enough and switched to Judge's crew, who unanimously shrugged off the market's morning shellacking.

"This is a 1% fallback," said Pete Najarian.

Jon Najarian said nobody's betting on a sustained rise in the VIX; "they're all in the short term."

Steve Weiss said "it's great to have this" pullback because it gives investors "sobriety."

But the notion of tax reform, predicted by this page a day ago (just hit PgDn a few times) to quickly fade to oblivion and seems already permanently stalled, prompted Joe Terranova to state it's "concerning" when you hear 2019.

Weiss said the lack of tax certainty is "stifling" to corporate America.

John Harwood said the newest problem is that senators are concerned about the cost of tax reform exceeding Senate rules.

Mario Gabelli said the country spends $4.1 trillion and takes in $3.6 trillion and that corporate taxes "are only about 330 billion."

Harwood asked Gabelli how they should "make up the gap." Gabelli responded, "I'm not gonna get into the weeds with that." (See what we mean about tax "reform" not happening?)

Pete Najarian said the earnings calendar is now featuring "folks that are missing."

Mario Gabelli emphasized that he only owns T because of his "low cost basis on DirecTV." He said his "approach" to the deal is to own TWX. In a lengthy dialogue on the big-media space that led basically nowhere, Gabelli pointed out that T is "not a big company" compared with FB, AMZN, GOOGL, AAPL.




Judge needs to bring back Santoli to explain the law of large numbers


Mario Gabelli on Thursday's Halftime said he owns GE "in certain funds" and called the company a "work in progress."

Going far out on a limb (by Gabelli standards), Gabelli said GE "should" cut the dividend; "it makes logical (sic redundant) sense."

Jon Najarian said Morgan Stanley basically has an "obligation" to downgrade SNAP (snicker) to a sell.

Pete Najarian again called SNAP a "single-digit stock sooner or later."

Joe Terranova said that to invest in SNAP, you have to wait "until you have the turn in earnings."

Brian Stutland said gold has a little catching up to do with bitcoin. But Anthony Grisanti said he'd sell gold at 1,300.

Mario Gabelli didn't answer a woman's Twitter question about a stock to hold for 10 years.

Gabelli did say he's buying MAT, GDEN, ERi, FLL, RLJE and again mentioned VIAB.

Joe said MAT needs a "significant secular turnaround." Gabelli said, "I agree! Yes. Absolutely."

Joe's final trade was MDT (he called it "Medtronics" (sic plural)). Steve Weiss said DATA, Doc said SIG, Pete said ESV and Mario Gabelli said WYNN and MGM.

Friday's show will be on the Intrepid, probably with more guest commentary than panelist picks.



[Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017]


Josh Brown nearly makes a tremendous point but comes up just short


On Wednesday's Halftime, Josh Brown contended that the tech giants are seen as "impervious" to happenings in government, pointing to how the execs snubbed a D.C. hearing and merely sent lawyers.

"They look at, uh, developments in D.C., they look at Congress like a toy," Brown said.

"Completely wrong. Completely wrong," blurted Jon Najarian, pointing to TSLA and suggesting what would happen if the government raised corporate taxes to 45%.

Actually, both have a point, but Brown is much closer to something important, which is, several of these companies are enormously popular with the general public. This is not like 1999, when a lot of customers hated MSFT's monopolies and didn't even know what in the world CSCO does. This is a time when virtually everyone is using Facebook and Google (and even some people are using Twitter) for free, when they consider an Amazon Prime or NFLX subscription a steal, when they look upon their cellphone as fondly as their dog or cat.

It's almost certainly impossible to note any time in history that big companies have been anywhere near this popular or even popular at all — before the Internet Age, it was always Coca-Cola or Disney or McDonald's leading the popularity list, but none of those were 45-minutes-a-day-or-more endeavors.

Najarian is also correct that government can indeed make life miserable for corporations.

Does anyone think, specific to these companies, it's going to try?



Walter Piecyk suggests No. 1 Toni Sacconaghi is a ‘typical tech or equipment analyst’


Asked to kick off Wednesday's Halftime opining about AAPL (sigh, yep), Pete Najarian again mentioned Katy Huberty the company's huge "miscellaneous" revenue.

Pete said Steve Weiss (who wasn't on the show) grumbles about innovation, but "that's not really the issue."

Josh Brown said of AAPL and other tech stocks, "What a time to be alive."

Brown noted AAPL can open a new store on the "Miracle (sic) Mile" in Chicago.

Pete knocked Brown's reference to the "law of large numbers." Moments later, Mike Santoli said he needed to educate Brown on "what the law of large numbers IS and is not."

Walter Piecyk pointed out that there have been expectations forever that AAPL can't sustain iPhone margins, but somehow, it does.

Judge said Toni Sacconaghi thinks it'll be "difficult" for AAPL to get a market multiple; Piecyk said that's "because he's thinking about it in the context of a typical tech or equipment analyst."

Jim Lebenthal said "it isn't just technology that's led this." Pete said Mike Wilson is looking for a "pause."




Judge snaps at Josh over annoying interruption during Trump observation


Judge on Wednesday's Halftime thought he was going to introduce a provocative point with Mike Santoli, stating, "You know what one of the biggest surprises maybe under, under President Trump in terms of the market is the lack of volatility."

But Josh Brown cut in to say, "It has nothing to do with him."

Judge snapped, "I'm just SAYING, over the past 12 months, who cares whether it does or doesn't, just the lack of volatility in general is something to note."

"I care, but OK," Brown said.

Judge said, "You can wait."

Judge didn't sound permanently ticked and called on Brown moments later.



We’ll go on the record — this ‘tax reform’ plan is one of the loopiest ideas in recent D.C. history


John Harwood on Wednesday's Halftime suggested suburban Republican voters might be alarmed by Donald Trump's tax reform.

Jon Najarian said, "I think John's missing it," because the tax bill is for Trump voters, not the high end.

Josh Brown said what somehow nobody says on the show (but Jim Paulsen came close a day ago), "Why are we doing 1.5 trillion to 1.7 trillion dollar deficit-busting uh tax cut — let's stop calling it 'reform' — with the economy growing at its fastest pace in years, um, and debt already high. Why are we doing it. Nobody really knows, other than, because somebody wants that to be their signature thing, and that's fine. Um, unfortunately, the president's party doesn't really want it, when it comes down to it."

"You're making my point," Doc said.

"I'm not sure how this helps the middle class," Brown said. "I'm not sure what this does for quote-unquote Trump country."

Doc said, "Child tax credit and doubling the standard deduction. That's a solid middle-class …"

Yeah, but the bigger break is for corporations. Jim Lebenthal said the "centerpiece" of the plan is the 20% corporate rate. "They'll throw anything overboard to get that," Jim said.

We get that the current tax code isn't perfect, that it'd be great to have a lower corporate tax rate and to fine-tune some other things. We also get that, in this case, passing legislation for the sake of passing legislation probably at worst only has a benign effect. The bizarre rushing of this legislation is reminiscent of the street bums who absolutely need your $10 handout RIGHT NOW. The truth is, there's nothing to do. With stocks at all-time highs and interest rates remarkably low, it's really hard to fathom why anyone is even contemplating this right now, and it's obviously going utterly nowhere.



How come no one talks about the lockup? If the lockup doesn’t matter after the expiration, why did everyone talk about it before the expiration?


Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime said of SNAP, "We said on this show don't, don't get involved with this, I mean, from Day 1."

But Jon Najarian has trumpeted the call-buying before all 3 of the ghastly, hazmat-suit-mandatory earnings reports.

Jim Lebenthal said SNAP's trading on Wednesday indicates "there is eventually going to be a cash-flow problem here."

Revisiting the standard cliche with this name, Josh Brown trumpeted how FB talked about how "they were gonna kill these guys" and "incorporated" all the popular features. (At least Brown questioned how that wouldn't be legal in other sectors.)

Pete Najarian finally mentioned "single digits" again (but SNAP is still a decent ways from single digits).

Doc to his credit announced that he got his lunch handed to him with his latest batch of SNAP pre-earnings call-buying.

Judge said some analyst titled his/her note "Snap, Crackle, Flop." That's clever. (Sign those guys up for a newspaper.)




Wonder if Lee Cooperman and Glenn Hubbard celebrated at Hunt & Fish Club


Pete Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said TTWO is ahead of the competition in "transition to digital." Josh Brown said it's probably not the pros buying today because technically they might see it as overbought. Jon Najarian said he was taking profits.

Jeff Kilburg said it seems like Dr. Copper is "continuing to smile." Anthony Grisanti predicted 3.20, 3.25 "within the next few weeks."

Doc said January 16 calls in FCX were popular. Pete said BHP calls were getting rolled up into June 50s. Doc said December 70 OXY calls were getting bought. Pete said QRVO November 82.50 calls were getting popular. (Wonder how the upside calls for SNAP's next earnings report are doing.)

Pete's final trade was AABA. Doc said TWLO based on upside call-buying. Jim Lebenthal said there's at least 10%, maybe 15% more in QCOM. Josh Brown said TWTR for some reason, "great price action."



[Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017]

‘Pause’ is possible in 2018


Ever hungry for stock-market drama, Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime with Jim Paulsen's idea that next year's market is going to take a … pause. (Stop the presses.)

Paulsen, now with Leuthold, even said we "could have a correction here" in 2018.

He mentioned bond yields, etc. (Zzzzzz) and even invoked M2 money supply.

Finally, he cited "sentiment." (You know what they say — when someone has 20 reasons for something happening, they really have no reasons.)

Paulsen contended that since we're at full employment, growth won't be as good as it has been. Paulsen has a doctorate in econ from Iowa State.

Judge asked if we're only in the early innings of the global rally and suggested tax reform and tossed in an "in and of itself" (sic redundant).

Paulsen did make one provocative point that we have to agree with, that a tax cut at this stage of the recovery is "extremely odd."

Joe Terranova, practically shut out a day earlier, said a pause is normal and wondered, "What do you do with that." Paulsen conceded "I'm with you" and said if nothing else, "certainly don't wanna go to bonds," warning about having bond surrogates in the portfolio.

Josh Brown said "it's so funny" that we're now talking about the "danger of overheating" after hearing all the deflationary scares a while back. Brown touted highs in Asian stocks and the Nikkei's 25-year high.

Rob Sechan said there's a tug of war between "invested skepticism" and "fundamentals" and said it comes down to selectivity.

Joe said, "Making absolute calls is the problem" and pointed out how the 2-year yield has risen.

Joe wasn't high on oil equities and mentioned how MLPs are struggling, which got the attention of MLP backer Rob Sechan, who insisted, "You're definitely gonna see some support as energy prices recover." Joe then had to explain he's not against energy equities, "but understand it also benefits multiple asset classes."



Katy Huberty and not Tim Cook is the reason AAPL goes up (cont’d)


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime brought in Sam Poser, who actually upgraded UAA. (The usual caveat: We're not trying to ruin the day of anyone who's long this name from a lot higher price; it's just interesting to talk about.)

But it didn't sound like much of an upgrade, as Poser said his price target (11) is "still below what- where the stock is now," and the stock has "serious issues."

He said the company historically has impressively tackled its mistakes. "If anything arguably less bad happens, the stock probably goes up, but there is certainly downside risk," Poser said.

Josh Brown asked if Under Armour should get out of KSS and the "cheaper outlets" and "make it cool again" as an affordable luxury product. Poser said that's what he thinks they should do.

Pete Najarian, from Minneapolis, said UAA is "probably getting close" to the bottom, but in the analyst community, "Nobody's gotten this right."

Pete said, "The problem has been brand erosion … you see Under Armour everywhere in the discount chain."

Actually, we'll differ with that and with what Brown said. The problem is that athletic gear is ubiquitous, and almost anybody can make decent stuff (all the polyester blends, etc.) on the cheap.

Pete said he saw UAA with a 60 forward P.E., an "incredible number." Pete also said he hasn't seen the big insider buy, and until he does, he's not sure the bottom is in.

Josh Brown called apparel a "terrible sector," which is definitely true. Brown said AMZN has "very quietly this week" launched 2 of its own sports apparel brands. "It's gonna be cheaper; it's gonna be ubiquitous," Brown said.



Ackman was hardly asked about VRX a day earlier


Also in the category of struggling stocks, Meg Tirrell, stunning in new hairstyle and black/red top, explained on Tuesday's Halftime why MNK was getting crushed and cited the company's comment about unfilled prescriptions.

"The big miss really here was on Achtar," Tirrell said.

In a shout-out to Andrew Left, Josh Brown observed, "The short sellers on Mallinckrodt have absolutely nailed this story."

"Their margins are just getting crushed here," said Jon Najarian. "Pretty ugly."

But Doc said VRX 13.50 calls brought almost 5 times the money.



Ackman mentioned GGP, which has to be brought up at least once during every one of his interviews


Pete Najarian on Tuesday's Halftime said RRGB's weaker guidance is a "terrible sign." He said he wouldn't buy the dip.

Jon Najarian said in the PCLN space, it's "people running for the exits."

Joe Terranova said "logically," you'd think the 3 hurricanes would help CAR's business. He said you have to take a "dramatic wait-and-see approach" with this name and HTZ.

Josh Brown said WTW is up 600% since Oprah Winfrey got involved; also it has a lot of short interest.

Pete said he's impressed that Bob Iger is taking a look at things to buy; "I still think they missed the boat on Netflix years ago."

Brown demanded the panel talk about APRN, "the worst IPO of the year," Brown said. "It's just gross to me."

Pete said December 80 calls in AABA were "exploding." Pete said recent JD calls have doubled.

Doc mentioned … what else … SNAP November 16 calls just ahead of earnings (and when haven't the Najarians trumpeted SNAP call-buying ahead of earnings, like when it was 23 in May) and called it a "binary" bet. (This review was posted after market close.) Doc also mentioned December 32 calls in GLW.

Scott Nations said the dollar move is "largely geopolitical." Jim Iuorio said he's looking for a breakout over 95.05.

Rob Sechan's final trade was EZU. Doc said ETP. Josh Brown said to avoid RRGB. Joe said MAR.



[Monday, Nov. 6, 2017]


Bill identifies why Lee Cooperman is no fan of ADP activism (a/k/a ‘Index funds control America’)


He knocked one out of the park.

Judge put together a virtuoso hour of the Halftime Report on Monday, keyed by an exceptional half-hour chat with Bill Ackman about the ADP proxy battle.

Now, are we going to go out and plaster the walls with Fatheads of Judge? No, we're not going to plaster the walls with Fatheads of Judge, if only because he's had several on-air conversations with Ackman, and it stands to reason he should be pretty good at them.

Nevertheless, it was a primo effort and easily some of the best CNBC material in recent memory.

Ackman first claimed he feels "great" heading into the ADP vote.

He said he was "kind of puzzled" by David Faber's report that Ackman will come up short. Ackman claimed "it's actually illegal" under proxy rules for either side to indicate how the vote is going. (See, on the one hand, the report's not true at all; on the other hand, whoever leaked this information broke the law.)

Bill curiously claimed, "The big institutions wait until the absolute 11th hour to vote because they don't wanna get lobbied by management or by us." Not to sound like a simpleton (snicker), but it seems to us, if you delay your vote till the last possible moment, aren't you maximizing your chances of being lobbied?

Bill read off a list of quotes by Carlos Rodriguez that Bill claims indicates his points have gained traction. "We've accomplished our objective of putting the company in a position where it's gonna have to perform," he said. (That's called setting the bar low for consolation prize.)

Bill, exceptional at parsing and as well-prepared as any presidential candidate in Debate No. 1, quibbled with Judge's contention that ISS "stopped short" of recommending Ackman for the board. Ackman said ISS did recommend him but didn't want 3 new directors, so it advised withholding against a director on the other slate.

Bill insisted, "We're not interfering" with ADP and asserted the company is trading at a 28 P.E. "because of our involvement."

3 times, Ackman mentioned Lee Cooperman's complaints about Bill's "comportment," the only time we've heard that term on the show probably ever.

Bill grumbled about Cooperman knocking this endeavor and explained why he thinks that's been happening: "Both Lee and I like Glenn Hubbard. We chose to run against Glenn Hubbard because he's been on the board for 13 years … and I think Lee didn't like that I'm running that- going after his director."

"I like Lee," Ackman assured. "And he's protecting his friend. I respect people who are loyal and protect friends. Um, but that's not what this is about. I like Glenn Hubbard, he's a terrific guy. But he's added as much value as you can to this board over a 13-year period of time."

Ultimately, though, Bill lamented the difficult road that activists sometimes face.

"It's just like Nelson," Ackman said, pointing to the "lost" (he used air quotes) proxy battle of Nelson Peltz at DuPont that preceded the CEO's exit. (That's the "Joan of Arc" CEO, according to Jeff Sonnenfeld.)

Bill downplayed the notion that the ADP fight is a "referendum" on himself, insisting it's about how the company does over 12-36 months (even though he regularly cited the stock's daily moves on the news events surrounding this proxy battle).

Bill said Peltz lost the DuPont contest because of the big index funds. "The index funds control America," Bill asserted, before clarifying, "I would say the proxy advisor and the index funds control America."

Basically, here's the deal … we've heard a number of smart people on CNBC opine on Ackman's ADP bid. Nobody thinks there's any low-hanging fruit here. Nobody really understands why he's doing it. So we gotta think, this is gonna be a bust, and Bill will be back in January with something else.




Bill Ackman vows to never talk about HLF again


ADP wasn't even the most interesting subject on Monday's Halftime.

That would be old reliable HLF, which this time prompted Bill Ackman to declare, "This is the last time I'm gonna talk about this company" (translation: basically throwing in the towel), promising to "write a little letter to investors" and noting "it's become a relatively small position."

Bill insisted he's not "throwing in the towel" on HLF.

Bill insisted he's been "entirely right" on the HLF facts. Judge pointed out the FTC didn't call HLF a "pyramid scheme." Bill said the FTC said the company is "tantamount to a pyramid scheme."

Actually, we looked up the press release, and we don't see "pyramid scheme" or "tantamount" in any of the description.

Bill disagreed with Judge that alleging fraud is a "far cry" from the business having a slowdown.

Ackman told Judge, "We converted our position from being short the stock to owning puts. So we're never gonna be forced to cover anymore."

"Theoretically the puts could expire and you just walk away quietly now," Judge said.

"That could happen. That could happen," Ackman acknowledged. (Translation: That's going to happen.) He wouldn't disclose when they expire.




Weiss tells Bill that Bill missed the ‘change’ of facts at JCP


After an already great discussion, Bill Ackman sat in with the Halftime Report regulars on Monday to take up the retail and restaurant scene.

Bill conceded that at CMG, "There's work to do, for sure."

Josh Brown said the CMG story seems to have broken, that it traded with a high multiple as some people thought it was the next MCD.

Bill shrugged that there was "1 employee sick in a store, a bunch of people got sick," and the stock fell 50%.

Brown, who likely didn't impress Ackman with choice of tie, said the company will have to spend more to advertise. Ackman said it hasn't optimized like other restaurants, no breakfast, no drive-thru, no mobile app, etc.

Bill pointed to Burger King's turnaround in a crowded burger space. Brown questioned if Burger King really turned it around, or "did they shrink the size of the food" and focus more on shareholders.

Ackman actually quibbled with Judge over whether Bill has made "many" retail investments or just a "handful." Bill took the opportunity to tout HHC.

A couple of times, Ackman knocked M. He said the shopping mall will exist in 5 years but with "different tenants."

Jim Lebenthal for some reason asked Bill's opinion of SHLD (it doesn't take Bill Ackman to figure out what's happening there) and said Q1 in 2018 is "kinda do or die."

Bill told Josh Brown it's possible to have too much conviction and said he "too readily accepted management's answers to concerns we had" at VRX.

Ackman said "one of my best sales" was JCP at 12.90. He told Steve Weiss there was no "stubbornness" on his JCP position, that he exited when the facts changed. Weiss said, "I would argue the facts changed a lot before that; you just weren't seeing the change." Ackman said, "I was on the board for 9 months."




Brown: INTC could
reach the high 50s


Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime shrugged that he bought the breakout in INTC; "the reason is that it's going up."

He said there's "enough momentum" for it to reach the high 50s.

Finally at the 58-minute mark, Joe Terranova got a word in, stating INTC is making a "very confident" move.

Jim Lebenthal said of QCOM, "I happen to think there's hair on this deal."

Joe said Jana just had a "huge win" with Whole Foods and is on the board of QCOM.




Flashback: Jeffrey Gundlach says he’ll be ‘disappointed’ if he doesn’t make 400% on ‘free money’ S&P puts


Way back on Aug. 8, Judge devoted the latter half of the Halftime Report to an exclusive with Jeffrey Gundlach.

Gundlach is an undeniably smart and savvy market observer with an uncanny sense of what's relevant, so of course we were tuned in.

The part of the interview we're interested in is the part about Gundlach's so-called "free money" puts (that's correct; that's the term Judge used) on the S&P 500.

We're interested, because 1) it's a trade that sounded almost too good to be true, and 2) maybe the only reason it came remotely close to working is because Gundlach mentioned it on the air days after Howard Marks was declaring market caution. (That's what we call a "self-fulfilling prophecy.")

Gundlach explained that "some of my guys" on his "macro team" told him, "You know, the vol is so low, that we can buy puts on the S&P 500 for December, that if the S&P drops by only 3%, uh, by expiration day, we either break even or make a ton of money. All we need is a 3% correction."

That made sense, Gundlach, said, because, "I believe that the market will drop 3% at a minimum sometime between now and December … and when it does, I think the VIX will not be at 10 or 10½ … I think the VIX will easily go to 20."

Gundlach concluded, "I expect these puts will- I'll be disappointed if we don't make 400% on the puts."

He added, "I think going long the VIX really is sort of free money at a 9.80 VIX level today."

So what has actually happened … The S&P, according to CNBC's screen graphics, was 2,488 during the interview. Within 2 weeks, it had dropped (for about a nanosecond) as low as 2,417, a 2.9% drop, before quickly surging to new highs.

The VIX, for about the same nanosecond days after Gundlach's remarks, hit 17 before retreating. It touched 8.99 Friday.

It's entirely possible that days after these remarks, Gundlach realized there wouldn't be a 3% S&P drop and 17 was as good as he was gonna get on his VIX call and cashed in his "free money" puts at a nice profit.

It's also possible that the entire trade amounted to guessing, was a complete bust and only came close to working because Gundlach announced it on TV — what they used to tell us in mathematics class proof discussions was a "circular argument."

To accord Gundlach a victory for this call would be like congraulating someone for predicting upheaval in the AFC just before the Broncos beat the Patriots on Sunday even though the Patriots are going to finish the season with 4 or 5 more wins than Denver.

The interview opened with Gundlach's recent comments predicting a spike in volatility. He twice said the markets have been "coiling," and said "one way or another, it's gonna have to break."

He mentioned the copper-gold ratio and questioned where the German 10-year was trading.

Judge said, "It sounds like you're telling me that we're gonna have, in your mind, a, a bond-yield-initiated stock correction."

"That's right," Gundlach confirmed.

Gundlach said he recommended EEM early in the year but that it was sitting on a "six-time top," and so "the trade location right now is truly horrific."

It was 44.50 while he spoke, and within a few days fell all the way to 42.72; it closed Friday at 46.34.

Gundlach did make clear he didn't see a big drop in the market because there's no sign of a recession.

(He also mentioned "Erin with the giraffe dress" regarding the famous Jim Cramer Fed rant.)



[Friday, Nov. 3, 2017]


Judge afraid of jinxing the market, admits it’s ‘can’t lose’


Kate Moore on Friday's Halftime said she "absolutely" agrees with Jeff Vinik that there's money to be made in stocks; "I think multiples can stay higher."

Judge said "I hate to say this," but it almost seems like a "can't-lose global investing environment."

"Define lose," Josh Brown actually said.

Stephen Weiss said things could go wrong "if rates really move quickly" (snicker).

Hate to say it, but this page was way ahead of the curve, we've been saying all year long that this market is like being a Mets fan in 1986, and if you're out of it, you're a chucklehead; good to see Judge finally agreeing. Note the caveats: 1) not every stock goes up (unfortunately, we've owned a few of those this year) and 2) there's money to be made in some shorts too; you just wanna be there, mostly long, but one side or the other.



Toni fails to answer Weiss’ question about AAPL-vs.-Samsung facial recognition (a/k/a Katy Huberty, not Tim Cook, is responsible for AAPL’s results)


The opening of Friday's Halftime Report was another victory lap for AAPL, and thus is hardly worth even mentioning, except it got all the key minutes of the show, so whatchagonnado.

Pete Najarian pointed to Apple's $30 billion in services revenue and $12 billion in "miscellaneous" revenue. (The latter, he was so excited that he mentioned it on the 5 p.m. Fast Money also.)

Jon Najarian stated that AAPL is the "60th largest money manager on earth."

"I think you have to give these guys their due," said Josh Brown, pointing out there are rumors at every phone launch.

Steve Weiss was compelled to say again that Tim Cook "has not innovated," leading to another tiresome spree of gags throughout the show. However, Weiss asked good questions about innovation to Toni "No. 1" Sacconaghi (even though Pete Najarian only talks about Katy Huberty, which happened again on the 5 p.m. show) and scoffed at Toni suggesting "animal emojis" as an example of AAPL innovation.

Weiss asked if Sacconaghi has even compared the facial recognition of Apple vs. Samsung. Toni said innovation is a "semantic definition."

Sacconaghi, who upped his AAPL price target to 195, said the most impressive part of results is the "breadth of the strength" (snicker) in the company.

Toni said that why the company doesn't get a market multiple is the "operative question." Then he suggested it's because iPhone margins have declined since the original launch.



Weiss: Buy the ATVI dip


Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime Report said you need "another quarter" to pronounce a positive trend in TWTR. Jon Najarian was even less impressed, stating, "payments and fees were down 5% Judge. That's not good."

Stephen Weiss made a joke, then said DATA is transitioning to a "subscription model" but it's not going as smoothly as how Adobe is doing it. Nevertheless, "The miss wasn't that big actually."

Weiss also admitted disappointment in ATVI falling on a beat-and-raise. "I'd buy it, great CEO," Weiss said.

Josh Brown said of SBUX, "I'm just not into this," dubbing it a trendless stock.

Pete Najarian said the options market thinks the TMUS and S deal might be on again.

Doc said P is experiencing "falloff like crazy" among active listeners. "This one's just headin' south," Doc said.

Kate Moore touted XLF, to rousing endorsement from Pete Najarian.

Doc said December 52.50 APC calls were popular. He said AIG puts were getting bought "in a pretty big way." Pete said November 45 MU calls were getting bought. Pete also said there's more buying in JD calls, the 42.50s.



Brown: ‘Oil is coal’


Jeff Kilburg on Friday's Halftime said crude's had a "big short squeeze," and because of Aramco, he doesn't think it's over yet. But Anthony Grisanti is a "seller at these levels."

Pete Najarian noted that energy trades in the options markets have failed to produce all year.

Josh Brown declared "oil is coal" and in a "secular decline." Stephen Weiss said you have to be a "tourist" in the space.

Josh Brown predicted multiple contraction for DIS and the whole space. Jon Najarian said to look at it in the low 90s. Pete Najarian, who has long touted DIS, said "I'm becoming more and more concerned," not just of cord-cutting, but "this NFL thing."

Weiss said he won't go near M and KSS.

Josh Brown's final trade was KSU. Weiss said LOW. Kate Moore said "value" (snicker) but struggled to end the "speech" that Judge was chiding her for.



[Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017]


Megarich guy like Kevin O’Leary can’t do any better than Domino’s Pizza


Kevin O'Leary on Thursday's Halftime Report explained how he gets pizza delivered.

O'Leary said the Domino's app "builds your preferences … and I don't go anywhere else now because I'm so lazy. … I eat pizza; I watch football. What can I say."

Joe Terranova said this level of DPZ "looks attractive to me."

Joe said he kind of disagrees with Scott Devitt's downgrade of SQ.

Pete Najarian said it's not the guidance with W but the results.

Kevin O'Leary said RL was "on the brink of going away," but management is "pulling it off."

Jon Najarian said a day ago, after the show, someone came scrambling in to buy NWL 41 puts.

"Congratulations, but I bet you get an investigation," Doc said. We'll bet against that. #SEC #askLeeCooperman

Rich Saperstein said he owns MAS and thinks it benefits from tax reform. "It's like buying a Home Depot equivalent without the multiple," Saperstein asserted.

Doc said DISCA April 20 calls were getting scooped up. Doc said LB had a "moonshot" after he made it his final trade the other day. Pete said JD November 41 calls were popular.



Judge can’t believe anyone would invest in JCP; that’s why he kept asking Jim about it


Pete Najarian finally showed up about halfway through Thursday's Halftime and once again mentioned Katy Huberty (yawn) and AAPL. Pete said December 200 calls were popular.

Kevin O'Leary said in his own Apple channel checks, business is "off the friggin' charts."

"Whatever numbers are out there, they're gonna beat 'em," O'Leary said.

Rich Saperstein said it's just an "incredible name" to own.

Aside from AVGO, Pete touted CRUS as an Apple supplier. Joe Terranova mentioned SWKS and GLW.



But Doug isn’t allowed on the show, so scratch that bearish voice


Thursday's Halftime crew took up details of tax reform (Zzzzzzz) … but perhaps they all sounded a bit too cheery.

Judge said he doesn't hear anyone even a "wee bit concerned" about the market, and he wonders if that's concerning … yep … you knew it was coming … "in and of itself."

Mike Farr said there are "not many voices" calling for a correction, but apparently Doug Kass is one.

Jon Najarian said TOL took a hit on the tax revelations; he said he bought puts.

Rich Saperstein said he'd look at small-cap stocks as well as big companies such as AAPL for tax reform/repatriation benefits.

Kevin O'Leary said tax reform will be "ugly" to watch, but there's a lot of momentum to get it done. O'Leary said he loves small-cap/mid-cap "big time."

Joe Terranova said the "removal of the electric vehicle tax" (sic meant to include "credit") is a "big problem" for TSLA.

Mike Farr observed, "We're adding stimulus at a time when perhaps we don't need a lot of it," which gets into the whole "There's nothing to do" point this page keeps making about Washington.

Kevin O'Leary said Jay Powell has an "innate ability to communicate numbers" and will "sell deregulation for Trump in a beautiful way."



O’Leary’s on to something — nobody really cares about Russia


Joe Terranova on Thursday's Halftime said the only thing he questions about FB's security spending is, "Why not go out and buy the security exposure."

Kevin O'Leary said FB's spin on this is "the best sandbagging I've ever seen at a tech company," as Facebook blames the government for forcing it to do this.

"This whole Russian thing is so … beep," O'Leary said.

Jon Najarian said he was in FB heading into earnings; he didn't sell the calls at the pop to 188 but "sold stock against it." He'd look to reload around 170 or 172.

Joe Terranova said he thinks BABA's price action Thursday is "a little concerning" though you don't have to "run for cover."

Kevin O'Leary cited accounting issues. But Doc said BABA is a name where you get 50% growth. (Judge said nothing about when Herb Greenberg would be back to complain about the company's transparency and the exec who lives down the street from Herb.)

Rich Saperstein prefers the FANGs to BABA. Joe said BABA is up 110% on the year.

No one owns YELP, though Doc said he has owned it previously. O'Leary asked, "Why is it even public?"

More from Thursday's Halftime later.



[Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017]


Weiss: ‘Best days in technology … are behind you’


Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he questions the notion of "crowded" stocks, stating, "There are those many shares outstanding that each company has, and somebody's gotta own them."

Not in the mood for nomenclature issues, Judge immediately cut in and told Weiss that Weiss knows it's about chasing the "hot money."

"Sometimes the hot money's right," Weiss said.

Weiss added, "If the market's up to this point, it's gonna be up in the last 2 months."

Judge suggested people might be underinvested in foreign stocks. Josh Brown agreed that there's a "huge gap in home-country bias" that could work against American investors if foreign stocks continue to outperform.

Brown said Savita Subramanian's note on crowded stocks indicates, "The market-cap weight of the S&P is 24% tech, um, but active managers are 30%," which means active could outperform if the tech rally continues but would be in trouble if it doesn't.

Jon Najarian said he favors tech stocks and also likes a "certain amount" of materials names.

Doc said EEM December 47 calls were getting bought.

Josh Brown said you have to spend "more than 5 minutes" determining which ETFs on foreign stocks you should own.

Weiss curiously said, "The best days in technology, I think, I think everybody here would think, are behind you. They're not in front of you." But he said you can still generate alpha by owning tech names.

Jim Lebenthal said he thinks tech stocks will run through the end of the year.

Weiss stressed the "synchronized worldwide growth" that Cramer mentioned in one of Judge's clips isn't just this quarter as Cramer said; they've been talking about it all year. Judge pointed out that Weiss already made that point this week to Grandpa Meb Faber (OK, Judge didn't say "Grandpa").

Sarat Sethi cautioned that when negative rates reverse, "You might get a taper tantrum that nobody expects."

Josh Brown warned that if Trump fires Mueller, "that absolutely will impact the market."

Josh & Jim quibbled over whether "cash on the sidelines" is a myth.



Brown: Buy the EA dip


Josh Brown on Wednesday's Halftime suggested EA's slide is "title specific," and he'd buy the dip.

Jon Najarian said Macau was driving WYNN on Wednesday and first claimed it was an "all-time high," then impressively corrected himself moments later to say 52-week high.

Jim Lebenthal suggested CHKP's tumble was profit-taking and called it "probably a buy-the-dip opportunity."

Steve Weiss said EVHC is in a "challenging space."

Sarat Sethi said VRSK is doing really well, firing on all cylinders.

Scott Nations said crude is "overbought." Anthony Grisanti said, "I got short this morning."

Doc's final trade was LB. Sarat Sethi said EXPE. Josh Brown actually said TWTR. Jim Lebenthal said CSCO. Weiss said UAL and MU.




Sarat doesn’t have much of an answer to Josh’s question about why JBLU is underperforming


Sarat Sethi on Wednesday's Halftime suggested the UAL downgrade by JPMorgan's Jamie Baker is "a little late to the party."

Sarat told Josh Brown that JBLU doesn't have as much premium seating and elite international gates as the bigger carriers, a bit of a headwind on the stock. Fair enough, but it seems like obvious stuff and that Josh was hoping for a deeper answer.

Stephen Weiss said of Baker, "There's nothing he says about United that, that people don't know … this is the time you buy United."

Weiss said he's sure Brad Gerstner is helping UAL "get through this."



Jason Calacanis actually suggests possible ‘existential crisis’ for FB, GOOGL


On Wednesday's Halftime Report, Jason Calacanis told Judge it was a "huge strategic mistake" for FB/GOOGL/TWTR CEOs not to appear at a Senate hearing.

Fair enough.

But at one point, Calacanis called FB and GOOGL "marauding capitalists" (still no big beef there) and doubts that there will be any U.S. regulation (still no big beef) … but then he said the hearing this week could be a "tipping point" and there could be an "existential crisis" for these companies.

Um, doubtful.

Calacanis told Judge that even though he's a Silicon Valley guy, he's critical because "I'm an American more than I'm a technologist" and believes Zuck has been "very cavalier" about fake news.

Calacanis claimed "Zuckerberg is lying to the American people" and "wants to run for office" (snicker).

Josh Brown immediately downplayed Calacanis' remarks, stating, "He's an Uber investor" and "that's like Suspect No. 1" about companies that don't care about laws.

Brown questioned Calacanis' notion of the companies "crashing down," pointing to stocks near all-time highs and pointing out there's no chance of a boycott of these names. Calacanis said it's the "arrogance" of the CEOs that could be their downfall (snicker), suggesting a "5 or 10% chance" that the government "stands up" to them.

If CEO arrogance was the death knell, there'd hardly be anyone in charge.

Judge actually cut off Calacanis to run a commercial, something he's often ignoring lately. (#revenuegains)

More from Wednesday's Halftime later.



[Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017]


AMZN is ‘not gonna have any issues for the foreseeable future’ on the antitrust front


Late in Tuesday's Halftime Report, Judge brought up potential regulation risks for the tech giants.

Stephanie Link said AMZN only has 5% of the market, so "they're not gonna have any issues for the foreseeable future."

But Link said GOOGL does have an "overhang" of potential European threat.

Jim Lebenthal noted the possibility of antitrust concerns for the tech giants.



Jim mentions ‘existential risk’ in conversation about Under Armour


We brought this up during GE conversation recently, and it bears repeating.

Talking about cratering stocks, what's wrong and what they might have to do, is a blast … provided one hasn't owned the shares all the way down, in which case, talking about it can feel like grim death.

So, no one's taking any satisfaction here in the Under Armour debacle. (This writer has no position in UA/UAA/whatever they did that now looks silly.)

Nobody on Tuesday's Halftime was touching the stock. "You're hoping uh that Kevin has thrown in the kitchen sink here," said Joe Terranova, but as for buying the stock, "absolutely not."

Stephanie Link said the UA turnaround will take "a lot longer than people thought" and said UA has "product issues" and lacks lifestyle.

Jon Najarian called Kevin Plank "a great leader" and stated, "My thoughts and hopes are with you Kevin even though right now I'm not a shareholder."

Najarian said the stock needs an activist.

Joe noted how the corporate governance structure was recently changed.

"He needs a friendly activist," Doc said.

The conversation was interrupted for a lengthy period while Judge aired remarks by Donald Trump. When they returned to the subject, Jim Lebenthal said "I wouldn't touch it" and even brought up the term "existential risk."

Judge brought in Bernstein's Jamie Merriman, who unfortunately added little to the UA dialogue. "I think it's gonna take some time," Merriman said, pointing out that UA has expanded distribution into mass-market retail.

Judge asked if the massive stock slide is fair. Merriman said it's "definitely justified."

Judge asked if "reset" is the appropriate word. Merriman said it'll be a "prolonged reset."

Judge, who has experimented with commercial-free formats recently (#lostrevenue), finally took an ad break at the 32-minute mark.



Steve Grasso: AAPL ecosystem ‘starting to lose its grip’


In a completely predictable and routine product review, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime brought in CNBC's Todd Haselton to call the iPhone X the "best phone I've reviewed."

Haselton shrugged off pricing issues. "It sounds like a lot of money but it's really not that much as you pay it off," Haselton said.

Ultimately, that's the issue; someday people will consider that amount of money ridiculous for a phone.

Haselton called the facial recognition "incredible."

Doc mentioned AAPL's bounce since 149 and how QCOM was getting hit. Jim Lebenthal addressed the AAPL-QCOM battle, stating, "I don't think that this game is over." Jim added, "Qualcomm needs to settle this."

Steph Link prefers LITE and AVGO to AAPL.

A day earlier on Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, Steve Grasso revealed, "More and more, as things go to the cloud, that ecosystem is, is starting to lose its grip on me. … I don't need the laptop anymore." He's still long the name.



Remember back in the day when Pete would tout ALK and HA during every airline discussion?


On Tuesday's Halftime, Stephanie Link said "the big wild card is margins" for CRM. She said the stock "usually trades very well" into analyst day. Jon Najarian said CRM options cited Oct. 23 on the show have tripled.

Doc said November 27 calls in X were getting bought ahead of earnings later in the day. He also said PXD 155 calls were popular.

Brian Stutland said he'd look to take profits if long the dollar. Bob Iaccino said he's got a target of 96.

Stephanie Link said she ditched CAG and put the cash in PF.

Doc revisited buying GE last week at 21.50, stating he got in because he thought it was cheap and because he can sell calls, and (citing Kinder Morgan) he thinks it will rally after a dividend cut.

Joe Terranova said it's OK if you want to ring the register a bit on V and MA.

Stephanie Link is buying CMI. Jim Lebenthal predicted the AGN downtrend continues. Doc's final trade was either Softbank or TMUS, we're not sure.

Judge interrupted much of the program to air remarks from Donald Trump; Ylan Mui pointed out that Kevin Brady said there won't be relief on the income-tax deduction but that they would keep the local property-tax deduction.



[Monday, Oct. 30, 2017]

Mebane Faber threatens to write Weiss a white paper on benefits of low-P.E. stocks


Mebane Faber on Monday's Halftime asserted that "U.S. stocks are expensive" and then curiously claimed: "There's only 2 states for the market: It's all-time highs or in a drawdown."

Stephen Weiss said he disagrees with that "supposition." Faber insisted, "That's just math."

Faber, who kept referring to what he said 1 year or 2 years ago when he was last on the show (even we didn't remember that) (#notparticularlyrelevant), pointed back to 1993, stating if you had avoided expensive U.S. stocks in favor of bonds or the "cheapest quartile" of foreign markets, you would've done better.

Weiss questioned if Faber was saying that investors should've been in foreign stocks since 1993. Faber said you should be "market agnostic."

Weiss demanded Faber explain if we've ever had an investment climate such as this with growth and low rates. Josh Brown cut in to say 2003, but Weiss for whatever reason haggled over Italy.

Faber said, "There's low rates in 1930s (sic grammar)" plus Japan in the 1980s. Weiss said Faber is just picking "one element."

Faber said he doesn't know the answer but could write a "white paper" later. Weiss said he just wants "a little research."

Would-be investment advisor Steve Liesman opined that "most people are overly invested in their home market and are leaving money on the table that they could get from diversification." But Josh Brown said the home-country bias has been "reinforced" by great returns for 5 years.

Liesman said Powell is the favorite for the Fed. Judge said every president is thinking he/she wants to "put my own stamp" on the central bank.

Liesman said Powell wants to do more about deregulation "than the average Fed person."

Josh Brown said "everyone's a hawk until they get the seat by the way." He said it's "all automation" and has nothing to do with cyclicality. He's part way there but missing the complete picture: It's a massive consensus that has to deal with all kind of constituencies (largely congressional but also Wall Street) and is hardly the place for Steve Jobs-like innovation.



Slow week for Steve Liesman


After Ylan Mui reported on talk of a phase-in of a lower corporate tax rate on Monday's Halftime, Judge asked Joe Terranova if taxes are priced in to stocks more than people think (and threw in an "in and of itself").

Joe said it's a "very difficult question to answer" given Friday's tech results, but he's "not gonna speculate" about what happens with the tax plan.

Judge then quickly summoned on the phone Peter Boockvar, who said a lower tax rate makes the U.S. a "more attractive" place for business but that the "stimulative part" of tax reform is speeding the write-offs of capital investment.

As for the prospects of tax reform, Boockvar claimed "a lot of it's been priced in," pointing to gains since the election.

Josh Brown questioned Boockvar as to whether corporate tax cuts acutally make us more competitive with … Ireland? And what if monetary policy could "subvert" fiscal stimulus.

Boockvar said the first point is "more of a location decision." He agreed that an economic boost would push up labor costs and offset tax benefits.

Steve Weiss wondered if he heard correctly that Boockvar said that the market started pricing in tax reform "directly after Trump was elected." Boockvar said he would assume that the immediate Russell rally "priced in something."

Weiss said, "I don't think it priced in anything other than the fact that Obama was no longer president." Weiss said "every investor" (stressing "every") that he talked to has assumed something in the market for tax reform "only in the last few weeks."

Judge said maybe investors need to "temper their enthusiasm."

Steve Liesman actually said he "spent a week" looking at high-tax vs. low-tax stocks and found the high-tax stocks "have underperformed the broader market the entire year."

Judge, who has been experimenting with commercial-free format (#lostrevenue), rang up the first ad Monday at the 21-minute mark.



Judge: Why would JCP
bounce at $1.50?


Citi's Paul Lejuez earned a chat on Monday's Halftime by virtue of downgrading JCP and M to sell.

Judge questioned if it's "a little late" for the JCP call. Lejuez, who has a $1.50 target, said the stock still has 50% downside.

Josh Brown asked Lejuez, "Did Bill Ackman kill the company?" Lejuez said Ackman's group "maybe took a little bit too hard of a swing."

Judge said it's a "serious question," but, "why stop at a dollar-fifty" for JCP. Lejuez said "there's always a range of outcomes" but that $1.50 is his "best guess."

Lejuez predicted M is going to "struggle this holiday season," putting the dividend at risk. But he said it's got a much better position in cash flow than JCP.

Lejuez concluded, "We're in an overstored environment."

Judge noted UA was downgraded by Bank of America. Stephen Weiss said, "It's still not a cheap stock" and predicted more downside.



AMD holders, don’t worry; it’ll bounce between 10 and 14 forever


Steve Weiss on Monday's Halftime said of GM, "I'm glad it's got back to where it was 20 years ago."

Weiss said he agrees with the Goldman call, that "it's a good time to take profits," but he doesn't think the stock is a short.

Joe Terranova though said "picking tops um is, is, is really the wrong strategy going forward (sic last 2 words redundant)."

Joe said the LEN transaction is a "good deal" and called the stock a good one to own.

Josh Brown said the lesson in AMD is not to buy a stock because a CEO is using "all the right buzzwords."

Weiss said he doesn't think ODP works even though value players "keep getting sucked in here."

It's great that they're promoting the Veterans Day episode on the Intrepid, though Judge in "Top Gun" gear is a bit of a stretch.



No debate this time over whether ‘it’s different this time’ is accurate or dangerous


CNBC's Meg Tirrell on Monday's Halftime recapped the bad week for MRK.

Steve Weiss said there was growth built in to MRK that might not be happening, and, "They're sort of getting biotech multiples, mature biotech multiples."

Joe Terranova suggested BMY and contended it's "rather odd" that Merck's Friday announcement wasn't included in the earnings.

Kari Firestone beamed in from Boston to tout ZTS, "the only pure play in animal health." Firestone said she would "definitely" add on an earnings pullback.

Pete Najarian beamed in from Minneapolis, stating MLCO November 24 calls were getting scooped up and also that November 35.50 PFE calls were popular.

Pete said 50 "seems to be a base" for MRK, but he hasn't seen any option buying at that level, so he'll "wait on the sidelines to add."

Jon Najarian, beaming in from Chicago, said NVDA 205 weekly calls were getting bought and that ABBV November 91 calls were getting bought.

Steve Weiss' final trade was AAPL; he said he was buying the calls. Josh Brown's final trade was TWTR. Joe Terranova said FANG (the symbol for Diamondback Energy, not Tom Lee's tech trade).



[Friday, Oct. 27, 2017]


Weiss insists he didn’t say something that Josh says is true


It was Happy Tech Stock Day on Friday's Halftime Report.

"It's too early to think about selling these," said Steve Weiss, adding that analysts are "tripping over themselves" to raise price targets.

But Weiss said he bought WDC, and "my luck," it's the one name down 5% Friday.

Jim Lebenthal owns GOOGL, and "I'm very happy with the price action."

Josh Brown said, "This has not been very difficult"; these are well-known tech stocks doing great.

Kevin O'Leary opened the show stating "this year was the year of FANG," calling it "FANG-ology."

But O'Leary suggested the good times might not roll: "I don't think we're gonna get 40% out of them next year."

Steve Weiss opined about AMZN's stature, prompting O'Leary to say, "The most dangerous words ever uttered in investing is (sic grammar), 'It's different this time.'"

"You didn't hear me say that," Weiss said.

"You're insinuating that this is a new kind of company," O'Leary said.

"I'm not insinuating at all," Weiss said.

Josh Brown told O'Leary, "It's always different," saying it twice and then saying it again 5 or 6 times in various phrases over the next 10 minutes.

Weiss trumpeted BABA. O'Leary grumbled about "accounting issues."



Judge strongly implies virtually anyone could see that JCP stock is toast


Tackling a stock that somehow was not working on Friday, Judge sent JCP Jim Lebenthal's way on the Halftime Report.

Jim conceded. "I was wrong … I'm selling it today," he said.

Kevin O'Leary asked if JCP nevertheless is a good bond play; Jim said yes.

Jim said there are 5,000 stocks, he's got a portfolio of 20, "the other 19 are doing terrifically," but JCP is an "eyesore."

"This stock could double from here (see, he doesn't actually believe that), and it's not worth the risk to me," Lebenthal said.

At that point, stock-picker Judge muscled in, stating, "The writing has been on the wall. I don't need to look at where a bond is trading in JCPenney to know that the writing is on the wall."

Josh Brown suggested "bonds are a terrible indicator" of stock direction.

Judge said he'd like to think "that's part of the point I'm making."

"The issue here is not the methodology," Jim insisted. "The issue is that this was the wrong call."

Judge explained that GE's issues "seem to be related to General Electric itself (sic last word redundant)," while JCP is "emblematic" of what's happening in retail.

Panelists actually had a pretty good debate over whether playing the JCP bonds is a good idea.

Judge called Jim a "stand-up guy."

Judge, who reinvented the cable news format a couple weeks ago with his commercial-free approach (#lostrevenue), finally went to break at the 25th minute.




Brian Belski claimed value is going to start working, but even so, ‘greed is good’


Scott Kessler, who has a "strong sell" on TWTR, dialed in to Friday's Halftime to state, "This is just overvalued," and also that the Q3 results aren't "sustainable."

Josh Brown tried to make a show of explaining how great TWTR is, asserting it's "hated more even than SNAP" but has 50 million shares short and just had an island reversal.

Brown stated that "usage is all that matters" for ultimately growing revenue.

Damning the company with faint praise, Kessler said "perhaps they're not dying … I think they're not in some ways all that much different than a zombie."

Brown questioned how daily average user growth equates to "zombie." Kevin O'Leary chipped in that it's a "revenue zombie."

Kessler said people getting "involved" in TWTR right now are gonna get "very hurt" with a long position.

O'Leary seemed to agree. "It's a short cover," O'Leary said. "There's no good news here."

Instead of just asking Brown a question about TWTR, Jim Lebenthal had to give Josh an intro about how much of an expert on TWTR Brown is that of course prompted needless semantical debate.

Steve Weiss questioned if Twitter's user data "growth" was simply a recalculation; Brown's answer wasn't terribly convincing, but Weiss seemed to buy it.



Been a long time since those dudes protested the 1% for weeks in Central Park


Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime said some of the people in Congress are "dumb enough" to take a whack to 401(k) contribution limits.

Judge asked Pete Najarian about Amazon; of course, Pete mentioned AWS.

Pete said March 1035 GOOGL calls were getting bought. And of course, someone was buying MSFT calls.
,br> JPMorgan's Lisa Gill told Judge that there's scuttlebutt that the CVS-Aetna possibility is a "defensive move against Amazon," but in her opinion, it's really about United Healthcare and Optum.

Jim Lebenthal said to "stay away" from MAT.

Josh Brown said the "wealth effect" plays a role in ALGN results.

Weiss said EXPE missed top and bottom line, but he complained that the effect on airlines (yep) is "kinda ridiculous."

Kevin O'Leary said he likes XOM for 2018.

Weiss' final trade was WDC. Jim Lebenthal said AAPL. Josh Brown said NVDA. Kevin O'Leary said "anything small-cap."

Josh Brown said that even though he likes Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, we'll someday have to have this "existential conversation" about the company. Weiss said the yield indicates something's wrong with the stock.

We're going to catch up with the good stuff from earlier in the week and determine if there's anything to report.



Taking a break


We never really got a summer vacation. We'll check in with the Halftime Report and CNBC goings-on throughout the week.

Update: Still breakin', but we'll get to the good stuff this weekend.



[Friday, Oct. 20, 2017]


Rob Sechan seems to think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to roll student loan debt into mortgages


Homebuilders have been one of those great sectors that no one seems to talk about much (nor is the minimal amount of conversation particularly exciting).

But a comment from Rob Sechan on Friday's Halftime Report certainly got our attention.

Sechan revealed, "The mortgage industry too is working on a solution in terms of how to figure out how they deal with student loans, and student loans potentially rolling into mortgages."

OK, the word that really gets our attention in that sentence is "solution."

Solution … to what?

Jim Lebenthal opined, "This sounds awful."

"It does not sound awful," Sechan said. "It will completely change the pace of household formation."

"I admire your optimism, but that sounds a lot like what happened 10 years ago," Jim said. "That's a bad idea."

Jon Najarian astutely noted that student loans can't be discharged in bankruptcy, but you can "walk away" from a mortgage. "So if you could roll student loans into a mortgage and then walk away, I think you'd accelerate the walkaways."

"The devil is in the details," Sechan said.

Indeed. We're trying to figure out how in the world this would work.

We can see the concerns of the mortgage industry. Someone graduates, gets a decent job, but with $75,000 in student debt, it's a long time before he or she can buy a home.

But that's life. "Rolling" debt together doesn't make it go away.

There's a bigger question, which is whether a college education should necessitate borrowing gobs of money and whether loans should be easy to get as politicians demand every 4 years.

Anyway, Jim Lebenthal said the only thing that would worry him about the homebuilders is if rates started to "meaningfully" rise. But he thinks, rather than the Citi call of buying LEN and selling PHM, the sector will move in unison.

Jon Najarian said he disagrees with the call, "and it's not just because I do have a personal relationship with the folks at Pulte," which he said has 24% margins.

Josh Brown said you can just own the ITB.

Rob Sechan said there are a "lot of tailwinds" with homebuilders, including "potential impact of tax reform (snicker) on the marginal tax rate."



GE analyst on Bill Nygren:
‘I don’t know the guy’


First, let's not annoy anyone. #goodstrategy

There's probably an unfortunate level of schadenfreude in stock-market conversations.

Analyzing some notable, falling stock that you don't own is a blast. If you do own it and have ridden it down, of course, just thinking about it can be grim death. As always, this page hopes everyone makes a profit in every stock he or she owns.

Anyway, on Friday's Halftime, Judge had several great discussions about GE, including a chat with JPMorgan's Steve Tusa.

Tusa said he respects John Flannery but that Flannery has a "very high hill to climb." Tusa explained that the $7 billion in cash flow that Flannery mentioned is from operations, and after capex, it's $3 billion, and then after pension obligations, it's "basically" just $1 billion, while the dividend commitment is $8 billion.

"On a true GAAP basis, you're looking at 65 cents of industrial earnings," Tusa added.

He said there's "no way" GE can maintain the dividend unless it sells assets, which would be dilutive.

Tusa said if he were in the boardroom, he'd try to "engineer a soft landing."

Addressing the term of the day on CNBC, Tusa stated, "This is not a kitchen sink," instead calling it an "indication" of "severe secular pressures" in certain segments.

He said every indication is that the power division is bad, "and I believe it's getting worse."

Judge noted that Bill Nygren likes GE and thinks it's still a company with great assets. Tusa said, "I'm just a kid from Connecticut trying to do a bit of analysis here. I'm not sure- I'm not Warren Buffett or anything like that."

Tusa said it could've been called a great company under Jack Welch, "but I believe the game has changed here."

As for Nygren, Tusa said, "I don't know the guy, but, uh, you know, we can discuss my model. My model says it's going lower."

Judge chuckled, as always, that this is how they make a market.

Tusa was earnest and delivered chipper, quality commentary, but the way he looked around at things besides the camera hinted he might be on the verge of snark, but it never did happen really.

Kevin O'Leary credited Tusa for "well-done" analysis and asserted that the dividend cut will be Nov. 13. Tusa said it's "definitely" going to happen before Nov. 13.

O'Leary asserted that the $1-$2 billion in cash flow is "reflected in the stock." But Tusa said he "completely" disagrees that's the case.

Nygren lacks a catalyst. The valid bull case is that this name is still so big that enough minds are going to come together to straighten it out. But in terms of a bottom, it's got a lot of currently unsexy businesses, and turning over the keys to longtime insider Mr. Flannery isn't exactly like hiring Elon Musk.

So both Nygren and Tusa may well be right, but Nygren will have to wait.

Tusa closed by saying, "Hey guys, by the way, uh, I know your former guest said he was No. 1 since 2010, but we crushed him this year, so we're No. 1 this year, just wanted to clarify that." We had no idea what he was talking about.




Humdrum panelist commentary on GE obliterated by Cramer’s ‘disgrace’ assessment


Meanwhile on Friday's Halftime, Josh Brown said "maybe we've seen the worst of the news" in GE, though "I don't feel like there's any rush" to get in.

"They kitchen-sinked it," Brown said.

"There is this problem of the dividend," said Jim Lebenthal, who called that an "overhang" through the end of the year with the tax-loss selling.

Jon Najarian said 18 million shares changed hands in premarket, "a fair amount of it below $22 a share."

Kevin O'Leary said "I'm a buyer today" in GE, not just stock but 2019 25 calls.

O'Leary predicted a dividend cut of either 50% or (gulp) 100%. "I don't care if they pay a dividend or not," said O'Leary, the guy who always champions dividends. "I see a good 20, 25% upside on this story," O'Leary said.

Judge questioned why "Mr. Dividend himself" O'Leary would buy this name and that if they announce a cut, the stock might drop lower than where O'Leary bought it at.

"No no no no, if they cut the dividend, the stock's going up," O'Leary said.

We tackled that one a day or two ago. The gut feeling here is that, if it's viewed as one of the final pieces of the puzzle, the stock would go up … but it's more like the first piece, not the last.

The panelist remarks on GE were watered-down enough that Judge was compelled to air Jim Cramer's comments (OK, he would've aired them anyway) of GE being like a country club and buying oil at the high and selling financials at the low and being a "disgrace."

Jim Lebenthal said there are "indisputable truths" in Cramer's commentary.

Josh Brown said "don't be surprised" if GE is flat on the day. Judge said it made "one helluva comeback."



We couldn’t help but wonder how much Angela Ahrendts makes; turns out she’s the company’s top-paid exec


Josh Lipton on Friday's Halftime Report did his hourly hit from Apple's new Chicago store.

Jon Najarian reiterated his AAPL call of mid-160s to 170 by year-end. Jim Lebenthal said he's waiting for the day AAPL goes up in response to a rumor, which will "open the floodgates."

Jim said the negativity about AAPL ordering/supply issues is "sequentially getting shrugged off earlier and quicker and quicker and quicker. That means the stock is going higher."

Kevin O'Leary said he's going to "step aside" from AAPL for a while and will "look at it again in March."

Josh Brown took a potshot at Weiss' grumbling about AAPL innovation. (Weiss wasn't there.)




Kevin O’Leary thinks Brexit might not actually happen


Judge on Friday's Halftime noted Third Point is in DOV.

Leslie Picker reported that Loeb is bullish on stocks. Josh Brown said Loeb "totally gets it," that there's a global recovery.

Kevin O'Leary said a lot of European stocks have "the wind at their back."

O'Leary also brought up Brexit, stating, "I'm beginning to think that these London guys aren't gonna exit."

Josh Brown observed, "This week might be the first perfect week since 1998. 5 days in a row of the S&P going up. … There have only been 17 occasions of a perfect week in 90 years, and 94% of the time, we've resolved higher after."

Jon Najarian said CTL call buyers were buying November 20 calls as well as 21 and 22 strikes out to January. (The Najarians have been trumpeting call-buying in this name for months, but it hasn't gone anywhere.)

Doc also said November 29 calls in X were popular.

Josh Brown said he has no CMG position, though it "seems to have found a bottom." But he thinks it's still a "battleground" stock, and he's not sure the permanent bottom is in, suggesting a 2-handle if the report is anything but queso being a stunning success.

Jim Lebenthal said GM will go higher if it holds gains that he expects in the early morning Tuesday.

Doc predicted a "fabulous" quarter for MSFT.

Doc said he likes TXN. Josh Brown's final trade was NVDA. Jim Lebenthal said CSCO. Rob Sechan said KRE.

Karen Finerman (above) stunned in new lavender ensemble on Thursday's 5 p.m. Fast Money while decrying how bad the United Airlines conference call was.



[Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017]

Who woulda thunk — world’s biggest market cap will be one of the last companies standing in its space


Desperate to drum up drama, Judge spent the key opening minutes of Thursday's Halftime hoping to hear a headline-making comment about AAPL.

His scare tactics didn't produce one, though he accused the panel of being "dismissive" of the Apple Watch issue in China.

Josh Brown said that if the Watch sales are part of the "fulcrum" of your AAPL analysis, then, "Find a new profession."

Brown shrugged that after previous iPhone launches, there have always been cautionary research notes in the weeks and months following.

Stephen Weiss said, "I don't think it's a surprise to anybody on this desk" that iPhone 8 orders aren't particularly robust. He said he'd like the stock 5% lower.

Joe Terranova said he's not in AAPL, and, "I think you wait."

Weiss said this AAPL quarter will be "another freebie."

Judge then brought in Brian White from the NYSE and asked White why he's "dismissive" of the Rogers Communications CEO saying iPhone 8 sales are "anemic."

White said it's because the story isn't the 8, but the X. "No one is buying iPhone 8. But there are a lot of people waiting on the iPhone 10. And I will tell you, there are also a lot of people buying the iPhone 7," White said.

Judge twice harangued White for not being concerned about Watch sales in China (snicker) and for basically saying the quarter "doesn't matter."

White said, "I think the quarter will be fine."

Judge persisted, stating, "You're basically telling me, and you're telling our viewers, the quarter doesn't matter."

White said, "I think the September quarter will be fine."

Judge said, "You're essentially saying, 'Who cares.'"

White agreed, "Who cares. Doesn't matter."

White told Josh Brown his price target is 208. He told Judge that number includes "some type of repatriation."

In the strangest comment of the program, White said of AAPL, "They're gonna be one of the last companies standing in this industry. One of the last."

Brown credited White for being bullish "the entirety of the last decade." (But what about Katy Huberty?)

Once again, time was wasted on whether Apple is innovative. Weiss insisted it's not. "Name one thing that's on the X that's not been on other phones already," Weiss challenged colleagues.

Brown said, "Facial recognition."

Weiss said, "It's on other phones, you're wrong. Facial recognition is on Samsung."

Joe Terranova said, "You have to admit they have pricing power." Weiss said he's not disagreeing with that.

Jon Najarian said White is "too aggressive" with a 208 target. Doc said it might get to low 170s after shopping season.



When was the last time anyone talked about the assignment of ESPN football announcer Robert Lee?


Steve Liesman on Thursday's Halftime said he thinks the Fed favorite is Kevin Warsh.

Liesman put odds on Yellen "below 50%," partly because of GOP resistance and because Yellen has been neutral about tax cuts.

Liesman mentioned all the people who "have a say" in the Fed selection — but didn't mention Ivanka or Jared Kushner.

Judge asked if Yellen would accept the job if offered. "I think she would take it," Liesman said.



CNBC’s 20-year coverage of the 1987 meltdown probably didn’t include chatter about ‘By the way, Bear and Lehman are toast’


Doing the obligatory hourly mention for CNBC, Michael Santoli on Thursday's Halftime said there are "more differences than similarities" between now and Oct. 19, 1987.

He said the markets globally were "under a lot of stress" in months leading up to the crash.

Judge said it's "unthinkable for many" that an equivalent one-day drop in today's Dow would be 5,000 points.

Jon Najarian pointed out the difference in AAPL valuation and volume between October 1987 and October 2017.

Doc said he was a market maker in IBM on Oct. 19, 1987.

Stephen Weiss made a good quip about having access to the Playboy Mansion.



Brown: Closets in general getting emptier (a/k/a Jim would’ve said he’s waiting to fill the other half of his position at 49)


Judge on Thursday's Halftime said NKE got a downgrade from Goldman though the price target remains 54. (Zzzzzzzzz)

Joe Terranova said he doesn't see "anything actionable" in what Goldman did.

Joe said adidas has been "way stronger than everyone expected," and he doesn't think the rally is ending.

But Josh Brown shrugged that adidas merely "caught a fad" at the right time and that he doesn't want to own any of the names.

Steve Weiss agreed with Brown that it's a "fashion business." Weiss said he'll get back in NKE when the global inventory from all the brick and mortar stores is "bled out."

Judge said there was a story going around on "one of the online (sic redundant) blogs" about NKE offering "unprecdented" website discounts up to 40%.

Jon Najarian said he gets an email every week about adidas sales.

Brown said each generation is "accumulating less apparel" every year.

"This whole sector is atroche (sic pronunciation)," Brown said, predicting a breakthrough below 50 for NKE at some point.

Weiss said, "Nike's good for an activist to come into," because "I think their products are inefficiently run."



Whew — a day without debating whether tax reform is priced in (though Brian White just barely went there)


Phil LeBeau on Thursday's Halftime said Cadillac came in dead last in auto reliability rankings.

LeBeau also said Tesla people didn't like the Consumer Reports prediction.

Jon Najarian said LC November 6 calls were getting bought. He said January 16 calls in FCX were aggressively getting bought. But he said he's buying the 14s and will be selling the 16s.

Brian Stutland thinks it's time to take profits in crude, it'll fall below 50, though he likes it longer term. Jim Iuorio said the uptrend is still intact.

Doc's final trade was BHF. Joe Terranova mentioned ADBE and said it bodes well for MSFT, SAP, RHT. Steve Weiss said UAL; "you gotta buy it here." Josh Brown said AAPL.



[Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017]

Desperate to manufacture drama, Judge turns to Kyle Bass


At the top of Wednesday's Halftime Report, Steve Weiss said 1) we shouldn't pass a tax bill just to support the stock market, and 2) Mnuchin made an "irresponsible" comment, and 3) the U.S. is lagging other markets.

Obviously, Mnuchin is merely warning Congress — however weakly — that 401(k)s will fall if they don't vote for tax cuts.

Jim Lebenthal said Mnuchin is "choosing his words carefully."

Jim said "there's not a lot of volatility" to be driven by the tax cut.

Kari Firestone said tax cut numbers aren't in the market's economic models.

Jon Najarian said he disagrees with Mnuchin and doesn't think tax reform is baked in.

For the first time in a while, Judge invoked Kyle Bass (when's the Greece/Japan meltdown coming by the way), stating that Bass said, "If you see the equity market crack 4 or 5 points, buckle up, because I think we're going to see a pretty interesting air pocket, and I don't think investors are ready for that."

So if the market suddenly tumbles 5%, then it's going to fall more, and then investors won't be "ready" for that, so it'll presumably fall still more.

So he's predicted about 7 of the last 1 meltdowns.

What about the classroom survey when he was dismayed that students didn't know enough about Greek debt?

Got it.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't see a 4-5% drop before year-end.

John Harwood said, "They've got a lot to overcome" in terms of passing tax reform.

Mike Farr, who resembles former Gov. Gray Davis, spent the hour with the panel.



How come there wasn’t all kinds of bullish options activity in IBM prior to the earnings report?


Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime Report said IBM results are a "turn" but still could be a "tease."

Surely his opinion was influenced by what Pete Najarian reported later, which was (after invoking Katy Huberty's 192 (snicker) target) that IBM November 160 calls were getting bought.

Jim Lebenthal said the IBM turnaround is "just one quarter," and there could be a short squeeze driving the stock.

Kari Firestone was shaking her head about IBM's gains. "I don't see where the catalyst really is," Firestone said.

Pete Najarian said Warren Buffett might've "made a mistake" by selling IBM too soon.



Mike Farr says people will start to feel like a ‘moron’ if they buy CMG


Stephen Weiss on Wednesday's Halftime Report said he loves the Bank of America downgrade of CMG and wonders why he's not short it, given the "egregious" valuation.

Jon Najarian noted that CMG could "pop significantly" if tax reform gets done. He said it gets interesting around "roughly" 300.

Kari Firestone said, "Malls are becoming just food courts," pinching the restaurant space.

Mike Farr said "emotional momentum" is going to work against CMG; people will be considered a "moron" if they try picking a bottom in this name.



Day 2 of (supposedly) Donald Trump tweets sinking the drug space


Kari Firestone on Wednesday's Halftime Report said she owned AGN for "quite a while" but got out for a few reasons, one of them being the prospect of botox alternatives.

Jon Najarian said ESPN's NFL numbers "may be troughing."

Pete Najarian said XLF November 26.50 calls were getting scooped out.

Doc said PG October 93.50 calls were popular. He also said November 94 ABBV calls were popular. Doc also noted that GWW took off.

Jim Lebenthal said "Abbott is going higher from here (sic last 2 words redundant)." Jim made ABBV his final trade.

Steve Weiss said EA actually looks attractive on the selloff.

Mike Farr said he owns CVS and will buy more.

Doc said ANTM has done great over 5 years.

Jeff Kilburg said the flattening curve suggests a "credit event on the horizon." Scott Nations said the Fed should be unloading the longer-term bonds first, but, "They're not."

Weiss said he likes UAL. Doc noted Warren Buffett didn't sell after the passenger was dragged off the plane and that the calls are getting bought.

Jim Lebenthal again touted WGO after Thor earnings.

Weiss' final trade was MU. Kari Firestone said SHW, and Doc said WYNN. Mike Farr actually said XOM.



[Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017]


Not sure what numbers Doc is talking about regarding Colin Kaepernick


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime Report said a "well-respected executive" told him he's seen "bomb-sniffing dogs" at the NFL owners meeting.

Pete Najarian said unfortunately, "The NFL is being reactive," and he faulted Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"$44 million a year this guy gets paid, Scott," Pete said.

Jon Najarian curiously stated, "Kaepernick has no future because you know, he blew himself up in San Francisco. The numbers were among the worst ever in league history in his final year there."

Seriously?? Did Doc ever notice what Stoudt, Kordell, Kent Graham, Tommy Maddox and Dennis Dixon put up for Pittsburgh??

Oh well. "I don't think there's collusion on the owners' parts," Doc stated.

Judge told Doc there are "many people out there who would disagree" as to whether Kaepernick is good enough to play in the league.



Judge tries to tell Bill Nygren what Bill knows


Judge opened Tuesday's Halftime with Bill Nygren, who called GE "a very different company looking forward than looking back." (Translation: Immelt blew it.)

Nygren conceded, "You have to think there's some risk in that, uh, in that dividend," which proved a contentious subject.

Judge told Nygren that if GE cuts the dividend, the stock will "get hit hard," and, "You know that."

"I don't know that," Nygren responded.

Actually, Nygren's right. Remember when the Najarians used to mention every other day that Kinder Morgan took off after announcing the dividend cut? GE isn't the same type of situation, but still, clarity on that subject could bring in buyers.

A cut indeed might hit the stock. But it also might not.

Regardless, Judge claimed the panelists "visibly (sic redundant) almost jumped out of their seats" at Nygren's comment.

In an excellent point, Josh Brown questioned why Nygren thinks GE is "out of favor," citing average analyst price target of 28.

Nygren admitted to Judge, "We started buying it almost 2 years ago, when it was about this same price. And clearly made a mistake not selling it 6 months later when it was in the 30s."

Also long NFLX, Nygren said P.E. doesn't reflect the value of the business. "If Netflix charged $15 a sub, the P.E. would be about a market multiple right now," he said.

Jim Lebenthal asked Nygren if he fears a contracting multiple and competition for NFLX. Nygren said unfortunately, he worried "a lot" about competition a few years ago when the stock was a lot lower.

Joe Terranova said he doesn't think GE has "financial flexibility" right now; "the dividend cut totally makes sense." Joe also mentioned the burden of pension liabilities.

Josh Brown said of Nygren's GE bullishness, "I don't know why he thinks it's gonna get a market multiple, let alone a premium."

Pete Najarian predicted "heavy pressure on the sell side" if there's a dividend cut.



Famous Hillary tweets (revisited)


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime bickered with Josh Brown over whether the stock market cares about Donald Trump's comments/tweets on drug pricing.

"The stocks dropped like a stone yesterday," Judge said.

"Talk to me next week," Brown shrugged.

Pete Najarian said Stifel's target hike to 415 on BIIB really stands out about the call.

Jim Lebenthal said ALXN is very attractively priced.

Jon Najarian said XBI calls were popular but said CELG is his favorite. Doc said BIIB isn't a stock that gets traded because of the high bid/ask. Joe Terranova said his top pick in the space is XLV. Pete said there was "large buying" in November 84 XLV calls.



Doc practically does cartwheels just because someone bought calls in FB


In a curious comment, Josh Brown on Tuesday's Halftime said there are "massive bubbles being blown," perhaps in crypto or private equity, but "not necessarily in the S&P 500."

Jon Najarian pointed out how well Japan is doing right next to North Korea.

Jim Lebenthal said he's "comfortable" that QCOM will settle with AAPL (sigh).

Josh Brown predicted "another leg higher" for INTC.

Jon Najarian said HOG was trading almost $2 higher since the open.

Jim Lebenthal said "just be careful" with BA because it's hard to see how much better things can get.

Josh Brown said SONC, bigger picture, is still in a downtrend, and he likes pizza names and SHAK better.

Joe Terranova said he likes CNC better than UNH.

Pete said SAVE has "absolutely lagged the rest of the sector."

Doc said he likes that FB November 180 calls were getting bought. He also said November 190 GWW calls were popular and were already making money in the morning.

Pete said someone in the FAST November 46 calls was (yep) rolling up into the 48s.

Scott Nations said gold was down on hints of the Taylor Rule. Anthony Grisanti suggested 1,254.

Doc's final trade was IRBT. Pete said AMAT and hung a 60 on the name. Josh Brown said ALB. (This writer is long ALB.) Joe said LRCX and hung a 200 on the name. Jim Lebenthal said C.



[Monday, Oct. 16, 2017]


Fast Money/Halftime ignores the word that really sank Netflix in 2011 (a/k/a ‘FANG stocks only work in odd years’)


On Monday's 5 p.m. Fast Money, viewers were treated twice to the now-incomplete-but-regularly-heard-on-CNBC history of Reed Hastings' (limited) mistakes.

Guy Adami repeated the narrative (and referred to it twice actually) about "the only misstep that Mr. Hastings has taken in the last decade or so was 6 or 7 years ago when they raised prices under the cloak of darkness one night, and the stock got obliterated."

It wasn't that simple.

See, here's the deal … words can be really lucrative. "Google" is a great and funny term for the Internet Age; that's the reason people used/use the search engine. And how much "Spanx" would anyone buy if it was called "Gurdle." (We don't know and aren't going to opine on that one.)

What Mr. Hastings did in 2011 was announce a split of his company into a streaming service and a DVD service. The split would result in price increases. The hook was that the DVD service would be called "Qwikster." People on CNBC laughed.

That's why the stock was "obliterated."

The price increase was dubious only because NFLX was very much a "battleground" stock then with legit concerns (that still exist) about spending obligations; streaming didn't have the presence it has now. That would've just dinged the stock. Announcing it with a name that sounded kind of manufactured hip made people think "what are these chuckleheads doing."

NFLX earnings just came out Monday night, so we expect to be hearing more of the incomplete story Tuesday.



He mentioned DuPont (but not the ‘Joan of Arc’ thing)


Taking up what has to be one of the biggest wastes of recent investor/corporate time in recent years, Judge on Monday's Halftime brought in Jeff Sonnenfeld to address the PG fight.

We didn't know or couldn't remember Sonnenfeld's position on this subject but got a crash course quickly when he stated that the battle is "inspiring a number of boards" to stand up to activists.

Judge, who bungled his own recap of Donald Trump's remarks earlier in the show (see below), quoted Sonnenfeld as saying that Peltz has "tantrums" over defeats such as this. "This sounds especially personal," Judge told Sonnenfeld.

Sonnenfeld insisted that when challenged "on rational grounds," Peltz gets "quite personal."

Judge said "the average holding time" is 44 months for Trian funds and then rattled off a bunch of impressive returns compiled by an objective source as Sonnenfeld tried to get a word in.

Sonnenfeld at one point referred to "your superb collar (sic meant 'colleague'), Andrew Ross Sorkin," who apparently reported in the New York Times that Trian interests TIF, LM, IR, LAZ underperformed over 2 years.

Sonnenfeld twice mentioned Mondelez and said of Chemtura, "They loaded it up with so much debt, they drove it into bankruptcy."

Judge cut off Sonnenfeld, insisting, "We've got to go," but instead of going to a commercial, he just let the panel shoot the breeze for the remaining 4 minutes.

Joe Terranova said "I just don't understand" why there's a conversation about Nelson Peltz's track record.

Jim Cramer said he's known Sonnenfeld since age 5.



‘It’s eerily reminiscent of ’99’


Once again inserting his opinion into the dialogue (even though he's not exactly a pro stock-picker), Judge on Monday's Halftime said the Soc Gen cut of C to sell/65 "seems like a very peculiar call to me" because it's "so against the grain, the crowd, this desk."

Stephanie Link said she's been buying because even though C is not JPM, "I don't think the story has changed."

Jim Cramer likes it for the "capital return story."

Judge said the show wanted to land the Soc Gen analyst but wasn't able to do it, but, "This analyst has been on the wrong side, offsides on this one … for a while."

Pete Najarian said he's not sure he gives the analyst credit for upgrading it a while back to a hold.

Joe Terranova (trading) and Steph Link (NIM) briefly bickered over what was most disappointing about C's report.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sherman of DoubleLine said the market reflects a "growing global economy" but cautioned about moving in the direction of "global coordinated tightening."

Cramer said people in Europe don't care about rates but the "immigration problem." But Cramer assured this won't be like the 1930s.

Judge noted the Jets got robbed by a pathetic call and that Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance.

Mike Francesa, who was rushed into this abbreviated program for some reason at the expense of commercial revenue, said Kaepernick's collusion argument will be "very difficult to prove."

Francesa said Kaepernick's NFL career is over. "They might pay him to go away, but he is not gonna get another job," Francesa asserted.

Pete's final trade was RTN. Jim Cramer said JPM. Stephanie Link said EMR. Joe said FMC.

Karen Finerman, who looked great in hunter green on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, said the selloff in PCG "does seem overdone to me."




Out to lunch: Judge misses Trump’s comments on California fires, conducts an entire 60-minute show without a commercial #lostrevenue


In an extraordinary episode of the Halftime Report — extraordinary because it went commercial-free despite only losing about 20 minutes to breaking news — Judge apparently took a lunch break during the 17-minute clip of Donald Trump's remarks from the White House.

Trump at one point mentioned the "devastating wildfires like we've never seen. And we mourn the terrible loss of life. We have FEMA, first responders there. We have our military helping. It's, uh, very sad to watch how fast, how rapidly they move and how people are caught in their houses. It's an incredible thing, caught in their houses."

Afterwards, Judge said, "You've got 41 people, uh, now dead in California. Uh, businesses that have been burned to the ground. And no mention at all, uh, by this administration, the president, about what's taking place there." (Gulp — that's how some come up with the "fake news" thing.)

Eamon Javers though explained, "We did hear the president talk about it, Scott."

Javers actually said the president, "to my eyes, seemed a little bit in awe of the power of nature."

Judge offered "my apologies" for "mishearing" what was said. (Translation: He didn't "mishear" anything; he obviously wasn't listening to the whole thing.)

Otherwise, Trump said the Vegas monster "was a demented, sick individual; the wires were crossed pretty badly in his brain, extremely badly in his brain."

Trump said "some people are really taking advantage" of America's welfare system.

He also complained about prescription drug prices that have "gone through the roof," explaining, "The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder."

Jim Cramer said Trump's "Nielsens" are the stock market.

John Harwood said Trump's remarks about the Senate are "not an auspicious political sign" for getting tax reform.

Steph Link said, "Most of the HMOs have gotten out of the exchanges."

Meanwhile, Joe Terranova said he feels good about the market. Joe trumpeted his software plays, MSFT, RHT and SAP.

Judge (picture above not from Monday), who called Mike Wilson a "Halftime regular" even though he's been on the show by our estimation 2 or 3 times this year, said Wilson is seeing a greater risk for a correction (snicker) than he's seen in a while.

Jim Cramer called this a "Cleveland" market. He said ITW and LRCX tumbled but shouldn't have.

Joe observed, "No one has energy right now."

Pete Najarian showed up late.

More from Monday's Halftime later, including the panel vs. Jeff Sonnenfeld on Nelson Peltz's track record.



[Friday, Oct. 13, 2017]


Admittedly, we had to look up ‘mishegas’ (a/k/a Weiss buries the lede, but at least he had the brass to bring it up)


Judge on Friday's Halftime gave Josh Brown a platform to talk about an essay Brown wrote on single-stock positions in wealth management.

(Actually, the article is rather disjointed, distorting its quality points.)

Brown (picture above not from Friday) contends that it's downright impossible to fully analyze all kinds of single stocks for various clients and deal with the emotions involved.

The basic argument, and it's a fine one, is that if you buy a stock for 100 clients and the stock does well, and you're inclined to trim, then you get a new client, do you actually buy it for the new client while selling it for others.

Sarat Sethi observed, "Where you get into trouble … is when clients dictate what to do in your portfolio."

Brown gave Jim Lebenthal another example. If someone has 100 clients, and he bought them all GM, the stock goes up, the advisor sells, then 6 months later, 3 clients say, "GM just went up another 10% since you sold it. Why did you sell my GM? Put it back."

But that seems like an age-old problem that has nothing to do with increased use of ETFs.

Jim Lebenthal, who initially sparred with Brown over whether they were defining asset management or wealth management, explained, "You have to have rules … You have to be willing to fire a client. OK, If you've got one client who's taking up half of your day …"

Steve Weiss said he agrees with Brown but also thinks it's true on the institutional side.

Then it was Weiss who finally got to the point and asked Brown the million-dollar question: "Why would somebody need somebody like you if you can just buy the ETF, reduce your costs, what do you charge, 1% of assets, I don't know, because markets go up 80% of the time, and that's been a great trade."

Brown's roundabout answer was that the "real value to clients" is the "financial planning aspect."

Judge promised a link to Brown's article at CNBC.com. That was kind of nonexistent, though you can find the Twitter link at the Halftime Report portal.




Tom Lee actually says ‘FANG stocks only work in odd years’ (after admitting, ‘We basically
got steamrolled’)


Tom Lee, who called a 4-5% selloff in September, dialed in to Friday's Halftime and admitted he took his cues early this year from the credit markets suggesting caution, and, "We basically got steamrolled."

But he said this week, "high yield finally confirmed the rally in equities." So that's why he's shifted from cautious (snicker) to neutral (snicker). Lee's new target is 2,475 (snicker).

Judge noted that's lower than today's S&P. "How does that square up?" Judge asked.

Lee said there's "positives and negatives" but didn't answer the question, pointing to extremely low yields in Europe.

Judge asked Lee if the market is "ready" for what the Fed's going to do in the next year (snicker). Lee said there's a "recognition" at central banks that unemployment may not justify such low rates.

Judge asked Lee about Lee's recent notion that FANG will do great while the market stalls. Lee actually said, seriously, "FANG stocks only work in odd years … FANG for whatever reason works in alternate years."



The NFLX trade was to buy when Carl plunged in, but even Carl got out way too early (Day of Reckoning etc.)


Judge opened Friday's Halftime saying NFLX hit a "new (sic redundant) record high."

The thing is, nobody on Friday's panel was rushing in to buy the stock.

Josh Brown admitted that he never really believed NFLX would get this big in terms of market cap.

But Brown said, "They're making native content shows all over the world in a way that HBO couldn't even dream of right now."

Jim Lebenthal contended the price increase "is already in the stock."

Steve Weiss said he sold NFLX in the 170s but "made some really good money on it." Weiss said NFLX still has pricing power. "I hope they miss bad, so I can get in," Weiss said.

Sarat Sethi doesn't own NFLX either. But he does own YELP, which he says has "a lot more room to grow" (snicker) than NFLX does.

Nobody on the panel owns CRM either. Judge asked why not. Jim hilariously told Judge, "I don't think you're gonna go through all 500 stocks."

"I'm trying to make a point," Judge protested, though we're not sure what that point is.

Judge quibbled with Brown's contention that investing in high-P.E. names involves an educated "guess." Brown insisted, "At the end of the day, it- you're making a guess. You have to be."



Weiss: ‘It’s eerily
reminiscent of ’99’


Josh Brown on Friday's Halftime said he bought NVDA at 50 when trading at 50 times earnings.

Extending the "guess" argument, Judge said, "You're not guessing, you feel like you're making an educated decision based on-"

"I think this one was easy," Brown said.

Judge said he's wondering "if things are starting to get a little hyperbolic" in the momo-stock space.

Stephen Weiss admitted he sold NVDA below 100 after his calls doubled.

Jim Lebenthal said value can work as well as growth and pointed out that INTC is "making good money for me."

"It's eerily reminiscent of '99," Weiss said.



Remember when it was news every 8 minutes on CNBC who was controlling the National Amusements shares ...


Erin Browne on Friday's Halftime said the bank space is "a little bit more of a stock-picker's market."

Stephen Weiss is sticking with BAC and C. Sarat Sethi said he likes BAC and C and JPM and MS and SCHW.

Josh Brown said the payment stock space is "so much hotter" than the banks. But Sarat Sethi said V and MA are trading at "peak P.E. right now."

Weiss cautioned that iron ore stocks can go south in a hurry.

Josh Brown said AMBA is still an ugly chart, he doesn't want anything to do with it.

Erin Browne said transports are "well positioned."

Jim Lebenthal said VIAB is "very cheap," and the reason to own it is that it might get taken out.

Sarat Sethi said it's time to take profits in HPQ.

Jim Lebenthal predicted WGO would knock one out of the park in its earnings report.



[Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017]


‘Scott, Scott: Let’s be serious here’ — when smart people really aren’t able to showcase that smartness


Sara Eisen during Thursday's Halftime Report sat down with Larry Summers.

Interviewing Summers is not that big of a deal — he gives a lot of interviews.

But this is an extremely intelligent, plugged-in fellow (even though he probably knows little about "Road House.")

And his interviews are actually something of a small tragedy.

He obviously can't speak 100% freely (very few humans can on cable television) because of his political and professional associations.

Let's put it this way: We'd give a left arm for a completely candid conversation with this fellow. Questions would include: "Was Hillary Clinton electable." "What does Trump do well." "Does active management really outperform indexes over time." "Then again, aren't indexes just active management?" "Is it smart to use your best pitchers only once every 5 days." "Do hormones affect intelligence?" "Why aren't diseases being fought like World War II?" "What is the difference between a country … nation … state … commonwealth … territory … What is the difference — really — between Guam and Alaska …"

You get the idea.

Surely he has a thought on those subjects.

This fellow once headed perhaps the most preeminent institution of learning in the whole world.

Thus, he should be a champion of furthering people's … (here's another good definition question for him) … brainpower/intelligence/knowledge of things that are relevant.

Imagine if Sara Eisen had asked Summers any of those above questions.

Yep.

Instead, all he can do in limited time is carp about tax cuts.

OK. Whatever.

Eisen told Summers he's been "trash-talking" the Trump administration. Summers said there's been an "unprecedented level of, uh, factual error and, uh, statements that aren't supported by any economic analysis from the administration on a range of questions."

Summers scoffed at repatriation, stating it happened in 2003-05, and a "huge amount of money came home, and it all went into share repurchases and dividends."

Judge then got a chance, asking Summers if Summers thinks Jamie Dimon is "lying" about the idea that tax cuts would boost jobs and wages.

Summers said, "Jamie's, uh, my friend. And, I do not mean at all to be attacking him personally." Then he offered an example/calculation and said Judge "could get your researchers to do it for your viewers."

The example is, if the corporate tax rate were cut from 35% to 20%, and JPM's profits are about $25 billion a year, the cut would save $3.75 billion: "How many people will Jamie Dimon increase his payroll by. Will it be any substantial fraction of $3.75 billion?"

Judge protested that Dimon "is speaking for the greater corporate community."

Larry said, "Scott, Scott: Let's be serious here. You're the one who introduced Jamie Dimon and Jamie Dimon hiring as evidence in this calculation."

Sara said Larry Lindsey has offered a $30,000 bet that the economy's better under Trump than Obama, inequality declines and incomes rise. Summers grimaced and waved off Eisen; "It's not specified in a clear way."



Been a long time since Herb has been on complaining about BABA transparency and the exec who lives near him


Judge opened Thursday's Halftime with a funereal tone about the "Retail Wreck."

Judge claimed "it's a fool's game" to pick a winner among retail stocks.

Pete Najarian suggested HD, and also touted BBY and WMT, although not with the same type of vigor he saves for Micron and the big banks and MSFT and Katy Huberty's AAPL analysis.

Joe Terranova said "the scary part" is that retail had a bounce in late August, "and everyone believed the bounce."

Joe said PVH is fine, great, but "it's just a matter of time" before a couple retailers "end up on the pink sheets."

Jim Lebenthal stressed, for the umpteenth time, "The debt is where we should be looking," while Pete Najarian did neck-stretching exercises.

Jim pointed to ominous debt-market signals about SHLD, only about the 175th time such a point has been made on this program and others. (Probably costs a million bucks to short it.)

Josh Brown balked at Jim's assessment and asserted, "The corporate bond market is asleep," mentioning Toys R Us.

Jim told Brown, "You also know that the XRT rallies in November. You know that."

Jim explained that retail's a small part of his portfolio and he's doing great despite JCP. Judge stated, "We're happy for you … we truly are." But Judge wondered, "Why the hell then are you still holding this stock."

Jim said, "Because frankly I think it's undervalued" (Zzzzzzzzzzz.)

Brown said malls "are literally (sic) propping up stores themselves," stating 500 Aeropostale stores are "being operated by the mall owners."

Joe tried to tell Judge that JILL's shellacking was more company-specific than a bellwether.

Joe said of LB, "I've been talking about it; I haven't owned it … I like the company."



We are definitely not experts on this subject … but women are buying ‘gym’ apparel for work now?


After airing his own views on the subject, Judge on Thursday's Halftime asked Dana Telsey about having "hold" ratings on DDS, JCP, M and JWN.

"Why?" Judge asked Telsey.

Telsey said she agreed with the show's "dialogue" that contraction is needed. But, "The balance sheets of some of these companies happen to be very good," Telsey said.

In the day's most eye-opening comment, Telsey told Josh Brown that women used to buy apparel for 4 reasons: "Work, weekend, gym and party." But today, Telsey said, there are only 2 reasons, given the more casual society: "Work, weekend, gym as one collective, and then party."

Josh Brown asked Telsey, what if suppliers stop shipping product to JCP. Telsey said, "Haven't heard anything like that."



Brown: Good luck getting
TWTR over 20


Pete Najarian on Thursday's Halftime Report suggested low volatility was a bit of a headwind for the big banks.

There was other talk about the big banks, but 1) it's a boring space, 2) it's nevertheless discussed on the show constantly, so 3) we don't need to bring it up here. (By contrast, TWTR and (former) YHOO have apparently become so boring that not even the Halftime crew talks about them anymore.) By the way, Karen Finerman on the 5 p.m. Fast Money said the only problem with the banks was that the stocks had run up a lot before earnings.

Joe Terranova said the place where he got his "wonderful haircut" accepts SQ. Pete said TWTR was up Thursday because of "rumors, rumors, rumors," which basically happens in the stock about every 2 weeks. Josh Brown said TWTR should experience resistance at 20.

Pete said October 55 calls in AMAT were getting bought.



Brown: Equifax facing ‘potentially existential’ concerns


Josh Brown on Thursday's Halftime Report said EFX had a "very, very strong bounce" off of 90, but now it's rolling over again, and, "I don't think it holds 90 this time," though there are "no shorts in this stock."

Brown said he "kinda" thinks this is a "potentially existential" problem for the company. Judge shrugged and moved on to Futures Now.

We're not sure about holding 90, but we don't see how Equifax goes away so easily.

Jeff Kilburg said 50 should be support in crude. Jim Iuorio said the "pretty decent uptrend" remains intact.

Jim Lebenthal said he's added recently to GOOGL and QCOM.

Joe Terranova offered a curious and time-consuming (in the final seconds) take on "quant models" before just saying to buy MAR.

Pete Najarian's final trade was LULU. Jim Lebenthal said AAPL. Josh Brown predicted a "major breakout" in GOOGL. Joe Terranova said RHT.



[Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2017]

Judge notes he’ll ‘never forget’ the day COST stuck it to AXP


The opening of Wednesday's Halftime was basically a lengthy pep rally for V.

Joe Terranova said V is gaining momentum with the turnaround specific to Europe and later said he expects conservative guidance.

Kari Firestone still likes V but thinks MA is "more expensive."

Pete Najarian said he agrees MA is more expensive and said V's growth projections are "absolutely astounding."

Jon Najarian said PYPL is "just hitting high after high after high" and touted it a 2nd time in the first 10 minutes.

Judge seemed surprised nobody was touting MA. Pete said if he were to do something besides V, he'd pick AXP.

That prompted Judge to bring in Don Fandetti on the phone; Fandetti called AXP "the one to own" because it's "regained some momentum."

But Fandetti also said he likes V or MA because of Europe and being cheaper.

Fandetti conceded the possibility of disintermediation risk or regulatory surprise. (Years ago there was something about Sen. Durbin that temporarily sank these stocks.)

Judge aired a clip of Cramer calling V and MA "2 of the greatest stocks of our time."

It took 8 minutes for Judge to bring up AXP's performance since "the Costco day," adding "I'll never forget that." (As if there were any risk.) Pete said AXP was in "purgatory" for a year afterward before its stunning climb.

Joe said there are 3 others in the space, COF, DFS and SYF, and COF might be most likely to ride a bit like AXP, but he doesn't think any is as good as V or MA.



Joe implies people might believe dubious things just because someone like Larry Fink is saying them


Wednesday's Halftime gave viewers a dose of Larry Fink talking about all the cash on the sidelines. (As opposed to Howard Marks talking about how it's time to be more cautious because he heard someone on the Halftime Report talking about "sell point" and didn't like it.)

Joe Terranova grimaced, stating, "Conceptually, there's a tremendous amount of cash on the sidelines. And then, I've heard from so many people over the last 5 years, well there's nowhere else to put your money except- except in the equity market because the return environment is so low, it's the only place to be. So is there really that much cash on the sidelines? I think that kinda conflicts with each other."

That's an excellent point.

Judge noted that Larry Fink is saying it, which makes it seem like a "real issue."

Joe said, "It sounds good because Larry's saying it. Uh, if I said it, you'd laugh at me."

Kari Firestone said Q4 should have 12% earnings growth for the S&P.

Jon Najarian said of big banks, "Many of these are still a deal."

Kari Firestone said there has "literally been a massive move" into financials already.

Judge pushed Joe over whether the Fed matters because it's "normalizing" now.

Pete Najarian hung a 100 on JPM by Friday. Pete said C will get there in "7 or 8 months."

Joe said he doesn't think the lifting of financial regulation is priced in. Kari Firestone said "some of it's priced in."

This time, Judge took a break at the 18-minute mark, a step up from a day ago. #revenue



Ackman hasn’t texted lately to share what he thinks of the CMG queso sauce


In what can only be described as a light moment on Wednesday's Halftime (while Harvey Weinstein runs amok in private meetings but Judge won't even bring it up), Judge visibly snickered at Coach's name change to "Tapestry."

Judge admitted he laughed at "Alphabet" and mentioned Tronc and Altaba as other questionable monikers. "Interesting, to say the least," Judge said.

Later he mentioned Tegna, Altria and Mondelez.

Kari Firestone said the name Tapestry "doesn't tell you anything."



Toni Sacconaghi is the No. 1 so-and-so of the top-ranked whatchamacallit in the latest Barron’s whatever list (etc.)


Jon Najarian on Wednesday's Halftime said he's exited almost all of his big airline pops of this week.

Doc said ARNC October 28 calls were getting scooped up. In rare evidence of bearishness, Doc said November 20 puts in IPG were getting bought up.

Pete Najarian said someone was buying September 2018 42 calls in INTC. He said he's in the name.

Pete said JNJ has 3 pieces all working; he thinks it goes a lot higher.

Joe Terranova predicted a "very strong upcoming quarter" for FDX.

Kari Firestone noted KR has been going the opposite direction of the S&P 500 and if you want to make money in it, you'll have to be "very very patient."

Anthony Grisanti said 92.70 is support for the dollar; if it holds, it can go higher; if not, it's looking at 92. Jim Iuorio said he'd bolt below 92.45, but he thinks 94 is coming.

Joe hung a 500 on BLK. Kari's final trade was PSX. Doc said NXPI. Pete said BABA and MSFT.



Judge tripped up over whether there was an AAPL analyst call Wednesday


Judge on Wednesday's Halftime noted Credit Suisse put a 1,350 on AMZN, 235 on FB and 1350 on GOOGL.

Pete Najarian trumpeted FB for having a P.E. under 30. (Honestly, why Facebook's P.E. is so important to this program, we have no clue.)

Judge said FB is "under fire" politically. But Pete said all it took was a "shallow dip" on the congressional stuff.

Kari Firestone called the 1,350 AMZN target a "very risky call," noting it has recently underperformed tech.

Joe Terranova said the most interesting name of the 3 to him is GOOGL. He said it seems to have the most momentum near term.

In other names, Jon Najarian said NFLX has been good at picking "big winners" in programming, and he likes the Morgan Stanley 225 call. Judge said sentiment on the name "could not be more positive." Pete said for the 2nd time in a few days that Netflix can get away with raising prices now.

Judge said there was "no call today for Apple," but Pete said Katy Huberty raised the target from 194 to 199 and bumped up North America unit projections.



Judge says potential of GE dividend cut is a ‘scare’ to Cramer, possibly others


Jeffrey Immelt was always treated like royalty on CNBC (that's ownership privilege regardless of a lousy CEO record), but now, it seems, the chickens are kinda coming home to roost.

Judge on Wednesday's Halftime brought in Stephen Tusa by phone to discuss the "higher risk" of a GE dividend cut.

Tusa said paying out all the free cash flow to shareholders doesn't allow much room for turnaround spending.

Judge said GE told CNBC that the dividend remains a "top priority." Judge asked Tusa if that language happens to "scare" him like it does Cramer.

Tusa said, "I'm not really scared of that language," explaining that the signal is that if there's a "material" portfolio move, there's likely to be a dividend adjustment.

Judge conceded, "Maybe scared is a poor choice of words on, on my, my behalf."

Tusa, who knocked GE bulls throughout the chat, insisted observations and expectations about what management can do are "totally off the map" because the earnings are so low.

Judge noted Tusa sees the CFO change as nothing but negative. Tusa said Jeff Bornstein's exit is "absolutely a surprise" after he was trumped up recently as part of the turnaround.

Judge asked Tusa when the shares would be a buy. Tusa said there's a "way to go."

As for the dividend cut, Kari Firestone said she can't believe John Flannery "is going to do this as one of his first moves" or that the board would support it.

Firestone insisted GE isn't "forced" to cut the dividend; "they can certainly borrow the money."

Joe Terranova shrugged that HON is the alternative to GE. Doc said GE is "a show-me situation."

More from Wednesday's Halftime later.



[Tuesday, October 10, 2017]


Procter & Gamble CEO blames media for apparently making company, Peltz seem like enemies, then says Sara is misquoting him


Part of Tuesday's Halftime was devoted to Sara Eisen in Cincinnati, who said Nelson Peltz is claiming the PG vote is "too close to call."

Eisen recapped interviews with PG CEO David Taylor and Peltz. Taylor told Eisen, "I think the media got it more messy than it did between the two of us (sic grammar)."

Sara told Taylor, "You did call him dangerous."

"Not him. I said some ideas I think would be very harmful to the company … I'm not calling Nelson Peltz 'dangerous,'" Taylor said.

For his part, Peltz crowed about being a "pioneer" (Zzzzzzzzz) in taking on such a big company.

That picture of Sara is from a different program during the day, but you know it belongs up there.



Unreal: Judge goes 33 minutes before 1st commercial despite no breaking news


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime turned to Josh Brown at the top of the show to discuss Brown's tremendous instant call on WMT from a day ago.

Steph Link said of the stock, "I think it just keeps going."

Brown noted some were skeptical of the Jet acquisition and asked, "How much market cap has Wal-Mart added since Jet.com."

Pointing to $3 billion acquisitions, Jon Najarian said, "I think Jet is making a much bigger impact for Wal-Mart than Beats is."

Joe Terranova made a too-long point about WMT highlighting the staples space and said something about diversifying and momentum. Judge suggested WMT was enjoying a bit of a "relief rally" because retailers aren't reaffirming anything.



Eamon Javers says there’s a ‘moron flap’ in the White House; panelists snicker


Judge quickly interrupted Tuesday's Halftime with video of Donald Trump that froze after a couple words.

Panelists were heard cracking up and whispering when Eamon Javers mentioned that there's a "moron flap" in the White House.

Javers said it's unknown whether the NFL forcing employees to stand for the national anthem would stand up to "constitutional scrutiny."



CAT at all-time high. Seriously.


Joe Terranova on Tuesday's Halftime called Goldman Sachs' price upgrade for CAT a "great call."

Jon Najarian said 4 times (that's correct) that CAT hit an "all-time high." Joe said "part of the story" is CAT's oil and gas business, because it's not "near apocalyptic."

Doc said March 60 calls in DISH were popular.

Joe said of PANW, "I don't wanna go there." He prefers SAP.

Stephanie Link agrees with the LLY downgrade.

Doc said he likes RF, which he owns, and STI also: "I wouldn't sell either of these banks."

Josh Brown said he'd avoid JBL.



Judge doesn’t mention that this is an ‘Albemarle market’


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime gave Dubravko Lakos a rousing intro even though Lakos has been on the show a bunch of times before.

Lakos admitted his S&P target right now is still 2,550 (snicker). But he has 2,700 "incorporating a tax scenario."

Lakos said, contrary to David Kostin, he thinks "a lot less" than 65% of tax reform is in the market.

Lakos suggested a possible big rotation from growth to value (snicker) (meeting the show's quota of that prediction at least once a week).

Judge asked Lakos what happens if the Fed tightens "too quickly" before tax reform happens. Lakos said the question is whether, if we get tax reform, would it "invite" more aggressive central bank policy.



Whatever happened to the subscribe-to-an-iPad business model plan?


After Dubravko Lakos, Judge on Tuesday's Halftime brought in Toni Sacconaghi and introduced Toni with more resume filler that viewers have heard dozens of times already while precious seconds ticked by (and obviously not filled by commercials #lostrevenue).

Sacconaghi said he's still "very constructive" on AAPL though the stock's had a pause. He told Doc the X is a "big step forward … more screen and less real estate."

Toni verified he thinks HPE has 20% upside, mentioning "4 activists" in the name. He said he could "certainly" see the stock at 18.

Joe Terranova said of HPE, "I think it's going higher because no one owns it," a curious prediction. Josh Brown scoffed that the stock is "dead" with "multiple gaps down."

Brown was unimpressed by Sacconaghi's stature, which Judge likes to trumpet every 10 seconds. "Whatever he thinks, no offense, it's in the stock," Brown said.

Steph Link called HPE "very tempting" but mentioned CSCO, ORCL and even MSFT in the "value tech" space.

Toni called TSLA a "really polarized stock." He predicted that if the company can't show a path to profitability with the Model 3, you'll start to see investor "anxiety."



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


Judge on Tuesday's Halftime brought in Matt Boss to discuss WMT. Boss said WMT is "reiterating top- and bottom-line guidance" as well as "outlining a credible strategy" (snicker) to fight off AMZN.

Boss likes TJX, BURL and ROST.

Boss said he wouldn't buy FL or NKE or UA and that they "remain pressured in the near term." He said his favorite in the space is LULU before stressing the difference between "retailer" and "brand."

He also said he "wouldn't be stepping in" to any department stores, including KSS.

Josh Brown downplayed the notion of something being a great brand, stating, "Great brands disappear all the time."

Joe Terranova asked Boss about LB. Boss actually said he remains neutral in part because of "the move towards bralettes."

Judge said "Goldman" was hitting a 2-week high when he meant "gold."

Scott Nations said gold should be up a lot higher than $8 on a day like this.

Doc's final trade was OXY. Josh Brown said INTC. Stephanie Link said EBAY. Joe said HON.



[Monday, Oct. 9, 2017]


Nobody identifies a GM product that people are clamoring to buy


Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime Report bluntly dubbed GE "uninvestable."

Jim Lebenthal said GE "unfortunately placed a large bet on oil and gas," and the recovery — if it happens — won't come until 2018. "There's no buyers here; there's only sellers," Jim said.

Doc said Warren Buffett "threw in the towel on this one."

On the other hand, Judge said Citigroup actually thinks there's "a path to $134" (snicker) for GM.

Jim Lebenthal said "perception and sentiment" were keeping a lid on GM, but he still sees the risk being "asymmetrically to the upside."

Josh Brown said GM represents "the difference between investing and trading" (snicker), that being, while it was trapped in a range, there was no reason to buy it, but after the "most crystal-clear, obvious technical breakout," it was time to buy. (Sigh … why should anyone buy it before the breakout regardless of whether he dubs himself a "trader" or "investor.")

Stephen Weiss said he hasn't liked GM for a while; "the most money I ever made on it was being short it into '08." Hard to beat that kind of short; it went bankrupt.

Jim Lebenthal conceded that GM was helped by the hurricane(s); which "by the way I'm not happy about, for the Houston viewers."

Grasping for a catalyst in the name, Jim said, "They're getting into autonomous vehicles."

Weiss scoffed, "So is everybody! So is everybody."

Weiss added, "'You get paid to wait' is such a ridiculous statement," explaining you get so much more by waiting on M.

On the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said GE is "intriguing, because there is change in the works."



Ralph Nader says Carl, other bigwigs buffaloed Tim Cook into big buybacks


Judge on Monday's Halftime Report brought in Ralph Nader, who complained that stock buybacks are done by executives "basically for their own pay increase."

Nader contends that buybacks done near a stock high are a "sign of unimaginative or incompetent or avaricious management."

Judge quoted the Harvard Business Review as stating buybacks "actually create value" and cited AAPL and JNJ and HD as those flourishing with buybacks.

Nader said those companies "have other reasons for having their stock go up." Nader also said Tim Cook didn't want to commit that much money to buybacks, but Carl "Icann" (sic pronunciation) and a "few giant shareholders" pushed him to do it.

Steve Weiss told Nader his "generalization" is "not appropriate," and that buybacks are for all shareholders, not just hedge funds. Weiss said a company can go out and blow money on acquisitions, such as HP and Autonomy.

Weiss concluded that Nader's argument doesn't make sense "on any level whatsoever."

Nader complained that drug companies and banks have spent hundreds of billions on buybacks while crying for R&D (drug companies) and not paying much interest (banks).

Weiss said, "You don't have to own stock in those companies. Go somewhere else."

Josh Brown told Nader that buybacks are "tax preferenced" vs. dividends. Nader said something about getting CSCO to declare a dividend. CSCO was Jim Lebenthal's final trade.



Weiss says Trump has ‘done nothing’ to boost market but is merely ‘along for the ride’


Eamon Javers on Monday's Halftime said Donald Trump really "bristles" at criticism from Republicans.

Stephen Weiss declared, "The single biggest risk in the market as I see, is Trump. In my view, he's done nothing to bring the market up; that he's goin' along for the ride. He's not gotten anything done."

Jon Najarian said he likes the Credit Suisse outperform on MS.

Jim Lebenthal said it's a "safe" call. Judge questioned if any bank upgrade is a "safe" call because of the big recent run. Weiss said yes, because they're still "in front of a major tightening cycle."

Doc said he'd pick MS over GS "10 times out of 10."

Jim said it's "way too early" to pick a bottom in WFC.



Brown calls WMT best in Dow, but Karen says Jet sucks


Josh Brown on Monday's Halftime called WMT "the best stock in the Dow right now" and said he'd be a buyer.

But on the 5 p.m. Fast Money, Karen Finerman said, "I have reservations about Jet as a great acquisition. I don't think it's great … things always come in 8 different boxes, half of 'em are wrong, they're broken, they go back."

Back on Halftime, Jim Lebenthal thinks RBC is early on its DIS bull call.

Jon Najarian likes Telsey's upgrade on KSS.

Stephen Weiss called VIAB a "definitive loser" in media. (Remember when we were getting daily stories of Manuela Herzer, etc., oh joy.)

Jon Najarian said ETE April 20 and June 20 calls were getting bought.

Josh Brown's final trade was INTC. Weiss said ATVI. Jim Lebenthal said CSCO; "you can be early." Doc said MAC.



[Friday, Oct. 8, 2017]


Judge suggests the stock market, up 14% YTD, is ‘getting a little ridiculous’


Judge on Friday's Halftime brought up Goldman Sachs' negative call on ALB, Josh Brown's recent white-hot call, and noted that after a morning selloff, the stock had regained some ground.

That prompted Judge to state, "This is an Albemarle market in many ways." (First we've heard of that one.) (This writer is long ALB.)

Judge questioned if Albemarle's "unabated" rise is a cause for concern. Josh Brown responded, "I don't know why that's a reason to worry," noting Goldman's downgrade is "a valuation call" (exactly; it sounds like that Nomura $90 NVDA call in February that Fast Money talked about like a Howard Marks warning).

As for the stock, "Probably it shrugs the downgrade off," Brown said.

Jim Lebenthal said, "Whether it's Albemarle, or the markets, they are going higher."

Judge at the top of the show (picture above not from Friday) tried to float the notion that the stock market is somehow "getting a little ridiculous."

"It's a bull market; this is what bull markets do," Josh Brown shrugged.

Erin Browne said, "There hasn't been multiple expansion this year in the S&P 500," that stock gains have been driven by earnings.

Jim Lebenthal bluntly questioned, "Why on earth would you sell right now?"

Pete Najarian said Jim Cramer shouldn't be worried; Pete delivered the old saw about how there might not be volume in equity markets but there is volume in options.

Pete said XLF calls were getting rolled up.

Jim said in July there were "notable guests" declaring we're due for a correction. (How's Carl's "Day of Reckoning" working out? And why won't Judge bring on Marc Faber or David Stockman or Kyle Bass if he wants someone to say the market is "getting a little ridiculous"?)

Mike Santoli said the maximum S&P pullback this year was in March, about 3%.

Erin Browne contended that "very little" or maybe 20% in the market is being driven by tax reform. Josh Brown protested that there's a global rally going on and it's not because every country is pricing in 21% of a tax cut.

Jim Lebenthal mistakenly said the market will be "140 times earnings next year"; others corrected it to "dollars" rather than "times."



Pete: Netflix ‘finally got away with’ a price increase


Jim Lebenthal on Friday's Halftime pronounced NFLX a winner.

"It's really incredible, but it's still going to continue," Jim said.

Pete Najarian said the price increase is something Netflix has tried before, and this time, they "finally got away with it."

Steph Link said NFLX has a strong lineup in content, but it's "hard to chase it."



Josh gives Steph a trading tip on COST; hopefully it’s as good as the advice Pete gave Karen on her hubris-y EFX short


Pete Najarian on Friday's Halftime gushed again about bank call-buying then said it's "extremely unusual" to see November 100 calls being bought in NTRS. (We're kinda getting the impression that some people buy bank calls just to get Pete Najarian to mention it on CNBC.)

Given her own wing of the program to trumpet favorite stocks, Stephanie Link touted COF and BMY.

Josh Brown said BMY is back in the trading "gap" that is usually bullish price action.

Link said the last time she bought COST after a setback in the low 150s, it went higher; she's planning to buy again when the dust settles and hope for the same, but she admitted the conference call was "horrible."

Josh Brown asked Link to put in a stop below 150, because if buyers don't come in this time, it could mark a serious sentiment shift.

Jim Lebenthal said he doesn't "particularly like the multiple" on NAV, but with tailwinds, it's probably going higher.

Josh Brown said he thinks KSU buyers will come in at 100.



L’eggo my egg’o: Pete sorta fails to take a stand on whether Peltz is right or not


Erin Browne, gradually gaining some mojo on the Halftime Report, on Friday said "firstly," the strengthening dollar has been a headwind on XLE, and that when oil tops 50, it brings in new supply to the space. She doesn't think energy stocks are going "anywhere fast."

Pete Najarian said the PG battle has been "fun to watch," but the stock has performed well regardless, but he thinks Peltz "always can make a change" if he's on the board.

Josh Brown said he'd stay with VMW, a recent great call of his, based on technical factors.

Jim Lebenthal said to stay with FEYE, another good call (even if Dave DeWalt hasn't been on the program since he tried to regain Brian Kelly's trust).

Jim got Fast Fired on a very minor stumble on AVGO. He said it's "fine to own."

Josh Brown was Fast Fired on JBLU. He claimed it did rise from 21 to 24 but then "fell apart."

Erin Browne's final trade was XLF. Pete Najarian hung a 177 on FB. Jim said the XLE is going lower. Steph Link said LITE. Josh Brown said to buy the ALB dip.



[Wednesday, November 4, 2009]

We only mention this to be nice,
to pay a compliment


We've never seen a birthday celebration as muted as the one for Mel Lee on Wednesday.

No cake, no singing, no cheering, etc.

Guy Adami broached the subject fairly early. "We won't give you a number, because you haven't told me the number. I'm sure you could look it up out there folks," Adami said.

"Google," said Tim Seymour.

"She doesn't look a day past 47, she looks great," Adami said.

Actually, we have Googled before ... she is obviously either 36 or 37 ... but one reason Lee hasn't yet made our "CNBC Star Profiles" page where she clearly belongs is because there is little information to be found about her in cyberspace. (Note to searchers; there are a couple other famous Melissa Lees worldwide, we think maybe Australia and South Korea, so careful.) Even Lee's Wikipedia page, which apparently has been the subject of fierce editing battles this year and just today added the Nov. 4 birthdate, is pretty light on details.

However, we did stumble upon this December 2008 interview in Asiancemagazine.com, and were floored by the final question and answer.

It went like this:

ASIANCE: Do you have a boyfriend? Are you married?
Melissa: ha-ha. No and no.

We knew she wasn't married. Granted, this interview was from 2008, and for all we know, things might've changed.

But, "No and no"?

And what's with the "ha-ha"?

Melissa Lee didn't (perhaps doesn't?) have a boyfriend??

Here's the deal ... hard work and career success are great. Lee probably gets up at 5 a.m. or even 4 a.m. and probably sometimes is at the office 12 hours a day.

Socializing is a big part of life too. We've always kind of imagined Lee getting whisked away to Campagnola after every show by some proud guy and yukking it up for hours about Lloyd Blankfein or Jimmy Cayne or Keith Olbermann or whoever with Charles Gasparino or whoever else happens to be there.

The idea that might not be happening is disheartening.

A female CNBC star evidently didn't have a boyfriend.

Wow.

Guys, it just goes to show, sometimes you never know if she's spoken for until you ask.

CNBCfix, by the way, exclusively broke the scoop on Karen Finerman's birthdate many months ago.

Melissa Lee gave the camera one of those mesmerizing little looks again during the RIMM portion of "Pops & Drops."


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♦ Jim Cramer
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♦ Lawrence Kudlow
♦ Karen Finerman
♦ Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
♦ Jane Wells
♦ Erin Burnett
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♦ Joe Scarborough
♦ Terry Keenan
♦ Chrystia Freeland
♦ Christine Romans

CNBC guest bios

♦ Bill Gross
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♦ Diane Swonk
♦ Meredith Whitney
♦ Richard X. Bove
♦ Arthur Laffer
♦ Jared Bernstein
♦ Doug Kass
♦ David Malpass
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♦ Warren Buffett